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View Full Version : Getting a good crunchy bone crushing heavy sound without the fizz


dave-o
10-18-2006, 11:11 AM
Im looking to get a nice solid heavy thick sound, think soundgarden or porcupine tree, stp. Ive tried a mesa single recto (kinda buzzy) and a marshall dsl 100 but its not quite what I want. Im using a 2x12 cab for now with a v30/g12h combo in it. Ive ran the master high and pre low (not enough gain) just loud. Id like a generous amount of gain but without the bumble bee in a can syndrome. My budget is around 1K ish.

I was checking out porcupine trees web site, the guitar players using a bad cat combo (1x12) and some digi rack effects and his sound just kills!

stratzrus
10-18-2006, 11:16 AM
Im looking to get a nice solid heavy thick sound, think soundgarden or porcupine tree, stp. Ive tried a mesa single recto (kinda buzzy) and a marshall dsl 100 but its not quite what I want. Im using a 2x12 cab for now with a v30/g12h combo in it. Ive ran the master high and pre low (not enough gain) just loud. Id like a generous amount of gain but without the bumble bee in a can syndrome. My budget is around 1K ish.

I was checking out porcupine trees web site, the guitar players using a bad cat combo (1x12) and some digi rack effects and his sound just kills!

Stage sound and studio sound are two different things. I loved Cantrell's sound on Dirt, but his guitar sounded thin and overprocessed live.

Whatever amp you choose, I'd go with a 4x12 or two. For really high gain with definition I'd check out the new Rivera K-Tre.

stratzrus

dave-o
10-18-2006, 11:20 AM
check out the live vid here, kinda of what Im looking for.

http://www.myspace.com/porcupinetree

Miles
10-18-2006, 12:57 PM
Without watching the vid I will say this.

You can get a large sound out of anything with a mic in front of it. I've heard people get an enormous live sound out of a tweed 1x12 using a Zvex pedal with a mic running the amp into the PA mix.

I have also seen acts in clubs playing through a mesa or marshall full stack with no mics on the cabs, and it sounding like ear-piercing glass shattering.

Therefore, "heavy" is so subjective. Some people think heavy is a Sunn amp with the gain maxed with the rhythm pickup selected. In your case, it's saturated typical hard rock gain.

I think I know what you're looking for, and the answer, is that most any amplifier can sound buzzy when using high gain, and it's just the way high gain tube amps work. You have to remember that the sound you're hearing in a live situation or on a cd is EQed to the max, and it's tweaked and then either sweetened or pumped through dozens of massive speakers at a live show. You can get a Single Recto to sound good live, as you can with marshalls, ya da ya da ya da.

I'm not trying to be rude, but a tube amp with the gain cranked tends to have that buzz due to excessive gain being used, this is also a result of speaker distortion. Using an amp in a physical environment, where you're not recording it or micing it into the PA, you're gonna have to deal with a more "flawed" sound.

dave-o
10-18-2006, 01:40 PM
So its more in the EQ than in the amp. Im used to playing roots rock through my Tophat but have started in more of a metal band for a side project, so this is all new to me. Ive noticed at practice the amp sounds kinda buzzy and shrill, would an eq pedal help out?

rockon1
10-18-2006, 02:26 PM
Roll back the gain and crank the amp. :)

SteveVHT
10-18-2006, 02:28 PM
Vht :d

riverastoasters
10-18-2006, 03:10 PM
Im looking to get a nice solid heavy thick sound, think soundgarden or porcupine tree, stp. Ive tried a mesa single recto (kinda buzzy) and a marshall dsl 100 but its not quite what I want. Im using a 2x12 cab for now with a v30/g12h combo in it. Ive ran the master high and pre low (not enough gain) just loud. Id like a generous amount of gain but without the bumble bee in a can syndrome. My budget is around 1K ish.

Rivera K2 should be available used for just around $1200. You will have as much gain, bass, and volume, as you can possibly want and no bumblebee in the picture.

iggs
10-18-2006, 03:12 PM
Vht :d

+1 :dude

Miles
10-18-2006, 03:15 PM
Roll back the gain and crank the amp. :)

That's a solid suggestion. With a tophat you're dealing with a whole new animal than a recto or marshall. I think for high gain, the rectifier is the best out there. I can get really saturated tones from my 1x12 rectoverb, and it fills a stage, but I've also gotten really bluesy fat tones out of it as well. EQ is a major component of getting rid of buzzy tones.

Platypus
10-18-2006, 03:42 PM
I use a Dual Rectifier for this sound but I use EL34L's instead as Rectos tend to get very fizzy with 6L6's at lower volume settings... not to say I don't like both but I prefer EL34Ls.

What others have said is exactly right, roll back gain and crank volume. The fizz you're getting is too much preamp distortion (because of high gain/low volume combination).

dave-o
10-18-2006, 03:50 PM
Im using my single recto, maybee its more gain than I need?

Platypus
10-18-2006, 04:16 PM
Im using my single recto, maybee its more gain than I need?
The single has a reputation for being very fizzy... I would suggest a new preamp tube section, the rebranded russian tubes Mesa uses are the culprit for the fizz. If you don't mind, post your settings here, I'm pretty familiar with most Mesa circuits and could provide some suggestions.

frankybaby
10-18-2006, 04:41 PM
So its more in the EQ than in the amp. Im used to playing roots rock through my Tophat but have started in more of a metal band for a side project, so this is all new to me. Ive noticed at practice the amp sounds kinda buzzy and shrill, would an eq pedal help out?


Yes! Though not bone crushing, I have used a Tonebone hot british with a Boss EQ-20 into the clean channel of my Guytron GT-100. Using the EQ to pull out the really high frequencies, I managed to wipe away the fizziness of the distortion pedal to give a more modern style flavor. With some tweaking of the mids and lows, it got in the ballpark of my long gone Mesa Boogie Subway Rocket contour channel. Placing the EQ in the effects loop versus in front of the amp may yield different results, but I didn't experiment extensively.

pureoldsound
10-18-2006, 04:50 PM
Used Voodoo amps hex or witchdoctor......(if you can find one)

enditol
10-18-2006, 05:27 PM
Rectos seem to smooth out a bit at louder volumes, also a clean boost or OD pedal set low can help clear things up and add in some upper mids. Another thing I remember from my recto was I ran the presence nearly off, and I preferred vintage mode for both rhythm and leads.

dave-o
10-18-2006, 05:34 PM
thanks platypus

I have stock mesa 12ax7s in the pre and winged 6L6s in the power

master 1:00
pres 1:00
bass 10:00
mid 7:00
treb 1:00
gain 2:00
vintage mode

when I switch to modern mode the pres is changed to 7:00 as it gets shriller in that mode.

Platypus
10-18-2006, 05:43 PM
thanks platypus

I have stock mesa 12ax7s in the pre and winged 6L6s in the power

master 1:00
pres 1:00
bass 10:00
mid 7:00
treb 1:00
gain 2:00
vintage mode

when I switch to modern mode the pres is changed to 7:00 as it gets shriller in that mode.

Are those clockface style settings?

If so.. try this:

Activate your FX loop so your output/solo knobs work.

Set to Channel 2 on Vintage
Presence: 11:30
Master: 11:00
Gain: 1-1:30
Bass: 11:30-12:00
Mid: (at least 9:00)- 11:00
Treble: 1:00-2:30 (to taste)

Output: Use this to decide volume you want.. I usually run mine around 12:00-1:00.

You're scooping mids on an already scooped-mids amplifier and therefore your treble control is way more present in your overall tone.

Let me know when you try these what exactly (if at all) in particular you don't like about the sound.. like.. 'too much treble,' 'too shrill,' etc.

Platypus
10-18-2006, 05:49 PM
Also due to the scoopy nature of the Rectos, I find running a TS9 gives it a great midboost hump that it desperately needs while also tightening up the sound so you get a nice crunchy/punchy and tight tracking tone but it may not be neccessary since the Single Rec uses a diode rectifier only.

When I used 6L6's in my dual I used a TS9 with the gain around 9 o clock, volume at noon and tone to taste.. so more of a volume boost than gain.

Since switching to EL34L's I use my OCD with it exclusively and leave it on all the time, I find it tightens up the tone and gives way to more harmonic distortion.

dave-o
10-18-2006, 07:04 PM
Platypus, thanks man! Getting closer, the eq on this is pretty sensitive, Ive only had it a few weeks now. Its still a bit shrill in the high end although the lows sound really good. I used my ts also, it has the keeley baked mod, so Im keeping the drive off and using the level, definately adds more harmonics.

somedude
10-18-2006, 11:13 PM
So its more in the EQ than in the amp. Im used to playing roots rock through my Tophat but have started in more of a metal band for a side project, so this is all new to me. Ive noticed at practice the amp sounds kinda buzzy and shrill, would an eq pedal help out?

Rectos don't fill out until you get them cooking.....at a certain point the power amp starts to overdrive and smooths the gain out, but if you go too far it turns into an overcompressed mess.

I used to run my gain at around 12:30, channel master at about 10:00 and the overall master at 12:00 to 13:00.

somedude
10-18-2006, 11:15 PM
The single has a reputation for being very fizzy... I would suggest a new preamp tube section, the rebranded russian tubes Mesa uses are the culprit for the fizz. If you don't mind, post your settings here, I'm pretty familiar with most Mesa circuits and could provide some suggestions.


HUGE +1.

I'd recommend JJECC803S's for the preamp and JJ6L6s for the power amp. I also had really good results using Svetlana 6L6s.

Platypus
10-18-2006, 11:21 PM
Platypus, thanks man! Getting closer, the eq on this is pretty sensitive, Ive only had it a few weeks now. Its still a bit shrill in the high end although the lows sound really good. I used my ts also, it has the keeley baked mod, so Im keeping the drive off and using the level, definately adds more harmonics.

Great, now here comes the tweaking period :P

First, what kind of cab are you using with this amp and how many speakers does it have and what kind are they, etc. If the speakers are new then it wouldn't be that weird for it to sound shrill. Even further, recto cabs with a rectifier have a 'dead zone' right in the front of the cab at least in my experience. If you stand right in front of it it will sounds very harsh and in your face. Try for grins moving to the far left or right side of your amp.

The Mesa EQ settings all interact so figuring out this balance is key to dialing in a good tone. The manual explains it fairly well but here are some tricks I've picked up using this amp: The treble control is the most important tone shaping control in my opinion.. the higher you set it, the less your mid range and also subsequently your bass controls are effective. That is, the same setting on midrange will sound different depending on the treble control. The presence control acts like a global tone knob, the further left it is, the easier the notes are to play but they're very washed out in the way your tone control on your guitar wipes out the high end. The further right, the more defined and more sharp the attack but you sacrafice ease of note sustain, etc. The treble control can also act as another gain control if you really want to get sharp but it's very harsh on the ears after awhile.

The higher the gain, the more fizzy your sound will be and also will suck a tone of tone as you're mostly getting gain instead of your guitar at extreme settings, so be careful, anything higher than 3:00 on the gain dial sort of renders the tone controls on the amp useless.

You can also try lowering the tone knob on your TS9 to say 11 o clock or 10 to remove some of the shrill.

saxophonist56
10-18-2006, 11:23 PM
check out the live vid here, kinda of what Im looking for.

http://www.myspace.com/porcupinetree



great band ....don't think i want to climb the tree tho! :rotflmao

somedude
10-18-2006, 11:24 PM
Are those clockface style settings?

If so.. try this:

Activate your FX loop so your output/solo knobs work.

Set to Channel 2 on Vintage
Presence: 11:30
Master: 11:00
Gain: 1-1:30
Bass: 11:30-12:00
Mid: (at least 9:00)- 11:00
Treble: 1:00-2:30 (to taste)

Output: Use this to decide volume you want.. I usually run mine around 12:00-1:00.

You're scooping mids on an already scooped-mids amplifier and therefore your treble control is way more present in your overall tone.

Let me know when you try these what exactly (if at all) in particular you don't like about the sound.. like.. 'too much treble,' 'too shrill,' etc.

Those arn't too far off my old settings.

The way Mesa's EQ work the treble and gain are tied together. As you increase the treble you're also increasing the gain. In addition, the more treble you add the less influence the mid knob has on your tone. So the treble knob does alot to control the balance between your treble in mids. I usually kept my treble knob right around 12:00 due to this, then ran my mids around 11:00 or 11:30 most of the time.

If you're scooping to get a heavier tone, run your mids back upto noon and switch to modern. It'll cut way better in a live situation.

I found the bass knob to have very little effect on your actual sound, but it does have an effect on how much bottom is present in the sag (the bassy rumble you hear after a palm mute). Unless you're dead set on having a bottom heavy sound I suggest leaving the bass knob below 11:00.....possibly less.


Also, once you get really familiar with it that EQ affects the feel of the amp almost as much as it does the sound. You can really adjust how loose, stiff, saggy, or spongy the amp feels through your guitar.

somedude
10-18-2006, 11:32 PM
Platypus, thanks man! Getting closer, the eq on this is pretty sensitive, Ive only had it a few weeks now. Its still a bit shrill in the high end although the lows sound really good. I used my ts also, it has the keeley baked mod, so Im keeping the drive off and using the level, definately adds more harmonics.

It's hard to say because I'm not actually with you, but a better set of tubes might be just enough to smooth those highs.

Just for interests sake, what are you using for guitar & pickups?

I found the Recto worked best with lower output and dynamic pickups. It really liked EMGs.....perhalps because they're very clear and dynamic, yet still pack a wallop.

dave-o
10-19-2006, 08:05 AM
Thanks again guys for your help, Im learning a lot.

My cab is a marshall 1936 2x12, one v30 and one g12H. My guitars are a Ibanez prestige with the IBZ/Dimarzio pickups, and 2 Les Pauls, an Elite with stock pickups and a epi standard with WCR filmores. Ill use the occational tele and strat but thats for my other gig and the top hat works good for that application.

I found the bass and mid knob position to be pretty key in getting a nice controled feedback. I was playing Sabbaths "war pigs" you know when he hits that D note right after the E chord on the intro, If the bass and mids just arent right the sustain and tone is muffled and dies out real quick. If I get it just right Ill get a nice singing feedback on that D note. I think this is right were I want my low end to be. Nice and chuncky with good definition.

dave-o
10-19-2006, 08:25 AM
If I got for a retube on the pre, do I want all 12ax7s there, Ive heard people using a 12at7 in v3 and a 5075 in v1.

Platypus
10-19-2006, 09:06 AM
If I got for a retube on the pre, do I want all 12ax7s there, Ive heard people using a 12at7 in v3 and a 5075 in v1.

There are lots of different schools of thought on this one. Here are the most popular choices:

1) Tung Sol 9th gen chinese
2) JJECC83S or JJECC803
3) GT 12ax7 for V1-V3 and 9th gen Chinese for the rest (utility tubes).

I wouldn't mess with anything but 12ax7's but that's me personally, I think they sound the best in the recto preamp.

V1 is your most important tube as far as tone shaping, so it might be worth your time to buy one of each and try it out.. keeping in mind the other tubes DO effect the tone, V1 will be the most drastic.

A lot of things I read state that russian and chinese tubes have a rather fizzy nature when pushed whereas the european tubes do not have this issue but this is all VERY VERY subjective stuff.

I might also suggest the Boogie Board: http://forum.grailtone.com/index.php
screamingdaisy and I can be found hanging around there as well as lots of knowledgeable people. Lots of great topics exist on these exact things if you want to do some R&D on stuff before you pull the trigger.

Miles
10-19-2006, 09:27 AM
The only EQ suggestion I would make is to turn the mids up to more like 1:00. The mids add a great punch in single rectos and dual rectos, when you suck the mids out of an amp, it kind of defeats the purpose of the guitar in a band mix, but it may sound better by itself.

Also a Huge +2 on the JJ tubes. I put JJ's in my rectoverb and it's a bit smoother now.

Jujo
10-19-2006, 09:56 AM
You wanna get angry, rageful, sweet pissed off tone??? Get a ZVEX Super Duper. It's gonna be bright and noisy (this can be helped by rolling off the tone control on the guitar) but it is the God of Rock. You gotta play it with your hands though, it isn't an ultra gain liquid play by itself tone. You gotta work that sh!t!! I've used mine with 2 Guytrons and Fender Bassmans. It rules.

I agree with what some others have said. Less gain is usually more. All these recordings are way tweaked out and the guitar sounds we hear are not only a function of the guitar and amp but of the entire mix. It's similar to how your amp will sound different in another room even with the same settings. Context cannot be over-rated.

buddastrat
10-19-2006, 10:04 AM
Most amps need some push so the power tubes round out the tone and some or all of that buzz is gone. I've owned a few SLOs and they are so buzzy until you get them up very loud and they start to round out. But at low volumes they suck. I watched Warren Haynes on some late night talk show once and he had a silver SLO behind him. It was so buzzy. He probably had to keep the volume down in that TV studio.

On Bad Cats, every clip I've heard of those amps sounded pretty fizzy or too edgy. I tried to go to the website and re-listen, but it's down. Anyone have some clips of Bad Cats that don't sound too buzzy? I've never played one though, so that's not a fair statement.

Budda Superdrives are very non buzzy. But I don't think they are "bone crushing" without adding a boost. I used one for a lot of years with a TS9 for a very heavy, darker sound. No bumble bees there.

I found VHT's to be very unbuzzy sounding too.

enharmonic
10-19-2006, 10:07 AM
A lot of the later SG rhythm work was done with a 50 watt plexi, Fender and Gretsch guitars, and a great signal chain.

dave-o
10-19-2006, 10:50 AM
Buddahstrat, the guy on the link I have posted is playing one live. Doesnt sound at all buzzy.

heres the link check out the live video

www.myspace.com/porcupinetree (http://www.myspace.com/porcupinetree)

Great stuff enharmonic!

SFW
10-19-2006, 01:00 PM
Try these setting on your recto-

Pres: 10:00
Bass: 11:00
Mids: 11:00
Treb: 12:00 - 1:00
Gain: 2:00
Master to taste