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Microphone Month

Variacs and Tube Amps

Q: I read that a certain guitarist used a variac to crank up the AC voltage into his tube amps to create a “brown” sound. Is it true?

A: We’ve heard the same thing. And, anything is possible. But the “cranking the AC” part is probably rock ‘n’ roll bravado. It’s more likely that he was using the variac to reduce the voltage a certain amount, possibly to as low as 90 volts.

We ran a Tech Tip covering this topic a few years ago. You can check it out here.

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