EVH 5150 iii and adjustable power output question

I’ve been messing around with my EVH 5150 combo.

I’m in channel 2 with gain around 4 o’clock and the channel volume fairly low

when I crank the power, am I engaging the power tube distortion of the amp also?

How can I get a saturated gain sound while keeping the volume low?


Most high gain amps with five preamp tubes get a big part of that from the preamp section. So saturation should be happening even when the master is low. Just turn the master low, are you still getting high gain? If so, that’s your preamp section, most of the time. Lowe power mode will allow more of that to come from the power amp section. But you’re still probably getting the majority of from the preamp.

Tone connoisseurs can tell the difference between power amp gain and preamp gain, but I’ve only ever really played high-gain amps regularly and played them at reasonable volumes. We have a vintage unmodified JCM800 which is a lower gain preamp design. And if you really crank that, with a Variac to lower the power output, you can get some early Van Halen-style saturation. But it’s crazy loud at that point.

Our main amp, the Hellcat, is a five tube preamp. There’s not a huge difference between the cranked master and the low master. It still sounds like our amp.

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thanks for the reply Troy. I am getting a good amount of saturation with the “power level” control on the EVH set pretty low, i’m using volume strictly from the channel 2 of the amp.

previously, I had the power level cranked to 10 with the gain dimed as well, but I could barely touch the channel volume control, it was so freaking loud.

Perhaps you could give a try to reactive load devices like torpedo captor,etc…

The amp has an attenuator… that’s what the power level is.

I think that amp has power scaling,(something like a built in variac)
If i understand you ,i think you need set the gain where you like,then crank the channel volume and lower the power level to taste