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Amp With No Knobs?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by The Ballzz, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

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    Interesting idea. I do think limitations can in some paradoxical way inspire more creativity. For example consider guitars with one pickup like an Esquire compared to a Tele. A tele set to the bridge pickup doesn't provide the same experience as playing an Esquire. It changes how you as a player operate the guitar. You come to accept the limitations and do different things with the guitar. You end up picking differently or using other tools like the volume and tone controls. Or it just frees your mind to go elsewhere with your playing or music.

    In the same way removing all knobs from an amp could in an interesting way free you up to focus on playing in a different way.

    One question of clarification I would have is whether you would take an existing circuit and replace its pots with fixed resistors - or if you want to approach it from a design perspective about how one could make an optimal bare bones amp with no knobs. I find option #2 to be a little more interesting personally.
     
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  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    a lot of class A power amps require a pre amp to function , be it a mixer or a full pre amp like a pod pro, chandler tube driver , for example you get the picture. class A amps are wide open and you can control Gain staging ,EQ, and modeling from the preamp , makes perfect sence to do that ,
    I use 3 Crown Amcron poweramps , these units only have attenuation for speaker protaction , the 2X power base 2's are upto 900 watts each if bridged and the DC-300 A is 150 a side ( this is a labratory testing amp, ) so the attenuation is on the front.
     
  3. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    I built a Harvard a few years ago, and I forgot to ground out the solder lug on the volume pot - so, with nothing going to ground I had a FULL power amp. Guess how long it took to discover that mistake when the guitar was already plugged in - but volume ZERO - before I turned on the amp?

    I guess you could make it work on a LOW powered amp, but the Harvard was jacked up to get the most I could out of it. A 14W-15W amp set full power all the time is just asking for something bad to happen -- possible speaker damage would be biggest bet by a bad cable or jack, or anything that hit it hard out noise like that.
     
  4. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Does your guitar have volume and tone controls?
     
  5. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Not even bluetooth by an app?
     
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  6. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Afflicted

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    "Alexa, max reverb."
     
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  7. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    I tune the amp to the room, so not for me
     
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  8. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A close friend and I discussed this years ago, as the perfect “jam night” amp.

    As in “it’s jam night, deal with it”. I believe he even mentioned the idea to Mike (Dr. Z) at one point.

    Personally, if the amp was voiced and behaved correctly, I could easily deal with one with nothing but a volume knob.
     
  9. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    If you don't gig is OK

    If you gig you will need to adjust some settings to the venue... some are treblish some are bassist... some bigger stages you can max the volume some small stages everything must be lower...

    But for rehearsals and so, is OK

    I have a stripe of masking tape in my amp with my studio setting so I can dial it in 10 seconds when coming back from a gig
     
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  10. Mongo Park

    Mongo Park Tele-Afflicted

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    Like most having more than one amp is common. I don’t think this idea is a amp for all situations. Don’t know if there is such an amp So it will have its scenario where it shines and that is where it will live. Pablo Picasso said paint with one brush, might be something in this idea.
    tilt it up tilt it down face it towards the wall. Robert Johnson recorded facing the wall, he was not shy it sounded best bouncing off the wall. Clearly he had no knobs. Jinni turned all his knobs to 11 he might as well had none and had the amp built to 11.
    Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! Or little knobs on our amp. (Direct quote )
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
  11. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I'd jumper the main breaker in the house's breaker box, too.
     
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  12. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Afflicted

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    The Brian May Vox is what came to mind. Or something completely digital with controls beamed in from your iPad or smartphone.

    A knobless bass amp might be fine for people with active basses as you’ve effectively got your pre amp set up onboard.
     
  13. RowdyHoo

    RowdyHoo Tele-Meister

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    Necessity is the mother of invention! Good idea...good luck!
     
  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    i have basically a 5e3/6g2 hybrid. it's only got volume, tone, and a bass cut.

    my settings don't change much, but i disagree that it's only a live "tune to the room" thing. there are a couple things i need and they're all related to either recording or quieter gigs with acoustic musicians and s/n ratio.

    i'm either running the volume at 7 for dirty playing and then "treble boost" to get it into higher gain territory, or i keep it at 4 for clean and boost to slightly dirty. having the amp at my "clean" baseline setting (which changes for different scenarios) allows me to avoid the noise floor of having the amp wide open. i don't know why others are so impervious to hum and hiss, they're fairly easy to avoid with good gain staging. it doesn't matter so much live in a rock band, but why make that problem for yourself and have to resort to gates and so much editing in the studio? also, volume would be somewhat necessary maybe if you have crappy power in a room and you want to run it a little lower than normal and compensate with boost from a pedal to avoid amp noise.

    similarly, with my treble knob, i dial it in so i can't hear the hiss at the volume i'm at. then i start bumping it up as necessary for the guitar. my guitars are a tele, a 335, and an archtop. the treble needs to be set differently for each. i can get away with a better s/n ratio with the tele on the hiss front, because it's already so trebly. you can't do this from the guitar, you need it post input gain stage in the amp.

    the bass cut, i couldn't do without. an amp that doesn't have a traditional tone stack like a smaller tweed or blonde amp, is incredibly woofy. and the woof comes from the amp (muddying up lower intervals), not the speaker, you can't just dial it out in post or use a smaller speaker. and it's more than just adjusting coupling caps, because i don't need or want as heavy of a bass cut on my 335 as i do my archtop, and my tele can afford a little woof. i can concede not having it on the amp and just putting it into every guitar, but it's easier just to have it in one place.

    i don't think these three controls are too much of a concession, and they help me get an optimal signal rather than optimal timbre (which the amp already does at most settings). i wouldn't ever want a panel like a 5f6 or a marshall though, too much fiddling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  15. Bloody Meridian

    Bloody Meridian TDPRI Member

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    This is absolutely do-able. What you’re describing is how the eq section of classic amps built by Fender, Gibson, etc. work. Now in terms of how much work it is to do so... that’s another story.

    You’d have to worry about not only what values you’re shooting for, but measure all your parts for their actual values, since tolerances would be a potential issue. And then there’s a lot of soldering.

    So while it could definitely be done, I’m not sure it would really be worth it. Also worth noting, our ears hear frequency differently over time, so you may not love those values down the road, and would have to do this all over again.

     
  16. Hacksaw

    Hacksaw TDPRI Member

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    Always thought 50 Watt Marshalls should be like this. No knobs, just everything dimed, two inputs and an on/off switch.
     
  17. Hamfisted Gumbie

    Hamfisted Gumbie TDPRI Member

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    Pro Junior! Love that little thing. 'The little amp that could'. Best balance of function vs minimalism for me. Once I'd dialled it in, I had to fight the demons in me that wanted to put tape markers on the <ahem> two dials.
     
  18. tvas22

    tvas22 Tele-Meister

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    I want to like this idea but what my ears seem to hear day to day changes. Sometimes I’m really vibing a sound I’ve got, and the next day I turn everything back on, untouched, and I think “wtf, this sounds so dark” or whatever, and have to adjust.
     
  19. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    Single knob (volume) low wattage amps are a popular item right now and I prefer the Pro Jr turned all the way up and running through a speaker that can take it (not the stock one), so, there it is.
     
  20. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    Funny as I was thinking the same thing. Get it dialed in with components and as few gain sucking “networks” in there as possible and just use my guitar tone and vol. Im in the camp that uses guitar controls anyway.
     
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