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Ohhhhhhhhmmmmm....

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Guitarfreak, May 29, 2009.

  1. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I'm looking at an amp for recording, three of the same line as a matter of fact. Two of which have speakers rated at 4 Ohm and the big daddy having a speaker rated at 8 Ohm.

    From an engineer's standpoint is this significant? How about from a guitarist's standpoint :D I'm fairly sure that for guitarists more ohms = better, but my knowledge is a bit fuzzy.
     
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I don't have and really don't know if there is an exact answer to this question. The generally accepted wisdom seems to be that a speaker matched correctly for the impedance of the amp will sound good and that impedance in this situation is not generally thought to provide a significant difference. For example JBL builds 4 ohm speakers for a lot of sound reinforcement systems, if 4 ohm speakers were crap I doubt that they would market them. On the other hand companies like Fender use 16 ohm speakers in most of their higher end equip. Is this just because of the tube amplifiers design, I don't know.
    I do know that custom rigs for pro guitarists often use mismatched cabs, a 4 ohm cabinet for an 8 ohm amp is believed to supply a bassier more distorted sound while a 16 ohm one will deliver a brighter sound though this does lower the life expectancy of tubes or amps.
    I can't tell by listening that that amp is 16 ohms and that one is definitely 8.
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    More than a bit. If you are talking about combo amps, then the designer will have done the job of matching the amplifier output to the impedance of the loudspeaker, and it need not concern you.

    The thing you should be concentrating on for a recording amp is how it sounds at relatively low power levels, including taking into account any distortion settings you feel you need. The better the sound you can get when running at 10W or so, the easier it will be to get a good recording from it.
     
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    That's the vibe I got, but some things that people say throw me off. I quote bands that have the exact tone I want, and people all of a sudden say, cranked tube amp, cranked tube amp, there's no question about it, cranked tubes... And that contradicts everything else I know about studio recording. How?

    And how would I measure the voltage going into the power amp? I don't have meters or anything. Is it like an easy math equation? For instance, if the amp is 100 watt, and if you want to run at 10 watts set the volume at 1 or below? Or is there significantly more to it. There's gotta be, or else this wouldn't be an olympic art form. @_@
     
  6. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Look there are two simple ways to get the cranked tube overdrive and ten watts, buy a ten watt amp and run it all the way out, or even say a 15 watt amp at nearly full throttle. The other way is an attenuator like this
    http://www.samedaymusic.com/product--THDHP
    But since that unit costs 75% of your amp budget I guess you are probably gonna have to find a small amp, because running a tube amp on 1, or completely throttling down the amp with a master volume will pretty much negate the tonal quality you buy the amp for in the first place.
    This is one of the reasons Davedog was talking about something like this
    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-Champion-600-5-Watt-1x6-Combo-Amp?sku=485054&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=44097308
    he said that they have made very good recordings with it. Hard to feel like a guitar god cranking out 5W, but you want it for recording right?
    The other option in your price range is a Line6 OMG NO not solid state!!!! Price range vs tone vs versatility Is it the best killer tone no, but $500 and the best killer tone can't truly coexist in the same sentence. sigh, life is full of compromise.
     
  7. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    It's digital, not solid state. Solid state uses transistors, digital uses... logarithms and... digital stuff. :lol: This would be what I would recommend for Guitarfreak's budget. Seriously.

    But yes, tube amps need to be cranked. The shortcut is to get an amp with a master volume, and turn the master up to 10 and keep the preamp levels at about 1/4 (on a scale from 1 - 10). I use this strategy with my V3 and it works amazingly well.
     
  8. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Maybe I am misinformed but the amplifiers in Line 6 I believe are solid state. The modeling is digital but can digital power speakers at 100 watts?
     
  9. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Just got back from work. I've played line 6, don't like them, end of story.
     
  10. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    You know, I can't help but get the feeling that the world of guitar and the world of recording don't mix very well. You might say that there is 180° of phase difference between them! :lol:

    ...no?

    ok :(
     
  11. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of the disconnect comes from the fact that guitars have become exemplified by arena rock.
    You're recording a guitar track, not recreating AC/DC live @ Glastonbury.

    Whenever something in recording doesn't make sense, I always remind myself that the recent album that is my benchmark (beautiful balance, mix, stereo spread, and tones) was recorded almost exclusively live (all-together) with SM57s. Really!

    Are you unhappy w/ the amp sound itself or the way it sounds recorded?
    I'm not saying don't get a better amp - just make sure you're actually addressing the real issue.
     
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No meters necessary - your ears are the best instrument for this.

    What I find works well for recording is the sort of volume level you get from a practice amp. That's not to say you should actually use a practice amp, but treat your main amp as though it were one. Crank the input gain to get the distortion or other effect you want, but wind back on the output gain so the acoustic output is at a level you might use when the neighbours have elderly visitors for tea. Position the SM57 and you are good to record.
     
  13. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    K, that's what I've been doing lately. It works pretty well because I have a distortion in front of it. Now what if the person in question has an all tube half stack/combo? Same rules apply? Because if we are talking about tone here then you lose a lot of the tube tone by turning it down. Or so I hear, I've never actually gotten the magical opportunity to play an all tube amp cranked.

    soapfloats, it's definitely the amp though. It sounds decent enough for a small gig but not great. But when recorded you really get a feel for how solid state and fake it sounds. The high end sounds crackly and thin. And like I said before, it feels too airy.

    Lately though I've been going for more of a metal tone. I've heard a sound clip from the Peavey 3120 which sounded really good. You guys tell me, can I get the sound I'm going for out of a small amp, or should I bite down and save up enough money for an all tube half stack?
     
  14. mark02131

    mark02131 Active Member

    Fender makes some amazing remakes of some of the best amps they ever made. Sweetwater.com has a nice selection of them. I like the smaller amps for recording, I also like to record amps that have a single speaker.

    Sure you can put a full stack in a sound proof room with a mic and crank it up but I don't recommend it.

    Really any tube amp that uses the 6V6 output tube is going to sound pretty good. I have never heard a bad sounding 6V6. Also the 6L6GT's are nice sounding.
     
  15. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    What were you smoking when you wrote this? If it's a digital or solid state amp then your advice is fine, but for tube amps it is the exact opposite of what you want. The tooooooooone comes from pushing power tubes, not preamp tubes.
     
  16. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    While really alot of this is personal taste, after all if there was some perfect equation then all good amps would sound identical. I am of the opinion that both preamp distortion and power tube saturation are essential to bad to the bone tone.
    This is a quote "When you cut out or simulate any major component in a classic amp rig, something is lost. You can lose a degree of dynamic depth or lose a distortion component such as preamp distortion, power-tube saturation, or speaker distortion. As you move time effects from post-mic toward the front of the amp, you introduce increasing degrees of "intermodulation distortion", as the delayed signal conflicts with the immediate signal in a distortion bottleneck. The best Tone (or a rig for the widest tonal palette) has:

    o All 4 degrees of distortion: preamp distortion, power-tube saturation, output transformer distortion, and speaker distortion.

    o Minimal intermodulation distortion (the most would be time fx before the amp, introducing a degree of I.M.D. at each distortion stage).

    o Full dynamic depth. Requires transparent preamp distortion that allows all notes of a chord to come through. Requires power-tube saturation response. Requires a hard-driven speaker. Requires direct power-tube/speaker interaction with no dummy load in between."

    Another quoted opinion
    "THE STUDIO REFERENCE RIG SETUP AND TONE

    The reference, authentic, pro-studio approach to a genuine, authoritative rock tone uses the following sequence of processing stages:

    o Eq-related effects
    o Preamp distortion
    o Eq and non echo-related effects
    o Hard-driven power tubes, output transformer
    o Hard-driven speaker, traditional cabinet -- guitar placed near the speakers
    o Mics
    o Post-processing at the board: eq, echo-derived effects, reverb

    It's important to understand the basic stages that are used in a pro rock studio, in order to try to reproduce these stages as closely as feasible, whatever your equipment situation.

    Many guitar tracks were recorded with echo before the power tubes, but almost always, the amp is not cranked, because the beats are unmusical and scramble and weaken the basic Tone. The only way to combine *cranked* amp Tone with echo-derived effects is to place those effects after the amp.


    Now, if you want to attempt genuine pro rock studio tone with low room-noise levels, you know what's important, what the reference setup is that you're trying to emulate, and what shortcuts you might be able to get away with while retaining as many genuine cranked-amp elements as you can.

    The speaker isolation cabinet, with perhaps a small speaker, driven directly by a 5-watt amp, *might* be able to perfectly reproduce all elements of the Reference Setup and Reference Tone except for room reverberation and feedback through the guitar. You could then fake (or improvise) those two elements by reverb and by putting the guitar close to a monitor or using the Sustainiac."
    Amp Summit - Guitar Player, Mar & Apr issues, 1996

    These are the reasons why many of the true pro lead guitarists record with practice amps run at full or nearly full throttle. In my discussions with some of them regarding the tone issue, most seem to prefer these amps in small or moderate studio spaces. They seemed to feel that while you give up a tiny amount of overall tone using a smaller speaker, most often referring to "brighter" less dense sound the overall results are worth the trade off.
    I am not an amp tech in fact I am not very technically inclined, I am dyslexic and find it difficult to remember specs without notes especially numbers, so with that in mind it is my folkloric understanding that most "Metal" tones are derived at from the use of multiple preamp staging or "cascading" (built into the amp itself) where a good deal of the overdrive is developed in the preamp stage and flushed out in the following three stages (power tube saturation, output transformer, and hard driven speaker.)
    There is one other key idea in the last quote often overlooked by guitarists in self recording, all reverb, delay and echo should be added in post production.
     
  17. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    Yes. Forget the stack. Go get a head and a 1x12 cabinet. Like jg49 said, preamp tubes, power tubes, and the speaker(s) are all essential links in the chain to getting good guitar tone. While the distortion occurs in the preamp tubes, pushing the preamp tubes isn't going to do much of anything. Pushing the power tubes is what creates fat, rich, and punchy tones that are still crystal clear. Pushing the speaker is another step often overlooked. I have found that using low wattage speakers helps tremndously, as they distort faster and don't sound "stiff" like higher wattage speakers do. I wish I could afford an isolation cabinet right now, but I think that is a ways down the road for me. 8) Right now just using a 1x12 with my head works quite well. :D
     
  18. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    So you guys are leaning towards an all tube head. What all tube head would you recommend? While we're at it why not recommend a 1x12 cabinet too?

    I'm still keeping the Blackstar 5 watt on my blacklist, unless we can find a good all tuber for a reasonable price. Plus I like how it comes with its own cabinet, which takes the guesswork out of the equation.

    For metal now, I still like the way the Peavey 3120 sounds, at least from what I've heard it sounds good. I have no idea what cab the guy in the video is using though. Looks like a 2x12.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWyPSZXEB2U&feature=channel_page

    BTW, just a side question, that cascading of the preamp tiers, that's referred to as rectifying right? Dual recto means it cascades once and triple recto means it cascades twice right?
     
  19. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I was suggesting an all tube practice amp but not esp. a head, combo is fine. I really can't recommend something I don't play your style music, I have never tried to get a "metal" sound. The Blackstar is precisely the idea though.
     
  20. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    :) It's nice when someone reassures you that you're on the right track every once in a while.
     

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