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Crate V18 1x12 or 2x12 ????

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(@conuvial)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
Topic starter  

M123 still has the Crate V18-112 & the V18-212 available w/GEARUP discount (and WWBW pm).

I can't decide which to get. I don't gig and am looking for a tube amp w/master level control to get OD sound at lower volume levels at home.

Which would be better - driving 18 watts into one 12" speaker or into two 12" speakers? Price difference is around $30 - basically negligible.

I guess what I'm really trying to find out is, for a specific volume level, say 50% power, is it better to be driving 1 speaker at 50% or 2 speakers @ 25% each?

Is there a difference in sound quality or loudness for different power levels? With the amps dimed - would one be louder than the other? Is there a "sweet spot" powerwise where one would be better?

The manual for both amps leads me to believe that they are identical electronically - the only difference being case size/weight and # of speakers.

So which configuration???

Help!!!

:?

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@stratman_el84)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 141
 

Adding speakers means you'll be pushing more air, therefor you'll have more perceived volume for a given wattage. Basically, for bedroom-jamming I'd go with a 1-12 combo. If you ever decide to go play out somewhere and you're not loud enough, you can always mic the amp. I play in a gigging 5-piece high-energy blues band with an 18-watt head with 2-12's in an open-back cab, and I have to watch my stage volume so I don't wash out the monitors and/or deafen the first 3 rows. :mrgreen:

Cheers!

Strat


   
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(@danlasley)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118
 

Keep it small, unless you're playing a 7-string tuned down. The 2x12 may provide a little extra in the low freqs, but not enough to offset the weight.


   
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(@conuvial)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Topic starter  

So based on what you're both saying - does that mean at lower volumes the 212 would have a "deeper" tone (more low frequencies)?

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@stratman_el84)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 141
 

So based on what you're both saying - does that mean at lower volumes the 212 would have a "deeper" tone (more low frequencies)?

You would have more of everything, in pretty equal measure...in other words, for the levels you're talking about playing at, the only real difference would be the apparent volume you (and your family and neighbors) hear for a given volume control setting.

Since you've decided on a tube amp which sounds better at higher volume settings, having two speakers would hamper your ability to turn the amp up enough to make spending the money for a tube amp worth it. As I said in my previous post, 18 watts can be *really* loud, and the more speakers you drive, the louder the perceived volume will be because you're moving more air.

If you really want to have 2-12's, you might consider an even lower powered amp head and use a 2-12 cab or two 1-12 cabs with it. I'm thinking along the lines of a Epi Valve Jr. head or a Blackheart Little Giant 5 watt amp, which many people whose opinions I respect have said is an awesome-sounding and solid amp, especially at the price.

http://www.zzounds.com/prodsearch?q=Blackheart&button=search%2Fheader&form=search

The Blackheart is available as a head or 1-12 combo and has a matching 1-12 cab for the head. You could get the head and one cab, then later another if you decide that's what you want. The other feature of the Blackheart that might be good in your situation is the switchable 3-watt/5-watt power setting. Trust me, 5 watts doesn't sound like a lot, but you'll be shocked at how loud 5 watts can be.

Cheers!

Strat


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

Hi,
I've got a Crate 212 and picked it up because we sometimes play outdoor gigs where the PA is primarily for the vocalists. I've been fairly satisfied with it -- and it can push a lot of air.

Lately, I've taken to running a Line VI Floor pod through it. I can run one line out from the floor pod to the PA and use the other for the Crate as a monitor.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@conuvial)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
Topic starter  

I'm not married to the idea of a 2x12 - I just wasn't sure what the differences would be or if it would better suit my needs.

I have the Blackheart Little Giant half stack and you're not kidding about how loud 5 watts can be. I usually have it in the 3 watt setting and can't get the dirty bluesy sound I'm looking for at the volume levels I need to stay at. The cleans are fabulous though.

My hope for the Crate V18 was that since it has a preamp gain circuit and a master volume level, it would be able to put out a dirty OD sound at lower volume levels.

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@stratman_el84)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 141
 

Well, if you've already got a Blackheart, I'd recommend simply getting an attenuator like one of the Weber units, maybe even one of Webers' attenuator kits. You'll be much happier with the sound and feel of power tube distortion, even through an attenuator, over preamp distortion...and you'll save a ton of cash too over buying another amplifier! The Weber kits are very high-quality and easy to assemble. The Weber MASS series are especially nice, and something like a Weber Micro-MASS would probably be ideal for the Blackheart.

Weber attenuators: http://www.tedweber.com/atten.htm

Weber attenuator kits: https://taweber.powweb.com/store/kits.htm

Cheers!

Strat


   
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(@conuvial)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
Topic starter  

Thanks for the clues on the attenuators. That sounds like an option.

Another option I've been considering is Blackheart's 1 watt Killer Ant head - http://www.blackhearteng.com/bh1h.html - if they ever become available for purchase.

They were supposed to be out this month but I've yet to find them for sale anywhere.

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I have owned several 2 X 12s and many 1 X 12s. The 2 X 12s do sound fuller. But for me, the factor is weight. I don't know about you, but I simply do not enjoy hauling heavy amps around anymore. Unless you are playing large clubs, a 1 X 12 will provide all the volume and fullness you need. A smaller amp is simply more fun to use in my opinion. They are easier to haul to the gig or practice, they are easier to move around the house. You will use the 1 X 12 more simply because it is far more portable.

My 2 cents.

As far as volume, that is a tricky question. With a 1 X 12, the single speaker will get all 18 watts. With the 2 X 12, the speakers will split the watts, so they will get 9 watts each. So the single speaker will be very slightly louder than an individual speaker in the 2 X 12 (about 3 decibels louder)

But.... two identical speakers in close proximity give you approximately a 3 decibel gain in volume. :D

The 1 X 12 would probably break up a little sooner, the 2 X 12 will sound fuller. Actual volume will be almost identical.

Most amps today have a Master Volume. So you can crank the PreAmp for overdrive distortion, but keep volume low with the Master Volume.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@stratman_el84)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 141
 

Wes, you're quite correct, technically speaking in a '1-watt/1-meter' type dB test. At close proximity, the volumes will be nearly identical. What the extra cone area does is move a larger volume of air so that it sounds louder farther away than would a single 12.

I've experienced this as a mix problem at gigs. When playing a good medium-sized or "deep" venue with my 20-watter, my single-12 cab wouldn't be loud enough towards the rear of the venue without killing the first 2 rows of tables trying. Switching to the 2-12 cab didn't really noticeably increase the volume at the first couple of rows, but the sound "carried" much better towards the back of the room.

As far as the "fullness" of the sound, I attribute a large part of that to the increased enclosure volume of a 2-12 cab, and is not that noticeable in my opinion until you get to a respectable volume level, which this fellow probably won't hit in his limited situation. The increased "carrying" effect of the 2-12 cab will most likely cause him to limit his volume even more to avoid family and neighbors with torches and pitchforks, therefor very much limiting any increased "fullness" the 2-12 might impart to his tone.

Cheers!

Strat


   
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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Conuvial, what do you think of the Blackheart Little Giant? I have an Epihphone Valve Junior half stack and when the Blackheart came out I was like ...... More Features! :lol:

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@conuvial)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
Topic starter  

I've had the Blackheart half stack since the first of the year and I really like it. I don't know how much of a reliable resource I am on amps, as the Little Giant was the first tube amp I'd owned and only the third amp overall until just recently. My first two were small ss practice amps (Yamaha 10-GA, Frontman 15G).

I started playing again a little over a year ago after an almost "40" year layoff. I was looking for an amp that would give that slightly overdriven blues sound and bedroom levels without going to a pedal.

The amp is solidly built, finished nicely, and everything worked perfectly right out of the box. As I noted in a previous post, even on the 3 watt setting, when turned up enough to start breaking up nicely, the amp is pretty loud. I can get away with those volume levels during the day - but in the evening I have to back it down to where the output is nice and clean. The cleans are very nice. On either setting, 3 or 5 watts, you can dime the volume and the amp still sounds great (but much louder than I thought it'd be).

As part of a deal recently I acquired an Epiphone Valve Junior Combo. I expected both amps to be "somewhat similar (5 watts, 2 tubes, class A, and I believe the same designer). Compared to the Blackheart - it was awful. The sound was rough, brash, and so bad that I'm planning to spin it off as soon as I have the time. I know it only has an 8" speaker compared to the Blackheart's 12", but even so the difference was startling.

I pulled the trigger on a Crate V18-112 I started this thread about and it arrived yesterday afternoon. As much as I like the Blackheart - this is a whole new level. I was able to get one for about the same price I paid for the Blackheart. The tone is wonderful, just what I was looking for. The addition of an independent gain control and reverb, along with having 3 preamp & 2 power tubes, puts out a great, warm, full sound (at least at the lower volume levels).

I won't have a chance to fully test out everything on the Crate until this weekend (that is, crank it up and try all the controls in various combinations). I'm going to keep the Blackheart but I can tell already the Crate is going to be my primary amp from now on. Hope that answers your question.

And thanks to everyone else for getting me up to speed on 1x12 vs. 2x12.

(BTW Stratman - I'm seriously considering that attenuator, sounds like a good addition to my setup)

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@stratman_el84)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 141
 

Conuvial, on the Valve Jr. topic (and for the rest of your tube amps as well) the stock tubes that come with them are usually very cheap Chinese or Russian tubes, although the Russian tubes are a good bit better than the Chinese tubes generally speaking. It would improve the sound quite a bit to invest in some good tubes, especially for the Valve Jr.

The other issue with the Valve Jr. is you really should have gotten the head and 1-12 cab configuration instead of the 1-8 combo. You could quite easily install an external speaker jack that disables the internal speaker, allowing you to use your Blackheart cab instead. Simply purchase a Switchcraft 12A 2-circuit shorting jack and wire the amps' output through the jack so that when you plug into it, it disconnects the internal speaker. The Valve Jr. *can* sound very very good with some good tubes and a decent speaker.

The Valve Jr. has also become quite popular as an "amp modding" platform for those who wish to tinker but not invest or risk a lot of $$$. There are a number of forums and communities for Valve Jr. mods, and there are even websites where one can purchase whole turretboards pre-loaded with the Valve Jr. circuitry built with high-quality parts allowing someone to convert the Valve Jr. into a point-to-point wired, boutique-builder quality amp.

Go to:

http://www.turretboards.com/

Look at the menu on the left, and select "VJR Stuff". Here's one of the options they offer:

"Loaded Valve Junior Replacement Boards-Components pre-loaded. Board drops right in to your Vjr. Now offering 5 different mods. These come standard on Red Swirl boards with eyelets and with version 2 mounting.
E-mail us if you would like a different board color or need V1 mounting."

The above is a full-boat rebuild, and costs $115. Another option that might be more attractive to someone who doesn't care to spend that much or get that deep into tinkering is a simple "upgrade" kit that allows you to simply replace some of the cheaper and more "tone-poor" parts used in the Chinese assembly, and replaces them with decent-quality parts that will go a long long way towards greatly improving the amps' sound. The kit includes 1 watt carbon film resistors, Illinois & Mallory 150 caps, among others, and the cost is $42.

Take a look there and see what other stuff they offer. The great thing about the Valve Jr. is it's simplicity, as this makes it a much, much less daunting task for a non-technically-oriented person to replace and upgrade things. Here's a DIY amp project page that deals with the Valve Jr. that I found very interesting:

http://www.diycustomamps.com/valvejunior.htm

There are more out there too. Google is your friend.

So, rather than getting stuck for a loss selling the VJR, you could take the opportunity to have a little fun, learn some things, and have an amp that is totally "yours" in sound and features when you're done. Thanks to the VJR's popularity as a mod-rod, there are tons of forums and experienced people out there to help, even if you're not sure which end of a soldering iron to grab.

You don't *have to* accept what came in the little shiny box, and buying a few parts is way cheaper than buying amp after amp looking for something you'll probably never find coming from a factory. Plus, the smaller less-expensive boxes coming to the door won't tend to anger wives as much. :mrgreen:

Cheers!

Strat


   
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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

I have the EVJ head and cab and it sounds fine to me ........ of course I have no taste. :lol: My other tube amp is a Peavey Classic 30 and yes, to me it is the better sounding amp. I used to have the EVJ combo and I did find the small speaker limiting. When I saw the BlackHeart the added EQ and pentode switch (I think thats what it's called) appealed to me is all. I however am not allowed to have any new toys at this time.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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