Getting a number of the most iconic amps to their sweet spot requires playing them at a level that is just too loud for most congregations– and soundmen. Although we know that a key part of being a team player involves playing at a level that works for everyone else, it can be frustrating to spend a small fortune on amp and not be able to open it up enough to start tickling the power tubes. While I am a fan of most of the volume reduction devices on the market, they tend to color your tone to varying degrees or prevent you from easily adjusting your amp while playing. FluxTone speakers reduce stage volume without noticeably compromising the tone, feel, and dynamics that make tube amplifiers so special. While an entry point of $950 may be prohibitive for some, the freedom to deliver the trademark sound of your favorite tube amps at a volume everyone will love truly is priceless.
DO THEY SOUND LIKE YOUR FAVORITE SPEAKERS?
The FluxTone line is constructed using signature components from the most popular speakers on the market. The end result is a range of speakers that sound and behave like your favorite speakers, with the exception of the fact that you can scale back the output by up to 25dB via the volume control on the accompanying VMT box.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
FluxTone founder Steve Carey holds patents for “systems and methods” that can adjust a speaker’s volume by way of changing the magnet’s strength. As Carey points out, the underlying technology has been around for decades, “I went back in my memory to early electronics class and thought, ‘What if I just adjust the voltage on a field coil magnet?’ It has nothing to do with the signal. It has nothing to do with the compression in the amp. It only has to do with how far the cone moves!”
Individual FluxTone speakers ship with the proprietary VMT (Variable Magnet Technology) control box designed to sit on top of your amp. With a twist of the volume control, you can pump down the volume without killing the tone, feel, or dynamics of your beloved tube amps in the process. The AC-powered VMT controller can also be built into a speaker cabinet or chassis.
GOOD ENOUGH FOR BRAD PAISLEY
Ironically, even tone masters like Brad Paisley have to turn down from time to time. In the following video, Brad talks about how how his FluxTone-equipped Dr. Z cabinet enables him to solve the exact sort of challenges we face on Sunday morning.
GOOD ENOUGH FOR US
Steve was kind enough to ship us a Denver AmpWorks combo he designed that features a built-in FluxTone Celestion Gold and VMT. Scaling back the volume on clean and dirty tones, even when the amp was roaring loud, reduced the volume with no noticeable compromise in tone. In standby mode the amp also allowed me to use the FluxTone speaker and VMT in combination with my AC30. Once again, the tone was tip top, regardless of where the VMT was set. Ironically, scaling back the volume made it easier to hear and, in turn, control the sound, since my ears were not having to contend with the amount of volume needed to get this amp to the sweet spot. Super impressed!
AVAILABLE MODELS & CONFIGURATIONS
There are currently seventeen speaker models in the FluxTone line that are available individually (VMT included) or in a range of Mojotone cabinets.
Originally published in Worship Musician Magazine, Nov/Dec 2016. Used by permission.