Synergy modular thread

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
I tried the analog cab sim in the Syn-30 for the first time this week. I thought it was pretty workable and actually shot an IR of it to use in other situations.
 

Powderfinger

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,389
I tried the analog cab sim in the Syn-30 for the first time this week. I thought it was pretty workable and actually shot an IR of it to use in other situations.
Not ideal to have same cab sim for a Marshall, Fender and Vox though. Anybody using a Torpedo or Mooer Radar or something to load their own?
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
Not ideal to have same cab sim for a Marshall, Fender and Vox though. Anybody using a Torpedo or Mooer Radar or something to load their own?
I've used the Fractal and it worked fine for that duty. I'd guess most any IR loader would work fine.

On the Fractal, I usually use one cabinet IR for most everything, just like I would do with real cabinets. If I've got a great cabinet that I love, I can pretty much enjoy it with most any amp that has tone controls. I readily admit that people have different needs though.

For someone who is big into IR's, this will probably just be an emergency feature. For people who aren't into IRs, its pretty nice to have.
 

Phil M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,621
@chrishurley

The SYN products and modules create a preamp setup. When using the SYN-1/SYN-2 cabinet emulation to go direct, do you use any power amp simulation, or is that somehow baked into the onboard emulation?
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
@chrishurley

The SYN products and modules create a preamp setup. When using the SYN-1/SYN-2 cabinet emulation to go direct, do you use any power amp simulation, or is that somehow baked into the onboard emulation?
Its not baked in. It may be more authentic with some modules to add poweramp simulation. Whether it is needed or sounds better depends on you, the module, the application, etc...

I shot an IR of one of my amps from FX return to line out. I've enjoyed using that in my Fractal with the preamp to get a little more of the color but obviously not any of the dynamic behavior of the amp.

I've also used a fractal amp model to add in some of the behavior. There are various techniques to overcome the fact that the fractal doesn't have a true poweramp-only model.

I tried the poweramp-only models on the Atomic amplifirebox but didn't find that it added anything that I liked, in the specific application that I tried.

I am getting ready to put my Randall RM4 into the rack with my Axe-FX III. I will probably set that up with some sort of power amp simulation because it will be "free" and convenient to do so. Whether it is needed is another question. I think the poweramp IR adds at least 25% of the experience.

This is a highly subjective area!
 

Phil M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,621
Its not baked in. It may be more authentic with some modules to add poweramp simulation. Whether it is needed or sounds better depends on you, the module, the application, etc...

I shot an IR of one of my amps from FX return to line out. I've enjoyed using that in my Fractal with the preamp to get a little more of the color but obviously not any of the dynamic behavior of the amp.

I've also used a fractal amp model to add in some of the behavior. There are various techniques to overcome the fact that the fractal doesn't have a true poweramp-only model.

I tried the poweramp-only models on the Atomic amplifirebox but didn't find that it added anything that I liked, in the specific application that I tried.

I am getting ready to put my Randall RM4 into the rack with my Axe-FX III. I will probably set that up with some sort of power amp simulation because it will be "free" and convenient to do so. Whether it is needed is another question. I think the poweramp IR adds at least 25% of the experience.

This is a highly subjective area!
I just wanted to see if the cab emulation factors in power amp response for users who go direct. Nice and small and quick in a pinch.

I have a SYN-2 incoming (eventually) and will of course experiment between 1) the SYN-2 direct to my interface and Wall of Sound, 2) with my Torpedo Live (which has power amp + cab sims), 3) and through my tube amp’s power section.

I agree, there are many possibilities! Thanks.
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,676
Steve Fryette has also had a lot to say about what we think are ‘tube tones’ are more about how the rest of the amp is designed.

i think he and Dave spoke about it on the ToneTalk episode he was on.
IIRC I read somewhere (probably here) that Friedman once said he'd like to design an amp w/ 6L6s due to the superiority of modern production 6L6s vs EL-34 tubes but people would balk because they put so much stock into the notion that it should have EL34s since he does Marshall variants primarily. That's hearsay, since I can't remember the reference, but I kind of believe it. I think he should do an SLO/5150 type 6L6 amp that would be pretty bad a**. I think most if not all of his stuff is EL class tubes.

Cliff Chase of Fractal has also claimed that power amp tube type inherent differences are much smaller than people realize and most of the things we think of as tube type differences are not intrinsic to the tubes but due to the other design factors. Topology certainly plays a huge role and there is negative feedback, transformers, biasing, all the rest of it.

In using the AxeFx and the Syn modules with my power amps and heads, I'm pretty convinced my fave tones are not leaning heavily on the specifics of the power amp. They vary substantially with output section but speaker choice and preamp and FX/EQ settings dominate the equation for me. The tube amp provides a nice response and coloration but it is not the cornerstone and I can get satisfying stuff happening with multiple power amps. If I were trying to exactly recreate some specific amp, I might feel differently. I just want great tones and lots of them.
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,676
IRL the Uber I played wasn’t quite as mid scooped like a Recto in modern mode. Shaun looked like he dialled in the mids in his vid but it still had that terrible Metallica level scoop :confused:; maybe there is a switch for mids on the module (I haven’t looked that closely)?
Powerball has two independent three positions Mid control switches one for each channel. It is a surprisingly versatile module. The Red channel is brutal; but it sounds way different than the Uber for sure so they compliment each other if you are really into high gain.
 

jeremyjh

Member
Messages
353
Cliff Chase of Fractal has also claimed that power amp tube type inherent differences are much smaller than people realize and most of the things we think of as tube type differences are not intrinsic to the tubes but due to the other design factors. Topology certainly plays a huge role and there is negative feedback, transformers, biasing, all the rest of it.

In using the AxeFx and the Syn modules with my power amps and heads, I'm pretty convinced my fave tones are not leaning heavily on the specifics of the power amp.
I suspect you and Cliff are right. When I mess with Power Amp sims I usually cannot tell much difference between the different tube types. There *is* a difference, but it is small and I'd never be able to identify one by sound alone. I think this is one area where people have "beliefs" were formed based on other factors. I've also heard from people with Egnater heads that they can't tell much difference rolling between the dial between EL84 and 6v6 power tubes.
 

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,810
I suspect you and Cliff are right. When I mess with Power Amp sims I usually cannot tell much difference between the different tube types. There *is* a difference, but it is small and I'd never be able to identify one by sound alone. I think this is one area where people have "beliefs" were formed based on other factors. I've also heard from people with Egnater heads that they can't tell much difference rolling between the dial between EL84 and 6v6 power tubes.
I've been following the Kingsley pedal thread the past few weeks. Simon Jarrett has some very interesting thoughts that kind of relate to the topic at hand here.

He makes a pedal called a Constable, which is really nothing more than a 4 hole Marshall preamp circuit in a box. Right down to the knobs on the pedal (both volumes, three band EQ, volume). There's no Presence knob, because that's part of the power amp circuit.

The interesting thing is, despite what people may initially think, the circuit really doesn't produce that much gain or saturation. Very little, actually. Simon explains that the dirty old Marshall tones everyone has in their head have far more to do with the power amp than just the preamp. But it's not as simple as "power tubes distorting". You need major volume for that. What he says is that the phase inverter tube is the one that does quite a bit of the distorting. It may live in the power amp section, but it's typically a preamp tube! He even demos it in some videos. He puts his Page pedal, which is a very basic tube boost/OD pedal with a single 12AX7, AFTER the Constable, into a clean power amp. Once you crank that volume on the Constable, it drives that poor little tube in the Page in the same manner that your Marshall preamp drives its phase inverter. 95% of "the Marshall tone" is right there.

Seeing stuff like that made me worry far less about what power tubes my Synergy stuff is driving. I don't know what Synergy is doing within the modules - or potentially in the SYN-1 or SYN-2 -but somehow, that Plexi module sounds pretty darn "right" into my little old open back 1x12 amp's 6L6 power section. I suspect that pumping it into a closed back 4x12 cab would have 10x more impact on the overall tone than replacing my 6L6s with EL34s (which my amp can accomodate). And besides, some Marshalls were made with things like 5881 tubes, which are basically 6L6 tubes anyway.

I think people think of the classic Mark Series Boogie tones or those mythical Dumble ODS tones as being "6L6" tones. But I think that's 99% preamp we are hearing. There's a reason that the SLO and 5150 sound nothing like a Dumble despite using 6L6.
 

Kelly

Member
Messages
3,443
IIRC I read somewhere (probably here) that Friedman once said he'd like to design an amp w/ 6L6s due to the superiority of modern production 6L6s vs EL-34 tubes but people would balk because they put so much stock into the notion that it should have EL34s since he does Marshall variants primarily. That's hearsay, since I can't remember the reference, but I kind of believe it. I think he should do an SLO/5150 type 6L6 amp that would be pretty bad a**. I think most if not all of his stuff is EL class tubes.

Cliff Chase of Fractal has also claimed that power amp tube type inherent differences are much smaller than people realize and most of the things we think of as tube type differences are not intrinsic to the tubes but due to the other design factors. Topology certainly plays a huge role and there is negative feedback, transformers, biasing, all the rest of it.

In using the AxeFx and the Syn modules with my power amps and heads, I'm pretty convinced my fave tones are not leaning heavily on the specifics of the power amp. They vary substantially with output section but speaker choice and preamp and FX/EQ settings dominate the equation for me. The tube amp provides a nice response and coloration but it is not the cornerstone and I can get satisfying stuff happening with multiple power amps. If I were trying to exactly recreate some specific amp, I might feel differently. I just want great tones and lots of them.
Friedman's made that statement several times on the tone talk podcast. He's had a lot of trouble finding reliable el34s over the years.
 

aside

Member
Messages
157
The cab sim on the Syn1 is pretty ordinary sounding, like all analogue ones are. It might be fine for going into a PA but for recording or anything critical it's not happening. You'll need a good IR and a lot of EQ to get something that resembles a good tube power amp and mic'd cab.
 

tucsonsound

Member
Messages
709
I want to explore routing two Syn-2s with a looper. I have a Voodoo Lab GCX looper and an RJM Mastermind GT-10 MIDI foot controller.

Has anyone ever tried using two Syn-2 units in separate loops on a foot switchable looper?

I'd like to connect a Syn-2 in the GCX's loop 1, a second in loop 2 and the FX send and return of the combo amp or head in a third loop.

Then I'd set up presets on the GT-10 to switch between the two Syn-2s. Would the loop I select insert the Syn-2 in that loop, bypassing the amp's internal preamp? And if both loops were bypassed, would the internal preamp be active, just like putting a single Syn-2 into the amp's FX loop?

Other routing paths:

If that basic use case worked, I'd also set up a preset to route either Syn-2 into the other Syn-2, providing a serial preamp into preamp signal path.

Or a stereo path to route either Syn-2 module to two or more amp FX loops. For this routing path, and some more exotic routing paths, I'd be using a Flock Audio Patch. The Patch is a programmable analog looper with a 32 x 32 matrix. My use case is for the studio only.

The Flock Patch can mult any signal and send it to any of its output paths. So for example I could have multiple power amp FX returns fed by one or more preamp.

This will allow me to explore many Syn-2 modules mated to multiple amp types with different circuit combination and tubes.

For example, I could use a Syn-2 loaded with the T/DLX module and a B Man module in a loop. I'd route the Syn-2 into the FX return of a Mesa California Tweed. That puts the T/DLX preamp feeding 5 different power amp circuits each delivering 1 of 5 different power levels through 6V6 power tubes.

Add a Mesa 5:25 Express + preamp section in a loop and I can route it to the power amp section of the Cali Tweed. Or put the FX return of the 5:25 power amp in a loop and I can use the Cali Tweed's preamp with the three circuits/power levels with EL84 tubes on the Express +. Or a few Syn-2s with multiple modules.

I am envisioning four tube amps for my studio; a Cali Tweed (6V6), a Mesa Express 5:25+ (EL-84), a Koch "The Greg" (EL-34) and my '68 Bandmaster (AB763 preamp, 6L6 tubes, fitted with a Metropoulos Zero Loss serial FX loop). Now add two Syn-2s and 4 or 5 modules and the combinations quickly multiply. Yet you stay entirely in the analog realm, so my clients who care about a pure analog path get a huge palette of sounds.
I don't have Syn-2s but I do use a foot switchable looper to route my M4 and RM4 preamps in a stereo rig. The looper is a Rocktron Patchmate Loop 8 and each loop has an input/send/return/output connection, so they can be used as individual A/B selection loops.
Two of my guitars are wired for stereo so I wanted to be able to run full stereo from pick-ups to preamps to power amps, or switch to one pick-up through either/both preamps and into the power amps.
The Patchmate is configured so loops 1/2 select the pick-ups, 3/4 selects pre-FX active, 5/6 selects the preamp outs, and 7/8 selects if post-FX are active.

The pick-ups each hit a buffered split, so the bridge output can feed loop 1 & 2's input, while the neck feeds loop 1 & 2's insert return. With both off, the bridge feeds both preamps, enable just loop 1 and the neck feeds the M4 while the bridge feeds the RM4, enable just loop 2 and the neck feeds the RM4 while the bridge feeds the M4, and finally enable both loops and the neck feeds both preamp. Four options.

Loop 3 and 4 run as standard pedal loops, input comes from loop 1 and 2 respectively, dirt and modulation are inserted in the loops, and the outputs feed the M4 and RM4's inputs. Effectively, each preamp has it's own pedal loop in front that can be bypassed.

The two outputs on the M4 feed loop 5 and 6's inputs, while the two outputs on the RM4 feed loop 5 and 6's returns. Both loops off and the M4 feeds the left and right outputs, both loops on and the RM4 feeds the left and right outputs, just loop 5 on for RM4 left/M4 right, just loop 6 on for M4 left/RM4 right.

Loop 7 and 8 run as a true stereo post FX loop, input comes from loops 5 and 6 respectively, true stereo fx run on the send/returns, and the outputs feed the stereo power amp inputs.

It takes a bit of cabling but the programming is straight forward. The Loop 8 switcher can directly access it's first 8 configurations without sending any program change;

1. Bridge pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp > post fx out > stereo power
2. Neck pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp > post fx out > stereo power
3. Bridge pick-up > pedals out > RM4 preamp > post fx out > stereo power
4. Neck pick-up > pedals out > RM4 preamp > post fx out > stereo power
5. Bridge pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp left/RM4 preamp right > post fx out > stereo power
6. Neck pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp left/RM4 preamp right > post fx out > stereo power
7. Full stereo:
Bridge pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp > post fx out > left power
Neck pick-up > pedals out > RM4 preamp > post fx out > right power
8. Full stereo:
Neck pick-up > pedals out > M4 preamp > post fx out > left power
Bridge pick-up > pedals out > RM4 preamp > post fx out > right power

I use those first 8 memories when I'm manually finding sounds, enabling the fx manually, switching channels on the preamps manually, etc. When I have a combination of tones I like, I send a MIDI program change from a footswitch, then hold the program button on the Loop 8 to record that setting to that patch #, hold the channel button on the M4 to record that channel to that patch # and hold the channel button on the RM4 to record that channel to that patch #. All three are on MIDI channel 1 and if nothing is recorded to a patch # they just ignore it. Keeps programming very simple for an otherwise complex rig, no menus.
 

jeremyjh

Member
Messages
353
I got my SYN-1 and BE/BB yesterday and managed to spend some quality time with it at a higher volume this morning. Overall, I really like it and I think its going to accomplish my main objective which was to add two channels to my single-channel tube combo. Actually, the BB is more of an upgrade for me than I was expecting. I have a cheap tube amp (Monoprice 15W) and I thought its cleans were ok but I was expecting an improvement with the BB. The BB really delivers on my fondest hopes and it is also a better pedal platform than my amp alone.

This works well for my plan which was to use my amp's channel set for light crunch (which I can boost into a very decent sounding medium crunch), use the BB for clean/pedals and of course the BE channel for high gain.

I really like the BE, its very present and responsive. Comparing it to my Dirty Shirley pedal (on BB channel) of course the voicing is different, but there is just something intangibly more raw about the BE channel. I have to say though that the DS pedal is really, really good on the BB channel and I doubt I'll ever buy a DS module for that reason, but I might change how I use the DS. I'm still in the honeymoon phase of course so my feelings could change.

I haven't give the DI a fair shake really, but my initial impression was it was a bit flat and underwhelming. I didn't spend time with eq yet. I did try running the preamp into my DSM Simplifier which also does analog cabinet simulation and that actually sounded pretty good but part of that is it's stereo spread + my reverb and delay in stereo instead of mono. To get the cabsim out from the SYN into stereo I'd have to take my delay/reverb pedal off my board and put it in the FX loop on my mixer to see if the difference is really just stereo, but I think it is more than that.

The Simplifier is not really ideal in this arrangement because it puts its power tube sim in the preamp section, before the effects send. So when I just run into its effects return all I get is cabinet emulation. For cleans I don't think that misses much but higher gain stuff I think benefits more from power tube conditioning. This weekend I will give it a more thorough look and also try running it through some Ownhammer IRs I like in my DAW.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
My plan is coming together... Tolexed Rack came in earlier in the week. 1U Power management came in today. Axe-FX III is waiting at home. Syn-2 and RM-4 are currently arguing about which one gets to go in the rack. :) I can tell already that its going to be heavy.
 

Coalface1971

Member
Messages
659
My plan is coming together... Tolexed Rack came in earlier in the week. 1U Power management came in today. Axe-FX III is waiting at home. Syn-2 and RM-4 are currently arguing about which one gets to go in the rack. :) I can tell already that its going to be heavy.
Hi Chris,

I'm interested in your opinion about the old Egnator/Randall modules (modded or not), rather not against the Synergy reiteration, but whether the things still sound good.

Being the modules are backwards compatible, I can imagine Jaded etc. starting to do mods on the Synergy preamp modules in time.

Don't want to imply that the Syn is recycling. But for example, the Fractal business model is designed to evoke a feeling of obsolescence, like "the Axe2 is no good anymore, you need an Axe3". I've got a an Axeii, and can still pull good sounds from my Ultra it "superseded". There's still Axe2's out on world tours (or was).

Chris.
 

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,810
And its really backed up by the fact that the Shirley amps are not EL34s and they are definitely Marshall style amps.
FWIW, I think that the Dirty Shirley is supposed to be based on a JTM circuit, whereas the BE is based on the later JMP. That original JTM was more or less a Tweed Bassman circuit, with a few British components. The gulf between Fender and Marshall style amps was very small at that point.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
Hi Chris,

I'm interested in your opinion about the old Egnator/Randall modules (modded or not), rather not against the Synergy reiteration, but whether the things still sound good.

Being the modules are backwards compatible, I can imagine Jaded etc. starting to do mods on the Synergy preamp modules in time.

Don't want to imply that the Syn is recycling. But for example, the Fractal business model is designed to evoke a feeling of obsolescence, like "the Axe2 is no good anymore, you need an Axe3". I've got a an Axeii, and can still pull good sounds from my Ultra it "superseded". There's still Axe2's out on world tours (or was).

Chris.
My opinion only, of course:

They still sound as good as they ever did. I've got one module that is directly overlapped: The Judge. It is a single-channel Friedman BE with a saturation switch. Compared to the Synergy BE, it sounds just about the identical- maybe a little darker, though that could be the tubes. Great module and still a favorite. Amusingly, I found it via the Fractal BE model. I had to sell my Fractal to pay down divorce debt. When I asked what could get that sound, "The Judge" was recommended and it did not disappoint.

I've got another module that has no peer that I've found so far: Brahma. Desert. Island. Module. It just sounds like the sound of rock guitar in my head. I need to ask Dave Friedman if he can turn a Synergy module into a Brahma somehow but he's got to finish turning my Plexi into a Brahma first. But if you're a brootalz type of guy, this module would suck to you. It's an 80's rock machine. A lot probably comes down to taste and application.

As a Fractal user, I've never felt that Fractal said that the older model is no good anymore. I think it would be out of character because they are proud of what they built before. Obviously, they want to sell new units and the new units get the development so that the older units fall behind in terms of features, but they still work and sound great. It may be easier on the new ones to get your sound but the old ones still hold up fine.

The newer Synergy modules are sort of like that. They are adding cool useful features that you could do without but would generally appreciate. Look at all the switching goodies on the Ecstasy and Deliverance modules. The older Randall modules never had anything more than a bright switch. (OK, 1086 had the useless scoop switch)

I think the Synergy Ecstasy module is much better than the old Randall XTC module. I don't have one anymore but I remember the XTC module being pretty decent. Like the Synergy Ecstasy, it just wasn't my sound.

I'm not sure if this helps, but my two cents.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
FWIW, I think that the Dirty Shirley is supposed to be based on a JTM circuit, whereas the BE is based on the later JMP. That original JTM was more or less a Tweed Bassman circuit, with a few British components. The gulf between Fender and Marshall style amps was very small at that point.
I appreciate you mentioning this because it gave me an excuse to pull up a few schematics and think about this for a bit.

The tweed Bassman has one major element that is unusual for Fender amps but ubiquitous for Marshall amps.

The Champ, Twin, Deluxe and a variety of other amps that we think of as being "Fender-style" all have the tone controls after the FIRST preamp stage, fed by the tube plate. This lets you control the structure of how subsequent stages distort but doesn't let you EQ the resulting distortion. Presumably, that is why the Boogie Mark series have the graphic.

The Bassman, most all Marshalls, AC30 and most every "Marshall-style" amp I can think of have the tone stack late in the preamp in a cathode follower arrangement. This doesn't let you adjust how the stages will distort but will let you adjust the overall resulting tone- at least until you distort the poweramp. The cathode follower also has some distortion characteristics of its own.

The speaker cabinet would be a first order impact on the resulting tone, so a Bassman feeding brighter, snappier speakers would be more "fender" sounding than a Bassman feeding a sealed 4x12 cabinet which would be more "marshall" sounding.

I'd stand by my original comment that the Shirley is a marshally amp. It has a multistage cascaded preamp with a cathode follower tone stack into an long tail pair driven class AB push-pull output section with negative feedback. I can't think of any other Fenders other than a Bassman with that configuration.
 
Last edited:




Trending Topics

Top