Why do Marshall amps have such piercing high treble capabilities?

s76yu12

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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.
It's essentially for full range. The fact that you can still turn down treble and Presence and get something you enjoy is key. I play metal...specifically Randy Rhoads, early 80's type of metal. With that said, that sound actually requires high treble. Treble actually adds distortion.

In the old days on a traditional plexi there were 2 channels. However, each channel had to be plugged into physically. There was a high treble channel and a "normal" channel. The normal channel was more bass and round and less treble. They still make those amps....and for a reason. They just sound so great!

Over the years Marshall and even other companies made it so that you wouldn't need to plug into a specific channel.

Another aspect is loudness. The louder a Marshall Tube amp is, the more responsive and better sounding it is.

Nearly all high end amps have lots of frequency in bass, mid and treble. Presence and resonance too. The key is full range. They made those amps to cater to multiple styles and not every style works with low treble. That is essential to understand.
 

shredgd

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IMO the key elements are:

  • the gain pots in classic Marshall circuits, with their bright cap, must be seen as “bass-cut” pots to control the amount of bass frequencies which willl get distorted, rather than pure gain controls. The typical JCM800 1nF value is indeed high enough to pass both treble and high-mids. Instead of clipping a bright cap off, I would rather increase its value to let even more low mids through (unluckily, dozens of people, who write in forums but don’t know about electronics, erratically say that the bigger the cap, the harsher the tone... instead it’s the exact opposite!). Of course, if too much bass frequencies get distorted you end up with a fuzz-style character of your tone, so it’s a balance. Most people agree that the sweet spot of JCM800s is with gain at around 7.
  • the master volume, as any volume pot, is a variable voltage divider with an end connected to ground. Although the typical MV pots are 1M (1000 Kohms), if you measure the resistance from wiper to ground with the master set for bedroom levels, you would read very few Kohms. This equals losing a lot of bottom end and low mids. In a few words, you’re far away from a good “operating point” of the pot. Therefore, you must find a way to always be able to dial master volume pots higher, i.e. similar to a rehearsal or stage volume (not cranked). In the past my setup was a preamp + power amp rack system, each with its own master volume (the preamp volume was at the end of the circuit, the power amp volume at the beginning): someone suggested to keep one at max and dial my volume with the other... I experimented a lot, but the best result in tone was instead by always using both, so that I could avoid dialing any of the two pots too with a low. That’s basically why attenuators come handy: they allow you to avoid an extremely unbalanced setting of the master volume pot.
  • a lot of people dial the mid pot way too low. This might accentuate harshness. Never dial it lower than 4.5-5.
  • speakers and cabs are key elements. If you play a 1x12”, with a G12T-75, you have harshness guaranteed. You must at least use a 2x12”, preferably put in vertical. In any case, never tilt or raise your cab from the floor, because you’ll lose a ton of bass: amps weren’t designed with tilted or raised cabs! The G12T-75, a dreadful speaker in my opinion and experience, is a solid contributor to the “harsh reputation” of Marshall amps, because it’s been their standard speaker choice for years and years.
  • Never play with the speakers in your face. You sometimes read “you have to dial your tone sitting right in front of the cab”... one of the worst suggestions ever! For the same reason why you don’t want to mic your cab with the mic right at the center of the speaker, the reference tone of your amp is heard when standing (not sitting) and slightly out of the axis of your cab, i.e. not right in front of it. If you really must sit, increase the angle between you and the cab, i.e. sit almost lateral to the cab.

I hope this helps!



Giulio
 

Vinsanitizer

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Turning treble and especially presence all the way off might choke the amp too much. I have found these to work pretty well for a nice, beefy classic rock/metal tone.

Bass 7
Middle 8
Treble 2
Presence 3
Resonance 2
Gain 4
Not sure where I confused, but that's almost exactically how I do it, except mids at 7, and treble... well, I just turn that shet off and throw the knob away. DSL needs no treble control, because like I say, the mids AND treble are now in the Mid control onna DSL - and that's through a 1960 cab. I'd hate to hear a DSL again through a 1960V cab (Vintage 30's).

But that's to my ears. YEMV, right?
 
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Seventh Son

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Not sure where I confused, but that's almost exactically how I do it, except mids at 7, and treble... well, I just turn that shet off and throw the nob away. DSL needs no treble control, because like I say, the mids AND treble are now in the Mid control onna DSL - and that's through a 1960 cab. I'd hate to hear a DSL again through a 1960V cab (Vintage 30's).

But that's to my ears. YEMV, right?
I'll keep your settings in mind for when I have an opportunity to play the amp in band context again. I did try them last night at room volume, but found that with the presence knob on 2, it was a bit too muffled, but 3 seemed to be the sweet spot for the room volume context.

As for the compatibility of the DSLs with the Vintage 30, my personal experience is that the DSL20HR sounds "off" through a Vintage 30 and great through a G12T-75, whereas the DSL15 sounds great through the Vintage 30 and "off" through a G12T-75. I am not exactly sure why, yet.

Generally speaking, the G12 family of Celestions not only sounds more open, but is also much better at rolling off high frequency content from gainy amps than the Vintage 30.
 

Vinsanitizer

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I'll keep your settings in mind for when I have an opportunity to play the amp in band context again. I did try them last night at room volume, but found that with the presence knob on 2, it was a bit too muffled, but 3 seemed to be the sweet spot for the room volume context.

As for the compatibility of the DSLs with the Vintage 30, my personal experience is that the DSL20HR sounds "off" through a Vintage 30 and great through a G12T-75, whereas the DSL15 sounds great through the Vintage 30 and "off" through a G12T-75. I am not exactly sure why, yet.

Generally speaking, the G12 family of Celestions not only sounds more open, but is also much better at rolling off high frequency content from gainy amps than the Vintage 30.
Sorry, I was bored a few minutes ago, so this...

Yeah, so looks like some of us agree on EQ settings for the DSL. The Vintage 30's sounding "off" is a good descriptor. Thing is, generally, for cutting through a live band you have to have the mids, and they need to be the "right" mids, which is why the JCM 800 is the perfect tone for me. But with the DSL, by themselves, you can have them sounding really awesome in your garage, etc., but when you take em out with the band you find yourself cranking the mids and presence, and dropping the bass and treble. The DSL's bass can vibrate the 2nd floor of your house, but it won't punch you in the chesticals like the JCM 800. And the DSL's treble isn't "bright" like to 800, it's just "ice picky". Regardless, I think you can work with the DSL just fine, you just have to understand how the controls work, because they're trickier and less intuitive than amps like DSL, MESA Rectifiers, etc.

And speaking of the Rectifiers, man when I had those in my garage they'd scare the freaking neighbors - they're so powerful and mean, and aggressive. Up loud through V30's, they sounded like doomsday looking to separate your body, from head to toe, into somewhere between 7 and 16 different pieces. Those things weren't a sound, they were an adrenaline rush! But anyway, no matter what I did I couldn't get them to cut a live mix, and they were really hard to record in a studio, because the mids were focused too low. I always ended up sounding thin and bright by the time I could hear 'em well enough. And V30's (which they do sound the best with), just compounded that issue.

Lastly, where I compared the DSL to the JCM 800, the 800 is mostly a good "set and forget" amp, and it's very dynamic with touch sensitivity and your guitar's volume control. On the other hand, the DSL seems to require a lot more tweaking to me, but the upside to the DSL would be that I think it's a little more versatile.

Either way, I'm convinced lately that the G12T-75's are a much more suitable speaker for the JCM 800 and the DSL. And I think V30's were born for MESA Rectifiers. :D

Anyone want to comment on these comments, which were responses to other comments where I previously commented? :eek: :D It'd be really cool to be in a room with a bunch of y'all just to watch and observe how other players EQ their amps up for whatever style they're playing.

Here is my final word on the DSL's treble control: yeah, you do need it for a touch of "slice". But for me, the sweet spot seems to be exactly 1.5. Less than that and the tone is a bit muffled, more than that and it turns into an ice pick very quickly. When I watch a YouTube video where the player has the DSL's treble at like 1:00, I just go to another video... and see the same thing over and over again. :facepalm:
 
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s76yu12

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Sorry, I was bored a few minutes ago, so this...

Yeah, so looks like some of us agree on EQ settings for the DSL. The Vintage 30's sounding "off" is a good descriptor. Thing is, generally, for cutting through a live band you have to have the mids, and they need to be the "right" mids, which is why the JCM 800 is the perfect tone for me. But with the DSL, by themselves, you can have them sounding really awesome in your garage, etc., but when you take em out with the band you find yourself cranking the mids and presence, and dropping the bass and treble. The DSL's bass can vibrate the 2nd floor of your house, but it won't punch you in the chesticals like the JCM 800. And the DSL's treble isn't "bright" like to 800, it's just "ice picky". Regardless, I think you can work with the DSL just fine, you just have to understand how the controls work, because they're trickier and less intuitive than amps like DSL, MESA Rectifiers, etc.

And speaking of the Rectifiers, man when I had those in my garage they'd scare the freaking neighbors - they so powerful and mean, and aggressive. Up loud through V30's, they sounded like doomsday looking to separate your body from head to toe into somewhere between 7 and 16 different pieces. Those thing weren't a sound, they were an adrenaline rush! But anyway, no matter what I did I couldn't get them to cut a live mix, and they were really hard to record in a studio, because the mids were focused too low. I always ended up sounding thin and bright by the time I could hear 'em well enough. And V30's (which they do sound the best with), just compounded that issue.

Lastly, where I compared the DSL to the JCM 800, the 800 is mostly a good "set and forget" amp, and it's very dynamic with touch sensitivity and your guitar's volume control. On the other hand, the DSL seems to require a lot more tweaking to me, but the upside to the DSL would be that I think it's a little more versatile.

Either way, I'm convinced lately that the G12T-75's are a much more suitable speaker for the JCM 800 and the DSL. And I think V30's were born for MESA Rectifiers. :D

Anyone want to comment on these comments, which were responses to other comments where I previously commented? :eek: :D It'd be really cool to be in a room with a bunch of y'all just to watch and observe how other players EQ their amps up for whatever style they're playing.

Here is my final word on the DSL's treble control: yeah, you do need it for a touch of "slice". But for me, the sweet spot seems to be exactly 1.5. Less than that and the tone is a bit muffled, more than that and it turns into an ice pick very quickly. When I watch a YouTube video where the player has the DSL's treble at like 1:00, I just go to another video... and see the same thing over and over again. :facepalm:
I tried a G12T-75 in my DSL40CR and couldn't stand it....the bass was so overwhelming and was already too much with the original speaker. Although, I play 80's metal akin to Rhoads so the added bass was just not for me. I honestly liked the original v-type but found V30 sounded closer to what I was after. The v-type seemed to be "honky" in a way, if that makes sense lol. It just seemed like a cheaper V30 in the end.
 

Vinsanitizer

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I tried a G12T-75 in my DSL40CR and couldn't stand it....the bass was so overwhelming and was already too much with the original speaker. Although, I play 80's metal akin to Rhoads so the added bass was just not for me. I honestly liked the original v-type but found V30 sounded closer to what I was after. The v-type seemed to be "honky" in a way, if that makes sense lol. It just seemed like a cheaper V30 in the end.
That's combo amps. I was referring to 4x12's, though I'm sure I didn't make that clear. Agree, I don't think any combos (that I ever knew of) use a G12T75. I do like the V-Type in combos, the one in my Monoprice 15 kicks arse. I also have an Orange 1x12 with a stock V30 in it and it sounds killer with my Peavey Classic 20 head. The V30 has an aggressive top-end - too sharp for a DSL, but with warmer amps (like the Peavey I mentioned), it's excellent.

But it's all so subjective: you get your rig tweaked and screaming in your garage or wherever, then you bring it to a band rehearsal and you have to re-EQ it all again, and then again very time you take it out to play somewhere; different distances from the drummer, two guitar players vs just you, ...it seems endless sometimes. I recently acquired a DSL1CR and a DSL5CR, had them on a table top, and was thinking they lacked bass. I dismissed it on the basis that they're just small low-watt combos. The a few days later I moved them to the floor and leaned 'em up against the wall: completely different sound, plenty of low end to say the least. So location and context = AOMV (all our mileage varies).
 
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JoeRockHead

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I will say this, I have had a Marshall DSL40CR with the original speaker for a few years now and always thought it sounded a bit on the shrill side. I finally get around to replacing the speaker with a WTG ET65 and its incredible how much better i can dial in what I want without the overbearing highs
 

deee

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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.
yes the bright cap, or caps, which values used, makes a huge difference in the treble. um, if the cap's on the volume pot then it will even out as you crank up the volume. because it's filtering as the pot is turned up but then at close to 10 the signal entirely bypasses the cap. that's how fender did the bright cap on the 50's bassman. the idea was top boost bright on low and mid listening volumes. but if the caps across the resistor on the board then that bright will continue to attenuate as the volume goes all the way up, and that can be too bright depending on the speakers and the pickup form factor, and playing volume. if you look at plexi marshalls in the 60's and 70's they used different value bright cap values depending on the expected use for the amp. on the models intended for organ, they left the bright caps off entirely. and i suspect the same's on the plexi's intended to be used as pa amps. you can also loo at the bluesbreker's bright caps and use that but of course that's an open back combo amp so through a closed back 4 12 cabinet the sound may be too dark
 

Vinsanitizer

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yes the bright cap, or caps, which values used, makes a huge difference in the treble. um, if the cap's on the volume pot then it will even out as you crank up the volume. because it's filtering as the pot is turned up but then at close to 10 the signal entirely bypasses the cap. that's how fender did the bright cap on the 50's bassman. the idea was top boost bright on low and mid listening volumes. but if the caps across the resistor on the board then that bright will continue to attenuate as the volume goes all the way up, and that can be too bright depending on the speakers and the pickup form factor, and playing volume. if you look at plexi marshalls in the 60's and 70's they used different value bright cap values depending on the expected use for the amp. on the models intended for organ, they left the bright caps off entirely. and i suspect the same's on the plexi's intended to be used as pa amps. you can also loo at the bluesbreker's bright caps and use that but of course that's an open back combo amp so through a closed back 4 12 cabinet the sound may be too dark
 

junk notes

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We see the amps that you have listed in your signature. What are your cabs and grillcloth?
Correct, they (feel and) react differently when played at high /low volumes. As do the speakers when working the power tubes, but having set the tone knobs at a low volume, or having them set to a preferred setting at higher volumes, you will not use the same tone knob settings going from one to another. Depending on the amp model, some may want or need more bass added at low volume.

Things tend to smooth out with loudness, so crank it up!
Why do Marshall's tend to have such razor-cutting highs? The highs are enough to slice through your head at ear level.

Just wondering.
 

scozz

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I will say this, I have had a Marshall DSL40CR with the original speaker for a few years now and always thought it sounded a bit on the shrill side. I finally get around to replacing the speaker with a WTG ET65 and its incredible how much better i can dial in what I want without the overbearing highs
Which speaker did you replace, was it a V-Type or a 70/80?
 

Moony

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I will say this, I have had a Marshall DSL40CR with the original speaker for a few years now and always thought it sounded a bit on the shrill side. I finally get around to replacing the speaker with a WTG ET65 and its incredible how much better i can dial in what I want without the overbearing highs

I can see that.
I really like my ET-65H (1265H) in the JVM215C 1x12 combo.
That was a speaker WGS has built for Two Rock and Hook, basically a tweaked ET-65 with a heavy magnet. And some sort of a predecessor of the ET-90 which they released later - though not the same, I asked WGS about that years ago.
The ET-65H is probably my favorite WGS speaker and I'm glad I bought two of them when the German distributor had them in stock.
If you see one popping up on the used market (you can't buy them new anymore as they are discontinued) I highly recommend to buy one.

Here some pics of mine:

wgs1265h1xukxy.jpg

wgs1265h2iljxd.jpg

wgs1265h3u8j8x.jpg
 

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