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fender amp buzz w/o instrument
Old 18th September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 
missswan's Avatar
 

fender amp buzz w/o instrument

Bought a new Fender Blues junior that's very buzzy without any instruments plugged in and all knobs at zero. Turning knobs up has no effect on the buzz. Changed rooms and ran through a nice furman conditioner to no avail. Took it back to the store and exchanged it for another only to have the same experience (2nd one was slightly more buzzy). Store told me all amps buzz a little! This also happened last year with a deluxe reverb. We ran mic'ing tests and the buzz was present, again, with all knobs at zero and no input.

Are they pumping these things out in Mexico with cheap circuitry/resistors/capacitors or whatever?

Is it even possible to get a tube amp set up, either combo or head/cab in the $500-$1,500 range that doesn't have cheap circuitry/buzz issues? So frustrating!! Any info would be much appreciated!
Old 18th September 2011
  #2
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cavern's Avatar
 

My deluxe reverb doesn't buzz.These are made in the USA not that i think it should make a difference or maybe it does.
There is a tiny tube hiss though but nothing that would affect the recording.
Old 18th September 2011
  #3
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swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
Is it even possible to get a tube amp set up, either combo or head/cab in the $500-$1,500 range that doesn't have cheap circuitry/buzz issues? So frustrating!! Any info would be much appreciated!
Allen Amps.

All tube amps will have slight to no hum to them that would be an issue when recording.
Old 18th September 2011
  #4
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Chasbenson's Avatar
 

Usually it's the reverb return....turn the reverb down and see what happens. It couples electromagnetically to the power transformer.
Old 18th September 2011
  #5
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popmann's Avatar
got a dimmer switch in the whole building? Doesn't even matter if it's on the same circuit. Hypothetically if you had the studio running off an ISO transformer it would fix it, but it's cheaper to remove the $2 dimmer.

Have you plugged any OTHER amps in there? I mean-it's an analog unit--you might have a bad tube...bad connection...etc...but, that's where you want a second different amp to see if it has the same buzz before assuming it's the amp.
Old 18th September 2011
  #6
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missswan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasbenson View Post
Usually it's the reverb return....turn the reverb down and see what happens. It couples electromagnetically to the power transformer.
The knobs had no effect on the buzz.
Old 18th September 2011
  #7
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missswan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
got a dimmer switch in the whole building? Doesn't even matter if it's on the same circuit. Hypothetically if you had the studio running off an ISO transformer it would fix it, but it's cheaper to remove the $2 dimmer.

Have you plugged any OTHER amps in there? I mean-it's an analog unit--you might have a bad tube...bad connection...etc...but, that's where you want a second different amp to see if it has the same buzz before assuming it's the amp.
My Ampeg B3 doesn't buzz. Nothing has buzz in my studio.
Old 18th September 2011
  #8
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That's solid state...and a modern design. But, ok.

It probably the amp or it's tubes. Since you have no other tube amps, you likely don't have spares to troubleshoot the tubes. Don't know what to tell you-I have 4 amps here 3 hardwired (which is actually the worst for noise/interference)...and have had a tweed Bjr here. None buzzed. Unless were just talking the normal level of noise that comes from a tube amp, which is generally more hiss than "buzz".

When we moved in, there was a dimmer upstairs that despite it's own circuit and a real earth ground run (and line regulators and conditioners), made the amps all buzz like crazy.

I wouldn't take it that all your modern digital gear and a SS bass amp doesn't buzz as a 100% confirmation/sign your AC is clean.
Old 18th September 2011
  #9
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missswan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I wouldn't take it that all your modern digital gear and a SS bass amp doesn't buzz as a 100% confirmation/sign your AC is clean.
Ran it through a nice furman power conditioner... wouldn't that clean up the AC?
Old 18th September 2011
  #10
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django's Avatar
 

Does it buzz with an instrument plugged in the input?
Old 18th September 2011
  #11
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
Ran it through a nice furman power conditioner... wouldn't that clean up the AC?
Not even a line regulator did here. Which is why said that theoretically, a isolation transformer unit would, since it's actually regenerating the power from scratch...but, theme ain't cheap, you know?

Is it your house or a commercial building? Do you know if there's a dimmer? I'm telling you-drove me nuts when webmoved in here...I'd even had the power/wiring inspected, and a new breaker run with a new earth ground for the studio...wife was ticked for a few minutes-I pointed out that they were the only incandescent lights in the house...we found some nice CFLs and installed an on off switch.
Old 18th September 2011
  #12
Registered User
I've never been impressed with Fender amps (at least the ones that make it to the shops here in New Zealand, where we have 240V 50Hz AC).

Too freakin noisy by far - compared to, say, Orange or anything well made.

For a start - I believe they run the tube heaters on AC. A good amp will have filtered DC for the heaters - they last longer, and don't hum.

Buzz is worse than hum, and this suggests to me that perhaps you have bad AC power with unwanted harmonics (AC is no longer a pure sine wave). This is often the case as the grid can get very dirty at times ... and the massive uptake of switching power supplies, including dirty great industrial ones for variable speed pumps etc, is ripping the **** out of clean AC power.

If you have access to a pure sinewave inverter and a dedicated ground spike for an earth, you might be amazed at how quiet the amp can sound. But even the purest sine AC is still AC ... so if your amp design is based on cheap/poor/non-existant shielding and AC on the tube heaters, you'll still get AC hum. But a pure AC hum sounds quite nice, unlike the ugly square wave buzz that has harmonics all up the spectrum.
Old 19th September 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
I've never been impressed with Fender amps (at least the ones that make it to the shops here in New Zealand, where we have 240V 50Hz AC).

Too freakin noisy by far - compared to, say, Orange or anything well made.

For a start - I believe they run the tube heaters on AC. A good amp will have filtered DC for the heaters - they last longer, and don't hum.

Buzz is worse than hum, and this suggests to me that perhaps you have bad AC power with unwanted harmonics (AC is no longer a pure sine wave). This is often the case as the grid can get very dirty at times ... and the massive uptake of switching power supplies, including dirty great industrial ones for variable speed pumps etc, is ripping the **** out of clean AC power.

If you have access to a pure sinewave inverter and a dedicated ground spike for an earth, you might be amazed at how quiet the amp can sound. But even the purest sine AC is still AC ... so if your amp design is based on cheap/poor/non-existant shielding and AC on the tube heaters, you'll still get AC hum. But a pure AC hum sounds quite nice, unlike the ugly square wave buzz that has harmonics all up the spectrum.
This is very informative. I've never heard of sinewave inverter before... I live in a-yr-old new house. Yesterday I brought home an Orange TT combo 10. It doesn't buzz at all, just a very pleasant hum. Does that mean there's no problem with the AC in my house?
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
My Ampeg B3 doesn't buzz. Nothing has buzz in my studio.
Obviously this is the only Fender amp in your studio.

heh


Wait. Why am I laughing? I have an original Blues Jr and it's noisy as hell.

I love the tone and if you turn it up then you get above at least some of the noise floor. Unfortunately, you've really got to turn it up to get above the noise floor if you're using reverb.

Pertinent to what others have noted above, the big noise on my amp comes when you inch the reverb knob up.

I presume that, as in so many Fender designs, this reflects poorly conceived/executed signal buffering for the reverb loop. Unfortunately, the big draw for me to this amp was the reverb, as I was coming from a much better built and designed Carvin amp that had no reverb (and that also seemed to be better 'voiced' for humbucker guitars -- but I use an all single-coil Strat -- itself a painfully noisy instrument).


This is a great site full of info about Blues Jr's as well as tips on how to de-noisify and otherwise mod them:

http://billmaudio.com/wp/?page_id=2

I keep meaning to get busy and perform some of these mods... but it seems like I barely play electric these days. And then the stupid nut on my Fender Strat fell apart. Never seen anything like it. I glued it back together in one place only to have it easily break in another. Freakin' fender. Next Strat I buy will be a clone; I'm thinking G&L.
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
Registered User
Freakin' Fender - the best instruments and amps ever - BUT - they need fixing from new just to be useable. The catch is, change anything and you change the tone. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Spring reverbs are notoriously noisy, which is why I never bother trying amps with a spring. I've just found Fender amps to be noisy, period.

misswan - sounds like your AC is probably ok if you are happy with the Orange. A new house should have a good ground connection, so you should be good to go.

When I was younger, I thought you could just buy an expensive brand name amp that some famous player uses, and it would sound good. Truth is, the guitar and amp industry has essentially been a fraud right from the early days. Endorsement deals and bait & switch - welcome to the music business baby.

The more you find out how classic guitar tones have been made, the more you find out that most equipment has to be heavily modified, and very often what was actually used is far removed from the hype and illusion.
Old 19th September 2011
  #16
Lives for gear
That nice Furman conditioner does nothing for 120 Hz buzz. Did the amp do it in the store? Only at home? Or any place? Something, possibly house wiring, is radiating noise that the amp is picking up.
Old 19th September 2011
  #17
Registered User
If the buzz is airborne EMI, you would expect the guitar to pick it up, and it should be clearly directional.

The Orange amps are just well designed - a steel chassis that behaves as a faraday cage. The Fender designs are just cheap **** that *may* have been acceptable in 1940, but sure as hell aren't appropriate for 2011.
Old 20th September 2011
  #18
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You could always try going direct into your interface and using guitar amp simulation like AmpliTube. Or if you want to stay with the ap you could also try noise removal after you record.
Old 21st September 2011
  #19
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chipss36's Avatar
 

hummmm

crap tubes can make noise, try some nos tubes ...
other than a very slight hiss both my deluxe reverb clone amps....are as quite as any tube amp out there. and great recording amps.
I wired them like leo did back in 1960, tube's from the 60s, coupling caps from the 60s, resistors from the 60s...clone vintage speakers "weber" clone vintage iron, "mercury" nothing wrong with old ideas, they work just fine.

reissue stuff? dont know never had any...

its not a problem with fender curcuts, they have been around making records for many years...
Old 21st September 2011
  #20
Registered User
Leo didn't have to put up with the sea of EMI that we are doused in. And his AC was probably pure sine wave.

Times have changed - in many ways for the worse. What worked in 1940 may not work as well as it used to. And public taste and standards have changed too. We now hear hiss and hum on our iPods, and out-of-tune vocals and a whole bunch of things that weren't an issue way back then when life was simple and the biggest worry was reds under the bed and nuclear fallout.

It's great that enthusiasts can keep the old gear running, but we need good stuff that works in 2011.

I dream of building a large grounded Faraday cage, with pure regenerated balanced AC power, so I can plug in single coils and all things Fender and actually make music without noise. Until then, there is an ocean of Fender shaped objects being produced by competitors BECAUSE of the deficiences in Leo's designs.
Old 21st September 2011
  #21
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A Blues Jr is hardly a Leo design. More like something Bruce Zinky or some other Fender designer left on a napkin in the cafeteria. But the PC board probably does have better noise immunity due to consistent signal routing than real tweeds.

But it is probably picking up, either though internal lead dress between jacks and boards, or the tubes, some airborne EMI from something in the house.
Old 21st September 2011
  #22
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and thats just it, a pc card lead dress is set in stone...point to point can be changed.... point to point/simi point to point. can be just as, or more so quite as a pcb card...depending on the pcb's layout.
lifting and star gounding reverb out/ins can make a huge diffrence in reverb amps, somthing I can change,
on a pcb...you cant. that is just one example....this is talking tube amps, digital, analog fx boxes, pres...ect the pcb, is a winner.

I am not keeping old amps running, I build clones of old amps, they are classics with classic tone, there are no plug ins that are close, sorry but there are not, and I love plugs and am a mix in the box guy for the most part, but name a plug thats nails srv's tone??? not happening.

I am not selling anything here, just 30 years of trial and error.

I have no problem with new ideas, but bashing classic fender, marshall, strat, les pual ...what ever is madness, they have defined rock, on both sides of the pond.defending them is surley not needed by me...lol again nothing wrong with old ideas, and much can be learned from them....

also in say 50 years my amps will still work....will anything "up to date"?
dought it.
and being classics, that make classic tone, still useable.
Old 21st September 2011
  #23
Lives for gear
Bit of a topic swerve but I'll bite. For a Ken Fischer type building one offs and moving lead dress around to stay on the hairy edge of stability, I understand. But for a production amp? Remember when Fender moved and got new workers in the mid '60s and folks didn't know how the lead dress was supposed to go?

Although I do admit that PWBs as implemented in much audio gear a kind of a joke and give the technology a bad name. Folks talk up how thick the board is or how thick the copper traces are as if those were the only arbiters of quality.

Right now I'm in the middle of designing and quoting out some test vehicles for some reliability tests I'm doing on latest and greatest solder alloys. It doesn't cost that much to have decent tech boards with stable and high RS02 performance.
Old 21st September 2011
  #24
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chipss36's Avatar
 

and you know there going to come back and ask you if it can be done cheeper...lol

suppose my plastic tea jug full of acid is outdated for etching???

muhahaha

yep off topic sorry folks.
Old 21st September 2011
  #25
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Topsoe's Avatar
 

In idle state with no input. There should be no noise because the input is shorted in the jack if not the input will act as an antenna , try shorting the input , there might be a humbalance pot (many fendes have them)
Old 21st September 2011
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missswan View Post
<snipped>

Is it even possible to get a tube amp set up, either combo or head/cab in the $500-$1,500 range that doesn't have cheap circuitry/buzz issues? So frustrating!! Any info would be much appreciated!
For that amount you can get a handwired-in-the-USA Emery Sound Superbaby with interchangeable tubes and money left over for a cab. Or Stagebaby. There are probably plenty of others because handbuilding amps in your garage seems really common. Frenzel comes to mind. D-lab amps does some funky stuff. Jule Amps Paycheck. I really don't mean to disparage your choice or Fender amps, but there has probably never been a better time than this for choices of amazing hand-built amps amps at reasonable prices without needing to go to the traditional big guys like Fender, Marshall etc.
Old 22nd September 2011
  #27
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chipss36's Avatar
 

well said....+1




Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilDW View Post
For that amount you can get a handwired-in-the-USA Emery Sound Superbaby with interchangeable tubes and money left over for a cab. Or Stagebaby. There are probably plenty of others because handbuilding amps in your garage seems really common. Frenzel comes to mind. D-lab amps does some funky stuff. Jule Amps Paycheck. I really don't mean to disparage your choice or Fender amps, but there has probably never been a better time than this for choices of amazing hand-built amps amps at reasonable prices without needing to go to the traditional big guys like Fender, Marshall etc.
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