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Greg Heumann vol control Question

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Nov 09, 2009 8:33 AM GMT


The instuctions that come with your volume controls suggests turning the VC volume all the way up, then turn up your amp volume to the point of feedback and back off the amp's volume a bit. That way, you won't turn the mic VC past the point of feedback. I have a small collection of vintage class A amps (Alamo's, Supro, Premier) and perfer to make pre amp tube swaps (if possible) and adjust tone conrols so I can max out the amp's volume, power tubes running flat out, therefore getting all of the harmonics from the power tube distortion. The tone from my little amps is great, and now with the control I have since I ordered two wonderful VC's from you, I usually use a little amp (and mic if need).

Q: If you get the amp fairly well dialed (pre amp and tone), wouldn't it be better to turn the mic VC down to the point of feedback and keep the amp volume pegged? Of course this a little more tricky if you bump the mic VC and here comes Mr. FB.

I am a hobbyist and gig occasionally with a local band or two, but still have a lot to learn. Here is my little delema: I have a Gibson Maestro GA-45RV with 4x8 Jensens. This is one of 106 made in 1961 with a nice reverb, no tremelo. Amazing richharp tone with more volume and air push'n for a larger venue, but I can't swap pre-amp tubes since they are 6EU7's (no swap alternatives) and not 12AX7's, so it is more diffucult to bring the full fat tone to a smaller venue. I would rather go without pedals, but I am messing with a few. The Maestro tone is so cool, but either I need a larger venue, or to turn your mic VC down and keep the amp volume pegged or visa-versa. I have a gig this Saturday and may just bring the Maestro.

Your thoghts on pushing the power tubes vs. turning down the amp and maxing the mic VC? I hope this post generates discussion on the art of balancing a great mic and volume/tone controls to unleash some great, often undiscovered tube amp tone.


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Comments (10)

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Nov 10, 2009 5:09 AM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Matt - Rule #1 is "if you like it its right".

I've tried turning the Kalamazoo's volume up to 10 and then adjusting play level with the volume control at the mic. Of course this means you have to be careful to avoid feedback but it does deliver a more compressed sound form the amp which is very cool. Your tubes won't last as long, but its certainly OK if you want to use the VC that way. It probably robs some tone from the mic but makes up for it with a different tone from the amp that can be very desirable in some cases.

Nov 10, 2009 7:36 AM GMT
MrAck Replied:

Thanks for the quick reply guys.

When I get home this week I will try a little taste test in my home office,a small bedroom. In this room, I recall just getting feedback when mic vol is 100%, amp vol is 7, bass is 100%, treble is 1-2, reverb is 1-2, theamp facing an open closet door, blanket over the speakers, while using a stock 520 DX Green Bullet, my practice mic. This amp position/blanket/520 DXarrangement is my usual testing situation with my larger amps. Then, I'll switch mics between Astatic T-3/original crystal, 520/Black CR, and Spher-O-Dyne 533SA and make a choice. I'll sacrafice power tube life for tone since I don't gig regularly. If the sound is similar when finally setting up at the venue,I'll max the mic VC, turning downwhennot soloing as Greg suggests.

Harpaholic: Do you have one of these GA-45RV amps? There are only a few around and I am committed to preserving this one. I just wish I could find some matching tolex, but for now contact cement has helped and I need to order a decent cover.

Nov 11, 2009 5:12 AM GMT
MrAck Replied:


Good points, I don't want the OT to go. Doug, my local amp tech, a guitar guy who is honest and conservative with making unneeded changes, checked it out when I bought it and suggested not doing a thing for now. If anything is acting odd, I will not hesitate from paying him another visit. I had Orange County Speakes fix one speaker that buzzed when I hit the low A hard on a G harp, otherwise it is still all original. Another point for Blowsmeaway Volume Controls - saving the OT, power tube life and ??. Thanks for the advice.

Nov 12, 2009 7:23 AM GMT
MrAck Replied:

It's definitely less versatile without the ability to swap tubes, but once you get it set it sounds great to me. I'm sure it'snot a SJ410,but when you can let it stretch its legs is sounds great. On channel one with the treble turned all the way UP and the bass set about five, an exceptional guitarist in town was blown away and wanted to buy it on the spot. Not for sale. For harp, with a touch of reverb on ch 2, bass turned up, trebel at 1 or so is where I set it. I usually prefer a crystal mic, but the CR will make it growl more. It's what I have for a meduim sized amp.One dayI may clear the corral and get a Sonny Junior. I am no one to argue with Keith Robb, but you work with what you have.

I also hear some swear how great a Silvertone 1483 is for harp, with the original 15" speaker or with a 4x10 alnico cab. I have been trying one, but the Gibson still sounds so much better.

Nov 12, 2009 7:25 AM GMT
MrAck Replied:

One more thing, did Keith recommend any specific mods?

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