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Amp v. Pedal?


Jersey Jack

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I'm trying to get a better amp sound from my guitar (American Tele)--something tube-like if not exactly tubed. I already own a Fender FR212R, which is solid-state and very loud, but is a bit lacking as far as tone goes. And it also generates a lot of hiss, particularly on its distortion channel, and this makes it difficult to use for recording.

 

So I'm torn between two options:

 

1. The Vox Valvetronix AD30VT, which I could use for recording at home or miked through a PA system for those rare occasions when I play live. $239

 

2. A Zoom GU.1U effect pedal, run through my Fender FM212R. $169

 

Both of these options would give me effects and amp modeling. The Zoom pedal has a drum machine and volume pedal built in, and its a little cheaper, but I've heard sweet things about the Vox amp, both for modeling and for effects.

 

I know I have to get my a#* out there and try this stuff, but the basic question is what is best way to get a tube sound with effects? Miking a low-wattage amp or using a pedal with a high-wattage solid state amp?

 

Thanks!

Jersey Jack

 

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It seems if your amp is noisy to begin with, adding an effects pedal isn't going to change that. I've got the AD30VT and the AD15VT (is the 50 next?). I like it a whole lot, but yes, you must get out and try it.

 

With the amp, if you go to manual mode you will have to learn its idiosyncrasies as different knobs do different things depending on which amp is being modeled.

 

The worship leader at our church just got the 100 watt dual speaker model.

Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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The American Tele's pickups are single coils. No doubt, they'll generate a lot of noise in more overdriven situations, especially if you're too close to the amp. I'm willing to bet that if you tested a humbucker guitar, the noise problem would be eliminated, or reduced enough to tolerable levels.

 

I'm not sure if you want to have anything modded on the guitar, but you might consider using some noise cancelling single coils if you can't live without the Tele tone when using distortion. Either that, or have the guitar's wiring and/or shielding checked out. That's so you can pinpoint anything that could be causing the noise.

 

Also, make sure the amp's properly grounded when you're recording. If you record digitally, try turning off the monitor while recording if you can, or just move far enough from it to reduce unwanted noise. (This applies more or less to traditional CRT monitors, not so much the newer flat panel, thin LCD's.)

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Originally posted by Jack Ax:

I know I have to get my a#* out there and try this stuff, but the basic question is what is best way to get a tube sound with effects?

There is a "new" (at least to me!) type of effects pedal that may help get a better tube sound from your solid state Fender amp... the "tube pre-amp pedal". For example, the Seymour Duncan SFX-03 Twin Tube Classic Preamp Pedal.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Seymour-Duncan-SFX03-Twin-Tube-Classic-Preamp-Pedal?sku=159341

 

What type of tube amp sound are you looking for? High gain? Crunch? Clean?

 

What type of effects are you looking for?

"Spend all day doing nothing

But we sure do it well" - Huck Johns from 'Oh Yeah'

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Originally posted by Big Red 67:

Pro Junior from Fender is really cool for a combo. It has been enough to keep up in a funk band live for me.

Yep, I agree, the Pro Junior is a nice amp with a great tone. I like the Blues Junior, too (I have one of those).

 

EmptinessOfYouth on this forum had a Pro Junior until recently if you want feedback by someone else who owned one in addition to Big Red's.

 

I haven't owned a Pro Junior but I've played one a few times. I liked it a lot. It's a nice simple amp in the vein of the Champ. It has an input, volume and tone control.

 

I prefer the Blues Junior because it has a tone stack, a gain control and a spring reverb. I've always kind of felt that a Fender amp without reverb was just not complete. But that's just me.

 

And welcome to the forum. :D:wave: Caevan is our "official" greeter but he's been having his troubles in recent months. I'm sure he'll be along to greet you eventually, though.

Born on the Bayou

 

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I got a great growl outta the pro junior and it was plenty loud...but i also got hiss that i could not get rid of and i didnt like only having one channel. Great sounding, definately a nice studio amp but i couldnt play in a band with it.

 

My peavey classic 30 on the other hand *heaven*

 

by the way LP when you gonna make me a nice pine or oak enclosure for it??

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Originally posted by EmptinessOFYouth:

I got a great growl outta the pro junior and it was plenty loud...but i also got hiss that i could not get rid of and i didnt like only having one channel. Great sounding, definately a nice studio amp but i couldnt play in a band with it.

 

My peavey classic 30 on the other hand *heaven*

 

by the way LP when you gonna make me a nice pine or oak enclosure for it??

Actually, I forgot you wanted one. :rolleyes: My brain is pretty much swiss cheese these days (got too many things on my plate, I think).

 

You really want one? Send me a PM or an email and we'll talk about it. :D

Born on the Bayou

 

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I really like the AD30VT (did I ever mention that I own one? ;) ) but when I run the line out into the PC for recording, the effects sound a bit "chemical".

 

The amp sounds really good by itself though. I've pretty much given up on pedals since I bought it.

 

So, if it sounds fine *to my ears*, I really should mike the amp up for recording and forget the line out because that's too "up front".

 

Idea: Have you tried miking your amp up? Maybe you can lose some of the hiss that way. OTOH, solid state will never sound quite like tubes. I don't care what they say.

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Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

Don't waste any more money trying to get a "tube sound" out of solidstate gear. Not going to happen.

 

Go get you a real tube amp.

Yes, amen.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

Don't waste any more money trying to get a "tube sound" out of solidstate gear. Not going to happen.

 

Go get you a real tube amp.

I agree. Too many folks spend more money trying to get a tube sound out of their amps then it would have cost to just buy a tube amp.
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Well, thanks to everyone for the advice! Of course, the real thing is the best way to go, and I expect to get there eventually. My immediate goal is to get an upgrade in tone, and with the Vox Valvetronix AD30 I also get increased portability--only 29lbs! So I just tested one out at the local store and brought that baby home for an early father day gift. The sound is not perfect, but it is much better than the sound I was getting before.

 

I should say, by the way, that I'm fairly new to guitar as a primary instrument. I've been playing for years in my spare time, but I've been a keyboardist until recently, when age and a bad back convinced me that it's time to retool as a guitarist.

 

Thanks for the kind welcome as well, though I have posted a few times here and there on this list.

Jersey Jack

 

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Originally posted by A String:

Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

Don't waste any more money trying to get a "tube sound" out of solidstate gear. Not going to happen.

 

Go get you a real tube amp.

I agree. Too many folks spend more money trying to get a tube sound out of their amps then it would have cost to just buy a tube amp.
It's amazing to me that we can put a man on the moon, cure many diseases, solve complex architectural problems like giant skyscrapers, spans, and bridges, but we still haven't found a way to mimic tube amplification with solid state! And I agree, that tube sound (and I do love the smell of the tubes when they heat up too!) isn't available in transistors...
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Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

 

"Don't waste any more money trying to get a "tube sound" out of solidstate gear. Not going to happen.

 

Go get you a real tube amp."

 

___________________

 

I'm curious: Would you consider the Vox Valvetronix as fulfilling the above commandment? It seems to be a hybrid creature, with a tube running the preamp. (Or, as Vox puts it, with a tube in "a power amp circuit..that would normally be used in a preamp." WTF?)

 

Does that count? Am I among the saved?

Jersey Jack

 

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Originally posted by Jack Ax:

Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

 

"Don't waste any more money trying to get a "tube sound" out of solidstate gear. Not going to happen.

 

Go get you a real tube amp."

 

___________________

 

I'm curious: Would you consider the Vox Valvetronix as fulfilling the above commandment? It seems to be a hybrid creature, with a tube running the preamp. (Or, as Vox puts it, with a tube in "a power amp circuit..that would normally be used in a preamp." WTF?)

 

Does that count? Am I among the saved?

I'm no expert, but a little 12AX7 or 2 in the preamp probably doesn't do much toward achieving the "tube" sound. Then again, I may be wrong. Lots of devices these days claim to give you that tube sound because they throw one in there, but I'm not convinced. In fact, I have a Behringer mic preamp that has a tube in it, but it doesn't sound much different with it in the chain or not. It may add a little, but by the time the "tube" (preamp) section runs through the solid state (amplification) section, much of that "tube" sound is lost to transistor-processed electrons...
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Originally posted by Jack Ax:

I'm curious: Would you consider the Vox Valvetronix as fulfilling the above commandment? It seems to be a hybrid creature, with a tube running the preamp. (Or, as Vox puts it, with a tube in "a power amp circuit..that would normally be used in a preamp." WTF?)

 

Does that count? Am I among the saved?

No. Lot's of devices throw a 12AX7 in the circuit for marketing reasons. Typically they are run at extremely low voltage and pretty much behave like transistors would in the same application. In fact, solid state devices usually do the heavy lifting in these circuits. It's not necessarily a bad sound but it doesn't sound like a real tube circuit.

 

The Valvetronix is a digital modelling device. It does a very good job of mimicking the sound of tube amps. However, like all digital modelers, it falls short in replicating the dynamic response that a tube amp delivers.

 

Sorry, you're among the damned.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

Originally posted by Jack Ax:

I'm curious: Would you consider the Vox Valvetronix as fulfilling the above commandment? It seems to be a hybrid creature, with a tube running the preamp. (Or, as Vox puts it, with a tube in "a power amp circuit..that would normally be used in a preamp." WTF?)

 

Does that count? Am I among the saved?

No. Lot's of devices throw a 12AX7 in the circuit for marketing reasons. Typically they are run at extremely low voltage and pretty much behave like transistors would in the same application. In fact, solid state devices usually do the heavy lifting in these circuits. It's not necessarily a bad sound but it doesn't sound like a real tube circuit.

 

The Valvetronix is a digital modelling device. It does a very good job of mimicking the sound of tube amps. However, like all digital modelers, it falls short in replicating the dynamic response that a tube amp delivers.

 

Sorry, you're among the damned.

Yeah, forgot to mention that as far as I understand, you have to run a ton of voltage through a tube before it starts behaving like one...
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Originally posted by Gabriel E.:

The Valvetronix is a digital modelling device. It does a very good job of mimicking the sound of tube amps. However, like all digital modelers, it falls short in replicating the dynamic response that a tube amp delivers.

They've gone to insane lengths to duplicate stuff though. I mean, they must have put in some sort of delay circuit to make it look like it's actually warming up, and some sort of filter processor that makes it actually go louder as it warms up. And there's that little orange light under the grille that makes it look as if there's a valve in there. And that funny old circuit that makes it sound different when it starts to get seriously hot... :rolleyes:

 

On the other hand, maybe Vox ain't as clever as that and just had to settle for using actual valves. :D

 

Have you played one?

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A String said: "Too many folks spend more money trying to get a tube sound out of their amps then it would have cost to just buy a tube amp."

 

Again, I'm new to this, relatively speaking, but all of the tube amps I've seen are over $1,000. I'm thinking primarily of the Fenders and Marshals. I paid $239 for the Vox Valvetronix. What *genuine* tube amp is available near this price--or even under $1,000?

Jersey Jack

 

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Originally posted by Jack Ax:

...I've been a keyboardist until recently, when age and a bad back convinced me that it's time to retool as a guitarist...

Do you have a keyboard amp? If so, have you tried playing guitar through it? I just got a bass amp and one of the reviewers on Harmony-Central had discovered that it makes a wonderful guitar amp.
Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:

They've gone to insane lengths to duplicate stuff though. I mean, they must have put in some sort of delay circuit to make it look like it's actually warming up, and some sort of filter processor that makes it actually go louder as it warms up. And there's that little orange light under the grille that makes it look as if there's a valve in there. And that funny old circuit that makes it sound different when it starts to get seriously hot... :rolleyes:

 

On the other hand, maybe Vox ain't as clever as that and just had to settle for using actual valves. :D

 

Have you played one?

Actually it was a Tonelab floor unit I tried. Sounded better than my POD but still had that weird latency/flat response that the POD has.
"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Originally posted by Starcaster:

I'd go for the Valvetronix just because I've never played through a distorted tube amp (just a Fender Twin-reverb at a Guitar Center once to see if they really did own surf. It did).

And maybe this is the issue. There are a lot of guitarists who have never played through cranked tube amps so they don't know how awesome they actually are and instead settle on digital/ss approximations. Like people who have never heard Aretha Franklin and think that Celine Dion is a good singer.

 

Go back to Guitar Center, plug into a Fender Super Reverb or Mesa/Boogie MK1 and crank that sucker up. Dont crank the Twin though - you'll go deaf.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Originally posted by Jack Ax:

A String said: "Too many folks spend more money trying to get a tube sound out of their amps then it would have cost to just buy a tube amp."

 

Again, I'm new to this, relatively speaking, but all of the tube amps I've seen are over $1,000. I'm thinking primarily of the Fenders and Marshals. I paid $239 for the Vox Valvetronix. What *genuine* tube amp is available near this price--or even under $1,000?

A used one. You can get Fender Blues Jrs., DeVilles, etc. used for a couple of bills. Or look at older "silverface" or "series II" Fenders from the 70s and 80s respectively. Likewise Marshall JCM 800s and 900s can be had used for pretty cheap. I love my early 90s Sovtek Mig-50 (it's a Russian Marshall clone) that my wife bought for a couple of hundred $$.

 

Carvin makes a number of good tube amps that sell for $600-900 new. Peaveys aren't as well made but they are also very cost-effective and usually sound pretty good.

 

In the end, you get what you pay for. Good musical instruments cost money. If you can't afford a nice amp and guitar, save up until you can. Don't expect a $240 box to sound and feel like a real amp.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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