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Old 02-21-2010, 09:40 PM   #1
NewReligion
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Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I have been a guest here at the forum for a few months now and have played guitar for close to 40 years at this point. I still own a few Marshall heads and have owned many more over the years. I currently have and use both Clipping Diode (JCM 800 2210/2205, JCM 900 4100 for example) and Non-Clipping Diode (1987XL 50 watt Plexi, JCM 800 2203).

I adore the Plexi's and JCM 800 2203's when pushed with a good overdrive pedal i.e. Boss SD-1. However The JCM 800 2210/2205's when Biased properly doesn't need a OD pedal in order to achieve killer Marshall sustain, and if you do use a OD pedal it is nothing short of awe inspiring.

I guess I am calling out those who continually are bad mouthing diode clipping Marshalls. I think you would be surprised to find out just how many popular models incorporate diode clipping to include the JCM 2205/2210 its
(2nd gen re-work 1987-1989 my Favorite), Jubilee Series and the JCM 900 2500/2100/ 4500/4100. Of course the Slash head is closely related to the Jubille heads.

I am a player, not a tech so I post this and expect to be corrected by those who know and look forward to learning from this post. But I am so tired of hearing some talk about how awful a diode clipping Marshall is and then turn right around and put a diode clipping pedal in front of the amp to push it, LOL.

What say you??????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????

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Old 02-21-2010, 09:43 PM   #2
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

The diodes really don't bother me. I'm more concerned about how an amp sounds regardless of what's in it.

Personally I do not like the dual channel 800's but I do like the Silver Jube's which have diode clipping distortion.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I never really understood that whole thing either. I don't care if it is all diodes. If it gets the sound, it gets the sound. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. Who cares. Just plug in and play!
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #4
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

What's the difference if you step on it, or it's in your amp?
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:53 PM   #5
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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What's the difference if you step on it, or it's in your amp?
Exactly my point. Most guys (including myself) that use 2203's/2204's/1959's and 1987's need a good od pedal in order to "SAFFELY" achieve the hard rock/metal tone.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:05 PM   #6
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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Exactly my point. Most guys (including myself) that use 2203's/2204's/1959's and 1987's need a good od pedal in order to "SAFFELY" achieve the hard rock/metal tone.
Yes, that's true. I think when the diodes are built into the head, it's a more true sound. Any dirt pedal I put into my 2204 sounded fake. Now I just picked up a jcm900
and WOW, what a great sound. And the 2204 and the 900 together with a morley tripler, plain sick.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I played a JCM 900 for a month and was underwhelmed; at the time I had no idea it had clipping diodes. Was it the clipping diodes that made it less than wonderful to my ears? Probably not, but I love my DSL which is pure tube path, which I also didn't know when I bought it. Like A. Viking said, it's really the sound and dynamics an amp gives you that count, and how it got there is secondary. But *most* all tube signal paths will sound better than *most* amps that use clipping diodes. There are notable exceptions however.

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Old 02-21-2010, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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I never really understood that whole thing either. I don't care if it is all diodes. If it gets the sound, it gets the sound. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. Who cares. Just plug in and play!
um....yeah....been pounding guns and roses and van halen for the last couple of hours. Not perfect tone, but darn good enough, if you get my drift.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:27 PM   #9
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I love the tone of my 2205. I Didnt know about Diode clipping back then and I dont care what it has in it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

My Jubilee doesn't mind, neither do I.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:35 PM   #11
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I have both diode and non-diode amps.... The diode amps sound fizzy when the gain is cranked up unlike the the non-diode amps. I think there is a balance in there and I walk that line. On my Jubilee I tend to ride the line right at 7 1/2 on the gain as the diodes kick in at about 8. I am still playing with tubes on it to tame the fizzies but it is pretty close right now.

I spent the most time on the MA50 I have to tame the fizzies. RFT NOS EL34's and a Tungsol 12AX7 in the V1 pretty much did it. I really like the gain on this amp now and don't care that it is diode driven. It sounds good.

The JTM45 is a no worry amp.... never sounds fizzy and rocks.... but is very old school which I like too.

Love them all really.... Marshall sound is unmistakeable!
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:43 PM   #12
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

But I am so tired of hearing some talk about how awful a diode clipping Marshall is and then turn right around and put a diode clipping pedal in front of the amp to push it, LOL.


**EXAC-TA-****ING-LUTELY!! FINALLY someone else with a brain who can distinguish this simple point...I too get sick and tired of these purest folks who put ****ing OD/Distortion pedals in front of their 'all tube only amp' and claim they are on some kind of damn crusade. Its a joke.

Many times, (not always of course..exceptions..)and I have said this before, in order to get the level of distortion/gain to play metal you need them somewhere in your signal train..including active ****ing pickups (same thing in a way).

Diodes or not..if it sounds good it IS good and that is all that matters...
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:44 AM   #13
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

Tubes are diodes, right??
As in rectifier...
I had a dual reverb, and a 50 watt 900 mkIII, both lacked definition, compared to my old jcm 50 watt, or my tsl's.
I think that the consensus is that the Jubilee circuit was the best of the bunch, and the 900 circuits went too far, or something like that.
I bought a 50 watt 900 head for a backup, years ago, and used it at one gig, and compared to my modified tsl's, or even a stock tsl, they get kinda lost in the mix....kinda vague, bumble bee distortion kinda thing.
The slx 900 that my bandmate used, however, cut like a knife...and it's all tube.
I have heard VERY few distortion pedals that sit nice and fat in a live mix, as well, and cut through with note definition.
Not trying to piss anyone off, but diodes tend to sound fizzy, and if overdone, don't really get it if you are competing with another guitar in a live situation.
If they worked well, Mesa, Marshall, Fender, and every other amp builder would be offering diode clipping in their flagship tube amps if it sounded better.....it is certainly cheaper than adding tube sockets, tubes, and more circuitry, as well.
In closing, I would say that if you have a problem with other people's thoughts on your amp, buy another amp....perhaps one that doesn't have diode clipping circuits.
Heck, I love my tsl 100's, stock with good tubes, or even better, all Mercury equipped, etc. And many people bash them all of the time....mostly DSL owners
Big deal.

My two cents.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:50 AM   #14
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I will answer as honestly as possible.

I bought my 900 back in 95 based on the sound it made. I loved that sound however untill I got the powerbrake last year and installed different op valves I did not 'really' know how good this amp could sound.
Yes, without the Powerbrake it still sounds great but it breakes walls & eardrums.

Over the last 1.5 years I have really been using it again after a long break (kids came along). So I joined this forum. Only since joining this forum have I discovered the 'clipping diode' dislike that seems to be out there.
I never knew that my amp had clipping diodes when I bought it, it just sounded great and that's why I bought it.

Back then I used to just turn the gain up all the way however now I back it off alot and use the master to get a more natural sound. I like it. I t can get a crystal clear clean sound all the way up to really heavy stuff.
The thing I like most is I do not have to use any pedal up front to get the sound I want. All I have inline is a TU3 tuner.

I may have rambled on a bit...too much rum (got a cold).but my take on it is pretty much the same as Vikings..........it's the sound that counts.

Rob
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:04 AM   #15
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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Originally Posted by Adrian R View Post


Many times, (not always of course..exceptions..)and I have said this before, in order to get the level of distortion/gain to play metal you need them somewhere in your signal train..including active ****ing pickups (same thing in a way).
None of my amps use diode clipping. Every clip you've heard of my amps have no diode clipping in them whatsoever. The pickups I'm currently using are also passive.

Lots of designers frown on diodes because they see them as a "band-aid" in order to build a decent overdrive circuit on the cheap. That and yes they do have a bit of a fizzy sound to them. But so will a poorly voiced valve overdrive circuit.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:32 AM   #16
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

Diodes add a bit of high end hair to the overall tone. Some people don't like that. Its personal preference.

A properly implemented, assymetrical clipping diode circuit with snubber caps or slow response diodes (or LEDs) can be made to sound very tube like.

The jubilee sounds different mostly because of where the diodes are placed in the circuit but also because of the diode type.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:18 AM   #17
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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The jubilee sounds different mostly because of where the diodes are placed in the circuit but also because of the diode type.
I don't design circuits but I've real a lot about the Jubilee design by those who do, and the consensus is they don't use the diode clipping anything like the JCM 900 series does. Perhaps one of the techies here can expand on what the deal is with them.

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Old 02-22-2010, 09:20 AM   #18
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

As for clipping diodes in up front pedals, people need to understand that a signal going into a tube preamp and power amp is going to sound different ("better"?) than a signal going into a clipping diode circuit into a tube power amp. Even if that signal is partly the result of a clipping diode circuit.

This is a different concept than a JCM 900 that uses the clipping diodes in the preamp circuit itself.

It's not hypocritical to prefer pure tube preamp stages but use a pedal to round out the sound.

Ken
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:35 AM   #19
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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I don't design circuits but I've real a lot about the Jubilee design by those who do, and the consensus is they don't use the diode clipping anything like the JCM 900 series does. Perhaps one of the techies here can expand on what the deal is with them.

Ken
The JCM900 amps are nothing like a Jubilee design, especially the ones with the solid state front end and the bridge rectifier before the guitar signal hit the first tube stage. Driving that input stage hard with a boost or OD will only make things sound worse, but that's just me. Some people like that sound.

The jubilee front end is your (almost) typical Marshall front end. The diodes only come into play before the EQ but after the two initial gain stages. There's also the fact that the clipping is assymetric and combines red LEDs with diodes to get its distortion.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #20
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

i have a JMP-1, it has diodes... but I don't care what's inside it. I love its tones.

That being sad, I don't like most of the sounds I heard from a JCM900. Never heard/tried a 2205/2210 in person. So diodes can be good or bad

And yes, if u boost an amp with a non-tube pedal like Boss or tubescreamers, you get the diode clipping anyway! Even if in a different way
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:01 PM   #21
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

i also have a 2210 ( 1989 ) and love it... and no need for OD... only use a compressor for soloing... i have a DSL 100 also... and realy prefer the gain from the JCM 800... the clean channel is another story... the DSL is suppose to be full tube path... i also have a JCM 900... DSL and JCM 900 sounds are very different and does not slice as much as the JCM 800... so clipping diode as no interest for me... sound result is... i am surprise that you question your sound... you have a 2203 and a 2210... you are the perfect candidate to have the knowledge comparing the two amps 2210 vs 2203... i tried a 4104 ( combo version of 2204 ) on my cab 1982 compare to the 2210 and they sound almost identical except that the 2210 can get lots more gain...
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:18 PM   #22
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I think my 900 (2500) sounds great, diodes or not. I rarely put my Gain Sensitivity knob higher than 2 anyway, so I guess I don't get to the diode clipping stage. But I think it still roars even at high gain settings.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:46 PM   #23
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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I think my 900 (2500) sounds great, diodes or not. I rarely put my Gain Sensitivity knob higher than 2 anyway, so I guess I don't get to the diode clipping stage. But I think it still roars even at high gain settings.
Agreed. I rarely bump the gain to V2 on mine either and it sounds great. I mainly mess with the preamp and volume knobs-----and don't forget the volume knobs on the guitar too.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:57 PM   #24
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

I can see this thread is going to be a big one.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:06 PM   #25
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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Originally Posted by Ken View Post
As for clipping diodes in up front pedals, people need to understand that a signal going into a tube preamp and power amp is going to sound different ("better"?) than a signal going into a clipping diode circuit into a tube power amp. Even if that signal is partly the result of a clipping diode circuit.

This is a different concept than a JCM 900 that uses the clipping diodes in the preamp circuit itself.

It's not hypocritical to prefer pure tube preamp stages but use a pedal to round out the sound.

Ken
No Ken it is not. It is however, hypocritical to denounce the usage of 'diodes', proclaim a 'tube signal only' purist position, and then use a pedal. Same thing, and hypocrisy, imo, is tantamount to foolishness.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:15 PM   #26
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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No Ken it is not. It is however, hypocritical to denounce the usage of 'diodes', proclaim a 'tube signal only' purist position, and then use a pedal. Same thing, and hypocrisy, imo, is tantamount to foolishness.
I think you've missed two points:

1. Clipping diodes do not perform the same function when used in a pedal as when used as a preamp stage UNLESS you're using the pedal as a preamp.

2. The only thing that counts in the end is if you like what's coming out of the speakers. I have yet to see any post from anyone who would not use an amp with clipping diodes if they liked the tone, and I have not seen a post from anyone using an amp with a pure tube signal path that sounds like crap to them, but they use the amp anyway because it has no diodes.

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Old 02-22-2010, 01:18 PM   #27
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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I think you've missed two points:

1. Clipping diodes do not perform the same function when used in a pedal as when used as a preamp stage UNLESS you're using the pedal as a preamp.

2. The only thing that counts in the end is if you like what's coming out of the speakers. I have yet to see any post from anyone who would not use an amp with clipping diodes if they liked the tone, and I have not seen a post from anyone using an amp with a pure tube signal path that sounds like crap to them, but they use the amp anyway because it has no diodes.

Ken
Agreed.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:20 PM   #28
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

Some sound good, some don't.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:10 PM   #29
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

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I think you've missed two points:

1. Clipping diodes do not perform the same function when used in a pedal as when used as a preamp stage UNLESS you're using the pedal as a preamp.

2. The only thing that counts in the end is if you like what's coming out of the speakers. I have yet to see any post from anyone who would not use an amp with clipping diodes if they liked the tone, and I have not seen a post from anyone using an amp with a pure tube signal path that sounds like crap to them, but they use the amp anyway because it has no diodes.

Ken
Ken,
Sounds like total contradiction (that is #2)..it is what it is..period bro...diodes or not it doesn't matter..the point here that I was attempting to illustrate was the attitude some people have about amps with diodes....and (I reiterate AGAIN)their usage of distortion pedals or OD pedals in their 'tube pure path, or whatever' guitar idiom to achieve the necessary gain/distortion. Yes, it may in a way affect the signal differently on a technical level, but never the less you are STILL using them..

It so ****ing brain dead......
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:20 PM   #30
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Re: Clipping Diodes, Your Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian R View Post
and (I reiterate AGAIN)their usage of distortion pedals or OD pedals in their 'tube pure path, or whatever' guitar idiom to achieve the necessary gain/distortion. Yes, it may in a way affect the signal differently on a technical level, but never the less you are STILL using them..

It so ****ing brain dead......
I think you're missing something here...

With a clean boost (solid state), you can preserve signal integrity yet drive the input of a tube amp harder, giving you more tube distortion.

With an overdrive pedal, you can achieve more of the same and add slight clipping with the diodes, BEFORE the amp. The have the advantage of adding slightly more hair and high end but the key thing is that you have full control over the amount of diode clipping.

If the diode clipping is inside the amp, you have less control over it and some people like to adjust to taste and buy amps with no solid state clipping so that they can add it in when and how they want. Some say that it is more versatile this way. I know that I like a TS-9 for some things and an SD-1 for other stuff and a clean boost for another flavor. Most of the time, I'm just plugged in straight, no effects.

Why is that so brain dead? Everyone like different things. Its not because some prefer all tube amps with an OD in front that they're "brain dead" as you say.
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