You know it as well as I do, when you're a guitarist, shopping isn't just about a guitar! No, that would be too easy. In addition to the instrument it will be necessary to pass to the amplification. The problem is that a tube amp makes a lot of noise… Hey, that's great because today we're going to show you 4 techniques for using a tube amp at home! This article follows the video YOUTUBE of the week.
The tube amp is a bit essential in the world of the guitar! We often see here and there many peasants extolling the merits of this technology. It is true that for my part I particularly like the latter. The sounds are true to what one imagines when thinking of an electric guitar and the dynamics are there. The problem is that as alluring as these may seem, they will reserve you a hell of a lot of constraints.
But rest assured, for every problem there is a solution!
1. Separate the cabinet from the floor
It may sound silly, but a cabinet generates a lot of vibrations. And if the baffle is not separated from the ground, the latter will be transmitted directly into it. So in addition to being painful for the guitarist, it's even worse for your neighbors. Indeed, the low frequencies will be amplified by the transmission phenomenon. To correct this first problem here is the simplest technique for using your tube amp at home. All you have to do is place the cabinet on this type of platform ( Harley Benton ISO AMP 1 or 2) and your playing comfort will be greatly improved!
2. An equalizer pedal to lower the volume??
Admit that this one, you didn't see it coming, did you? And yet a simple Boss GE-7 can do the trick! In addition to allowing you to sculpt your sound, this little wonder will allow you to lower the volume of your tube amp! All you have to do is place it in the latter's effects loop and turn down the small volume switch. Guaranteed result. Be careful, it should be noted that lowering the volume between the pre-amplification and amplification section risks giving a slightly worse sound than at high volume. But it is frankly very usable.
You can correct this by playing on the small frequency switches as explained in our Youtube video. An effective and relatively economical solution for using a tube amp at home.
3. The attenuator = solution for using a tube amp at home?
Good the platforms and EQ pedals that's all well and good, but what if I told you that there was a much more effective method to enjoy your amp in the best conditions? Attenuators are indeed the solution to consider if you cannot do without the sound of lamps.
Concretely what is it? This is a box that you will place between your amp head and your cabinet (via HP cables, very important). This attenuator will act as a watt sponge by “restricting” the output volume of the head without (too much) deteriorating the sound. To put it simply, you can push your amp into the revs without suffering too much from the inconveniences linked to the volume.
In my case, I use a P&P 22. This is an inexpensive but very effective Made in France attenuator! As you can see in the video, the latter is equipped with notches. The higher you go, the more the volume drop will be effective. Be careful, do not imagine being able to push an amp to the maximum and obtain perfect sound with an attenuator. Indeed, past a certain attenuation threshold, you will notice a degradation of the signal. For my part, and on this model, I do not exceed NEVER the -12db. In addition, thanks to an attenuator, you can more easily take advantage of low gain drive pedals like the Greenhouse Effects Goldrive.
The attenuator is for me the best solution for using a tube amp at home.
4. Loadbox and HP Simulators
Ouch Ouch we are going to talk digital, but do not leave this article! If despite everything, you find that your tube amp is still too noisy to reconcile your social life and your hobby, there is one last solution, and it is your companion (companion) who will appreciate it.
Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll, we're going to talk about Loadbox and others HP simulators ! So, these are boxes that connect instead of your cabinet. The latter have the heavy mission of simulating a dummy load and emulating a guitar cabinet as well as pickup microphones. The interest is twofold, because in addition to being able to play silently via headphones for example, you will be able to record yourself very easily. All while keeping the sound of your tube amp and having many types of HP!
The problem with this solution is that it requires a lot of hardware! Indeed, to take advantage of these hp simulators in the best conditions you need a computer, a sound card and monitoring speakers. Some do away with the sound card and monitoring speakers by adding FRFR active speakers or using headphones.
As you will have understood, this solution is still interesting for those looking for an all-in-one tool, in order to practice and record calmly.
In 2021, tube amps still make guitarists dream. Let's not lie: by buying this type of product, you feel like you're part of Rock history. And just that, bah it makes you want. However, we have all been, at one time or another, frustrated at not being able to harness the potential of these jewels. I hope this article has given you some techniques for using a tube amp at home!