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previous: Scott Question...a couple of people here ... -- 4/18/2000 11:35 PM View Thread

Re: Have I lost my mind?!

4/19/2000 1:51 AM
Re: Have I lost my mind?!
you're missing the point. but 1st, let me say that just because tube amps supposedly sound best wide open, that doesn't mean ALL tube amps do. there are exceptions to every rule, and the "wide open" rule is not nearly as much the rule as it once was. there are tons of newer tube amps today that happen to sound like crap cranked. in fact, amps today are designed to sound as good as possible at low volumes because of this "rule" we're speaking of. manufacturers have heard that for years and that is one of thier main goals today, to build amps that sound good low. and in the process the designs have changed to the point where many amps DON'T sound as good cranked. thats not to say ALL amps today are like that. but many are, and it's naieve to think that this rule applies to every tube amp. i personally have owned a number of amps that don't sound good cranked. crank a tweed deluxe to hear what a real cranked amp tone can do, not a modern amp.[as i said, the rule applies to some, but not all modern amps]  
now having said that, the real dilemma has nothing to do with cranked amp tone. the room you're playing in and the band itself can kill an amp's tone no matter how good it sounds cranked. i know this from 20 years of constant gigging and having owned about 50 amps in that time, and thats not an exaggereation. the crate is a great sounding amp, thats why i bought it. in fact, in a comparison next to my marshall i couldn't believe how much better it sounded. but onstage this was not the case, just the opposite in fact. and i'm not even saying that it won't work for him. but i have enough experience with amps and room acoustics to know that my evaluation of the crate will MOST LIKELY, be what he will find too. not definatly, but most likely. some amps have a tone that is a product of certain frequencies that happen the be the part of the spectrum that is most affected by room acoustics. or it may be that the strongest portion of a given amp's signal happens to lie within a spectrum of frequencies that are fundemental to other instruments in a typical rock/pop type of band. when this is the case, the very thing that makes the amp sound so great by itself gets cancelled out by the other instruments, leaving a lifelss sound.  
there are also certain frequencies that are cancelled out or boosted by the effect of certain rooms. i've noticed that marshalls seem to be less affected by this phenomenon than fender sounding amps. my theory is that midrange frequencies are affected far less by room acoustics or cancellation from other instruments than are the low and hi end. that would explain why fender sound is more inconsistant from room to room, nite to nite than marhalls are. marshalls have a very strong midrange character while fenders are just the opposite--lows and highs.  
i've also found that all this phenomenon is greatly reduced or even eliminated when the band is playing a slow song where the tone has a lot of room to breathe. when i had the crate i noticed this big time. i'd be hating my sound all nite except when we'd do something like 'little wing". then the amp would sound great. then we break into a rockin tune and it's bye bye tone. same thing with my groove tubes solo 75. this amp was phenominal sounding. beyond any mass production amp i'd ever owned in terms of rich harmonics and just all out magical tone. but i sold it because i found that in certain rooms it was no better than a cheap amp. then in another room it would be just friggin amazing.  
so my point is that some amps produce tones that are adversly affected by thier enviornment to a degree that makes the sound like crap. thats just the way it is, and if you talk to a world class sound engineer they'll tell you the same thing. acoustics are about as tricky as anything on the earth. and thats where amps live, so there is no rule that says an tube amp turned up is gonna sound good no matter what you throw at it. if that were the case, we wouldn't be frantically asking each other about what cap to use of which tubes are best, and in fact, this board probably wouldn't exist.  

Scott Maybe I should just learn to play t... -- 4/19/2000 9:29 AM