Boston Sound - Modeling the Rockman Amplifiers & Modules

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx II Wish List' started by bjvanhalen, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. bjvanhalen

    bjvanhalen
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    The "Boston Sound" has been a guitar tone coveted still to this day. Unfortunately, The Rockman hardware (originally designed by Scholz Research & Development) is aging and was not always manufactured to the highest quality standards. Furthermore, Rockman modules are not always known to be reliable, and they are increasingly hard to find on eBay.

    My idea is this: wouldn't it be great if Fractal Audio created a Rockman amp module that acheives the Boston sound?!?!

    Here are some websites on the "Boston Sound":

    RockmanCentral.com
    Rockman.fr - Rockman samples
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholz_Research_&_Development,_Inc.

    Please feel free to comment. Cheers!
     
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  2. jefferski

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    +1
     
  3. FPFL

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    It would only be accurate if it modeled the sine wave noise the rockman chorus reliably made in the background.
    its one of the ways we could pick rockman gear out in songs back in the day during the quiet parts (before computer tracking made everything deathly silent or 0 DB that is!) .
     
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  4. bjvanhalen

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    FPFL, I think you are absolutely right! I believe the Rockman Sustainer with compression and preamp also plays some role. The Rockman Distortion Generator could be helpful too (in addition to the Rockman Chorus).

    Maybe by the time I can actually afford a Axe-Fx Ultra II, I could buy some Rockman modules too and make an attempt to model the sine wave, compression, and distortion. Still new to this website, so maybe there are already some patches available by members as well.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  5. steadystate

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    Some users have been asking for the Rockman for a very long time (I offered my Ultimatum pedal for analysis), but I don't believe Fractal is interested. In all honestly, I don't like the Rockman sound that much. It is very "stiff" and eliminates the finer aspects of your playing. IMO, the "Boston" tone I'm interested in is present only on the first two albums. I've had a hard time duplicating that tone as closely as other classic rock tones on my Ultra. From what I've read, the Rockman uses only LEDs for the distortion, along with compression and filtering to shape the tone.

    I did try a technique recently mentioned, where I recoreded a clip and ran it through a compressor with super-fast attach and release times (something like 1 ms release). It added that coarse-grained hair that is part of the early non-Rockman tone. I'm getting closer, but still not there yet.

    I vote for the Rockman, even though it shares something of the "stigma" the Carvin Legacy does. Seems a lot of people are very happy that Cliff included that amp in the latest firmware.
     
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  6. bjvanhalen

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    I agree with you that the first two albums have a much better tone, more organic. I think Scholz was still using Marshalls then.

    Your compression analysis is interesting, and I will keep it in mind for the future. Yes, generally the Boston sound is very "squashed" sounding and is kind of a one-trick-pony. Even more so on the later albums. Maybe the solution is to buy Axe-Fx (which I am doing anyways), as well as a Rockman module or two for when I do get the itch for the Rockman tone.
     
  7. luke

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    Adding a Rockman tone would just add fodder for the haters. I can see it now, "I played my buddy's Axe Fx man, and it sounded just like a crappy Rockman from 1988."
     
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  8. steadystate

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    Life is too short to worry about the haters. Love it or hate it, Rockman is a unique tone. That is why I would like it as a model.
     
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  9. jimfist

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    Having cut my gigging and live mixing teeth in the Rockman "belly of the beast" (north of Boston) in the early-mid 1980s, I am well acquainted with all things Rockman. IMO, the Rockman had essentially 2 sounds: the "chimey, chorus-ey" clean sound, and the distorted/overdrive sound - both had the sh*t compressed out of them, and it seemed no matter what guitar you plugged into these things, it would essentially sound the same and had little if any dynamics, and were always NOISY as all get out. They were a point in time "fad" sound that had a nice short run of about 8 years, but clearly the sound did not endure. Much like the old Gallien-Kruger guitar amps of the same period. I ask myself, why on EARTH would anyone want to go back to that wretched time period of guitar ANTI-tone?

    It might be a bit of a task, but rather than Cliff re-inventing the Rockman "tone stack" in an amp model, someone should just work to recreate these 2 sounds as presets. I agree, the first 2 Boston albums had the guitar sounds that rocked everyone's world, and those tones are worth chasing. Not so sure about the Rockman itself though, in terms of desirable tone.

    I remember in the mid-eighties, when the Boston-based band Farrenheit (Charlie Farren on vocals/guitar) was about to break big with MTV rotation for their song (Fool in Love ), but then something went wrong, deal fell through, and they returned home to play the local club circuit. These guys were ROCK STARS in Boston at that time (and really worth checking out, not only this album, but Charlie Farren himself, who is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter/guitarist and nice guy). Charlie was using all of the latest flagship Rockman preamp/amp/speaker setups, and IIRC, his sound using these was direct to FOH. (reference these old rockman print ads: Grail Tone - Rockman Ads ) I'm not so sure that, at the time, I was so impressed by the Rockman sounds, but more by the awesome overall sound and talent onstage. These guys were great! Sorry, to digress...

    If you really want to be a rebel today, find one of these Rockman combo amps and make this the basis of your sound. LOL
     
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  10. VegaBaby

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    huge fan of the Rockman clean sound here and requested it on many occasions, BUT, I agree with what some people said here, simply modeling the clean tone wouldn't be enough. that chorus and especially the compressor are essential to that tone and without those it wouldn't just be the same.
    on a side note...I'd also like to see the Gallien Krueger modeled :)
     
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  11. Admin M@

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    The question is simple: who has a Rockman to spare?
     
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  12. #12 steadystate, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    steadystate

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    I have an Ultimatum pedal I can lend Cliff. As long as I get it back eventually (only for resale if he models it), I'm happy. I'd just give it to him, but they go for between $300 and $400 on Ebay when you can find them.

    PM me if interested.
     
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  13. jimfist

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    The more I think about it, whether I personally cared for the trademark Rockman sounds, they are certainly significant enough in the lexicon of 1980s guitar sounds to warrant consideration. If done well, these trademark sounds would be very welcome to those who are performing cover tunes of that era, as well as anyone who simply likes those sounds for what they are worth...so...why not? Funny thing is that the whole Rockman series of processors were really on the forefront of the whole "direct to console" way of thinking, which is what much of the AFX is all about. How funny/strange/ironic would it be to have it MODELED in the AFX?
     
  14. #14 widrace, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    widrace

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    I have a X-100 you can use. Weak on dynamics for live use. Adding some spunk there would go a long way. Works good sometimes as an element in a thick layer of guitar tracks though. Same PM if interested.
     
  15. bvaughn0402

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    Personally, I would rather see the early Boston amps modeled instead of the Rockman. While I owned a Rockman and loved it, it was always a simple attempt at the more complex Boston early sound.
     
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  16. VegaBaby

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    SEND IT TO FAS :) !
    Im sure Cliff can model that thing and if M@ gets it for comparison, he could provide settings for Chorus and Compressor. Mine unfortunately broke down years ago and haven't bought one since. just way too noisy to use in a modern day recording or live setup (just ask Steve Stevens about his Rockman adventures :) ).
     
  17. Shock410

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    Go check out Orion The Hunter....if you love Boston...you will love them...
    It's Barry Goudreaux and Brad Delps band from the 80s...
    Barrys leads are "Classic Boston!!!"
    Just FYI!!!
     
  18. #18 AdmiralB, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    AdmiralB

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    I agree with the majority here. I bought an X-100 in 1986; at the time, it was the only game in town for a decent headphone amp - but I'd have never considered recording with it.

    Seems like I recall Billy Gibbons using one, customized so that both chorus AND echo could be defeated (stock you had either or both; never neither), for a while. And it's all over a lot of later '80s stuff (David and David's record comes to mind, as well as a ton of commercial jingles).

    Buck Dharma used the Rockmodules as his touring rig for most of the '80s and early '90s - set into that rackmount thing that made them look like an amp head.

    So it's probably worth modeling. IIRC the Digitech 2101 had a Rockman patch.

    But the first two Boston records are where the real tone was.
     
  19. jimfist

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    Yeah, but I believe the singer for their most notable hit "So You Ran" was Fran Cosmo. A lot of people get confused by all of the different spin-off projects from that era, and I always confuse RTZ (Until Your Love Comes Back Around), which was Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau, with Orion the Hunter, which was Barry and Fran Cosmo, and before that, Barry's Solo album (which featured Dreams: DREAMS - Barry Goudreau, Brad Delp, Boston - YouTube ) with Brad Delp and Sib Hashian from Boston, and Fran Cosmo playing bass.

    IMO, it is Barry's solo album tone, produced by the same guy that did Boston's 1st album (John Boylan) that is still quite reminiscent of the "Boston" tone, and I doubt there was any Rockman stuff involved there, nor would I expect that anything Barry might have been part outside of and AFTER Boston's 2nd album would have had any Rockman stuff on it. IIRC, Barry's sound on his solo album was so close to "the Boston sound" that Tom Scholz got a bit upset over it, unfortunately. (The whole story of the band Boston is a crazy soap opera unto itself, if anyone cares to Wiki the members of the band.)
     
  20. VegaBaby

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    yes, Gibbons used a modded one and so did Def Leppard on Hysteria which had nothing but Rockman on the album. Flesh For Fantasy (Idol) is a good example for the clean tone as well.
     

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