EQ question: diming everything

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by BatChainPuller, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. BatChainPuller

    BatChainPuller Member

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    I tried an experiment at a recent band practice where I cranked all of the eq knobs on my amp (it's a blues jr., so that's bass, mids and treb). The others noticed the sound was different and an improvement.

    I've never been much of a knob-dialer and most of the time I have played with everything turned up between 10 and 2 o'clock. What I was curious about is whether diming an amp eq somehow lets the full guitar signal pass through the amp. Aside from dialing in a specific sound, how does a typical eq section affect the guitar signal? Is it like the tone knob on the guitar, where anything less than wide open is a cut? I'm also wondering if anyone else does this with their eq as standard practice.
     
  2. enditol

    enditol Member

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    I would imagine it differs depending on the amp. My amp would sound like complete crap if I did that, heh. If you are liking the tone go for it!
     
  3. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    Passive tone controls are cut-only, that is; they can only turn down their frequency, not up. So, when you dime them, you get more gain and certainly more fullness. Typically, you will also get flabby bass, but it sounds like it works in your case.

    Guitar amps are tone shaping machines. Anything that gets your tone is cool.

    If your tone gets flabby, you can turn the bass down and do some amp cooking with a good boost. Done right, this will give you huge tone without any down side.

    Congratulations, you have discovered the importance of good gain-staging. It makes a real difference.

    best,

    DC
     
  4. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    My understansing is that an amp's neutral EQ setting is bass and treble on 0 and mid on 10; is that correct?
     
  5. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    No such thing as a neutral setting on a guitar amp. You tune them all by ear. Neutral is what sounds neutral to you.

    We did a new amp that purposely has no numbers or pointers on the knobs! Amazing, now I sound better because I don't care what number a knob is on, I just spin it until I am happy.

    DC
     
  6. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    I read that Clapton used to Dime the Marshalls in the Cream days, so I would say your in good company.
     
  7. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    I used to dime the EQ in my Marshall. Now I dial it in and it sounds 1000 times better. Ultimately it's whatever works for you though. Dimed EQ typically sounds better in an amp turned down. When you start cranking them they get boomy so you gotta start dropping bass.
     
  8. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Whether Diming sounds good is probably dependent on the speaker, load, wiring and cab for that matter and in addition to other factors which also have a dramatic effect on your tone to the point diming the eq is countering gain losses or freq demphasis and masking introduced elsewhere, earlier. Players use Hendrix or Clapton as a reference and justification that it should work and sound good but thats a simplification and I will use hendrix basic live gear description (in this instance since his gear evolved) as an example. Live because its a better representation of what it really sounded like in person and its been said he used to dime the eq.

    Fender Single Coil Equipped Strat, relatively low to medium output pups and on the bright side with a maple neck

    Long coiled guitar lead to the 1st pedal, a wah then into the octavia, then into the abnormally low input impedance of the Fuzz Face which also has an abnormally high output imp by todays standards, and lastly the Univibe. Pedals were in their infancy and buffering or true bypass was not being utilized in pedal designs (except for mayers pedals) nor was boutique cordage with lower top end rolloff as you have today.

    From there another long cord to the amps which were then patched together passively at their inputs.

    Just up to this point, before even considering the amp/speaker/cabs etc., the tone at this point should have some high end rolled off due to the lack of buffering and long cables but kept to a tolerable amount since he's only using the 4 pedals.

    But whats most important to consider is that the interaction of the whole tonal chain in this long, bufferless, for the most part battery powered vintage pedal chain being driven by a bright and medium output pup with the whole thing then passively split into 2 amps is setting up the tone to possibly be more compatible with dimed eq settings on those non master volume marshalls since my experience tells me that this long fx chain is what we would call today, tone sucking and with that, some gain suck is implied.

    In this case the tone and gain suck worked in his favor since it was the dawn of a new era for the 100watt head and 4x12 stacks but most importantly, and this is key, the range of freq response that represents the meat of the guitar signal when too emphasized causes woofy or flubby bottom or honking mids with dimed eq, has been filtered out to some degree setting up the tone to respond positively to a dimed passive pre-amp eq that was set on full, not introducing tone or gain cut in that eq stage!

    Gain staging indeed but with some accidental and magical interaction up to this point from the pups, cords, pedals etc. Lets not overlook the mans technique too. The meat range is say 80/100hz to 500/700hz give or take, most energy of the guitar is here so diming the eq means your not cutting what had been sympatheticaly cut in the long, unbuffered vintage pedal chain.

    One more important aspect-

    At the end of the chain is the passive signal split into the heads using the high sens of amp 1 as the 1st input but then the low sens out to amp 2's high sens in. This passively split signal post long unbuffered pedal chain is going to emphasize high end thats passed while cutting the lows (meat) some by reducing some gain since passive splits reduce signal voltage and low freqs are cut most when gain is reduced, since thats where the meat of the signal lives.

    Diming the EQ on the amp(s) restored what has been lost/masked/filtered/de-emphasized up to this point and what you are left with tonaly from the amp is a fat, whether clean or od'ed, splatty when Od'ven strat that cleans up decent with the guitar pot thanks to the non master volume 100watt heads used and the low impedance of the Fuzz Face if engaged during vol rollback.

    The moral to the story is everything is relative, and as you travel down the signal path to different processing stages, you may find it requires or responds to unconventional eq treatment based on whats happening earlier but today when applying this has to be kept in perspective by understanding the vintage versus modern dear differences.

    Thats the magic and at times, downside of passive processing, the interaction.

    Diming passive pre-amp eq is more unconventional with todays high gain pups and amps, buffered pedals and extended freq response cords, pedals, amps and speakers. For Hendrix its was necessary to get the whole thing fat, responsive and singing by countering what was occurring earlier in the chain and the result of a complex interaction resulting in some degree of tonal loss and gain throw away.

    Mastering passive signal processing is part science, voodoo and alchemy.
     
  9. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    Exceptional!!!!!


    thx!!

     
  10. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Supporting Member

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    If you dime the tone knobs, wouldn't you then want to have a good eq pedal in front? I like the more granular control I get with an eq pedal, more than just the 3 tone bands I get fromthe knobs.
     
  11. dumeril7

    dumeril7 Member

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    I think 4-hole Marshalls sound killer with everything dimed except the bass.

    D7
     
  12. griley

    griley Member

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    One thing I didn't realize at first is that the frequency response changes at different tone control levels, so everything on 10 sounds very different to everything at 5, and is NOT the same tone but louder.

    With most TMB tone stacks I find the easiest way to sound good is to set everything on ten and then reduce as needed.
     
  13. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    With active EQ its another story I imagine. Anything past noon is boosting the signal. Ive tried it with a few of my active EQ amps but always end up setting them where I think they sound best. Bob
     
  14. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Depends, on your tastes, desired result and gear used.

    Your point of granular control in addition to the wider Q by comparison typical pre-amp eq stage is a valid point but you may find with Rig A, which consists of a certain guitar, pups, pedals, cords, amps, speakers etc that you may not need it but with Rig B yes

    This is why tone discussions sometimes are an exercise in futility when someone says "it had too much bottom" and someone else says "not enough bottom". No Scientific control for accurate comparison between conditions and gear was used as a baseline for the comparison, its done at a distance and the best method is to try for yourself, with your gear and your ears. So you buy X pedal and your rig sounds like razor blades or bees or is so thin you though your amp was off, this is the nature of low level high impedance rc coupled signal processing is interactive.

    Think of your rig, from your fingers to your speakers and even the room to some subtle degree, as one big but very subtle parametric filter that you can alter along points in your signal chain.

    All at once its magic and mayhem.


    This is a great point, I will bet you could find a speaker, load, wiring style and cab that would naturally demphasize the bottom to the point where you could bring up the bass more and this could be a good thing and here is why, the Bass control is passing a signficant amount of signal especially on those amps and keeping it down may be not getting what it really has to offer since the bass and mids comprise most of the guitar signals meat. I am not saying it should be dimed but if you find yourself cutting too much, you may be cutting tone. But like I said above I am making an unscientific comparison, I dont have the reference you have so its a guess and for all I know when you say "tha bass cannot be dimed" you may still have it 3/4 up, so its moot.

    But take this further and apply my thin and medium output strat, into long unbuffered cords/pedals with a lo z fuzz pedal used, into 2 passive split at the input non master vol 100watt marshalls, you should be able to turn up the bass with less flub since your deflubbing in the guitar to pedal chain and started with a guitar that is not high output, bolt on maple neck and lighter body=thinner and brighter tone, less bass. It also (why the bass needs to be turned down) could be due to this and I am assuming your reference is a newer cab, older cabs typically were wired Series-parallel. In a 4x12 this means, 2 16ohm speakers wired in series (each pair in series) and then both pairs wired together in parallel at the jack. This puts out less bottom than Parallel-Series where each pair is in parallel and both pairs together are then series wired at the jack.

    If you google this you will find some sites calling the same wiring scheme I described the opposite description, I am referencing Celestions Standard as found on their page. This has confused more people and this difference is another lost to the anals of time, tonal tweak. I recently rewired an early 90's 1960a from para-ser to ser-para for my 93 jcm900 slx. The bottom of which it had plenty, was de-emphed and the top emphed to where the tone is smoother (series wiring) and the top is slight more emphasized which gives the amp more cut just where it needed it.

    Its a great example of passive interaction from the Secondary in the OT to the speakers. Since the output is magnetically induced from primary to the secondary its technically passive and having 2 pairs of speaker in series, with the tone passing through the 2 speaker coils, mutual branch inductance causes a tonal alteration.

    As far as cabs and the diff between par-ser and ser-par the story is-

    Sometimes in the 80's Marshall cabs changed to Parallel-Series wired to accomodate the stereo/mono switching feature. The word was "the new marshall cabs sound different" and they did, more bottom. To this day most cabs are Parallel-Series wired. Is that a good thing, it depends but I do know it may bring about the need to introduce reduction earlier in the signal chain, typically at the bass control which IMO means less gain through your pre-amp and which for me typically means thinner tone with a non master head anyway.

    But once again its subjective and I still have to keep the Bass control on my SLX at 2! There is so much there and the only exception is a strat, I can take up the bass to 4 or more. I will bet if I passively split the signal pre-input to 2 SLX amps, I would be able to turn up the bottom with less flub.


    You broke the code and the dial in technique you described is related to an audio engineering technique when applying eq, sweep the band your adjusting to the extremes to hear its range and color in your mix before deciding on its position. Once its position is decided set others and then be prepared to hear any interaction between band settings ala comb filtering or phase alteration. The latter 2 problems are not really an issue with guitar amp eq.

    I think the reason modelling and digital is so attractive to some is the absence of this interaction found in passive rc coupled signal processsing which means they are tired of wondering why their tone changes from gig to gig. I like that idea of consistency but I like the slight mystery and unpredictable nature of passive and the fact that no 2 rigs sound the same, magic and mayhem.

    My 15 year old is now driving me nuts as I watch him move through the same realizations.
     
  15. dumeril7

    dumeril7 Member

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    I bet your right! My "diming everything but the bass" opinion is not nearly so well thought out as yours. Its just that every NMV plexi or metalpanel I've ever played sounded nice that way. (It wasn't the only way to get them to sound good BTW, but great for that ballsy, about-to-explode thing...) Diming the bass tends to make them fart out, so I'll dial it back 'til that goes away (usually around 3 to 6 on the dial) and viola, a workable tone. Sometimes its too bright for playing by myself, but it usually works well in the context of a band. Often I'll bridge the inputs to get more low-end, courtesy of the 2nd channel. I usually either go through minimal (non-vintage) effects with decent quality cables so not a whole lot of impedance loading going on, but to your point, I can totally envision being able to improve things with a less bright source signal.

    D7
     

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