Why the hell did I ever buy a tube amp?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by powerbert, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Do they have a sound guy at those gigs? If a band sounds super tight and clear and crisp on stage, but sounds like a mushy mess out front, then there is a huge problem with how the sound reinforcement is put together, either shit gear or a shit soundman.
     
  2. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    Great PA, awesome soundman. Soundman asked them to turn down the reverb, they didn't.
     
  3. ZombieLloyd

    ZombieLloyd Not one 7 string

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    Who uses reverb at gigs anyway? I'm not pretending to have any stage experience but I've always heard that reverb is pointless when you're playing live.
     
  4. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    That is not true. Different rooms have their own reverb, but that does not mean that having the effect is useless. Anyone doing anything atmospheric probably has at least 1 reverb pedal on their board.
     
    AxeHappy and ZombieLloyd like this.
  5. ZombieLloyd

    ZombieLloyd Not one 7 string

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    After this post I did think about the bands that have atmospheric sections in their songs, I should have thought before I posted haha.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    So how are they getting such a good stage sound, if everything is drenched in reverb before it gets to the board?
     
  7. powerbert

    powerbert SS.org Regular

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    Since this thread is still going, I'll thrown in some updates.

    Played a show last Friday. Basically foreshadowed by this thread, I forgot the adapter to my DI box so I wasn't even able to set up in ears. However during soundcheck I accidentally got the sound guy to turn up the monitor so loud it was basically distorting the wedges. No problem with me as I ended up hearing myself to a good 95% for the most part. But there was still 5% of the time where I wasn't sure whether I was making sound. Hearing it back on a few camera videos showed that there were some mix issues that we should have communicated but nonetheless things sounded decent.

    I took this as an omen to return the expensive DI setup and go with something simpler. I think what I will do is check the IEM to be at reasonable safe listening volume during silence, turn it off during soundcheck and have it back on during the set. I listen to the drums and the rest of the instruments through the IEM bleed. I don't need a ton of audibility, just a slight bump in my own signal so I can get some instant feedback.

    Next show I'd even maybe opt for using the in-ears as hearing protection only, and only turning it on via the hip pack in a real "emergency" monitoring situation where I'm simply not able to hear myself. I know one would be worried about dangerous hearing levels, but my theory is that due to the constructive interference of your own IEM signal with the stage signal, you don't actually need a ton of volume to really get a hearing boost. In fact when I turn on the IEM it almost sounds like I'm actually just hearing myself through the cab, but much crisper.

    The cheap setup that I'm thinking about is:

    Tuner bypass -> Small digital modeler (like a Zoom) -> Behringer Powerplay P1 -> IEM

    If this doesn't work because of level issues for some reason then I'll use a Behringer Ultra-G instead. IEM setup for less than 200 dollars.

    The critique that if you're just in front of your cab that you shouldn't need in ears -- this hasn't seemed to work very well for me personally, as I've mentioned. Then again, maybe molded ear protection would fix this. The other guitarist doesn't have an issue with this and he uses the same crappy $10 plugs that I do. But I can't count how many times I'm playing then suddenly I think I've cut out for some reason and never quite sure whether I'm actually making any sound (tripped cable, blown fuse, or some other reason -- has happened to me).

    I think one reason is that cab is basically at knee level. Hearing out the monitors usually works a bit better so it is probably just on me to communicate a better wedge signal.

    Speaking of ambient pedals, the band we opened for is for a touring black metal band Numenorean last Friday. They put on an amazing live show, just going wild. Speaking of pedals, they must have like 20 different of just ambient pedals on stage between 3 dudes. I just thought, alright, that looks a bit more complicated than my setup. So you tube amp people win this one (for now) lol.
     
  8. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    It sounds like an amp stand would solve your monitor issues, if you have a 212. If you have a 412, just bend down to see if you're making sound. If you aren't, then comes the troubleshooting. If you are, go back to putting on a tight show.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The way this is worded makes it sound like your issue is more to do with cheap earplugs, and/or finding your proper place is the mix, rather than with monitoring. Most guitar amps at this point can drown out drummers without a sweat, so if you had no earplugs at all, or just used more volume, you'd probably hear your cab just fine. I'm not recommending this of course. I've got some $30-40 ish earplugs that, while an improvement over just those super cheap foam things, still more or less just sound like a blanket thrown over your head- way too much high end is removed, leaving you with plenty of that low/mid stuff that every instrument is always fighting for. I've not tried expensive/molded hearing protection so I can't speak for how good they are, but they sound like a good idea to me (see what I did thar).

    Another consideration is whether or not your gear is setup such that each instrument isn't fighting everyone else. In one band I used to use a Traynor amp that sounded good on it's own, but when in a band situation, the shape/character of the gain channel on it didn't mesh well with the other elements of the band- the high end was buried by cymbals, and the low end got swallowed up by the rectos and bass stuff. I eventually got a Mesa Mark IV and now it's got soooo much mid content that it cuts through everything. In another band, on bass, I find a lot of "my sound" came about by finding ways to cut around the guitars, because I wanted to be audible without drowning them out. In either case, I never have issues with monitoring or hearing myself through the wall of sound simply because I specifically aim for otherwise unoccupied sonic space when dialing an amp for the band. The Mark IV makes that easy cause most people scoop mids. I just keep all those mids, and let the other guitarist fill up the high and low ends around it.
     
  10. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    Individual mixes. Rather than dial in tones/effects that compliment each other they turn the other guitarists down in their IEM so they can hear themselves better.


    Which, ironically, is what the soundman did to them. I didn't really want to get into this much detail, but the one guitar must've been zeroed out on the soundboard because we could see him moving but couldn't hear a thing he was playing. I don't think the soundman was trying to sabotage the band... I think he was doing is best to produce a clear mix. The singer was running stereo effects on his vocals and in between songs he was talking to the crowd and I could hear 5-7 seconds of dwell on his reverb and it was mixed way too wet.

    Best I can figure out they dialled things in with their IEMs at rehearsal and those tiny little speakers were rolling off a lot of detail... so they overcompensated by going wetter than necessary.

    This obviously isn't the fault of the IEM. I mostly brought this story up as a cautionary tail against using IEM as a bandaid to fix your mix when you should be working to dial in your instruments better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  11. El Caco

    El Caco Djavli te ponesli Contributor

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    Also a related vent. Why is the digital reverb on my HT5R the best sounding reberb I have hear and all it has is one knob and why doesn't the reverb on the more expensive Blackstar amps sound as good?
     
  12. Kevcarnage

    Kevcarnage SS.org Regular

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    honestly man thats my problem. Eventually digital stuff will take over so the sooner i hop on the train the better lol. I'm thinking it may be cheaper getting a modelling amp in the long run anyways.
     
  13. El Caco

    El Caco Djavli te ponesli Contributor

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    Tone is subjective and taste changes over time. Just play whatever sounds good to you.

    On the TVP amps you can turn the TVP feature off and one of the things I see universally said is there was no point putting that button on there or once you turn it on you will never turn it off. I've even seen it suggested the only reason for the button was marketing so it makes the TVP function stand out and the button is a gimmick. But those are all ignorant. There are times when a person might want that low fidelity SS tone, like in an intro or in some kind of electronic music or Industrial. By including the ability to turn off TVP you have more tonal options without the need for another amp. My point is most people think that function sounds like crap and from their perspective they are right, for someone else it might be just what they are looking for.

    You only need to consider your needs and preferences. For me today the ultimate rig just might be a Joyo DualKlonz fitted with EL84's thrown in the loop of a Boss MS3 with an expression pedal and 2 button footswitch thrown in. That seems like the perfect marriage of digital and tubes with the MS3 controlling the whole show by midi, having all those quality digital effects to combine in a simple way with a variety of all tube amps that can be tailor built to your needs or preference. But a gigging musician might need more than 25w and a gigging musician might not want to take a chance on such a complicated new tube amp from a company like Joyo. I'd imagine you would absolutely need a backup so that means transporting two heads and two Boss MS3's even though I doubt the Boss MS3 will ever fail. And at that point it might make a lot more sense to control a Kemper with a GT100 by midi so you have just one rig and the GT100 is now your backup if the Kemper ever died. That might be too expensive for a struggling guitarist.

    There is no one fit option for everyone and there is no such thing as the perfect rig. Just get the thing that you can afford that sounds good and works for you. For many of us that's a never ending journey.
     
  14. Moltar

    Moltar SS.org Regular

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  15. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    The sooner you hop on the train the more outdated your technology will be by the time someone finally produces whatever it is that finally takes over.

    Honestly, other than a couple of Line 6 beginner combos I don't think I've seen anyone in my scene using a modelling amp live. Probably 2/3rds of the bands I see are using Fender and Vox combos with dirt pedals. Others I remember seeing are Marshall DSL and MG, Orange RV, 5150/6505, Classic 30, an H&K mini-head of some sort and the occasional weird amp I don't recognize. My band uses an Electra Dyne and Thunderverb.

    The local independent store I frequent brought in a Helix and it sat for a year, meanwhile tube combos are selling.

    Every scene is different and they all have their trends, but what I'm seeing in real life is that tubes amps are still pretty dominant. I think the good modelling gear is still too expensive for the average musician and the cheap modelling gear teaches them to hate modelling gear. Additionally, you need a rig that can carry the room unmic'd since there's a lot of places where the PA is vox and kick only with limited monitors, and the simplest way to do that is with a combo amp.
     
  16. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ I've been seeing a lot of modellers at local shows lately and I've finally come across one that I was impressed with. Saw a show the other day where for one rig most of the sound I think came from a Helix, and it sounded good to me. BUT- It was being run into a big ol' standard tube amp and cab, that may or may not have been providing the dirt. Soooo I dunno if it sounded good because of the tube power behind it, or because the models were good, or what, but it was the first time in a while I was impressed enough by a guitar sound to go see what it was, and discovered it was a modeller.
     
  17. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    Some people really like using modellers for effects, particularly the ones with flexible routing.

    The guy may also be in the middle of a conversion... he has the Helix, but is still using his old head/cab while he saves for a FRFR.
     
  18. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    That's interesting--I remember a few Edmonton bands (in the metal realm) whose guitarists are/were running digital rigs back in my Dead-City days. Out in Vancouver there are quite a few bands running Axe-FX or even a Kemper live, especially the busier touring acts. I've seen a people using the Helix as well (bassists and singers, interestingly enough... haven't seen a guitarist use one besides myself) and the L&M I teach at can't bring them in fast enough to meet demand it seems.

    Not trying to be argumentative btw. It's just interesting that our experiences have been quite different.
     
  19. Screamingdaisy

    Screamingdaisy SS.org Regular

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    Could be the difference in scenes. My band is more rock/alternative and we're on the lower end of the food chain. Occasionally headlining a local show and opening for smaller touring acts. We've only shared the bill with a metal band a few times and those guys have all been using real amps.
     
  20. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    They've been saying digital stuff will take over since the 80's when it showed up. There's more of it now (cheaper to make, easier to sell) but there's still a wack of tube amps at just about every show where a guitar is being used.
     

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