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Vox AC30/Fender Twin HELP!!!
Old 17th October 2003
  #1
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Vox AC30/Fender Twin HELP!!!

Spent the day today trying to capture a basic dirty rythm sound as a starting point for the guitars on this current project... and never before have I been so dumbfounded by a guitar amp, let alone two in one day. I'm not going for high-gain, although I've done that with great success in the past. Think more along the lines of At The Drive-In/Mars Volta guitar tones... clarity, grit, cutting yet not overpowering. With a Gibson SG and a Fender Tele (both in fine shape and have worked well for me in the past), I couldn't get a single useable or workable dirt sound with either the AC30 or Twin, and tried just about every pickup/EQ/gain/master volume/pedal combo that was available. I was attacking the amps with a 57 and Soundelux U195 through DRS-2 with a variety of outboard to play with, if I ever get that far... and the real catch was that it was absolute cake getting good clean sounds with either amp! I was completely thrown for a loop today and had my ass handed to me about 20 times in 8 hours. These two combos completely took me to the cleaners.
Old 17th October 2003
  #2
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

The only variable you haven't mentioned is the guitar player.

-R
Old 17th October 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Come on man, you've been at this long enough to know what the deal is with dirt guitar. Assuming the player is good...

Forget the Twin for dirt. It just ain't gonna happen. The AC30 is much more usable but it's gotta be running really hot. Did you try jumping the inputs like you would with a Plexi? It's also possible that the AC30 might not be the right amp for the music. Did ya try your JCM 800?

What's sucking about the guitar sounds your getting? Get something cool coming out of the amp and then try and capture that. Honestly, I'd ditch the two mics and stick with one mic and one pre if your having that many problems.

Of course I could always pop over and con$ult for a few hour$ and bring a few amps from my collection over.
heh
Old 17th October 2003
  #4
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

Try putting a good Tubescreamer type pedal in the chain. I use either a MJM Blues Devil or a Vox Valvetone pedal in front of my AC30 for dirt.
Old 17th October 2003
  #5
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Omar usually uses a fender type guitar into a fender amp. Usually the lower wattage ones. Run the power section hot. This may get loud on a twin. Try pulling out either the inner two power tubes or the outer two and you wont have to crank it as much to drive the power section. The new Mars Volta album if not mistaken is mainly a U67 up close through a Fender amp. I'll second the tubescreamer. Just a little grit from the pedal combined with quite a bit of preamp distortion and a little power amp distortion and you'll be rockin. For a little extra grit after the fact, back off the master fader on your Phoenix and crank up the pre. Try not to get too much distortion from any one gain stage or you'll lose clarity.
Old 17th October 2003
  #6
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Thanks for all the tips guys... unfortunately i've tried most of them already though. Tubescreamer (TS10 modded to original 808 specs) wasn't really happening with either amp. My Fulltone 69 fuzz sounded great through the Vox in the room but didn't translate well at all. The Twin actually sounded best, but there was a funny midrange happening that I couldn't get rid of without losing serious balls. BTW, it's a 2-channel 4x6L6 5x12AX7 reissue with gain on both channels. My usually killer JCM 800 2203 head just wasn't the sound we were looking for, way too "rock" for such an "indie" band, lol. The biggest problem with either amp was getting the appropriate amount of gain while retaining clarity... the Vox would get wierd in the highs, the Fender would get wierd in the low mids and bottom. I didn't even get to try both mics together... just messed with one or the other til i got frustrated, lol. And both amps sound somewhat good in the room, during drum tracking I couldn't wait to have a go at the Vox. I'll hit it tomorrow morning with a clear head and see what happens. Maybe it was just too many hours of guitar and coffee with no food
Old 17th October 2003
  #7
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
The only variable you haven't mentioned is the guitar player.

-R
He's the one variable that has to remain constant... not too bad at all though.
Old 17th October 2003
  #8
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robmix's Avatar
Don't know what they used in the studio, but live Mars Volta used a pair of Orange AD-30's with a big ass pile of footpedals.


Rob
Old 17th October 2003
  #9
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neopotato's Avatar
 

Mate heh

Listen carefully, what you need is a sweet amp, and maybe a guitar with a different pickup, what kind are in the SG? soap dish or humbuckers. Try find somthing with a p90 for some serious dirt. As for amps, forget the AC30 for a mars volta sound. What you reallly want is a hughes & ketnler duo head with a nice cab Put it on, crank it up and plug in. then get a 57 an stick it on a speaker,bout an inch back, twiddle it a bit till it sounds nice and add a little gentle comp on the way in ((2:1) thresh so it lops off a fair bit of the top, attack short for super strummers and med to long for percussive guitar parts)untill it is really getting a nice crunchy/chuggy sound. Reicently did this and got a sweet tone
I do agree about what someone said about if the guitarist though. A sloppy rhythm guitarist has the elegance of a walrus...

Everybodys alright.....
Everybodys alright.....
Everybodys alright.....
Everybodys alright.....
Old 17th October 2003
  #10
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

Another idea - run two amps at the same time, one completely clean, the other dirty, then blend to taste.
Old 17th October 2003
  #11
Gear Nut
 

check this site out for Mars Volta and ATDI equipment list,,,might give u an idea what to use.

http://atdiequipment.cjb.net/

/mike
Old 17th October 2003
  #12
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Kris's Avatar
For a 'fender dirty rhythm' sound, you'd get there a lot quicker with a Super or vibrolux or delux ... but since you don't have that...

One trick I've found to get a bit more beef and to break up a bit quicker is to put the amp less than 6 inches from a wall... the open back interacting with the close wall gives a tone I like...
Old 17th October 2003
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
aardvark's Avatar
 

If these are the only amps and gtr you have to work with why not
try the old route the gtr through an old crossover unit and send the lows and highs to different models. Place the amps two feet away (facing each) other and stick and omni or fig 8 in the middle...adjust to taste. I recorded a nice SG custom the other night that had been rewired to allow a TRS jack to carry the middle pick-up to the ring. We sent the different pick-ups to two different amps and kaboom!!! The leaning in on the strings brought out some nice changes between the amps...very cool indeed.

Cheers,
Aardvark
Old 17th October 2003
  #14
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toledo3's Avatar
 

The cheapest solution is to get a overdrive pedal and turn it on- but basically keep the overdrive set to 0. Don't be afraid to cut alot of bass using the amp eq.
Old 17th October 2003
  #15
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jpaudio
He's the one variable that has to remain constant... not too bad at all though.
Well what does he usually do to get his sound? After you've given it the old college try for upteen hours the turd definitely belongs back in his pocket. Presumably he has something to bring to the party. Does it have to be a twin or an AC-30? Does it have to be a Mars Volta sound?

Since I know little about guitar amps I reached into my stack of "Oblique Strategy" cards (Brian Eno & Peter Schmidt) and pulled one for you.

No ****e, it says "Honour thy error as a hidden intention".

-R
Old 17th October 2003
  #16
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toledo3's Avatar
 

You can use a mic pre and xlr to 1/4 inch adapters to overload the input of the amp, but be careful. I am not sure I know what the "mars-volta" sound is though.
Old 18th October 2003
  #17
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Well what does he usually do to get his sound? After you've given it the old college try for upteen hours the turd definitely belongs back in his pocket. Presumably he has something to bring to the party. Does it have to be a twin or an AC-30? Does it have to be a Mars Volta sound?
The guitarist usually plays an Ibanez tele knockoff through a Digitech box o' **** into his AC30. It doesn't necessarily have to be a Twin or AC30, or Mars Volta-type sound, but those are the two amps we have available at the moment, and that is the album which has been our point of reference.

We had some good luck today, popped a Seymour Duncan JB into the SG (what a difference, f*ck Gibson pickups!) and tried a good ol' Boss DS-1 pedal with the distortion at 0 and level cranked into the Fender set super clean. That came the closest to the sound in my head. we'll see what tomorrow brings, thank god for unlimited time.
Old 18th October 2003
  #18
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by jpaudio
We had some good luck today, popped a Seymour Duncan JB into the SG (what a difference, f*ck Gibson pickups!)
See! What have I been telling you all along?
Old 18th October 2003
  #19
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
See! What have I been telling you all along?
Haha, true... they had an Alnico 2 but I went with the JB since I'm more familiar with it... it turned my SG into a much more useable studio guitar. What's a good neck pickup to compliment the JB?
Old 18th October 2003
  #20
Gear Addict
 

SD Jazz or '59 are often paired with the JB. The Alnico II might actually be a bit smoother than you're looking for in this particular instance.

Can the AC-30's speakers handle the Twin with a pair of output tubes pulled? Might give you better crunch and spit.

For what I understand to be the sound you're shooting for, the more primative the Fender, the better. Brownface being better than Blackface, Tweed better than Brownface, and two-tube or single-ended power configurations offering less refinement than the full on Twin Reverb. Oh, and the Fender outboard reverb in front of the amp is much better than the built-ins.

Bear
Old 18th October 2003
  #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gone Fission
SD Jazz or '59 are often paired with the JB. The Alnico II might actually be a bit smoother than you're looking for in this particular instance.

Can the AC-30's speakers handle the Twin with a pair of output tubes pulled? Might give you better crunch and spit.

For what I understand to be the sound you're shooting for, the more primative the Fender, the better. Brownface being better than Blackface, Tweed better than Brownface, and two-tube or single-ended power configurations offering less refinement than the full on Twin Reverb. Oh, and the Fender outboard reverb in front of the amp is much better than the built-ins.

Bear
The speaker thing is a very good point. Stock Vox and Fender speakers aren't always the best rock speakers. I'm pretty sure the Vox Blue Bell (is that what they are?) are only rated at 15w each so a fender at 50w is a little scary. It's not so much the power as it is the Square waves that will blow them. Something with Greenbacks or maybe Vintage 30's will probably work better for the type of tone you are going for. The speakers in fenders kick ass for clean or bluesy tones but not so much for rock. Greenbacks have a nice midrange for distorted tones.
Old 18th October 2003
  #22
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jbuntz
The speaker thing is a very good point. Stock Vox and Fender speakers aren't always the best rock speakers. I'm pretty sure the Vox Blue Bell (is that what they are?) are only rated at 15w each so a fender at 50w is a little scary. It's not so much the power as it is the Square waves that will blow them. Something with Greenbacks or maybe Vintage 30's will probably work better for the type of tone you are going for. The speakers in fenders kick ass for clean or bluesy tones but not so much for rock. Greenbacks have a nice midrange for distorted tones.
Our Vox has Greenbacks in it, but i feel they've seen better days. Fender is stock, not much breakup at all. I'd be afraid of running the Twin into the Greenbacks though.

Someone mentioned taking the inner or outer pair of 6L6s out of the Fender... could I do this with the EL84s in the Vox as well?
Old 18th October 2003
  #23
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I'm not sure how the AC30's circuit goes. Chances are you could pull a pair of tubes and not have problems. If the amp sounds weird abandon ship quickly and throw the tubes back in.

BTW, Duncan Jazz for the neck.
Old 19th October 2003
  #24
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sonic dogg's Avatar
I gotta agree with the SD Jazz with the JB at the bridge...this has been a setup for me that has worked everytime..A lot variation for sure but for some reason they work well in the middle position.

Sounds like to me, the amp you need for this bed track might be a low wattage fender...ala Deluxe/Vibrolux/Tone King with a single speaker that has some strength to it...ala.JBL/ALTEC?
Sounds like you want the tubes getting hot but not driving the speaker out of shape.....just my $6.57.
Old 19th October 2003
  #25
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Saucyjack's Avatar
 

DON'T pull the Vox tubes.

Should be fine running the Twin into Greenbacks...just don't crank it way up.Twin w/Greenbacks isn't my cup o tea but might work.
The Greenbacks are ok speakers...not really "voxy" more of a midrange Marshall vibe which will probably work better for the sound you are going for.
Old 19th October 2003
  #26
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jpaudio's Avatar
 

Just wanted to thank all of you for your tips these past few days, i've tried as many as possible and learned a hell of a lot along the way. We ended up with (go figure!) a Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion, which i'm starting to think is the most versatile damn thing in my collection, set in between OD and Dist modes with very little drive, through the Fender set as clean as possible but moving some air, 57 on axis, an inch left of center cone, and an inch off the grill, through the DRS-2 with a touch of Distressor 4:1 and Dist 3. This was the sound I had in my head since we started this whole shabang, and it fit perfectly in the track, nice and snug with the drums and bass. Gritty but clear, cutting with some mid warmth, dynamic and responsive. I felt like such a schmuck when after 2 days of amp tweaking, pickup swapping, name calling and pedal throwing, we end up getting exactly what we want with a $60 Taiwan-made stompbox, but hey, whatever works, right?

Thanks again everyone!
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