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Valve amps need to be working at their ‘sweet spot’ to sound best.
Weirdly, for most Marshalls and Fenders, that seems to be anywhere from4 to 8 on the master in our experience! If you find a valve amp sounds somehow ‘cold’, ‘brittle’ or harsh, it might be that it’s just not turned up enough to be working properly.
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, for example, uses small amps, suitably miked up, even for stadium gigs. We’ve seen Jeff Beck doing the same thing. In any case, it’s a great excuse to own three amps: small, medium and big, depending on application. Big amp not sounding good at home? Buy a modelling amp!