Best Tone I can achieve at low volume

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Le Daniele, Jul 6, 2022.

  1. Le Daniele

    Le Daniele

    Jul 31, 2013
    Mexico City
    Hi there, new user here! (I've been stealing your knowledge for years though...). I was wondering, what would be a good solution for a high quality / low volume playing that doesn't involve using headphones? I just play for myself (and other unfortunate family members) at home, and I'm just trying to achieve the highest possible quality in tone without bothering family or neighbors as I live in a small apartment. I don't gig or play with other people.

    I play a P with flats (60's/70's classic tones) and my budget can reach the <500-600 USD. I do have an audio interface, but I'm tired on depending on laptop/VST plugins or using headphones (as I've been doing since I've grabbed a bass a couple of years ago).

    If I buy something in the +40W category (Ampeg Micro CL, Phil Jones Micro 7, Fender Rumble), and keep the volume down, would the tone be affected? Will a 10+ inches speaker would be too loud? Which amp would you reccomend?

    Also, would something like a small head combined with a personal monitor like the Ear-Box instead of a big cab, be a better option?
  2. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    I'd look at the Phil Jones Double Four, it gets very high praise.
  3. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist
    It isn't the volume as much as the low frequency that is your huckleberry. Low frequencies don't like to stay in one room, however they are required for good tone in open air.

    Smaller drivers are probably going to be a safer bet than just low power alone. Use physics to work with you. Generally small drivers are less sensitive and have higher low end rolloff.

    You might try your luck with a Rumble 25, Ba-108, etc. I'd imagine even those can get a little bassy in a small room. Phil Jones uses small drivers too, like suggested.
  4. marchone

    marchone Since 1951 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Phil Jones Bass Double Four. Can’t be beat.
  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Phil Jones Double Four. Get a white one because that's cool. Cannot overstate this. It sounds like a real bass amp, just not as loud. Handles low B just fine. It's a great amp. Most of the 25-50W amps that are about to be recommended are awful.
  6. Le Daniele

    Le Daniele

    Jul 31, 2013
    Mexico City
    That white Double Four looks good indeed! There’s any major tone quality difference between this and Micro 7?
    Killing Floor likes this.
  7. Le Daniele

    Le Daniele

    Jul 31, 2013
    Mexico City
    Thanks for your suggestion, I’ll keep this in mind. Phil Jones amps seem to be the best option so far!
    basscooker likes this.
  8. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    I'd look at the small Ampeg Rocket Bass combo. 8" driver and 30 watts.
    Le Daniele likes this.
  9. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Don't know if it's been mentioned, but the Phil Jones Double 4 is right up this alley!

  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I don't know, honestly. Never tried one. I've used a couple of their other products. Either way, I like on their compact amps there is an aux input with independent volume control, I play from my phone but I also will play beats from my workstation. And TalkBass disclosure, I have also played guitar through it. It's not bad but there's no breakup so I had to use an OD to make it pass with a guitar. It plays well at very low volume and the top end volume is not bad, it's more than you'd need to keep up with acoustic guitars or a cajon.
    Le Daniele likes this.
  11. johnh89


    Jan 25, 2020
    Kent UK
    I'm gonna second the recommendations for PJB . Pretty well anything I put through the PJB C2 sounds good at low volume . (or loud)
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
    Le Daniele likes this.
  12. Le Daniele

    Le Daniele

    Jul 31, 2013
    Mexico City
    For the sake of saving myself 150 usd does anybody have experience with both PJB Double four and PJB Micro 7? (I do think the Double four looks cooler though, specially in white).
  13. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Get a good quality headphone amp.
    Le Daniele likes this.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    @basscooker is right. I don't care what kind of amp you use, the low frequencies will penetrate walls, floors, and ceilings even at very low volumes. I think you're looking for a unicorn. I agree with @chris_b that your best option is a good quality headphone amp.
  15. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    I think a 1x15" located, by any means necessary, "in my face", would work very well.
    Ggaa, Le Daniele and Riff Ranger like this.
  16. the federalist

    the federalist I think about basses a lot. Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2014
    A former neighbor of mine would attest to this. I thought there's no way anyone could hear me playing at such low volume and she sure could hear it and sure didn't care for it.
  17. I own a Double Four, and tried an M7 and decided to stick with the Double Four. The combination of the passive "radiator" on the back and the design of those two small speakers gives that amp a real clarity that the M7 doesn't have. The lower you run it, the more you can crank the bass and the D4 doesn't get muddy.
    Charlie Tuna and Le Daniele like this.
  18. Le Daniele

    Le Daniele

    Jul 31, 2013
    Mexico City
    Maybe that's the reason I wasn't able to find a good solution in old threads, I'm aware "low volume" is a very subjective thing depending on lots of you think something like a preamp with headphones out (Darkglass Ultra, Ampeg SCR-DI and others) should do the trick for getting great tone?
    Lobster11 and Riff Ranger like this.
  19. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    If you're looking for really low volume and you're already using VSTs (even if you don't want to rely on a computer rig) you may consider just getting a pair of studio monitors. You'll get good "tone" out of them at nearfield volumes, especially if they're set up to point at your ears. You can also run a single one if you wish. The main thing is that they come in smaller sizes - Yamaha makes the HS5, the HS7, and the HS8, which use five-, seven- and eight-inch drivers respectively. Studio monitors are also useful in other ways, but the main thing here is monitoring volume and clarity. They can be a good option. Finally - although the Phil Jones stuff is awesome - you'd probably be getting more utility by spending on a pair of studio monitors than a small practice amp.

    If you're truly playing at apartment volume, though, note that you'll probably hear the acoustic sound of the bass alongside the output from anything powered, which will color your perception of the sound. It's something to be aware of.
  20. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    I hear all of that … and so will your neighbors :facepalm:

    Please help me keep the lows in my own house

    Long story short, I got the Broughton HPF/LPF, turned down a bit, made sure I had my speakers pointed at my ears, and (eventually) learned to love playing through headphones.

    The suggestion about a 1x15 pointed at one’s face above might sound flippant but it’s actually good advice—whatever speaker you end up using, you won’t turn up nearly as much if you’re playing to your ears instead of your knees.

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