Why do Marshall amps have such piercing high treble capabilities?

GTG

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At low volume, it's actually not the high frequencies being loud, it's the bass and mid being low. When you turn up any sound, they become more prominent.

Marshalls are tuned as live amps, so they
sound their best loud and fighting in the frequency spectrum with the other instruments in a band.

Other amps, targeted towards the home market, where usually one plays at much lower volumes and alone, are tuned for that, so they have more mids and bass at a low volume.
Right, because there is a Bright cap / high pass capacitor soldered to the back of a volume potentiometer, to pass highs but not bass & mids. you can put a second potentiometer between that capacitor and the wiper of that volume potentiometer to blend in how much high pass you want for bedroom settings or just any lower volume under about 7 you want. If you don't want to drill holes just put a resistor there. you could figure out what resistor you wanted there by putting a temporary potentiometer, find out where you like it and then measure that potentiometer and put the closest resistor to that value between the bright cap and the wiper of the volume control. another option is to put a switch with a couple of different resistors for different room settings.
 

Derrick111

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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.
Because most people don't use them how they were designed and for what they were designed for... Cranking and playing loud! JCM800s suddenly became collectable when people figured this out. They can sound very trebbly or fizzy at low volumes. When cranked, they are a force to be reconed with. People dogged G12-75 for the same reason but are comming around to how great they are when you crank a good Marshall through them (newer ones made in China not as much - but originals formthe 80s are great).
 

Maxbrothman

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


View attachment 110546

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.

View attachment 110547

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


I am thinking of trying the normal loudness and or dialing a way back on trebs for the next time.
 

tallcoolone

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What about DSLs?

Are they reacting the same way?
No. IMO the DSL was Marshalls first amps aimed at the Madison Square Bedroom crowd. Up until then, Marshalls were stage tools meant to be turned up. The DSL (again, IMO) was the first all tube Marshall designed to be played at sub drummer volume.

The worst trait for an amp is to be ‘muddy’ I think. I love Marshalls and most who complain that they are too bright usually are just playing with themselves. Rather than turned up in a band situation I mean haha
 

Smokie 54

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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.

I know. For a long time I thought it was just me. Maybe it's because they know everybody is going to lose their high-end hearing soon so they've already built in the compensation. It's why many old timers cherish them, lol. Reminds them of when they could hear above 12KHz.

Kidding aside, it's always been an issue with these amps. In a crowded arena with sound absorbing people, etc. the extra highs may be necessary to cut, but in smaller or quieter venues it's way too much. Of course, the original amps were made for country players' preferences and they liked a lot of treble.

Replacing the Bright Cap with a smaller value (I'd never remove it) or changing the values of the treble peaking (more effective) can help immensely without sacrificing the top end crispness.

P.S. If you play loud enough without attenuation it won't be very long before the high end will be naturally attenuated. But you'll hear those lost frequencies inside your head at night in the form of tinnitus. Nothing is ever lost. Cheers!
 

geardoc

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Stage volume to adequate for one thing. If you don't own one, buy a used or new Bugera Powersoak. Listen to your stack or combo with it completely wound out. Now imagine being in a place like the Georgia Theatre in Athens GA and you have a part to play with(and in some cases AGAINST) a rythm section- listen to some bands and their dynamic and you can tell from songs or stage performances how things function.

I would also argue that the "Treble" scream is a signature to the Marshal design. Less so pre-JCM series but all the same, the ability for a Marshall to cut through a gigging environment made it "de rigeur"*

*I've killed too many brain cells to remember precisely what that means. Oh bother.

At any rate, I'd also add that Marshall helped define the "British sound". Vox, Marshall, Laney, Hiwatt.
 

taylodl

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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 why I prefer playing tube amps instead of solid state amps. A tube amp is part of your instrument, and you can play it. Solid state amps are just an output.
 

jtees4

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Guitar choice matters also. Telecaster bridge pickup can bite on anything (usually in good way). I agree with most other comments by the way, just thought I'd throw the guitar into the mix too because it also can matter.
 

sheguitarplayer

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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.
Turn it up. They were designed in the days when guitars didn’t go through the PA hence the walls of Marshall stacks. When a Marshall (or any other valve amp) is turned up to the volume they were designed to run at they tend to lose a LOT of high end. That’s when the treble and presence on a Marshall come into their own. The Marshall 100 was designed for Jimi Hendrix et al when they were wanting something louder…….
 

sheguitarplayer

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Because most people don't use them how they were designed and for what they were designed for... Cranking and playing loud! JCM800s suddenly became collectable when people figured this out. They can sound very trebbly or fizzy at low volumes. When cranked, they are a force to be reconed with. People dogged G12-75 for the same reason but are comming around to how great they are when you crank a good Marshall through them (newer ones made in China not as much - but originals formthe 80s are great).
I remember my first Jcm 800 way back when they were first released. At low(Er) volumes they would rattle your teeth and the dynamics were so ‘fast’ the notes felt as if they were jumping out at you even before you played them. But turn it up……wow. It was even more so with the JMP 100watter I had before that. Like many I went down the mess and big ner et al route,mostly down to magazine and later internet reviews. In those days you couldn’t get rid of your Marshall’s gibsons or fenders. No one wanted them. You shouldn’t spend your life regretting stuff so I’ve just had to take a step backwards and buy new “old style”gear. Big smiles all around.
 
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Turning the volume up to 7 on most Marshalls will fix most problems.

Marshall, in general, do not sound good at low volume. Even with the lower wattage tube amps, very low volume settings do not give the sound most guitarist desire. If you use a master volume amp, the gain at a high setting will work only if the master volume is set past 2 (or 1 if a boost control is included).
 

Rudy v

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A good marshall have to sound good at low volume and at high volume straight in, no pedals . Just your amp 4×12 and your guitar thats it
 

Moony

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Only briefly,, but I think I can get good tone at low volume’s,, it just gets better as I turn it up..

Speakers moving some air are more satisfying to most people, I see that - however the JVM works exceptionally well at low volume levels..

Santiago Alvarez, the designer of the JVM, once said, that this was one of his goals.
Session Music in Germany (you may know their YT channel, always with the JVM) sells tons of JVMs to bedroom players for a reason!

I've tried many amps over the last years but haven't found anything that sounds better at low volume levels (if we're talking Marshall sounds).
 

taylodl

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Guitar choice matters also. Telecaster bridge pickup can bite on anything (usually in good way). I agree with most other comments by the way, just thought I'd throw the guitar into the mix too because it also can matter.
Absolutely! The guitar + pedals + amp + cab + speaker all comprise your instrument. They're different things but you've combined them to make a single instrument, and that instrument changes should you change any of those components! As you point out, even the pickup makes a difference! That's why no two guitarists sound exactly alike. That's one of the things I love about playing guitar.
 

1234_thumbwar

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I play bright single coil guitars through these bright amps and still find sounds I agree with all the time

With a 4 hole amp I pretty much always jumper channels. The bass channel will sit anywhere between 5-8 typically while the bright channel stays down at 2-3. Treble stays low at 3 or 4, mids around 5-7, bass at 6-9, presence goes up to 8-10 typically. The presence knob adds brightness but it also adds gain to older Marshall amps.

With a single channel JCM800 things are slightly different. I’ve still got the treble low and the mids are lower than a 4 hole at maybe 3 or 4 with the bass up and presence up a bit for the additional gain or attack depending on context. The main difference is the master volume. With JCM800 style amps there’s a noticeable boost in the low end with the gain turned up last 6 or 7. If you’re playing with a lot of preamp gain the 800 is a lot easier to use at home for that reason. A 4 hole amp fattens up with the master past 6 or 7 on the bright channel but 6 or 7 is loud with 20w and deafening with 50w
 

tallcoolone

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For a long time I thought it was just me. Maybe it's because they know everybody is going to lose their high-end hearing soon so they've already built in the compensation. It's why many old timers cherish them, lol. Reminds them of when they could hear above 12KHz.
Sorry but the “I don’t know any of you but I am sure there is something wrong with all of you that disagree with me“ take is so weak
 


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