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Amp that resembles a fat clean DI tone

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

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  1. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I have a Janglebox JB3, Xotic SP and have used several high end opticals. The do not approach the sound of even older units like RCA's tube units and Manley' rack systems for a couple reasons:

    1. You simply can't compare $15-400 stompboxes to $5k and up studio units.

    2. Studio units, as has been previously noted, don't work on the front end of the signal *before* the amp. They process the *entire* amplified (or emulated) signal. Better recorded material like that YouTube video will have likely been compressed in post, not have the guitar signal compressed between guitar and amp.

    It's apples and oranges.
     
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  2. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    533
    Dec 19, 2011
    Norway
    That's why I'm here to get my eyes opened. And I have. I didn't think the reverb would change the core tone much. I just tweaked the available knobs til I got a normal leveled and not too bright reverb. Imgur is just the picture uploading site, I'm using Ableton software and the built in reverb effect. Again I have learned a lot about benchmarking sound, how headphones work vastly different and a heap of other details in this valuable discussion. I do think it's time to try a bigger Fender amp for a more sweet open glassy sound.
     

  3. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    With all respect, that is just untrue. As one simple example, take a 15" JBL D130 and hit it with .5 watt of power (a Vibroverb turned up to 1 or so). The tone will be thin and not reflective of the speaker's capabilities (FWIW I owned multiple examples of both).

    There are bass speakers that need a huge amount of power to open them up fully. I owned two Acme low-B cabinets that were driven by a Crest 1000-watt power amp. A 100 watt Bassman head barely moved the speakers one cabinet; a 40 watt Bassman could barely drive them at all and the tone was reedy.

    I voice amps for players and/or recommend alternatives when current rigs aren't suitable. In this area Twin Reverbs are rarely seen nowadays, and only at large outdoor gigs or in huge halls. Most Twins run at very low output create the same kind of thin tone mentioned previously. Players have gone to lower-powered amps and speakers with high sensitivity that can be fully driven with low output.

    I don't want to highjack the thread but that comment needed a response.
     
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  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    That could be a mistake. First - how loud and where are you playing? If you're playing at home, in the studio and in small clubs you don't need a big amp to get that tone - you need an amp that can be cranked up to the clean "sweet spot" without distortion with your guitar controls backed off just a bit.

    If you go with "too much amp" for the situation - i.e. (and as mentioned in previous posts) a Twin that you can only turn up to 2 or so - you will get a clean tone, but it will be on the colder, more sterile side rather than being "glassy" with warmth - which just about every classic Fender amp with reverb will do.

    It's a common mistake for players with less gear experience to think they need a big amp to get a good clean tone, but that's ohly true if you are playing places that can accommodate the volume level required to get that kind of tone from a big amp. Players that play at varied sizes/types of venues often need multiple amps to really get a good clean tone in each. So many places are mic'd nowadays that it's rare to really need a "big" amp to play clean.
     
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  5. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    Cologne
    I thought that for recording you prefer the tone going direct? Why won't you go with it if you enjoy it?
     
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  6. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Perhaps the most direct and sensible post. I was wondering the same thing but couldn't articulate it.
     

  7. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    I've never played a 68 custom vibrolux, but I'm going to guess that it sounds nothing like a fat, clean DI tone.
     
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  8. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    533
    Dec 19, 2011
    Norway
    That makes sense... Thanks for looking out. I thought the vibro might be an amp that was considered a "smaller" home option than the biggest beasts, or cabinets and such. It's nice to hear that one could get the same open cleans with something even smaller. Are you thinking the next step down? 20w or something?

    I prefer to play and record a nice amp. When I started practicing with DI thru headphones I got a thirst for a new clean tone.
    When making this thread I was still mystified as to why I liked the tone from the DI device. It just felt like a completely different character than my ac15, and of course, naive as I am, I jumped into the opportunity for some help investigating why, hoping there was a new amp day coming in. The good people in this thread and other people I talked to has helped me understand some new things around this whole thing.
     

  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    You haven’t said how loud you can play at home.

    - quiet TV volume
    - normal
    - loud TV volume
    - loud home stereo volume
    - louder?

    Watts are a poor proxy for output volume.

    When I had a Vibrolux Reverb in a spirited honky rink band with two electric guitars, I kept it under 4 on the Volume and was still too loud. I could sometimes sneak my Deluxe Reverb up to 5. And was still too loud.

    With My Katana 100 on the .5 watt setting, with the Volume on full, the Gain at noon and the Master at 11 o’clock, my family could clearly hear me on the first floor. I was on the third floor. Our neighbor at the other end of the block could hear when I was practicing.
     

  10. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Well - "power" isn't the best indicator of an amp's volume. There is no arbitrary "specification" you can use to compare volume levels of different amps. Far more important are the design of the amp (in general 20W solid state amps are not as loud as most 20W tube amps, and among tube amps a 15 watt Vox AC15 is usually in the same loudness class as 35 W Vibrolux Reverbs - even 40W Super reverbs/Pro Reverbs); how well the amp has been maintained, as ALL tube amps need periodic service; bias settings on tube amps and the condition of all tubes; and very critically the sensitivity of the speakers that are installed.

    It takes doing a lot of research and test=playing as many amps as possible.

    And this is the kicker - it could be that the best amp for you would be a single ended Fender Champ type amp with a good outboard reverb unit. Or it might BE a Fender Twin Reverb, a Marshall Stack or anything in between. Or, like many players, you may need more than one to cover all tonal variables. We still don't know exactly how you use your amp(s).
     

  11. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    But is it that the speaker is not responsive to the input but rather your hearing at that level wants more bass end?

    [​IMG]

    I understand what you are saying as far as a speaker might sound fuller at a higher level but that is not to say the diaphragm is not responding to the input of a watt in the same way as ten watts for example. At a louder volume our ears are more sensitive in the bass end and it is our ears that need a certain level in order for the sound not to sound thin rather than the speaker. At a partial watt input the cone moves equally in response to the input as it does at a couple of watts. That was my general point.
     

  12. Lawson

    Lawson Tele-Holic

    533
    Dec 19, 2011
    Norway
    I would say normal, sometimes loud TV. A bit modest I'm afraid, but wouldn't hesitate to bring it more up for a limited recording time.
    I feel like I might have unintentionally misled you all about my goals here somewhat. The biggest factor of my headphone sound is that the DI device emulates a driven, but still clean ""amp"" with a transparent tone. (If I understand your notes). I said SS amps could be an option, but I guess I'm a tube guy at heart, with a recent thirst of brighter pushed cleans. All these terms I'm trying to spit out, I'm foot tripping myself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018

  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    You're splitting hairs to make point that isn't debatable. I fail to comprehend your intent.

    If your ears can't hear it it makes no difference if the issue is in the human ear or in a particular speaker - if listeners can't hear full frequency response the speakers are not being driven enough to be properly heard.

    This isn't even a point of debate - it's a well accepted fact regarding audio response of speakers. It is not speaker specific as the situation changes with individual amps.

    Wow. That will require no more than a Champ-type (which may even be excruciatingly loud by the time the speaker is driven). A Deluxe Reverb is overkill and anything larger absolutely impractical. An amp like a ZVex Nano, which uses microtubes, combined with a very sensitive and/or low-power speaker cab would work great - I have one that I run with some old P10Q's. It runs 1/8W clean, 1 watt distorted and provides a big, full, sparkling clean jazzy tone at conversational volume.

    Realistically you are WAY below 99% of the guitar amp world as far as the output requirement (in terms of loudness - not power. Again, "watts" can throw you off).

    Seriously, I would spend a month or two reading about small practice, studio and rehearsal amps. Don't rush into anything, and be very cautious taking "my favorite amp" advice from forums.
     

  14. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    Quite often there are people asking, 'Will a 5W Champ be able to drive a 4X12 half stack?' as if they need a hundred watt amp to get them to make some sound. I am sorry to sound like I am splitting hairs but I would rather see people have a better idea how stuff works. Practically you may be right but without the background that some reading the threads lack they could interpret your words to say that it is a heavy speaker and you need a bunch of watts before the cone moves.

    I am sorry for it sounding like nitpicking but I taught some basic engineering courses in college and stuff that seems trivial to someone with a fair bit of knowledge is sometimes hard to comprehend by someone that does not have the appropriate background. So this is where I come from, a past where I was charged to help students understand a field. It is sometime hard to just think, 'forget about it, not like it will change the world if the person does not have the proper comprehension', but I have been doing it more. You spend less time at the keyboard. But there are times when I put in the effort and the person says, 'Thanks now I get it.' Is it worth to do for one person? I debate the question with myself. So nothing to do with you, just trying to get the concept of something across is ingrained in me and I doubt I will ever shake it completely. So please accept my apology today and for in the future if I use any of your posts to try to expand on a topic. I would end up doing the same if I read the same post by ImMiffed or any other poster and the thought got in my head.
     

  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    That's exactly what I'm NOT saying and you appear to be the only one interpreting things that way. I clearly stated that power is a poor indicator of volume; which amp factors are important etc etc. Unfortunately you only read my responses to your misconceptions and not the on-topic material addressed to the OP.

    This has been a regularly discussed subject with little confusion. Until now. No point continuing as you've tangled up what I laid out unnecessarily. Please go back and read the topic posts. Thanks.
     

  16. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 24, 2010
    Canada
    Reread my last post and why I replied as I did. Seems you do not understand why I posted as I had.
     

  17. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    Cologne
    I understand. I think you are looking for a blackface or silverface type fender amp. IMHO a deluxe reverb would be fine. Though Silverface will disagree I think it sounds good played quiet. With the 12" speaker it will sound nice and full. You could also try a princeton but if for some reason you would like to bring that tone to a stage and play with a drummer it might not be enough. I recommend trying a Deluxe Reverb Reissue.

    I had a Vox (AC 30) for some time but eventually I wanted that big Fender clean tone and got myself a Vibrolux (way too loud for your application but great on stage).
    I wouldn't give up on software plugins yet – with your application it might still work better than an amp. And you can record silently at night.
     

  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I've owned multiple DRs and had trouble getting any sound at all below normal TV volume. Maybe you could push the bass and treble way up and get something decent at loud-ish TV volume. Try a THR10 in store. They have a Twin model that is pretty darn good at quiet volumes. One of the members, maybe @DHart, runs his into his computer through his studio monitor speakers and is very happy with that setup. I believe after trying amps and being dissatisfied because of his quiet volume needs. Just a thought.
     

  19. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    You're confusing yourself with your obvious desire to buy a tube amp. A DI doesn't emulate an amp in any way. It's completely clean with a flat frequency response. If you have GAS for a big, sexy tube amp, buy yourself a big, sexy tube amp. It's not going to sound anything like your headphone DI tone, but it will look cool as it sits in the corner gathering dust.
     
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  20. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I did. Read it and I did understand it. Nevertheless, your speaker statement was technically incorrect, probably because you don't have practical experience with enough different types of speakers - at least that's my guess. I've studied plenty of audio engineering and have been involved in it since the 60's. The problem is many engineering texts and tech documents deal with "typical" situations and the audio industry - especially in the guitar amp arena - is anything BUT "typical" when it comes to engineering norms.

    All the education in the world can't make you right if you're not, and when you have a very basic premise skewed it fouls the balance of the related content.

    And in this thread IMO it's an admirable but misplaced goal to try to teach an OP advanced engineering concepts when he has no experience with basic audio terminology. Might be better material for a PM so the basic topic isn't buried in concepts irrelevant for most readers.
     

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