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

Questions for Yamaha THR10 and THR5 owners

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by kiwi blue, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Thinking of getting a THR10C. I’ve tried the amp in the shop and was impressed, but I’d mainly want it as an amp modeller for direct recording and going direct to PA for solo gigs, rather than as a practice amp.

    What are people’s experiences recording direct to computer via the USB? Does it sound natural? Similar to what comes out of the speakers?

    Also, how well does the headphone out function as line outs (either to an interface for recording or to a PA desk)? Yamaha says the headphone out also works as a line out, but I’ve read somewhere that it can be too noisy.
     

  2. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    751
    Nov 29, 2012
    belgium
    I've been using the THR10c as a modeller. I use the headphone out and plug it in a Zoom R16, which is a standalone digital multitrack recorder. Then i use the headphone out from the Zoom...

    Sounds really good, a lot better than most digital guitar patches and definitely better than the ones from the Zoom device. I think it sounds a bit fuller compared to the speakers, a bit warmer (through a headset that is). Lots of control with the gain knobs, EQ and effects!!

    You do get a little noise, depending on the amp model, like with a proper amp. It's not a real "clean" digital guitar system, like the Line6 Variax approach..

    The only minor "flaw" is that you can't use the THRs speakers while using the headphone out. Off course it was never meant to do that, so it's hardly a design error. It just means that the headphone out was not really intended as a recording/line out channel. If you connect monitors to the recorder, the problem is solved i guess.

    Did not try the USB yet, I just had it for a month or so. Also did not use it direct to PA, but i suspect it sounds just as good as it does through headphones!

    When i think about it, it actually is a very versatile tool, that little Yamaha!

    Hope this helped...
     

  3. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Hey thanks, that's very useful. It'll probably be cleaner through the USB I'd guess. I'm recording with an old Mac that's not compatible with the driver, so I'd be limited to using the line out for now. I'm planning on switching to a compatible PC soon, but it needs an issue fixed first.

    I would use the line out for going direct to PA for gigs though. I use a Tech 21 Blonde for that at present. The Blonde is great, but that wee Yamaha has a greater variety of sounds.
     

  4. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    751
    Nov 29, 2012
    belgium
    Those Tech 21 pedals sure look nice! Never heard of 'm before...
     

  5. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    They're basically analogue modellers. I think of the Blonde as an amp (actually several amps, albeit all in the broadly Fender flavour). I put a decent drive pedal in front, delay etc after it, then I run it into a DI and then to the PA.

    It's fine for solo gigs where I don't need a monitoring amp to hear myself above a band. The overdrive is ok into a guitar amp, where the speaker cuts a lot of top end, but into a full range system like a PA or recording monitors it's too fizzy. Much better to put a drive pedal in front.

    I've recently been recording direct to computer with a borrowed Tech 21 TriAC. Got some pretty good recordings from that. With both Tech 21s I get best results by paying careful attention the rest of the chain (pedals, DI, etc), and find you need to spend some time getting to know them as the controls are very interactive. There are some great tones in there but you may not find them straight away.
     

  6. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    751
    Nov 29, 2012
    belgium
    The controls on the THR are very interactive as well. The controls are based on each individual amp they represent, with all the flaws that go with them. Some amps react heavily on the bass control (fender deluxe), some amps hardly change (Marshall bluesbreaker), ... Even the reverb and vibrato change according to the selected amp! Very impressive!

    The fun thing is you can keep on tweaking and fine-tuning like with a proper amp.

    Only thing is it will not react to pedals in the same way a tube amp does. I put a tubescreamer and a fuzz in front of it and it just doesn't absorb the pedals in a natural way. Not bad though, just not perfect either.
     

  7. ellisvertellis

    ellisvertellis Tele-Holic

    751
    Nov 29, 2012
    belgium
    The controls on the THR are very interactive as well. The controls are based on each individual amp they represent, with all the flaws that go with them. Some amps react heavily on the bass control (fender deluxe), some amps hardly change (Marshall bluesbreaker), ... Even the reverb and vibrato change according to the selected amp! Very impressive!

    The fun thing is you can keep on tweaking and fine-tuning like with a proper amp.

    Only thing is it will not react to pedals in the same way a tube amp does. I put a tubescreamer and a fuzz in front of it and it just doesn't absorb the pedals in a natural way. Not bad though, just not perfect either.
     

  8. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2013
    st. louis, illinois
    continuing the off-topic part about the tech 21... i recorded an entire album a few years back using a tech 21 modeller. being the tone snob that i am... i wasn't real pleased with the way it sounded, but my guitar sound got a lot of compliments

    i think we used the california model or something like that
     

  9. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    I've been using the California (Mesa Boogie) model on the IriAC too. Does certain things very well, and seems to even do cleans better than the Tweed (Fender) model.

    I got a great biting Tele bridge pickup tone using the Cali setting with a touch of overdrive, plus another overdrive pedal in front also set to low drive (a unique pedal my friend made using a Nobels OD-1 heavily modded for germanium and silicon transistors - gives a complex, amp-like OD). Turned out better than the miked track I originally did using a 63 Fender Super. Partly that's due to a combination of poor miking technique and poor room sound, but it's also a testament to how good the Tech 21 can be.

    The Blonde is a different kettle of fish altogether. Lots of subtle variations of tone and feel in that one. The character control is the key.
     

  10. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2010
    British Columbia
    There are some inexpensive Joyo/Harley Benton pedals that sound very similar to those Tech 21 analog amp modellers. You might check out some of those to see what your ears think of them.

    I paid $40 US for a Joyo American Sound, and with a little tweaking I can get it to sound surprisingly close to a Fender Blackface clean tone. More importantly, it's the best tube tone I've ever heard from any solid-state device at any price - far better than digital modellers that cost ten times the price - pretty amazing!

    -Gnobuddy
     

  11. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Hey thanks for the heads up Gnobuddy. That sounds like something I'd use. I'll read up about those and see if they're available in this part of the world.

    I haven't been able to get my Blonde sounding as nice and natural as a miked amp yet when direct recording. The TriAC has some good tones, but I'm still struggling to get a convincing clean sound from them. Not just the tone, but more the dynamics and natural feel.

    Decided against buying the Yamaha for now. Loved the dirtier amp models, especially when played through a nice powered monitor speaker in the shop, great feel as well as tone, but a bit too spendy for me right now (mortgage, kids, blah blah). I'll look out for a second hand one eventually.

    In the meantime I've just scored a second hand Johnson J-Station. Looking forward to trying that for direct recording when it arrives. It probably doesn't hang with the latest HD modellers and all, but in its day it was considered better than a Pod for clean and slightly pushed tones according to SOS, and lots of people love it's blackface twin model.
     

  12. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    I should add the Yamaha retails for $650 here. I got the J-Station for $50.
     

  13. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

    636
    Apr 28, 2013
    Kansas
    I've got a J-Station that I've had for several years and I still use it pretty regularly, especially as a recording interface. There are some good patches at the J-Station site that are much better than the factory presets; one in particular is a "Soldano" emulation that gives lead tones good harmonics, verging just on the edge of feeding back. Also, I've found that putting an overdrive pedal in front of the J-Station can give it more of a tube feel and/or a more natural overdrive sound. I even experimented with a Vox Amplug in front of it and got some pretty good results for both clean and overdriven settings. The modulation effects are kind of hit and miss, but the J-Station has something like 11 different types of reverb, include four different spring types. I've used it a lot as just as a reverb pedal in front of my amps, and it can sound really, really good ... PLUS, it can be used as a bass amp modeler, so feel good about your $50 investment. It's certainly not the same type of device as the Yamaha THR10 or THR5, but it can still be a great tool, depending on your needs.
     

  14. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    That's encouraging. Neither of my amps has reverb, so the J-Station will be great just for that. As for the modelling I'll be happy just to get one good clean tone with a natural feel. I can get good enough dirt sounds with my Tech 21 pedals and a dirt box. I'm finding it harder to get cleans with the right feel.

    Apparently the compressor is more than decent too. How are the delays? Any good analogue delay emulation?

    I like the way most of the functions seem to be accessed by twiddling knobs old school style. I know there are shift functions and various deep editing commands too, but the main ones seem to be accessible at the top level, ie just by turning a knob with an obvious label like amp, bass, treble.
     

  15. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

    636
    Apr 28, 2013
    Kansas
    I rarely use delay so I can't really comment. The compressor does a good job and there are different ratios available in the deep editing mode, but I don't really use it that much either.

    There's good and bad about the tone, gain and volume knobs. These access the controls digitally so each time you change a patch, each control automatically resets as it was last saved, rather than to the current knob position. This can be a nuisance because a slight turn of any knob can dramatically change the sound, depending on how close the knob position is to the saved levels. The display doesn't show the last saved value for any of the parameters, so you can't always make subtle adjustments until after the first time you've turned any given knob for a patch. You'll see this as you start to use it.

    By the way, I think the Hot Rod model is one of the better models for clean and basic crunch. It seems like it has the best general tube dynamics to it and the gain knob lets you clean it up pretty good. If you want it even cleaner, the Black Face and Brit Class A are alright, but they both seemed a little lifeless to me.

    Also, there's a firmware update available if your J-Station isn't already updated. It's worthwhile just for the extra cabinet models.
     

  16. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Just had a look at the manual and it says you can't turn off the amp modelling. Wouldn't this be a problem if you want to use it purely as a reverb? It means you're effectively running the signal through two preamps. Or have you found a way to get a flat, uncoloured setting?

    The SOS interview I mentioned talks about how to find the saved patch values:

    "The manual doesn't mention this but if, after recalling a preset, you rotate a control slowly through its full scale you can actually find the point where the Store light goes out (because the control's position matches the stored value) and thus effectively 'null' the controls one at a time to end up with an accurate portrayal of the preset's control positions without using the editing software."

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug00/articles/jstation.htm

    BTW that article talks about how to get a great sound from the Twin Reverb model (at least in the author's opinion). Might be worth a shot.

    "To hear what the J Station is really capable of just dial up the Blackface Twin model, set Gain to max, Treble and Bass to 12 o'clock, Mid to 9 o'clock, set up the compressor with a ratio of 5 (around 4:1) and threshold of around 10 (-40dB) to make the guitar feel like it has a bit of air moving around it, and finally add a small dash of reverb — I recommend the Club or Studio setting — just to put the hint of a real environment around the sound and... voilà: a 'pushed' clean valve amp actually modelled quite convincingly!"

    Some of the newer amp models in the update look interesting for my purposes:
    72 Bandmaster, 65 Bassman, 83 Concert. Plenty of Fender models in there, which is my main interest.

    Hot Rod is a Boogie MkII right? I'm sure I can use that one too.
     

  17. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Ah I now see one of the added models is A8 Direct - no modelling. That'd be the way to use it as a reverb in front of an amp.
     

  18. foundjoe

    foundjoe Tele-Holic

    636
    Apr 28, 2013
    Kansas
    That's a good find on the suggestions. I tried out the BF Twin settings, which help, but you can go a little further with the compressor settings. You can change the frequency and the gain of the compressor and all of a sudden this is making some cool tones I haven't heard before. I'm going to have play around some more with this thing. Will see how the compressor can affect some of the other amp models. One downside is that these things aren't easily compatible with a PC to where you can use the J-Edit software. These were made before USB connectors became the standard, so you have to use older connectors. I have a midi-to-printer port cable. Once it's hooked up tho, the J-Edit software makes it a lot easier to change the extra parameters on the effects and the cabinets, plus you can save patches.
     

  19. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    That's interesting. I was emailing a friend (who is very knowledgeable about amp electronics) and mentioned this conversation. He said this:

    "That is basically how a valve [ie, tube] compresses: it compresses the low frequencies before the high frequencies due to their power, also the feedback loop in BF amps, the 'presence' control is used to allow the high frequencies to not distort it as the return signal does some phase cancelation to the output signal that in a way protects the hifidelity of the highs. That's the best I can explain at this moment in time."

    So it looks like using the frequency threshold of the compressor to let some highs through uncompressed could help dial in a response that's more like a tube amp being pushed til the tubes compress, especially a BF with presence control.

    Can't wait to start playing around with this stuff myself. My J Station should arrive tomorrow or the next day.
     

  20. Paully

    Paully Tele-Meister

    119
    May 29, 2014
    Lewiston Maine USA
    Thr 5 recording

    I've had good results recording direct to my pc via usb and the included Cubase DAW
     

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