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> The quest for tone, How to set your amp
fretdancer
post Dec 17 2006, 11:53 AM
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I have noticed a couple of questions about getting the right tone. Which amp will be the best, do I need Pedals etc etc

I know that when I was in the market for an Amp, it was really confusing as I did not really know what "sound" I wanted to produce - I was (and am) learning to play and wanted to play a wide variety of syles and sounds. I certainly did not want to be tied to just heavy metal for instance or just clean sounds. I wanted the ability to get any sound. I bought a modelling amp that provides just that.

Modelling amps are all over the market now - almost every manufacturer provides a few modelling amps in its range, Many manufacturers only produce modelling amps. And best of all is they really are fairly cheap and there is a huge range to choose from.

So what are they?...well basically its an amp with the ability to sound like many famous historic Amps, typically at least a dozen, so at the flick of a switch you can go from say classic Fender to Marshall, to Mesa Boogie etc etc etc - without having to go to the huge expense of buying one of those amps. this means that these kind of amps are hugely versatile and can provide a huge range of sounds. Most modelling amps also have several effects on board also - such as delay, reverb, chorus, Wah Wah's etc etc etc - the list goes on - this eliminates the need for pedals as such.

One of the main problems is that you virtually need to be a sound engineer to operate the darned things - they are simple enough to use but you really need to know what each control is going to do to the sound. Personally, I find it all really confusing and have great difficulty getting great sounds out of them but that is not because they cannot do it, its because I dont understand enough about what all the knobs and buttons actually do - I have no idea what a mid range is - or a fuzz face what have you - its all horribly complicated to me.

Fear not GMC'ers because there is help out there - Many people dismiss modelling amps as worthless but that is generally because of ignorance or because they have been set up badly - you can get even more rubbish sounds out of them then good tones (but then thats equally true of expensive tube amps too), but the truth is if you blindfold a musical "snob", or self proclaimed expert, they cannot in the main tell a modelling amp from a tube amp when played side by side. they really can be that good.

The help I am talking about is via the internet. Most Amp users have created user groups and web sites that you are able to find descriptions of how to set the amp up for a particular sound / Artist / Song etc so you dont need to struggle in the dark trying fiddle with buttons and knobs in the vague hope of getting a particular sound. My advise is to search them out and use them - once you see how its done it makes it so much easier and you can learn much quicker how to get the tone you want - of if you are lazy like me, you can just download the settings for a particular song and dont worry about how its done just enjoy it !!

A couple of sites I can recommend are for VOX Valvetronic users
http://www.valvetronix.net/valvetronix/index.html

or for Line 6 amps
http://line6.com/customtone/

There are many many more and virtually every amp has its own "club" of users who are more than happy to share settings to get great tones, check them out.

If your thinking of buying a Modelling amp, there really is little to seperate the top 10. those from VOX/Line 6,/ Marshall,/ Roland / Fender are all pretty much of a muchness really and all work really well - choose the one that seems best to you - they can all achieve pretty much any sound you want them to - consider other stuff like portability/looks/other features (like the fenders built in backing tracks) in equal measure.

Hope this helps.


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its not easy
banging your head against some mad buggers wall.
Variax 300. Pod XTL & Crate amp
some of my recordings are here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/petergb/
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Matt
post Dec 23 2006, 03:01 AM
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Yea i completely agree, i have a Pod XTL with people setting them up badly, the music shop down the road got rid of line 6 when they first got them claiming they sounded really bad and were only for effects. The reason for this was because they were plugging them into the guitar amps they had at the shop and not the P.A systems lol. The versatility of these things is amazing aswel. I have the choice of well over 100 amp models well over 50 stomp boxes and effects and 7 or 8 wahs. I have been fideling around with it but now i can say i can get any sound i want any day of the week at any volume with my guitar and amp combos. I even managed to get a extremely good clean sound from an EMG 81 in the bridge position with one of the line 6 models (not based on any other amp) biggrin.gif


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webmastermkits
post Dec 23 2006, 12:43 PM
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I'm really agree with you.

Thank you for Valvetronix links.

Wich soft may i use for a valvetronix tonelab ? For my POD2.0 i use Line 6 Edit... Is there the same thing for the Vox one ?

Thank you
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n0x
post Dec 26 2006, 01:32 AM
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QUOTE (Matt @ Dec 23 2006, 06:01 AM) *
Yea i completely agree, i have a Pod XTL with people setting them up badly, the music shop down the road got rid of line 6 when they first got them claiming they sounded really bad and were only for effects. The reason for this was because they were plugging them into the guitar amps they had at the shop and not the P.A systems lol. The versatility of these things is amazing aswel. I have the choice of well over 100 amp models well over 50 stomp boxes and effects and 7 or 8 wahs. I have been fideling around with it but now i can say i can get any sound i want any day of the week at any volume with my guitar and amp combos. I even managed to get a extremely good clean sound from an EMG 81 in the bridge position with one of the line 6 models (not based on any other amp) biggrin.gif


I also own a POD XTL, and I plug it through the back of my laney tube enabled amp, through the "FX-Return" input thus enabling the POD to act as a full preamp and the only part of the amplifier used is the power-amp section, meaning all settings of the amp will not have any effect to that sound. I have the POD XTL's output set to "Stack Poweramp." However, this is where the problem arrises: Everyone is always saying how good the POD XTL sounds. I dont think it sounds very good :/ The distortion is never too clear, the sustaine is not that high, etc etc.. Im not sure if its because of my guitar or because I have set things up the wrong way. It also sounds pretty shite through headphones.. probably because of their poor quality though. Can anyone help me on how to properly set a POD XTL up with an amp such as mine? :/
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fretdancer
post Dec 26 2006, 01:26 PM
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QUOTE (n0x @ Dec 26 2006, 12:32 AM) *
I also own a POD XTL, and I plug it through the back of my laney tube enabled amp, through the "FX-Return" input thus enabling the POD to act as a full preamp and the only part of the amplifier used is the power-amp section, meaning all settings of the amp will not have any effect to that sound. I have the POD XTL's output set to "Stack Poweramp." However, this is where the problem arrises: Everyone is always saying how good the POD XTL sounds. I dont think it sounds very good :/ The distortion is never too clear, the sustaine is not that high, etc etc.. Im not sure if its because of my guitar or because I have set things up the wrong way. It also sounds pretty shite through headphones.. probably because of their poor quality though. Can anyone help me on how to properly set a POD XTL up with an amp such as mine? :/


Nox, your question is far too broad open ended. You need to say what kind of "tone" you are trying to achieve?....maybe its something the POD does not do very well?. Where else have you heard that tone?...what kind of equipment are they using to achieve it?. What effects etc - does the POD emulate those effects?
Maybe its just that the tones that the POD can produce does not sound good to you - not everyone will agree on everything. Tone is a personal thing and means different things to different people.

I have already outlined why a guitar amp is not the best partner to a POD, sure there are settings on the POD that change the output slightly to compensate for the fact you have a guitar amp and you are selecting the correct setting. In MY opinion however, and its only my opinion, nothing beats a flat response speaker/amp in getting the best out of a POD.
If you have the ability, plug your guitar into a Hi Fi amp and listen to it - I would suggest it sounds prettty awfull?...now try it through your amp and bypass the FX loop - sounds much better right? - it should do - your amp is designed to make your guitar tone sound better.

I am no sound engineer, I dont know the technical details of why but its to do with speaker shapes and how the sound is delivered etc, somehow it effects mids, highs and lows - I dont have a clue what they are but I know that guitar amps produce a very different output than do flat response amps. (bypassing the FX loop will not change that - it is still a guitar amp/speaker set up - you are just cutting out the effects, not changing it a different kind of amp). A PA system is basically a Flat response speaker system so work really well with the POD.
If you managed to plug your guitar into your Hi Fi amp and it sounded bad, thats the difference - plug your POD in the middle of guitar and Hi Fi and try that...any better?

As I say - you seem to be after a "specific" sound - have you tried http://line6.com/customtone/ to find a specific sound? - or is it just all tones that sound bad to you? if that is the case then as I say, perhaps the POD is not for you.


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its not easy
banging your head against some mad buggers wall.
Variax 300. Pod XTL & Crate amp
some of my recordings are here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/petergb/
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n0x
post Dec 30 2006, 04:57 AM
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Cheers for the response fret. The tone I am trying to achieve is somewhat of a Jason Becker and whitesnake tone/ vai kinda sound. I do know that anything is possible with the POD, but I guess it does not work so well with a normal guitar amp. A flat response amp- would that really make ALL the difference?? Or maybe because I have very little understanding in terms of mid/bass/treble settings. I know that to achieve a great metal sound, turn the mid down and the bass/treble up. It works okay, but not as I would like it. I have tried experimenting but nothing really sounds great. I will try and get my hands on a flat response amp. Are they expensive? :/. And could it also be that my guitar is not at top quality? It is a samick interceptor 4, with "Duncan designed" pickups. Nothing great in my books- and I am looking into an ibanez in the near future. Do you think that will help?

Also, some might say "practice!" I do practice, and my playing is pretty good- I just havent found that long sustained screamy kinda tone that Jason Becker uses has..

This post has been edited by n0x: Dec 30 2006, 05:01 AM
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fretdancer
post Dec 30 2006, 12:26 PM
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The sound you are looking for is more created by the guitarist than the amp.

Vai/Becker are amongst the very very best shred guitarists in the world and a lot of what you are hearing is the result of many years very dedicated practice.

Kris touched on this with his lesson on alternate picking. You would have to be a guitarist to understand about what he is speaking of perhaps when talking about small differences in tone between alternate and economy picking, but there is a definate difference. That thread goes into a lot of detail about it.
Its perhaps not something you would put much weight behind when first learning, but when you are a good guitar player and have a "wrong" or "different" technique to someone you are trying to emulate you can really hear the difference.

What I am trying to say here is that to sound the way you want to sound, will not be achieved by equipment. A lot of dedication and time and skill have gone to make that kind of sound. The equipment is the least important part of the sound you want to achieve.
technique, in shred, is all.
I know I will never be able to play or sound like that but if thats your goal then keep at it, Kris is living proof that hard practice will deliver results.


--------------------
its not easy
banging your head against some mad buggers wall.
Variax 300. Pod XTL & Crate amp
some of my recordings are here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/petergb/
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