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

1poorplayer

Forum Addict
All of this sounds so familiar. Thru the years I always tried to get my drive and tone strictly from an amp itself. Like many around here (I’m sure) I’ve owned a dozen great tube amps , each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I’m a guitar volume knob - kinda guy.
One day , I bought a Dr Z. amp , to compliment a telecaster I started using , and it gave me the thick high notes I was always chasing , with all of my guitars. That’s when I started thinking - OF COURSE , start with the best clean amp possible and stick some dirt in front.
Then I got some FAS gear and started all over. Lol.
With my III and AX8 - I’m using some heavy amps these days , and getting surprisingly great cleans. (Not crystal clean , but sweet tone) I kind of stumbled upon it , not long ago. I used to think all the typical “bone crushers” lacked dynamics.
Roll back guitar volume , adjust input trim , gain , amp EQ , and often add a drive in front with the mix set very low.
 

craiguitar

Forum Addict
Looking through all my presets, it's surprising how many of them feature a drive block.
In building a preset, I just throw in there whatever creates the sound I'm seeking. I build presets for specific songs, so perhaps that's it really.
Most of those amazing recordings, our favourite songs and tones were actually lo-fi, thin, waspy sounds that cut through the mix and grabbed our attention. Am I subliminally zeroing in on those aspects? In the end, it matters not a jot suppose. Whatever works!
 

Bman

Veteran
it's the icing on the cake for me. I feel like I have to have that drive block in my set up because that's how I'd do it with my tube amps. I think it's a mental thing and it would eat at me knowing there isn't one available to me at my feet. The exception in my case was my 5watt Blackstar. But it felt like a Marshall with a tube screamer to me at bedroom level.
 

RoshRoslin

Veteran
I gigged for years with Drive pedals + amps, especially when touring or Throw and Go gigs etc. I was always at the mercy of a backline, I had already invested in a pedalboard with various drives etc. Even when I could bring "my rig" (pedals into a clean platform or other amps) I always felt like 'something' was missing. This was at all stages of gigging, in all situations with and without IEM

Before going full Fractal, I went back to amp drive and found the missing ingredient I was always looking for. I just prefer the sound of a tube amp cranked into the sweet spot. But, sometimes it wasn't feasible for volume, gig requirements, stage size, room size etc. Still my preferred sound to this day EXCEPT lead sounds. I always prefer to hit the front end of a tube (or virtual amp) with some kind of drive or boost pedals. Smooths out the top end, adds sustain and gain and rounds out the sound.

As always, let your ears be the guide.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I gigged for years with Drive pedals + amps, especially when touring or Throw and Go gigs etc. I was always at the mercy of a backline, I had already invested in a pedalboard with various drives etc. Even when I could bring "my rig" (pedals into a clean platform or other amps) I always felt like 'something' was missing. This was at all stages of gigging, in all situations with and without IEM

Before going full Fractal, I went back to amp drive and found the missing ingredient I was always looking for. I just prefer the sound of a tube amp cranked into the sweet spot. But, sometimes it wasn't feasible for volume, gig requirements, stage size, room size etc. Still my preferred sound to this day EXCEPT lead sounds. I always prefer to hit the front end of a tube (or virtual amp) with some kind of drive or boost pedals. Smooths out the top end, adds sustain and gain and rounds out the sound.

As always, let your ears be the guide.
Yeah... I am specifically talking about lead tones, too.
 

Bman

Veteran
I was tweaking around with my main preset last night, looking for a way to get a tad more gain via a control switch assigned to a footswitch. I ended up make a CS that increases the input trim to around 2, I believe. It really acted more like I felt a tube screamer fully boosted should or at least does on my real Marshall. It dawned on me that I'd been using a Tubescreamer into the top left input of a four holer, which is a treble input I believe. That tone is a tone I'd been seeking in the AX8. I was incredible close using the Input Trim and reducing the level in the Drive block. So the Drive block still functions as an EQ but the fullness, the spongy gain is now on tap with the Control Switch footswitch and also functioned well on the preset's clean Morgan setting, by adding a little soft grit to it.

My ears may tell me something different tonight but last night I went to bed excited about what I'd heard. Those moments are what make the Fractal experience so cool.
 
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