Sound demos: why no dry signals?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fleezinator, May 17, 2021.

  1. fleezinator

    fleezinator Tele-Meister

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    I'm on the hunt to replace my SD quarter pounds in my tele and in looking thru demos with all kinds variables, it occurred to me: why don't we see more dry signals in demos?

    I know we generally don't listen for tone as it comes from the output jack, but why not? For clean tones specifically, any amp is going to color the sound and off the bat we don't have a 'true' representation of what a guitar sounds like. A demo might sound great thru a given amp, but will it sound good thru my setup? With a dry signal demo, I could conceivably run that signal thru my own rig & get a more personalized rendering of a guitar/ pickup's tone.

    I think it'd be a helpful addition for those watching/listening to demo videos. IMO, perhaps the least helpful thing that those demoing should avoid is having the camera mic in the mix. The room's tone is just one more undesirable variable that colors the guitar tone and camera/phone mics are just the worst.

    btw, I'm mostly referring to youtubers/laypersons. I get that it's work & laziness might be the answer. Also, I get that guitar/pickup companies wanna sell as much as they can and will put out only the best (sonically photoshopped?) stuff. This is the video that sold me on the quarter pounds & they sound nothing like this demo thru my rig (lack of my own killer chops aside):

     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm a YouTuber who does sound/gear demos. For some, I run a dry signal into my amp. For others, I might add a little delay or reverb. And of course, many want to hear pickups demoed with a little overdrive.

    I record all with my iPhone. Not the purest representation by far, but I have neither the budget, the technical know-how nor the patience for a complicated DAW system, and audio and video editing software. One day, maybe someone will teach me. For now, I work with what I have.

    The best way to hear how gears sounds is, and always has been, to buy it and try it yourself. Will one of my less-than-perfect (in more ways than one!) demos get you in the ballpark? Probably. Are there better demos from better content creators with tens of thousands of dollars worth of studio equipment, microphones, DAWs, editing suites and experience-based production skills? Yes. Does that invalidate my content? No.

    I try to do things others don't do in their demos, like explore pickups through the range of the tone control, demo with the amp up, guitar down and vice versa and other approaches that can vary the tone presentation of something, sometimes considerably. I am by no means an "expert" or a "professional" but I have benefitted from content similar to mine from other people in making buying decisions, so I produce my own in hopes someone else will feel similarly.

    I do think showing a dry signal has a place and I try to do it a little more in more recent videos. I also think it is useful to present genre-specific (country, jazz, etc.) demo content in a way consistent with that genre; to whit, I might add some compression or slapback to country demos, or a little reverb to jazz demos. Ambient demos get everything but (and sometimes including) the kitchen sink.

    As I gain more knowledge/experience, as well as resources, i plan to continually evolve and improve my content and the equipment I use to produce it. For now, I'm okay being a little nobody on the Tube, making my little joyful noise and hopefully helping somebody...if not everybody...out with their tone quest.
     
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  3. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Many people wouldn't even know how to record a dry signal. Even fewer would be able to patch a dry demo into their signal chain, as you suggested. Nobody is going to go through all that trouble for something that might "conceivably" be done.

    On the other hand, it would often be helpful if they would just turn the distortion and reverb down so it's just a clean amp sound. A miked amp usually doesn't leak the room acoustics very much.
     
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  4. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    My favorite demos—whether of a guitar, pickup, pedal, amp or whatever—always list exactly what they’re running through (ex:”52RI Telecaster into a 67RI Twin Reverb with Tone Tubby 12” speakers”), then played completely dry; show settings as effects (whether onboard, like reverb or tremolo or effects pedals) are added.

    Starting a pickup, pedal or amp demo without a “dry, unaffected” reference signal doesn’t tell me crap—especially if the person is demo-ing an overdrive but is playing through an already-dirty (overdriven or distorted) amp.
     
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  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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  6. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    But then, you have the problem that listening to someone else's signal chain than the one you're used to, also doesn't really tell you crap.
     
  7. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    I only play clean with just touch of reverb. Most demos are done with OD or at least at the edge of breakup. Not a sound I ever use or want to hear. So most demos are useless to me. How am I to know how a pickup actually sounds?
     
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  8. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's not that complicated, but you have to turn down the volume on the computer or phone way down to emulate guitar level. Most people are going to do something stupid like crank it.
     
  9. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Pickup and speaker demos on youtube are useless anyway. There's waaaaay too many factors to know how it's going to actually sound in your guitar, through your amp, with your fingers playing, in your room. The only time I've maybe found any value in youtube demos on these sort of things is if it's an A/B between what I currently have against what I'm looking to get.
     
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