School me on the less popular Peavey amps (Windsor/XXX/Ultra)

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by KnightBrolaire, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    Gain is an increase in the amplitude of a signal. It is not distortion. I repeat: GAIN IS NOT DISTORTION.

    When you use a clean boost, you are most definitely adding gain; the signal is bigger after the boost than it was before. I don't know anyone who runs EQs or ODs at below unity volume (it would sound weak and anemic); everyone turns the volume knobs on their TS-9s and SD-1s way up.

    With that said, in front of a tube amp, increasing the gain of a signal with a completely clean boost pedal will increase the harmonic distortion in the sound produced by the amplifier (because it will make the pre-amp tubes clip more; this is why turning up the gain knob creates more distortion, because as you raise the amplitude of the signal, you get more clipping). So, this isn't just me being a smart-ass on a technicality (getting to be a smart-ass on a technicality is just a bonus). When you're running a clean boost, you're adding distortion to your final sound, even if the signal created by the pedal is undistorted.

    Finally, just because the drive knob on an OD pedal is at 0 doesn't mean it's not adding distortion. It is; every common OD pedal still adds clipping with the drive knob all the way off. So you're all incorrect in that regard, too, completing the trifecta of wrong.
     
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  2. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Currently own a Road Master (vintage tube series) and a musician 400

    Roadmaster is a beefed up marshall-y amp with a few added switches. Takes any pedal I've tried with it very well. Usually don't have to tweak the eq much to get it sounding how I like.

    Classic 400 is a LOUD solid-state amp with a pretty tweakable eq section and some cool built in effects. With the right balance of the built in distortion & fuzz effects this amp can get doomy enough on its own. Throw a distortion pedal up front and it's game over.
     
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  3. viifox

    viifox SS.org Regular

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    The XXX doesn't sound anything like a 5150. It's much thinner, and even tighter. It's not versatile at all, but excels at thrash.

    The Ultra Plus sounds much better to me. It's a tad thicker in tone and feel than the xxx, and It's one of the few amps that actually is tremendously improved when using a sonic stomp in the loop (trust me). The UP is probably my favorite Peavey amp of all time.
     
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  4. viifox

    viifox SS.org Regular

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    What do you mean "wanted to be"? There's like zero recto flavor in the xxx. It's apples and oranges here.
     
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  5. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    You must have a hard time if you need to take money to the bank.

    Just chucking it down the side of a river like I'M CORRECT ON A TECHNICALITY
     
  6. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Boosts are rarely used as clean boosts anyway. They are EQs that cut bass and tighten things up.

    I run a boost with a volume cut on my 6505. It tightens it up and lowers the gain a bit for rhythm playing. Then for solos I turn it off. Looser and more overdriven. Pretty nice.
     
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  7. jarledge

    jarledge SS.org Regular

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    gain is power increase or decrease. In regular electronics it means amplifying a signal and is typically expressed in db.

    " In electronics, gain is a measure of the ability of a two-port circuit (often an amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output port by adding energy converted from some power supply to the signal. ... It is often expressed using the logarithmic decibel (dB) units ("dB gain")."

    Guitar amps are designed to distort, where just about any other audio amplification is designed to stay as clean as possible. The confusion about gain comes in to play when you boost a signal so much it clips. This clipping causes distortion. So gain isn't actually distortion, but it can cause distortion. This is why old marshall heads have to be turned up loud. You are pushing the power tubes beyond what they can handle and they are clipping the peaks and troughs of the sine waves coming in. For a boost pedal you are ramping up the input signal to try and push it to clip in the pre amp section. The pre amp can now do all the work with cascading gain stages (boosts, od pedals, ect. in front of the amp) and the power amp can give you more clean gain on the signal to amplify it.

    so gain doesn't inherently mean distortion, but too much gain can cause distortion.
     
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  8. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    In the context of guitar amps and pedals, everyone has been using gain to mean distortion for about 50 years, it isn't a confusion, it is two different words that just happen to look and sound the same.
     
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  9. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

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    That may work for you, but 99% of metal people are doing the opposite of what you posted
     
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  10. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Gain is indeed signal strength, and distortion is clipping, but guess how you get more clipping distortion.

    The reason people have traditionally added a boost up front is for three things. Touch sensitivity for lead work, like having hotter pick ups and more harmonics. Saturation or compression, for lead work, makes lead notes more fluid. And EQ for lead work, boosting mids and highs for lead type frequencies.

    Now it has become mainstream to use a boost for all of the above, but for rythm tones. That is because modern rythms in the metal genres is more like traditional lead runs of old school rock. Plus lower tuning and faster tempo need clarity a boost can provide.

    These aspects are generally accomplished by hitting the input stage of a tube amp with a hotter signal, and pushing it into clipping. That adds distortion, which is clipping. However, older amps did not respond as well, even with a clean boost or treble boost. So you ended up with the traditional Tube Screamer circuit, where you got boost, EQ, and clipping in one unit, and can make a cleaner amp get very hairy.

    Digitally of course, you can do anything to the signal, but modelers try to emulate individual parts, so you still get the effects of analog devices in front of the modeled amp. And can use a digital platform as a boost in front of a real amp, which is a major bonus, since a digital noise gate is far more versatile and quicker than analog.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  11. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    True about the gain, but cutting the bass is true for almost everyone in the metal world.
     
  12. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Pointy Gang™

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    It's been like 10 years since I've played a XXX and most clips i've seen out there are trying to compare it to a 5150/6505, so I figured it did a pretty good job at aping it :shrug:
     
  13. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    One thing to consider with the Ultra/XXX(3120)/JSX(XXXII) series from Peavey, is they all have active EQ controls. Anything above noon on low/mid/hi, is boosting that freq, before the power section. they are very finicky amps to EQ, a 10-band in the loop gives you better control over the honky mids, and you can eliminate that cocked wah tone easier.
     
  14. Smoked Porter

    Smoked Porter SS.org Regular

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    Sure, but even with all that said, pretty often people turn down the gain knob on their amp when they add an OD, so the goal still isn't necessarily more distortion.
     
  15. The906

    The906 lifetime novice Contributor

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  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Two comments.

    1) While you're not wrong... it's a pretty long-standing convention in the guitar world to refer to distortion as "gain" or "preamp gain," since the first amps capable of producing any meaningful preamp distortion were using cascading tube gain stages. Often times the control is even labeled "gain." If we're going to split hairs you're correct, but I'm not sure if really matters here.

    2) An awful lot of people actually do use an OD in front of a distorted amp more or less at unity, as sort of a pre-EQ more than a way to boost the preamp signal and hit the front of the amp harder.

    To the OP - haven't plugged into an XXX in years, but I remember it being stupidly gainy - the red channel was unusable for me with the gain knob over 3. I've also never gotten along with active EQ amps, either.
     
  17. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    Even if you have a similar amount of overall distortion, pushing a bigger signal into the input tube causes you to have a different clipping structure (you end up with an additional clipping stage at the start even with a clean boost). Two more clipping stages if using an SD-1 or TS-9 style pedal (both from a bigger signal into the input tube and the clipping inherent to either of those pedals even with the drive at 0). More smaller clips creates a different sound and feel to the distortion than one larger clip.

    The reason the knob is labelled "gain" is because it is a volume (that is, gain) knob for the preamp. It also happens to create distortion.

    I guess you didn't read the second half of my post?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  18. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands greg rulz ok

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    The 5150 series has a midrange roar that the Ultra/XXX series doesn't have. The 5150 is muddier but much more aggressive. The Ultra/XXX line has a smoother midrange. Has a more trebly cut and a tighter low end.

    I actually miss my XXX. I feel like the Ultra/XXX/JSX could complement a 5150 perfectly.
     
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  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Again... I'm well aware that a tube preamp creates distortion by increasing the amplitude of the signal until it reaches (and passes) the point of saturation. Technically speaking, you're correct in that a "gain" knob works by increasing the volume hitting the tubes.

    But, because in practice you're not actually making the signal "louder" because the circuit is designed with essentially no headroom so all that "volume" turns into saturation... I mean, my Mark-V has a preamp section with a "gain" knob and a "volume" knob, (as well as a "master" knob that controls global output), and only one of those two really has any impact on amplitude.

    Again, you're not technically wrong... but that's an awfully strange hill to choose to die on.
     
  20. Boofchuck

    Boofchuck SS.org Irregular

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    I have a 3120 and I love the thing but I've been really annoyed about having to turn down the tone knob on all of my guitars to avoid that cocked wah sound. I think I'll try an EQ. Thanks!
     

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