Tube Noobie - How do you tell you're maxed?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by RenoEvan, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. RenoEvan


    Mar 11, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Proud new owner of an early 70s Ampeg V-4B, and matching cabinet!
    Even though it's "only" 100W, it sounds plenty loud to me - but before I go matching it up with 2 Geetars and a Bonham impersonator, how do I know if I'm maxing it out?
    Just would hate to damage such a cool old amp out of ignorance.
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    What do you mean maxing it out?:confused:
  3. When the knobs don't go any further to the right ;)

    Seriously, though, you can't really damage this amp with any settings, including everything on 10. You may damage cabs however, no guarantees there ;)
  4. RenoEvan


    Mar 11, 2007
    Reno, NV
    I guess was creating either a wattage overload that burns out something in the amp itself, or clipping that will damage the speakers.
    The modern amps I've played usually have a limiter of sorts, which protects (to an extent) against both, and flashes an LED so you have a visual clue it's going on.
    In this case, I guess I just listen for speaker fart, or something? It's just that this amp even at moderate volumes sounds a bit "growly" so I was worried I might not pick up on it.
  5. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    1st, clipping won't inherently damage your speakers.

    Next, tube amps distort in a completely different way from SS amps. SS amps stay cleaan up until the point where they start to clip and then they sound horrible due to the hard clipping that then takes place. Tubes distort gradually as you increase the volume and begin this at lower levels. This disortion is often very subtle ad pleasing to the ear so that you may not notice it until THD reaches a significant level. The amps are made to deal with this.

    In a nut shell: turn all the nobs to 10 if you like. You may shorten the life of the tubes, but that should be about it.

    Edit: Oh yeah, and don't forget to enjoy some grindy, overdriven tube tone.
  6. As I mentioned, the amp will In no way be damaged by overdriving it. There is no amount of "wattage overload" that could damage the amp. That's why we like tube amps, you can overdrive the hell out of them. And no more clip lights to worry you when you should be rocking out!

    Of course you can still damage your cab, and this is where you need to use your ears, like you said.
  7. jab


    Feb 18, 2007
    kenosha wi 53143
    thats a great bass head when they're growling they sound wonderful i've never needed to turn them up all the way though i have used them at3/4 all night long
  8. jjhardy

    jjhardy Guest

    Mar 11, 2007
    congrats, i just got an early 70's V4B myself! Just so you know, as I've found out myself and have been told on here, I get about maximum volume when the volume's at 1oclock, and from there the distortion just gets more saturated.
  9. RenoEvan


    Mar 11, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Thanks for the responses, all - I can now begin to more confidently Rock Out!
  10. BassGreaser


    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm using an Ampeg B25B!
  11. Yup, I have a '72 V4-B and I get all the volume (and a good bit of dirt) around 12 o'clock on the gain knob. Everything above that is just more dirt really.

    Here's a tip for more dirt at (slightly) lower volumes:
    crank the EQ knobs to 10! Cut back the bass a bit if you need to to avoid blowing drivers in smaller cabs.
  12. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    My early-70's V4 volume level maxes out at an 11 o'clock volume knob position and any higher simply produces more very cool sounding tube saturation. Mine was this way when I got it and also after being thoroughly serviced including full recapping, brand new vintage Philips 7027 power tubes and a very experienced V4/V4B tech carefully selecting preamp/driver tubes for the absolute most clean headroom.

    The Cab(s) you choose to use will make a huge difference in whether a V4/V4B will end up being loud enough for your particular band or not.