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I hope this question is suitable for this site. I live in a small studio flat with only one room surrounded by two neighbours on either side. I have just bought myself a first electric guitar and 20 Watts NUX amplifier. I am a bit concerned as this amp is quite loud and I don't want to bother my neighbours. Would it be a good idea to exchange it for 10 Watts amp, sth from Roland? Will it make it quieter? Or should I simply set gain, volume and master knobs, so I can make it quiet without losing a sound? Maybe plugging small speakers to the amp would solve a problem? Any suggestions are welcome, as I am ready to exchange it for a smaller amp.

Thanks for your consideration.

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There's no problem using a 20 Watt amp: just turn it down. You can set the volume of an amp as quiet as you want.
It would probably be better to use headphones.

  • But, I guess, I will hear more strings than the sound no matter what an amp do I have? – Camillus Feb 12 at 21:17
  • @Camillus Exactly, if you're practising quietly enough in your room, you're going to hear a lot more direct string noise than amp sound. – PiedPiper Feb 12 at 21:54
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There are 5 watt class A anmps that are way louder than some 20 watt amps. The wattage is only part of the story.

Obviously you can turn down the amp's volume but that's not really going to be a solution. By doing that, yes, it'll be quieter, but you'll lose some quality of sound, which is a lot of what playing through an amp is all about.

In a flat such as yours, even playing guitar unplugged may annoy neighbours, so a smaller amp won't solve the problem. Although a solid guitar can be almost inaudible. Headphones will go some way towards it, but another way would be to play either when neighbours are out, or in another room. Bathrooms are often back to back in housing situations such as this. People don't spend too much time in them, so there's a possibility that playing there won't bother many. There may be an issue with electrical apparatus in a bathroom - I don't know what country you're in.

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To the earlier point made, wattage just measures power driving the speaker, not decibel level. As an example of the variability here, a heavy, inefficient vintage speaker magnet will "soak" more power, especially note attack, than a lighter modern one. (This of course is completely overlooking discussion of tonal quality.)

If you haven't tried the Yamaha THR series or the Boss Katana amps, I'd recommend looking at them. I too am currently in a small apartment for the moment, and I've been spoiled for years by being in a rural space where I was free to let rip any one of a number of juicy specimens of amplifier.

I can't speak for the Boss amps honestly, but I own a THR10 and I'm thoroughly impressed with the dynamic "feel" of its response to variation in right-hand technique. Moreover, they do well to "behave" the way the amps they model would when swapping from say a Les Paul to a Stratocaster. Of all the quiet, polite, not exciting desktop amps I've seen, it's truly a surprisingly enjoyable experience every time. And the headphones and second sonically "flat" input (to play along w/ your phone or whatever) are a nice touch, though it does sound far better aloud than w/ headphones.

Congrats on the electric, and welcome to the family!

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The only thing you will lose by using a powerful amp 'turned down' is the possibility of 'live' overload and feedback effects.

But there seem to be plenty of 'effects' possible on the NUX to make up for that! And there's a headphone socket. Immerse yourself in sound using headphones and your neighbour will love you. (Or, if they're inclined to complain, they'll even manage to be annoyed by the leakage from headphones - I've been there!)

Save the speakers for your first live gig. When you won't regret having a bit too much rather than a bit too little power available.

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