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Why do I like Drive + Amp more than Amp drive?

2112

Fractal Fanatic
I've found it very curious how "clean amp + pedals" has become the orthodox guitar rig of choice, and it's taken me a while to appreciate the type of tones that kind of rig can do well (and they're precisely the tones you mentioned). It's a different way to approach generating guitar signals and the results are no better or worse than anything else.

Personally I love the Axe because it can give me the "cranked high gain amp about to explode" sound at any volume I like :D
 

2112

Fractal Fanatic
Isn't it ironic that, for all the talk about tubes, so many guitar players use transistor distortion with an amp at low volume and a cab serving as a glorified EQ? I'm exaggerating somewhat, I know. But still...
I'd hazard a guess that there's a rather large overlap between that demographic and the "ewww, digital" crowd.

Layering pedals intuitive a clean amp gives you control over pre and post gain eq though, which is wonderful. They've been mentioned in this thread before, but I have to send the Mesa mark models some more love for this reason.
 

boltrecords

Fractal Fanatic
I have somewhat mixed feelings on this topic. I do feel there is a level of saturation and sustain when putting a drive pedal in front to push the Amp harder. This is something I’ve never been able to replicate with just the amp alone. However I’ve never been able to completely keep the amp tone I love while adding a pedal. It always changes it slightly.
 

Recon24

Regular
As others have said, I think it’s mainly an EQ thing. The reason I tend to prefer drive pedals over a pure EQ of some sort is the extra little bit of compression that many ODs add (even with drive at 0). I’ve gotten close with EQ+comp but it’s still a different vibe, IMO.

I don’t really do the pedal platform thing that often though, usually get the gain (whether low or high or in between) from the amp, so I tend to just use ODs for the aforementioned filtering and compression.

There’s tons of amps in the Axe that have all the flavors of gain in the world, but 9 times out of 10 if I A/B a sound with and without a TS-type pedal I end up preferring it on. All just different valid preferences, I think.
 
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funknoodles

Regular
Amp distortion in general, to me, seems much more responsive to dynamics and tends to compress less. There are times however that the pedals add something unique to the sound, mostly with very drastically voiced fuzz and overdrives. Very situation dependant and I like both for certain things. I like a bit of dirt on the amp at all times though. Rolling off the guitar volume for a clean tone with the amp set a little dirty sounds better to me for some reason than a completely squeaky clean amp.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Isn't it ironic that, for all the talk about tubes, so many guitar players use transistor distortion with an amp at low volume and a cab serving as a glorified EQ? I'm exaggerating somewhat, I know. But still...
That's very dependant on the use case.

In my case, the Drive only has a small amount of distortion. Most of the distortion is caused by overloading the input of the tube amp, which causes the the amp to generate (tube) distortion. Also, my "clean" amp is always a bit dirty...

Also, I think that what most people think of as "tube amp distortion" is ultimately distortion (transistor or otherwise) plus the dynamics of a tube amp circuit.
 

vangrieg

Forum Addict
That's very dependant on the use case.
Most certainly.

I myself used pedal drives a lot back when I was using tube amps. I can't even remember why now. Now I certainly prefer amps, although mostly with some sort of filtering/boosting in front. With the II I used filter blocks mostly to save CPU.
 
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As I mentioned above, I prefer amp distortion and have never liked pedals. They tended to emphasize, perhaps over emphasize, certain frequencies I didn’t need more of. I almost started a similar thread a few days ago after many experimentations with the virtual drives, which thankfully the Axe makes easy.

Aside from the intentional filtering/emphasis of frequencies and certain kinds of SS components in pedals which give those pedals a particular sound, are there any other significant factors in the real world which characterize the pedal sound, like impedances going in/out of a pedal then into the amp front end?
 

Piing

Forum Addict
In the pre-Axe-FX era, that would probably depend on how lucky we were. Those who could afford having a room where they could play as loud as they wish and could buy different amplifiers would probably prefer amp-drive. Those who were living in an apartment where they have to keep things quiet and could not afford to try different amplifiers (like me) would probably prefer pedal-drive.

Eddie Van Halen said that at the beginning he could not afford pedal effects, hence his "preference" for amp-drive. Just plug and turn-up the knobs :cool:
 

Shaw

Inspired
If you're trying to just use a high gain amp with no drive pedal, you might try a little bit of a notch filter between the amp and cab. Move the Notch around until you find the disturbing frequency. What that frequency is will depend on a lot of stuff, but you might start with frequencies in the 4k to 4.5k range.

Try this preset...
 

Attachments

unix-guy

Legend!
If you're trying to just use a high gain amp with no drive pedal, you might try a little bit of a notch filter between the amp and cab. Move the Notch around until you find the disturbing frequency. What that frequency is will depend on a lot of stuff, but you might start with frequencies in the 4k to 4.5k range.

Try this preset...
My computer is out of commission waiting on a part (for several weeks now, really annoying - I don't even have the latest firmware :(). Once I get it up and running, I'll give it a shot.
 

Perdikament

Forum Addict
Perhaps it’s not a matter of EQ so much on the high notes as it is a matter of losing some of the compression that’s keeping everything nice and glued together and thick down on the lower registers. You can try bringing down your high cuts more, you can actually get away with setting them lower than ya think, and then raise up your tone controls to get more voltage going thru the circuit which in turn should thicken things up without getting too shrill. Or add in some amp compression. Also that Master Vol has a huge effect on your tone controls. There is a sweet spot, but the higher ya go on most amps the more mid driven and thick and less the tone controls have an effect. On MV amps obviously. Ya really gotta experiment with the MV on these amps, some are great around 2-4 and some I think are better around 5-7. Although my reference is still the IIXL, so I don’t know what other under the hood tricks & trinkets is available on the III, but I’ll know soon enough :))
 

∞Fractals

Forum Addict
Although my reference is still the IIXL, so I don’t know what other under the hood tricks & trinkets is available on the III, but I’ll know soon enough
I think you'll be quite pleased with your new acquisition. ;)


On the topic at hand, I do prefer amp (specifically a fair amount of power amp) distortion, however I find that I still use drives for the compression and sustain for leads. often with drive < 1 (depending on type). Someone previously made a good point about silicon distortion vs. tube, and in the models I agree that the tube modeling is excellent.
 

Shaw

Inspired
More gain than I would use too.... but if you tame this one, a less hairy tone should be a breeze.

Good luck... and post your results if they're pleasing.
 
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