Drive sound at low volume - is it possible?

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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4329
    I worked on most if not all the suggestions/replies to my question, the result is that it is not possible for me to get a decent drive tone at acoustic guitar volumes.  I have a boost pedal and a SparkleDrive and while the SD can give a nice driven sound, it is way too loud for our music room.  I would need another amp, probably around one watt or less that could be dedicated for the drive sounds but that would require a switching system and another amp/speaker in the room.  I use a twin amp setup as it is so a tri-amp rig for acoustic volume level is approaching overkill.  It is important to keep the clean chiming sound I get from my Stinger amp so reluctantly, for home use, I have to give up on this quest.  Thanks to all for your contributions.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 471
    edited September 1
    This is the very reason digital amplifiers and modelling exists.  Even "clean" valve amps at acoustic volume sound terrible (or to be more polite, not as good as they would sound run at the volumes intended).  And even a 1 Watt amp pushed to a nice drive could still be too loud.

    Its also why I think a lot (not all) of people think modelled amps sound nothing like the originals.  Because they've never really pushed whichever original they've tried.
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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 471
    That said of course, a volume pedal in the FX loop (if you have one) can help somewhat 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4329
    Bezzer said:
    That said of course, a volume pedal in the FX loop (if you have one) can help somewhat 

    I get what you are saying but my amp, which I built myself, has no FX loop.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 3257
    Can you solve the problem the other way - get a small acoustic + vocal amp, and increase the volume of the acoustic guitar and singer?
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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 4962
    Rocker said:
    I worked on most if not all the suggestions/replies to my question, the result is that it is not possible for me to get a decent drive tone at acoustic guitar volumes.  I have a boost pedal and a SparkleDrive and while the SD can give a nice driven sound, it is way too loud for our music room.  I would need another amp, probably around one watt or less that could be dedicated for the drive sounds but that would require a switching system and another amp/speaker in the room.  I use a twin amp setup as it is so a tri-amp rig for acoustic volume level is approaching overkill.  It is important to keep the clean chiming sound I get from my Stinger amp so reluctantly, for home use, I have to give up on this quest.  Thanks to all for your contributions.
    Amp in a Box Pedal might be the answer, then. Not kidding, I play at low-ish volume through a valve amp and get great sounds with my Bogner Blue Pedal. My volume wouldn't get me punched out by neighbours.

    A lot of variables here, what is the size of room? What Amp are you using? How much drive do you want?

    Bogner Blue and similar can do all levels of Gain.

    Acoustic Guitars are quite loud, IMO, when played hard. You may be wanting a decent tone at a whisper. That's a challenge.

    It is possible, if I can get a decent sound with the right gear, anyone can.
    Is this a vision of normality I see before my eyes?
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 4998
    My Vox handbag sounds decent ish through headphones.

    So does the blackstar id core 20 I've got somewhere, and the Fly 3 if I recall.

    Obviously nothing like a valve amp at full chat though.

    That's like expecting DCS to feel like actually flying an F18!
    We should all probably bear in mind more when posting on here (and I don't exclude myself from this) that the guitar world is very small, the Fretboard is quite well known, and it is not uncommon at all for the subjects of our posts to read them...
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 5029
    Digitech Bad Monkey
    Joyo Vintage Overdrive (tubescreamer clone)

    Both very good. the Bad Monkey is particularly "creamy" if you know what I mean.
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7609
    This thread is doing my head in :)

    @Rocker it is entirely possible to get a decent clean and drive sound out of an amp at acoustic guitar volumes… I’ve done you a vid…

    little explanation first… recorded acoustic into logic then recorded electric DI into logic… 

    I then reamped the electric DI into my pedal board and amp and played along to the recorded acoustic in my cans…

    the live audio was recorded on my iPhone, it’s not the audio from logic… what you are hearing is live acoustic and reamped electric at the same time… so two poopots at once…(you can even hear my pond in the background as I had the studio door open)

    you can see in the vid when I switch on a drive pedal… noodling first then chords afterwards…

    https://youtu.be/t3VW9PDp0SM


    it’s not rocket science…set your amps clean volume… then turn the volume knob on the drive pedal down so it’s not blasting out of the amp… simples!!!!

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6643
    Don't be obtuse @poopot , he's already clearly explained that his sparkle drive, which is representative of all overdrives by the way and incidentally does have a volume knob that is independent from the gain control, is TOO LOUD even though the volume can literally be turned down to silence if you want.

    And if anyone has a problem with that, they are the ones with a problem.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 12672
    Bezzer said:
    This is the very reason digital amplifiers and modelling exists.  Even "clean" valve amps at acoustic volume sound terrible (or to be more polite, not as good as they would sound run at the volumes intended).  And even a 1 Watt amp pushed to a nice drive could still be too loud.

    Its also why I think a lot (not all) of people think modelled amps sound nothing like the originals.  Because they've never really pushed whichever original they've tried.
     I think a digital solution just using the existing amp as a slave is the way to go. Some digital effects do have a lot of options  but this has had a couple of mentions on here and is relatively simple: the Sonicake Twiggy Blues. Could just be run straight into an amp or turn the cab simulation on and you could plug straight into a PA. They are about £70. My guess is that Rocker wouldn't use the slapback delay but some juggling of the overdrive, compressor and reverb should get a nice low level tone. 


      
      


    I’ll handle this Violet, you take your three hour break. 
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  • nonesuchnonesuch Frets: 177
    It's a tricky question to answer isn't it, without knowing what is really meant by 'drive sound'. Obviously at low volumes there's always going to be some kind of compromise going on. 

    To be honest, most of my home playing (if I'm actually plugged in) is at very low volumes. Much, much quieter than an acoustic guitar. And like other people are saying, I do that by using the 'level' control of my drives, I always have done. Because a big amp can be too loud even at its lowest volume, so you need some addition volume control.

    At the moment I'm using a Nobels ODR-1 and a RAT style pedal. I can turn the drive/distortion up to max if I want, but still can have whisper quiet volumes by turning the 'level' control right down. I'm pretty sure all the drive pedals I've ever had have been able to do this.

    Or am I misunderstanding something?
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 7609
    nonesuch said:

    Or am I misunderstanding something?

    No… the OP is misunderstanding what exactly a “volume” control on a drive pedal does!.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57977
    edited September 5
    Rocker said:
    @ICBM I do have a Sparkle Drive but there is a considerable increase in volume when it is activated.  Reducing the volume on the Sparkle Drive also reduces the drive...
    It shouldn't do - unless you're using it as has become fashionable for Tube Screamer-derived pedals, with the gain right down and the volume right up, to overdrive the amp itself...?

    Try setting it with the clean off (for now), and the gain, tone and volume all about halfway. Adjust from there as necessary. I'd be amazed if you can't get a pretty overdriven sound *quieter* than the bypass like that.

    Once you've got a 'fuzzy' sound you like, reintroduce some of the clean sound which should give you a clearer, more 'early 70s' type sound.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4329
    There is some confusion, understandable but unforeseen by self when writing this question, about what I mean by 'drive' .  In my mind I hear the lead guitar sound on 'The Air That I Breathe' by The Hollies and something close is what I hope to achieve but at a volume that will not drown out an acoustic guitar.

    The 'acoustic guitar' bit.  Two friends call every couple of weeks, since the lockdown effectively ended, to sing and play a few songs.  One majors on singing but he plays an acoustic guitar unamplified.  The second plays acoustic guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar and bazooka, his 6 and 12 string instruments have pickups and I normally setup an old bass amp but at very low volume for his use.  I use an electric guitar through my twin amp setup, again at very low volume.  The low volume is because the singer does not use a microphone and we don't want to drown his output which is better than most singers I know.   For intros, lead breaks etc., I use an LPB boost pedal which effectively doubles my guitar volume but not enough to cause noticeable distortion from my Stinger amp.

    So my quest for low volume driven sound seems destined to end in failure.  Just noticed your contribution @ICBM, thank you, I will give it a whirl tomorrow.  Even if what I seek is impossible, we get tremendous enjoyment from these sessions, it makes all the practice, during lockdown, worth it.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • ChuffolaChuffola Frets: 1661
    Bet it’s fun when he gets the bazooka out!
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4329
    Chuffola said:
    Bet it’s fun when he gets the bazooka out!
    Damn the autocorrect thingy.....
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • nonesuchnonesuch Frets: 177
    Why don't you just use the Sparkle Drive instead of the boost pedal for the lead breaks etc.?

    Although you'll probably need that massive increase in volume to keep up with the bazooka!
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  • LastMantraLastMantra Frets: 1934
    When you say it's too loud, is that with the volume turned down? 
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 4329
    When you say it's too loud, is that with the volume turned down? 

    My electric guitar volume is more or less the same as the acoustic guitars.  Close enough that I can hear the acoustic guitars.  The boost pedal ups the guitar volume to make the intros, lead breaks etc. stand out.  The SparkleDrive has the same effect as the boost pedal, it boosts the guitar volume.  I had hoped that the SparkleDrive would give me a more driven sound but so far, no joy on that front.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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