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

MIII Tone Improvement?

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

  1. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    Exactly. This is why some think the M is not that great. See, with the egnater (and i have spend some time playing them) like any good tube amp the tweaking is already done for you. It;s the circuit itself that was voiced by the designer. I know how this stuff goes because i built my own amps from scratch (day job is elec tech) for years and i can tell you that 95% of the mustang;s adjustment range is what a tube amp's circuitry is. In other words, they designed the circuit thru experimentation till they got it sounding great and the knobs you use to tweak it should be thought of as fine tuning. The Mustang basically has so much adjustment possibilities that it's like every incarnation of a tube amp that the designer went thu before he nailed what he was trying to accomplish, and that means even the bad stuff. The mustang has a lot more possibility to sound bad to mediocre than it does to sound as good as a great tube amp designer's final product.

    To the original post, his master volume on 10 with the main volume acting to set the volume verses the opposite is not something that you can say is better one way or the other. Yes, with the master down and the other volume way up it IS brighter and harsher. But there are so many ways to tweak things....consider this...if you set it like that then use the 1X12 or 2X12 cab which are super dark, that will counter the brightness and now you have a different sound altogether than may be fatter and richer. If you use one of those cabs with the master on 10 it might be much too dark. The point i am trying to make is that there are different ways to balance the tonal balance and one way may change the overall character to a surprisingly great tone you might have missed if you didn't think to use that bright brittle tone with a dark cab sim. Of that dark model used with a bright sim. Etc etc. It's why IMO so many fail to find a great tone in the mustang. I spent hours recently (not all at once but over the course of a couple weeks) tweaking the super sonic model recently and found settings that i was very happy with, where as in the past i only liked that model as a solo tone only. Now i'm using it as my main model but haven't yet finished really finding the best middle ground between several incarnations.

    Egnaters are great amps, especially the clean which i find worlds better than the mustang because as i have said in the past, i don't feel the mustang does pristine cleans that don't have even a hint of breaking up well at all. But i have dialed in distortion tones i feel are better than the egnater and clean up with the volume knob even better. THOSE types of cleans i feel the mustang does fantastic. Just not the fender style non driven pure clean tones.

  2. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    I have been setting master volume on my Pathfinder all the way up and adjusting output with the gain knob for years. I say there is value in your approach. It certainly works for me and it amazes other guitarists that I can get the tones I do out of that little Pathfinder.

  3. Pat D

    Pat D TDPRI Member

    Jul 21, 2015
    I was the original OP on this thread. I never found a place where running the MV higher (on 10 if possible) didn't sound better. I think the word is "headroom", where having the speaker output amp at full power allows it to better recreate the signal it's getting from the DSP. I don't think running the MV lower can enhance tone, it can only restrict the ability of the speaker to turn the electrons to sound.

    That said, I did have the same thought as F4L, that the Mustang allows so much adjustment that it's hard to find the sweet spot, and when you do find it the margins on the settings are razor thin compared to their total range of adjustment. It's a good point that a self-contained tube amp who is only trying to be itself is automatically going to be easier to use.

  4. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Your discovery with the super sonic is encouraging. Sounds like I haven't spent enough time with the super sonic model to get a rhythm tone I'm happy with. Now I have new hope.
    Sometimes I use the SS for getting single note type sustain for leads but that's all I've been using it for. I'll play around with the SS model some more, so I don't have to use one amp model for rhythm and then jump to another using the foot-switch when time to solo. There's only a few songs that use this type amp arrangement, but if I put a little more time into the SS model, hopefully I won't need to do that.

    Since Pat brought up the subject of cranking up the Master, leaving it there, and then using the volume and gain knobs to color my tones, I'm liking the results enough to redo a few presets and stick with this formula. Since I play at low volume, the changes aren't drastic, but I like it.

    Being curious on how this setting would work at stage volume, I passed this all on to my friend on the west coast who actively rehearses in a 6 piece band and gigs a couple times a month, using a Mustang III v2. He says the result has been good. He said he noticed an improvement right away and that he's getting fatter, richer tones compared to having the Master Volume turned down.

    He obviously plays louder than I do, so this too is encouraging. The guitars he uses now are a PRS (not sure which model), an early 70's Gibson 335 and a USA newer Fender Strat. He's not as fanatical about custom presets for each guitar like I am, so he uses the same 2 or 3 presets for all guitars. Again, he seems happy with how it's working out.

    Getting back to the amp,
    I also agree that Fender4Life makes much sense when talking about getting similar results by how you use the cab simulations. Since I just play in one spot at home, it's a lot easier for me to keep the amp dialed in, as opposed to people playing at different locations. Let's say if I were in a live situation on stage, maybe had my amp off the floor a little bit and needed more bottom, switching to a 4x12 cab simulation might be just what it needs.

    It's always been frustrating for me, when defending the Mustangs because I know these amps can deliver when set up properly. They are touchy and not a one-size-fits-all type amp like your better variety of tube amps. IMHO, to get the best sound, they need to be dialed in to your guitar pick ups, pickup selection, and playing style. This is why I'm not a big fan of 3rd party downloadable presets. They might, however come in handy for a baseline setting, if you're willing to tweak them to your personal taste.

    Reading comments on the Fuse forums, I see that some people love certain 3rd party presets as is, but you'll also get comments from other people that don't like them at all, after having downloaded the preset directly to their Mustang. The people that don't like the preset, perhaps forgot that they need to be tweaked to your own gear. I'm probably wrong, but it seems they are usually the 1st ones to go on line and tell the world that your pride and joy preset SUCKS, the very same preset you are convinced that nailed the tone you were hoping for, should work the same for everybody, and you were generous enough to share it with the world. That's gratitude for ya. :)

    With any preset, or basic amp model, what works for me is if you first go in with less signal from your guitar PU's and let the amp do the work. For starters, I think you notice that the cleans are more natural sounding. I agree that the cleans on the amp model still won't be as pristine as the legendary prototype, but I think they're still at least as nice and more organic sounding as any cleans I've heard that aren't using tubes. Using the volume knob on your guitar, there's still plenty of dynamics to work with. I think keeping the signal lower from your guitar also helps the gain work better coming from the amp, rather than from using hot pickups in conjunction with a higher gain on the amp. When both are driving at the same time, it's not a pleasant tone, a least for my taste. If you're using hotter pickups, then the gain from the amp needs go way down. I agree that this is all a lot more finicky on the Mustang than your conventional amps but it's certainly doable once you get a feel for how your guitar and Mustang work together.

    For people who are able and willing to invest the time on an amazing amp that costs peanuts in comparison to the expensive tube prototype, the Mustang is a rewarding amp to own.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

  5. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    Thats the way i normally use it. But as i said before i find it can be good the other way if other settings are set differently to compensate. Still i feel thats the best way so far but like dialing in the supersonic finally after many tries, you just never know till you hit the right combination of settings.

    Thats a good thing you did because you obviously realize how different it can be in a mix. Personally i no longer gig but on rare occasion i will or i'll just have a stage volume jam with friends. But there IS one way to tell without doing that. Play along to mp3's at home at stage volume or at least close enough to see how it works in a mix. As i said i found the super works to accomplish my goals and i DID try it out in a jam sitch with friends new years eve. It works very good. But this shows how easily you can be fooled by a sound playing solo at home. Since then i have tried several variations and found what i felt sounded even better, and it also happened to be the master DOWN. I was liking it a lot but last nite i loaded up some mp3's to see how it fared. (lucky to live in a place i can get away with loud) I had just put a new pickup in my main tele i've really been loving but after a few minutes i was bummed thinking in a mix it sounded like %$#@. Then i picked up my other tele and that too didn't sound good. Logic took over and i had the AHA moment and switched back to the first super sonic tweak and was then in tone heaven ! So that goes to illustrate how impossible it is to know how a sound is going to work in a mix. I've got a lot of years behind me in this especially building amps where ever tweak was tested in a mix, yet i still cannot even have a slight idea how it will work till i try it in that context.

    Thats exactly what i do when i'n playing out. So far i have only gigged or jammed with others 4 or 5 times with the mustang but each time it was changing cab sims that allowed me to get a sound. They are extremely important in tuning your sound to a room.

    I guess a good analogy of the difference between a good tube amp and the mustang is the difference between a meal you buy at a restaurant and having all the ingredients and then some in your kitchen and having to make it yourself. The restaurant has a chef who has spent his life making that dish perfect, and if you aren't much of a chef you will likely fail at making it yourself and prefer the restaurant's version. But if you are persistent and have the time you may do better because not being premade for you like the restaurant meal, you may find how to personalize it to your exact taste which is something the chef couldn't do. He can only go by HIS taste.

    I've tried a bunch and haven't found one i like. And i DID tweak them further. The reason as you stated is your guitar and pickups etc, but also your needs and preferences in tone that are uniquely yours. People don't seem to realize how different we all are in what we like tonally. My bassman preset that was my main till just recently when i finally got th super model to sound like i wanted was requested by about 10 people im PM's to me and most apparently didn't care for it because they never commented back, and thats exactly what i expected. But a few did and absolutly love it. And you know why? Because each one of them liked it for same reason i did.....when you roll back the guitar volume it cleans up in a better way than i have been able to get with any other model. (but only with how i tweaked it) That aspect of tone is the #1 most important thing to me, but as the results of those who tried it proves, it's not the #1 aspect for many others. The super model doesn't do it quite as good but does everything else better so i consider it a worthy trade-off, plus at stage volume and in a mix it seems to wok as good in that regard. But i still use the bassman at times.

    I admire your logic and understanding about tone. I agree with most everything you said and don't often see that degree of understanding on most forums. You say you only play at home but i gotta assume you at one time did a lot of gigs. If not then your understanding is amazing because i know had i never gigged regularly i wouldn't understand a lot of what we're discussing here. It took years of gigs to realize a lot of it, especially how a tone in a mix and solo can work totally different in one context than the other. .

  6. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Thanks, Fender4life, agree with all you said, .No time now to respond in any detail right now, but I'll be back later. Appreciate all your wisdom!

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