If you have the channel gain set too low can it be more distorted than if you had turned it up?

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by buduranus2, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. buduranus2

    buduranus2 New Member

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    I like a "clean" clean tone. I typically keep the clean channel's gain control below 9:00 with the master volume all the way up. Over time I noticed that what had been "pristine" clean had a little hair on it. Just for laughs I bumped up the gain control a little and the amp got cleaner! How can this be? Is there a gain control threshold below which it's not as clean as turning it up?
     
  2. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    You might need new tubes.
     
    Maggot Brain, Old Punker and trax1139 like this.
  3. fitz288

    fitz288 Space-Time Curver Silver Supporting Member

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    what amp?
     
  4. buduranus2

    buduranus2 New Member

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    Well, the irony is that I had just installed a new 5751 in place of the original 12AX7. The amp is a Seymour Duncan Convertible 100.
     
  5. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I've experienced that before. It was tubes that were very worn out and in need of replacing.

    I think that this effect can also happen in some circuits where the distorted signal you are hearing is occurring because signal is getting through from the wrong direction, so to speak. I can't offer a more detailed technical explanation because that's a situation that would have to be explored on a case by case basis.

    When you turn a control down, it throws away some signal...but it has to go SOMEWHERE. Most guitar amps have a circuit design which throws away signal when the controls aren't at 10. They don't ADD volume or bass, treble, or midrange, they throw them away when the controls are turned down.
     
  6. buduranus2

    buduranus2 New Member

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    Well I know passive tone controls work like that. Seems that a preamp gain control would amplify the incoming signal rather than attenuate it. But I don't know enough electronics to fill a thimble. Appreciate you bro!
     
  7. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    "Amplification" is a mythi. It doesn't exist. There is no device in common usage which makes a signal larger. Instead, every amplifier ultimately works on the principle of using a small signal (the input signal) to control the flow of energy from the power supply through control devices (tubes or transistors) and then on to the load, which is the speaker, and then on to ground.

    The input signal is used to modulate the power supply thru the speaker. That is the TRUTH of what amplification as we know it really is. The tone controls are part of the signal path too, of course.

    A preamp gain control limits how much signal goes into the next stage. Turned up all the way, it offers the least resistance. Gain turned down, it presents a higher resistance to the flow of signal.

    Replacing a tone control or gain control or a volume control is how you get the MAXIMUM output. Which you could not control since you just took the controls out.


    My test for any old Fender amp that I might consider buying is to crank its tone controls up to maximum and play it. It should sound GREAT. This is the raw amp tone,
    without tone controls holding it back. Same goes for any amp that has passive tone controls.

    Even active tone controls still can't make a signal get larger. They work on the same principle I described, but they are in their own self contained amplifier circuit inside the larger amplifier circuit.
     
    thetragichero likes this.

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