Who uses a treble booster?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by purpleplexi, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    I've listened to dozens of the darned things now and tried quite a few and I've decided that they all sound different. Maybe one day I'll get my hands on one and just plug it in and it does exactly what I want. Hasn't happened yet. Annoyingly.
     
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  2. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    I have tried a couple treble boosters through the years and discovered they arent for me. I had a Naga Viper and then the Black Country Customs TI Boost. I hated both.
     
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  3. Eric'45

    Eric'45 Well-Known Member

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    As I have stated before, I'm a big Fan of the Catalinbread Naga Viper. My Pedalboard is quite minimalistic, but the Viper is on for 80% of the Time.
    The JTM45- a dark sounding, compressed low Gain Amp, but also the Diezel, that is the complete opposite, a High Gain Monster, both really come alive when using the Viper.
     
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  4. Ufoscorpion

    Ufoscorpion Well-Known Member

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    Treble boosters are definitely not for every amp , they tend to like a dark nmv amp .
     
  5. Scallywag77

    Scallywag77 Active Member

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    When I used a treble booster with my SC20H it gave it a nasally quality. I’m sure I could’ve fixed it with eq but I was just experimenting. A SD-1 and a eq pedal can get you close to the sound of a treble booster but it isn’t the same. Treble boosters have their own thing going on. BTW SD-1 into a eq pedal into SC20H is my go to set up
     
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  6. Old Punker

    Old Punker Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I think I need his skills more than I need another pedal.
     
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  7. Old Punker

    Old Punker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply @Scallywag77. I always have my SD-1 boosting my SC20H, seems like the perfect match. I haven't got around to using an EQ pedal with it though, since I'm getting lots of really nice rock tones with just the amp EQ, and I guess I'm sort of a minimalist. Does the EQ pedal make that much of a difference? Do you have it out front or in the loop?

    I'm still working on some Sabbath covers so tonight I dialed in my Rectifier (Presence, Mids, Treble all at 10, Bass at 0, Vintage mode) with SG bridge pickup tone on 5 and OD808 as boost and I was really happy with the Tony Iommi tone I got for the Paranoid album. I found that I had to have it fairly loud to sound it's best. It may not be exact but it sounded pretty damned good to me (talking about the tone, not my playing). I doubt that I could do much better with a treble booster so for now I think I'll pass on the $300 pedal!

    :cheers:
     
  8. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    Well, like has been mentioned, they're not for everything. Mostly NMV types.

    There's so many variations in circuits like this there's probably one out there that sounds great with a JCM800 but that amp or any with a strong preamp is going to be a tough matchup imo. A JTM45 type is in one's wheelhouse though.
     
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  9. Eric'45

    Eric'45 Well-Known Member

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    Naga Viper+ JTM45+ Les Paul Neck Pickup absolutely nails early Sabbath/Doom Tones! That's one of my favourite Sounds.
     
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  10. Scallywag77

    Scallywag77 Active Member

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    I run a Boss PQ4 EQ( or GE7 before I got that one) in front of my amp. It helps my sound at lower volume. Makes it sound “louder”. The eq pedal by itself into the SC20H gets AC/DC level of gain. Hit that with the SD1 and it’s late 70s early 80s punk sound. I’m basically boosting mids with the eq then boosting again with the SD1. Kinda treble boosterish I guess.
    Like you I’m a minimalist. Those are the only two pedals I have on the floor. Sometimes I’ll experiment with something else but those two are my go to.

    I’d pass on a $300 dollar pedal too if you’re happy with your sound. One thing I noticed with a treble booster is you can get that wah type of sound you hear in Sabbath songs. Again not worth the money for me
     
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  11. Bigmuff

    Bigmuff Well-Known Member

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    I use a Naga Viper, with the range low to give the amp a kind of 70's fuzziness. I love it, but concede it's noisy AF. Typically I just switch it off when I'm not playing, though I am now intrigued by reports of less noisy germanium treble boosters...

    Recently I've put my OD boosts out of rotation because they feel a bit sterile compared to the wallop of treble booster. It is amp dependent though - my little Mesa rectoverb likes OD's better than treble boosters.
     
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  12. Ivan H

    Ivan H Active Member

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    Yes, no two germanium treble booster's sound exactly alike. As I'm only familiar with the rangemaster type circuit I'll only speak as to them.
     
  13. Ivan H

    Ivan H Active Member

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    Whoops, accidentally posted prematurely. I'll carry on.
    Firstly, different transistor "types" can affect the sonic characteristics somewhat. The original rangemasters used OC44, OC71 & OC75 types. To my ears, the OC44 has a smooth sound, the OC71 more edgey sounding & the OC75 more crunchy.
    Secondly, the transistor's leakage current affects the frequency response.
    According to RG Keen's testing, a properly tuned Rangemaster should have the following frequency/gain response;

    80hZ = ~1,
    100hZ = 1.2,
    200hZ = 2.4,
    500hZ = 6,
    1,000hZ = 10,
    2,000hZ = 17,
    5,000hZ = 29,
    10,000hZ = 32,
    20,000hZ = 30.

    Transistors that have too much leakage current can require circuit resistance value adjustments in order to get the necessary frequency response, & in some cases, even input capacitor value adjustments.
    But, as finding transistors with the exact same leakage current is next to impossible, so is finding two treble booster's that sound exactly the same.
    We can also see from RG Keen's test result figures, the effect doesn't really boost treble. As frequency increases, so does the gain produced by the effect, thus driving the input of the amp harder.
    Apologies for the premature posting mistake. Cheers
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
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  14. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    We could do with a little of Rory's mojo. One of the big guys for me.
     
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  15. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

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    Rory definitely was special. Him, Gary Moore, Eric Bell, Rowan Robertson, Viv Campbell...not that many "name" irish players, but man, were they amazing ! Even The Edge, what he doesn't have in technique he made up for with ear for tone and smart for-the-song parts.
     
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  16. freefrog

    freefrog Member

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    I've not read the whole thread and ain't got the time to argue about treble boosters but yes, I use treble boosters. Mostly those that I've built with NOS Ge or Si transistors found in my parts bin.

    Here are some thoughts coming to my mind. sorry if ever I repeat something already expressed above...

    - "Treble boosters" in the Rangemaster fashion might be called "boosters with a high-pass / low-cut input filter" because that's what they are in my understanding: the low capacitance coupling cap after the input explains their sonic tightness;

    -how such circuits handle the signal coming from passive magnetic pickups makes them react like tight mid boosters rather than treble boosters...

    A good pic being better than a long tedious explanation, I share below some measurements that I've done on MY own gear with and without treble booster. Blue line = the electrically induced response of a TriSonic single coil paired to typical pots and cable (it's my uber modified Burns Bison in single coil mode). Brown and orange lines show the response of the same pickup filtered by two of my home made treble boosters (with Ge and Si respectivelly, if memory serves me).
    Upper plain lines = frequency response.
    Dotted lines = phase response.
    lower ragged plain lines = THD.

    https://imgur.com/a/DYoTElP#IQ0otS4

    Let's keep in mind that fundamental notes of a 6 strings guitar typically range from a bit more than 80hz to a bit less than 1200hz.
    One can see how a "treble booster" actually boosts... the high mids, giving to a weak TriSonic the "meat" of a much higher inductance pickup (as it would be filtered by a series capacitor then very low resistance pots ; suggestively, the response obtained is not THAT far from the curve produced by an active EMG 81).

    This effect is hard to reproduce by other means: the digital emulation of a Rangemaster in a Vox modeler gives to a TriSonic a response which is NOT the one shown above.

    But there's ways to emulate almost faithfully a Rangemaster thx to a parametric EQ properly set. I don't remember the related settings right now so I'll share them later, if time permits.

    Other links in the meantime:

    https://www.electrosmash.com/dallas-rangemaster

    https://shop.brianmayguitars.co.uk/user/products extra/TB Classic Response curves.jpg

    Seeing the curves in the last link on the Brian May commercial site, I think these measurements have been done with a TriSonic plugged directly in the BM Booster, without cable and maybe without pots in between. The resonant peaks wouldn't be so narrowly high and high pitched otherwise (they would look like in MY pic if there were normal pots and a normal cable between pickup and booster).

    FWIW: the rambling of a Sunday morning. Hope all that to be useful... :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
  17. Force235

    Force235 Well-Known Member

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    These 1st world problems are really tricky...
     
  18. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    I'm a bit shocked that the rangemaster peaks at 12.5k. That's way higher than I'd expect.
     
  19. freefrog

    freefrog Member

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    As I said above, it's most probably a lab test done with a TriSonic paired directly to a Rangemaster, without any other component (not even the wire coming from the pickup, potentially).

    Below is a 5Spice sim of the same thing: upper pic = resonance of the pickup through a Rangemaster but without pots, cables, and even without wire. Bottom pic = the same pickup and booster but with the expected pots and guitar cable. The resonant frequency is now ten time lower because of "stray capacitance"...

    https://imgur.com/a/8s0W36U

    EDIT - And this sim matches the actual measured response of a TriSonic + pots and cable + treble boosters that I've already shared above:

    https://imgur.com/a/DYoTElP#IQ0otS4

    The curves are not identical because the vertical scale differs a bit but my sim and real life test both locate the prominent frequency of the pickup around 1.2khz once it's filtered by a Rangemaster circuit (while the "crude" resonance of the TriSonic alone, pictured in blue, is around 5khz through a normal cable: it's higher than with a Strat pickup, for example, because a TriSonic is a "low inductance" pickup, IOW a very bright & clear sounding single coil in itself).

    FWIW - and shared for the pleasure to share, whatever it's worth... Incidentally, these pics suggest how to mimic roughly the tonal shaping due to a Rangemaster with a graphic or parametric EQ: go for a reverse V centered on 1.2 or 1.6khz with a graphic EQ. Do the same with a low "Q factor" (around 0.5) on a parametric EQ. In both cases, crank the prominent frequency of 15 to 18dB and the overall output of 7dB or more. It should do the trick, with slightly less harmonic richness but also way less hiss than a real vintage designed Rangemaster circuit... :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  20. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

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    Proof if proof were needed what can happen if you use a crappy old cable. I'll try that shape with my graphic and report back.....
     

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