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MIII Tone Improvement?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by Pat D, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    I seem to have found a nice tone improvement by switching up use of the volume knobs. I tried the master volume knob cranked to 10, using the preset volume to adjust loudness of the output, I find the tone to be much more pleasing. There is added dimension, and reduction of harshness or brittleness.

    Can anyone else confirm or discount this?

    I recently demo'd a Hot Rod Deville in a music store and could immediately hear a fullness and clarity to the clean tone from that amp that I wasn't able to get out of the neighboring MIV. Using the volume knobs this way on my MIII seems to close some of the gap with the HRD.

    Hoping it's real and not placebo!
     

  2. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT
    Yeah, that definitely goes against the traditional wisdom and conventions. I'll have to give it a shot!
     

  3. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    Thanks, please do!

    I went back and forth a dozen times comparing the two volume settings A to B, and the difference seemed significant.
     

  4. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    997
    Jan 19, 2011
    03842
    I think there's some truth to this, and I can support some of the findings with my own ear.

    Coincidentally I started doing something similar a few days ago when I was adjusting volume of my three go-to presets. My son was in the next room watching YouTube and asked me to turn it down; I looked at the amp and saw I had the Master knob on 2 and the preset's Volume at about 8. i knew, from my amp anyway, that the Master volume gets real finicky between 1 and 2, sometimes jumping from very soft to very loud. So, I put the Master knob on 5 and dialed back the preset Volumes.

    The end result was very much the same experience you've described, Pat D. It seemed, to my ear, that the amp was more responsive. I liken it to power amps for PAs, in which to get maximum power from the power amps, without reducing the headroom of the signal source, you run the power amps at full (for a multi-array you'd adjust volume as needed depending on where the speakers are located in the room, etc.).

    Since the speaker and Master in the Mustangs are essentially a glorified "full-range" PA speaker, this in spirit might hold true as well.
     

  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Wisco
    Yep. And, that's how it was with the old Valevetronix amps also, the secret to the optimum tone and responsiveness was to crank the master (and often the gain as well) and set the actual volume with the "attenuator" knob on the back of the amp.
     

  6. 10thoufirst

    10thoufirst Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    834
    Nov 16, 2013
    England
    I must say I hadn't even thought of trying this. You are talking about the Mustang's real output, the physical knob? I remember in the old days, pre master volume, to get a good clean sound I had the guitar up full and controlled the actual volume from the amp. When master volume amps came along I'd still have the guitar at max, the master volume at max and sort out the overall volume with the gain control. This usually meant that the gain would be set low, avoiding distortion.
    I can imagine this may work as it lets the amp model run to its fullest, using the model's master volume or preamp gain to get the sound.
     

  7. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    997
    Jan 19, 2011
    03842
    Yep, turn the Master up to 5 or so to get the power section sweating a bit, then use the Volume (knob or digitally in the preset) to control how loud it actually gets. The taper is much, much more smooth than trying to move the Master between 1 and 2.

    In hindsight, it was silly of me to not even consider this. Duuuuh.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015

  8. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    Confirmed: Mustang Tone Improvement - Volume Knob Usage

    Awesome! So it wasn't just me and wishful thinking. I will step a little further out on a limb now and say that, going from memory, using the volume knobs this way made my MIII sound as good as the hot rod deville clean tone. I will visit the music shop again to confirm.

    The PA system analogy seems to be accurate. I think cranking the physical master volume frees up the speaker. The difference was striking.

    I'm away from home for a few days but can't wait to get back home again and try it. I was actually looking at buying a tube amp but from what I recall there would be no point to it.

    I would love to hear more reports if anyone else tries this.
     

  9. Tle4

    Tle4 Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 28, 2010
    Warrington, Pa. USA
    I notice a difference. I prefer it with the presets volumes lower and the master up higher. My gig presets, I set the master around 5 or so for stage volume. I previously had the preset volume in them up in the 8-10 range and my master was around 3 for stage volume.

    I also use the trs out to the board playin out and adjusting the master on stage does not effect the volume going to the board.
     

  10. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    Thanks for the feedback. I was able to get on my amp for a few minutes last night and re-confirm what I was hearing.

    To my ear it seems like the higher I can run the physical master volume the better the amp will sound. Set to 10 sounds best to me, alive and multi-dimensional. By comparison a MV setting of 3 or 4 sounds flat and one dimensional.

    My earlier tests were with a clean tone and MV at 10, so my gain was set very low. That worked great. Last night I tried it with gain turned up for overdrive and I see how you can't really keep MV at 10 with an overdriven tone.

    I'm hoping to find a balance between clean and overdriven tones that will let me run closer to 7 or 8 MV. Not sure if that's possible. It will be a few more days before I can try again. Anyway, I have a couple of real overdrive pedals before the amp so I will probably be running a clean tone when playing live, and can set MV as high as I want.

    Would love to hear more about what other people find with this. Especially if you can try a clean tone with super high MV.
     

  11. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Meister

    291
    Feb 5, 2014
    Virginia
    You guys got me to fumbling around with this last night too. I was working with the master on 5. I definitely like the higher master volume. However, like you said, i cannot push to overdrive anymore because it is too loud, but it is beautiful for clean, and it provides a better volume situation without the spike going from 2 to 3 or 4.

    I think for distortion, you will end up using this more like a high watt tube amp.... set up a good clean tone and then add a dirt pedal (or stomp) to the front. The champ and the british color (am I the only one who likes this one?) sounded great last night set up with this. I used the simple compressor and orange box in front. The simple compressor really gave it some sparkle without making it too much louder or dirty.

    For my princeton and british 60s settings... I definitely keep the master lower and push the amp model higher instead. The British 60s in particular sounds almost lifeless with a high master and lower volume/gain (I have lower output pickups - if that makes a difference).

    One side effect I noticed, adjusting the bias/sag with the master turned up created a popping/static noise, which went away once I had the setting dialed in.
     

  12. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    997
    Jan 19, 2011
    03842
    The most noticeable difference my ear has heard so far in my testing of my three go-to presets has been a flatter treble response and slightly tighter bass response. I have yet to run the Master Volume up past 5. My preset volumes across the board tend to be in the 2.0 to 3.0 range.

    For my clean tone (my spin on the '65 Twin model), my ear noticed more "oomph" in the middle notes of chords with more than three strings. Single-note lines on the G and D strings sounded a bit fatter, and licks and double-stops on the high E and B strings were less prone to ice-pick artifacts.

    For my overdrive tone (a Super-Sonic preset very nearly the same as the Texas Blues settings in the Super-Sonic 22 manual) I noticed juicer mids and, similar to the clean tone, less "splatty" double-stops and multi-string bends. Same for my lead tone, which is basically the Overdrive tone with more Gain.

    I really think there's something to getting that Master Volume cooking a bit. Just be careful if you accidentally switch to a preset where the Volume isn't adjusted. ;)
     

  13. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    Right on. Very cool. I had been thinking the last couple of weeks that I might make the tube amp plunge. That's out of the question now. I think the MIII is going to stay a good long time.

    BTW, regarding the amp models that have a virtual master volume (on page 2 of the amp menu), I found that you can crank the virtual MV, crank the gain, run the physical MV high, then adjust the preset volume as discussed. The result is a warm full-bodied overdrive infinitely better than the default preset tones with physical MV at 3 or 4.

    No such luck on the Fender models that have no virtual MV so far. Maybe there is a way to get a similar effect but I haven't found it.
     

  14. Steve Perry

    Steve Perry Tele-Meister

    151
    Apr 21, 2003
    Elizabethtown, KY
    I only use about 3 presets I've made and put in the first 3 spots. I always mod and turn the volume off on the presets that are on either side of those 3. With my fumble fingers, I've learned the hard way! :lol:
     

  15. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    Definitely try what I mentioned, which is setting the virtual master volume (on page 2 of the amp menu) high. I found the same thing you described, weak overdrive, until I turned up that virtual master volume, and then it screamed with the low preset volume/high physical master volume settings.
     

  16. I prefer using the mustang with the volume cranked & the master controlling the volume & yes with the master cranked & using the volume to control the
    overall volume it does sound sound like the HRD ,which is the main reason i sold my HRDLX & my Blues JR ,it has that unpleasing midrange tone that I could not dial out no matter what i did .
     

  17. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    That's interesting. Did you find both the overdrive and clean tones unpleasant on your HRD?

    I only heard the Hot Rod Deville set for a clean tone. That's what I was basing my comments on. I've read reviews that found the clean tone great but the overdrive not so much.


    BTW, to flesh out my reference point in the music shop...

    I walked into the local shop and asked to be shown the difference in tone between a tube amp and a Mustang. I know the guy who showed me to be an accomplished musician and guitar player. I've seen him play live. His family owns the shop so he has had access to any and all the best equipment his whole life.

    He immediately went to the HRD, set it for a clean tone, and played an American Standard Tele through it. The difference between this sound and what I was getting from my Mustang III at home was readily apparent. Then he plugged into an MIV and it was confirmed for me. I tweaked the MIV controls while he played to make sure it was set to what I found to be the best settings.

    There was a pretty big gap in performance.

    That was before I had found this master volume trick on my MIII. I plan to get back into the shop this week and repeat the clean tone experiment, this time with the master volume on 10.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015

  18. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    What amp models did you try on the Mustang IV? Did you
    try different cabs ? thanks
     

  19. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    73
    Jul 21, 2015
    Indiana
    We used the '65 Deluxe Reverb with no effects added. That's the amp model I prefer with my own Tele at home. We didn't change the cabinet model while there.

    Incidentally, the difference (at least to my ear) isn't in the EQ, and not like the differences between cabinet models. EQ and Cab models make a big difference, but they don't change the audio output of the amp the way the high master volume setting does.

    The word I've seen used that describes my perceived difference in tone is 'glassy'. I find a smoothness and clarity that never appears by trying different amps, cabs, or EQ settings. Maybe some people like the glassy tone and some don't.

    As for me, after that demo I was looking seriously at jumping to something like a Super Champ X2. Now I'm really happy with the MIII, and can't see making a change any time soon - maybe ever.
     

  20. The DRRI is the setting i was using also & using the volume controls as you are suggestion give me that high sensitivity clean attack like the HRD has on the HI channel which I didn't like to minimize this on my HRD i when using tele or humbucker I would use the low channel & slightly rool the volume off a little .
    Also this might be a anomaly but the other night i was using my laptop near my Mustang IIIv2 & it was pick noise/interference from the laptop when i switched the volumes to the volume 10 & the master low it was quieter .
     

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