Gain Knob = Mud Knob

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by GuitarIV, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    Hey everyone,

    went to a try out rehearsal yesterday with a band that's looking for a new guitar player, was excited to be able to crank it up again and play with other musicians.

    I brought my ESP Eclipse and my Laney IRT Studio (15 watts, very portable). They had a Marshall 412 with G12-75s there for me to use (I play V30s and G12-65s usually) so I knew I had to take it easy on the treble and bass controls and dial in a healthy amount of mids.

    Now this basically did the trick, apart from the Laney struggling to keep up (had the master on 6, the 97db sensitivity of the 75s probably didn't help) because the other guitarist had a Powerball 2 into an ENGL cab with V30s I made an interesting observation.

    I had my Boss SD-1 with me to tighten up my amp and push the crunch channel, but after a song or two I went to the Laney and turned my gain control down to in between 2 and 3 on the dial.

    This is something that would usually result in a very weak sound at home, I have the gain on 4 with the SD-1 in front when I'm by myself and I feel like that's enough crunch to be able to play heavier music without anything turning to mush, however in a band scenario not only did the volume make a huge difference, I also discovered that my gain control had turned into a mud control. After I took it down to 2-3 I could hear myself waaaay better. And as said, I already had my mids turned up.


    I forgot how volume affects the sound of an amplifier. My 2203 is on the verge of being too weak in the gain department, I always have a boost in front when by myself. When I got to crank it up I had to turn off the OD pedal because it was too much. I'm pretty sure if somebody had placed a mic in front of my cab yesterday and had me play by myself I would have hated the tone, but then the drums and the bass kick in together with the second guitar player and suddenly you have all the chunk and clarity and punch you can ask for.


    So I understand now why soo many bands I've seen live sound like a huge washed up mess. Especially the ones that play modern metal and such. The gain knob only adds mud. In conclusion: it doesn't matter how heavy the music you play, if you wanna be heard you need a crunchy amp with an OD in front and a good right hand technique. Screw the stuff you hear on the record, playing live just needs a completely different approach.

    Can't wait to bring my DSL 100 to the rehearsal space and goose it with volume. I know now that I won't have to go further than the green crunch mode on it. And work some more on my chops :D

    Share your observations and experiences!
     
  2. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    565
    Likes Received:
    544
    They make Fenders and Boogies for people like you.... :nutkick: :shred2:



    PS and volume knobs. Like, on your guitar?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    SonVolt, DesolationBlvd and GuitarIV like this.
  3. Ufoscorpion

    Ufoscorpion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    1,095
    It's pretty simple really , what sounds good with an isolated guitar will not 'cut' when playing with a band . If you go on YouTube for example and listen to the isolated original guitar tracks from some of the iconic Rock bands you will see what I mean . Basically a good guitar tone with a band will almost certainly be harsh on the treble/presence end of things with less gain than you would expect .
     
    steveb63, anitoli, SonVolt and 3 others like this.
  4. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    For the style of music I play? Nu-uh. Give me a Marshall and an OD pedal. And yes, the volume knob is the magic ingredient. That's why I always have the neck pickup rolled back. One flick of the toggle switch and I have my clean tones. Everything else is in the hands :D


    Yup. It's the big picture that makes it sound great. I missed the massive low end punch a bass player adds. The guitar has to cut, the bass has to punch. :dude:
     
    Mitchell Pearrow likes this.
  5. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    1,544
    or..the bass has its freq and the guitar has its own...why v30's work so well in a band...home bedroom stuff..most have way too much bass so they can sound like a full band at .oo5 watt. Next time you go to studio record..spend some time with the mix guy and look at the screen..you are layered..not cutting anything
     
  6. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    Been there, done that. Used to be one of those kids scooping the mids and cranking the bass. Nowadays at home I keep the bass to a point where it's almost nonexistent in my guitar tone.

    When I wanna have some fun I go for the bedroom tone. As long as you remember to switch the settings to bandmix values again when playing live there's nothing wrong with that.

    Also the difference in construction of say a 15 watt amp with EL84s like my Laney and my big 100 Watt Marshalls is very noticeable. Do you need a 100 watt amp? Not for the volume. But the trannies make the difference. The 15 watt sounds whimpy and weak compared to the gut punch the Marshalls deliver. No matter how loud or quiet your volume is. Food for thought.
     
  7. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2018
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    1,544
    i have a V30 & gt75 cab just for studio work and a mixed green back..my guy always mic's them..when he shows the graph on the recording program it is wild how taking the time to mic up dif speakers makes thing layer right where it needs..ever since then..when we set the band up..drums & bass set..then mix my guitar..and as much as i hate the laser beam on newer V30's ..put it in a band situation..it just works..but..it is so annoying if you are anywhere in its ear piercing laser beam...for home use put together a older gt75(65 ish sounding) & Vintage from first run(way less harsh and piercing)in X pattern and it seems to work good..also..just looked at 5 marshall heads..my bass is under noon on all of em..mids at noon and prescence used to adjust..but jmp50 all knobs dimed-freeaky setting but man it works
     
    steveb63, wakjob, Ufoscorpion and 2 others like this.
  8. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    Yeah another thing people do (I'm guilty of it myself), using the eyes instead of the ears. If it works and sounds good who cares what the values on the amp say? We should play blindfolded more often :D

    Yeah the V30 is a love/hate speaker. Some days I love it, some days I can't stand it. It's popular for a reason after all and yesterday I wished for my V30 cab instead of having to use the crappy G12T-75s. Are they bad speakers? No. Just not ideal for a dual guitarplayer situation.
     
  9. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,718
    Likes Received:
    5,399
    Location:
    Moreno Valley CA
    All of my Marshall amps get treble mids presence 3/4 of the dial, bass starts at noon, and adjust as needed, I tend not to make my amps sound like a full band but what I think it should be with a full band , my clips might sound thin and brittle/ bright but put the rest of the instruments in with me and as a whole we should blend quite well! Cheers
     
  10. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,718
    Likes Received:
    5,399
    Location:
    Moreno Valley CA
    And gain needs to be set once you have reached your mix volume, in my case it gets lower and lower! Just my two cents! Cheers Mitch
     
  11. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    1,906
    @OP:
    Opinion/observation: It's not easy for a Laney IRT Studio to coexist in peace and harmony with an Engl Power Ball 2 (Laney IRT Studio not a bad amp, but seems an unlikely choice alongside a Engl Power Ball). Perhaps no one told you before hand that the other guy was sporting a Power Ball, but that almost looks like Manny Pacquiao versus Mike Tyson in the ring. I, too, think your DSL100 give you the kind of results you are looking for (perhaps with no pedals, too.

    I'm a fan of high gain tone, whether the distortion/dirt/overdrive/"gain" comes from a pedal, an amp, or both. As far as gear goes, not all high gain tone is the same as designers accentuate whatever qualities they want. The other factor is the player, obviously, and the choices he/she makes. But basically I do agree with OP that in most cases more "gain" control does = more mud. Why? Usually the more "gain" control used, the EQ (bass, mid, treble) will have less impact on tone (this is usually true whether the distortion/dirt/overdrive/"gain" comes from the amp or a pedal. Again, designs will vary, so don't be surprised if one amp or pedal yields a different experience than another amp or pedal.

    On the high gain channels/modes on my stock 410H, I usually keep the gain low (3-4). For some solos, I might pump up the gain a little, but only if I'm looking for a little sustain. The volume (master and channel), preamp design, eq controls, and speakers really provide most of the tone for the way I do things.

    But everyone is different, so it's up to the player to buy and use the gear that best fits their needs. Good luck to us all on getting what we need from our gear.
     
  12. Ufoscorpion

    Ufoscorpion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,491
    Likes Received:
    1,095
    Yep , it's trial and error and eventually when you get a grasp of how things work sonically it all suddenly makes sense . We're all probably guilty of being too distorted and mid scooped at some point in time ( those of us that play metal anyway ) until the penny finally drops .
     
  13. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Messages:
    4,721
    Likes Received:
    2,878
    Location:
    C-137
    We all learn this at some point.
    When the decibels go up, subtractive EQing comes in.

    This is the reason why I've gravitated towards digital modeling for home use. It's just too good not to use these days when tube amps require a certain amount of db's to sound "right" to us nutjobs. My "small" amps are way overkill for the apartment.

    Even digital needs a little re-EQing a drummer levels.
     
  14. SmokeyDopey

    SmokeyDopey Well-Known Member VIP Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    10,905
    Likes Received:
    6,235
    Location:
    Argentina
    I usually have no bass at all on my amp. Maybe 8 o 9 o clock.
    As mentioned before: in a lot of cases, if you feel it needs more bass, what it's probably lacking is power. In a bedroom situation it's common to crank the bass up since the volume is so low.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    steveb63, wakjob, Ufoscorpion and 2 others like this.
  15. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    Yeah, I was called to rehearsal and told to bring my own stuff, I didn't want to haul a 100 Watt Marshall around on public transport so I took my IRT Studio, put it in the laptop sized bag it comes with and slung it around my shoulder. Had my guitar case and the bag and was on my way.

    Actually I'm quite surprised on how well the Laney stood it's ground. I'm sure if I had a cab with more efficient speakers I'd have had no problems to keep up volume wise. Also it was a try out and I got the gig so now I can actually take the car next time and bring the DSL to the rehearsal space and leave it there.

    I'll most likely get a Mooer Radar pedal soon, it's an IR loadbox in stompbox size that you can place on your pedalboard. I can load up my own cab sims or use the built in ones, hook up the IRT and go straight to FOH. That should keep my rig small and portable, let me have the Laneys master control low so I have no power tube saturation (not really desirable with EL84 tubes when you play stuff that heavily relies on a clean power amp) and let the PA do the heavy lifting.

    Hell, if I was adventurous I'd even ditch the amp, get a proper pre amp pedal and use a pedalboard and my guitar only. But then again I'm not ready to take that step yet and before I throw out some more money saving up and getting something like a Kemper might be the better solution.

    It's crazy when you think about how many things factor in for a good sound when playing live or rehearsing. At home things are so easy, but it's worlds apart compared to the real deal.

    I'll have fun trying out what works and what doesn't. Haven't played with a band in almost 2 years. I really missed it :)
     
    Ufoscorpion and Mitchell Pearrow like this.
  16. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    1,906
    Have you ever tried this arrangement before? Do you know of someone who used a rig similar to what you're describing? I haven't, so I'm interested in the results. I've seen units with built-in preamps go into FOH, but the loadbox sounds interesting (i.e. quicker setup/breakdown time, easier to transport, etc.
     
  17. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    279
    YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD! That's how most Marshalls need to be played. Thats where they sound their best. I remember shortly after I got my DSL amps I started reading about them and how people cut this resistor and lifted that one and did this and that. I brought mine home and ran the gain on the green channel at about 9 0'clock and turned the volume to 3-4 o'clock and BOOM! There it was. That Marshall bark that everyone creams themselves over in spades and it cuts through in a 5 pice hard rock band like a hot knife through lard. I wish I'd have known that back when I had my JCM 800 stack so many years ago. I hated that amp because I didnt know how to use it. I do plan to grab another one some day soon but right now those DSL's (40c and 100H) really do it for me. My Dual Rec and Mark III get almost no playing time since I got those DSL's.
     
    steveb63, wakjob, Ufoscorpion and 3 others like this.
  18. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2018
    Messages:
    4,718
    Likes Received:
    5,399
    Location:
    Moreno Valley CA
    Bravo brother I couldn’t have said it better, and I know just what you mean! Cheers Mitch
     
    bobpick68 and StratoMarshall like this.
  19. SonVolt

    SonVolt Well-Known Member VIP Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    15,519
    Likes Received:
    15,777
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Yep. I had Mesa DC-2 combo in college that sound kick-ass at home. Lots of lush gain. Once I took it to band practice it may as well been a home stereo, couldn't hear myself at all once the rest of the band kicked in. Too much compression, not enough headroom, the wrong gain structure for live use. I went out and picked up a 2204 for $400 (this was the late '90s when no one wanted them) and used the Mesa for a speaker cab only. Sounded WAY better.

    That said... a proper Mesa like a Mark or Recto has no issue in a live mix. The DC-2 probably suffered the same as your Laney. It's a bedroom amp.
     
  20. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    897
    The Laney IRT has the benefit of having a built in dummy load so I don't have to connect it to a cab and it sends the signal both through the pre and poweramp stage. The built in cab sim is ok at best but I usually turn it off, go into my Interface and then just load up an IR of choice in Two Notes WoS, sounds and feels great. A lot of the natural feel of playing the amp through an actual cab is preserved. So my thought process is I load up my IRs in the Radar, have it on my pedalboard last in chain taking the Laneys XLR out and go straight to the mixing desk and rely on the PA to give me volume.

    That would basically give me 3 things to lug around: the laptop sized bag with the IRT, my pedalboard softcase and my guitar case. I can do that on my own, walking down the street with it.

    Check it out, awesome product and waaay cheaper than something like a Two Notes C.A.B.:



    The Laney is actually quite midheavy, it reminds me of a hotrodded 800 on the crunch channel, somewhat tighter and a wee bit darker. The 60 and 120 Watt Versions would be able to cut just fine, another thing to do would be to hook up the IRT to a proper poweramp, one could build a rack unit. But yeah, 15 watts just don't cut it with a loud drummer, especially not when you need clean tones...
     
    MonstersOfTheMidway likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice