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Digital Challenge - Recreate This Simple Dynamic Tone
Old 17th June 2019
  #1
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enorbet2's Avatar
Digital Challenge - Recreate This Simple Dynamic Tone

OK Here's the challenge for all you modelers/simulators/emulators and digital prodigies. I chose a very simple tune with a rather simple, basically pentatonic lead part. To maybe save you some time and effort the original was recorded with a '69 Les Paul w/ Mini Humbuckers straight into 2 x Marshall 50 watters with no Master Volume, no effects...just moderately cranked. Simple, right?

So let me see/hear somebody recreate the leads with digital. I'd prefer lossless audio maybe hosted on a file sharing site as opposed to a YouTube or any other compressed format but whatever you choose to do please document it. I'd also prefer a single take like the original but if you can't do that then just say so, ok?

Let the games begin!

Old 18th June 2019
  #2
I'm'a be watching for anyone to take up the challenge. I'm no expert on modelling, but from my experience with a POD XT and a handful of plugin sims, that pinch squeal he exploits through the solo is likely to get considerably 'flattened out' texture/timbre/detail-wise. My own dissatisfaction with amp simulation manifests as lack of dynamic control of the sound, particularly with the clean tones I've leaned toward in my old age. Once things go through the sim, the sound from lick to lick gets samey, there's just not the same dynamically varying timbre shifts with playing attack. (The sorts of playing elements that go into those pinch squeals, I'd say.)

Anyhow, ARS, huh? What a bunch of consummate pros! They're sort of like the US's own AWB.
Old 18th June 2019
  #3
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Hello theblue1
From my POV you are right on the mark if only at the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

First there is the production of sound in an electronic medium to consider. Any EQ, especially anything remotely resembling a Band Pass or Suppress filter, when pushed experiences an increase in Q which translates into a narrower band of frequencies. This condition is exploited in a wah-wah for example by sweeping the center frequency creating a mildly vocal effect. Increasing the input signal or the gain in the circuitry increases amplitude while it narrows bandwidth which feels like a dynamically responsive vocalization somewhat similar to human mouth cavity alteration of resonance due to the movable jaw and tongue, but in just 2 of those 3 dimensions at any one time. If you sit down and play through 2 wahs in parallel it is absolutely incredible how vocal it is possible to make any musical instrument sound by mimicking the full dimension of human vocal range

In Tweeds and most Marshalls, where the Volume control precedes the tone stack which is then fed into a pseudo limiter stage a similar dynamic effect takes place. Push it and it "squeezes" bandwidth, back off and it opens up. Pushing it can be guitar Volume setting, any preamping like an overdrive, or simply altering the power of one's attack. This makes for an exceptionally vocal quality that smoothly changes to match how we play.

Then there is our hearing. So often so much is made of how inferior our hearing is compared to, say, a dog's hearing, that few people actually understand just how amazing human hearing is. Since most people can detect the difference in frequency of just a few cents anyone can calculate how that translates into electronics. It is somewhat analogous to having a graphic EQ with 10s of thousands of bands AND our brains are extremely attuned to any manner of patterns such as in vocalization since intent in communication can reveal a wide range of elements loosely fitting in Beneficial or Threatening. Happy, Sad, Sexy etc etc etc.... extremely important to social interaction.

I chose this tune because of the simplicity of the guitar straight into an amp and especially that it was a Tweed/Marshal/Vox style preamp staging having that dynamically responsive effect perceived as a kind of vocalization allowing a player to "voice" chords or "sing" a melody with inflection and nuance. I very much doubt, and for the exact "sameness" you too have noticed with digital, that any digital; device can recreate that human touch. It would be amazing and wonderful to be proven mistaken, but I doubt that will happen.

Until such time, if ever, that does come about, I want guitarists to at least comprehend the tradeoffs before they choose between digital and analog. Best way? Play them really loud, think "singing", dig deep and see what thrills you most.... or prove that digital can achieve such a human feat.
Old 18th June 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Hello theblue1
From my POV you are right on the mark if only at the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

First there is the production of sound in an electronic medium to consider. Any EQ, especially anything remotely resembling a Band Pass or Suppress filter, when pushed experiences an increase in Q which translates into a narrower band of frequencies. This condition is exploited in a wah-wah for example by sweeping the center frequency creating a mildly vocal effect. Increasing the input signal or the gain in the circuitry increases amplitude while it narrows bandwidth which feels like a dynamically responsive vocalization somewhat similar to human mouth cavity alteration of resonance due to the movable jaw and tongue, but in just 2 of those 3 dimensions at any one time. If you sit down and play through 2 wahs in parallel it is absolutely incredible how vocal it is possible to make any musical instrument sound by mimicking the full dimension of human vocal range

In Tweeds and most Marshalls, where the Volume control precedes the tone stack which is then fed into a pseudo limiter stage a similar dynamic effect takes place. Push it and it "squeezes" bandwidth, back off and it opens up. Pushing it can be guitar Volume setting, any preamping like an overdrive, or simply altering the power of one's attack. This makes for an exceptionally vocal quality that smoothly changes to match how we play.

Then there is our hearing. So often so much is made of how inferior our hearing is compared to, say, a dog's hearing, that few people actually understand just how amazing human hearing is. Since most people can detect the difference in frequency of just a few cents anyone can calculate how that translates into electronics. It is somewhat analogous to having a graphic EQ with 10s of thousands of bands AND our brains are extremely attuned to any manner of patterns such as in vocalization since intent in communication can reveal a wide range of elements loosely fitting in Beneficial or Threatening. Happy, Sad, Sexy etc etc etc.... extremely important to social interaction.

I chose this tune because of the simplicity of the guitar straight into an amp and especially that it was a Tweed/Marshal/Vox style preamp staging having that dynamically responsive effect perceived as a kind of vocalization allowing a player to "voice" chords or "sing" a melody with inflection and nuance. I very much doubt, and for the exact "sameness" you too have noticed with digital, that any digital; device can recreate that human touch. It would be amazing and wonderful to be proven mistaken, but I doubt that will happen.

Until such time, if ever, that does come about, I want guitarists to at least comprehend the tradeoffs before they choose between digital and analog. Best way? Play them really loud, think "singing", dig deep and see what thrills you most.... or prove that digital can achieve such a human feat.
I think your observations about the parallels between vocal pitch formation/resonance and the wah wah are really quite insightful! I'd never made that connection -- but it's really a rich one, lots of food for thought.

(I've been struggling with my own vocals in recent years, trying to push out from my folk/punk/Dylanesque past to something more closely resembling 'singing.' The human vocal apparatus is surprisingly complex. To think that I once imagined I could just open my mouth and sing and everything would work out... )
Old 18th June 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I think your observations about the parallels between vocal pitch formation/resonance and the wah wah are really quite insightful! I'd never made that connection -- but it's really a rich one, lots of food for thought.

(I've been struggling with my own vocals in recent years, trying to push out from my folk/punk/Dylanesque past to something more closely resembling 'singing.' The human vocal apparatus is surprisingly complex. To think that I once imagined I could just open my mouth and sing and everything would work out... )
Yup! We all think we whistle great, too when really we sound more like Home Simpson "singing" along with his car radio. Training, whether formal or just long term experience, matters.
Old 18th June 2019
  #6
I'd love to if I can find some time though I doubt I'll match their technique and studio chops.

To be fair I feel the challenge should be open to all though, I'd like to hear people nail it with analog kit. That way we can eliminate it being about who can do the best cover and has the best technique and it can be about the sound. Let's hear your cover first enorbet2!

For those interested in playing along the solo is from 2:40 to 3:35, then 4:08 to 4:52 (the end).
Old 19th June 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
I'd love to if I can find some time though I doubt I'll match their technique and studio chops.

To be fair I feel the challenge should be open to all though, I'd like to hear people nail it with analog kit. That way we can eliminate it being about who can do the best cover and has the best technique and it can be about the sound. Let's hear your cover first enorbet2!

For those interested in playing along the solo is from 2:40 to 3:35, then 4:08 to 4:52 (the end).
Just FTR it was not my intention to be misleading so I did not claim the audio was from that live performance, though it is quite close. Best I can figure out it was a studio recording but done as a single take where the band actually played the song in it's entirety and together, not merely an assembly of parts recorded separately.

As for requesting my cover I seriously doubt I could nail it's tonality because I don't have 2 x 50 watt Marshalls or any 4x12 cabs or a mini humbucker Les Paul but that is not my claim that I can nail any sound. My claim is that analog gear, and especially those designed for such dynamic response, like Tweeds, Vox, and Marshalls have a distinct and fluidly responsive voice and are specifically NOT One Size Suits All (which IS a valid claim of digital) but a distinct and fairly unique "flavor". I don't think it is possible to "have your cake and eat it, too"

Frankly I see the value that digital offers but it is my considered opinion that There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, that all choices involve package deal tradeoffs yet some people claim or seem to think that not only do they gain variety in one unit at a low price but that it nails ALL of those analog sounds and features perfectly at no cost and possibly even better since there is no hum or other extraneous noise. I say Poppycock! There is a cost. If you mix together all 32 Flavors from Baskin Robbins you will still have ice cream and it probably won't taste too bad but it most certainly will not have a definable character or flavor.

The first respondent, the blue1, noted this in exactly how I experience it, as a "sameness" a lacking in nuance that makes analog sweet and expressive in a manner digital cannot possibly reproduce. Digital by definition depends on software code which is literally a recipe or script which means there is no going off script. If it isn't programmed in, it doesn't exist. It will only produce what someone has measured and defined and established as a set of rules that cannot be broken since that is not part of the program by definition.

You have an analog recording right here which proves analog has or can have a very vocal-like dynamic nuance and this is but one of thousands like it. The challenge is not to reproduce it with analog since that obviously already exists. It is much of the dyed-in-the-wool digital crowd that makes the claim that digital is or can be indistinguishable from analog and I want to witness that since I never have and my experience with both hardware and software makes me conclude it is not possible to have all the detailed nuance of analog.

I would be open to hearing something merely similar that had such vocalization from a strictly digital device, but that would be harder to compare since they would be apples and oranges to some degree..The point is all I have seen or witnessed so far is claims and I'd like some evidence, really any evidence but a reproduction of something simple would be wonderful and just cinch it, I think..

Last edited by enorbet2; 19th June 2019 at 06:05 AM..
Old 19th June 2019
  #8
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Spooky is a great track. Great playing yet I'm not buying the basic premise of the original post.

I'm not buying the premise that its a simple recording without any post production.
Also, I'm not buying the notion that any old guitarist with a Les Paul and a couple of Marshall heads could come close to replicating it either.

It is a great tone that 99% of players couldn't replicate with any old tube amp either.
For my money its about whether an amp can create a great tone of its own. Modelling amps can create their own great tones. Many a pedestrian tube amp can't.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Spooky is a great track. Great playing yet I'm not buying the basic premise of the original post.I'm not buying the premise that its a simple recording without any post production
Ho-o-old on thar Baba Looey I never I never said nor even implied there was no post production. Of course it was multitrack and massaged to create a coherent and pleasing mix. It's just that it was not a "mail in" recording done in separate takes while the other players were off somewhere else, but yeah I think it is a great track

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
.
Also, I'm not buying the notion that any old guitarist with a Les Paul and a couple of Marshall heads could come close to replicating it either.
Of course some beginner will not yet even have the facility to shape notes so intuitively but I am dead certain that any serious guitarist with 8-10 years of solid playing will have reached that level to where they could reproduce an equally nuanced feel and tone-wise I am even more certain that a Les Paul through Marshalls would get that tone since it quite literally is a signature tone. I heard the original by The Classics Four when it was a sweet little, somewhat innocuous pop tune. I heard the remake for the first time in my car and instantly knew it was almost assuredly a Les Paul through a Marshall and beautifully captured.. Are you saying you didn't? Maybe that's because I was there when that sound became all the rage. I'm assuming you are substantially (decades) younger than I and didn't have that experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
.
It is a great tone that 99% of players couldn't replicate with any old tube amp either.
For my money its about whether an amp can create a great tone of its own. Modelling amps can create their own great tones. Many a pedestrian tube amp can't.
Here we totally part ways, with the single exception that I agree that not "any old <stock> tube amp" could replicate this vocal effect. That said I have personally modded and heard a lousy little Sears Silvertone Bass amp, only modded with a handful of resistors and caps for a higher gain bias on the preamp stages and a bit more highs become extremely vocal, highly nuanced and possessing it's own voice. It SANG! ... and gloriously. That's not to say it sounded like a Marshall, it didn't but it did have all of the touch sensitivity we hear on "Spooky" that makes it sing..

Unless I am mistaken Modeling amps do not create anything of their own by design which is why they are called "modelling". They depend on trying to recreate and/or simulate/emulate already established sounds. I've seen numerous "'Plexi" or "Tweed Bassman" patches (and they all sound different just like PAF reproductions) but I haven't seen a "Line 6" or "Kemper" patch, just claims they can do it all - Money for nuthin'. Yeah... and CDs play just fine with scratches and strawberry jelly smeared all over the surface. I think it is just marketing claims, Bro, and we all (should) know how honest and accurate those commonly are.

Some soyburgers taste good but I will never be fooled they came from a cow. I can taste the difference between grass-fed and corn-fed beef. How 'bout you?

So far all I'm seeing here in this thread are defensive excuses and it isn't ultimately necessary. I'm not saying "Digital = Trash". Digital gear, or at least some of it, sounds good. I'm just not buying the hype it doesn't come at a tradeoff cost. There are players who don't yet know how to shape notes and some apparently wouldn't care to if they did and that's perfectly valid.

All I'm saying is recognize the tradeoff and do what you will.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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I'm not doubting that its the sound of a Les Paul through a Marshall. As you say, its a classic sound. Its just not any old Les Paul through any old Marshall.

The most touch sensitive "amp" that I have played through was a Fender Mustang Floor although I can't say that I have played a lot of amps although I did once own a Mesa Boogie 22+. The boogie was great on the rhythm channel although I never really got on with the lead channel. Yet the Fender Mustang is very impressive and OHH so versatile.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
I'm not doubting that its the sound of a Les Paul through a Marshall. As you say, its a classic sound. Its just not any old Les Paul through any old Marshall.

The most touch sensitive "amp" that I have played through was a Fender Mustang Floor although I can't say that I have played a lot of amps although I did once own a Mesa Boogie 22+. The boogie was great on the rhythm channel although I never really got on with the lead channel. Yet the Fender Mustang is very impressive and OHH so versatile.
Understood and agreed, AnthonyG with the single exception that the 22+ Gain Channel could be set in such a way that especially when combined with play dynamics and guitar volume control use, could be extremely expressive. It would clean up nicely but bark and soar when pushed. If you still have it I suggest you try reducing the initial Gain and guitar volume and open up the Master and start with a lighter touch on your strings. It may also apply to your Mustang but I'm not familiar with that amp.

I think it is possible to get very close to the "Spooky" tone with most Les Pauls but the mini humbuckers are certainly a strong factor to the harmonic range for exactness. I owned a 1972 (somewhat bogus) '58 Standard Reissue which had stopbar tail/bridge and P90s that I modded for full-size humbuckers to get a bit more snarl but later had Joe Barden make me a set of full size replacements that were a very nice job of creating a P90-on-Steroids tone, so I am intimately familiar with the variations that just pups can make.

However the very fact that you and I are here on Gearslutz implies we are obsessive about tone in extremely fine detail, and I fit in that category and have worked with many trained and obsessive "ears". Many years ago I modded a Mesa SOB with the player right beside me to get exactly what he wanted or at least as close as he could imagine playing through my single Celestion 12 cab. Thankfully he called me a few days later and reported that through his old Marshall 4x12 "This is the sh*t, man!".

However about 2 months later he called me while on tour "You gotta help me, man. Something went weird on my amp last night and it's freakin' me out. I dunno what's wrong but it just doesn't sound like that 100 pound violin anymore. If I wire you tickets could you fly out here?" I said "Of course but it won't be cheap. You sure you checked everything else out?"

The following day he called back reporting a roadie had picked a similarly old 4x12 cab but that was loaded with different model Celestions and once "the right one" was back so was "the 100 pound violin" . We both breathed a huge sigh of relief but it also highlighted just how specific and detailed our gear must be to please us. Pros spend huge sums, a lot of time and effort to get everything exactly as it pleases them to make them play at their best. I doubt that but a very few if many other than the guitarist noticed the difference a few nights before, but he did and that's what matters most.

So, yeah, a perfectly exact reproduction of the sound and feel on "Spooky" isn't just falling off a log, but the dynamic character of it, how it feels as well as sounds, is what the most expressive guitarists seek and while many are switching to digital for convenience and less weight to haul around, most still rely on analog tube amps for their signature sound. The very fact that there is so little change or "improvement" on a design now some 80 years old should be evidence for how perfect that "storm" is.

Are 8track tape decks still around? Cassettes? Shoot! even reel-to-reels are hard to find now, and discrete SS amps are a thing of the past, but tube amps still proliferate. There is a reason for that and mere nostalgia doesn't get it. They work.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
I'm a big fan of digital audio technology, as far as it goes. I think, without any personal doubt, that it can provide a huge boost in accuracy of capture and reproduction over grooved record or analog tape (both of which I have a fair amount of experience with).

And I share the dream of amp simulation that could really replace an amp for the kind of music I play. (Digital sim and FX seem to work well for some players, particularly those who like stacks of effects, I suspect.)

But it's my sense that the necessarily missing element in many such approaches is the crucial dynamic relationship between passive pickups and a traditional guitar amp's preamp/control section. As playing dynamics vary, so does signal impedance, affecting amp tonality and performance. When I plug my J-Strat into my Blues Jr it has almost a bit of a wild unpredictability to the dynamics that I learned to shape via both guitar and amp tone/volume settings. When I plug it into the POD XT a pal left here, it's a very different thing. I can get a nice enough tone -- but it simply does not have the same dynamic response to my playing. (And my experience with plug-ins has been similar, only with more latency. And the latency of the POD is already enough to bug me just a little.)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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I have a great digital tone that I wouldn't mind posting. How about to make this scientific, you post your analog take on Spooky first, include the total amount of time, from setup to mixdown, and I'll do the same for the ITB tone.

Deal?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
I think this could be a very interesting/informative exercise, competition issues aside. I feel that there are issues at play here that I want to understand better. Hearing a range of efforts bending to recreate that tone/feel (or something similar) could, I think, be illuminative in that regard.

Maybe it's because when I first started playing electric guitar, it was my firm (if largely untested) belief that anything a tube amp could do with a guitar, a transistor amp could probably do lighter and running cooler. Sadly, perhaps, that idea didn't hold up well as I played more and more amps -- and, maybe especially, as my idea of what 'my sound' should be went from wall-of-grind to something that aspired to be 'sweet' but 'stinging.' (Sorry for the poetics, talking more about aspiration than actual process.)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
enorbert got upset when I suggested the same thing traumerei. I thought the whole point of a challenge like this was to demonstrate something other than that great production and playing is great, or that some people prefer certain tones, and I figured it would be fun if everyone was giving it their shot regardless of budget and equipment.

There are already plenty of examples of fantastic touch sensitive playing with sims out there, if anything sims have a tendency to be over-touch sensitive because it's just an algorithm setting. It was very true a quarter of a century ago though though sims were flat, but things have moved on since then. Pod's are no-longer state of the art, in fact do Line 6 even make the Pod anymore? Check out even what can be done with their Helix unit for instance.



I mean if we're just talking about sharing arbitrary tones we like that is. :shrug:
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
enorbert got upset when I suggested the same thing traumerei. I thought the whole point of a challenge like this was to demonstrate something other than that great production and playing is great, or that some people prefer certain tones, and I figured it would be fun if everyone was giving it their shot regardless of budget and equipment.
See, I'm getting the impression that you guys that have posted so far feel an affront as if I've killed a sacred cow or something or at least threatened to. I wasn't even remotely upset. In fact I fully expected it. It isn't like this is an all new contest and what's more there are no people that are winners and losers, only gear is at stake.

If you think I was upset then this points out one of the fundamental issues. Without tone of voice and body language, when all we have is text, it is easy to make mistakes because important nuanced information is missing. I happen to think that digital (so far) suffers from this and just for the record I am a coder so I don't hate digital nor not understand the power of algorithms. I just prefer honest assessments that recognize pros and cons as they exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
There are already plenty of examples of fantastic touch sensitive playing with sims out there, if anything sims have a tendency to be over-touch sensitive because it's just an algorithm setting. It was very true a quarter of a century ago though though sims were flat, but things have moved on since then. Pod's are no-longer state of the art, in fact do Line 6 even make the Pod anymore? Check out even what can be done with their Helix unit for instance.
I don't agree with this though the video you posted hints that we have indeed made strides and are "getting there". That's good for all of us, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
I mean if we're just talking about sharing arbitrary tones we like that is. :shrug:
Here we go again or at least my reaction to the text leads me to translate that this is actually what you imagine I'm after. I'm 72 years old and been in and around The Biz pretty much my whole life and left the whole teenage, bristling testosterone, fight-or-flight pi**ing contests behind what feels like lifetimes ago.

This is not at all about "arbitrary tones we like". It is about a specific occurrence of nuanced dynamic vocal-like tracking. It's about a sound and feel that has an "aliveness" to it. As I just said I am moderately impressed with the video you posted but from what I can hear and somewhat see, it is only almost there.

I really would like everyone here to understand that I sincerely hope digital can either provide that kind of response or develop some quirk of it's own that floors everybody. I'd truly hate to imagine that guitar "amps" will become like self-driving cars that never allow anyone to experience what it feels like to stand on the "go pedal" and slam through 4 gears while the smoke billows out behind while screeching and fishtailing at each shift. If they can retain that then a distinctly human experience will not be lost and Music and all of us will benefit immensely. It feels to me so far that there is a kind of detachment that comes with digital territory. It appears at least that some people recognize this and are working to "thin the line". OK?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
enorbert got upset when I suggested the same thing traumerei. I thought the whole point of a challenge like this was to demonstrate something other than that great production and playing is great, or that some people prefer certain tones, and I figured it would be fun if everyone was giving it their shot regardless of budget and equipment.

There are already plenty of examples of fantastic touch sensitive playing with sims out there, if anything sims have a tendency to be over-touch sensitive because it's just an algorithm setting. It was very true a quarter of a century ago though though sims were flat, but things have moved on since then. Pod's are no-longer state of the art, in fact do Line 6 even make the Pod anymore? Check out even what can be done with their Helix unit for instance.



I mean if we're just talking about sharing arbitrary tones we like that is. :shrug:
How is this clip an example of touch-sensitivity. Its overly crunchy - yes, but that just emphasising the digital upper mid-range and plastic-y lower mid-range which are the problem with clean digital sounds.
For touch sensitivity look at Dumble/copies, and plenty of German higher gain amps with an "efficient" SS rectifier circuit.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
It’s an example of a solo that demonstrates an equal range to the OPs example. And yes it demonstrates touch sensitivity, whether you like the tone or not is kinda irrelevant, that’s personal taste. Touch sensitivity isn’t just about playing pianissimo :P.

Personally I’ve yet to hear a Dumble recording that actually impressed or that even stood out. I’m sure they’re great to play in person, but they and any alleged touch sensitivity they might have seems to not translate to recorded tone. I also have to admit I’m not a fan of solid state rectification, yes it can lead to a very fluid feel and sound, but to me it also has feel and sound characteristics of early amp sims.

It’s kinda reminds me that the tone of early amp sims was in many ways the quintessence of the direction amp tone was moving towards at that time, in the same way that digital consoles likewise when they first came out were the ultimate goal. It was only once everyone had this stuff in their hands they realized how bloody awful it was, you don’t want your guitar to be that fluid sounding with that linear a frequency response because it sounds plastic and fizzy, you also don’t want a totally transparent sounding recordings regardless of the ****ty headroom and aliasing issues of early digital gear, they were also just too pristine in a nasty way.

Now though we’re a quarter of a century on digital has embraced emulating the failings of analog gear, very well in many cases and we seem to love it all the more for that. Everyone uses a DAW, every band is using digital gear live or in the studio or both, even people who others obsess about the tone of like Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson etc.

@ enorbert2 - I don’t really see what the purpose of this thread is though. If you’re not willing to submit to the same rules of the game, and you’re not willing to put in the tiniest bit of effort in your own research... then what exactly is the outcome meant to be? If anything you seem to be the one who is feeling defensive and like the sacred cow has been killed, both by just starting the thread and then in your responses here to imagined slights. You haven’t actually demonstrated or proven anything yet so it feels like you’re hoping others are offended as you claim, yet I see no evidence that this is the case. People asking you to also join in with analog gear to your own request to see how you fare isn’t what I’d call defensive or offended, it’s just reasonable. After all digital isn’t some make easy button, if you don’t understand what’s involved in making that tone on record yourself with access to any gear at all then how will you judge what others do? As far as I can see - only unfavorably, for the same reason you should never do a cover version without giving it your own twist, because you’re just setting yourself up for failure and unfavorable comparison, you can never be that other person at that time in that place. By also submitting to your own challenge you will move from armchair philosophy to practical and both you and those joining in might hope to actually get something from it.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
It’s an example of a solo that demonstrates an equal range to the OPs example. And yes it demonstrates touch sensitivity, whether you like the tone or not is kinda irrelevant, that’s personal taste. Touch sensitivity isn’t just about playing pianissimo :P.

Personally I’ve yet to hear a Dumble recording that actually impressed or that even stood out. I’m sure they’re great to play in person, but they and any alleged touch sensitivity they might have seems to not translate to recorded tone. I also have to admit I’m not a fan of solid state rectification, yes it can lead to a very fluid feel and sound, but to me it also has feel and sound characteristics of early amp sims.

It’s kinda reminds me that the tone of early amp sims was in many ways the quintessence of the direction amp tone was moving towards at that time, in the same way that digital consoles likewise when they first came out were the ultimate goal. It was only once everyone had this stuff in their hands they realized how bloody awful it was, you don’t want your guitar to be that fluid sounding with that linear a frequency response because it sounds plastic and fizzy, you also don’t want a totally transparent sounding recordings regardless of the ****ty headroom and aliasing issues of early digital gear, they were also just too pristine in a nasty way.

Now though we’re a quarter of a century on digital has embraced emulating the failings of analog gear, very well in many cases and we seem to love it all the more for that. Everyone uses a DAW, every band is using digital gear live or in the studio or both, even people who others obsess about the tone of like Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson etc.

@ enorbert2 - I don’t really see what the purpose of this thread is though. If you’re not willing to submit to the same rules of the game, and you’re not willing to put in the tiniest bit of effort in your own research... then what exactly is the outcome meant to be? If anything you seem to be the one who is feeling defensive and like the sacred cow has been killed, both by just starting the thread and then in your responses here to imagined slights. You haven’t actually demonstrated or proven anything yet so it feels like you’re hoping others are offended as you claim, yet I see no evidence that this is the case. People asking you to also join in with analog gear to your own request to see how you fare isn’t what I’d call defensive or offended, it’s just reasonable. After all digital isn’t some make easy button, if you don’t understand what’s involved in making that tone on record yourself with access to any gear at all then how will you judge what others do? As far as I can see - only unfavorably, for the same reason you should never do a cover version without giving it your own twist, because you’re just setting yourself up for failure and unfavorable comparison, you can never be that other person at that time in that place. By also submitting to your own challenge you will move from armchair philosophy to practical and both you and those joining in might hope to actually get something from it.
Interesting.
If you cannot follow enobert's rules - just change the rules. Hmmm
I guess a good digital emulator, like Kemper, should be able to replicate the tone of a marshall with a decent suitable cab with reasonable accuracy? If you don't have a mini humbucker you should at least get close with a low output PAF, or a split humbucker? The fact that there is a range of sounds, from early breakup to clean should not matter?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
If you want an honest opinion about tone - don't tell or show the person you ask what this tone is produced by.
This statement is confirmed time and time again: people hear with their ears, but listen with their brains - you can't unmix the information back once it has been poured in from all the directions at once. Blind testing and isolation is the way to test aural characteristics.
Maybe that's why this thread isn't being taken seriously? It's just bias incarnate.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
It’s an example of a solo that demonstrates an equal range to the OPs example. And yes it demonstrates touch sensitivity, whether you like the tone or not is kinda irrelevant, that’s personal taste. Touch sensitivity isn’t just about playing pianissimo :P.
I don't perceive it as anywhere near the same range. Maybe that's because I grew up with that sound and feel and apparently you grew up with more of the "shred":influence, but As I said it's better than earlier digital and I've witnessed Kemper improve, too, but it is most definitely AFAIK there yet.

A more modern example would be the contrast between Kurt Cobain's dynamics and that of Mike McCready. Cobain was a huge fan of open with clean and then stomp on a pedal or three. There is almost zero transition. It's "A", then "Z". McCready can't be characterized as passing through all of the letters but he does exhibit transition and depends some on Power Amp overdrive as opposed to that in the Preamp.

To my mind, shredding is much more in line with the Cobain "dynamic".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
Personally I’ve yet to hear a Dumble recording that actually impressed or that even stood out. I’m sure they’re great to play in person, but they and any alleged touch sensitivity they might have seems to not translate to recorded tone.
Never heard Robben Ford or David Lindley?... or even to some degree, Bonamassa?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
Everyone uses a DAW, every band is using digital gear live or in the studio or both, even people who others obsess about the tone of like Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson etc.
OMG ofc everyone uses a DAW since recording is REPRODUCTION, and decidedly NOT any manner of attempt to behave like a musical instrument. I can easily imagine Knopfler going digital for guitar sound since his dynamic range down is limited much like shredders excepting being down in the Clean Zone, rather than in the distorted and compressed zone.

AFAIK Eric Johnson still uses Fuzz Face and old tape Echoplex. I can imagine him doing digital live since damage and theft is so common on the road, but in the studio it is my understanding his rig is mostly analog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
@ enorbert2 - I don’t really see what the purpose of this thread is though. If you’re not willing to submit to the same rules of the game, and you’re not willing to put in the tiniest bit of effort in your own research... then what exactly is the outcome meant to be? .
The purpose of this thread primarily is for me to hear from people who are into digital guitar amplification and get updated on progress, if any. The secondary purpose is anyone else who would like the same. I am submitting to my own rules since I provided one example of very dynamic response with analog and thousands more exist. I have yet to hear a digital device get even close, still to this day.

The outcome, as far as you are concerned, is either contribute to that end, which at least you made a stab at it, or simply stop complaining it isn't the exact thread you would create and approve of. Yuri Kogan hits the nail square on the head when he states you don't like my rules and wish to make them your rules. You wish to make it a preferred tone contest and that is entirely subjective. I wish it to be far more objective.

I suspect asking you to participate is like asking your opinion on the finer points of flavor in preparing Monkey Brains or Tripe. You just can't relate since you apparently don't like any example of vocal-like touch sensitivity as showcased for one example above in "Spooky" and find it boring. That's OK. Just move on then. It isn't likely you have anything more to contribute than continued conflict and disruption.

It's not a contest between people. No winners will exist or be awarded. It's about gear characteristics. Got it?

Last edited by enorbet2; 4 weeks ago at 06:33 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orson Maxwell View Post
If you want an honest opinion about tone - don't tell or show the person you ask what this tone is produced by.
This statement is confirmed time and time again: people hear with their ears, but listen with their brains - you can't unmix the information back once it has been poured in from all the directions at once. Blind testing and isolation is the way to test aural characteristics.
Maybe that's why this thread isn't being taken seriously? It's just bias incarnate.
Actually in looking over the responses, especially the more negative ones, while you make a valid point to factor in, I think it is far more about conflation and cognitive dissonance. It is everywhere these days where if a person attacks another's argument it is viewed as a personal attack since to that person the world is simply Bi-Polar and choices define us as Black vs/ White, Republican vs/ Democrat, etc etc etc. and completely across the board sameness. From my POV the world and most people in it are just not that simple to be pigeonholed in just two boxes..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
I hope I can be forgiven for not following the 'meta' controversy here.

But I am interested in the topic itself. I found the Line 6 Helix vid above helpful in that it seems to be representative of what I was getting at -- though, of course, I realized while watching it (once again) that listening to the final results without being the guitarist playing can only tell one so much in such a situation.

I'm not into the kind of old school crunch rock that dominated the examples, but I did pay special attention to the Hendrix-y clean tone section, as that is much closer to the path I attempt to pursue. The overall tone was attractive but, I hate to say it, it really didn't come alive in the fashion I would have liked to have heard -- and that led me to think that the system might not be able to deliver the sort of tonal/dynamic responsiveness I've become accustomed to. If I was a gigging guitarist in a cover band (not my idea of a good time but it's an honorable, valuable role in the music world), I might well consider such a system to allow me to instantly go from one required sound to another. But for playing or recording for my own artistic aims or simple pleasure? I suspect it wouldn't deliver what I'm looking for.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Well, getting back on topic, I can try and see what I can do with today's digital toys, but I firmly believe that guitar amplification is not ready to be taken seriously from the DSP people. There seems to be a gap between DSP programmers, guitar players and amp designers which is not being bridged by any of them.
From a technical standpoint, I think that cutting corners won't do here - one would require deepest understanding of tonal structure of classic amplification and then have enough computing power to come close to that in reasonable times (1-3ms).
This is an interesting topic which I actively research, but I can't show you the end result yet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
@ enorbert2 - Stop putting words in my mouth, geez. You really keep on assuming how I or others feel, and now what sort of music I grew up with and insults, it’s constant ad hominem from you isn’t it when you don’t get your own way. If you want to know my influences then listen to the music I make for my own pleasure in the link on my signature in every post I have. Reciprocate.

As for those guitarists, sorry no I’m not into shred. I do appreciate the technique and historical context, but outside of Paul Gilbert it’s an extremely patchy genre with far too much unlistenable dross where quantity matters more than quality. I also don’t like the muso fret******y of those dumble artists you posted, you missed out Eric Johnson if you wanted to include a shred artist. Anyhow could any of them have a more generic tone? Sorry, If you don’t understand that what matters comes from the fingers then perhaps you might think the amp is actually the biggest factor. The players that matter to me could play through anything and sound the same.

All I’ve been asking for from you is some clarification of exactly what the rules are, and pointing out the logical fallacy in trying to deliver what you’ve asked for so far when the playing field isn’t level.

You just demonstrated that with your responses to a video that shows just as much dynamic range as the video you posted which to be honest doesn’t really show what you think it does, pssst... it’s not very dynamic, good feel yes, dynamic? Not really. Even so you want people who have the time (i.e. amateurs like me) to do it to go up against a classic and hugely successful commercial recording made by a whole team of talented people, which of course they will only be found wanting at for deviating even slightly from.

At the same time you claim you want to know where digital sims are now, but rather than doing a basic google search, or even making a thread to have people post examples you set up some doomed to failure competition for the people on this forum to participate in, which seems based around a prejudice in its purest definition, I.e, pre-judgement. It seems clear that anything will be judged on their own tonal preferences and technique rather than the ostensible criteria of “dynamic tone”.

Why in earth would anyone want to submit to that? You really haven't sold this well. You haven’t tried to build people up or make a learning experience, just cut people down and be negative. What’s the value to others?

Let’s get back to basics : What is dynamics to you? A video isn’t enough because it contains many different forms of dynamics because it’s a non-technical term when used in isolation. Dynamic means so many different things to different people, whether loud to quiet (not demonstrated in Spooky), clean to dirty (also not demonstrated in Spooky), range of speeds of riffs, timing and nuanced playing demonstrating player range and technique, arrangement sparcity, a prevalence of finger and fret noise even, what? What exactly do you need a demo of? Spit it out. It’s confusing when you post an example that doesn’t match the expectation of your words. Most technical things can be demonstrated with only a couple of notes, you don’t need a full production. Knowing what you want could save everyone who may still be inclined to add anything to your thread a lot of time.


@ Yuri - you’re as bad as enorbert on this. Pot kettle on rule changing. It doesn’t matter what I would post, because you cannot be satisfied as long as you have a preconception.

Orson is 100% right on this one.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orson Maxwell View Post
Well, getting back on topic, I can try and see what I can do with today's digital toys, but I firmly believe that guitar amplification is not ready to be taken seriously from the DSP people. There seems to be a gap between DSP programmers, guitar players and amp designers which is not being bridged by any of them.
From a technical standpoint, I think that cutting corners won't do here - one would require deepest understanding of tonal structure of classic amplification and then have enough computing power to come close to that in reasonable times (1-3ms).
This is an interesting topic which I actively research, but I can't show you the end result yet.
Is this thread a bunch of past-their-prime guitarists afraid of technology?

No one is posting their tones. No one is posting their clips.

Truly this thread is a joke.

I offered to post my sound after the OP posts his amazing, face-melting, all-analog guitar chain rendition of Spooky.

More paragraphs in your response doesn't = better guitar tone.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by traumerei1838 View Post
Is this thread a bunch of past-their-prime guitarists afraid of technology?

No one is posting their tones. No one is posting their clips.

Truly this thread is a joke.

I offered to post my sound after the OP posts his amazing, face-melting, all-analog guitar chain rendition of Spooky.

More paragraphs in your response doesn't = better guitar tone.
If you click the link below my name, you'll find a bunch of guitar tracks there and I can wager you won't know digitally processed tracks from analog ones.

I just don't know why I should have posted anything here. If I say that a particular track is digital (which is implied by the OP), then everyone would immediately find a dozen different flaws in it. I love heavy metal, why should I post recordings to a thread where people are yet to agree upon what "dynamic" is?

Chill out, mate - we have plenty of people attacking someone in this thread already.

By the way, where's your clip then?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
@ enorbert2 - Stop putting words in my mouth, geez. You really keep on assuming how I or others feel, and now what sort of music I grew up with and insults, it’s constant ad hominem from you isn’t it when you don’t get your own way. If you want to know my influences then listen to the music I make for my own pleasure in the link on my signature in every post I have. Reciprocate.

As for those guitarists, sorry no I’m not into shred. I do appreciate the technique and historical context, but outside of Paul Gilbert it’s an extremely patchy genre with far too much unlistenable dross where quantity matters more than quality. I also don’t like the muso fret******y of those dumble artists you posted, you missed out Eric Johnson if you wanted to include a shred artist. Anyhow could any of them have a more generic tone? Sorry, If you don’t understand that what matters comes from the fingers then perhaps you might think the amp is actually the biggest factor. The players that matter to me could play through anything and sound the same.

All I’ve been asking for from you is some clarification of exactly what the rules are, and pointing out the logical fallacy in trying to deliver what you’ve asked for so far when the playing field isn’t level.

You just demonstrated that with your responses to a video that shows just as much dynamic range as the video you posted which to be honest doesn’t really show what you think it does, pssst... it’s not very dynamic, good feel yes, dynamic? Not really. Even so you want people who have the time (i.e. amateurs like me) to do it to go up against a classic and hugely successful commercial recording made by a whole team of talented people, which of course they will only be found wanting at for deviating even slightly from.

At the same time you claim you want to know where digital sims are now, but rather than doing a basic google search, or even making a thread to have people post examples you set up some doomed to failure competition for the people on this forum to participate in, which seems based around a prejudice in its purest definition, I.e, pre-judgement. It seems clear that anything will be judged on their own tonal preferences and technique rather than the ostensible criteria of “dynamic tone”.

Why in earth would anyone want to submit to that? You really haven't sold this well. You haven’t tried to build people up or make a learning experience, just cut people down and be negative. What’s the value to others?

Let’s get back to basics : What is dynamics to you? A video isn’t enough because it contains many different forms of dynamics because it’s a non-technical term when used in isolation. Dynamic means so many different things to different people, whether loud to quiet (not demonstrated in Spooky), clean to dirty (also not demonstrated in Spooky), range of speeds of riffs, timing and nuanced playing demonstrating player range and technique, arrangement sparcity, a prevalence of finger and fret noise even, what? What exactly do you need a demo of? Spit it out. It’s confusing when you post an example that doesn’t match the expectation of your words. Most technical things can be demonstrated with only a couple of notes, you don’t need a full production. Knowing what you want could save everyone who may still be inclined to add anything to your thread a lot of time.


@ Yuri - you’re as bad as enorbert on this. Pot kettle on rule changing. It doesn’t matter what I would post, because you cannot be satisfied as long as you have a preconception.

Orson is 100% right on this one.
Ohh, I'm not that bad
Look Enorbert wants to see if current state of digital able to convincingly replicate a tone he particularly likes (it that time, maybe not tomorrow :-) ). He is not that fussed with the playing technique either. Simple enough. If it happens he may buy a Kemper (???) . And become a proponent of digital.
The example you posted is not my cup of coffee (Russian coffee), I just thought that an example of touch sensitive it ain't. But I'm an amp snob, so who cares. If the sound suits the song for the artist, I'm not one to argue. If I was making a decision I would use something else (tube, profile, emulation, whatever)
BTW, still didn't get anyone to demo me the latest Kemper. Surely there are some in Australia
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 
enorbet2's Avatar
@ mdme_sadie -

Apparently I need to make a minor but sincere apology to you for jumping to the conclusion that you were "a shredder". I hadn't connected the link in your signature to sound clips then and just now I followed your link and I spent a rather enjoyable half hour listening to roughly half of your tracks from that link. I think it is good, creative Music with a fairly wide variety of moods. I hope you understand my initial assessment was a result of the Line 6 example you chose to post, whose intro is decidedly Shred, so right from the jump that's what I expected.

Please note however, that initial impression did not stop me from an objective listen nor acknowledging that I can detect improvement in dynamic tracking. In fact I really don't understand at all where you get "negative and insulting" from any of my responses to you.

If it was about the Monkey Brains analogy that was not meant as any manner of insult. It was built on the assumption that you would not enjoy monkey brains and likely never ate them, which also includes me, but the salient point was neither of us could talk about which recipes are best because we imagine we wouldn't like any of them and have zero experience with them. If that isn't what offended you then please, by all means, quote something I wrote that you find negative or insulting. I'd sincerely like an opportunity to either find myself having slipped or to explain how that might have been the impression when that was not my intent. I assure you that if I consciously chose to insult you I would have the principles and cajones to admit it.

Now having said all that let me try to be perfectly clear even though I think I've covered this already. I find your guitar playing, while quite enjoyable and in some cases even quite emotionally moving, to be somewhat like what I described above as The Cobain Style, where you either play "Night" or play "Day" when what I am describing is "Dusk" and "Dawn" with a gradual smooth progression between Day and Night.

That is the nuanced dynamics I am referring to, not merely the total range from Clean to Distorted. It's the In- Betweens that matter most to me, and while I recognize that style is not applicable to all forms of Music, it is in fact something that AFAIK is not done at all well by digital amps.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Haha, no it’s fine. I think I get where Enorbert is coming from now more, it’s about pick hand dynamics, volume response digging in vs light touch, and would love to make a few clips, but the trouble is I’m about to head out for a week so it’ll have to wait a few days. Modelers are plenty capable of delivering lots of dynamic range, often too much. But it also comes down to arrangement and production, to convey good range and tone in a mix is a real art form. It’s much easier to show it with a solo instrument, because once there are other instruments competing for those frequencies you end up losing a lot of the available dynamic range in terms of volume that your guitar has to play with before it disappears.

You won’t find a lot of examples of that form of dynamic playing in my noodles becauseits solo work and I don’t focus much on solos for four reasons, firstly I’m not very good at them, secondly they don’t really move me as much as good chord changes and textures e.g. my favorite or ideal solo is on Cinnamon Girl... actually scratch that the guitar solo in Patches, third because I tend to emphasize very even attack in my playstyle to overcome failings in my mixing (i.e. it always remains audible), and fourth they’re almost entirely improvisations because I only spend a couple of hours on each with only a couple of exceptions where I’ve done a collaboration due to work/life time constraints which doesn’t leave a lot of time to compose something nice for a solo.

If the aim is only to hear pick dynamics then sure I’m game and it’ll be a fun exercise for when I get back. Though it’ll probably just be solo instrument because of my poor mixing and likely not the solo from Spooky.
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