Marshall Tone Stack Question

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by tremojem, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. tremojem

    tremojem Member

    Nov 15, 2011
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    I was just wondering what frequencies make the Marshall or Plexi tone?

    Why is there such a definitive Marshall sound that is rich in tone (treble) but not really a fizzy tone.

    A tone that allows for some massive gain (maybe not hi-gain) but still sound musical.

    Aside from some other very important engineering decisions by Marshall, what are the important frequencies that a Marshall tone sits at...800Hz, 1.2Khz, 3.5KHz etc.

    I really don't know and wish I did.

    I want to play with an EQ in my FX Loop of my amp to get as close as I can.

    I have played around and it sounds really good (will never sound as good as a Marshall), but I am still working on understanding what specific frequencies are crucial to a Marshall tone.

    I use a parametric EQ. I have increased 100Hz by 4dB using a .5 octave. I then decreased 200Hz by 4dB with a .5 octave and then increased 5Khz by 2dB with a 4.0 octave...almost a shelf of the highs.

    In the front of the amp I use an RC booster as a clean boost and set my Radial Switchbone JX-2 to a 10dB boost of 800Hz.

    Some day I will be able to afford adding Marshall amp. Something Plexi or very close with just a pinch more gain available, but for now I am just trying to fake it I guess.

    I can say that my tone is much more rich. It is more musical and when I play chords the notes are all identifiable and not mush. I only use half of the available gain for a classic sound. And I notice that pick rakes and harmonics and sustain of single notes is greatly improved by ten fold.

    My tone before was just too dark. I started checking out Henric Hermmanson and Freidman and Landry and it dawned on me...I need a freak'n Marshall. I love the Brown Sound and so that led me to where I am now.

    Anyway, thanks for any helpful tips on what frequencies you feel would benefit me.
  2. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2014
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    Bio-Isolation Lock Down
    The Marshall tone comes from high frequencies that are boosted like this: /
    The highest frequencies distort and compress.
    The low frequencies (being attenuated) are clean.

    So the amp is crunchy in the highs, and UN-distorted in the lows.

    The Plexi distortion comes from the output tubes.
    The preamp is basically clean.
    So, the secret is power amp distortion.

    Effects Pedals:
    There is no effects pedal that produces this sound. Effects are an imitation of the real sound.
    So, you will never duplicate this with effects pedals.

    That's why to get the Marshall sound:
    You buy a Marshall amp. (simple isn't it?)

    A $29 effects pedal doesn't do that.
    Effects pedals are basically: children's toys.

    If you want to learn more about the tone stack, download and use this tone stack tool:
  3. Masliko

    Masliko New Member

    Oct 18, 2014
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    When you get a plexi really hot,and really loud they can sound fizzy,but in a great way...

    There is a very fine line between fizz,ice pick,tube harmonics and AWESOME! and i love it, more noise the better.
  4. Len

    Len Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2009
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    It's not just about EQ, or anyone could easily imitate the Marshall tone. All of these things add up to the tone:
    - EQ
    - Saturation characteristics
    - Signal harmonics

    For example, to me a Mesa rectifier has similar EQ to a Marshall, but its distortion has a different "hair" (high frequency content).
  5. tremojem

    tremojem Member

    Nov 15, 2011
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    Yes! That could not be said better. I realize that power tube distortion plays a huge role, and tube saturation, eq etc. I run two Mesa Tremoverbs with EL34s and Tung-Sol in V1 and 12AT7 in PI slot.

    I crank the individual channels and keep the Master Loop Volume to usable level, although loud...

    I run bold not spongy, silicon diode not rectifier tube, and clone the red to orange for vintage.

    I know it's not a Marshall...some day I will have one, for now I am just looking to get closer is all.

    Thank you for all of your help.

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