Sunday, August 14, 2016

2016-08-14 Volume Myths and Boss Pedals

Greetings to the Brotherhood of  the Quest for Tone,

The Resentment:

Volume Myths - I am growing tired of the lack of understanding of how wattage is related to volume. It isn't. I hear a large group groaning about things along the lines of, "Will (insert model here) amp be too loud for my apartment?" or thinking that they "Well I want poweramp distortion..."

The truth is that first off, a 100w amp will only be TWICE as loud as a 10w amp. Yep, you heard it, baring extenuating circumstances that is.  There are a lot of factors in volume, and wattage is just one. Speakers can make a HUGE difference. A Celestion Vintage 30 has a sensitivity rating of 100dB @1w/1m. What that means is that a V30 being pushed at ONE watt will be 100dB at one meter from the cone of the speaker. that is LOUD. As far a dB SPL goes, there are many variables. Every time you double your distance from the source, it is 6 dB quieter. So that means if you are 2m away from the V30, you are looking at 94dB. Still damn loud. Now lets examine 10w through a V30, that would be 110dB SP at 1m from the cone. according to some references, that is the noise of a steel mill, circular saw, and being next to a car horn. 110dB is 16 times louder than a relatively loud TV.

One final example, 10 watts into a Celestion Rocket 50 is only 105db. That is substantially quieter than the 110dB that you would get out of a V30 but still loud. I must say that the Rocket 50 is a terrible speaker in my opinion, not because of the sensitivity, it just flat out sucks. So if you want to be quieter, to a degree that is, a speaker swap could be the little push off of the edge.

Clearly poweramp distortion is too loud most of the time.

Now as far as how a (insert number here) watt amp sounds quiet, that is a different discussion. My Mesa mkIV sounds much better at TV volumes than my Orange Dual Terror, which i use at 7w-15w usually. My Splawns are both 100 watts, and they preform substantially worse at low volume than any of my other firebreathers. For quiet volumes, it is case by case. It is at this point where my admittedly rather small understanding of tube amp circuit design ends.

The Rambling:

Boss Pedals. I am a pedal whore, no question about it, last count was in the 30's, most $120-$150+ new. There are a few exceptions though. Now boss, they have their strong suits, they are durable as all hell. i am sure you could run one over with a car and not wreck the damn thing (maybe that wouldn't be such a good thing). They were great in the '80's, Especially the modulation and delay (mainly for me the choruses and delays), then, I don't know what happened. Furthermore, their dirt pedals have never been good (other than the whole HM-2 thing), and  their dirt pedals have gotten progressively worse. Their buffers are mediocre at best. They have been far from innovative in the last decade, and that is why I am not a fan.

Fifteen years ago, it was different. that was before the millions of boutique pedals and builders were out there. At that time it was them, Digitech, EHX, DOD, and MXR. Time went by and Boss got too comfortable, and ceased to innovate. They are behind the times.

Do i hate Boss pedals? No. Do they make some good ones? Yes. I like some of them, but in most cases there are better pedals for just a few bucks more. Boss stopped making my favorites a long time ago, which are the dimension chorus and slow-gear. They are flat out awesome, but now they fetch stupid prices, and I am not willing to spend that much. Other honorable mentions are the NS-2, DD3, DD6, etc, as well as some of the other choruses. The final mention is the HM-2, I have one and it is great for one thing, that grinding shrill noise that is pushed through a Marshall Valvestate or Ampeg VH140c. I don't care for that tone, but i keep it around in case i get bored.

That wraps it up for tonight, leave your comments or hatespam at the bottom,

Cheers to the Brotherhood of tone,


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