SL5 (and most tube amps) volume question

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by slowcorrado, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. slowcorrado

    slowcorrado New Member

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    I've got an opportunity to get an SL5 for a good deal ($500), but am wondering about how the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) will be related to volume and tone.

    On my AVT275 amp, I'm able to dial back the volume and keep a similar tone (thus not waking the neighbors or angering the wife). On the SL5 (or other all tube amps in general), it looks like the only way to get some of the nicer tones is to really crank the volume. For instance, in the official Marshall demo video the tester shows the 'clean' channel at volumes from 1 to 10, with little perceived change in actual volume, but a noticeable change in tone. Does this mean its just LOUD and the knob basically changes the tone? Or, is there another way to limit the volume. I do see that it offers 2 wattage levels and there is a noticeable change in volume between the 2. (but its just seems like 2 fixed volumes, so quite limited)

    I hope the question is clear, lol. I could certainly use some input! Thanks.
     
  2. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

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    Ok - there is always something physical that happens when you play loud. You will never capture that thump in the air and the frequency attenuation that happens when you have an amp blasting in a room. Sound waves at 120 dB just cause different stuff to happen than at 80 dB.

    That said - I have a SL-5 and it sounds very good loud or low. Now I don't really enjoy playing when I can still hear the acoustic sound of the guitar, so mostly turn up past that. But I've been using my SL-5 on 1 watt with the volume past noon and it's not loud enough that my wife can't watch Real Housewives in the next room with the door closed. But I don't care anyway because I'm jamming out.

    You can drop it to whisper levels and it still sounds good but you may want to tweak the gain and EQ because things sound different at lower volumes.
     
  3. sidvicious

    sidvicious Active Member

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    LOTS of threads on this.

    it's what you think....
     
  4. slowcorrado

    slowcorrado New Member

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    Yes, you're right. I took some time to search it up and see most of the threads basically say "demo every amp to see if you like the sound" and "My 100W Plexi is too loud, what should I do". :)


    Thanks for this info! Yeah, I certainly understand that that "chunk" feeling just isn't there when volume levels are low. Its good to hear that there is some flexibility in the volume though.

    Maybe this will help make my decision: Is $500 a worthwhile purchase?
     
  5. rich88uk

    rich88uk Well-Known Member

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    I have had my SL 5 now since November last year. I think it's a brilliant amp. Very responsive. My Mrs isn't exactly a lover of guitars and amps and I get it up to half way when she is downstairs and I'm upstairs with it. She can still hear the tv put it that way. Sounds like a good deal as well for that price if it's good condition. I paid £400 for my new. The clean sound is excellent as well. There is no effects loop but as it's got a decent enough reverb built in, for a practice amp it suits my needs.
     
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  6. Grandturk

    Grandturk Active Member

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    Ok i reread your question. The amp is kinda non master volume on the clean channel and master volume on the dirty channel. So IMO - cranking the clean channel all the way in order to get that Grindy clean sound is loud - either in 1 watt or 5 watt mode. With humbuckers it gets dirty around half way up but it's still got some volume. I don't think it's wall shaking but it's loud at full wick.

    The dirty channel is much more controllable as it is set up as a master volume so you can get your sound at whatever volume. It does sound best to me over 1/2 way up

    As far as is it worth $500... I bought mine new for $600 and it's my #1 practice amp. I switch between it and my Soldano Astroverb. The Astroverb is more Plexi to hot-Rod Plexi in tone IMO whereas the SL5 is more 80's-90's hi gain to me. I like to use the Astroverb for middle crunch Plexi sounds as it nails that better than I've wrangled out of the SL5. But again I don't use the clean channel of the SL5 at all
     
  7. Marc1kim

    Marc1kim Member

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    SL5 is a great amp..even better at $500. If it doesnt work out for you, you'd have no trouble flipping it for profit. They've been selling in the $650 range on ebay. Guitar Center online used section has one for $699
     
  8. theycallmegio

    theycallmegio New Member

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    SL5 is a fantastic amp. I bought it for use in an apt and it's still too loud if you're trying to get that cranked 80s high gain sound, but worth owning still bc it's just a fantastic little amp.

    I can barely get any use out of it, and I'd still never part with it. When I crank it I fall in love. I do wish it had an fx loop though.
     
  9. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    SL5 at $500 is a great price. I don't find it has to be cranked to get great tone, it sounds quite good and similar at low/high volumes.

    Otherwise, it's arguable that any amp sounds better loud - any kind of music sounds better when it compresses the crap out of your eardrums. I say that as a word of caution.
     

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