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Joyo American vs Tech21 Blonde comparison (many graphs)

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by J-Flanders, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders Tele-Meister

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    Since this pedal comes up a lot and since I owned both (as well as the original sansamp) I might as well post some info on the differences and similarities.

    A while ago I checked the frequency responses of both pedals. I owned the Blonde V2, which is identical to V1 apart from the extra speaker sim button and the difference in taper for volume and gain. On one version it's easier to find the sweet spot for volume while on the other it's easier to dial in the gain.

    So here it goes: Joyo American vs Tech21 Blonde V2

    Bass sweep (min, noon, max). All other knobs at noon iirc.
    Pretty much identical as far as bass goes, but it already shows that the Joyo has extended range, giving more treble and/or presence in any setting.
    Joyo-American-vs-tech21-blonde-bass-sweep-log.png


    Mid sweep (min, noon, max). All other knobs at noon iirc.
    Clearly a big difference: the joyo mid frequency is centered around 400Hz while on the Blonde the mid frequency is centered around 1000Hz.
    Joyo-American-vs-tech21-blonde-mid-sweep-log.png

    Treble sweep
    (min, noon, max). All other knobs at noon iirc.
    It seems like a small difference but I could clearly hear the more extended range and extra presence of the Joyo.
    Tech21-Blonde-vsJoyo-American-treble-sweep-log.png


    Voice/character sweep (min, noon, max). All other knobs at noon iirc.
    As you can see, the voice/character knob is another mid control, but it comes before the clipping/distortion in the pedal so it greatly affects the voicing or character of the distortion. It determines which frequencies get more (or less) distorted.
    There's quite a big difference once you get below noon.
    The Blonde has a fixed mid cut/boost frequency. It goes from cutting 800Hz to boosting 800Hz.
    The Joyo has a variable mid cut/boost frequency. It goes from cutting 400Hz to boosting 800Hz.
    Joyo-American-vs-tech21-blonde-char-sweep-log.png

    There was no setting on the Blonde that could match my favourite setting on the Joyo and this was purely due to the extra presence of the joyo. My favourite setting was something middle of the road:
    -eq around noon: bass and mid slightly below and treble slight above,
    -voice and gain between 10 and 11 o' clock.
    With an additional 12 band parametric EQ I could make the Blonde sound 100% identical.
    Because of the slightly more muffled tone of the Blonde compared to the slighty more present Joyo, I kept the Joyo and sold the Blonde. Build quality wise you cannot compare the two, the Joyo is Chinese 'junk', but it costs 29 euros while the Blonde costs around 250 euros. In the end I went for tone...

    Some extra graphs:
    Tech21 Blonde V2 cab sim on vs off:
    tech21-blonde-cab-sim-log.png

    Blonde vs Joyo harmonics (feeding 110Hz pure sine wave, matching distortion levels):
    The joyo has slightly more (even) harmonics but I could not hear the difference. By using a mostly 'around noon setting' for most knobs and simply matching the response with a parametric eq they sounded identical.
    blonde-vs-joyo-blackface-110hz-harmonics2.png

    I also compared the harmonics of these to other moddelers:

    Joyo vs Sansamp original:
    The sansamp had mostly odd harmonics and sounded allround very harsh to me.
    I so wanted to like the Sansamp original because it was such a cool looking pedal and it could replace my 4 Joyos( American, British, Acetone, California).
    From the get go it sounded thin, cold and harsh. I was so underwelmed. But I forced myself to use it for two weeks straight, playing it every day. It had so many knobs and (dip)switches and it's such an iconic pedal that there had to be some good sounds in there.
    After two weeks and endless tweaking (tbh, after 2 weeks I was still tweaking the thing) my ears had gotten used to the sound and I thought I had some kinda OK sounds. Only then I compared it again to the Blonde, British and the Joyo's and I was once more blown away how good, full and warm they sounded. I traded the Sansamp for a new Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster. Best deal ever for me. I love that guitar. But I digress, this was about harmonics:
    sansamp-vs-joyo-blackface-110hz-harmonics.png


    Joyo vs Roland Cube 30x (blackface setting):
    I really had to crank the gain on the Cube to get distortion levels matched, hence the big amount of crossover distortion? Anyway, the cube generates no low order even harmonics at all. I found it cold, harsh and sterile sounding.
    roland cube-vs-joyo-blackface-110hz-harmonics.png

    Joyo vs Zoom G3 (Twin setting)
    Similar to the Cube, the Zoom G3 seems to only generate odd harmonics. It sounded bassy but thin and harsh at the same time. Then again, maybe a Twin isn't really known for its overdrive. Maybe a bit unfair comparison.
    zoom-vs-joyo-blackface-110hz-harmonics.png
    I also compared the frequency response of all the Fender models on my pedals and moddelers:
    One important difference is that the analog versions (Joyo American, Tech21 Blonde, Tech21 SansAmp) don't roll of the lows below 100Hz as you would typically see in a real amp. The digital versions (Zoom G3 and Roland Cube) are more realistic in this aspect.
    ScreenShot002.png

    Another interesting aspect is that the digital modelers...
    EDIT: see next post for the graphs as I have exceeded the max of 10 for this post. I may also further edit this one for typos as well. :)
     
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  2. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders Tele-Meister

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    Another interesting aspect is that the digital modelers (at least my Zoom G3 and many other plugins in a DAW, but not the Cube) also simulate the cabinet/room/mic resonances, combfiltering and phase cancellations and the overall highly irregular frequency response of a guitar speaker.

    You can clearly see this from all the small notches, little peaks and valleys throughout the entire frequency curve on the next graphs. The analog modelers in contrast have a much smoother curve and clearly lack all those finer detailed notches.

    Zoom G3 Fender Deluxe Reverb: Cab sim on vs off
    deluxe-r-log.png

    Some Marshall examples (I cannot find the fender versions, but they were similar):

    Analog: Joyo British sansamp.png



    Analog: Tech21 SansAmp British setting:

    joyo-british.png

    Digital: Roland Cube 30x: Classic Stack model (poorly sim, compared to the ones below)
    cube-30x.png


    Digital: Zoom G3: Plexi MS1959 (probably a computer generated algorithm)
    MS-1959.png


    Digital: Guitar rig plexi (a 'real' impulse response or either a very fine detailed EQ) guitar-rig-plexi.png


    At the time I made all these graphs I lived in a small apartment and 99% of my guitar playing was through headphones (Booster->Joyo pedals->Holy Grail Spring->Hardwire RV7 Stereo Room setting).
    All those 'realistic' modelers and plugins using impulse responses or digital algorithms had a similar sonic character which I could never bond with through headphones.
    Allthough more realistic they sounded distant and hollow while the analog sims sounded upfront and direct, more like a recording.

    Since then I have moved to a (town)house and played mostly through small amps (Roland Cube, Pathfinder 15, Pathfinder 10, Gretsch Electromatic, Blackstar HT1R) and apart from the Cube all those amps, even though they're cheap and small, have that typical 'kinda hollow and gutteral' sonic character which I have now come to appreciate.
    So maybe I should revisit the Zoom G3 and those DAW plugins with their impulse responses again.
    At the moment the 4 Joyo amp sim pedals serve mostly as 'distortion pedals' from time to time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  3. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Interesting graphs. Thanks for posting.

    This make sense with the modelled amps having push/pull power amps which will reduce even harmonics.

    I find that playing the joyo into a digital IR make them sound much better than by themselves. You can make the joyos sound huge by running it into a 4x12 IR with some room mic and hall reverb.
     
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  4. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Friend of Leo's

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    Cool stuff, thanks for posting.

    I have both a Liverpool and Blonde Deluxe, but started with an American Sound. Might be time to revisit it, I just wish it were possible to defeat the speaker sim like on the Tech 21 gear
     
  5. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    J-Flanders,

    Thanks! I love posts like yours. Really good info.

    Now, I don't have to feel *quite* so guilty about my American Sound and ACTone ! :D
     
  6. gee.

    gee. Tele-Meister

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    I think there is an easy mod for that. I just picked up an AC Tone for $20 to run into my PRRI to satisfy some tone jones.

    While I was waiting for delivery I did some google searching and found a site where someone had performed quite a few mods to their pedal and was able to bypass it. Haven't done it to my pedal yet because I like it so much as it is right now but might further down the road.
     
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  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Would this possibly help:
    http://freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13545
    (Scroll down about halfway and see the references to defeating built in cab sim).
     
  8. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    According to the graphs, the cab sim is just a low pass filter and turning it off on the tech21 actually adds highs up to a point. It looks like the cab sim frequencies are high enough that they are going to get rolled off anyway if you run it into an IR or real cab.
     
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  9. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted

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    This is great! Thanks for posting.
     
  10. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    One question is how close are the models (Joyo, Tech 21, etc.) to the so-called "real thing"? And, who cares? I'd bet some folks would prefer the less accurate model for subjective reasons.

    I have two DRRIs, and I had to firmly resist the perception that one sounded "better" because it started to break up earlier. It wasn't louder, it was just dirtier at a lower volume. It could even be differences in tubes, component tolerances, a million things.

    It's easy to fool the ear with "more" overdrive, midrange, overall volume. Hey, we're guitar players, louder is always better!
     
  11. tjnugent

    tjnugent Tele-Meister

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    In the immortal words of Josh H Scott. Loud is More Good!
     
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  12. kaludjerko

    kaludjerko Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for reviving this thread, so much nice info here.
     
  13. kaludjerko

    kaludjerko Tele-Meister

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    I know this was posted quite a while ago, but would you mind sharing details of your measurement, please?
    I really enjoyed this thread.
     
  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    having owned both, they're so close that they both get the job done. the main issue i find with the joyo is that it uses tl062s and all ceramic or electrolytic caps instead of tlc2262s and some film caps like the tech21. the joyo is considerably noisier, and at some settings, unusably so. if you aren't able to swap the components out of the joyo yourself, then just go for the tech21.
     
  15. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    And he'll be sorry as he gets older and destroys his ears.
     
  16. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Great information. I’ve got a Tech 21 Blonde and it works great for my needs.
     
  17. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    As a long time user of the AS and AC (both purchased in 2012) I had not seen this thread before, so thanks from me too.
     
  18. J-Flanders

    J-Flanders Tele-Meister

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    Short version:
    Ditto Looper (playing pink noise) -> character pedal -> usb interface -> laptop -> DAW -> Excel graph

    Long version:
    As far as I can remember it went like this:
    1) I downloaded a pink noise file (could have been white, don't remember) or generated it in a DAW (Audacity)
    2) Hooked up my guitar through my Zoom G3, using it as a USB interface, to my laptop, strummed some chords and noted the output level of my guitar.
    3) I set the pink noise to a similar level and played it on the laptop, connected the headphones output of the laptop to the input of a Ditto Looper pedal and recorded 10 seconds or so.
    At that point I have a 'signal generator'. I also used the same method to record a tone (82 hz, 110 hz, etc) instead of the pink/white noise, to check the generated harmonics.

    4) Connected the Ditto Looper (playing pink noise) to the input of a Character pedal.
    5) Connected the output of the Character pedal to my Zoom G3 (as a USB audio interface, all effects and sims etc off, just straight in) to my laptop into a DAW (Audacity)
    At that point I have a 'Signal generator' and an 'oscilloscope'

    6) I let Audacity generate a frequency response plot from the recorded input (pink noise->character pedal->Audacity)
    7) I exported that data as a file so I could import it into some spreadsheet software (Open Office Calc, similar to Excel) to have plots of several pedals in one graph.
    8) I let the software generate the graphs (choosing the right scale, log, etc)
    9) Took a screenshot (Gadwin) and posted it here.

    It's a bit cumbersome to setup but 100% free. I'm still using this method from time to time.
    For a 'real time' frequency response, instead of Audacity I use Reaper and the Voxengo Span plugin. (both free as well)

    Maybe more importantly, I'm also still using the Character pedals, pretty much on a daily basis, as part of my headphones setup, when playing late at night:

    EHX Double Muff-> EHX Holy Grail -> Character pedal(s) -> Hardwire RV7 stereo(!) Room reverb -> Zoom Rhytmtrak (drum computer + headphone amp)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  19. kaludjerko

    kaludjerko Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for so detailed answer, particularly considering how much time has passed.
     
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