Running two amps.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by somedude, Feb 18, 2009.


  1. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I've been experimenting with running two amps off and on and I have a question.

    I've mostly been experimenting with running different gain levels on each amp. One pretty gainy, the other not so much but not quite clean either.

    The problem I run into is that I ride my guitar's volume a lot, and when I clean up my tone the not so dirty amp pretty much drops out of the mix. It's kinda frustrated me to the point where I usually don't spend much time running this experiment.

    My question is... how do you guys deal with it? Is there something simple I'm missing out on?
     
  2. s.fitzsimmons

    s.fitzsimmons Member

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  3. GAT

    GAT Gold Supporting Member

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    I run two amps, but only one at a time. A clean amp then a lead amp. The amp with the least gain would drop out if running two at the same time. Usually, people run two at the same time to get a stereo spread.
     
  4. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I'm using a buffered Y splitter to run both at once. Mostly it's just an idea I mess with every once in awhile as I don't really want to drag that much gear out of my house.
     
  5. benjammin420

    benjammin420 Member

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    have you tried setting them at equal levels of clean/dirt? it seem me the more dynamics/gain you add to the tone, the more you have to lose. (i cant explain myself properly, but when im trying to record, i use the same amp for clean and dirty, and when im in dirty model, the volume fluctuates alot more when i used my guitars volume)
     
  6. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    I use a Radial ABY and it works fantastically. I don't even really notice much tonal loss at all on either amp.
     
  7. deeval

    deeval Supporting Member

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    I would try two different amps<i dont know if are running the same amps but the two diff.amps will give you a better tone and vol.
    Like maybe an 20 watter for dirt,and a nice 30 watter for clean.
     
  8. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    I'm running pretty much the same setup - one amp clean/wet, the other amp gainy/dry. They're hooked up via a buffered floor pedal and I haven't noticed drop out when I use my volume pot.
     
  9. FAC

    FAC Member

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    I know exactly what you are talking about. The dirty amp is probably experiencing natural overdriven-tube compression with the guitar's volume up, so when you roll it off, the perceived volume does not change much. At the same time, the almost dirty amp is not compressing yet with the guitar volume on full (some headroom remains), so when you roll the guitar volume down, the volume goes down a lot more than the dirty amp.

    I'm not sure how much dynamics you want out of the "almost clean" amp, but I wonder if you ran a compressor after the split to the "almost clean" amp only, you'd recover some of the volume loss...it would be compressing a fair amount when your guitar's volume is up, keeping that amp in check, then loosening up when you roll the guitar volume down, keeping a more even level the whole time, mimicking what is probably happening with the dirty amp/natural compression.

    Watch out for phase issues if you add a compressor after the split...does your ABY box have a phase switch?

    I've had the opposite problem, too, where I have a clean amp and a dirty amp set at about the same volume, but when I dig into the strings, the clean amp, by virtue of having more headroom, jumps out in volume, and the dirty amp, by virtue of natural overdriven tube compression, stays the same volume and appears to get swamped out.
     
  10. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    i've noticed the same thing. one thing i can suggest, run a slight echo on the cleaner amp, it'll give it a bit more 'footprint' when you roll off the guitar's volume.

    it just seems like it's part of the trade-off, the cleaner amp has less gain, so it drops off faster.
    the compressor idea sounds like it might work.
     
  11. somedude

    somedude Member

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    Yes.

    I've run into that one too. Same goes for boosting with pedals... dirty amp compresses more and clean amp jumps out in volume.

    Either way, I've called it quits on this experiment again. I like relative simplicity, and having to mess with levels to achieve balance isn't really my idea of fun.
     
  12. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Have you considered running a clean boost for the "not so dirty" amp and engage it when you roll back the guitar volume? Something like an MXR Micro Amp... they're pretty cheap.
     
  13. FAC

    FAC Member

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    I recently came to a similar conclusion with my own setup, and after proposing the compressor solution, above, I thought "hmmm...sounds like a nightmare sitting there with a compressor trying to get the balance right..."

    I WAS recently on the hunt for a second amp to handle the dirty side of things (I have a great clean amp right now), but ended up picking up another pedal for use into the clean amp for some different dirty sounds (probably saved myself $2K or so, which is a good thing, and it does sound great). I'll still GAS for other amps, but I'm happy for now.
     
  14. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I think a clean/dirty setup would be cool from an A/B perspective.... but not so much from a Y perspective.

    Then again... I don't really want to drag around that much gear, so I'll probably just stick to my volume knob.
     
  15. FAC

    FAC Member

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    Agreed. I like the concept of "Y", but my experience with its application has not met my expectations.
     
  16. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    The Y setup works for me when the amps are set close enough that they react pretty much the same to pedals and my volume knob, but EQ'd differently enough that they fill in each other's deficits. My amps are very similar, just with a couple of tweaks to make each a little different. I agree it's a lot of crap to carry - usually one amp is plenty, I save the two amp setup for bigger venues where I want to move more air.

    I don't think I would be happy running say a 6L6 amp clean next to a dirty EL84 amp all night - might be a nice tone, but everything would have to be dialed in for that "one" balance and I think I would lose the ability to change tone on the fly.
     
  17. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't really ever blend super clean and dirty at the same time. My experience is that different flavors of the same general type of tone gives the best results for me.

    I used to run a Peavey Calssic 50 on the dirty channel mid gain with a breaking up Budda Twinmaster and it was the best damn roots rock to Keith Urban-esque tone I have ever heard. Just killer. Still kick myself for selling it.
     
  18. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I actually play in stereo quite a bit, but wouldn't bother unless I'm really going to use a stereo effect. If I'm not going to use my Chopper, the second amp stays home.
     
  19. HEAVENandHELL

    HEAVENandHELL Member

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    My favorite rock tone is my Dual Rec and Lee Jackson XLS1000 running simultaneously. Tons of ground covered in those 2 amps. Problem comes in controlling them and I have to get a custom switch built before I can run them live.
     
  20. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

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    I run a two amp, wet/dry rig all of the time and it works very well for me, with none of the issues that you mention. Wet is my '68 Super, dry is my Satellite Neutron (18 watter) into a Marshall 1965a 4x10. I set them both for a bit more than a little hair and about the same level with the guitar at about half volume. I also use a Timmy into an Axess Buffer which then splits the signal to the Satellite and a loopmaster switch with a Vaughn's Mods TS9 in a loop. Then to a Lehle Dual and out to the Super. This way, only the Super sees the TS9, but both see the Timmy. No other effects these days, just the Super's reverb, (although, I have two loops open and some real estate left on my board, so who knows).

    While both amps sound great, (but different), on their own, the combination of the two is very versatile and sounds much more amazing. I could easily gig with either or, but I lose some of that versatility that makes my rig so special to me.
     

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