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Fractal Audio AMP models: Brit Brown and FAS Brown

yek

Moderator
Moderator
* EDIT: Up-to-date information is available in Yek's Guide to the Fractal Audio Amplifier Models *


Brit Brown and FAS Brown: Fractal Audio custom amp models

Eddie van Halen’s legendary “Brown sound“ probably still is the most sought-after guitar tone. A Marshall Super Lead Plexi, perhaps modded, with a Variac to run at lower than normal voltage, a 4x12, reverb and some EQ-ing magic at the mixing table. The sound on those early Van Halen records is immediately recognizable.

So why is it called “Brown Sound”?

Well, the Brown Sound is a very low frequency sound that, when produced and heard by human beings, forces the listener(s) to shit their pants relentlessly.

Huh? … wait a minute … no, wrong explanation.

Supposedly Eddie himself said this: “There is a difference between being just loud and having what I call a warm, brown sound, which is a toney sound." Another story it that the term “brown sound” originally was used to describe Alex Van Halen’s drum sound. More background information on the Brown Sound.

The Brit Brown and FAS Brown models are Cliff’s takes on that pure, raw guitar sound.

Cliff:

“Brit Brown is my personal take on what the ultimate "Brown" plexi should sound like. It's based on a 100W SLP with Arredondo mods and a few little voicing tweaks.”​

“The Brit Brown was built by ear.”​

The “Brit Brown” model was created on the Axe-Fx II. It’s a popular model.

The “FAS Brown” model was created in the Axe-Fx Standard/Ultra period, named Brown at that time. Initially it was not included in the Axe-Fx II firmware. After people requested it, it was ported to the Axe-Fx II. It sounds similar to Brit Brown, a bit more bright and lower in volume.

The Brit Brown model has the Saturation parameter (simulating the Jose Arrendendo mod)) turned on, for that aggressive tone. The FAS Brown model doesn’t.

Eddie used to crank all controls on his amps. But since that sound is already modeled, you don’t have to do that. But there are no rules. I keep the Brit Brown controls pretty much at default, only increasing Input Drive and Presence.

If you listen to the isolated tracks below, you’ll hear that the early Eddie Van Halen didn’t use that much gain, and that his tone was very bright.

For authenticity select Marshall cabs with G12M speakers on this page. He also used V30s until he had custom speakers.

A selection of isolated guitar tracks:




 
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pull75

Inspired
It is truely amazing how much gain is not used yet he still gets all the screams, divebombs, harmonics and squeals. Always blows my mind.
 

Chewie5150

Experienced
hahah this is the best thing to start my day! "the brown sound is a very low frequency...." I did not see that coming. I was expecting some tech language/historical anecdotes. Someone get me a doctor...I nearly shat myself. well done sir:) bows*

These models are superb! There is some real magic captured here.
 

musicman0001

Inspired
so guess where i read this on my ipad ;)

mmm i indeed thought it would be more gain and nice to see those tracks in this and previous posts with isolated tracks on instruments. So should i take the brown or the atomica now..... as i really liked that amp a lot.. thanks Yek...
 

jesussaddle

Power User
Wait a sec Yek. I think I am losing my memory. I had an ultra and sure remember the Brown model in there. Wasn't it called brit brown? Or was it just brown, or wasn't that the amp model used in the Ultra preset "Brown Sound". Oh boy! I can't recall. And although I don't recall FAS Brown until my Axe FX II I sure could be mistaken about all of this. Its a good thing physical libraries are on their way out and everything is backed up to the reliable virtual internet.

Still, I am real curious to know the history, so thank you so much for shedding light. The brown sound was indeed a drool-producer of a sound for me as a kid. Somehow it brings to mind the way real butter drips off pancakes so creamily and perfectly.

You know, when in isolated tracks of VH 1, one really has to re-assess how much of it was also mixing prowess.
 
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jesussaddle

Power User
Yes, it was called Brown at the time.
Okay, thanks for the clarification. Does this mean FAS Brown was the original "BROWN"?

BTW, that would make good sense. I just somehow assumed it was the other way around (Brit Brown being the original Brown being renamed). Gotta learn ta stop making assumptions.

Incidentally, Ain't Talking Bout Love Isolated really shows Ed's groove skill. Love that rhythmic groove prowess. Lot of people focus on his virtuosity, but overlook his "feel" which was equally if not more unique and revolutionary - no doubt continually re-enforced by his getting a good sound out of his equipment.
 
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yek

Moderator
Moderator
Okay, thanks for the clarification. Does this mean FAS Brown was the original "BROWN"?

BTW, that would make good sense. I just somehow assumed it was the other way around (Brit Brown being the original Brown being renamed). Gotta learn ta stop making assumptions.
Yes that's correct.
 

jesussaddle

Power User
Yes that's correct.
Its appropriate that you chose today. The new firmware this morning has been reminding me of the brown sound - a lot. I'm in the Brit AFS right now, but I really don't know if its a coincidence. Its sounding good and brown.
 
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