What level do you usually play your amp at?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Jun 14, 2001.

  1. Hello all, by asking this question, I want to know what number
    on the volume knob you usually have your amp set at irregardless of how big your amp is, or how many speakers you're going through. If you want, you can split your answer into two responses: practicing and giging. (That word looks so cool ) and give a short reason why: sounds good/need to cut through, etc.

    The reason I'm asking this is because at another thread, a member says he sometimes plays
    his amp at 9 or 10. I believe him, but any amp I've ever owned, or played through usually produced some kind of unwanted result (clipping, distortion, blew speakers, etc) after about 6 or 7. I have power meters on my stereo power amp (an old S.A.E) and this amp can put out up to 200 watts
    per channel. Going through a pair of Bose speakers, and depending on the source, the power meters will usually show 200 watts being produced at around 5 to 7 on the volume knob. This means NO MORE HEADROOM. I would assume it's pretty much the same for bass amps. I'll go first.

    On my Bassman 60, I usually practice at about 3, never more than 5. If I do it gets too loud for the house, and at 5 or 6 it would be enough to play a low/acoustic gig. When I was in a band (that went nowhere) I used my Yamaha 100watt w/1x15
    and at a medium volume gig, it was decently loud at 5, but would start to breakup as I pushed it to 7.

    I'm just curiuos. Even if you have an SVT w/8x10 do you push it past 6? Does it sound distorted? Have you replaced many speakers?

    Mike J.
  2. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    My volume's generally set at 3-5. 3 for most playing, and practicing. My Pregain's on 4. I like to have a really smooth signal.

    I know it wasn't part of the question, but my amp IS 700 watts. So I really don't have a need to put it over 5. I generally don't like putting my volume over 4. Otherwise, I think the signal just gets retarded. Although, on certain basses that have a *thin* sound, bringing the volume up can help thicken it.
  3. SWR SM 400-S at 500 watts bridged with
    8x8 rated at 480 watts, 4ohms; volume is set
    half way for a very loud gig volume.
  4. hehehe oh man that's good.

    i set the gain on my WM-15 to half all the time, master at 1/4 when practicing alone, and half to 5/8 when playing with a drummer.
  5. The setting of the volume knob is in no way related to the output power of the amp. I have my amp always set at near-clipping level (the clip leds light occasionally), but the volume knob is nowhere near its maximum setting. It's just how hot the signal is that goes in, out of the preamp. If you boost your gain (if you have a knob for that) pretty high, you will have to turn down the master volume. If you put the gain at nearly zero, you will have to crank the master volume, and probably your bass won't even be audible.

    So saying that you have your master volume at a certain setting says nothing about how loud your amp sounds, or how much of its power you're using. You can't even compare two identical amps this way, because the EQ setting and even the bass also affect the output power.

    Spoken from a tech-head's perspective.
  6. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania

    Not to argue your point, but isn't it that when you turn your lows/highs/mids up/down it's just boosting/cutting a frequency, and not neccessarily giving you more power?

    As far as I knew, your power consumption and output power are two different things, and regardless of your EQ settings, you're still consuming just as much power. It's just a matter of what you do with it. The art of having your amp appear to be louder by using skillful EQ settings is just a matter of getting your signal to cut, not neccessarily just boosting everything.

    I may be wrong, but that's what I've always assumed.
  7. I've got my SM-900 bridged into an 8-ohm Eden D410XLT. Depending on which bass I'm playing, I've got the gain at between noon and 2 o'clock. (My Jazz bass has much hotter output than my Carl Thompson.) Master volume is around 9 o'clock.. I've never had to turn it up higher. Tons of headroom to spare.
  8. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    On my cyclops I liked turning the volume knobs both to 50% and then the biamp knobs 25% to highs and 75% to lows.

    I also have the volume on my bass set around 50% or so to allow for more or less volume.
  9. My rig is all component with dual amps, so a number doesn't apply here. However, I play weekly at a bar using the house bands' gear. This is a Carvin RedLine 610 series with a pair of 10s on top of a 15. The owner runs it around 4 on the scale.

    The band puts out 106 dB at 25 feet. Painful.
  10. That's how they sound their best. Tube amps sound good overdriven. Solid state amps will kill your speakers when overdriven.
  11. LowfreqB


    Nov 10, 2000
    United States
    Hey heres my 2 cents, SWR 350 (recently sold) gain set to 4, master set to 7-8 never had a problem.
  12. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    here my settings whem playing in the studio with the band, pop rock in the style of oasis with 2 guirats, vox, drums and obviously bass.
    with spector ns5cr
    ampeg b 100r gain 3 master 3
    eko really old tube head and ampeg 1540he cab
    only volume knob set at 1.5

    with rick 4001
    ampeg b 100r gain 6 master 4
    eko volume set a t2

    with my sadowsky...ehmm eko old jazz style bass
    the same settings as the rick, but with less master and a little bit mor gain.
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Heres my different setup volumes [3]
    First-Marching Band Rig
    Yorkville MP8 PA head into Peavey [dunno model] 3 way cab [15,8,horn]
    channel level 5 master vol. 5
    Fender BXR 15 [practice in my room] vol. 3
    BXR15 w/other guitars-7 & it sounds really distorted. thats all
  14. Thanks for responding everyone. It seems that most of you set your amp as I expected, more or less around the halfway point on the volume knob.
    It's just something I was wondering about.

    Dancehall, I knew someone would notice that truly
    dynamic word, irregardless of what others told me.
    Boy, was I relieved when I looked in the dictionary,
    and it WAS there. (Whew!)

    Joris and CrawlingEye, Just going by the power meters on my stereo(which are always on) I've noticed only at high volume that adding or taking away a few db of bass will cause the meters to show an increase or decrease in power used. Also, the pre-amp has only a master volume control.

    Thanks A-*GAIN* guys for responding,
    Mike J.
  15. I don't get it. I use that word all the time. Have I been using archaic terminology?
  16. JimM


    Jan 13, 2000
    Northern California
    On my Sunn 1200s,I set the preamp gain to make the yellow light come on,but not the red one.On my P bass thats about 3-4,a little more for the Jazz.Then i turn the master to about 1 and a half,I can't imagine going much more than 2,at least with the single 4x10 cab.Maybe someday I'll find a gig that calls for all that power.I'll be ready.
  17. Everything an amp puts out needs power. If you boost a certain frequency range, you'll need more power. For high frequencies, you probably only need a few watts, but if you boost your low frequencies a lot (say 100 Hz, +6 dB), chances are you need twice as much total amp power. If something sounds louder, it needs more power. If you start cutting ranges, power drops, but you may need to turn up your volume (especially when cutting midrange).

    Compare it to driving. On a ramp, you lose speed without braking. Because the car is making a second movement (climbing) apart from moving forward. The power from the engine (=amp) goes to other types of movements (=boosting a freq range). If you want to maintain speed, you have to step on it.

    The input power consumption of an amp is entirely dependant of the output power, except for the power needed to run the preamps and the null-current of the output stage (to get zero crossing distortion minimal). An amplifier is an AC to AC converter. AC with a fixed voltage and frequency goes in, AC with a variable voltage and frequency comes out. Input an output power are (ideally) the same). If you play low volume, practising alone, you'll probably use no more than a few tenths of watts total power. And your amp will only consume its standby power.
  19. With a drummer I usually have the gain and volume on my BA-115 at half way with the EQ flat. Alone I just move my volume down to 3/8 or so.