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Setting the Master Volume

spx90

Power User
One common theme with new users is the "blanket over the sound" complaint. Often this is due to excessive Master Volume values.

The Master Volume behaves just like the actual amps. However, unlike an actual amp, if you put it on 5.0 it won't cause your cat to hide for several days. This can cause the user to set the value too high as the physical feedback of painfully loud sound is not present.

As you turn up the Master Volume many amps get darker and the bass gets mushy. The key is to find the sweet spot.

Do this exercise:
Take an amp like the HBE. Set the MV to around 2.5 and turn the Level to a comfortable volume. Turn the Presence up to around 8.0. Copy the settings to "Y" by double-clicking the "Y" button. Now you have the same amp model and values in X and Y. Turn up the MV in Y to, say, 6.0 and lower the Level until the volume is the same. Go back and forth between X and Y and notice how much darker Y is.

This occurs because the virtual power amp is distorting, and quite heavily. Due to the impedance curve of the virtual speaker load this causes the bass and high treble frequencies to clip but not the midrange. The result is, naturally, compressed bass and high treble which can sound muddy and indistinct. Modern MV amps are not designed to overdrive the power amp considerably. They are designed to get most of their distortion from the preamp and then adjust the MV until the power amp just starts to clip which is the "sweet spot".

Some amps, like the Recto Modern, will distort the power amp at very low MV values, around 2.0. In real life these amps are painfully loud at these settings but in our virtual world we are unaware of this because the Level control allows us to adjust the volume to any arbitrary level.

Some modeling products intentionally limit how hard their virtual power amps can be overdriven. Even with the MV on 10 the virtual power amp is not being overdriven that much. Of course this is unrealistic. Our modeling is accurate and with the MV on 10 you will get the same amount of power amp distortion as the real amp when set to 10. With this great power comes great responsibility and that responsibility is understanding how the control works and how to set it properly.
Thank you very much for your explanations.
Grazie mille per le spiegazioni.
Understanding a product is very important, if not essential !
Capire un prodotto e Molto Importante, se non Fondamentale!
The success of a product and often linked to the understanding of how to use it well
il successo di un prodotto e spesso legato alla comprensione di come si usa bene
Although sometimes the language (English) and an obstacle to many foreign musicians
Anche se a volte la lingua (Inglese) e un ostacolo, per molti musicisti stranieri
(My writing and witnessed this obstacle)
(la mia scrittura e testimone di questo ostacolo)
I have a lot of hunger to understand this product
Io ho molta fame di comprendere questo prodotto
Thanks for all the posted technical advice
Grazie per tutti i consigli tecnici postati
My desire is always to understand everything
il mio desiderio è sempre quello di capire tutto

P.S.
Attached I put a preset for this exercise.
In allegato ho messo un preset per questo esercizio.

01 Setting the Master Volume_exp1.jpg 02 Setting the Master Volume_exp1.JPG

 

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  • Setting the Master Volume_exp1.syx
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shatteredsquare

Power User
i was just about to post a thread asking about MV settings cause i remember reading somewhere that the MV knob was *specifically not logarithmic, so you had to turn it up higher than on an amp to get to the sweet spot, but i been playing with the recto modern 2 trying to wrap my head around how to best domesticate the low end resonance (*the NODE) while keeping the bungee cord effect, and the power amp goes to absolute shit any higher than 2.5. i decided to come back here and RTFM first, not disappointed. now to find the sticky about the speaker page...
 

shatteredsquare

Power User
A little trick you can do to get the "bounce" of high MV without the muddy bass is to reduce the LF Res value on the Spkr tab. This will reduce the amount of bass clipping in the virtual power amp allowing you to turn the MV up. You can also reduce the HF Res to reduce the amount of treble clipping.

AHH THIS! when you load up an amp block and the default speaker resonance values load up, are those nodes based on the common speaker used with that amp, like the recto 2 modern would load up with a graph that closely resembles a V30 frequency response? i was playing with this to try to tame the low end, it works wonderfully just like you said, but other than just turning the resonance down to taste i don't really understand what it's doing. is that graph the thing that tells the power amp where to resonate (the virtual impedance curve)?

if you effectively flattened the graph, would that simulate a solid state power amp to basically remove the low end node out of the tone equation? i heard somewhere that solid state amps don't do the impedance resonance thing. the preamp distortion is AMAAAZING, without any boost at all, it's just a matter of tuning the resonance, and that's a bitch without being able to stand in front of a cab with you pants flapping in the breeze.
 

Rex

Legend!
...when you load up an amp block and the default speaker resonance values load up...i don't really understand what it's doing. is that graph the thing that tells the power amp where to resonate (the virtual impedance curve)?
That graph shows the impedance of an attached virtual speaker cab. Cabs have different impedance at different frequencies, just like the graph. The higher the impedance, the greater the output of the tube power amp. The greater the output at a particular frequency, the sooner the amp will clip at that frequency.

The particular impedance curve (graph) that loads when you load an amp depends on the cab that Fractal used when modeling that amp.
 

Rex

Legend!
i seem to getting a little fuzzy distortion on all the presets, even the clean ones.any clues?
If you're getting distortion on a clean preset, then it's not completely clean. Turn down the gain.

If you have other questions, please start a new thread. Thanks.
 

mikeyg

Experienced
Man I wish I had seen this thread before the weekend... I have a plexi patch that sounds killer, and a JCM800 patch that just sounds ok... I did screen shots of ALL the amp and cab settings to see how they were different.... and they weren’t all that different. Now I’m certain the JCM master needs to come down.

As an Axe owner for 7 years, I’ve been surprised by how little I really knew about the product, until I switched to FRFR. I had to make a lot of adjustments to my patches but it’s been so worth it.

Glad I stumbled on this...
 

Jani9393

New Member
One common theme with new users is the "blanket over the sound" complaint. Often this is due to excessive Master Volume values.

The Master Volume behaves just like the actual amps. However, unlike an actual amp, if you put it on 5.0 it won't cause your cat to hide for several days. This can cause the user to set the value too high as the physical feedback of painfully loud sound is not present.

As you turn up the Master Volume many amps get darker and the bass gets mushy. The key is to find the sweet spot.

Do this exercise:
Take an amp like the HBE. Set the MV to around 2.5 and turn the Level to a comfortable volume. Turn the Presence up to around 8.0. Copy the settings to "Y" by double-clicking the "Y" button. Now you have the same amp model and values in X and Y. Turn up the MV in Y to, say, 6.0 and lower the Level until the volume is the same. Go back and forth between X and Y and notice how much darker Y is.

This occurs because the virtual power amp is distorting, and quite heavily. Due to the impedance curve of the virtual speaker load this causes the bass and high treble frequencies to clip but not the midrange. The result is, naturally, compressed bass and high treble which can sound muddy and indistinct. Modern MV amps are not designed to overdrive the power amp considerably. They are designed to get most of their distortion from the preamp and then adjust the MV until the power amp just starts to clip which is the "sweet spot".

Some amps, like the Recto Modern, will distort the power amp at very low MV values, around 2.0. In real life these amps are painfully loud at these settings but in our virtual world we are unaware of this because the Level control allows us to adjust the volume to any arbitrary level.

Some modeling products intentionally limit how hard their virtual power amps can be overdriven. Even with the MV on 10 the virtual power amp is not being overdriven that much. Of course this is unrealistic. Our modeling is accurate and with the MV on 10 you will get the same amount of power amp distortion as the real amp when set to 10. With this great power comes great responsibility and that responsibility is understanding how the control works and how to set it properly.

I'm gonna read this over like the Holy Bible.
 

Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
Just giving this thread a bump...I was building some presets for a particular guitar from scratch and noted, once again, how important it is to get the MV set just right. I was tweaking an amp (and was doing and A/B comparison as noted in the OP) trying to get a feel for how the amp behaved and what it's character was like, particularly with the effect of the PA via the MV vs the preamp.

Working back and forth, for some time, between different MV/Input Gain (PA/preamp) settings very much reveals how easy it is to 'destroy' your tone with even slightly too much MV; it's really easy to overcompress/overdrive the PA, causing the bass to mush right out along with the definition/snap/punch. As noted in the OP, it's easy to set the MV higher then perhaps one should. Some amps definitely sound better/open right up with the MV set pretty low (to where they just start to compress/clip and 'come alive').
 
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