Why dont amp makers listen to us?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by StompBoxBlues, Oct 29, 2005.


  1. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I know...I know...COST. BUT I think they are wrong. I think the added cost would be gladly paid by most of us.

    What I mean is...

    I know not all guitarists even want reverb, that's cool, but on amps that DO have reverb, MAKE IT FOOTSWITCHABLE!!
    There is just no good reason I can think of for not doing that.
    Fender is a big culprit there.

    Selectable output impedance. 4-8-16 ohm, parallel outs.
    Always!! (how many of us own more than one amp and have to spend lots of time deciding on cabinets that can be used with all of them? I modufy my cabs to be series or parallel adjustable (2 x cabinets) but even then I can't cover all bases)
    Some amps I have ONLY allow 16ohm impedance to ext cab...one has only one 4 or one 8 ohm out, can't use both at the same time.

    If it is a combo, let ME choose if I want to use the combo's speakers or not in conjunction with an ext cab. I know, it is more money for the transformer, I'd pay it.

    I have actually decided against an amp because it wouldn't be compatible speaker-wise.

    ALWAYS include an LED on two or more channel amps.
    Cheapest would be acceptible, that it only lit in the "lead channel(s)" mode. I want to know when I am on the lead or the clean channel. Also an LED on the footswitch would be really welcome.

    Don't put a suitcase handle on a 60 pund combo amp. It is useless and actually invites bumping the amp when one invariably tries to carry it like a suitcase. Put side handles on it.

    Amp COVERS included..I was really pleasantly surprised when I bought my Fender Hot Rod DeVille and it included a dust cover. Nice one too! Nobody includes them anymore, not with expensive recording equipment, and dust is really an enemy to sliders, etc.

    Make the footswitch usable from "normal" cables and let it plug in to the footswitch. Either phone plug, or stereo...Fender does it right here. If I need to extend mine, I can do it with a regular guitar patch cord that is longer.

    Don't wire the combo speaker direct into the amp!

    Don't have the control panel upside down. Nobody (practically) is using amps like these in a band where they have the amp in front of them. Make them readable from the front.

    Put pots in that gradually let you adjust...can't stand amps where the thing has a massive volume (or tonal) change between 2.346 and 2.555 on the dial :)

    Effects loop! Make them parallel, controllable or switchable between +10db, 0db, -10db.

    What did I miss?
     
  2. StinkMonkey

    StinkMonkey Member

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    I agree with ya, butnoone listens to me, ever.
     
  3. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    What did you miss? Not much!

    Other than the reverb and fx loop options (since I don't offer them), every single request you've made is already incorporated into my latest amps...right down to the LED's, cables, lettering, output jacks and pots. Since my combos come in under 50 lbs, I hope the Marshall style handle (secured with machine screws and T-nuts) will do on that score. . ;)

    Thanks for pointing up these type of features, as alot of my clients had asked for the exact same things.

    :D
     
  4. zachomega

    zachomega Member

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    I think it is fair to say that most of Fender's early success was partly due to the fact that Leo Fender invited bands to give their opinions directly to him and then he would incorporate these ideas into his designs.

    Since the 1965 though, Fender has become a corporate entity which has its mind set on how to make the biggest prophet with the least actual work. Changes are slow to be made.

    I agree with you about not wanting reverb. It clutters up the circuitry. A footswitch would be nice, but it could just as soon not be included and I'd happily pay less for said amplifier. While you point the finger at Fender no this one, I have to say...Modern Fenders have some of the worst sounding reverb. It is just too overpowering all of the time. It's best setting is 0.

    Selectable impedance...A lot of companies selling you the head or whatever want to sell you their cab too. If they run only 1 impedance, it certainly does limit your options. I'm not fond of it either, but I live.

    I suspect the reason universal transformers aren't always used has little to do with the fact that it wouldn't be convenient. The fact that only a handful of people would use it is probably the real reason. And conveniently, it does happen to cut cost. Sure it might kill a sale here and there, but a company like Fender doesn't need your sale and a feature like that is only going to appeal to guys who even know what it means. Most guys buying amplifiers are clueless. They buy a Fender because their dad told them he had a Fender or a Marshall because their favorite band uses a Marshall. It is the sad truth.

    The handles on amps are a joke. Kind of like a time bomb. Eventually it will go. But think of it this way, the modern steel reinforced handle is a real step up from leather handles of yesteryear. How many amps do you figure were destroyed from their own preoccupation with gravity when the handle finally gave?

    Amp cover? That just means you aren't using your amp enough...haha, just kidding. I like having covers too.

    I'm not sure I understand what you are talking about with upsidedown control panels? Are you talking about rear panel amps? I happen to love them.

    -Zach Omega



     
  5. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Lots of Fender bashing here.......

    I happen to LOVE newer fenders, and find they sound FANTASTIC. My HR Deville has been one of my most used amps over the past 10 years, with not one problem. Tonally, it has surpassed every boutique I have owned except for my Brunos. Maybe fender needs to learn a few minor issues to help the player I agree. However, in the bigger picture, the boutique companys still need how to learn to make an amp that sounds as good as a modern, $6-700 Fender, never mind their 1k priced RI series and other higher amps. :eek: My Dad does not play music, and I bought a fender becuase it smoked the boutiques in A/B comparisons. :dude I agree the reverb on the HR series is a bit overpowering, but the SRRI and some of the higher end models are still THE reverbs. To my ear, they KILL amps like Matchless, Badcat, ToneKing, Carr, Victoria,TwoRock, Fuchs and others reverbs. :AOK
     
  6. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Its not necessarily cost. My old PV Ultra 112 has a lot of the things you mentioned and it wasnt an arm and a leg.(footswitchable reverb,switchable impedence,parallel outs,leds for channel on the FS) Same with my JSX. The new Carvin V-3 has almost all these issues covered too and its not that expensive either.No,Im not am amp snob either. If it sounds good to me and has the features I want thats all I need!:)
     
  7. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I don't think it is "Fender bashing" at all...no how..no way.

    Fender make quality products, at least in my opinion. Even something as insignificant as their guitar tuners...just scream quality and "heft".

    I think though that a legitimate point was made about them. All corporations when they get big enough develop similar thinking, and I think he hit the nail on the head.

    I just bought (after lusting after them for two years...but buying smaller amps) a Fender Hot Rod DeVille, and haven't yet played with my band with it (monday I will!) and I LOVE the sound of this beast. It sounds GREAT.

    But for me and LOTS of other guitarists....we definitely wanted to be able to have the reverb footswitchable. You want it on some songs on and off...I love playing a solo with some reverb then at some point turning it off...it's like the guitar came walking up an alley and just GOT HERE...it's a good effect, and I use it the other way too. A built in effect like that most folks want to be able to turn on and off remotely.

    Gave them kudos for the color! Also that the LEDS on the footswitch tell you what mode you are in! Also that the pedal is "pluggable" using a normal patch cord, so if I need extra length it is no problem.

    Also the dust cover is great for weirdos like me. Also, they have a built in strap to hold the footswitch IN the cabinet for transporting. Those little things just tell me they thought of us.

    But the non-switchable reverb seems really....well, they must have made a conscious decision, and I don't like that.

    The sound is great. I know they had some problems with some runs (cold solder joints, failing plate resistors, etc) and lots of folks (though to be honest, they sell SOOO many, I have no idea what the percentage is compared with companies that sell less quantity) but they seem to have tackled the problems and fixed them.

    I also own a Prosonic (see the other thread here) that I love/hate...hate that the effects loop is designed for rackmount (+10db) and not switchable...many of us use pedals in the loop...or want to.

    Nothing is perfect. I don't expect that. Just that so often there are these small things. I have a Peavey Classic 30 that I really like too (and it complements the HRDVille) but they didn't put in an LED or anything to tell you which channel you are on...really stupid. There are lots of times (since I tend to keep distortion low, just use it is a lead channel with a little more boost, and a little distortion) where I am not sure if I am using it or the clean channel...making a small adjustment on the fly, hit the wrong volume knob and now your OTHER channel is not right anymore...plus I didn't change the one I wanted to.

    Just small stuff, but...
     
  8. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Almost all of my amps have these features, i.e. Fender Twin -footswitchable reverb, Marshall 6100 side handles , none have hard-wired speakers, all have led's for channel -switching , most have dual parallel /series loops.. We're just looking at different amps.. Yes, suitcase handles on heavy amps is DUMB and I see it all the time? Why ? They're for guys who keep thier amp at home and don't move it.. Then it's still dumb to have that on a cab because the amp head's leg's aren't always tall enough to go over it!!! Then you need to buy new legs.. AS for the cover.. .I've only bought 2 amps ever out of the 25 + that I own currently and abuot that many in the past and that's a Deluxe Reverb RI and an old Twin .. they both came with covers. Keep looking and most amps actually have all features you won't... I've had the Marshall 2501 and 6101 that have the dual switchable loops , and so do VHT's.... EVERY amp I own has a 4, 8 ,or 16 ohm tap that's useable too...

    Good luck! If you're talking about only certain amp builders, talk to them and ask them to build something for you with your needs, or just buy any of the other zillions of amp that have the above features like mine do! ERIC
     
  9. zachomega

    zachomega Member

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    If it works for you, great! I had a Hot Rod Deluxe and had a lot of problems with it. None of them were due to faulty build. My problems were all tonal problems. For example, the reverb sounding terrible. Don't know what standard you have for reverb, but I was basing it on older Fender reverbs as well as Ampeg reverbs (which are capacitance coupled, not transformer coupled). Either way, the new circuitry is nothing like old circuitry. It doesn't use any tubes or a transformer for that matter. It is like playing in a cave at 1.

    The headroom was another issue. At 4 (out of 12) it would break up with single coils. Humbuckers had it breaking up at 3. Why even go to 12. Better question, why have a drive and more drive channel that you can't tell apart once the amp is cranked? Why have LED's to notice what channel you are on when the clean channel hisses least, drive channel hisses a bit more, and the more drive channel hisses like a sack a snakes?

    The stock speaker sounded fine for cleans, but the moment you drove it, it got flubby. I'm not a hi gain sort of guy. I think my amps will kind of prove that. But this thing just sounded mushy. Always a lack of clarity.

    Don't even get me started on the RI amps. They all have a bad case of chassis rattle which older Fenders don't have. The way the chassis is constructed is quite different and this has led to an awful sound that develops on EVERY RI I have played. If you don't hear it, give it time.

    The cost of the amps have little to do with anything. Fact is, I paid less for my 65 Bandmaster last year than I did for my Hot Rod Deluxe.

    So for the same money, I can have an old Fender built like a tank, tonally superior, and that will appreciate in value.

    But as I said, if you like it, that is all that matters. You are the only one who has to like your tone in the end.

    -Zach Omega

     
  10. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    Indeed!
     
  11. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    wow, you just described a mighty Mesa Tremoverb Combo!!!!
     
  12. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    You know...an amp that at least as far as the specs (I've never played one or even heard one) is the Genz-Benz (or is is Benz-Genz?? I can never remember) Diablo 60 combo.

    That thing has (among features I don't recall at the moment) things like

    -knobs that CLICK as you adjust them! How precise is that?
    -countour knobs, with active EQ
    -foot pedal that is basically a control center for all settings...gives lots of options
    - Voltmeter outs and pots for checking and biasing each tube seperately


    Just tons more things that I read about in the review and went "wow...oh wow...what a great idea!!" over and over.

    As I said though...never played one.
     
  13. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    My buddy knows the local rep here in SoCal. He brought over the 2x12 cabinet with the ports on the bottom with that amp head. It got sent back faster than a boomerang returns to the guy who threw it. He said it was pretty "sterile" sounding...
     
  14. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    I was thinking, Hey, My Road King has almost everything he listed!
    I've heard the effects loops sound bad but I haven't tried em yet. We'll see.
     
  15. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    the effects llop on the Tverb is awesome, you just have to learn how to use it and it depends on thye gear too!

    Diff gears have diff settings!Duh!:D
     
  16. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I agree with most statements on high end amps, but for the low end amps these things would price them out of the market.

    You have to realize that guitar amps sound like they do because of budgeting issues. For example the beautiful Fender Bassman 4x10 built in '59 uses a 35 watt transformer and paper caps. These things led to that sweet overdrive this amp is capable of. Without this, we may be playing pristine clean tones today... yuck.
     
  17. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Yea I forgot to mention my Tremoverb too, although some people complain about the weight, but gosh it's balanced and ez to carry .. Actually most of my amps have these features, and they're NOT what readers on this board refer to as -hi-end or boutque amps.. It's the mass produced amps that have these features and the small amp co/boutique amps that don't , imo (if I was to generalize which I don't like doing) and that's because it would drive their cost up too much , as the small guys already have HUGE costs due to lack of bulk buying.

    ERIC
     
  18. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    Doesn't really bother me. If the reverb is decent to begin with, I consider it part of the amp's sound. Set it and forget it.

    Sure, that makes sense for an amp head. For a combo amp, all I care about is whether it sounds good in its stock configuration.

    Impedance matching isn't like balancing your checkbook. Most amps can tolerate a 2:1 or 1:2 mismatch.

    I have to say that I find this one amusing and a bit puzzling. It seems you'd be able to keep track of which channel you last kicked in without turning around to look at an LED on the amp...

    Good point.

    Another good point.

    That approach is, of course, limited to simple footswitches. A lot of feature-full modern amps have multiple footswitchable functions. In that case, I'd much rather have an electrically-simple footswitch with a multi-conductor cable and plug than something that's more technologically complex (e.g. midi or proprietary protocols).

    I've only see this in very low-end amps. It's done that way to discourage the owners from running the amp into an open-circuit (tube amps) or too low an impedance (solid-state amps).

    Ah, tradition! We guitarists love tradition, don't we? ;)

    Yeah, I know what you're talking about...

    But here's another take on that situation:

    Guitar amps have traditionally been built to play loud. Its only in the last decade or so that we've seen a lot of people buying tube amps to (try to) play at "polite" volumes. And of course the same amps are still used to play the way God intended, at volumes in the 110 dB+ range...

    One way of thinking about this is that the 0 to 3 range of volume doesn't really get used in performance. Making 3 through 10 be the useful range of the volume dial gives the performing guitarist a lot more leeway in setting the sweet spot of the amp's volume. If you changed the taper of the pot so that the living room guitarist had a lot of control in the 0 to 7 range, then the performing guitarist would be frustrated trying to find just the right setting somewhere between "8.346 and 8.555"...

    I think the amp designers have it right when they compress all the decent low-volume settings into a tiny fraction of the volume control's range: the living room player has a lot more time than the working guitarist to spend tweaking settings.

    Are you saying that all FX loops should be parallel? If so, I strongly disagree. Parallel loops create phase-cancellation problems. Also, using an effect that introduces a time-delay (as most digital FX do) causes comb filtering when used in a parallel loop.

    A loop level of -10 dB is suitable for the vast majority of players who run a stompbox or two in the loop. Adding multiple selectable loop levels makes everyone pay to satisfy the needs of a minority of the users. Not economically sound...

    I think you did a good job.

    The only thing I'd add is the built-in antigravity unit for amps weighing over 50 pounds... :)
     
  19. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    Many amp makers DO listen... it's just that not everyone agrees on what the "ideal" is, so that's why some folks are interested in a MK IV or a Cyber Twin, and others are interested in a 4-knob Alessandro
     
  20. Loves_LPs

    Loves_LPs Member

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    I agree with all of the original gripes listed!

    When was the last time you saw anyone playing behind his amp? :confused: My favorite example of this, is Gibson's last series of amps.

    I can just hear the discussion in egineering. Engineer #1: "Hey, let's put the controls on the back, so the guys leave 'em alone. The less they are used, the longer they last - we can use cheaper pots, and still get no added warranty expense! Engineer #2: Good idea! Let's put them on the back and at the bottom! Then they can't even reach them standing on their heads, looking like a doofus on stage! Plus, it will be so dark back there, nobody could read the panel anyway! NOBODY will mess with our cheap knobs! They will last forever!"

    On a related tack, why can't they make easy-to-read panels? Use BIGGER letters, in CLEAR, LEGIBLE fonts. Panel lighting would be nice for dark stages, too! I hate those 20-knob panels where the knob obscures the label unless you get on your knees to look below the knob.
     

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