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Postulation: All "Real" Amps Have a Sweet Spot...

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Tele-beeb, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 2, 2012
    The Bluegrass
    I pose or postulate that every real, seriously contrived amplifier has at least one good sound, if used and dialed in correctly.

    There are the usual benchmark amps, but, what off-beat amps have you found to have "just that" application?

    Exhibit One: I recently (and for a short time) had a Musicmaster Bass Amp from the late 70's. It didn't cover much ground, however, with a taste of reverb (pedal) and tone set just so... with a Strat or even a Tele I could do Sultans of Swing over and over.
     

  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Wisco
    Here's another postulation for you to reflect on:

    Every amp is a "real" amp
     

  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Yes, most amps do have a "sweet spot". Agreed.....the end.
     
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  4. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    europe
    Except for virtual amps that exist only in computers.
     
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  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Wisco
    Except for when those virtual amps serve the exact same purpose that any other amp can serve (minus maybe a place to set your beer)
     

  6. LooseJack

    LooseJack Tele-Meister

    250
    Feb 4, 2017
    transit lounge
    The problem is that the sweet spot moves around. Some days the darn thing can't even be found. Some days it's perfectly dialled in during the journey. Some days the place that isn't the sweet spot suddenly becomes the sweet spot only after 73 minutes of playing. Some days the sweet spot is already occupied and you have to exit the sweet spot or get into a volume war. Some days you think you're in the sweet spot, but then you take the ear plugs out and discover that the sweet spot moved.

    TL;DR
    Where's that confounded sweet spot
     

  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    For tube amps this is quite accurate. SS, maybe not so much. Considering we have many variety's , many different wattage's etc, this is very true and perhaps the most significant item to consider when selecting the "tube amp " to own.

    We read oh so often, I don't need 50 watts or I don't need a twin reverb , it's too loud. I only need and want 15 watts. While this is somewhat true, it's true for the wrong perceived reason. The main reason we choose a lower wattage amp to fit our needs is not because of total output volume but rather it's because the sweet spot is in a very usable range for our gigs or jams. A 40 watt amp is not twice as loud as a 20 watt amp no matter how many times we say it is, but the sweet spot may be a tad higher on the knob. The 40 watt amp doee indeed a deliver a tad more clean volume which could be contrived as "too loud" for my purposes or needs". While the famous 22 watt amp has it's bag of complaints as well, "I can't get enough clean volume out of it" so we start changing speakers and tubes to compensate.

    Many of us have been using the 40 watt amps and trying to clean it up a tad, which effectively is trying to change the sweet spot. Good luck with that. The way i solved that problem with the 40 watt amp was move to the 60 watt amp . The volume isn't greater but the sweet spot was within range and the clean gain I was seeking was just below the sweet spot.

    Tube amps are designed for what they do, not just created for the market. The manufacturers are trying to solve that age old dilemma while keeping costs competitive. Where is sweet spot ? Is it too loud or not loud enough ?

    Consider this, and the Marshal Plexi guys know this well. Which amp has the better sweet spot at the right volume on stage thus making one seem louder than the other ?

    the 50 or the 100 ? Right, the 50.

    The sweet spot doesn't change, we change, maybe we change guitars, the conditions change, the room changes. The amp has no clue what the heck we are doing or where we are.

    This is probably the #1 reason that the 40 watt 1x12 combo has become the go to amp for so many players over the last couple of decades , it fits the needs and is very close to what we desire on more gigs rather than less gigs.
     
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  8. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 27, 2016
    USA
    "real, seriously contrived"? What does that even mean?
     

  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC

    To me it's a very sophisticated way of saying it breaks up at 4 on the V knob ! :)
     
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  10. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    708
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    I think most players have a sweet spot sound where they just sound their best or at least most like them. I know I do, and I suck. But I have a particular sound and I seem to be able to find it on many amps but not quite on others. I'm like a tube amp of guitarists - I have one basic sound with only slight variations that work for me.

    Of course, then there the newfangled "modeling" guitarists who can play EVERYTHING and sound like EVERYONE. It can be hard to tell what THEY sound like and they might not be really at home with any one sound, but they can do it all pretty well. But do they have the should of the tube amp guys who just have one sound?

    I'm kidding, of course, but for me the challenge isn't finding the absolutely perfect sound - it's finding the one that works for me and then being able t find it again tomorrow and then the day after. I find a good solid state amp like a Blues Cube (which is my main amp) or even something with presets like a Katana is easier to find the same "right" sound on demand. I've had tube amps in the past that were a lot more temperamental and they just sounded better on some days than others.
     
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  11. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Meister

    394
    May 7, 2015
    atlanta
    I find a drop or two of maple syrup on the speaker cones, makes it easier to find the sweet spot. Beware of ants though.

    yes every amp has a sweet spot, and its different for every pair of ears. Thats the nature of pyschoacoustics. Its like saying every guitar has strings, its sort of taken for granted as without proper sounding amplification, an amp isn't really an amp its just an expensive space heater.
     
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  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    Maybe yes maybe no, I feel most players will equate a tube amp sweet spot to where it just starts to get gnarly on the V-knob, not clean, not real dirty, kinda on the way to becoming too dirty. This spot will occur in different gain spaces based on the tube amp of choice , some will be rather early some rather late, a Blues Jr vs Super Reverb kinda thing. Both can sound great but one may not be suitable on a gig. One may only allow ONE tone for the gig while the other may allow for flexibility.
     
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  13. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

    May 19, 2010
    Cincinnati, OH
    That postulation is completely subjective. Take a BF Fender Super Reverb, even MY BFSR. An iconic amp, one everyone knows and has heard. I know where I like the knobs set, where it sounds best TO ME. That would be the "sweet spot," right?

    But take 100 TDPRI members, give them a tele and an hour alone in a room with the amp with instructions to dial in "The sweet spot " and write it down. I can just tell you, there's zero chance everyone comes up with my settings.

    Subjective.

    Taking this further, change the tubes or speakers on my "real amp" and the sweet spot changes. Go from tele to strat to L.P. to 335, the sweet spot changes.
     

  14. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    Or maybe can never be found !

    Agree with your assessment though .
     
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  15. memorex

    memorex Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    67
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    All true, in fact, I find that moving an amp from venue to venue changes the sweet spot, all other things being equal. When I started using only an MFX pedal direct into the board and monitoring with IEM's, I didn't think I was going to like it because it doesn't sound the same as a real amp. But it sounds consistent all the time, and it turns out that's a good thing.
     
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  16. luckett

    luckett Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    My amp has at least one sweet spot where I can do Sultans of Swing over and over. Does that mean it's a seriously contrived amp?
     
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  17. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Missoula, Montana
    point a: not every amp. I bought a Gorilla practice amp once that could not be made to sound good under any circumstances. I tried. Others tried. I only paid 17 dollars for it & still felt like I would have rather had three pints of good beer instead.

    point b: a really good amp will have more than a single sweet spot. the new toy on the block is an Orange Rockerverb 50 and it sounds good clean, sounds good crunchy, does a fantastic edge-of-breakup thing that you can control with your pick attack -- plus it has a bunch of rock and metal sounds that I don't use, at least while sober. with a delay in the FX loop and a good compressor in front of it, I can get from Merle Haggard to Lowell George to Van Halen just by twisting a few knobs & punching a few buttons. it's fun!
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    I've had a few amps that had this problem, where they really only sound good at one volume level, and sound unsatisfactory much above or below that "sweet spot".
    Some vintage non master Marshalls are like this, not really a good clean sound and lose distinction at full volume. Yet this can usually be remedied with a different speaker/ cab arrangement.

    I've also found that some amps can get the widest range of sounds through pick dynamics when set right at the edge of distortion, which many players would call a "sweet spot".
    Yet many amps with this quality also deliver great clean sounds at a wide range of lower volumes.

    A Super Reverb is a great example of "the sweet spot lies within the player".
    I have enjoyed that volume range of my Supers, and also found that if I replace the vintage speakers with newer higher wattage speakers, the amp becomes more "one sound" and less great sounding at lower volumes, where an old set of CTS alnicos delivers great sounds from lowest to highest volumes, though maybe too mushy at full volume.

    If an amp has only the sweet spot, I tend to pass on it or pass it on.
    Or if I'm stuck with it I'll try different tubes and speakers until it becomes versatile like a real good tube amp should be.

    I'd say the Marshall 1974 is a good example of a versatile amp that's hobbled into a one sound amp by the anachronistic GB speaker.
    Way more sounds in them with a more efficient Gold, and still more sounds with the TMB tone stack. I think amps with just vol and tone are more likely to be one sound amps, though that certainly isn't true of the 5e3.
    Even a one knob 5f1 has loads of different sounds in it.
    Might have taken EC 20 years to find some of them though...
     
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  19. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    376
    Jun 7, 2009
    donegal ireland
    It's called the Master Volume..
     
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  20. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Meister

    495
    Dec 21, 2015
    Caraquet N.-B. Canada
    I believe that every amp has a "sweet spot". Some at lower volume, some at higher volume. But, as many of you pointed out, that sweet spot thing is very subjective. I, for exemple, use many different amps between 7 and 40 watts for shows, but since I am attracted to a certain sound (more mid-rangy), I will try to set the amps to reach that "sweet spot" for my ears. Less treble on a blackface Fender Deluxe and more highs on a vintage GA20 Gibson. So, although a ´56 Deluxe and a newer Vox AC15 hw1x are not sonicaly the same animals, because of the sound that I'm chasing in my head, they wiil tend to sound more alike when I play with their controls. I think it's the same for many of us. They call it sounding like you...
     
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