I like knobs/switches/options vs basic/fewer tone controls. (POLL ADDED)

When interested in a new amp, at first I am:

  • Intrigued and excited about lots of knobs and switches for ultimate tonal variety.

    Votes: 6 10.7%
  • Turned off by anything more than Gain, Volume, and Tone.

    Votes: 20 35.7%
  • I like options at first, but then settle in & don't change them after that.

    Votes: 13 23.2%
  • Not too much, not too little - variety without being ovewhelming.

    Votes: 17 30.4%

  • Total voters
    56

henryjurstin13

Senior Member
Messages
3,082
Whilst searching around for a potential new amp.... I've noticed, that I'm turned OFF by amps without many options. I prefer Bass/Mid/Treb over a singular Tone knob. I prefer voicing switches and options too. Anyone else feel this way? Just because an amp might have 20 switches doesn't mean they will all do something positive, but I notice that I'm drawn to amps with lots of variety/versatility/options more so than one trick pony types of amps.
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,853
The way I look at it if you have a few guitars and amp with no options blows because not every guitar sounds the same so you need range. Premise makes sense to me.
 

rsm

Senior Member
Messages
14,080
...which is one reason why I dig digital modelers: all of the options. ;)
Most of my tube amps have very simple controls except my Engl rig where I have many preamp and power amp controls, settings and a footswitch.
 

bullet6759

Member
Messages
2,864
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fiveightandten

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,199
I'm the opposite. When i'm browsing a manufacturer's website for amps, I glaze right over anything that has too many knobs and switches. I prefer things simple. I've feel that more complex amps lack the clarity and dynamic response of a simple bare bones circuit.
 

henryjurstin13

Senior Member
Messages
3,082
I'm the opposite. When i'm browsing a manufacturer's website for amps, I glaze right over anything that has too many knobs and switches. I prefer things simple. I've feel that more complex amps lack the clarity and dynamic response of a simple bare bones circuit.
I can agree with this as well... but like @rsm pointed out - I was often drawn to modelers because the infinite options. I love some options... but the older I get, the more I want all options as my fingers & not buried within a few screens/menus/downloads/etc... I don't want 30 knobs, I just want some eq/voicing options to adjust for different styles/guitars/moods. I was never drawn to a Fender Pro Jr because I can't get over 2 knobs (vol/tone).

I really liked the THR100HD because it had a few knobs/switches for a big tonal variety, but then I'd have to hookup to a computer to pick boost, reverb, effects loop options (which in my opinion -- all three of those things could have easily been turned into mini switches on the actual amp).

So, how many Mesas do you own? ;)
Actually, my recent quest to potentially replace my Dr. Z Monza with a different EL84 amp has led me to look at the Mk5/25 & TA30 amps. But, honestly I've only ever heard 1 Mesa amp I've liked. It was a small 1x12 combo (10+ years ago) and not metal/scooped/high gains. I've heard several comments about TA30 amps being noisy/having issues, but I'm open to try one if I ever have the chance. 5/25 amp looks awesome from pics/options, but I've not played one...
 
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saltydogg

Rock & Roll Enthusiast
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,394
I'm just the opposite...the less options, the better. Though I do prefer a full tone-stack (TMB) as opposed to a single tone-knob (but those are cool too).

Every couple years I seem to buy a versatile amp/pedal, and despite how good they sound, quickly realize (post purchase, of course) that I spend much of my tinkering in a pool of indecision...
 

henryjurstin13

Senior Member
Messages
3,082
I appreciate simpler layouts, but I'm initially drawn to options/knobs/switches. But I often find the way I like it & don't touch those options ever again....
 
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The Captain

Member
Messages
12,789
Check my avatar.
Mostly it's just repetition of gain and tone stack controls. I never did get a Road King. Mark IIC+ has plenty of knobs and a bunch of push/pull pots too. They are much simpler to operate than any DAW or laptop/modeller/multi-effects pedal.
I'm a simple guy, but I can handle some analogue amp switches.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,875
Whilst searching around for a potential new amp.... I've noticed, that I'm turned OFF by amps without many options. I prefer Bass/Mid/Treb over a singular Tone knob. I prefer voicing switches and options too. Anyone else feel this way? Just because an amp might have 20 switches doesn't mean they will all do something positive, but I notice that I'm drawn to amps with lots of variety/versatility/options more so than one trick pony types of amps.

I go both ways on this one. I have flexible amps, simple amps, and modeling. The simple amps (AC30, Tweed, Vibro-King, V4B) get used more than the flexible and modeling amps -- but that Mark V would be really convenient on a gig.

If there were an amp which did all these things without compromise, I wouldn't have so many.

Depends on your needs and budget!
 

Mejis

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
998
I tend to like amps with lots of options for playing at home or jamming, but when I gig or record I like simple amps best... I guess it just depends on the context for me.

When I gig I'm usually singing and I tend to simplify the guitar tone and use one sound for most parts (pick lightly or use a limiter for clean, hit harder + pedal for choruses etc.). I like not having to think about different settings, and the fewer things to step on the better. I play originals for the most part so I'm not usually trying to cop a Fender/Marshall/etc. in the same set.

For recording it's the same kind of thing - the outboard gear creates the versatility and it's nice being able to set up a good core tone and then leave the amp alone. A more versatile amp is a lot of fun for jamming and brainstorming parts/arrangement though...

Just my opinion of course - I know lots of hugely successful players use multi knob/switch amps live to great effect.
 

kenoflife

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,604
Yes for gigging simplicity - and an amp that will breakup with pick and volume control. I think I liked the Goodsells more when they had a single tone knob, and I covet the Benson amp for its complete simplicity of design. I think they 'ring' better that way. I'd rather have an amp be a stable platform and use different guitars, volumes, even pedals to vary the eq a bit - assuming its going to be good straight in and not need much else. It has to be a great amp, of course. It would be interesting to have a poll and see the vote between options and simplicity.
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,384
My main loud amp is a Rivera Rake. In the tweak ability sense, it's better than a BF fender because the knobs do something continuously (e.g. all 7's are more than 6's, than 5's), whereas on a BF, most knobs have 2 or 3 ranges that are ranges (1 is the same as 2, 7 is the same as 8), not continuous...however, the Rake is harder to get right, especially if you bump all the knobs moving it.

Moral of the story, flexibility can be the enemy.
 

rsm

Senior Member
Messages
14,080
I appreciate simpler layouts, but I'm initially drawn to options/knobs/switches. But I often find the way I like it & don't touch those options ever again....

Same here. Once I dialed in my Engl sounds when I first got it, I just use the footswitch to change between the settings other than the volume. I have two Fender tube amps I just purchased this year, both have volume and tone, one has a tremolo knob, the other has a reverb knob. Another Fender has Volume, T-M-B, Master and Reverb. All the Fenders are single channel. Also have a Vox AC15H1TV, EF86 and TB channels, simple controls.

I have a pair of Roland CUBE-80GX amps with three sounds (shared tone stack for two sounds), and built in effects. I found my settings and just leave them except the volume/master volume...I have a footswitch to change channels and turn effects on/off when using one. When I use both, I use the clean channel all effects off and dial in a nice clean tone, and use my Boss GT-100 as an MFX or my pedals or my TCE Nova System where I do all my sound shaping.
 

highrise

Member
Messages
3,840
I've gone back and forth.

I used to feel that too much stuff in the signal path strangled the tone.

Then I found some extremely complex amps with amazing tone.


Now I've come to realize that a good amp is a good amp no matter the quantity of bells and whistles.
 

Laservampire

Senior Member
Messages
1,202
At three, my 5E3 deluxe has plenty of knobs. With just the amp, guitar volume/tone controls and my Supro Boost pedal (with it's bright/flat/dark switch) I can get whatever EQ/gain level I need.
 




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