The Mullard "3-D" sound ?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Tommy_G, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

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    Can't afford a NOS Mullard, but..

    Quite often people describe old tubes as having a 3D sound. I have no reference point to understand what this could possibly mean - could someone define the tube sound that is called "3-D" ?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Which other terms that weren't meant to describe sounds would you like us to use? ;)

    Seriously, the terms we use to describe tone generally mean different things to different people (from experience with 1000s of customers and over 17,000 tube orders) so using them can be almost pointless.
     
  3. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    Most times people are using 3-d to mean that the tube somehow sounds fuller, bigger, and larger. All terms that are really too vague to mean anything precise, but say enough to express that people like the tubes better.
     
  4. dk123123dk

    dk123123dk Member

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    Adj.1.three-dimensional - involving or relating to three dimensions or aspects; giving the illusion of depth; "lifelike three-dimensional characters"; "a three-dimensional account of conditions under the new government"; "they shot the movie in three-D"
     
  5. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, I'll take a shot at what I suppose it could mean. It is not a term that I use, but I'm not averse to being creative when expressing an aspect of sonic character (much as Mike K. tries to stop me ;)). To me, that beats not saying anything useful at all, by a long-shot.

    Mullard long-plate 12AX7 excel at a characteristic that I call clarity. When you experience this clarity, you can suddenly distinguish between different sets of frequency ranges, and hear things you've never before heard. On the other hand, a sonically-murky tube (RFT ECC83, for instance) mushes the frequency groups together, giving a less-distinct signal. Play a chord with the Mullard, you can hear all the individual strings that are within it. Play the same with the RFT, and you get a more unified chunk of sound. I think of the RFT in visual arts terms as impressionistic and blurry. The Mullard, on the other hand, could be in the realm of realism (or surrealism, if you like). And, I must add this important point - neither quality is necessarily "better" - they're just different characters, to be used as needed to express your playing.

    It doesn't take much of a stretch, in my imagination, to equate a the higher-resolution clarity to a three-dimensional feeling, metaphorically speaking. With finer resolution, one can "see" (or hear) with greater acuity, and discover new information that was previously obscured by distortion.

    - Thom
     
  6. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    Thanks Thom,

    You have a way with words.

    EnJoY ThE MuSiC
    GrooVey RecOrds
     
  7. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

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    Nice answer TW.

    How does the clarity of a Mullard compare to a Jan Phillips 5751 which is one that I've heard - give kudo's for its clarity, but do not like its other sonic characteristics ?
     
  8. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    I'm with the clarity and murkyness:)

    I suppose you can make the leap from clarity to "3D" but, on the other hand, when in a group of guitarists nodding in agreement (that they know EXACTLY what you mean) it's easy to imagine at least 9 different things going on inside 10 different heads;)

    Call me a cynic, but also a guy who has spoken with 1000s of players who clearly don't agree on what "sonic adjectives" mean. Hence, spouting words that may not be understood doesn't necessarily have any more value than saying absolutely nothing...no matter how much in denial we are. :D
     
  9. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Member

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    I'm searching for that elusive "4-D sound" myself.:D
     
  10. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    Dumb Dumber Dumbest and Dumble
     
  11. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    Denial is a river in Egypt ?
     
  12. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Member

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    The 4-D sound can only be achieved by getting the 3-D sound with 'hair' and swirl.
     
  13. sonnyblu42

    sonnyblu42 Member

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    The first time I heard a great sounding vintage Fender Bassman... That sounded 3D, and the other adverbs... Big, Open. I 'm trying to achieve this sound also with my JTM45, Plexi and Bassman by using Tung-Sol RI V1, Mullard RI V2, NOS Phillips 5751 V3. In all three amps...
     
  14. doublee

    doublee Member

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    Diff Tubes = 3 D? BS. Now, 2 amps ARE 3-D.

    In my 55 years, tubes dont change sound that much. Changing your attack makes up for most of the small difference. Amp sounding a little dull? Dig in a little more. What matters sometimes is replacing a clearly bad tube with...whatever.

    In the end, practice like 2 or more hours a day is unfortunately hard but rewarding work and tubes aint gonna change that.
     
  15. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Isn't that what you get when you use the ceiling fan when you......oh, never mind:)
     
  16. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Yes but , to many, "rolling" gear (including tubes) can be much more rewarding and certainly require a lot less effort per unit measure of gratification :D
     
  17. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    Mike can you get a matched pair of 44 double D's hold the hair!

    swirl is good
     
  18. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    But when those 44DD's come around, be sure to duck!:dude
     
  19. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Mike, you're correct about the 9 different things going on inside 10 different heads - I know there's a potential for subjective mis-interpretation. This is especially true if those 10 opinions are based upon the limited experience of neophytes experiencing their first taste of NOS tubes, and noting the vast improvement over current-production choices.

    For the sake of argument here, let's just discuss our own, personal impressions of various tube types, shall we? All of those thousands of conflicting opinions you keep bringing up don't mean a thing when A) you don't know what their background experience is (what are they comparing to?), B) they don't know much about identifying the tubes they discuss (hey let's consider how many different kinds of "Amperex Bugle-Boy" 12AX7 have been ooohed and aaahed over), C) they just paid lots of money for their valued tube, so it darn well better be the "best," and D) you have not formulated your own opinions based upon your own experimentation.

    I know that the charming folly of humanity is to color one's world view with one's own subjective beliefs. It is called projection, and we all do it. You have admitted that you have a "tin ear" more than once. I'm not surprised that you've remained noncommittal when discussing tube characteristics - it is simply that you've not experienced them yourself. I encourage you to put your subjective projection aside, and consider that others do have the ability to discern character differences, and not try to refrain from making snide comments about my and other people's genuine experiences. I know that it is often easier to destroy and deride than to take a risk with creative effort, but please, try to have respect for those of us that brave this challenge.

    I'll gladly keep my authentic personal experiences with tubes - I would never trade them for 10s or 100s of thousands of second-hand rumors.

    - Thom
     
  20. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

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    This is so true. My days of hardcore commitment to technique ended about 15 years ago, and now the better part of my musical interest is the technology behind great sound.
     

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