Marshall Mode Four Volume Not As Loud?

Discussion in 'The Workbench' started by Clockworkmike, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    I have a Mode Four from back when they first came out and though its not well loved by many, i still enjoy playing it from time to time and actually like the amp for something different. But recently, i noticed the volume doesnt seem as deafening as I quite remember it. Now, one could chalk this up to me becoming possibly deaf after years of abuse and thats possible! But driving it through 2 MF400B Cabinets, i had it all the way up to 10 and even engaged the Solo boost which is supposed to add about 7-10dB and while it was loud, it wasnt THAT loud.

    To compare things against it, i played my JCM2000 DSL50 , run into a 1960A Cab and it was a LOT louder at about 5-6. Granted, tube RMS is different than solidstate RMS, but i never remember it being quieter than either my 50 watt JCM2000 or JCM900 SLX.

    Solidstate amps are obviously a lot harder to service I know, but what would be doing this? Or, is it a case of Ive been wrong all these years and THOUGHT it was louder than it was? Anyone familiar with these and have any comparisons against a tube Marshall?
     
  2. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    You can measure the output power.
    But it's true that a tube amp 100 watt plexi is about the same as the 300 watt SS amp.
    Also don't forget that the preamp tubes in the MF might need changing.
    Yes
    Mode Four is a valve state amp.
    And it has 2 preamp tubes. So, your tubes might be getting on the weaker side.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
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  3. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    Good call! I know those are the original tubes so id say its well past due for a change out. Ill order a couple and give that a try
     
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  4. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice by the way, it boosted the volume a significant amount. They were stock EH 12AX7s and I changed them to Genalex Gold Lion 12AX7s, definitely helped.

    Interesting note: i used a basic decibel meter to gauge the sound of my 3 amplifiers at full volume and it was pretty cool to see the results. How accurate the meter was is debatable but
    A) JCM2000 DSL 50 thru a 1960A Cab: 109dB
    B) JCM900 SLX 2500 thru a 1960A Cab: 108.1dB
    C) Mode Four thru 2 MF400B Cabs: 116.8dB
     
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  5. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    db are a good way to measure volume
    a watt not so much. a tube watt = a solid state watt = a watt from my toaster oven
    that being said, tube amps generally are rated rms watts right up until they distort so a 100w tube amp could produce damn near twice that all nice and distorted
    somewhere along the line makers of solid state amps stopped rating them using rms watts (that's why the old kustom, acoustic, and sunn solid state amps are LOUD compared to their rated power) and started using peak watts. technically not a *wrong* rating just a dishonest and not very useful one. seems to have only gotten worse with a lot of the modern class d amps. my old terror bass was rated at 500w and not appreciably louder than a 100w Marshall
    a bit of a digression
     
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  6. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    Absolutely agree! Its quite a bit deceiving in the rating values honestly and thats something ive picked up on ever since I was a teen. My dad had a Peavey Bandit 112 and it claimed to be 100watts, trick was though, you needed a 1x12 extension cab to reach its peak, as it was reduced to about 80-85watts in its normal state. However, once i got my first 50watt valve half stack, i noticed it absolutely flattened the Peavey Bandit WITH the extension cab and i couldnt figure out how: since it was 50watts @4x12 vs 100watts@2x12. And then i discovered like you mentioned: peak watts vs RMS.

    The Marshall Mode Four is quite guilty of this trickery too, since it boasts an unbelievable 350watts using a "hybrid" design ( which truthfully is why i bought it! It claimed to be the loudest production Marshall ever!) But my ignorant belief was it was a Valve Power Amp with a solidstate preamp, boy was I disappointed lol But yeah, as the decibel readings I listed above prove, its not all its cracked up to be! A true Marshall valve 100watt full stack has zero issue reaching over 120dB on any given day, this comes CLOSE but no cigar!
     
  7. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    another thing is that more speaker surface area equals louder volume. so i would imagine a 50w Marshall through 4 16ohm 4x12s would be considerably louder than a 100w through a 2x12 (and would have a better spread)

    that being said I've heard the mode four is a decent so and i wouldn't hesitate to scoop one up cheap
     
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  8. 6550

    6550 Active Member

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    I have had a couple of mode4's in the past. They are pretty damn awesome amplifiers, especially at the prices you can get them at now. I almost bought one when they were brand new when they were over$1,000.
    They take pedals very well, especially boosts and Overdrives so you can shape it pretty much any way you want.

    They are f****** huge though.
     
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  9. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    The power rating for transistors is not the same as tubes .
     
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  10. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    I know the feeling my friend, I bought this fella new back in 2004 unfortunately lol i wish i wouldve waited a while cause man, prices fell from about $1000 to now around $350-450 in the used market just like you said! Its still an extremely fun amp ! And yeah i noticed it works great with many pedals, plus you can get a few more dB out of it that way if you switch over to the 4db+ Fx Switch
     
  11. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    Very true! Just like Slant cabs vs straights can project sound better and fill up a room easier. And yeah the Mode Four has been harshly treated over the years because of its hybrid status, which in honesty, its a Valvestate on Adderall and Steroids lol but its a very fun amp that you can get EXTREMELY cheap these days: bout $350-450 in very good condition. I would definitively say go for one if you come across it cheap enough!

    Ive always liked the Crunch section in AMP1 because it has a very reminiscent sound to a hotrodded JCM800 with a reverb section but if ultra high gain is your game, OD2 in AMP2 is ungodly heavy, but can be a touch too muddy if you dont dial it in right. It has a weird knob called Tone Matrix that has 3 sections and each section deepens the sound the higher you go, in addition to a Resonance knob that acts almost a bass boost in a way and a SCOOP switch that cuts out the mids almost entirely. For detuned playing, this is perfect but its a lil much outside of that
     
  12. Clockworkmike

    Clockworkmike Active Member

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    yeah thats what we were talking about, the whole RMS vs Peak Wattage. Never understood why solidstate amps decided to rate in that system and confuse people but yeah, huge difference. Ive always heard a close but not perfect ratio is 3:1 between Valve and Solidstate. Youd need nearly 300watt SS to match 100watt Valve
     
  13. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    You can stack a lot of transistors unlike tubes . And transistors don’t have power ratings so how do you rate the output power
     
  14. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    transistors have a maximum connector dissipation just like output tubes have a maximum plate dissipation. you measure power just like you'd measure power with a tube amp: P = V^2 R
    the issue is whether you use V p-p or V rms (with AC voltage you can measure it different ways)
     
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