How high can I safely turn up gain at a low volume?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bluebard, Apr 8, 2018.


  1. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Hey all,

    I just got myself a Mesa Boogie Walkabout! One of the things that attracted me to a hybrid amp was the ability to get an overdriven sound using the tube pre-amp.

    So my question is this: how far can you turn the gain on a hybrid amp while keeping your amp and cab at a safe level? This is assuming that the volume is adjusted to a correspondingly low enough level so as to not blow speakers - where the gain is being for tone variation rather than to create volume.

    Suppose I wanted get a Chris Squire-esque overdriven sound. If the gain was really high - even maxed (just a hypothetical, I doubt I'd ever want to max my gain) - but the volume was adjusted to be very low, would that pose any threat to the amp or cab? I assume that the speakers couldn't get blown if the volume was low, but is it possible to push your tubes too hard, or push any other components too hard? I don't know much about tubes. Or is it possible to have too hot a signal running to your cab, even if the volume is low?

    Thanks for the insight!
     
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    crank the gain all you like
    The only amp I've seen a problem with this on was the T.E. Elf. With the gain cranked up you can't adjust the volume low, just barely cracking the volume off zero is deafening.
     
    Bluebard likes this.
  3. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Good to know, thanks!
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Any amp that can't be run dimed belongs in a dumpster IMO. OTOH if your cab isn't rated at 2x the amp power or more - well, good luck :nailbiting:.
     
  5. Bluebard

    Bluebard

    Oct 21, 2014
    Buffalo
    Good luck even if your volume is low enough that you're not crazy loud?
     
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Why would you want a stoopid powerful amp into a wimpy cab? You'd always be one bad cord away from a smoke show and you could never let anyone else use it :wideyed:. My little Aguilar TH-350 into a 600w 2x12 easily overpowers a 300 cap club's PA and no worries using it as backline. Kinda funny, seems most bass players are used to crap backline (and personal rigs?) and I have to assure them that they are free to turn the knobs as they like and crank it a much as they want. One club I was outside and wondering why the soundguy had it up in the PA stoopid loud on one band - turns out he had it off on the board :wideyed:. 3 lb head and 34 lb cab SVT class rig :cool:.
     
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    It's fine, that's why these amps have both a gain and master volume control.
     
    Bluebard and Stumbo like this.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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