If you’ve got a low power amp that doesn’t sound all that louder, then you’re in a sticky situation when it comes to gigging. But buying a new amp costs so much. So what can you do? We’ll I’ve created this in-depth guide to answer just that.
How to Make your Amp Sound Louder
- Change the position
- Use a booster pedal
- Swap out the speakers
- Add a microphone
1. Change the Position
One of the most simple (and free) ways to make your amp sound louder, is by changing it’s position. It’s a really quick fix that can have a pretty decent impact, especially if you’ve not been positioning your amp optimally.
There are a few main things that you’ll want to consider with your amp placement:
- Distance from other sound equipment
- The angle of your amp
- The surface of the room you’re playing in
The height of your guitar amp off the ground, can dramatically affect both your tone and the volume of your amp. If you’re used to having your amp resting on the ground, then elevating it can really help. It mainly works by improving the bass-output, so it makes your amp sound louder. You don’t have to raise it super high, in fact this is just dangerous. Try elevating it anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet high and see what’s easiest for you and has the most impact on the volume.
Make sure you’re careful when lifting it though. And make sure you rest it on something stable that can properly support the weight. Using an amp stand is always the best thing to do. The Gator Combo Amp Stand on Amazon is a great choice if you’re looking to elevate your amp safely.
The distance from other sound equipment, especially microphones, can also affect the amount of feedback you get. Having your microphone as far away from the amp as possible will help to reduce feedback. You can also try having your amp at the front of the stage.
Reducing feedback is super important, because it allows you to play at higher volumes without reducing the quality of the sound. Playing your amp in rooms that don’t have many hard surfaces will help to. It stops the sound bouncing around and introducing unwanted background noise.
2. Use Some Pedals
The next way to make your amp sound louder does cost a bit more, but it can be very effective. You’re probably very aware of effects pedals, and how great they are for defining a signature tone, but did you know they can also make your guitar and amp sound louder?
There are two main pedals I’d recommend to do this: a booster pedal, and a volume pedal.
Boost pedals are best used when you need that extra help in lead guitar performances, for example when you’re soloing. They give you a volume increase without having to use distortion. The XOTIC AC Booster Pedal on Amazon is a great option if you’re looking for this kind of effect.
Volume pedals won’t necssarily increase the overall sound of your rig. But they are very useful if your amp doesn’t sound great at high volumes. Using a volume pedal will allow you to make your amp sound louder but without reducing the quality of your tone. The Boss FV-500 (Amazon link) is a great volume pedal if you don’t mind spending a bit.
3. Swap Out the Speakers
The next way to increase the volume of your amp is more expensive, and takes more time and skill, but it’s definitely the most effective.
If you want a permanent and effective fix for a quiet amp, then this is your best bet. You can of course take your amp to a professional to swap the speaker out, this is the method I’d recommend. It’s the least risky, and won’t take up as much time. You’ll also usually get better results. Although it will cost you a bit more overall.
How Loud do the Speakers Need to Be?
If you’re considering swapping out your speakers, then you’re probably wondering how big they actually need to be to give you enough volume. For most medium sized venues, a 30-40 watt solid state amp, or a 15-20 watt valve amp size will be enough for gigging.
5. Add a Microphone
The final thing on this list of ways to make your amp sound louder, is to add a microphone. This is something you can do for both studio performances and live gigs. Here’s everything you need to know.
This is super important. You can’t simply chuck your microphone in front of your amp and hope for the best. You have to think about the positioning to make the most of it.
There are two things you’ll need to consider: how far the microphone and speaker are apart, and how central the microphone is to the speaker.
Firstly, we’ll go through the distance between the mic and speaker. Having your mic very close will favour the bass, and having it farther away will favour the treble frequency. Try and have your amp close enough so that you get a thick tone, but not too close or it’ll start to sound “boomy”.
Next, we’ll talk about how central the microphone needs to be to the speaker. Having your microhpone towards the edge of your speaker will reduce the mids, and having it centrally will increase the mids. You’ll want to have it around 2/3 the way to the centre. But you can adjust as necessary.
Also, remember to angle your microphone to around 45 degrees, don’t have it flat in front of your speaker.
Now we’ve gone through the basics, I’ll talk a bit more about the specific microphones that’ll do the job. Here are three great options to suit different budgets.
This is a super popular option when it comes to amp microphones. It’s designed specifically for guitar amps and has a great durable and stylish design. But more importantly, it produces exceptional quality sound at a very reasonable price. I was surprised at just how cheap I could find the Sennheiser e609 on Amazon.
Neumann TLM 102 Condenser
This is a great mid-ranged microphone that’s specifically designed for electric guitars. It’s super compact, and is perfect for studio recording. The Neumann TLM (Amazon link) produces reliable and consistently high quality sound that’s true to your amp and guitar.
Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone
If you’re looking for something super high-end, then the Royer R-121 Ribbon Microphone (Amazon link) is the ultimate option. It’s used by professionals all over the world and has an excellent reputation for being able to produce a smooth but incredibly loud sound.
So there you go! Those are the 6 best tips to make your amp sound LOUDER! I hope you’ve found this article helpful, thanks for reading. Here are some other posts you might find useful: