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Volume & Tone Knobs Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Volume & Tone Knobs

The Volume Knob on Electric guitars is basically an attenuator, correct? It can only remove the audio signal energy, it can't boost it. So this means you should dial in your "max" gain "sound" in the amplifier, and then for your rhythm parts you should dial the volume knob back. Then to stand out, you should push it back to the max, allowing all the energy to pass through the pickups.

The "Tone" Knob, is really just a Low Pass Filter, it is "Subtractive", you can only take away that which already exists, you cannot "add" any energy.

Therefore you can reduce the energy output via knobs, either by removing high end frequency content, or you can just remove ALL the frequency content at once and attenuate it via Volume Knob.

If you are trying to use "Boost" pedals to boost your energy output before the guitar signal hits the Pre-amp, you are basically relying on the little battery in the pedal or adaptor electric energy to boost your guitars signal.

This means you are boosting the energy output and gain before the gain of the actual amp, which means you are basically bypassing the amp if the amp is at a low gain level.

Using this as a way to "boost" loudness is alot more energy efficient, but the sound itself would be really thin, right?

If you use an "Overdrive" Pedal, to boost pre amp levels, then how is the amp actually being "Over driven"? If the Amp is at a low level, is boosting at the pre amp stage the same thing, as the actual amp?

What I am asking is isn't it better to simply use the volume attenuators and LPFs of the actual guitar, to roll back the energy output, and then "boost" it, using the actual amp itself?

Or is it the exact same as using a pedal. What's the pointof having a 100 Watt amp, if you are boosting the entire signal with the battery of the boost pedal only?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Like why not just rely on your volume knobs and tone knobs instead of using pedals. For the overdrive part I mean. Such as in this tip here:

Don't we want to hear the sound of the guitar itself? Can't we get enough "Dynamics" out of the actual guitar itself, coupled with the amp? I'm not saying this flippantly, I am just going over some philosophical things at this point, in my development in being a Musician.

But I realize that the Guitar Pedal industry is a big one, so maybe that is the whole pedal thing. It's a huge market. I just feel that there seems to be this dichotomy perhaps between are you a "pedal person" or a "purist amp only tube person".....

I don't think it's quite that simplistic. The Tube Amp Purist thing is its own thing, its own market, and then the pedal market also. They are both just potential gear markets.

Forget about that, I am just asking about the actual sound, and playability, and what actually makes sense from a pure sound perspective, and performance. Pedals are good, but I don't think we should rely on them to "Drive"/"Boost" the tone, I guess....just from a harmonic perspective. But then again maybe I don't know what I am talking about. I haven't played electric guitars in a long time but I am trying to buy a new one now, so I am encountering all these same seeming "dichotomies" that exist, but i don't care about them. I just care about the sound, and the "right" way to approach it, from the instrument's perspective.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
Like why not just rely on your volume knobs and tone knobs instead of using pedals. For the overdrive part I mean.

Don't we want to hear the sound of the guitar itself? Can't we get enough "Dynamics" out of the actual guitar itself, coupled with the amp?

Forget about that, I am just asking about the actual sound, and playability, and what actually makes sense from a pure sound perspective, and performance. Pedals are good, but I don't think we should rely on them to "Drive"/"Boost" the tone, I guess....just from a harmonic perspective. But then again maybe I don't know what I am talking about. I haven't played electric guitars in a long time but I am trying to buy a new one now, so I am encountering all these same seeming "dichotomies" that exist, but i don't care about them. I just care about the sound, and the "right" way to approach it, from the instrument's perspective.
Interesting musings but the fact is right from the start is when you ask "Don't we want to hear the sound of the guitar itself?" the answer is "From whose perspective?" Even an acoustic guitar sounds different in different locations so what then is "the guitar itself"?

When we are talking about electronically amplified guitars while the guitar obviously matters or there wouldn't be stereotypical Strat, Tele, Les Paul, Rick 12 etc signature tones BUT any one of those also obviously sounds different through a Vox or a Fender or a Marshall so the guitar is to some extent a controller in a chain of stages ending in the speaker and the room you play in or for that matter, outdoors.

Where, in what stage, emphasis and de-emphasis occurs sounds different. Using a pedal in some respects is akin to adding another stage to the flow and is just as valid as the ones built into an amp or in guitar controls. Consider a simple amp having no effects like Tremolo and Reverb built in. If one uses an external reverb or trem unit how is that different? The only way that it is different is where in the chain is it placed.

I agree that guitarists should exercise the guitar controls more because, just like a pedal, it offers control at a different stage in the chain and one that is eminently convenient and "handy" but there is absolutely nothing at all wrong in employing pedals to supplement whatever chain one has.

The only caveat there is that one's playing can be limited by relying too much on effects so it is valuable to "explore all the rooms in the mansion" including getting back to basics from time to time.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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It's also the interaction that matters. Like if you are "creating" the Distortion purely from playing attacks, and playing dynamics, and you are then using the knobs to change the ratio. It's not just the "sound", it's how you are interacting with the sound. It is different.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Interesting musings but the fact is right from the start is when you ask "Don't we want to hear the sound of the guitar itself?" the answer is "From whose perspective?" Even an acoustic guitar sounds different in different locations so what then is "the guitar itself"?

When we are talking about electronically amplified guitars while the guitar obviously matters or there wouldn't be stereotypical Strat, Tele, Les Paul, Rick 12 etc signature tones BUT any one of those also obviously sounds different through a Vox or a Fender or a Marshall so the guitar is to some extent a controller in a chain of stages ending in the speaker and the room you play in or for that matter, outdoors.

Where, in what stage, emphasis and de-emphasis occurs sounds different. Using a pedal in some respects is akin to adding another stage to the flow and is just as valid as the ones built into an amp or in guitar controls. Consider a simple amp having no effects like Tremolo and Reverb built in. If one uses an external reverb or trem unit how is that different? The only way that it is different is where in the chain is it placed.

I agree that guitarists should exercise the guitar controls more because, just like a pedal, it offers control at a different stage in the chain and one that is eminently convenient and "handy" but there is absolutely nothing at all wrong in employing pedals to supplement whatever chain one has.

The only caveat there is that one's playing can be limited by relying too much on effects so it is valuable to "explore all the rooms in the mansion" including getting back to basics from time to time.
From a performance perspective, it's relevant to the performer, in how they interact with the sound? The amp, if it is a "dynamic" dependent, on how hard you hit the strings, and how hard you hit the strings is circularly dependent on how much you open the amp up, it creates a bridge between the amp and the guitar. To put things in between those two dependents erodes the strength of the interactive potential. In terms of a "call and response" aspect.

If the amp is independent, then yes, one would want to start increasing the dependency between the instrument and the amp, using more pedals, and more switches?
Old 6 days ago
  #6
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A musical instrument amplifier is properly viewed as an extension of the guitar, bass, harmonica, etc. that is plugged into it, not merely something to make the instrument louder
this says what I have been getting at the last few days I just couldn't put my thoughts into words accurately.
Basics of Tube Amps for Beginners
It's like:
"I want to make my sound louder!"
But why? Because I like the sound. But why do you like the sound? Because of the way it sounds!
Ok now it's louder! Does it sound even better? Or does it just sound really loud.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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Cirrus's Avatar
 

Seems like this thread's build on a fundamental misunderstanding.

If you use a pedal, whatever - clean boost, overdrive, distortion... you're still using the amp.

The amp's taking a low level input signal and that's going through all its gain stages, filters, EQ stack, transformer if applicable, speakers and cab.

You're not bypassing any of that.

Whether you're using the amp for your entire tone or augmenting it with pedals, if the end volume is equally loud then you're using the power section in both cases. All that really changes is the gain structure through the preamp.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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Some of this can be clarified is you understood more about electronics. The controls in a guitar are passive, true but so are the controls in all EQ's. They simply add a buffer to make up for gain loss so your signal comes back up to instrument level.

Same thing with most drive pedals. They typically add a simple passive cap to adjust tone levels using the same kind of circuit in your guitar. Its just the order of its placement that makes a difference. Do you add a gain stage before or after the low pass filter.

I should also note its just as easy to add a passive High pass filter to a guitar which will remove bass. If you want to get real creative simply install a Varitone and have all kinds of cuts and boosts, with the added resonances caused by using a 1H coil with the caps and resistors.

If the signal loss winds up being too great for the preamp of the guitar amp then simply add a boost pedals or preamp.

The main reason for having volume and tone on a guitar is so you have some dynamic and tone control over the amp from a distance. Amps have the same controls and are typically even more effective at tone shaping. The guitar simply varies the input so you can tweak things standing at a mic without running to the back of the stage to adjust the amp.

How much you actually use them is up to the performer and his style of playing. With the addition of pedals and even volume pedals you don't have the same needs to even touch the guitar's settings. You can program pedals to do the same gain swells you got from turning up the amp and they work very well if you can hack standing on one foot all night while you work the darn things.

I can say most of the guitars I build today I wire them without a tone control and use the volumes to balance the pickups outputs to get tone vs gain changes.
Its something many Gibson players learn to appreciate. Tele and Strat players used to using a single volume use a hard switch to change pickup tones. Nothing wrong with that but how many times playing where you have two pickups selected and the tine is a little too deep or thin and selecting one or the other is too extreme? If its too trebly, yea you can use the tone to mask it but you switch to lead you have to toggle a switch and ramp a tone control and loose a musical beat or two. Separate volumes you can simply dial back the gain of one pup or the other and nail the exact tone you're looking for.

A Strat with 3 volumes becomes a bit too crazy to operate unless you use stacked pots. You want that kind of flexibility to blend tones then a volume pedal might be wise. Personally I simply adjust my playing style to whatever instrument I'm using. When I'm playing live I really don't do allot of tweaking during a song besides stomp on a pedal for leads. Playing gigs I only need good stage sound. The sound man is responsible for adjusting what the audience hears.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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And then, there's the fact that when using the "electric guitar", you're not hearing the natural sound of the guitar itself. That would be the "acoustic guitar". So all this crap about amps, pickups, and FX is just a person deciding at what level of technology they wish to stop at and are comfortable with, since there is no "natural" sound of an electric guitar (unless you count the wimpy sound of an unplugged electric).

So it's all really a moot point. Do what you want to get the sound you want. None of it is "natural", "normal", "better" or "worse". Only to you.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Gear Head
 

Don't believe everything you read, either online or elsewhere. Plug in and turn up until it sounds good then forget all that crap clogging up your brain.
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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Originally Posted by Mikhael View Post
So it's all really a moot point. Do what you want to get the sound you want. None of it is "natural", "normal", "better" or "worse". Only to you.
Obviously you haven't heard me play.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
The Volume Knob on Electric guitars is basically an attenuator, correct? It can only remove the audio signal energy, it can't boost it. So this means you should dial in your "max" gain "sound" in the amplifier, and then for your rhythm parts you should dial the volume knob back. Then to stand out, you should push it back to the max, allowing all the energy to pass through the pickups.

The "Tone" Knob, is really just a Low Pass Filter, it is "Subtractive", you can only take away that which already exists, you cannot "add" any energy.

Therefore you can reduce the energy output via knobs, either by removing high end frequency content, or you can just remove ALL the frequency content at once and attenuate it via Volume Knob.
Yes.

Quote:
If you are trying to use "Boost" pedals to boost your energy output before the guitar signal hits the Pre-amp, you are basically relying on the little battery in the pedal or adaptor electric energy to boost your guitars signal.
That's a primitive way of putting it, but more or less, yes. Of course your pedal(s) may run of a power supply ore be line powered.

Quote:
This means you are boosting the energy output and gain before the gain of the actual amp, which means you are basically bypassing the amp if the amp is at a low gain level.
No. You're boosting the signal going into the amp. You're not "bypassing" anything. Also, some (many) amps have one stage of preamp gain before the volume control so yuou'l be hitting that harder, which will have a definite effect on the tone.

Quote:
Using this as a way to "boost" loudness is alot more energy efficient, but the sound itself would be really thin, right?
No. My lead guitarist runs his guitar volume knob around 5-6 most opf the time and his tone is just fine. You may be being confused by a common auditory illusion which causes a signal to sound "better" when it's louder, even if the signals are exactly the same (as from a recorded source) and even if the difference in level (as measured on a voltmeter) is not enough to be really noticeable.

Quote:
If you use an "Overdrive" Pedal, to boost pre amp levels, then how is the amp actually being "Over driven"? If the Amp is at a low level, is boosting at the pre amp stage the same thing, as the actual amp?
NO. You're still hitting the front end of the amp harder.

Quote:
What I am asking is isn't it better to simply use the volume attenuators and LPFs of the actual guitar, to roll back the energy output, and then "boost" it, using the actual amp itself?
"Better"? No, it depends on what you're after.

Quote:
Or is it the exact same as using a pedal. What's the pointof having a 100 Watt amp, if you are boosting the entire signal with the battery of the boost pedal only?
Applying gain at each place along the amplification chain has its own character. All of the various gain and volume controls are NOT equivalent. When you start using larger power stages the interaction with the speaker takes on increasing importance.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Use what sounds good, and spend a lot of time experimenting with gain staging throughout the chain.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Yes.



That's a primitive way of putting it, but more or less, yes. Of course your pedal(s) may run of a power supply ore be line powered.



No. You're boosting the signal going into the amp. You're not "bypassing" anything. Also, some (many) amps have one stage of preamp gain before the volume control so yuou'l be hitting that harder, which will have a definite effect on the tone.



No. My lead guitarist runs his guitar volume knob around 5-6 most opf the time and his tone is just fine. You may be being confused by a common auditory illusion which causes a signal to sound "better" when it's louder, even if the signals are exactly the same (as from a recorded source) and even if the difference in level (as measured on a voltmeter) is not enough to be really noticeable.



NO. You're still hitting the front end of the amp harder.



"Better"? No, it depends on what you're after.



Applying gain at each place along the amplification chain has its own character. All of the various gain and volume controls are NOT equivalent. When you start using larger power stages the interaction with the speaker takes on increasing importance.
Thanks for the great post and answers! I found this site, and it talks about pre amps versus power amps, and wouldn't it be possible to get "tube distortion" using just a tube pre amp and a ss power amp?
It seems like a pedal might boost the "gain" of the guitar signal by as much as 60 dB etc, but the "power amp" in the amp, might need alot more, or voltage or something, audio gain isn't the same thing as electric potential i dont think....
Quote:
A common question is "can this preamp drive a power amp?" The answer is that you need to consider the maximum output level of your specific preamp, and the input sensitivity rating of a specific power amp--because they are not all the same! Power amp input sensitivity is rated in volts; the most common ratings are .7V, 1V, and 1.25V, but you may find others. Many pedal preamps, onboard bass pre's, and older rackmount pre's do not put out a signal strong enough to drive a power amp with a 1.25V or higher rating. If you try a certain preamp and it sounds weak, that's probably the reason. Similarly, if you get great sound from your preamp driving one power amp, and weak sound with the same pre driving a different power amp, the problem is not that the second power amp has weak tone! This is a very common misunderstanding.

The real problem is usually that the second power amp had an input sensitivity that was too high to be driven well by your preamp. Unfortunately most preamps don't specify their average output voltage. So the best thing you can look for is a statement from the manufacturer that the pre has a "line level" output. Line level can be anywhere between .7V and 1.4V on average, so the phrase "line level" is still no guarantee, but it's a start. The next thing to look for is a statement that the output is "-10 dBu", "0 dBu", "0 dBv", or "+4 dBu" line level. -10 dBu is associated with older gear and entry-level gear, and it won't properly drive a power amp with a 1.25V input sensitivity, but it may work OK with one that has a .7V sensitivity. 0 dBu output is an ideal match for the .7V input, but it may not be quite up to driving a 1.0V or 1.25V sensitivity. 0 dBv (note the v instead of a u at the end) is ideal for 1.0V sensitivity. An output rating of +4 dBu is exactly what you want for driving a power amp with a 1.25V sensitivity. If your power amp is rated for 1.4V, you need a preamp with UNUSUALLY high output.

Another spec you can look for in a preamp is dB gain (amount the signal is boosted). A "clean boost" pedal may commonly offer 20 or 30 dB of gain, but it may take 50 or 60 dB gain to bring the output of a bass or guitar up to the level needed to drive a typical power amp.
Preamps Explained
Old 6 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Metal tends to be mainly pre amp gain, blues and classic rock rely more on power amp distortion, jazz is generally very clean in both pre and power.
Is this true? Why?
Quote:
i would go for ss pre and tube power for 2 reasons.

1: cheap tube pres usually run very low voltages. just like the $20-50 "tube" mic pres, these tubes are there mainly for looks, and infact often dont change tone at all when swapping to different tubes. i even had one that would run without the tube!!!

2:you can always run a tube pedal/modler/any other preamp into it later to "upgrade" the front end while still having the tube power amp goodness.

if you can swing the cash, i would get a low watt all tube amp. i love my blackstar ht5, and ive also owned a ac4, blackheart little giant. Great gigging amps. yes, i said gigging.

Most of these little amps are either single channel or a combo dual gain setup. they all take pedals great, give you good tone plugged straight in, and you can always mic them for extra volume. turning up is easy on little amps, while turning down on 50w+ amps is harder
Is this true? Do we really need a tube pre-amp at all? If the "Distortion Pedal" is enough voltage to "pretend" to be a "tube" amp, then this would make sense, it means, you are only simulating "pre-amp" tube distortion, which is not where all of the actual voltage and real "sound" of the tube distortion happens, it happens at the Power Amp stage?
https://www.reddit.com/r/Guitar/comm...power_amp_and/
Old 6 days ago
  #16
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Quote:
Tube Pre with a SS Power Amp is a gimmick IMO. It's a cheap way for manufacturers to help people buy a solid state amp when all their pals and the industry rags consider them second class citizens in the amp world. Having an all tube gain stage can sound great, but amp manufacturers like Marshall and Blackstar have routinely chosen to use diodes and transistors to produce clipping in their otherwise 'all tube amps', and lets face it, even the biggest tube amp cheerleader probably has a distortion pedal that they insist 'gives a really warm and natural breakup with rich harmonic content' - or whatever.

What makes a tube amp great is the distortion you get from the power section (refer to any number of threads where the justification for a lower power tube amp is discussed - #1, they allow for power tube saturation at low volume levels). In fact, the Vox you mentioned in your post does not use a tube in the pre-section as a part of a gain stage, but uses a small tube in the coupling between the pre amp and power amp (both of which are entirely solid state) to simulate power amp sag. Most of that perceived volume, and headroom that a tube amp has in comparison to a solid state amp is coming from the power section of the amp.

The hybrid tube-preamp/solid state power-amp is, IMO, a way to attach the word 'tube' to an amplifier without having to pay for expensive transformers, higher tolerances in PCB design and construction or point-to-point wiring, more expensive tubes, and just more expensive components that can handle the power. There are some great hybrids out there, and really, in the end, this wouldn't be an issue if the notion that 'solid state amps can actually sound great' wasn't considered categorically wrong in the guitar community (bass players seem fine with this notion). Great hybrid amps, with solid state pres and tube power sections have been made (very successfully by Peavey), but they were no cheaper to produce than an all tube amp, and in the end, that's what the buyer wanted.

If you want a hybrid, I would recommend an old Peavey VTX or similar (if you can find one), a Music Man, or a custom pre-amp with rack power amp setup. There are some very nice tube-pre hybrids out there (I particularly liked the Valvestate amps that Marshall put out), but honestly, I'd just as soon grab a quality all solid-state amp.

The 'hybrid' amp thing is a bit of a hot-button for me. Sorry for the wall of text.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Guitar/comm...power_amp_and/
Now this seems to make alot of sense to me. Because why would there even be a market for "Distortion" Pedals if they weren't "doing something" that sounded the same as something else. That's why the voltage output doesn't need to be high on the "Tube pre Amp", because it's not what is really creating the main distortion sound. It's the Power Amp. You can't simulate a Power Amp in a pedal. But Line 6 pedals demos I listened to, they sound amazing, and especially in this one VS, the Line 6 sounds way better than the actual Tube to me.

As opposed to using
Guitar>Tube Pre Amp > Tube Power Amp
Guitar> SS Pre Amp> DSP > SS Power Amp
https://line6.com/helix/
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgkmc View Post
Some of this can be clarified is you understood more about electronics. The controls in a guitar are passive, true but so are the controls in all EQ's. They simply add a buffer to make up for gain loss so your signal comes back up to instrument level.
Not true. While most tone control sections in guitar amps are passive, not all are, especially in fancier modern amps that incorporate a graphic or parametric EQ section.

Quote:
I should also note its just as easy to add a passive High pass filter to a guitar which will remove bass.
At the expense of a marked loss of level, since most of the energy in the waveform is at the fundamental, which you'd be filtering out.

Quote:
The main reason for having volume and tone on a guitar is so you have some dynamic and tone control over the amp from a distance. Amps have the same controls and are typically even more effective at tone shaping. The guitar simply varies the input so you can tweak things standing at a mic without running to the back of the stage to adjust the amp.
Again, inaccurate generalizations. Originality amps didn't have tone controls, the only tone control was on the guitar. And saying that amps and guitars have the same tone controls is simply not true.

Quote:
How much you actually use them is up to the performer and his style of playing. With the addition of pedals and even volume pedals you don't have the same needs to even touch the guitar's settings. You can program pedals to do the same gain swells you got from turning up the amp and they work very well if you can hack standing on one foot all night while you work the darn things.
Well, no, you can't. It's never really the same. And programming pedals never gives you the degree of control that a manual control does.

Quote:
I can say most of the guitars I build today I wire them without a tone control and use the volumes to balance the pickups outputs to get tone vs gain changes.
Which is not even remotely the same sound as using a tone control.

Quote:
Its something many Gibson players learn to appreciate. Tele and Strat players used to using a single volume use a hard switch to change pickup tones. Nothing wrong with that but how many times playing where you have two pickups selected and the tine is a little too deep or thin and selecting one or the other is too extreme? If its too trebly, yea you can use the tone to mask it but you switch to lead you have to toggle a switch and ramp a tone control and loose a musical beat or two. Separate volumes you can simply dial back the gain of one pup or the other and nail the exact tone you're looking for.
Nonsense. "Losing a beat or two" to move a single tone knob compared to balancing two volume knobs? Who are you trying to kid? And balancing two volume knobs you also have to think about the difference in level, whereas adjusting a tone control (hi cut) causes very little level change as it only affects the harmonics, not the fundamental.

Quote:
A Strat with 3 volumes becomes a bit too crazy to operate unless you use stacked pots.
Strats don't have 3 volumes, they have one volume and 2 tones. And stacked pots are ever clumsier to manipulate on the fly.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
https://www.reddit.com/r/Guitar/comm...power_amp_and/
Now this seems to make alot of sense to me. Because why would there even be a market for "Distortion" Pedals if they weren't "doing something" that sounded the same as something else. That's why the voltage output doesn't need to be high on the "Tube pre Amp", because it's not what is really creating the main distortion sound. It's the Power Amp. You can't simulate a Power Amp in a pedal. But Line 6 pedals demos I listened to, they sound amazing, and especially in this one VS, the Line 6 sounds way better than the actual Tube to me.

As opposed to using
Guitar>Tube Pre Amp > Tube Power Amp
Guitar> SS Pre Amp> DSP > SS Power Amp
https://line6.com/helix/
This is nonsense. The internal voltages on a tube preamp are very high - but so are the internal impedances

Also most modern amplifiers generate most of the distortion in the preamp, because to generate distortion in the power amp it has to be VERY LOUD. Most people don't want to play at those levels anymore.

Also there are many kinds of distortion pedals and most of them generate distortion that doesn't sound all that much like amp distortion, especially if you're comparing a solid state pedal to a tube amp, because the distortion spectra of tubes and transistors are not the same.

" the Line 6 sounds way better than the actual Tube to me." Well, that tells me a lot about you. We'll leave it at that.
Old 5 days ago
  #19
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Old 5 days ago
  #20
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This is a good post too
Quote:
has stated one of the major amp choice dilemmas clearly and correctly. Fender cleans are great, but their overdriven sound isn't so hot. Other amps sound great overdriven, but have lousy cleans.

I see only three ways to go:

1. If you want a single amp with both excellent clean and dirty tones without using pedals, the trick is to find one designed for that exact purpose, and that has two foot switchable channels, one clean and one dirty. Mesa, Blackstar, Divided by 13, Tone King are examples, but there's a couple of catches: (1) How well there amps do clean and how well they do dirty is a matter of preference; and (2) Amps like these are generally pricy.

2. Use a single channel amp that allows you to go from clean to dirty with volume alone, either by (1) setting the amp on the edge of breakup, and using your technique to change from clean to dirty; or (2) controlling the volume (only) with the guitar volume knob(s) or a volume pedal. In theory, this can work like a charm, but a lot of times, the volume for a good clean is too low, and the volume for good dirt is too loud.

3. Use a single amp that has a great clean sound with a dirt pedal. A single channel amp is usually cheaper than a 2 channel amp, and changing dirt pedals until you find one that works is cheaper than changing amps. It's like the old saying, "You can always add dirt, but you can't add clean."

The 5E3 with pedals and an effects loop that M0biliz3 is considering seems like a really good idea to me.

Some say that using a good clean amp with pedals for dirt isn't as good as plugging straight into the right tube amp, and some say the opposite.

Like anything with guitar, the debate is endless, and it might be wiser - and more fun - to experiment.
What amp does both clean and dirty good? | My Les Paul Forum
The problem I see with using "Pedals" especially Delay or something, is you are using them Pre- Pre Amp, and that will just destroy the sound and muddy it up. Which I see on the Fender Amp it has a Pre Out FX Loop, to add FX onto the clean (Dirty) Tubed sound. Although that is a SS Amp anyway so.

At least with a "Modelling" Amp, the Amp is "doing something" apparently, at the Pre Amp Stage which is supposedly mimicing the Tubes behaviour, a SS is just doing absolutely nothing I take it?
Old 5 days ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
This is nonsense. The internal voltages on a tube preamp are very high - but so are the internal impedances

Also most modern amplifiers generate most of the distortion in the preamp, because to generate distortion in the power amp it has to be VERY LOUD. Most people don't want to play at those levels anymore.

Also there are many kinds of distortion pedals and most of them generate distortion that doesn't sound all that much like amp distortion, especially if you're comparing a solid state pedal to a tube amp, because the distortion spectra of tubes and transistors are not the same.

" the Line 6 sounds way better than the actual Tube to me." Well, that tells me a lot about you. We'll leave it at that.
It did though! I wasn't listening to decide which was the Tube and which I thought wasn't.... I was just listening to which one I liked better, and every single time it was the Line 6.... It sounds fuzzy and "narrow" to me in a bad way, how do you know the tubes aren't just bad or something.

I was listening on Speakers, not headphones. But I will listen again now on headphones to see....

What does it tell you about me? I don't like the sound because it is one or the other, I am being objective, I personally find the Line 6 stuff to be not really my thing, it's too "digital", it's bordering on Synthesizers.

I listened again on headphones this time......
I liked the Helix more on Test 1 and 2 and 5
I like the Tube more on Test 3 and 4

I am trying to be objective, and choosing the sound that is just easier on the ears. You can hear a slightly different reverb tail on one so they aren't exact replica comparisons anyway.
Old 5 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
It did though! I wasn't listening to decide which was the Tube and which I thought wasn't.... I was just listening to which one I liked better, and every single time it was the Line 6.... It sounds fuzzy and "narrow" to me in a bad way, how do you know the tubes aren't just bad or something.

I was listening on Speakers, not headphones. But I will listen again now on headphones to see....

What does it tell you about me? I don't like the sound because it is one or the other, I am being objective, I personally find the Line 6 stuff to be not really my thing, it's too "digital", it's bordering on Synthesizers.

I listened again on headphones this time......
I liked the Helix more on Test 1 and 2 and 5
I like the Tube more on Test 3 and 4

I am trying to be objective, and choosing the sound that is just easier on the ears. You can hear a slightly different reverb tail on one so they aren't exact replica comparisons anyway.
I'm not meaning to be derisive here but I think you're a little confused on the meanings of the words "objective" and "subjective".
Old 5 days ago
  #23
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enorbet2's Avatar
Just a few FTR comments.

Regarding the statement "ALL EQs are passive" it should be noted that just one example of active EQ dating back to the late 50s can be found in many Ampeg models who used Baxandall style Cut/Boost EQ and still do today. There are or were others but Ampeg is the most common.

It doesn't matter how a publication lists tube compliment. EL84s are power pentodes and 12AX7A's are twin triodes. Yes it is possible to run a 12AX7A in a power circuit either as Jim Kelley did in an attempt to get power amp style overdrive at very low levels or as is commonly done to drive reverb tanks but the output level is extremely low and not really fit to drive loudspeakers and power pentodes are similarly out of place in the preamp having substantially less gain in favor of more current capacity.

Acoustic guitars (all instruments really) are technology, just older technology. If you don't understand this and think them somehow "more natural" drive two stakes in the ground and string it up under tension and pluck away. The same applies to wind instruments unless you're that guy from Police Academy.and even he uses mic working distance and a pedal board for tonal variation. It's technology. Deal with it.



It is extremely misleading to judge tonality from an online audio file, even if it is in a lossless format because it will still depend on most peoples crap audio for PCs. My PC has roughly 1100 watts total tri-amped through active crossovers into a 12" subwoofer, 2 x 6" mids, and 2 x ribbon tweets and even that colors sound. YouTube or other compressed online formats? Take them with a huge helping of salt, and that says nothing about dynamic response, how it feels.

There is a reason that Dumble amps go for $30,000 plus and it has to do with gain staging and EQ, where and how what is emphasized or de-emphasized and how the result compresses and creates harmonic content. Yes, some $200 pedals can get pretty close just as modeling "amps" can get in the ballpark quickly but it does not sound identical and most certainly does not feel the same. "Better" and "Worse" are entirely subjective and are just value judgments on "Different".
Old 5 days ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
Thanks for the great post and answers! I found this site, and it talks about pre amps versus power amps, and wouldn't it be possible to get "tube distortion" using just a tube pre amp and a ss power amp?
It seems like a pedal might boost the "gain" of the guitar signal by as much as 60 dB etc, but the "power amp" in the amp, might need alot more, or voltage or something, audio gain isn't the same thing as electric potential i dont think....

Preamps Explained
Oy-vai!

The site you have found has a mixture of good information and really bad, misguided information, as is all too common on the internet.

First off, the link you provided was written from the viewpoint of a half-assed Hi-Fi/PA/Recording guy,n ot a guitar amp guy. Guitar amp design does not follow the "rulers" for the former and people who confuse the two annoy the crap out of me since I'm one of the few people you'll encounter who has worked on and understands both sides.

There is some good info there but right now I don't have the time or energy to pick it apart. It's about 50-50.

You'd be best to ignore the "preamps explained" link fort now, since the underlying philosophy has little to do witjh guitar amps - which more often than not break all the "textbook" rules.

Quote:
A common question is "can this preamp drive a power amp?" The answer is that you need to consider the maximum output level of your specific preamp, and the input sensitivity rating of a specific power amp--because they are not all the same! Power amp input sensitivity is rated in volts; the most common ratings are .7V, 1V, and 1.25V, but you may find others.
Fine in the Hi-fi world. Has nothing to do with the guitar world, where the amp is designed as an integrated unit.

Quote:
Many pedal preamps, onboard bass pre's, and older rackmount pre's do not put out a signal strong enough to drive a power amp with a 1.25V or higher rating. If you try a certain preamp and it sounds weak, that's probably the reason. Similarly, if you get great sound from your preamp driving one power amp, and weak sound with the same pre driving a different power amp, the problem is not that the second power amp has weak tone! This is a very common misunderstanding.
they're usually not supposed to unless specified.

D'OH!

Pedal preamps are intended to work with guitar amps except for a very few that are made to work with standalone power amps.



Quote:
The real problem is usually that the second power amp had an input sensitivity that was too high to be driven well by your preamp. Unfortunately most preamps don't specify their average output voltage.
BS. Any preamp intended to driver a typical power amp will specify output, either in voltage or in dBm. If those specs are absernt tyhe device ios probably intended to driver the input of a guitar amp or something similar.

Quote:
So the best thing you can look for is a statement from the manufacturer that the pre has a "line level" output. Line level can be anywhere between .7V and 1.4V on average, so the phrase "line level" is still no guarantee, but it's a start. The next thing to look for is a statement that the output is "-10 dBu", "0 dBu", "0 dBv", or "+4 dBu" line level. -10 dBu is associated with older gear and entry-level gear, and it won't properly drive a power amp with a 1.25V input sensitivity, but it may work OK with one that has a .7V sensitivity. 0 dBu output is an ideal match for the .7V input, but it may not be quite up to driving a 1.0V or 1.25V sensitivity. 0 dBv (note the v instead of a u at the end) is ideal for 1.0V sensitivity. An output rating of +4 dBu is exactly what you want for driving a power amp with a 1.25V sensitivity. If your power amp is rated for 1.4V, you need a preamp with UNUSUALLY high output.
This has nothing to do with guitar amps. It does pertain to hi-fi and PA amps, except for the fact that the way that it is written is really confusing and overly generalized.

Quote:
Another spec you can look for in a preamp is dB gain (amount the signal is boosted). A "clean boost" pedal may commonly offer 20 or 30 dB of gain, but it may take 50 or 60 dB gain to bring the output of a bass or guitar up to the level needed to drive a typical power amp.
You're not likely to find such a spec in the guitar amp world. And it wouldn't really mean anything if the power amp you're using is the power section of a guitar amp.
Old 5 days ago
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
If you look at these two Vox amp specs, the AC4C1 has
• Tube compliment
2 x 12AX7, 1 x EL84

Which I take it means the two 12AX7 are in the Pre Amp, because
AC15C1 has

Valve/tube complement:
2 x EL84/6BQ5 & 2 x 12AX7/ECC83

which would indicate the tubes are in the reverse order, so the Power Amp is 12AX7

or is it, I wonder why this is, and how it would change the sound.

http://www.voxamps.com/uploads/Suppo...1_OM_EFGS2.pdf
http://www.voxshowroom.com/ct/manuals/AC15CC1.PDF
No.
Old 5 days ago
  #26
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Should I get a Tube Amp? Modelling? or Both. I think both would be best since they both sound pretty good to me, at least the Katana by Roland sounds pretty amazing and has alot of versatility. I played on a Fender Princeton and a Vox AC15. The Princeton did not sound good to me at all tbh. The Vox sounded amazing, it was loud but it just sounded like rock and roll, I could feel some sort of tube magic there. The Princeton was just too loud to even get to the breakup point, at least in the store, I realized I would have to crank it way up so it's kind of silly in a store, how are you supposed to test out a louder tube amp if you cant even play it loud enough. I played a Vox AC4 which sounded like garbage also, so that's a tube that sounded not great to me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Oy-vai!

The site you have found has a mixture of good information and really bad, misguided information, as is all too common on the internet.

First off, the link you provided was written from the viewpoint of a half-assed Hi-Fi/PA/Recording guy,n ot a guitar amp guy. Guitar amp design does not follow the "rulers" for the former and people who confuse the two annoy the crap out of me since I'm one of the few people you'll encounter who has worked on and understands both sides.

There is some good info there but right now I don't have the time or energy to pick it apart. It's about 50-50.

You'd be best to ignore the "preamps explained" link fort now, since the underlying philosophy has little to do witjh guitar amps - which more often than not break all the "textbook" rules.



Fine in the Hi-fi world. Has nothing to do with the guitar world, where the amp is designed as an integrated unit.



they're usually not supposed to unless specified.

D'OH!

Pedal preamps are intended to work with guitar amps except for a very few that are made to work with standalone power amps.





BS. Any preamp intended to driver a typical power amp will specify output, either in voltage or in dBm. If those specs are absernt tyhe device ios probably intended to driver the input of a guitar amp or something similar.



This has nothing to do with guitar amps. It does pertain to hi-fi and PA amps, except for the fact that the way that it is written is really confusing and overly generalized.



You're not likely to find such a spec in the guitar amp world. And it wouldn't really mean anything if the power amp you're using is the power section of a guitar amp.

Ok, thanks for you responses and great knowledge, it helps me alot. Thanks.
Old 5 days ago
  #27
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This makes alot of sense, because some people complain that you can't get both a loud clean tone and loud distorted tone using no pedals. But if you use both pickups at once, that is double the sound energy, so you can have a single pickup hotter and do the more distorted sound as it is opened up more volume. Then you can dial that back but switch to both pickups and now you have two less hot pickups at once but a louder overal sound.
Old 4 days ago
  #28
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enorbet2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildOneTruss1 View Post
if you use both pickups at once, that is double the sound energy, .
That is simply mistaken. When you use what in the video example is the middle position the pickups are connected IN PARALLEL which means (according to Ohms Law) that the impedance is cut to roughly one half (actually 1/Rt = 1/R1 + 1/R2 ). this means output is also roughly one half but also means they "load" differently to the input of the amplifier which also affects tonality and drive.

As the video effectively demonstrates it is still a useful method for getting a variety of tones just from pups and controls. This can be modded considerably by the use of a "bleed cap" on one or both of the volume controls but that effect varies from amazing to annoying depending on pups and amps. The selection of the bleed cap value is key. On humbucker pups I can barely get by without bleed caps as they offer massive range of drive and tonality and give just the right "cut through" dynamic characteristics once the right value is selected.
Old 5 hours ago
  #29
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I was playing the Vox AC15 today and it sounded really good, there was a point where I had the settings and gain, where I could hear this "natural" "phasing" of the sound, it sounded so nice, I could tell it was something to do with the tubes, it just sounded like it was a champagne bottles swishing around or something, like the fizz, there was something "real" to it. I played the VX100 new modelling by Vox also, and it sounded amazing also, you could dial in a ton of easy crunchy tones, but in a good way, that sounded dynamic. It was really fun to play on and "felt" real also. It is a hybrid with analog circuits in the pre amp.

I played a VX1 the other though also, which is just pure modelling, and it sounded really good also, it weighed like 6 pounds too, and the clarity and volume I got out of it was amazing.

Vox to me, seems to be the best sound for my purpose. I tried Boss(Roland) Katana, and Line6 Spider, and they sounded very "cold", the Boss Katana, it felt like there was no depth to it, it was just clean and then massive distortion, probably good for metal players I guess.

I played the 45Watt Bassbreaker today for a while, and it sounded good, I couldn't really open it up fully, other than some quick volume swells just to test it with out pissing anyone off. And it was LOUD as F***, but even on the lower watt output, I could get some really good tonal things happening, using the "Both" setting, where both speakers are on at once, and then dialing in a mix of gain with the eq.

I think that amp is very "Brash", let's put it that way, I can see why it's called "BassBreaker", it's just a big, sound, but it has some good tube bite to it, it's not as "clean" and "boring" as the Fender twin I had tried before. And somehow even though it weighs 55 pounds, it doesn't feel that heavy, I think because the weight distribution. The Ac15 felt heavier even though it's just one speaker.

I think the Vox has the most "sculpted" refined but brash sound with alot of layers and tonality. I haven't tried a really high watt model yet though.
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