"fine-tuning" Amp Tone With An Eq Pedal?

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by swampyankee, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    I bought a Bandmaster VM for gigging and in theory, the amp is everything I need. Fender cleans, Foot-switchable 2 channels, on-board effects (I hate the muss and fuss of a pedal chain).
    In practice, although the amp has some good tones, the bass and can get boomy and trebles peaky. I understand the OE spec Celestion G12P-80's can get that way so just last night I replaced them with one each: Warehouse G12C and G12C/S. I also added some insulation to the back of the cabinet while I was in there. It seems to have mellowed things out a bit, and probably more so once the speakers break in.
    But I'm still looking to dial out a bit more high end bite. I was thinking of pulling back the high end by putting an EQ in the effects loop.
    Although I know the VM series has it shortcomings (yeah, I read the reviews) I really love the the Bandmaster VM concept, and since I'm into it financially, I really would love this thing to work. The amp doesn't have to be a tone monster for the music we're doing, just sound balanced and Fendery with my Tele and Strat, and be fully heard in the mix without being spikey or boomy.

    Does the EQ in the effects loop seem like a viable fix? Should I wait to see how the speakers mellow out before I go throwing more money at this thing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    People have differing views.

    In retrospect, after spinning my wheels way too much (and wasting too much money) I have NEVER been able to "fix" an amp I that I ALMOST loved, with pedals, guitar changes, EQs, speaker changes, etc.

    I have been able to IMPROVE an amp that I do love, with a speaker change.

    But if there is something about the EQ or feel that is off to you, that might be hard to fix. That "treble" spike is part of the reason after ALMOST loving multiple nice Fenders, I ultimately said goodbye to Fenders. They work great for many (most) people. But not for me.

    Good luck though.
     
  3. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Coily cable could just be enough for you. I use coily cables on all of my slightly harsh sounding amps and it works great.

    Otherwise I bet there's a bright cap on the volume or gain pot, which could be clipped out as long as you're aware of the dangers of high voltage in an amp chassis.
     
  4. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Oh, and JJ ECC83's are pretty warm sounding so those could darken it up a tiny bit without pushing bass.
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    While I would not say eq pedals are bad, I don't think it is the right solution for a full tone stack tube head with other tone shaping options like your new speakers, and I would not stick a SS eq pedal in the middle of a tube amp to adjust the eq.

    Are you saying that turning down the treble and bass all the way results in too much treble and bass?
    Or is it more that you lose too much (mids/ low mids) or the sound generally sucks when you dial down the treble and bass?
    What is the boomy bass? Too much bass? Or flabby mushy bass?
    It's possible that you want bigger tighter bass than this amp is capable of at you chosen volume?

    I would give the speakers a chance to break in, don't worry about turning the bass to zero, and try some other 12ax7 tubes in V1, including some NOS USA tubes.
    I wonder about the power tubes and bias as well, and your pickup heights...

    IME eq pedals are rarely what you hope, and agree that they are unlikely to fix a problem like you describe.
     
  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you have an EQ pedal no harm in giving it a try. My experience with pedals like the Boss GE-7 and MXR six band is
    they put just a little "MSG" on the tone. Perfectly OK playing live, so I use my GE-7 live, but if you are cork-sniffing in your
    bedroom you might not like the very subtle, global impact it has on your overall tone beyond what you're trying to do with the EQ settings.

    I also think you should first really try working your tone stack on the amp as well as tone on your guitar and pedals. Lots of ways to cut
    presence/high treble with the controls at your disposal. Sometimes the controls are interactive so you don't just focus on the treble pot to
    cut treble but see what adjusting all of the EQ pots and amp volume pot in various ways can do to your overall EQ. For example, rather than
    just turn down treble, turn down volume and then turn up mids a bit.
     
  7. TheNewSteveH

    TheNewSteveH Tele-Holic

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    There are some pretty harsh 12AX7's out there. I really like Svetlanas (same as Tube Amp Doctor). If you don't mind losing a little gain, a 12AY7 is nice.
     
  8. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    Just so yous know, the Bandmaster and Deluxe VM (same chassis) have a solid state preamp for the clean channel and a tube pre for the drive channel - 12AX7's for V1 and PI. Both channels go thru a tube power section (6L6's).
    Coily cable?? Seriously? Or are you pulling my leg?

    I have thought about putting a 5751 in V1 and maybe a 12AY7 in the PI. that might sweeten up the drive channel, and have plenty of gain left there since I rarely turn it past 2 or 3. But I still need to dial back a little brightness on the clean channel. I've also thought about replacing or clipping a bright cap on the board somewhere, but I'm not electronic savvy enough to know which one.

    But overall, I'm hearing that the whole EQ idea is probably a waste of time and money, eh. I can do some tube-rolling and see what that yields. I wish I knew what the Tonemaster guys are doing for their "Real Vintage Mod". I'd be tempted to send them the chassis but they're in Germany.
     
  9. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Coily cable has high capacitance and thereby cuts highs out of the signal coming into your amp. A whole buncha true bypass pedals does the same thing. On the other hand, if you have even just one buffered pedal in your rig, the coily cable effect will be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

    Try it sometime. Plug straight into your amp with a 3 foot patch cord, then plug into it with a 30 foot patch cord. You will hear a pretty big drop in highs and presence unless you lost that range of hearing already. You probably still have it since those are the frequencies that are bothering your right now. Some guys that have incredibly bright rigs make me suspicious that they just aren't hearing the upper end very well anymore.
     
  10. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    Did you post this at some other forum, could've sworn I've replied to this before..?
    Anyway, I don't see anything wrong with trying an EQ in the loop. There is a lot of solid state stuff in these already, so a pedal in the signal chain wouldn't exactly be sacrilege ;)
    If it sounds good, it is good.

    I don't know much about solid state circuits so I can't give advice on mods, but I'm sure people here have the knowledge. Here is the schematic: http://support.fender.com/schematics/guitar_amplifiers/Band-Master_Deluxe_VM_schematic.pdf
    And do try lower gain tubes.

    Don't know about coily cables unless you think they look cool... You might as well put the EQ pedal in front of the amp. And guitars have tone controls if you want to roll treble off before the input.
     
  11. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had BOSS GE-7s at three different points over the years, as well as other graphic EQ pedals, and finally gave up on them. I guess I just don't like the sound of the phase cancellations. That said, they sound more natural to me when cutting than boosting. Parametrics generally sound much better. And I would look at some of the other suggestions here.
     
  12. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    I've been asking questions about this amp on another forum, but not specifically about using an EQ.

    Concerning lower gain tubes, I've looked closely at the Tonehunters video and they have the gain cranked to 10, volume about 3. I'm guessing they probably have some lower gain tubes in there, since my amp sounds almost metallic with the gain at 10. I've tried a 12AY7 in V1, but it really muffled the tone. I didn't try it in the PI and from what I understand, although the clean channel is S.S., it runs through the PI tube and on to the 6L6s. Can anyone verify this via the schematic? If so, would that help to take the edge off the clean channel?
     
  13. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    Yes, both channels run through the PI and output tubes.

    12AY7 has less than half the gain of a 12AX7. You could try 5751 or 12AT7. The AT7 is the standard tube for the PI in older Fender amps. The PI in the VM is pretty much of the standard Blackface type, and an AT7 would work fine there.

    They already seem to have tried to remedy some issues with high frequencies in both the feedback loop and with a capacitor across the outputs from the PI. Those caps could be experimented with to cut more of the audible treble content, much like a presence control.
    That would have an effect on the whole amp, not just the clean channel.
     
  14. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Do you have an EQ pedal?

    If so, what is the harm in trying it, before you go to the added expense of buying something else, new cable, new speaker, new tubes, etc?

    I've done it, in an old Peavey Classic 30. Worked like a champ. End of problem.
     
  15. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    I don't have an EQ pedal. I'd have to buy one. Doing a little experimenting with tubes seems like a cheaper option. Speakers are done. No matter what, the OE speakers had to go.
     
  16. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    could you borrow an EQ pedal?

    It seems to me, thats the easiest solution to your issue.
     
  17. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    I have a 12at7 tube lying around so I popped it into the PI socket to see what happens. It seemed to mellow things a bit more on both channels. I ordered a 5751 for the preamp which should further mellow it out. I'm gigging the amp this weekend so that should break the speakers in a bit.
     
  18. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have an Ibanez PQL single band full parametric pedal. I can dial in the center freq, the slope, and +/- 18 dB of boost or cut. Plus, there are treble and bass sliders with fixed freq. and slope.

    It can make my single coil pickups sound like humbuckers or my humbuckers sound like single coils. Or, if I get tired of the big fat cleans from my 5E3, I can make it sound like a BF. Of course it can only do one of these at a time, but you get the idea.

    Graphics are not for me. The preset frequencies are almost always not quite what I want. When I set up the parametric, I start by setting the slope at the narrowest (steepest) possible setting and the boost/cut level at the maximum. Then I just sweep the center frequency while I play until I hit the exact spot I want. Finally, I fiddle with the slope and level to get the sound that was in my head.
     
  19. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    JMHO, but if I ever need an EQ pedal to make my amp sound good, it would be time for a new amp. YMMV.
     
  20. swampyankee

    swampyankee Tele-Holic

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    Normally I'd agree, but the good features outweigh the bad in this amp, so I think it's worth tinkering with. Besides, the speakers and the one tube change have improved alot already. And I'm learning alot in the process :rolleyes:
     
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