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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Amp that resembles a fat clean DI tone

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Lawson, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    Dec 19, 2011
    Boy I'm sure learning a lot here. Very good and honest input. Good points all over. I'll try to boil it down now, with all of your input considered.

    The DI (Cheap focusrite scarlett 2i2) sounds more open and glassy/breathy sustain with a nice "punchy temperature" and little noise. My ac15c1 with stock greenback and new JJ's sound more harsh and brittle, icepicky. Not to mention the horrible blowtorchy hiss. The Bill Frisell video linked above sounds warm, clean, punchy and airy. So now instead of thinking JC I'm thinking a big Fender with "airy headroom" and full body sound.

    I'm also a huge fan of this tone, if anyone can spot the fender model:

    Do you think the compression of that taped footage has a big effect on the sound? If so I love compression, hehe.

    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 soundcard. Pretty beginner.
  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Undoubtedly, but there's a big difference between high-end studio (and high-quality software) compression and stompbox compression. You can't get good quality studio type compression with a pedal.

    FWIW the 2i2 isn't a "sound card" - it is an analog to digital interface and doesn't have any "sound" of its own.

    The important factor is how you process that signal - i.e. what studio software and plugins you're using. The 2i2 is sonically "neutral" and sounds neither "solid state" not "tube" or in between. I use one myself and in Logic I can get tube amp tones, crappy transistor radio tones, sysnthesizer tones, bass guitar - it's the processing that's key as long as you have a quality interface - which you do.

    What - specifically - are you doing with the signal *after* the interface?
  3. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    I will go to my go-to amp recommendation

  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    At what volume are you playing your amp?

    In my opinion, any guitar amp (tube, solid state, modeling) with a conventional speaker will not start to sound full until at least very loud TV volume. That is when a guitar speaker starts producing its full response.

    If you are not playing at least at very loud TV volume, you are probably better off with your computer interface.

    I got a Yamaha THR 10 and it starts to wake up at normal TV volumes.

    To my ear an AC 15 retains that brittleness until deafening volumes, FWIW. That thin, brittle sound helps it find a great rhythm spot in a loud band mix but is never pleasing to
    My ear in its own.

    Tying it all together, depending on volume that you play at, I’d look into things like:

    - Yamaha THR
    - Roland Mico Cube
    - ZT Lunchbox

    And if you can get away with loud TV volume levels:
    - Roland JC-22
    - Boss Katana 100 .5w mode
    Lawson likes this.
  5. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    Nov 4, 2014
    Lititz, PA
    Greenbacks are great speakers in groups, but a little underwhelming as a single speaker to my ears. They're concentrated on a very narrow EQ range, and designed to break up early in a ragged kind of way. Not the best speaker for big fat cleans. Combine that with the upper-mids of the AC15's EL84s and you get snarly/sizzly.
    Lawson likes this.
  6. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2015
    Have you given your AC15 time to really open up? After nearly six months (I think), I was just about to quit on mine as fizzy and brittle when, shazam, its speaker really bloomed. I pushed it really hard with a Gretsch Baritone one night, and that seemed to push it to life.

    It also took a while to figure out how to EQ it by its onboard controls, and how to fatten its tones with various pedals/a boost from my A/B/Y box.

    Now I think it sounds great. Deep, musical, responsive. (Though it's overdue for new tubes.) I also really like its overdriven tones. Nasty and snarly--knuckles dancing--where, originally it was indeed fizzy and ugly. It's a touchy, demanding amp, but well worth some patience. It doesn't provide the big round cleans that Fenders do, but does its own thing very well.

    My experience is doubtless more limited than many posting here, but I do agree that the sounds you're after are inherent in a good Deluxe Reverb. That big, round, sonorous bell sound.

    Good luck in your search and post again once you've found what you've been seeking.
  7. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    For what application do you need the amp? Live gigs?

    You can also try to use just a preamp and/or DI-box into the mixer. Lately I used a tech 21 fly rig and DI for that. Proper monitoring is crucial.
  8. tonejam

    tonejam Tele-Meister

    Dec 25, 2010
    I'm with Wally, I find the sound of an electric guitar through a Jazz Chorus to be clinical and sterile. Had a friend who played his acoustic through one, sounded great.
  9. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    Dec 19, 2011
    I'm gearin' up to do some home recording. Not much live playing in my current life.
    I think I have found the amp to go for, a 68 custom vibrolux. Unfortunately my local music shop doesn't have it in, but I'm thinking of ordering online and that's a better price too. Shipping is scary of course, but if its messed up in transit, that's on the return policy, right?
  10. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    Dec 19, 2011
    I'm no EQ master, so I'm not sure how much these settings alter the tone, but theres my only effect. (That slowpan effect thingie is off btw)
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  11. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Holic

    Feb 1, 2016
    Jefferson City, MO
    I haven’t owned it for years, but I remember the acoustic sim on my Marshall AVT150 sounding a lot like that.
  12. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    That would be my suggestion. I know a few jazz players in my area that play through keyboard amps... they sound great. All they want is the tone of the guitar/pickups to come through naturally, not colored by a standard guitar amp like we have all come to really enjoy.

    ... and that is the precise reason some people love compression and some loathe it. There are a few stomps I really like, but there is nothing that comes close to a quality studio compressor. One of the biggest problems with stomp compressors is that they can't get subtle enough, and they are not applied at the same place in the signal chain. Studio compression is on the final signal, most people put a stomp compressor first in the chain.... polar opposite positions.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
    AxemanVR and Silverface like this.
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's

    That amp is incredibly loud. Can you record at very loud TV volumes at a very minimum? If not, you will likely be left flat.
    Silverface likes this.
  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I'm not familiar with Imgur so please correct me if I'm wrong -

    It appears to be a free way of recording a signal with some complimentary processors.

    If so it's going to be nearly impossible to duplicate using any kind of guitar amp. It's more or less the cheapest kind of digital modeling system with no speaker emulation - like taking an inexpensive digital and and listening through headphones. It's unrealistic to expect any guitar amp to duplicate that sound. It's a "convenience" recording system without the processing of even something like Garageband, Logic, Protools or the free Reaper.

    If you're not sure how the settings alter the tone how do you expect to duplicate it? If you want to get that type of sound recorded in a standalone system I suggest doing some reading about basic digital recording (for Mac or PC, whichever you use)

    If you want that type of sound I recommend doing the same thing, plus reading reviews of and testing as many modeling amplifiers as possible - and nearly every major manufacturer makes modeling amps or solid state amps that also feature digital modeling.

    But you need to understand *what* you're trying to do before you can look for equipment that does it. When you ask how to duplicate sound on a forum the bulk of what you'll get in response is "my favorite similar (amp, or modeling pedal, or software and plugins)" Your ears and especially your headphones seriously skew what you're hearing.

    There aren't simple answers when you don't know how the target tone is being achieved.
  15. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders TDPRI Member

    Aug 4, 2016
    I know you said 'IMO' but is there any scientific proof for this? Has anyone ever actually measured this?

    I ask because I often wonder about it. In the past I've even tried googling for things like: 'Does a speaker need a minimum amount of current/voltage" or something along those lines but I end up with articles or threads discussing minimum wattage and people asking 'will this blow up my speaker?"

    I live in a townhouse so getting great tone at low volumes is a daily challenge.

    It's not about 'the louder the better' but exactly about what you said, at a certain threshold, the speaker seems to wake up. It's almost an on/off thing.

    Each time this happens, I cannot help but wonder if it's 'Fletcher-Munson', the interaction between the series resistance of the turned down volume knob and parts of the circuit (capacitors) coming before or after it, room acoustics, or if it's actually a speaker specific thing.

    Sorry for the off topicness.
  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I'm just going by hard won experience. I would guess engineers can give some sense of when a speaker is processing enough signal (I don't even know if that's the right term) to move sufficiently to reproduce the full frequency spectrum. And at that point it's loud.

    Which shouldn't be a surprise. Stereo's sound kind of fuzzy and indistinct at low volumes. They wake up at quieter volumes than guitar amps, IME. But still, they seem to have a "threshold". Hence loudness buttons, etc. Fuller sound at lower volume.

    Things like the Yamaha THR sound to me like they have HiFi rather than guitar speakers. They still need some, but less volume, to sound good to me.

    My guess is at really quiet volumes, mostly it is the physical properties of the speaker in play. Once you get past that, I would also guess psychoacoustics (Fletcher-Munson) comes into play.

    I'd be curios for @Wally, @Silverface or @11 Gauge to weigh in though. I'm just making this up based on practical experience (and a good does of frustration getting here).
  17. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    The key to getting decent electric guitar cleans out of a JC is to crank the mids. It warms it up a lot. Those amps were designed with very flat baseline sound in mind. That’s what they are so useful with acoustic instruments and keyboards.
    tonejam and MilwMark like this.
  18. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    AC15’s can be tricky. I gigged an AC15C1 for a couple years. I was not real happy with it when I first unboxed it.

    1. You gotta beat on that greenback a little and break it in good.

    2. It helped mine a lot to clip out the bright caps. They’re there to give the amp more sparkle at low volumes, but to me they made it nearly unusable. Especially with single coils.

    3. The stock glass is junk. Mine really was a different animal with some real tubes in it. I put a nice set of EL84’s in mine, along with some old 60’s RCA pre tubes I pulled out of a salvaged organ.

    Good glass, getting rid of the bright caps, and breaking the speaker in well took it from being incredibly “meh”, to being something that would compete with any similar boutique or vintage offering. It was a completely different amp.

    But even after that I didn’t ultimately keep it. Just not enough clean headroom for gigging with a moderate rock and roll band. The OD tones were sick, though...
    Lawson likes this.
  19. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    A speaker does not need to hit a certain volume to come alive (in our current conversation, some speakers break up nicely at higher volumes, not talking about that), our ears that may be a different kettle of fish.

    From what I hear in your playing (Quite nice but I agree, a little top end would be more my style. I really liked the Bill Frisell sound) reminds me of messing around with my tube amps and then one day for some reason plugging into an old amp I made at least 20 years ago. I wanted a little portable amp to play bass through, I used a 20W car amp and a simple transistor preamp. The thing that is different from most guitar amps is that the tone controls are not based off the Fender tone stack but hifi Baxandall based treble and bass controls. Straight up the response is flat with the bass and treble rising if turned up and the midrange remaining the same.

    The other thing about the little amp is that it uses an 8" speaker in a sealed cabinet. It is not a guitar speaker but designed for flat reproduction. Now I do like my tube amp tone but this combination sounded natural and clean. I brought it to work when I first made it, a guy that played took it home and he had me make him one. He went through the tube amp cycle, getting a Champ on up but could not get the sound he was looking for till he heard my amp.

    Maybe that is what you need, just a clean amp with a hifi type tone controls and the right kind of speaker, more hifi than guitar. As said maybe an acoustic amp although I have never tried one myself. But it sounds like you want something neutral, and I also think a good compressor might also be something to look at.
    Lawson likes this.
  20. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    I'd have to argue against this, there quite a few stompbox units that are good optical compressors that will get a very studio like compression. But yes you are right, a typical 'dynacomp' or ross type guitar compressor will not give your that sort of compression, which tends to be very noticeable and 'squashy' unlike a good studio compressor.

    To the OP, I think a keyboard amp with a 4 band (active) EQ can get that sound pretty easily.
    codamedia likes this.
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