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I finally tried a thing.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Uncle Hanky, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Uncle Hanky

    Uncle Hanky

    May 10, 2017
    I’ve seen it suggested a fair amount to dime your master volume, and then use your gain as a “volume” knob. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to do this, but last night, I found myself in... ah... a rather mellow mood. Wow. What a HUGE difference it makes!!! I’m kicking my own derrière quite soundly for not having done this sooner!
  2. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    How would you describe the difference it made?

    It’s an interesting concept. Sounds like it would make for a clean output.
    DJ Bebop and Uncle Hanky like this.
  3. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Hank :)


    Which of your leadsleds did you kick a$$?

    And what did your neighbours tell you this morning? :laugh:

    greetings (rock the house!:thumbsup:)

    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  4. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Non-master-volume amps are basically this.

    Best way to get the highest clean volume from the amp.

    Another way to "outsmart" amps using knob trickery is with eq.... Example: If you want more mids but already have the knob dimed, turn bass and treble down and volume up. Need more high? Bass and mids go lower and volume up etc etc.

    Lowest volume overdrive... Put gain really high, set master as volume, and use the output level on your bass to go back and forth between clean and grindy. This one takes a little experimenting and practice but works beautifully once you find the sweet spot among the 3 controls.

    I personally have almost always used the "set and forget" method with the master volume and use the gain as level control. On some amps there is even a pre eq or post eq blend knob which can help even more to tame an overdriven signal being fed to the power amp. Use more pre-eq for cleanest. More post-eq for hair.
    jamro217, reno88, basscapes and 4 others like this.
  5. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    So would this be more for SS or Tube amps?

    I always though tube grit was something that was desirable, and I assume you get that with the gain knob. But of course I’d never lug a tube amp around for bass and don’t have a bass tube amp.
    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What kind of amp?
    What kind of amp?

    What was the difference?
    Wisebass and Uncle Hanky like this.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    Results vary by amp and your tonal goals. If your goal is max clean volume, then crank up the Master...but you can't dime the Master on some tube amps because there is too much gain in the back end of the preamp and there is a bright cap strapped across the input Gain control. Dime the Master and you get a lot of noise and excessive highs that are brittle, hard, and punchy. With these amps you have to back off the Master enough so you can increase the Gain control to a point where it rolls off some of the highs and the preamp starts to compress a bit.

    IMHO if drive is the goal, then input gain and master volume can be varied depending upon the output level and sound character you want. An important point here is preamp tube drive and output tube drive sounds different, and many prefer output tube drive over preamp tube drive. At low gain levels, circuits tend to be clean and punchy. As you increase gain, the circuit begins to compress and then breaks over into distortion. When volume allows, I prefer running both the preamp and output tubes on the edge of distortion. IMHO this approach produces a more harmonically rich and interesting sound, but YMMV. If volume is limited, I'll back off on the Master and use preamp drive and/or a good pedal for distortion.
    Wisebass, Uncle Hanky and Passinwind like this.
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    This absolutely depends on the amp.
  9. Which amp?
    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  10. Uncle Hanky

    Uncle Hanky

    May 10, 2017
    There are a whole lot more responses than I imagined, so I’ll try to address them all.

    I did this with my 1973 Peavey Century 120, which is, of course, a solid state amplifier head. I absolutely do not have the intestinal fortitude to try that with a tube amp. I should clarify that I have never heard anyone say this in regards to a tube amp, so I (obviously erroneously) assumed solid state was a given. That one’s on me, folks. I apologize.
    MattZilla, Microbass and rodl2005 like this.
  11. Not much is a given with bass amps. Wouldn't be much of a forum if it were.
    MattZilla, bassfran and Uncle Hanky like this.
  12. I do this with my SVT II Pro. Zero out the silly “drive” knob, dime the master, roll into gain to desirable volume, and it’s alllllllll gravy.
  13. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon

    Jul 17, 2018
    Tried this with the Mesa Boogie 400+.
    Unpossible. Get the gain to about 1 and the walls begin to melt.
    Have better luck with the master at 5 and the channel 2 volume at 5. Still shakes things but not at 8.3 on the Richter scale.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I can tell :D

    First off, while tube grit is desirable for some, it was never the reason I was drawn to tube amps. I run my tube amps dead clean, I love the sound that way, and I get dirt with pedals unless I'm recording.

    Second, while cranking gain is definitely one way to get some grind, you can also turn them up really loud to get power tube distortion. That won't happen in my bands, though. Way too loud to be comfortable in my bands.
    ezstep, dralionux, jamro217 and 6 others like this.
  15. Oddly enough, that's why I stopped playing my B-15n. I was trying to play it in my first band, a rock band way back in the day.
    All I was getting was tube distortion trying to keep up. I was a kid, it was the only amp I had access to. It was my dad's, he used it for his piano and mics. I hated that thing.

    Now you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands. I love it on low volume gigs and recording.

    Still, don't like distortion on bass, I laugh to myself when I see the young going after the sound that I ran from and continue to run from :)
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
    Redbrangus, LBS-bass, JimmyM and 3 others like this.
  16. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Yep. Much this.
  17. Yeah, it gives a nice big, kinda break up, but not driven sound. It really sounds...open.
    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  18. Bim1959


    Apr 15, 2009
    Naples Florida
    Sales and electronic tech/piano tech: England Music Center - Clinton IA - now closed
    Until I got my PF800, all the bass amps I had before that (with the exception of my Sunn 1200s hybrid rack mount amp) were non master volume amps. Clean as could be. Ill have to try that with the PF800 and see what happens.
    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  19. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Diming the master volume can result in unwanted noise, depending on the amp. On my PF-50t tube amp I keep the master at around 75% and use the gain to control the overall volume (which results in "warm clean" without preamp overdrive). On my Markbass I do it the other way round, set the input at the point where the clip light comes on occasionally and use the master to control output level (I don't want clipping or excessive circuit noise from an SS amp).
    JGbassman and basscapes like this.
  20. david barnes

    david barnes SUSPENDED

    Sep 30, 2015
    Saint joseph missouri
    I like the set it and forget it set up. yes use your gain as your volume, youll get a much better tone in my opinion.i have my gain set at noon , bass at noon mid range 2 o clock. mid range selector on 4 and my treble at 3.. master is at 11. I should include that im running a ampeg svt pro...into a fender 810 pro cab.and I get loads for sound... and room to spare. I use my bass as a "master overall volume as well. I dial in my tone with my amp and then use my bass for desired volume. every stage will be different . so I need to be able to adjust with out standing in front of my amp.fiddling

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