do all amps break up at volume?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by guitarmoron, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. tombob

    tombob Tele-Holic

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    I’ve never gotten my 69’ Twin Reverb with D120Fs to break up. I’ve never lasted more than a few notes with the volume on 10 though. I have a Carvin x100b that I’ve never heard the clean side break up. I usually either run into a pair of EVM12Ls or Mesa C-90s. The X100b is actually surprisingly similar sounding to my TR if set right, just a bit more compressed sounding. If you put a 5751 in the PI it’s even closer (the 5751 phase inverter seems to lessen the compressed tone a bit).
     
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  2. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a Technics integrated stereo amp that was clean all the way up.
     
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  3. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    THD pretty much goes up as you push the volume to its max. Some may not notice or perceive the distortion as 'distortion' but it's pretty much always there. Even solid state class D, many are rated @ 10% THD at full output. HiFi amps will generally be the lowest, and may remain under 1%, if designed well.


    Yeah, I get it, that's a loud clean amp, but it breaks up. Go and scope it with the volumes dimed. These didn't even have enough headroom for Stevie Ray Vaughn. Had to have Dumble make a specifically voiced Steel String Singer with LNFB in every preamp stage, that could be hit extremely hard without the amp distorting or the low end falling apart noticeably. Even on the SSS, you'd measure THD at full output. I could totally mod that Fender to get more headroom, as well..
     
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  4. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Sounds about right. I think if you took a guitar amp design and put a speaker in it that was rated well above the watts the amp could deliver, and then set up the tone stack + volume pot on the amp right you could set it up so it wouldn't overdrive with the volume maxed out with just a guitar plugged in.

    But that won't help if you throw a boost/drive/fuzz in front of it that boosts the input signal like crazy.
     
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  5. Vermoulian

    Vermoulian Tele-Meister

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    In most guitar amps (even "clean" SF Fenders) the way the preamp is designed will get the signal hot enough to clip at least a bit at one or more preamp stages, the PI, and/or the power section. The "Fender cleans" that everybody loves generally involve a little bit of "warmth" which doesn't sound distorted, but as noted above, if you look at the wave forms on an oscilloscope, there's a little bit of clipping going on.
     
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  6. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Power handling does not determine headroom/break-up of a speaker. Power handling is essentially how much heat the voice coil can dissipate. You could have a very high rated speaker that distorts early, by venting the voice coil (for lots of heat dissipation) and then using a very flimsy speaker cone, which will ensure early breakup. The cone has much more bearing than the speaker's wattage rating. You want a rigid cone that doesn't deform as you push the speaker hard, to minimize distortion from the speaker.
     
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  7. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    I've got a '66 Gibson Saturn (60 watt, 2x10") that will not break up with a Tele when wound all the way out. It just gets some third harmonic chime. I was comparing its circuit diagram with that of its 4x10" brother, the Gibson Ranger and I think I found out why: The Ranger has a midrange control on each channel. The Saturn doesn't, but I think that is front-panel cosmetics only. It appears that the Saturn has the midrange control that is set at a fixed value that is quite low and limits the overall gain of the preamp. The result is a clean 60 watt amp that sounds about as loud as a Fender Deluxe!

    Bob
     
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  8. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not sure if there is a standard way, I think mine was just engineered to offer less distortion. Has a large transformer. It will distort at a certain point but I haven't ever turned it up that loud.
    I bought it years ago due to reviews and it looks awesome imo. When turned up it's like having a live band play in your living room. Great for jamming along with as it keeps up with guitar amp. :)

    https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/sansui/g-8000.shtml
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  9. alexwilds

    alexwilds TDPRI Member

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    I use a Tweed 5E5-A, but with 7581 (35 watt) tubes and a rather massive 15" bass speaker, rated way beyond the wattage of the amp. It might break up a little at full volume, but I never play it anywhere near that loud. If I put a 12AY7 in the preamp, it won't break up at all.

    Distortion in the preamp, the power tubes, and speaker are separate matters, and you can adjust things so that break up happens in any, all, or none of the stages.
     
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  10. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Then you run into the problem, what pickups do you design this amp around? What if they use higher/lower output pickups when using that amp?

    The amp may get designed to not break up with a Tele, but with a Les Paul, it has enough output to clip the amp. Then you plug in a weaker Lipstick equipped pickup, and it sounds anemic and weak, because the amp was design to not break up with a more powerful tele pickup, and you can't turn up the gain/volume any more, because it's already maxed out.. That's why guitar amps are never designed in that way.



    That's 'break up' ie. Distortion. 3rd harmonic generation is distortion. ;)
     
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  11. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

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    I had the Ramparte clean (Cool) channel clean all the way up, but I'm not sure I had the stock 12AX7 in V1, or in V2 for that matter. I also put in a 5751 in V1 and it distorted really fast, like on 3 or 4.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    No.

    I've had vintage 100w Marshalls that stayed clean all the way to 150 watts.
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    WRT stereo amps staying clean all the way up, there is generally circuitry that prevents running the power section into clipping.

    Rated power there is rated power, they do not rate a quality stereo amp for whatever the power section can put out when clipping.
    We can make them clip by overdriving the input, but that may not be the output section clipping.

    Same with guitar amps, and while BF Fenders have circuitry to limit clipping, they still clip, but not much above rated output.
    Vintage Marshalls OTOH put out quite a bit more wattage above rated power.
    Then many Tweeds clip and distort heavily, but due to under sized OT and inadequate filtering, they don't produce much more wattage at clipping.
    Once an OT saturates, no more power is possible as you turn up and get more distorted sounds.
    This is handy for controlling dirt from the guitar volume, since the level stays pretty close to the same while the dirt increases.
     
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  14. parisdobermans

    parisdobermans TDPRI Member

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    Tried to break up a Twin once....ended up at the hospital
     
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  15. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    Yep. The main instruments I use with the amp are Gibson humbucker-equipped guitars. I provided the Tele as a reference point.
    Indeed. However, these days people have changed the terms and I'm lost as to new nomenclature. I personally use the old system of any clipping is "distortion" but we now have "drive," "distortion," "crunch," and "fuzz," and probably more. I was trying to use newspeak and probably made it less precise than it should have been. :D

    Bob
     
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  16. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I suspect that any amp that doesn't break up is likely capable of a lot more than it's currently doing.

    Meaning, if on a scale of 0-100 the breakup point is 70, then limit the output of the amp at 60 & way oversize the speakers.

    If you're looking for a loud tube amp that stays clean I suggest a Fender "The Twin".

    I have a 75 Twin Reverb, a Hot Rod DeVille & "The Twin".

    Your ears will breakup before the "The Twin" will (unless you put it on the lower output setting for the purpose of achieving breakup at a sensible volume).
     
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  17. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    A Fender Super Twin would kill you before you went deaf! :lol:
     
  18. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    At one point in time, an amplifier that saturated and broke up was considered a cheap POS. That tube over-drive was a flaw and not a plus, but time had a way of flipping that around. As a result, amps like the vintage Gibsons didn't break up much if at all. I have owned a few of them from the very early '60's and they were very bright with very little over-drive if at all.

    My '79 Twin sure doesn't break up much either...which I consider a good thing for what I play.
     
  19. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm guessing you'd be deaf if you ever got my old Bandit 112 to break up on the clean channel.
     
  20. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fender Twin. I had one for 17 years and had to dial it a certain way to get that Eric Clapton sound.
    Such a clean amp and loud for gigs.
     
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