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Choosing the Right Tube Amp for the Gig

Many guitar players dream of standing in front of a massive audience at a sold out show, playing through a huge stack of tube amps. While countless guitarists have actually done this, it doesn’t make too much practical sense (sorry to burst your bubble!) Not that you shouldn’t have that dream, but even if you are playing in an arena, the soundman will mic up your amp and use a quality PA system like a Carvin Audio TRx 3000 Series system to make sure your guitar is heard everywhere in the venue. Whether you are playing in a small club or actually playing an arena, your guitar amp probably won't have to do the heavy lifting.  Instead, your amp will provide stage volume and monitoring, and put out the tone that will be picked up by the mic and sent to the front of house. You don't necessarily need high wattage and lots of speakers to be heard.

Of course, your playing situation and the relative volume of your bandmates dictate what amp you will need to cover the stage mix and get the tone you want. There are two common trains of thought here. The first is to buy more amp than you think you need, because you can always turn down. The second is to get a smaller, more portable amp and crank it up. Both can be good options, but it’s important to consider the nature of tube amps. To put it simply, when pushed, a tube amp’s power tubes work harder, causing natural compression, overdrive, and harmonics that really make the guitar sound come alive. Lower wattage amps in the range of 15-50 watts will really open up when the volume is turned up, so many guitar players prefer to go with lower wattage amps, just to be able to crank them up.

Carvin Audio Nomad Tube Amplifier

Carvin Audio’s Nomad Combo Amp fits the bill as a powerful, lightweight guitar amp that can be cranked up on the gig and will help you find your sound on any stage. It boasts 50 all-tube watts and has a single GT12 speaker for a clear and defined tone, all while weighing in at just forty pounds. Incredibly flexible, the Nomad 112 features dual channels with separate level controls, so you can dial in the perfect lead and rhythm sounds and everything in between. The first channel is clean and offers crystal clear, shimmering tone. When you want to kick it up a notch, the second channel pushes the four 12AX7 tubes into a rich overdrive that’s full of sustain and harmonics. The Nomad also comes with digital reverb to help you create lush soundscapes and ambience. The EL84 output tubes provide an incredibly touch sensitive response and will react beautifully to the nuances of your playing, allowing you to deliver a dynamic performance. As a convenient extra feature, the Nomad comes with a line output jack, which delivers a cabinet-voiced signal directly to the mixer, giving the soundman another avenue to make your guitar sound its best.

The Nomad is ready to go where you are going, especially if it’s to the gig!


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