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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by uriah1, Oct 6, 2012.
it's interesting that a $300 pcb board amp with an mdf box makes people feel better!
I am leaving tomorrow (again) for 6 weeks in numerous rural job sites in China. I have to pack clothes for about 3 seasons, tools, supplies, but can also bring a bolt-on neck guitar (disassembled) with my smallest USB interface, iPad, headphones. Wouldn't really be wanting to bring even my little Danelectro Honeytone amp.
Tubes/valves are cool, I love working on amps and I can hear differences, BUT . . . I'm moving forward. I have more than one sound source (love acoustic guitars) and can really see advantages to consolidating amplification in flat, clean and loud devices - but having more diversity in instruments, sounds and portability in everything else. Plus, as you may know, many of these newer technologies mesh very well with interacting with and recording into digital devices.
I like "roots" music, appreciate "roots" technology, but am always open to change.
Of course there will always be situations where a small modeling preamp is heaven sent. This is absolutely evident to me.
If I'm singing naked in a lake surrounded by humming spruces, it's not that much question of technology. It's an example of an acoustic phenomenon or insanity, depending on context. But anyway I'm producing sound.
When I got my first guitar (simple acoustic) at the age of ten, I realized that it had all the melodies and songs ever written and yet to come built in it, I just had to find a way to get them out. I'm still trying.
We had a tube radio at home and I heard "As tears go by" through it and I learned to play as tears went by and finally that radio became my first guitar amp. Next thing you know everybody was standing in front of Marshall stacks with strats, teles and les pauls in their hands. We were producing sound. Amplified.
What I've learned through the decades, I can take with me where ever I go and play it even with a borrowed guitar and amp if needed.
The future of amps is gorgeus, they are needed now and in the future. All of my friends who are still gigging or playing more privately use amps old and new. Some of them build their own amps and gear. They use equipment sufficient to varying acoustic environments and musical demands. Those who use tube amps have never been consired as cult members because they don't bow and pray in flocks in front of a specific model and serial number.
telesteel: "We guitar players with our old amps are like Jedi knights, who have chosen an increasingly lonely path."
Like somebody said, it's comforting to remember that even Don Quijote had a roadie.
When people are silent and demand silence then amps may become obsolete.
What a nice post...
In the early 70s, Guitar Player interviewed maybe 10 well-known guitarists of different styles. They were asked what the amp of the future would be. Small, solid-state, loaded with effects. If famous, working guitarists were this far off, what do we think makes our predictions any more likely to come to pass?
In the middle 70s, a chapter in a book on electronic music by a very well-known and respected composer who personally knew everybody, it seemed, put forward his prediction of what the synthesizer of the future would be. He said, "clearly" it will be a hybrid, with analog sound generating and transformation components digitally controlled. First of all, the concept of a synthesizer was replaced by and large by computer-controlled editing and transformation of audio recordings. As time went by, the synthesizer concept, whether digital or analog, fell by the wayside, at least in the field of electronic composition that the book's author was involved with.
I was deeply involved with playing electric guitar for about ten years way back when. I quit playing completely after that and sidled over into classical music composition. I didn't listen to much rock and jazz. When I heard things on the radio and internet, it seem plainly obvious to me that the guitars were being played through digital modelers. Part of my reasoning was that the guitar part in every song was highly consistent, with no peaks and valleys of tone and loudness. I was stunned to find out that tube amps were so popular.
So, from the guitar gods in the early 70s, to electronic music composers and authors, to little old me trying to understand what I was hearing, everyone got it very, very wrong in their predictions. Just saying.
When CDs first started coming out, I threw out my turntable and vinyl records. Thank God my wife rescued them and now I treasure them all these years later....
I posted this to the fractal forum earlier and figured as it was still relevant to the discussion.
In a couple of posts I've mentioned that I have 'my sound' in a 2U rack.
This is a good example of what I mean.
It is just a quick improv I did whilst I was pulling a sound to use on a track I'm producing for someone else but it turned out quite well.
Best heard with headphones- it is all live, no looping in this one, but I'm doing a lot with modifiers to manipulate the delay/pitch block 'crystal' trails with expression pedals.
If I wanted to replicate all the gear in hardware I'd need a very large pedalboard and a 12u rack (which was my old rig).
Hope you dig it.
The future will be like the present... but different.
Which is to say that there will be several trends going on concurrently, some of which will be unexpected. Some of which will surprise no one... after the fact.
I think it's important to keep in mind how much of the circuitry and technology connecting electric guitars to guitar amplifiers is based on severely old technology. And not just the vacuum tubes....
The quarter-inch cords we all use to connect our guitars to our amps or effects pedals were originally used by actual live phone operators to connect telephone calls. There are better and more efficient audio connections available. So why doesn't every manufacturer out there all use their own proprietary cord technology? Probably because this standardized interface has helped ALL manufacturers. Imagine if you bought a 2013 Fender Telecaster and it required a totally new kind of patch cord that didn't work with any of your old amps? You'd be super pissed. But this kind of planned obsolescence is a common practice among corporations in the computer world and digital photography.
So there must be something different about guitarists. Therefore drawing analogies about changes in computers or cellphones or digital photography are only partially relevant when we are talking about where amplifiers will be headed in the future. Perhaps guitarists are consumers whose drive for acquisition is driven by the influence of the music they listen to. So a certain amount of "traditionalism" will always be a part of that.
As long as there is a desire for making and listening to guitar-based music (which has fluctuated over time), then there will be people and small businesses and large corporations making things to satisfy the needs of guitarists. The fact is that a good portion of what is made is determined by what people will buy. If somehow the perfect amp were designed, very few corporations would want to sell it if it meant that people would only buy one amp during their entire lives.
With this in mind, perhaps the "perfect amplifier of the future" will be one that at first satisfies all the guitarists requirements, but then requires the owner to constantly feed their GAS to acquire more and more guitars and effects pedals to attain that truly perfect holy grail of tone.
Oh wait! The future is already here!
When you plug into a Line 6. Or Vypyr. Or Fender Mustang. Or any of the many wonderful modeling amps out there. I have three, no, scratch that, four tube amps at home and they are beyond wonderful. But when I gig, they stay home. The computerized amps come with me. Makes everything so much easier and the only way the audience might ever know it is simply because I'm quieter and everything sounds better.
If I was in the audience, I would know...just sayin'
We ARE precious and special!
Digital modeling is not a prediction - it is the current reality. What is the best selling amp of all time?
Line 6 Spider modelling amp.
Fender Mustang modelling amps are their hottest selling amps.
And these are the cheapy consumer stuff.
Then you have your Kemper and AXE.
And then software like Amplitube etc.
Yes, we can all point to silly predictions from the past (all bass players will switch to the Stick!). That we will go digital is not the prediction. We already have gone digital. The prediction is, "How long before a perfected Kemper-like device costs $300 or is downloadable to your tablet or iPhone for $70?"
We listen to digital music - CDs (with the the exception of the tiny vinyl cult). So we reproduce music digitally, we record it digitally but you don't think we will produce music digitally (even though there are thousands of musicians doing just that right now).
I like my tube amp but I realize I am part of a diminishing cult. Like anything that was this popular, popularity will wax and wane. Waxing a little less each round and waning a little more.
Eventually we will be like the clawhammer banjo enthusiasts who only play period perfect banjos and only play music from a particular valley in Appalachia from the 1920s. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
If you think there is going to be a huge resurgence of young people clamoring to recreate baby boomer music with period perfect guitars and amps...
Sure gramps, sure there will be. Now take your medicine and go lay down.
There's a lot of sense in that post.....seriously........Now back to my Gretsch guitar and 1959 Ampeg Rocket amp.
the future is in the past..Digital will always be digital and NEVER exactly recreate/model what a tube does with the electrons passing through it. There are too many variables reacting on the signal passing through a tube amp from start to finish that no computer can ever actually recreate faithfully under all the different conditions involved. Maybe real close to the younger crowd who grew up in only the digital era where they only know the sound cd's/digital music has to offer but close enuff is only good in horseshoes..Not in a pure analog circuit..
well said - & great to bring the debate back to the amps innards...
Amps are just plain cool. They will always sell, even if just based on their cool factor alone. We already know they sound good.
Sounds like the soundtrack to a dodgy porno flick.
see the future .... be the future
I dig it! Cool!
Glad you like it.