More Boost or More Gain?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by ATRguitar91, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. ATRguitar91

    ATRguitar91 SS.org Regular

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    I've stumbled upon a conundrum I'm not sure I've seen discussed before. My main sound at this point is a Savage Drive into a Tight Metal Pro. The Savage Drive has so much output that even on 9 o'clock volume wise it can drive the TMP really well if the gain is cranked. How I've been running it is with the gain on the TMP very low, around 10, and then getting the majority of the gain by slamming the front end with the Savage Drive. To my ears either configuration sounds roughly the same, but there seems to be something about driving the hell out of the front end of the TMP that is more satisfying to my ears.

    I was just wondering what other people's experience are with using boosts that have more output than you'd ever need, and if people lean towards getting more of their gain from the preamp or by pushing it super hard with a boost? Is there a tonal difference from getting more of your gain via a boost instead of the preamp or is it just in my head?
     
  2. FitRocker33

    FitRocker33 My tone is tighter than my hamstrings

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    Im in full agreeance with how you do it.

    On my gemini i run my lead channel gain at about 11 o clock and hit it a little harder on the fromt end with my boost. I also run a savage drive fwiw. This method sounds tighter and more articulate to me. As i get older im using less gain than i ever did as a kid growing up but my sound is still aggressive and tight. I can just actually hear what im playing now instead of a bunch overcompressed buzzy flatulence.
     
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  3. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I’m not sure if the tightmetal works the same way, but with most tube amps there is a bright cap on the gain pot that (depending on its value and the value of the pot) allows some high frequencies to bypass the gain pot.

    The lower you set the gain knob the more aparent this is (since the gain pot is limiting most of the signal whereas that bright cap lets high frequencies pass). If the gain pot is turned to 10, the bright cap has no effect since all of the signal is allowed to pass.

    So by keeping the gain knob low and boosting signal with a pedal, you should get a brighter (and typically tighter and punchier) sound than running that boost pedal at unity gain and just turning the amp gain up.

    There are probably more factors at play than just that, but I think it’s a major one.

    What is best depends on what you like. Try it both ways, and in-between.
     
  4. Asphyxia

    Asphyxia SS.org Regular

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    I run a Savage>merciless distortion>TMP Pro>Quilter 101 mini head.
    I run no drive on the savage or merciless both at full volume.
    The high control on the Merciless gives an perfect chainsaw boost without being to much.
    I can turn the gain completely off on the TMP and it makes very little difference.
    At bedroom volume levels it brutal as you can get.
     
  5. ATRguitar91

    ATRguitar91 SS.org Regular

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    That is super interesting! I don't know if it applies to the Tight Metal, but it seems it to my ear. Gonna have to try that with my full heads to compare.

    I'm sure that's a wicked setup, I run mine into a Rocktron Velocity. For shits and giggles I turned the gain on my TMP down all the way down and cranked the Savage Drive and there was definitely more than enough distortion. I do like to have the Dirt control at 9 o'clock and sometimes at noon and then turn down the volume correspondingly. I didn't use the Dirt control at all the first months I had it, but it doesn't add any actual distortion to the signal while providing more output and some really nice compression. Even a little bit goes a long way.
     
  6. Jacksonluvr636

    Jacksonluvr636 SS.org Regular

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    Typically I prefer the gain to come from the amp and the boost to give it just a bit more but at the end of the day it's whatever sounds best to my ears for the setting that I am in. (Home, Live, Rehearsals)
     
  7. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I do not like the bright cap. You get more treble VS bass at lower gain settings, which is the opposite of what usually sounds good.

    When I modded my 6505+ that was one of the things I took out (I based the input filter off the SLO). Thickened it right up. Throw a boost in front to cut the treble and it sounds awesome.
     
  8. Mr-Jemhead93

    Mr-Jemhead93 I think I'm profound

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    I do what you do OP, I keep the gain on my 5150 down low around 10'oclock and use a Ts9 to push the rest. The 5150s have a buttload of gain as it is, the Ts9 is more to tighten up the sound really. I should note that I leave the pedal on the entire time and am using it through the lead channel of the amp.
     
  9. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Wait, so how does this work in practice? If I have the gain on 1, how much does it reduce the bass and mid frequencies? I’m not seeing that significant of an effect on bass and mods when I roll back the gain, so maybe I’m expecting more than it’s giving. Or maybe I need to crank the master to really hear the difference.
     
  10. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    From what I understand the origin of the bright cap was an attempt to compensate for the impedence loading effect you get when you turn down the gain pot. Lower setting means higher resistance, more loading on the previous stage which rolls off high end.

    In a circuit a cap in series with the circuit will (depending on the impedence of the circuit) allow high frequencies to pass and block low frequencies. The larger the cap value, the lower that cutoff is.

    The bright cap is in series with the circuit, parallel with the gain pot, bypassing it. So when the gain pot is on maximum, there is no resistance and the bright cap is bypassed. But when you turn the gain pot low, impedence goes up, rolls off high end. So the cap is there to bleed some highs back into the circuit and stop it from getting dull.

    You may notice this with your guitar sometimes. When you roll back the volume pot you load the pickup and loose some highs.

    Since messing with this value can greatly change the voicing of the amp it became yet another thing that can be tweaked by the designer to get the intended effect. A lot of Jose-style modded Marshall’s use a huge 4000pf bright cap on a switch, when you turn it on it’s like you’re at full gain for the highs and high mids, so it almost acts like a boost pedal.

    For example most amps I’ve seen, the bright cap tends to be 500pf or less, if I recall correctly.


    Alternatively, a cap to ground in a circuit will haunt higher frequencies to ground. Larger the cap, more high frequencies bled to ground. Small picofarad caps are often used in amps to tame oscillation, hiss, squeal, by shunting these unusable high frequencies.
     
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