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ghost fizz

pima1234

Fractal Fanatic
I have to ask the question; Why do we not notice it when playing through tube amps? Or, what is is about using a traditional tube amp rig that seems to filter out the "ghost fizz"?

It's this crackling sound that begins while the sound decays that many users are having questions about. It honestly almost sounds like bit reduction.

If it's not related to the modeling process or IRs, does it have anything to do with output/playback volume?

I'm not letting go of mine, but I'm hoping to find a solution.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I have to ask the question; Why do we not notice it when playing through tube amps? Or, what is is about using a traditional tube amp rig that seems to filter out the "ghost fizz"?

It's this crackling sound that begins while the sound decays that many users are having questions about. It honestly almost sounds like bit reduction.

If it's not related to the modeling process or IRs, does it have anything to do with output/playback volume?

I'm not letting go of mine, but I'm hoping to find a solution.
Because you don't put your ear up against the speaker.
 

Adman103

Experienced
I've certainly noticed amps doing that exact same noise before. I have not gotten my Axe to give off that same level of fizz as the audio clip- that's pretty extreme, but then again, I've never tried to get my Axe to sound like that. I bet I could make a real Mesa Mark (or any other amp) sound pretty bad (as bad as that clip) if I screwed with the gain levels enough. I think that distortion is part of a tube amps normal operation, and in the Axe model (like the real thing) you can set it up in a way that will emphasize or de-emphasize that particular set of distortion frequencies. To the OP, if you're into the smoother (and possibly less authentic) sounds you got from your Ultra, then sweet- you've found your sound, life is good.
 

Rex

Legend!
I have to ask the question; Why do we not notice it when playing through tube amps? Or, what is is about using a traditional tube amp rig that seems to filter out the "ghost fizz"?
That's an excellent question. There are a couple of answers that I know of; there may be more.

The first reason is that tube amps sound best when they're cranked up loud, so that's how they're usually played. You can't get cranked-amp tone from a real tube amp unless you crank it. That means hitting your ears with sound levels that are outside of the range where your ears are sensitive to nuances—you hear a lot more detail at moderate volume than you hear at loud volume. Our ears accept a lot of warts and bumps as "part of the loud." When we hear it at moderate levels, it stands out and doesn't sound normal.

The second reason is that we don't usually try to change a high-gain tone to pristine-clean with the guitar's volume knob. That doesn't work very well, partly because high-gain tones don't clean up well. Most of the distortion in a high-gain tone comes from the preamp, where the onset of distortion is fast and rude.

In other words, grab the tube amp of your choice, dial up a high-gain patch, then roll off your guitar's volume knob until the tone is completely clean. Your volume knob will be very nearly at zero, and it will be somewhere between difficult and impossible to get a sound you like.
 

Sean Ashe

Power User
That's an excellent question. There are a couple of answers that I know of; there may be more.

The first reason is that tube amps sound best when they're cranked up loud, so that's how they're usually played. You can't get cranked-amp tone from a real tube amp unless you crank it. That means hitting your ears with sound levels that are outside of the range where your ears are sensitive to nuances—you hear a lot more detail at moderate volume than you hear at loud volume. Our ears accept a lot of warts and bumps as "part of the loud." When we hear it at moderate levels, it stands out and doesn't sound normal.

The second reason is that we don't usually try to change a high-gain tone to pristine-clean with the guitar's volume knob. That doesn't work very well, partly because high-gain tones don't clean up well. Most of the distortion in a high-gain tone comes from the preamp, where the onset of distortion is fast and rude.

In other words, grab the tube amp of your choice, dial up a high-gain patch, then roll off your guitar's volume knob until the tone is completely clean. Your volume knob will be very nearly at zero, and it will be somewhere between difficult and impossible to get a sound you like.

I thought about the exact same thing, the idea that it was a plexi patch and it was at 10 haha.
 

pima1234

Fractal Fanatic
Thank you. I hope my question wasn't perceived as anything against the Axe.

It is true that you can hear the crackling sound (to some extent) when miking a cab in an isolated environment, where the recorded volume is significantly lower than that which is coming from the speaker. That makes perfect sense.

Thank you for all those who answered the question.

Tube amp volume is the key factor here (even with very low wattage amps!), combined with the difference in being close to a modeled or recorded amp as opposed to sitting right in front of a tube amp. It does take volume to get good tone with a tube amp, and as that volume level decreases, it masks those anomalies that we can hear from properly modeled amps (because we simply don't notice them, I guess). Really, there are many factors involved, and I plan to keep experimenting.
 

Singtall

Experienced
Vendor
EVH has been doing the guitar volume roll back to clean thing since the 70's, and started doing it in the late 70's myself. i just never heard that sound before on any rig i've ever used. and i have mic'd up my amp in the studio too many times to count, and i never heard that sound there either.

i wish there was a way to remove that noise. maybe a later firmware update that gives us ideal amp tones with no fizz?
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
He uses his guitar's volume to clean up his tone, but not to clean it up all the way.. Listen to Panama, for example. He rolls off when he hits the break, but it only sounds clean compared to his tone earlier in the song. There's still plenty of hair on it.
Also at the time he was using lots of power amp distortion which tends to clean up better using the guitar knob than preamp distortion.
 

jlynnb1

Fractal Fanatic
He uses his guitar's volume to clean up his tone, but not to clean it up all the way.. Listen to Panama, for example. He rolls off when he hits the break, but it only sounds clean compared to his tone earlier in the song. There's still plenty of hair on it.
yeah, it's more pick/pick hand finger dynamics than just rolling the volume way down on the guitar.
 
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