We have all seen the meme about the kid that thinks he should have been louder because he "turned his gain up". What really is the difference between gain and volume?
Gain -the factor by which power or voltage is increased in an amplifier or other electronic device. The purpose of a guitar amp is to take a very small voltage from the pickups and amplify it so we can hear it. The net increase is the "gain"
In this conversation volume is how loud the guitar is. It seems simple. You turn the amp up and the amp gets louder right?
Yes... to a point. Every amp has a maximum potential for how "loud" it can get before the signal gets distorted and the sound changes. This is where it stops getting "louder". This is where the difference comes in.
Gain after Volume
Once the amp reaches it's maximum volume, the "gain" in voltage can still increase. Even though the amp is not getting louder, the amp is still increasing the voltage. The difference is, it is first compressing he signal, and then distorting it. Watch the video below and stay tuned for the next post as we start to build all of this into something we can USE.