Low Wattage: Quietly disturbing the peace

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Above: A 65′ Fender Princeton Reverb. A huge sounding amp, with only 15W of power.

Loud is good. Being louder than your band mates is fun, but being loud and maintaining your sonic integrity is hard. A 100W Marshall stack may sound great “at 11”, but did you know you can get an even bigger sound out of an amp 1/10th of the size? One of the secrets of recording guitar, (especially rock guitar) is using lower volumes for bigger sounds. The quieter an amp can be, the better the microphone can track it, giving you a crystal clear and lush sounding tone. Bigger amps were built for a need to amplify sound before PA systems were capable of mic’ing smaller amps. As a rule of thump, I never use an amp over 30W, and no lower than 20W. This is the perfect range of power an amp needs to be loud enough to be heard, but quiet enough to not disturb. Using these types of amps will make sound technicians love you, as well as your fellow band mates, and possibly, yourself.

Happy Recording!

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