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I wonder if I will get any opinions on this amp tone video?


rwinking
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"I'm just a performer, I don't know anything about circuits."

Almost all electric guitars and amps sound the same to most people. Shapes and colors are more easily noticed.

But no two people sound the same...vocally or instrumentally. 

Individual human physical, neurological, and biochemical/electrical interface with the guitar and amp produce "tone". (P-90s are particularly resonant to my auditory pathway and neurobiology.)

Or:

"The player, the player, and the player."

Or:

"Tone is in the fingers".

 

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I found this guy yesterday.  He has a few other "Where Does The Tone Come From..." videos.  I need to listen to this one again through headphones.  My crapp computer speakers don't show any difference.
It's entertaining if nothing else.

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Interesting video by a well informed player.

I found this book a whole lot more interesting and informative however.  The sections on how Leo Fender's amps evolved over the years were well worth the price of admission.  (It's a pricey book...but includes a CD).

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Jim's a cool dude from the videos of his I watched over the years, he's from Portage/Battlecreek and its cool to see him making it down in Nashville as a guitarist. He is a multi-instrumentalist who's really good on banjo, mandolin, keys, guitar, square neck dobro, lap steel...

Edited by DetroitBlues
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Well I have professed my love of the tube amp on this and other forums and will continue to do so. However, my world did get rocked by the Fender Tonemaster amps. This video is eye opening but misses the boat on a few spots. I’m not saying he is wrong, I think he is right but the rabbit hole isn’t deep enough that he is in. 
 

I owned and gig for about 15 years with a Carr Slant 6V just like his amp. The design of amps like this that can switch the bias for the power tubes isn’t really a good way to compare. There are compromises to make that happen. The cathode bias of the Slant 6 amp isn’t powering the tubes the same way a 5e3 does. The Carr is much hotter and is getting 18 watts out of them vs 12 for the 5e3 and that makes a huge difference and that is what people are referring to when they say there is a difference. It is also more of a dynamic difference than a tone difference. The rectifier is also in this same boat with a massive feel difference between a 5y3 vs solid state. A cathode biased 5y3 amp is worlds away from a solid state rectified fixed bias amp. 
 

I gig a lot with a Tungsten Creamawheat with a 4x10 open back. My buddy has a Blues DeVille with an open back 4x10. I Plug straight into these amps and they sound very different. If I plug into his pedal board and then into these amps and use his distortion pedal they sound very similar. This is what Jim found too. This is also why I love tube amps without influence from a pedal. IMO, to get the best of an amp or find it’s nature pedals must not be used. What happens is in the end is a tone that is both clean and distorted. The pedals don’t give this. This can be heard by the audience. I get a lot of comments about my tone and how different it is from other people they hear. It has been described as easier to hear and easy on the ears even though it is loud. The underlying clarity that comes from not using pedals is what they are hearing. It is, imo, what is missing from so many guitarist on stage today. It also highlights what people described about different amps and their circuits. I lean toward tube rectified cathode biased amps for their feel more than a tone they give. The tone stack and where it is in the amp gives it most of the flavor. This is also what Jim found.  So in the end I agree with him but feel there needs to be about 5 hours more of explanation and falling down the rabbit hole. 

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 Listening through headphones,  I can hear very minor differences between the bias and rectifier tests.  However, the difference was only apparent when flipping back and forth.   In practice, it wouldn't make a difference on its own.  Listen to them 1 minute apart, and I doubt 99.9% of guitar players would be able to pick out the right one.  Power and preamp tests didn't really sound different to me, even with volumes at 100%.   

One thing that I learned years back when studying 6 Sigma was that people make assumptions based on limited observations.   Those soon are passed down via "tribal knowledge" and become firmly entrenched.    Often times, those observations are not causative factors but are correlated.   An example would be that a person feels bad when they run a fever.  The fever doesn't cause them to be sick but to the untrained observer, it might appear that way.

Hearing an amp that you like that has a particular bias or rectifier might make you think that it is that which gives it the "sound".   In reality,  there's got to be a lot more to the story, which is what Jim is saying.  

I think it's a great video.   It shows that there's a reason that a Fender and a Marshall sound different, but maybe not for the reason that most people think.

 

Edited by TalismanRich
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We are also listening to the amps solo, when applied to a mix, it would probably be difficult to hear the difference.

@zguitar71, you mentioned the Tonemaster amps from Fender.  I've yet to try one, but I've also heard that sound really close to the real deal.  I think it says a lot when the Grand Old Opry stage amps are Fender Tonemasters they plug into, some use pedals, some play the amp clean.  The solid state game is changing more and more these days.  I believe the Tonemasters are analog, not digital, so they might be "tuned" closer to the real deal with less maintenance.

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42 minutes ago, DetroitBlues said:

We are also listening to the amps solo, when applied to a mix, it would probably be difficult to hear the difference.

@zguitar71, you mentioned the Tonemaster amps from Fender.  I've yet to try one, but I've also heard that sound really close to the real deal.  I think it says a lot when the Grand Old Opry stage amps are Fender Tonemasters they plug into, some use pedals, some play the amp clean.  The solid state game is changing more and more these days.  I believe the Tonemasters are analog, not digital, so they might be "tuned" closer to the real deal with less maintenance.

The Tonemaster is a game changer for tubeless amps! They really do feel and sound like a BF Deluxe. I have not experienced the other models but they are probably the same. I have not gigged with one, only played at a store through one but I bet if I was blindfolded I would have though it was “real.” I would need to gig with one to know more. They can also go direct out which is a sound guys dream and probably why you see them on the GOO stage. I’m still a tube guy just for the romance and I can build and work on them if it’s point to point wired. I’m not good enough to work on printed boards. 

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A lot of things in that vid I agree with but while watching it I kept finding myself saying "yeah, but..."

I went through a similar thing around 2009-2012, though I was probably less technical about it.
Using one cab as the reference I was surprised how close I could get several different amps to sound.
One thing I couldnt mimic was the dynamics of different amps, the response to plucking the string. A bad cat cub vs Mesa LS was a real eye opener in regard to dynamics and pick response etc. The Bad Cat being a clearly different beast as far as touch and feel, and Im not sure it was the most dynamic amp Ive had to contend with. The mesa was flat in comparison, but I dont think either extreme was a good or bad thing. The mesa was more controllable volume wise and a better amp to gig with to plow through 40 songs.

I could recreate some of the dynamic shortfall in the mesa by using things like compressors pre or post preamp or staggering od or boost pedals...whatever else I tried I cant remember.

The biggest take away for me as far as sound was the importance of speaker and cab over any other component like tube type, tone stack etc when searching out a personal over all tone preference.
Somewhere on yt I have a vid with a fender 6L6 amp running EL84s. There isnt much difference in core sound, tone stack and speaker dictate sound. At best it just doesnt hold together as well in the lower frequencies with the EL84s.


 From that point Ive been able to replicate fairly accurately the sounds Ive liked from marshalls, vox's and others using a fender amp with a ss rectifier, a celestion speaker and stacking a couple of boost/od pedals before my main drives.  Close enough for rocknroll in a scrappy cover band at least. It also meant I could sell the amps I was trying to mimic and clear up some floor space.
 I dont think I ever nailed the amps I was aiming for 100% but I did get close enough to the main sounds I liked about them. Creating dynamics is a different game but it can be done to some extent.

I agree with the guy but I feel like there are a lot of disclaimers. I like his vids and his presentation but it could be more to do with some confirmation bias than anything else. I do find myself agreeing with him a lot.

 

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I have to say, listening through better speakers, he seems to have a good point.  The fact he recreated all those expensive amps using a few stomp boxes and a breadboard is truly amazing.  Can't believe he came up with all of it.  Definitely makes me think twice about amps.... All about tone stacks and where they are in the circuits.  Can't wait to hear his analysis on speakers!

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I have a couple of the Egnater/Synergy tube modular systems. One I had voiced like a Fender with 6L6's and the other with EL 34s for a marshall power section, So if I put a fender tube rpreamp module in the 6L6 powered amp there is a difference than when I plug the fender module into the Marshall voiced amp. I don't know why but the Fender Deluxe or Twin tube pre into a 6L6 powered amp has a bit more of the "spank" to it, but that could be my ears deceiving me.

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11 hours ago, rwinking said:

I have a couple of the Egnater/Synergy tube modular systems. One I had voiced like a Fender with 6L6's and the other with EL 34s for a marshall power section, So if I put a fender tube rpreamp module in the 6L6 powered amp there is a difference than when I plug the fender module into the Marshall voiced amp. I don't know why but the Fender Deluxe or Twin tube pre into a 6L6 powered amp has a bit more of the "spank" to it, but that could be my ears deceiving me.

The Marshall preamp is definitely darker than the Fender. The fender has way less mids and way more low end so it has more sparky and sparkly tone. The Marshall has a big drop of low end below 100hz which lets it stay tight when pushed. Both have about the same high end but the Marshall’s midrange influences it to sound less sparkly. As far as the power sections I don’t really know what the two did to influence the tone. Highs and lows can be bled off with the way the tubes are set up but I’ve have yet to figure out all that. I assume that Marshall continued to try and keep the amp tight sounding throughout the entire circuit. That could be why when mixing and matching the Fender sounds the way it does to you vs the Marshall. One thing that keeps the BF Champ from being farty is the cathode bypass on the second gain stage. The capacitor is 2mF vs 25mF in the more powerful Fender amps. This greatly reduces the amount of low end. It is after the tone stack so the “Fender” sound is achieved then some of the lows are bled off to keep from overwhelming the power tube. On higher gain amps that same capacitor can be an even smaller value. That type of designing is usually throughout am amp’s circuit to achieve what the designer is looking for. There is definitely way more to the tone of an amp than just the tone stack. You are probably hearing it correctly. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread woke me up and got me back into studying amps. I’ve been reading Rob Robinette’s site, watching “Uncle Doug” videos and messing with the Amp Books calculators to refresh my brain. If I don’t reread this stuff about once a year it starts to seep out of my brain. 

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On 10/6/2022 at 11:22 AM, zguitar71 said:

Well I have professed my love of the tube amp on this and other forums and will continue to do so. However, my world did get rocked by the Fender Tonemaster amps. This video is eye opening but misses the boat on a few spots. I’m not saying he is wrong, I think he is right but the rabbit hole isn’t deep enough that he is in. 
 

I owned and gig for about 15 years with a Carr Slant 6V just like his amp. The design of amps like this that can switch the bias for the power tubes isn’t really a good way to compare. There are compromises to make that happen. The cathode bias of the Slant 6 amp isn’t powering the tubes the same way a 5e3 does. The Carr is much hotter and is getting 18 watts out of them vs 12 for the 5e3 and that makes a huge difference and that is what people are referring to when they say there is a difference. It is also more of a dynamic difference than a tone difference. The rectifier is also in this same boat with a massive feel difference between a 5y3 vs solid state. A cathode biased 5y3 amp is worlds away from a solid state rectified fixed bias amp. 
 

I gig a lot with a Tungsten Creamawheat with a 4x10 open back. My buddy has a Blues DeVille with an open back 4x10. I Plug straight into these amps and they sound very different. If I plug into his pedal board and then into these amps and use his distortion pedal they sound very similar. This is what Jim found too. This is also why I love tube amps without influence from a pedal. IMO, to get the best of an amp or find it’s nature pedals must not be used. What happens is in the end is a tone that is both clean and distorted. The pedals don’t give this. This can be heard by the audience. I get a lot of comments about my tone and how different it is from other people they hear. It has been described as easier to hear and easy on the ears even though it is loud. The underlying clarity that comes from not using pedals is what they are hearing. It is, imo, what is missing from so many guitarist on stage today. It also highlights what people described about different amps and their circuits. I lean toward tube rectified cathode biased amps for their feel more than a tone they give. The tone stack and where it is in the amp gives it most of the flavor. This is also what Jim found.  So in the end I agree with him but feel there needs to be about 5 hours more of explanation and falling down the rabbit hole. 

Amen!

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