Ears not Eyes

Discussion in 'Tech Notes' started by FractalAudio, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. FractalAudio

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    From time to time I hear customers complaining they can't get the sound they want and they look at their preset and all the tone knobs are at noon or only slightly deviated from noon. I ask why and they say something like "well, I don't want to stray too far from the defaults".

    Amps have controls for a reason. Don't be afraid to get radical with them, especially older amps. Those old amps were crude and not intended to deliver the more modern type tones players today want. For example, if I were to use a Fender model for a lead tone I would turn the bass way down and midrange way up as they get too flubby otherwise.

    As an excellent illustration consider Joe Bonamassa's settings:

    [​IMG]

    Bass is all the way down, midrange is almost all the way up. Pretty much how I would dial in that amp (59 Twin or 58 Bassman which are very similar topologies).

    As you turn the volume up on these old amps the distortion is coming from the power amp and you need to boost the mids and cut the bass to flatten the response since the power amp's response follows the speaker impedance which is scooped in the mids. Otherwise the bass clips before the mids which causes flubbiness.

    That's also similar to how I dial in a Plexi. I crank the mids and lower the bass.
     
  2. chris

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    this. very this.

    i've had people tell me "but i'm not allowed to turn the bass all the way down" or similar comments. allowed? try it! or preconceived notions of "well i don't want a thin tone, so i can't turn the bass down." TRY IT. and listen to the result. our mind is the #1 thing preventing us from getting the tone we actually want!
     
  3. willowdale

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    Yeah, I totally dial in amps with my ears & not eyes.........I don't care where the knobs end up at!
     
  4. jefferski

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    I remember the first amp I had - an old Randall orange panel 1x12. I had to crank it all the way just to be heard, and the bass would totally fart out. When I would turn the bass down, I felt like "but I shouldn't do this!" - except that it sounded way better. Lesson learned early.
     
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  5. Rhodes

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    JoeBonamassa2015AmpSettings-e1428100742672.jpg
    Hey Nigel, these go to 12!!
     
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  6. Tom Morris

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    Whenever I see someone say they can't get the box to sound good I just scratch my head in wonder. I have yet to touch any settings in the power amp section of the amp blocks. Im a cover tune guy, my method of setting up patches consists of selecting an amp that best matches the song, sounds closest to what I'm after (Factory patches). Tweaking the dial as you would on the front of the amp. Final touch I go to the amp blocks EQ section and really fine tune the eq. All in the ears.
     
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  7. ∞Fractals

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    It may be in the ears for a lot of players, but knowledge is helpful too (at least for me). For those of us not coming from an extensive tube amp experience, great insights provided here by those who know is equally powerful assistance. Thanks for the tips. Keep 'em coming.
     
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  8. axel

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    So, that's what those knobs do. :confused:
     
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  9. nojyeloot

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    Awesome advice. Thanks, boss.
     
  10. Robboman

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    Most of us mortals would never set a real Bassman or Twin volume on 10 like this as it would make you deaf, melt your face, peel the paint off the walls and attract cops. But if you used these EQ settings at small club volume (between 3 and 4) you'll just get a terrible ice pick high end and not much breakup or distortion. Closer to noon settings will get you a nice rounded clean at lower volumes.

    Turn it to 10 and it's a completely different beast. This actually works!

    The beauty of the Axe is being able to do this at any volume you want (turn down via level control in the amp block, and physical output knob).
     
  11. marklumsley

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    Not to sound like a douche, but technically this amp ALSO goes to 11 if the dials start at 1 and not 0. :3
    *hides from barrage of fists to the face*
     
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  12. Stratoblaster

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    That would also describe almost all of my settings, likely since I use NMV 95% of the time and older amps. Bass way down, cranked mids and treble is usually up there.

    I've always been glad I don't have and OCD about how to set the controls or how they may/may not match up to a real amp, nor have thoughts about that the controls don't look right. Yup, always use the ears, never tweak with the eyes.
     
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  13. symphx

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    I never care about real knobs, turn em all way up all way down see what happens
     
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  14. cemusic

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    On the other hand, I have seen many times--especially in the update threads--that if you're tweaking too many amp parameters (advanced or otherwise), that you should find a different model--one that does what you really want.

    So, where is THAT line?
     
  15. chris

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    For me, anything more than the Basic page is probably the wrong Amp. Some very rare exceptions for sag or depth, but that's how I do it. That may not work for others, but worth a try.
     
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  16. Diego

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    This is exactly what I do too and it helped me to try different amp models.
     
  17. cemusic

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    Worst Wes Montgomery tone EVERRR!!!:(
     
  18. charlesjohny8

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    Awesome advice.
     
  19. Sonofiam

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    Keeping it simple is great advice but I've found it very worthwhile to hear what each parameter does. Spending some time and learning what each one does and how they interact with each other can help you know whether it's worth the time to tweak a little more or simply move on to another model. Some parameters don't affect the tone or feel as much as others but there are some I've discovered, like Definition and Harmonics, that add that little spice that finishes off the amp for me. What I end up with may not be the exact tonal representation of a particular amp but it's how I would want it to sound if I were to use it.
     

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