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Boston Sound - Modeling the Rockman Amplifiers & Modules

billmeedog

Inspired
Bostonian Boston Fan...Don't forget about THE SINGER!

I absolutely agree with bvaughn0402.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the Rockman tone. What cannot be disputed is the band's success and that the debut album went Platinum 17x's, making it one of the best selling US albums of all time! Scholz & crew must have been doing something right with songwriting, musicianship, tone, engineering, etc.
Well, there may NOT have been a bigger Boston fan than I was back in the early to mid-80's (ask my poor friends who had to endure repetitious plays of the first two LP's in my car....ON 8-TRACK TAPES no less - yikes! - showing my age - LOL!) Anyways, in 1987-1989 I was "all-in" with the Scholz R&D Sustainor, Distortion Generator, Chorus/Delay, and EQ modules. However, I eventually yearned to expand my tonal-range and sold it all off...Fond memories though!

BTW, I agree with EVERYTHING you alluded to regarding "Scholz & crew must have been doing something right with songwriting, musicianship, tone, engineering, etc." However, you skipped one NOT-TO-BE-OVERLOOKED or UNDERSTATED-FACT: Tom Scholz was fortunate enough to have enlisted the late (and undeniably GREAT!) Brad Delp to sing that brilliantly written and arranged material, and Brad's golden-voice was a HUGE part of that "symbiotic-genius" between Tom's material and recording vision and the finished-product (LP's/Tapes/CD's) which the people/fans ended up hearing!!! FTW!

Bill
 
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electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
Yes, Brad Delp was essential to the Boston sound.

But this is about the groundbreaking guitar sound.

The more I listen to it, the more I believe this was ALL about post processing on the 1st 2 albums. I listen to the live youtube things (admittedly crappy), and starting to think that if I compress the shit out of it, Fractal's preset is actually pretty damn close.

Ron
 

billmeedog

Inspired
Brad's pipes and Tom's ears...

Yes, Brad Delp was essential to the Boston sound.

But this is about the groundbreaking guitar sound.

Ron
Hi Ron,

Yes I strayed from topic a bit, but I was replying specifically to the statement by bjvanhalen:

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the Rockman tone. What cannot be disputed is the band's success and that the debut album went Platinum 17x's, making it one of the best selling US albums of all time! Scholz & crew must have been doing something right with songwriting, musicianship, tone, engineering, etc."

Personally, I think Brad Delp's voice was WAY MORE important than can be summed up in the word "etc." - LOL!

To your point about the Tom Scholz guitar-sound on LP's 1 & 2, I agree about the need to post compress, but I think he also did some very notchy and agressive things (additive & subtractive) regarding EQ! Not sure if the radical EQ'ing was pre or post, but with the nature of compression's effect on guitar-tone in general, I would guess (like you're saying) that it was post-processed!

F.Y.I. I had read an article a long time ago where Tom Scholz mentioned being a huge fan of the the old dbx 160-series compressors?!? I'm NOT sure what he used them on (might NOT have been guitar) but he spoke so highly of those old dbx's that I wouldn't be surprised! He probably had a couple of old Manly Tube Levelers or something of that (late-60's/early-70's) vintage too, but not sure about that?...I guess it goes to show that it ain't always the million-dollar "gear," but the million-dollar "ear" that rules - LOL!
 

AdmiralB

Experienced
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the Rockman tone. What cannot be disputed is the band's success and that the debut album went Platinum 17x's, making it one of the best selling US albums of all time! Scholz & crew must have been doing something right with songwriting, musicianship, tone, engineering, etc.
Except that the two are not mutually exclusive. "Rockman tone" isn't what's on the first two records, the Rockman didn't come along until around '80-'81. And it's a very different tone.
 
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stm113

Experienced
To throw my $.02 in on the do we need it modeled debate I'd say why not. There was a time in my life that I loved that overly compressed, honky mid, slightly comb filtered tone.

My only successful use of a Rockman was with the distortion generator, I was in the studio with a band recording a CD that musically was a mix of Death Metal, Hardcore & Heavy Metal. I used my Laney GH50 for rhythms (perfect modern Sabbath tone, but I tightened it up & pushed a little more mids). For leads I wanted a tone that naturally stood out more. We went through a ton of studio gear (this was circa '98) so we checked out Marshalls, Digitech GSP 2102, ADA MP-1 & finally settled on the Rockman. The tone was a 1 trick pony but it was the 1 trick I wanted @ the time.

I dug out that cd recently & the rhythms guitars were HEAVY, thick & organic, the leads stand out but the Rockman is MUCH less organic sounding...good lead tone none the less!
 

aliensporebomb

New Member
One thing I recall is Tom used plexi Marshalls back in the day and shaped the pre-distortion tone with MXR 10 (and in some cases six) band equalizers in combination with a self-built doubler box for a live double tracked tone to create that sound. I don't think it would be too hard to create a sound similar to that with an AxeFX. Then you had contrapuntal basslines and the guitars were played a certain way too - if there was no bassline going that guitar sound might seem a bit anemic.

In fact, there's a video of some kid with an Agile guitar and a Digitech modeler and he got reasonably in the ballpark and that was a bargain basement priced modeler - any high dollar modeler north of $500 should be able to approximate it or get a "modern version" that works better. I had to chime in since the specifics are probably easier to achieve with something like the Axe.

The only issue with the Scholz sound is it's a bit of a way to "tonally typecast" you so use it sparingly!
 

R.D.

Power User
Back in the late 80's early 90's I saw Barry Goodreau w/ RTZ .... Got a very close look at his rig during the sound check and he was actually using the Rack Mounted MXR 31-Band EQ's pre distortion ....
 

Rexgtr

Experienced
Plexi Jump. Everything on 7. Put a Filter block in front:
Type: Peaking
Freq: ~800 Hz
Q: 0.707
Gain 12 dB

Add some compression either in the Amp block or with a separate compressor after the amp. Crank out some Foreplay/Longtime!
Thanks so much, after reading this tip I created a preset that puts me in Boston tone zone heaven, now I need to brush up on my Boston riffage! :D
I found the Compressor after the amp really affects the overall sustain in a good way! The volume can get squashed, tweak the compressor to get the right volume. For my tastes a gate before the amp keeps noise controlled, add some chorus and a touch of delay.
 

steadystate

Fractal Fanatic
I don't think any of the amp models in the II are stiff and lifeless enough to truly emulate the Rockman. Use a plexi with pre-eq and go for the tones on the first two albums.

BTW, the pre-eq mid bump does wonders for Kansas tones as well.
 

Adinfinitum

Experienced
IMG_3450.JPG


Supposedly, this is the MXR 6 band EQ setting that TS used on early Boston Tracks. I bought a Boss EQ pedal and set it up the same way and it does get that cocked wah Boston tone.
 
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Pwrmac7600

Power User
That's 3.2 K... :)
LMAO, yes you are correct. makes much more sense now. Pic is a little fuzzy, but makes much more sense that it would go from 800 to 1.6 and 3.2 rather than 800 to 16k and 32k. Shoot me, it was early!:confused:
 
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electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
Plexi Jump. Everything on 7. Put a Filter block in front:
Type: Peaking
Freq: ~800 Hz
Q: 0.707
Gain 12 dB

Add some compression either in the Amp block or with a separate compressor after the amp. Crank out some Foreplay/Longtime!
And DELAY! Don't forget the delay.

I'll have to try this later. Moke has a pretty darn good one out there too. It sounds much better in a mix than just by itself (which makes sense). It's missing a bit of 'thump' there that I struggle with.
 
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