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TheCanajun

All of my tube amps get louder up to a point on the volume dial and after that point they just get more distorted and not louder. The volume I like a tube amp at is where it sounds clean with light attack and gets dirtier with heavier attack.


brixle

That’s about right. Sometimes I like the amp overdriven then I use the volume of my guitar to clean it up. But when I tried the volume of the amp all the way up then it’s just too piercing in the ear and a lot of hiss


Mongoose-Lumpy

Cranked means the power amp is pushed to add compression and distortion. Some people like how that sounds, some people don’t. It tends to be too loud for most people nowadays.


Dillon_Berkley

It always has been if we're being honest. I love it but I monitor how long I allow myself to go without ear plugs at various dB levels. Once your hearing is gone, it's not coming back. The volume necessary for these tones is definitely harmful but the guitar reacts and responds to the amp and vice versa. Volume is a necessary part of it whether people like it or not.


81jmfk

It’s different depending on the amp. Some amps are designed to have a better sound when the power amp pushes more volume. JCM800 sounds thin when the master volume is low. Needs the power tubes to be pushed to fill out the tone. Amps like a Peavey 5150 rely more on preamp for tone. People don’t typically run these with the power amp over 4. They’re extremely loud. You getting hiss could depend on other factors. But all your amps would probably sound better with the volume up halfway compared to having the volume around 1-2


bry-fry89

I think most people don’t run their amps in volume 10 all the time. Usually tube amps will start getting more saturated at higher amp levels but like most things you have find a sweet spot. For example my tweed bassman starts to get slightly dirty around volume 3-4 and then use pedals to take it further. With the volume on 10 it would get kinda out of control for most situations and just be kind of unpleasant if I was playing a gig.


brixle

Thanks for the info. Volume at 10 or 11 reminds me of spinal tap


neptoess

Tweed amps went up to 12 lol. I like my Tweed Deluxe best at 10/12, with a treble booster in front


weakflesh

My fargen epic 30 (think ac30) wakes up around 3 on the volume. Completely changes in character and response at 4.5 or so, and stops getting louder at 7. I always run a dr z attenuator. That amp at 4.5 to a 2 x12 is insanely loud with notes drifting into feedback automatically. It is way more than enough in a 20 x 20 foot practice room. To counter this, i also play with a mesa single recto 50 watt, and the sound is great, but way colder, less reactive, because i run the master a lot lower. Playing with a cooking power section is a very different experience. Not “better” as it is a lot harder to control.


No-Count3834

I do it on my Fender 68 Pro Reverb. Essentially you get that nice tube break up. On the edge of a clean overdrive sound. I usually use my Weber Mass 100 to tame levels when needed. It’s a unique awesome sound, and you can set it right before break up, then put a boost before it to sweeten it. Pretty much gain stage it to your liking! My amp is 40watt with a 60watt speaker. It can be too loud at break up, so I see the attenuator as a tool. In some cases you won’t need it, if your amp isn’t as loud for the situation. Some amps like Fender Deluxe do it at 4, some do it like mine at 6.5-7. So amp dependent very much so. Also transparent overdrives that do it at low levels, like Greer Lightspeed and Morning Glory. It’s not the real thing but gets the sound if you want it. But make no mistake, there is no substitute for the real deal! I just crank, and take a few db off with my Weber attenuator when I want it. Otherwise it has a bypass switch to get out. Then I can just do as loud as the venue and run pedals instead. All down to taste! I saw Jack White last weekend. He used one Fender tube amp at break up on 9-10, with an always on MXR Micro Boost for his clean dirty tone. And had a second amp as well for other clean/pedal stuff to pair, coupled with all his pedals. You’ll see dual amps on stage with some doing this. Usually at theater gigs, and at a pro level I see it a lot.


brixle

Ok this make sense. It’s not really cranking the amps to 11. It’s just loud enough to get the desired sound you want


No-Count3834

Exactly! Certain amps have character at a louder stage. You’ll notice on some amps there is no gain. But if you crank it to a certain point, it will start to distort and get a nice tone. Think The Kinks, White Stripes(dead leaves and the dirty ground) kind of overdrive but not distorted. The Beatles also did this a lot a well. Queens of the Stone Age would be a modern one as well. It’s clean but depending how hard or soft you play..the amp will react to you. Including rolling off your guitar volume clean, then at 10 for the sweet spot. Dave Grohl does this, and mentions it in interviews a bit. Most tube amps have a sweet spot, this can be low volume to you… or break the windows out. Clean headroom is a good pedal platform. Clean loud high headroom for pedals, and some amps break up pretty quick at 4-5. But some have both at the same time! Essentially it’s like a natural overdrive. Before we had distortion, if you listen to older songs with crank amps you’ll hear the grit! Distortion didn’t always exist, and back in the day players would turn up to get a break up. It’s still something many like to do and seek to this day. It’s one reason some amps are very popular. Also why the treble booster became a thing. Small amps like a Princeton you can do this at reasonable volumes. And possibly a deluxe for a theater live show. Other amps like a twin reverb you’ll blow your ears off before breaking up. Also speaker size can be a factor as well as tubes. I tend to like a 12in speaker for that. 10in will also work Check it! https://youtu.be/ypmnzie0HtA


Dramatic_Sample_7302

100 watt heads are when this idea really works . And if it’s a modern high gain head the volume does not need to be as loud . It was more classic amps thst needed to be loud to get more gain


huoliver

Agreed - this advice is a hold over from the days of non-master volume amps. That’s said, even MV tube amps sound better cranked to a certain point. As others have said, it’s about the power amps response and the sound/feel you get from pushing those power tubes.


Dramatic_Sample_7302

Not always . I have a lot of amps . And many high gain amps mush out fast at way too loud volumes . My wizards and diezels have never needed to go past 4 on the master volume . Plus high gain amps are usually made with too much gain any way these days .


huoliver

Not necessarily cranked, but above bedroom volume. I think that’s just the nature of tube amps. The magic is in the power amp. IMO nothing quite sounds and feels like a tube rectified amp being pushed a bit.


neptoess

High gainers (I have a 6505) are definitely using a different philosophy. The power amps are tuned to be loud and stout, not compress. You can dial them in differently, but ultimately, you’re right. Even if you can play as loud as you want, even EVH only ran his 5150’s master volume on 5


brixle

I thought EVH would ran his amp way louder than 5. That’s interesting to know


neptoess

His 68 Plexi, he ran everything on 10. The original 5150s he used, he ran the master on 5. That’s right before the power amp starts to compress. The way the 5150 was designed, it has _all_ the preamp gain in the world. So it just sounds mushy if you run the power amp into distortion. Make no mistake though, it’s no louder at 10 than 5, just squishier


brixle

Yeah this make sense


lostprevention

Try a champ or similar.


brixle

Can you please explain a bit more?


lostprevention

A class A tube amp of 5 watts or so will definitely not sound hissy or unplayable when cranked up. I’m not very familiar with more modern, high power tube amps, but early Marshalls and Fenders do definitely sound great cranked up. A smaller amp allows one to do so at a fairly reasonable volume.


neptoess

It’s not necessary. You have an AC15 and a JCM 800. On the 800, for instance, to get proper cranked tones, plug straight in (pedals can come later, guitar->amp lets you appreciate what the power section can do for you), turn the preamp volume (gain) to 0, and turn the master all the way up. Your gain knob is now your volume knob. Start bringing it up, and play at each level. You’ll start pristine clean, but sterile. Then get to a nice, really full clean, that crunches a bit when you dig in. Then into a nice crunchy bark. Then into almost untameable meltdown.


brixle

Thanks. I’ll give it a try


NoVAGuitarsnBBQ

I have the Studio Classic, with master volume amps it does not apply as much as say when I’m playing my Princeton or my Pro, but the master below vs slightly above 3 on the SC is a noticeable difference.


Dogrel

Most amps should not have that much hiss, even when dimed. Your amps might need servicing soon to address this. But more to your point, most amps don’t sound all that amazing when run flat out anyway. Marshall Plexis do, but they’re one of the few. Most of the rest start to collapse in on themselves, fart out and get mushy and indistinct when the volume is set too high. Playing them at 6-8 is more of a “sweet spot” that gives much better results. That way you can get the amp’s clean tone when you play soft and go to distortion when you dig in.


brixle

I bought my Marshall JCM 800 and the fender blues junior new except the ac15 and all sound very hissy when the volume is cranked up. I think that’s the nature of a tube amp


Dogrel

I’ve got tube amps too, lots of them. And like I said, most don’t do this. A couple of mine do, but those are the ones that could stand to get tuned up a bit.


Horror_Cupcake8762

Cranked doesn’t mean you go all the way to eleven. As others have said, 6-8 is a pretty typical sweet spot. And a decent el-34/50 watt nmv amp is an absolute joy at that volume. That said, my BF Princeton (non-reverb) is quite happy running at 9 and being goosed by a tube screamer used as a clean boost. But that’s just where that edge of breakup is on that amp.


JD0x0

A lot of amps DONT sound great cranked. It really depends on the circuit, but some get too distorted, some the bass falls apart and/or you run into ugly farty blocking distortion. I think this half-myth came about when amps lacked master volumes. The only way to get the amps to distort more was to increase the volume.


p90SuhDude

Depends, Vox I’ve always liked cranked: Supros as well. Usually it’s the class A amps that do it for me. Other than that you most amps usually have a sweet spot


brixle

I just googled different classes of amps. Very interesting to know. Thank you


xyzd95

I feel like having the volume all the way up is a different think from cranking the amp. If the volume is on 10 that’s a dimed amp imo. Cranked amp just means it’s moving enough air to give your power tubes a bit of work but it doesn’t mean you’ve got to give the amp all the signal it can take. You can have the master at 6 or 7 and I’d say that’s been cranked. 2203/2204 style amps rely on the preamp section for gain more than power tubes. I have a 50w combo from 1984 and I’ve cranked it many times. It sounds bad with too much preamp and power section gain. Power tube gain for the 800 thickens out the sound but it’s too unruly and flubby with the low end if you have preamp and power tube gain with an amp like that. The preamp adds bass if the gain is up past 7 or so. The only amp I’ve ever dimed and liked was my sv20 but there’s no master volume. Amps without master volumes seem to sound better for diming but they’re more of a one trick pony that way


brixle

Thanks for the info. It’s really helpful to understand what the pros means when they say about cranked amps


User-K549125

This is a nice demonstration. https://youtu.be/zX3f0aetMF8?t=285


brixle

Thank you that was a good demo there. He also explains the way he cranked the amp and the sound gets mushy if he goes further up