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Tone is in the brain

Killcrop

Member
Messages
11,840
I have come to the conclusion that most amps sound pretty good and that if you use one long enough, it becomes normal sounding. You ear gets adjusted to that particular tone. If you suddenly switch amps the new one can sound weird or unpleasant. Keep playing it and you ears can adjust to the various eq peramiters of that amp.

I recently got a Dirty Shirley Mini. Dialed in my sounds and played it for a week. I switched over to my trusty Ecstasy and the amp sounded fizzy. That amp never sounds fizzy. My brain was playing tricks on me.

The point of this thread is most amps can work for you if you give it time and lower your expectations of what an amp really is. I have been guilty as anyone of deciding to sell an amp before the UPS guy even pulls away from the house. Doesn't stop me from trying everything I can get my hands on but it's harder to sell something these days to I am way less likely to try an amp. I might not be able to sell it for a while.
 
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6,864
Well it's all about what our brains appreciate, isn't it. Our hearing is mid focused and logarithmic, prefers even order overtones in this range... so it's all about satisfying us the way we're designed, really.
 
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3,852
youre hearing it for exactly what it is. you just got used to something else. your ear is expecting what its used to and either you like the difference or you dont.
i trust that initial impact. that, to me, is my most accurate impression.

ive, many times, plugged into an amp and was like, 'yes! this is what im looking for!' if you have a negative reaction you probably dont really like it, youre just forcing yourself to get used to it bc you wasted a ton of money on it and your wallet is dictating what sounds good to you.
 

Mtnbkr123

Member
Messages
515
I seem to be having the exact opposite problem lately. What sounds incredible one day sounds like crap the next. Or, more accurately, what sounds incredible for the first 2 weeks following an acquisition, starts sounding a little crap-like after that. OP - at least you seem to be moving in the preferred direction as time goes by...
 

C-4

Member
Messages
14,216
I have always loved the Plexi sound all of my life, but stupidly chased that sound with different amps from lots of different companies.

Finally in just the last couple of years, I have given up on chasing a sound with an amp from a company that is not known for producing that sound. I mostly fought it for years in disbelief.
Once I resigned myself to accepting what has been in my head all these years, I am finding that I do not grow tired of the sound I hear, and embrace it fully and openly.
 

BelgPJ

Member
Messages
600
I seem to be having the exact opposite problem lately. What sounds incredible one day sounds like crap the next. Or, more accurately, what sounds incredible for the first 2 weeks following an acquisition, starts sounding a little crap-like after that. OP - at least you seem to be moving in the preferred direction as time goes by...
HA! Indeedy

I have had that very issue with certain amps more than others. Without changing settings, guitar or anything else in the signal chain ... except me; my ear, mood on the day, and playing style. So I quickly realised that I was the "variable"

What I couldn't work out was why it happened more with a Mesa MKV in particular. I owned the thing from new for 5 years, and had a love / hate relationship with it from day one. In the end, that's what ended it - for whatever reason, the core tone just didn't gel with me, despite being one of the most functional, practical amps I have owned. I was looking for fault where it didn't belong - it was down to me and me alone

Other amps I have owned on the other hand can do no wrong. If the core tone is that sound in my head, I'll make allowances, and it's all good

OP is right - I can adapt to a wide range and style of amp, more so now than when my world was all Marshall or Mesa for over 20 years. But there have been one or 2 that just didn't flip that switch in my head
 

H. Mac

Member
Messages
2,188
I agree with the OP, except for his suggestion about lowering expectations.

My take on it is to choose an amp that utilizes a simple, time-proven circuit and then use patience and discipline in learning to coax the best from it.
 

ledzep618

Member
Messages
4,751
I find that I sound basically the same through any amp because of my personal playing style and because I tend to EQ amps for a similar sound because it's the sound I like.

Case in point - I have a Mesa DC5 and a Friedman Runt. Now, I like the Runt more because I like the feature set (More seamless clean to dirty switching, DI and a better fx loop) and it has a slightly tighter low end than the Mesa. BUT despite the fact that most on TGP would say that they are wildly different amps and that Mesas can't sound like Marshalls, I can make both of these amps sound close to indistinguishable.
 
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Messages
3,852
I agree with the OP, except for his suggestion about lowering expectations.

My take on it is to choose an amp that utilizes a simple, time-proven circuit and then use patience and discipline in learning to coax the best from it.
lol, youre forcing yourself to use something bc everyone else like it. youve got discipline and youre determined i guess.
 

shanesiegle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,904
I have come to the conclusion that most amps sound pretty good and that if you use one long enough, it becomes normal sounding. You ear gets adjusted to that particular tone. If you suddenly switch amps the new one can sound weird or unpleasant. Keep playing it and you ears can adjust to the various eq peramiters of that amp.

I recently got a Dirty Shirley Mini. Dialed in my sounds and played it for a week. I switched over to my trusty Ecstasy and the amp sounded fizzy. That amp never sounds fizzy. My brain was playing tricks on me.

The point of this thread is most amps can work for you if you give it time and lower your expectations of what an amp really is. I have been guilty as anyone of deciding to sell an amp before the UPS guy even pulls away from the house. Doesn't stop me from trying everything I can get my hands on but it's harder to sell something these days to I am way less likely to try an amp. I might not be able to sell it for a while.
I have the same deal with my 20th Shiva if I play my Sig X for a long time then come back to it. If I play my Budda and then come back to it I don't. There is a lot more going II in Bogner mids (in a good way) than most amps.
 

NewWorldMan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
668
Without changing settings, guitar or anything else in the signal chain ... except me; my ear, mood on the day, and playing style. So I quickly realised that I was the "variable"
I have more amps than I'm willing to admit, though what I will admit is that I probably dial them all in 90% similar for a given genre of music I'm playing at the time because that's what I want to hear. I'm VERY guilty of acquiring a new amp and then trying my best to dial it in...pretty much exactly like my existing amps.

I go through the same process of acquiring and trying, just to end up right back where I started with the same ole' crap I've used for years because that's what I'm used to hearing. My wife thinks it's funny that I go through the same dog and pony show, just to end up right back where I started every single time.

I can appreciate the differences in my amps these days and I'm not quick to tonally judge them, but earlier in my playing days, that was a different story!
 

la noise

Senior Member
Messages
21,156
^^^^How many amps can you make sound like Alex Lifeson?
That is the question, isn't it??? :huh

:D
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,604
Before I go into mixing music, I trusted my ears a lot more. After I started mixing, I learned that my brain wasn't actually hearing "the" sound, but rather, it was hearing "a" sound and putting it's own filter on it. Much like how you can sometimes think you hear your name being called in a noisy environment, or think you hear your cell phone go off, even though it didn't. Another analogy is the blind spot or our nose in our vision. We don't perceive the blind spot, nor often our nose, yet they're both there. It's just our brain filters them out. So you think you're not seeing two little black dots in the upper outer regions of our field of vision or a fleshy block in the lower middle, but you are.

Mixing music has taught me how to train my ears to avoid the effects of those filters. Yet, the more I train my ears, the more aware I am of those filters, and the less I trust what I think I'm hearing. It's the Dunning-Kruger effect. The more you learn, the less you know you know. That's also the reason why I don't put much stock in the opinions of other guitarists when it comes to tone. Well that, and the number of times I heard a band play with terrible tone, and then afterwards heard the guitar player brag about how much time they spent carefully sculpting that hideous abomination of sound.
 

H. Mac

Member
Messages
2,188
lol, youre forcing yourself to use something bc everyone else like it. youve got discipline and youre determined i guess.
Forcing myself? Nah, not even close. It's just the types of amps I gravitate toward, and have been having fun with for the better part of the last 50 years.
 






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