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Post subject: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:03 am
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So, I have been pondering on this and hopefully someone here can shed some technical in site for me. We all strive to achieve to get the richest, true amplification from our instruments. We make sure that the 1st step in the chain is a quality pickup for our instrument. Then we all now that pure tube amplification without any solid state components with an efficent speaker system will reproduce a high quality sound.

BUT, now we place a solid state or digital effects unit between our instrument and amp. Isn't this somewhat defeating all the work I mentioned above?

Whatcha think?


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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:54 pm
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Welcome to the Forum Galaxyflyer1.
About your question I can say perhaps. The digitizing affect on music is a topic that some members here would be better at or be more knowledgeable than I. Live vs studio environments might have different explanations or considerations too. In any case, have fun here. :D

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:17 am
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Some people think so; I do not.

If you want to know where you leave a lot of "purity" on the table, look at your patch cables. If you are not using high quality patch cables, the tone loss can be significant. Check out solderless patch cable kits.

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:52 am
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I understand your point completely, but not everyone is a purist. Imagine if
everyone sounded the same...music might get boring..

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:58 am
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That’s a great question, Galaxyflyer1. Nice you could join us.

I agree with the gang here.

That age old question used to be a demonstration on blind testing with esoteric turntables like Linn Sondek versus CD players tested both through solid state and tube amplification as examples. Many turntable manufacturers developed, upgraded, and used modular components, and audiophiles tweaked with power supplies and anything they could get their hands on. In the beginning digital was found to replace analog in the strangest places just because they could (Digital later shared Linn’s bread and butter being one of the first companies to major in digital streaming). Great! Now do we go with basic preampfification or add EQ and/or other tonal changes? If we are lucky we can have both with a true bypass.

Still, the source whether it be the record or the recorded CD could be, as we know, the weakest link. Your guitar (and any part of) as mentioned, might similarly be that first link you alluded to.

In fact, some better gear with brand names and specs that’ll blow the roof off will sound worse than lesser gear at times if the playback medium is deficient. This is simply because it will reveal all the bad as well as the good. Some of the best gear I’ve heard was simple with and without no processing. The same goes for that which gets the full Monty. It certainly is related to what is intended by the playback and the presenter. Is it a harmonious marriage or is it best to be divorced?

We could go on to say that the musician, owner, or associates will have a personal feeling or preference be it technical, emotional, or bragging rights. Science claims we can sense music and other sound through our skin as well as the brain, and some have little or no sensation (ie: amusia) as we know or feel it for music. We claim what we think is good and desirable and yet the others in the audience might not be savvy or care to the same extent. They will know what’s bad though, to be brief. Actually, we are all like that if we don’t spread out to test the waters and discover all that there is to offer. I never thought I could appreciate distortion. I now have better understanding of the application and some distortion appreciation; but, like rap, some of it needs no attention. IMHO. Crap into a tube amp will still sound like crap. Likewise with solid state. Or will they? Maybe, the weakest link is the player.

I once spoke about this tone manipulation with Sony engineers and questioned a gear design that was well thought out sonically but then laden with unnecessary filters as an afterthought to alter the sound. Their answer? Basically, “Whatever it takes to make it sound good for the widest acceptance is good”. Note I said widest acceptance. Note also that fir competitive reasons it had to have it’s own identity. You might want to reach your audience or your audio engineer or simply yourself.

I guess that’s where additional pedals and such come into play. Take that pristine tone and post produce it with a mixer or a DAW and “presto changeo!” Should one mic with one, two, or more mic’s? Just in front of the amp, back, or both? Why stop there? Maybe, less is more. Maybe, more is less. Nice to have options.

If your overall experience improves with some compromise then tradeoff may be the answer. :wink: YMMV

You can start with water, consommé. or kick it up by throwing in some noodles. :P

It’s all good if you like it. IMHO.

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:21 pm
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Just a side note on those cables... many great sounding guitarists on purpose choose a cable which acts as sort of a compressor.

Otherwise, I agree with the general ideas above. There are many ways to achieve a perfect guitar sound, and it's fantastic that the "perfect sound" can be different for different players and listeners.
Roy Buchanan - man, guitar, amp. Jimi Hendrix, man, guitar, gidgets, a herd of amps. No better/worse comparison, both perfect... (I could have chosen some newer examples, but I think that shows the basic idea. And i'm old, of course.)


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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:26 pm
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jmattis wrote:
Just a side note on those cables... many great sounding guitarists on purpose choose a cable which acts as sort of a compressor.

... Thus altering the pure signal coming from the guitar which is what the thread is about. :wink:


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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:37 pm
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When an amp, whether tube or transistor, is pushed beyond its design limits and the original input signal begins to compress and is eclipsed by odd-order harmonics (ie: distortion) the result is a sound that is significantly altered from the "pure" tone yet is -- usually -- quite desireable.

I fail to see the point of this discussion.

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:29 pm
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The question was how digital gear in the signal chain would degrade the overall "analogness" of the signal. When you take an analog signal and convert it to digital, there is some signal loss because a digital waveform is "stepped" due to current limitations of the technology.

Kind of like how a video camera doesn't quite capture life as it is. Images are reduced to pixels which cannot match the amazing natural richness seen by the human eye.

Personally, I don't think your average human can tell the difference between a well made digital stomp box and the analog version of the same. But I could hear the difference when I used a higher quality patch cable. You want compression? Try a compressor.


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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:46 pm
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Voila! I love this Forum, thank you Brothers!

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:03 pm
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Galaxyflyer1 wrote:
... Then we all know that pure tube amplification without any solid state components with an efficient speaker system will reproduce a high quality sound ...

I go all solid-state into a cabinet with two vintage old-school EVM 12Ls with almost-no effects and get killer tone -- clean, dirty, and heavy. I know ... the heresy. Oh, well ...it's true. But I have some bad azz guitars, too.

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:37 am
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I would imagine that if you use a gain channel, the components that make up that stage (resistors, caps, other goodies) are similar to what you’d get in a pedal. You’d still be benefiting from tubes through the clean channel, but bypassing internal components in favor of an external design. Right? I’m not an expert by any means.

I do have a couple REVV pedals that sound outstanding whether it’s through the front or effects loop. I like having 3 different distortions on my board along with a boost, delays, and a reverb pedal for amps that have no reverb. That’s it.

When I run my board through a low powered amp, I can control what would appear to be pushed levels at a level that is mic’d for live house sound (if that makes sense). If you’re playing a venue that won’t allow you to go anywhere above “1” on your amp, you’re not really pushing the tubes much anyway.

I’m currently using an Xotic AC+, REVV G-3, and REVV-G4. 3-different stages of distortion from mild to high gain. All very good sounding distortions. I think you’d be hard-pressed to determine whether the sources were internal or external without physically viewing them.

REVV G3
https://youtu.be/CFHJ_HfpWtQ

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:05 pm
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Great overall post, shred6. You put those points through nicely. Thanks, for tying in your thoughts with the link.

Wow! Timo did what I’ve always said. It’s not just command of the axe and runs. which he certainly had, that counts, shredding or not shredding. that which makes one good in his or her corner should include musicality as well. Timo aced it and made some incredible playing and tones to boot. Nice!

FSB

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Post subject: Re: Altering the purity of tone.
Posted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:50 pm
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I’d love to meet that dude some day and shake his hand. Great guitar player and seems like a genuinely nice guy. That video sold me on REVV pedals, and they don’t disappoint. I personally use the G3 for humbuckers and the G4 for single coil guitars.

I have somewhere around 40 guitars. And when you’re used to playing music that spans mellow to hard-core, a good pedal board is an asset. Takes a while to pinpoint what you really want and need.

I’m still not sold on modeling amps. I opt for good pedals and a nice clean channel to run them through. I have nice heads, but you won’t see me lug them with cabs to play shows anytime soon. Great for recording. Live, give me my pedal board and a Pro Jr., I’m good to go.

If it’s a gig where it’s straight amp, no house, I’ll run it through a 100-watt clean with plenty of headroom.

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