Inconsistencies with tube amp rigs ?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by jay42, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    1) Hope this is the place to talk about this -- sometimes you'll see complaints about things sounding different than the last time you fired it all up, when the amp is a good tube amp. Ignoring the bias of this sub-forum, what would be some reasons why this happens...happens to me and I feel stupid as I stare down all the amp's settings and my pedalboard.

    2) Does modeling actually help here...some say it makes everything repeatable. Please be honest.
     
  2. clintmartin

    clintmartin Member

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    It's the room. Everyroom is different. I find that modeling through FRFR does help, but a room will still change things. That's why you see people always asking for a global EQ. That way you can EQ for the room without altering your patches. The main plus for modelers in my view...You can have multiple rigs (amps cabs, effects) all in one small package and it's much lighter than carrying in one or more amps. You can also have several version of your core patches and dial them in for each room you play in.
     
  3. partytrain

    partytrain Member

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    This.

    Every room has its own problems. There is still a decent amount of fluctuation using my modelers with a monitor (currently the Amplifire through an Alto Ts110a). I don't have any experience with in-ears, but I'm betting a good modeler with in-ears will eliminate a lot of the room issues.
     
  4. ejecta

    ejecta Supporting Member

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    I've experienced inconsistencies with both tube rigs and modeling rigs. It's part of the gig.... you just roll with.
     
  5. Gearzilla

    Gearzilla Supporting Member

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    You didn't mention if you are changing venues with the gear. If the equipment is being used in the same setting sometimes it's as simple as your mood or your level of ear fatigue during the two sessions.

    Considering the TGP I'm surprised nobody to my knowledge has tried to argue the impact of relative humidity on tone...
     
  6. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Yes. Thats one of the things i love about my modeler. I too whet thru that constantly. Now, pretty much every time i plug in it's the same. Can't tell you how much i love that one benefit alone ! I was soooooo sick of that with tube amps.
     
  7. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    I think that wall voltage fluctuations are going to have more of an effect on tube amps than they are modelers, as that can seriously affect how a tube amp responds and sounds. Bars are notorious for having goofy wiring. Modelers seem to be much less affected by this, unless the voltage swings are extreme to the point of things not working at all.
     
  8. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    this! and... it doesn't matter if a high end axe fx, kpa, or more budget friendly gsp or pod. the room will change. as more patrons enter/exit it changes again.

    tube amps, ss amps, modeling etc. it don't matter. most of the time the sound tech will account for any changes. if you are doing your own sound from the stage, then yeah just roll with it since you won't have a feel for the foh sound.
     
  9. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    My modeling rig is more consistent than my tube amp rig was... Analog pedals have knobs that can be easily moved around, 9v batteries that can start to drain, amps have tubes than can change with warm, overheating, age, tube rattle, cabinet creak, position relative to amp, etc...
    Modeling plus IEMS adds a lot of consistency (for me) and takes out most of the guess work.
    My entire rig (including PA/mixer) is built around consistency, snapshots, recalling settings, etc.
     
  10. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Things that I've found affect tube amp tone:
    • Tube state (new/old, brand/model)
    • Line voltage (affects bias)
    • Humidity (affects capacitance between wires/traces)
    The last one is a particular kick in the teeth because it's so hard to control outside a studio-type environment. I can stock fresh tubes and I can use a voltage regulator but there's not much that I can do about humidity. It might not be a huge deal in some parts but I was shocked at the impact that a swamp cooler had on my amp's tone.

    My experience with modeling over the past 6 years is that the biggest variable for me has become ear fatigue.
     
  11. tvegas99

    tvegas99 Silver Supporting Member

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    +1000

    For me this is very true, don't forget the sound that is going to FOH is the same every night... the consistency is very rewarding
     
  12. dmock66

    dmock66 Member

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    I remember reading an article with Tom Scholz about that - where he a PERFECT day recording. He meticulously measured/taped off mic placements/distances, scratched in the settings on his amp head, etc... turned off the lights and went to bed. Next day he flipped on the lights, fired everything up (which he hadn't moved - just captured all the settings for future reference) and it sounded entirely different. He's a MIT Electrical Engineer. In tracking it all down he determined it was the line voltage coming into his house that was the variable.

    That said - the room matters too.

    Modelers don't solve the problem - but IMO, they make it easier to deal with. How I work around it is to create a pool of presets for each basic tone type. I may use two or three different amp models for my basic rhythm gain. Based on the room one will likely work better than another based it's core gain structure, EQ curve, etc. To an earlier point, rather than having to have multiple amps or rigs in yoru car, a modeler can allow you to choose a different bank and try those until you get the one that pockets in. I can make that assessment/adjustment pretty quickly - usually within one song during sound check.

    Just my experience... YMMV.
     
  13. RLD

    RLD Member

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    My experience is my modeling rig with FRFR aimed at my head, sounds the same at home, at rehearsal, at the gigs.
    Other than volume I make no changes from one to the other.
     
  14. barhrecords

    barhrecords Member

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    I have experienced the scenario when tracking with a tube amp rig where nothing was changed and the next day the same exact signal chain sounded different. Drives you nuts.

    I've always thought that's why some producers used (modified) Rockman preamps. Especially if the tracking took years (like it did in the old days).

    So in that sense, a modeler will be a big advantage. It provides a self-contained signal path and is more consistent.

    But, as others have pointed, in many scenarios, there are just as many factors outside of the modeler itself that can affect the audio. E.g. the venue, the monitors, guitar, guitar cable, wireless, etc.
     
  15. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I have and still use a Marshall JMD-50 H through a Marshall 1912 cab. I also use a Tripp Lite regulator. When the voltage fluxuates at the same club, I hear and feel a difference even using a modeller, but the JMD has an EL-34 power section. So does our drummer who uses electronic drums, and our bass player.

    The only person who has never comlained about voltage fluxuations is our keyboard player.
     
  16. db9091

    db9091 Member

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    In my experience its:

    1) The room. Where you place the amp matters, sometime by inches if close enough to objects, or where you are standing.
    2) You ears. Your perception changes. You were rocking for 2 hours last night. This morning, it sounds different. Last night your ears got used to sound. Like being the car during traffic you turn up the volume and get used to it. Next morning it's like GOOD MORNING WKYC LISTENERS, WE'VE GOT SOME GOOD WEATHERS ON THE WAY THIS.. click, as you turn it off and adjust the volume.
    3) Sometimes in picking or putting down your guitars you bump the knobs and the volume or tone is different. Some go full open, this is more an issue for those who use them for more nuance.

    So this is true of Digital or Analog as at some point it still comes down to perception.

    One thing about Digital, you sometimes tweak things and then everything on it sounds like crap next time, so I hit Reset Global parameters and it's like "ahhhh, that's what it's supposed to sound like: GOOD!"

    So as long as it sounds good I don't fuss much. It's about what you like at the moment, for me.
     
  17. Deuterium

    Deuterium Member

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    I agree with the many responses you have already received, jay42. Keeping everything else equal (i.e., no changes to rig, no changes to room, etc.)...
    I think we all have experienced that little gremlin that decides, for no apparent reason, that "today" the tone coming out of your tube-based amp rig is going to suck donkey balls, as compared to other times.

    A well accepted theory is that it has to due with variances in the line voltage coming to your place.

    However, I do not rule out the following alternative theories:
    -- barometric pressure
    -- relative humidity
    -- trading price of Palladium futures
    -- alignment of planets
    -- poltergeists
     
  18. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    no it's not

    if you change rooms you probably need to adjust fx levels etc. foh sound guys will change your eq throughout the night. not any different than if you had any other rig on your stage.

    this is the same tired argument of digital mixers too. you can't use the same scenes at different venues. too many things to account for.

    i have seen bands that believe this and use the exact settings room to room and it sound like crap in a lot of them. too thin if the room has carpet, too canny if it has tile floors.

    regardless of systems for pa, modelers, guitar amps, always be prepared to change it. there is no such thing as consistency unless you stay in one venue. otoh that consistency applies to all rig types as well.

    remember the guys that used to dial in for a gig on their amp, then mark the knob positions with tape, white out etc? they thought they had consistent sound too. even if they don't change those settings, foh guys are likely to do just that. it's some bs guitarists believe that is hardly ever the case in the foh system.

    when i use my modelers, i get asked by sound guys to cut or boost fx levels, gain on patches, trim some eq here and there. that's if you have a good sound guy that takes time to check the variables, and finally the overall band mix for a song or two. if you leave **** as is, you may find some sound guys won't have you run through your presets for different things. if it's off, so will your mix be.

    don't believe in consistency hype. it's a myth unless you play just one venue. and even that will change with bodies in the room or not.
     
  19. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    :spit

    I will try to remember the idea of the weather affecting things the next time it gets weird. Good discussion.
     
  20. tvegas99

    tvegas99 Silver Supporting Member

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    this is just not true, what FOH guy is going to tell you to adjust your fx levels? did you miss the part where many of us are using IEM's?

    I use the same FOH guy/setup week after week and OF COURSE you will always need to adjust to a room... comments like that are so captain obvious it's silly... is it more consistent than tube amps... absolutely, my FOH is getting a more consistent feed week after week, xlr out of the back of my Kemper with the same consistent sound (ir)

    I cannot believe anyone with experience wants to argue this point
     

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