Why do Marshall amps have such piercing high treble capabilities?

Moony

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Many times I find it helpful to look at my guitar, amp and speaker as "one complete instrument" comprised of multiple pieces!

That's what I really like about this forum - there is a dedicated "Cabs and Speakers" sub.
On other forums it's mostly about the amps.
Speakers and cabs? Not so much...

I can tell you I know guys who constantly switched their amps but never their cab because they weren't that happy with their sound.
It can't be said often enough how important the speakers are!
That's why I went down the rabbit hole many years ago and tried a lot of different speakers since then.
Imho it's at least as important as the amp itself!
Of course a real sh*tty amp wouldn't sound great even with good speakers... :D
 

Gene Ballzz

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That's what I really like about this forum - there is a dedicated "Cabs and Speakers" sub.
On other forums it's mostly about the amps.
Speakers and cabs? Not so much...

I can tell you I know guys who constantly switched their amps but never their cab because they weren't that happy with their sound.
It can't be said often enough how important the speakers are!
That's why I went down the rabbit hole many years ago and tried a lot of different speakers since then.
Imho it's at least as important as the amp itself!
Of course a real sh*tty amp wouldn't sound great even with good speakers... :D


And of course, there are those days when our ears simply ain't what they were yesterday! Fingers also! Humidity can play a factor too! All pieces of the same puzzle.
Just Sayin'
Gene
 

Moony

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And of course, there are those days when our ears simply ain't what they were yesterday! Fingers also! Humidity can play a factor too! All pieces of the same puzzle.
Just Sayin'

100%

That's why I don't mess up my settings if I recognize it's just "one of these days".
It's cool if you have modeling gear with presets so you can fiddle around and always can come back to what's stored - but if you keep turning the knobs on a real amp...
I mean I know it sounded great all the days before - why should I fiddle around with the knobs then. ;)
 

marshallmellowed

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Ime, its a little bit of everything that contributes to the experience:
partly speaker choice
partly pickup design
partly amp settings
partly tubes design (especially preamp tubes)
partly amp design

In some cases you can do something about the sound without modification (such as switching out certain components).
The first 2 are very important. You have to choose the guitar/pickups and speakers that work best with the amp. It's a finely tuned system, not just "the amp is overly bright".
 

Neptical

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OP - I use very minimal Treble on most of my Marshalls and use the Presence to get that zingy bite on the top.

That is, of course, until I got my

Marshall Origin 50s.

Treble on 6 !! Hahaha!

I've NEVER played my Treble that high, but on the Origins it sounds amazing. So much good bite, clarity and no fizziness!
 

Matthews Guitars

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As an experiment I put the bright cap on a pull-on switch on the treble pot on one of my Superleads, so I can engage or disengage the bright cap at will.

By switching the bright cap in and out, it's two different amps. The difference is not subtle. The overall tonal balance changes and the gain profile of the amp changes even more.
 

Kinkless Tetrode

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Wellsir,
The tone stack on a Jubilee is somewhat of a different animal, compared to "most standard style Marshalls" in that respect. Many times I find it helpful to look at my guitar, amp and speaker as "one complete instrument" comprised of multiple pieces!

Just My Way Of Thinkin'
Gene
Yes. If you examine the schematic of the Jubilee tone stack and compare it to the tone stack of a Hiwatt you will behold some amazing similarities.

Another thing interesting about the Jubilee tone stack is ( like on a Hiwatt) that it follows the plate of V2B instead of the cathode.

That sounds interesting. I noticed though that 2525 seems to have a boost on the bass when you go to around 7 or 8 on it.
The bass pot on the Jubilee is dual gang. That was kind of a puzzlement to me until I started looking into the designs of some amps like Bogner, Soldano, and even later model Marshalls such as the Y2K DSLs. It's like a variable deep switch.
 

Kinkless Tetrode

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The Jubilee's bright cap is 1000pf, which is I believe the same as most 2203s. I have experimented with different bright cap values on my 87 50 watt Jubilee, and the effect on the amp voicing is rather profound. I put the stock one back in.
 

Gene Ballzz

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As an experiment I put the bright cap on a pull-on switch on the treble pot on one of my Superleads, so I can engage or disengage the bright cap at will.

By switching the bright cap in and out, it's two different amps. The difference is not subtle. The overall tonal balance changes and the gain profile of the amp changes even more.

Yes indeed, just because that cap is often on the Treble pot, doesn't mean it only affects the Treble. It affects the whole tone stack. Just take a close look at how the tone stack is set up on a schematic. Much clearer on schematic than on a layout diagram!
Just Sayin'
Gene
 

Matthews Guitars

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Yeah, I'm just saying I chose to put the bright cap switch (using a pull switch pot) in the treble control position simply because it seemed like a reasonable place to put it. The bright cap is still in the same place in the circuit. It was a convenient location that makes sense to me. I will eventually remove this mod, it having served its purpose. Back to stock.
 

WesChilton

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When I bought my '76 JMP 2203 a couple of years ago, it already had the bright cap(s) removed as well as several gain mods. It did sound pretty good, but not really as it should have for what it is. IMO was too gainy, overcompressed and modern sounding.

Earlier this year I had my tech take the circuit back to stock, but he left the bright cap(s) out, thinking that's what I would want. The amp definitely sounded much better, but it was definitely missing that aggressive "keraang!" as some people call it. Almost like the speaker cab had a blanket over it. I also noticed that for some reason the presence knob did almost nothing and even the treble pot was not very useful.

So about a week ago I opened her up and put back the two bright caps (1nf on the Master pot and the 470k on the Volume pot). NOW the amp sounds like a 2203 should sound, and all of the eq pots seem to have much greater effect. I am a happy camper. :)
 

Magtr1

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Why do Marshall's tend to have such razor-cutting highs? The highs are enough to slice through your head at ear level.

I am always dialing mine back both in the amp and tone knob on the guitar. Like I have trebs on 2 - 3 and tone on 3 - 4 in some cases. Also rolled back the volume a bit on the guitar.

So why are they so high? Is it because of harmonics or something?

I tend to compensate with the Presence or that also goes down.

Maybe it's because I don't play loud enough. Like volume up in high mode without attenuation. If you play them loud enough do you need to turn the trebs up to get a response there or something?

Just wondering.
The first time I played through a 100 super lead plexi and 4-12" cab (in 1973 at age 18) I was blown away by the crisp, ringing treble response, as well as the searing top end when driven into the full roar of distortion. It sounded like fire to my ears, and 50+ years later it still does! It is a big part of the Marshall magic, and what separated them from other amps right from the start. You can tame the top end by using more of channel 2, rolling off the presence and treble on the amp, and using a graphic eq or preamp/drive box (I love my Mesa toneburst pedal for that) that has good tone controls. But ultimately, you gotta love that searing Marshall plexi treble- if you don't like it, get another amp with the more typical midrangey sound.
 

dmstyres

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Why do Marshall's tend to have such razor-cutting highs? The highs are enough to slice through your head at ear level.

I am always dialing mine back both in the amp and tone knob on the guitar. Like I have trebs on 2 - 3 and tone on 3 - 4 in some cases. Also rolled back the volume a bit on the guitar.

So why are they so high? Is it because of harmonics or something?

I tend to compensate with the Presence or that also goes down.

Maybe it's because I don't play loud enough. Like volume up in high mode without attenuation. If you play them loud enough do you need to turn the trebs up to get a response there or something?

Just wondering.
every marshall is different....to get the true sound out of it..you need to crank it up! So...ie..if your just a bedroom recorder...buy a 5-30 watt amp...crank it....tube of course. You will hear the real sounds. Sounds like you got a 50 watt turned to half & complaining about the high ends....crank it then.
 

Moony

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every marshall is different....to get the true sound out of it..you need to crank it up! So...ie..if your just a bedroom recorder...buy a 5-30 watt amp...crank it....tube of course. You will hear the real sounds. Sounds like you got a 50 watt turned to half & complaining about the high ends....crank it then.

That just depends on the circuit.
You can easily play a JVM410H with the right cab/speakers at low "bedroom" volume levels and it sounds great.
Here's a video of a guy who shows that, you hear him speak over the amp sounds and even hear the acoustic sound of the strings > Klick <
 

GTG

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Why do Marshall's tend to have such razor-cutting highs? The highs are enough to slice through your head at ear level.

I am always dialing mine back both in the amp and tone knob on the guitar. Like I have trebs on 2 - 3 and tone on 3 - 4 in some cases. Also rolled back the volume a bit on the guitar.

So why are they so high? Is it because of harmonics or something?

I tend to compensate with the Presence or that also goes down.

Maybe it's because I don't play loud enough. Like volume up in high mode without attenuation. If you play them loud enough do you need to turn the trebs up to get a response there or something?

Just wondering.
OK... Here's my answer... I've owned 28 Marshall's Since 1988 if you include Clones and have been fighting how bright they are since. I've even tried going to other amps but keep going back to Marshall cus there's just something about them I can't live without. Especially since I've learned about the bright cap. There is a simple Capacitor on the back of the channel 1 / Volume 1 Potentiometer, and they call it a bright cap... Fender put a switch on most of their amps like the Twin to shut it off. I don't know why Marshall Never did??? Especially on the JMP 50's and Super Leads.. When I learned that you can simply just cut the lead on one side for the Cap, I thought - Finally!!! got rid of the problem.. However, I found that I was missing some of those Highs when I played Iive and even a little bit of it when playing at home. So I put a blend knob on the back of the amp to dial in how much of the bright cap I want in. Now I've got the beautiful singing leads again but with out too much of that piercing highs.. and if you don't want to drill holes, Just put a resistor in between the cap and the wiper of that same volume 1 potentiometer. you could even solder in a temporary Potentiometer to find how much bright cap you want to mix in and then measure the resistance at the temporary pot and then solder in a resistor closest to that value. I love having the blend pot though, You could even use one of your 4 input jack holes because most people don't use all of them Anyways.. Hope that helps... Sped the word...
 

Maxbrothman

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I had a bash on my SV20h today through a Captor X. These are my dialings.


sv20hsmaller.jpg

I have a pedalboard. Basically, it's what I use for Deep Purple and Hendrix type tones. I think I maybe overdid it on Booster for the Naga Vyper.

sv20h pedalboard smaller.jpg

I am not a good player and this is my attempt at Deep Purple Bloodsucker after going through a few songs today.

 


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