How loud do you play at home?


Well-Known Member
I recently watched an Andertons video where Lee and Rob were trying out amps to use at super low volumes and it got me thinking.... We've seen plenty of advice on how to improve low volume tone but I'm always hung up on how I think that you can't make a 12" guitar speaker sound great at the sort of volumes I frequently use at home. There are opposing thoughts and it's got me wondering what volumes we're all playing at home.

I downloaded a DB meter phone app(which of course can't be calibrated and won't be accurate) but wondered what it would tell me. It tells me that if I'm watching film on TV I'm running at about 74db. When I play guitar at the kind of volume I usually do, it peaks at 69.9db. It's accurate to say that I could talk over the sound of my amp without raising my voice.

Maybe I'm overly polite to my neighbours (I live in a semi-detached house). I've seen lots of stuff arguing the law regarding noise but I'd hate for it to even get that far, as by the time it has it will have descended into allsorts of pettiness, that I can't be done with.


I like owls.
Nowhere near loud enough for my tube amps to make an actual difference to the sound. Mostly I run my 1w JMP at 0,1w and half volume, don't have any decibel numbers for that but I can tell you it's quiet enough that I can easily play while listening to something else, like a video or stream.

But I'm stupidly worried about my hearing.


Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
Staff member
Nowhere NEAR as loud as I’m betting @doctorpaul does...
Ha! Yes, maybe, but not all the time.
If there are folks around, then it will be TV volume. If the folks are out, then it is open season. One of the reasons that I love the JVMs is that they have awesome volume control, and sound great at a whisper. The 1W heads are driven pretty hard most of the time; the 1/10th power setting lets me tear into them at very modest output levels.
Even a 1 Watt Valve Amp crank is bloody loud, so I tend to play my Blackstar 1HT at 9 O'Clock on the clean channel , with gain set to max which provides a good crunch tone.

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
TV volumeish tbh
Which I think comes from living in endless thin walled flats as a student in my yoof.
It’s what I’m used to and feels loud enough to get the variety of sounds I want - be that via a Master Volume, a pedal or latterly, via the Helix
Just feels comfy...


Well-Known Member
TV volumeish too.

If I put a phone db meter 10cm from the speaker it's not over 90db and that's about the loudest I'm comfortble with. Generally I'll be playing less loud. The walls to the neighbours are pretty thick and I've never had complaints. Before 11 I'm playing normally and after 11 my wife is in bed so I have to keep her in mind too. Then it's unplugged. In all cases I can hear my pick and could talk over my playing without raising my voice.
The only exception is when I have friends over and we make music, then the dial goes up. Still not idiotic but I allow myself a bit of leeway then.

Gear wise as most of you know I've always kept volume as a large part of my decision. Stuff like master volume mods, attenuators, low wattage amps, a katana head with 5" speaker. I don't think a 12" cab has to sound crappy at low volumes. Part of it is the amp at low volume settings, that's where the attenuator comes in. Part is ofcourse the speaker. I do boost the bass a bit to compensate for the low volume.

Otherwise I'm eagerly awaiting the wave of wizardry boss and others are working on with tube alternatives that sound great on any volume. I think there's a market for high quality low wattage (0,5 watt) amps. It's surprising how some of the large brands don't offer low wattage alternatives or remove stuff like fx loops, separate eq for each channel, boost, rever etc from their low wattage amps.


I... I like trees.
While temporarily living with others, I play my acoustic at small-bodied acoustic volumes, or my other guitars through my Vox Tonelab into headphones (I knew this thing would come in handy again).

When home, alone, in my neck of the woods... loud enough to rumble windows... With clean tones.

If I'm recording, I've decided a "low to moderate" volume is best, as I can't crank it and get the perfect sound and still manage to record it without peaking the mic through my cheap interface, so clearly I need to work on my recording setup, or get quieter.
And I record my bass directly into my interface (monitoring with headphones) and it sounds great through fuzz into it, for some reason, so the poor bugger is never heard at its best anywhere other than in the software or my headphones.

beans & rice

Well-Known Member
Mostly I'm unplugged unless I'm working on the style of something, or developing a song idea that needs electricity to be heard how I want. And my amp is next to me on the end table about 3-feet away and level with my head, so it doesn't need to be too loud. TV volume or slightly lower. I don't think I've ever taken it past 5, and this thing goes to 13 for whatever reason. :D


Northern Monkey
Talking volume. Headphones pretty often. I really do want to drive it but also living in a semi-detachted limits fun.

Wade Garrett

I am the projectionist.
Either unplugged or I run the Marshall Reverb 12 at about 2/3rds volume. When I go into the 5150 lunchbox I will occasionally turn it up pretty loud but it's rare these days.
The 1W heads are driven pretty hard most of the time; the 1/10th power setting lets me tear into them at very modest output levels.
For me it’s pretty much this. I’m always in the 0,1 watt mode and use it with a 1x10 inch speaker cab. I have my volumes between 12 and 3 o’clock. For the OD channel I tend to keep the seperate gain control between 8 and 11-ish o’clock. When that gain goes up, I tend to lower the respective volume a tad.

This is about loud speaking volume. I can hear people when they speak loud enough but they do not have to scream. If they’re close enough, I hear them at regular volume.
The Db-app I used, put it at 94-102, whatever that’s worth. I’m not consistent enough in using my moulded earplugs. The 25 Db filters is proving a bit too much. When I don’t use the plugs and play for an hour or more, then I pay a price afterwards (noticably more annoying tinnitus and general (small) hearing discomfort).
During the day I'll run pretty hot, I live on the 4th floor... over the years had several complaints from one neighbour in particular but all the rest actually tell me they love hearing me play and to keep it up! It depends what I'm doing though, practising I'll have it fairly low, higher than TV volume though, if I'm just jamming out for fun I'll crank it up!


Offset Scoundrel
Not particularly as I live next door to a police officer haha! Joking aside I can play loud enough and if needs be (like breaking in a speaker) I'm on good enough terms with neighbours that I can put my amp (2x12 100 watt Fender Champion) face down on my bed cover it in blankets and blast away at full volume. Only slight shaking ensues :D:p
I play at TV to loud TV volume level. Using the a phone dB meter, it shows around 75db but of course I’m not being scientific and worrying about distance from source etc. If I remember later I’ll try and add some science. I don’t have to worry about neighbours but don’t want to be a selfish wotsit with the rest of the family so keep it reasonable.

At low volume, a pair of decent monitors cannot be beaten for filling the room at reasonable volume and of course can be fun with stereo effects. I started off with HS8s but recently changed to A7xs. Massive difference, greatly prefer the twice the price Adam monitors.

I’ve some lovely valve amps and cabs but now play only through modellers. For my needs (non gigging) it’s the best option for me. I’ll get a power stage (the cheaper one) if ever I want to play out. Based on that, I’m finally selling everything bar 1 cab and a preamp slowly on Reverb.