Tube amps are on borrowed time

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by Mr Insane, Aug 13, 2017.

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  1. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    Yeah. A cleaned-up and tidy version of Robert Johnson classics wouldn't sound right. For the classic jazz numbers, it might also be that they were recorded live on the floor, as opposed to being relentlessly mixed and overdubbed. The reverb was real, rather than being added digitally. Whatever it is, they seemed to have done a lot 'more' with 'less'.
     
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  2. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    g
    i didn't see anything about them being fractal, but that could be even more recent..

    The last 2 albums have been good, but sounded different.. muddier not bad, just different.. when I saw them live, and they played songs off MoP and kill em all, it sounded like the albums... they were, and still are phenomenal
     
  3. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I agree. I was listening to a blues show on Buddy Guy's birthday. They were playing all of these rare recordings of Buddy playing with others, recorded live at Chess Records. Was glorious.

    Even when I was recording in the 90's, I prefered a simple room mic or two over everything (how many mics does a simple drum kit need? :dunno: ) close mic'ed and mixed.

    Digital and DI sure makes it a lot easier for everyone to record themselves, though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  4. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    And speaking of DI, how many classic ZZ Top tones were recorded with BFG plugged straight into the board, no amp at all? :hmm:

     
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  5. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    No argument from me.
     
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  6. Caoimhin

    Caoimhin Senior Member

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    I think they use Fractal 95% of the time touring. I believe James is still using Mesa and Kirk is still using Randal live from time to time. I've seen a lot of metal bands are using Kemper over Fractal right now. I heard a Kill 'em All tone setting that sounded exactly like the album.
     
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  7. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    This. And, it doesn't matter what gear people use. I agree. And, that includes listening on the same medium like MP3, which limits fidelity, both older and newer recordings.

    Not a recording engineer, so what do I know, but, I wonder if it has to do with digital recording medium. It catches everything, and it catches it flat, large frequency range. I have to believe music is mixed differently, just because of that. I've only, personally dealt with multitrack cassette recording, when younger, and digital, and it holds true there. PLUS, every voice goes through pitch and similar processing, it seems. That HAS to take out some character imho of the voice.

    There is definitely something to be said for some of those old mics and mic preamps. Granted, you were hearing the voice plus coloration, but it sounded good.
     
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  8. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I think it is on the road near full-time, mix in studio.
     
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  9. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    also you were hearing the "room" as they call it... the natural acoustics of a space. I'm sure great mixers still find a way to capture that when they can, to the best of their ability...

    maybe you touched on it... digital is too perfect at times.
     
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  10. cybermgk

    cybermgk Singin' the body lectric Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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  11. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    cool. I didn't see that. but really, I think it almost makes even more sense on the road than in the studio... rugged, not temperamental, etc...

    that's one thing that DID drive me to digital tho... the ability to reproduce in any environment, plus you can get the same kit the level of the pros without having that 30 years of collecting and sponsorships.
     
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  12. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    We will never know,brother....the Rev loves to keep us in the dark about his tones:cool2:
     
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  13. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    we aren't sure he didn't use a rockman pocket amp on a couple tracks! that F'r gets tone out of anything he plugs into... if robert johnson didn't sell his soul to the devil.. Gibbons MUST have.
     
  14. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    I thought it was confirmed on some of the early stuff. :hmm: But I don't really obsess about it. I just read and archive anything I can remember. :thumb:
     
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  15. bgh

    bgh Senior Member

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    This discussion is kind of like the computer discussion topic of "mainframes are dead". According to them, they have been dead for several decades. I work on mainframes and can verify they are not dead. The landscape shifts. The "typical" use of them has changed. You would be really surprised to learn that when you add something to your "shopping cart", chances are pretty good that one or more mainframes are involved in the process.

    With us as musicians, the same idea applies: The landscape shifts underneath and around us. Tools change, and the use of those tools change. My gear is a mashup of multiple technologies. I have lower-end digital (Zoom G5), lower-end digital + analog/firmware (original Peavey Vypyr), middle-end tube (Mesa Nomad), and upper-end tube (Mesa Mark IV). The same with my pedals. They are a mix of digital, tube, and solid-state.

    Each piece is unique, and each serves a purpose. And, like most others on this board, I do have favorites. Long-term, the Mark IV is my favorite. I like the way it is laid out and the way it sounds. Currently, I am on a "Nomad kick" though. My brother had it for an extended period of time while he built the new cabinet, and I am still in the "second honeymoon" phase with it.

    I dig playing with my modeling gear too. The Vypyr has some models that make me crack a big smile when I plug in. Others, not so much. But, that's not a problem. I mean, the modeler has twenty some-odd amps in models. Chances are no one is going to like all of them.

    PS: I love what you guys say about the Kemper. It really looks interesting. But, and I know this is weird, I cannot get past the box itself. To me, it looks like an old-stlye automotive diagnostic machine. We had several, and they never worked all that well. Every time I see one, the memories of me fighting with them come flooding back.

    Okay, sorry to digress a bit. My main point was that our entire musical landscape is constantly shifting. Things come in, things come out. Tube amps may well be on the way "out" (if the predictions I hear about tube manufacturers turn out to be true). And, it may be they simply have shifted to a different part of the landscape.

    One thing I know is I am happy to be able to get in at various levels in all of the technologies. It is a blast!
     
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  16. hbucker

    hbucker Senior Member

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    The only thing I regret about all of the fantastic choices we have over what people had 35 years ago is that I think we get so side-tracked looking at, experimenting with, and theorizing about different gear that we spend less time actually playing. (Compared to those old guys who were around 35 years ago ;)
     
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  17. bgh

    bgh Senior Member

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    I understand what you are saying. And, as a player you have to be careful. For context, I am one of those who has started playing (much more than) 35 years ago.

    In the "old days" we did not have the internet. The pedal market was not nearly as large as it was now. A great deal of what you learned came from fellow-musicians. You would hear a tone and want to emulate it. The best a lot of us could do was try to get as close as we could with the (limited) gear we had. When you ran into another band, there was a lot more give and take than I find to be present today. You had a wealth of information you had learned, as did they. We had a great time showing each other what we had learned. And, eventually, you ran into someone who knew someone who had learned how to exactly produce the tone you were after.

    Now, you can go on the internet and find it quickly. Chances are there is a pedal that will do it. And, like for me, you can find a digital pedal that will get very close. You do have to watch out. You get a piece of gear now, and it is much more feature-laden than gear used to be. If you are not careful, you can fall into the "tweaking trap".

    The other thing I have noticed (and attribute it to the "landscape shift") is in how we learn songs. We used to wear out an LP simply repeating a riff over and over until we nailed it. Thing shifted and we began wearing out cassettes. You eventually would "learn" a song - and play it in your band. More than once however, we would play the song, and run into someone who (with no malice at all - because they were in the same boat) say "hey, here is how that song is supposed to sound". More times than not, they were correct. I remember specifically a mistake we made in learning "Proud Mary". There was a chord change I missed. And, I can remember showing someone else how to correctly play the intro to, ... wait for it. ... "Smoke on the Water". (It was a hot lick when it first came out. But, everyone was playing it in 5ths, not 4ths).

    In summary, you have to control your gear, and not let it control you. To help me do this, I designate special practice times for "gear only". In them, I don't try to learn a new song or a new chord or a new technique - I concentrate on learning more about a particular piece of gear. My Zoom G5 has a looper feature that is great for this. I can play a lick once and then spend 30 minutes messing around with a pedal - just to see what I can get out of it.
     
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  18. Rhust

    Rhust Senior Member

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    AMEN! I practiced more when I was 16... I had 1 guitar, an amp with 3 knobs on the channel, volume, bass and treble, and 1 distortion box, and a subscription to guitar world. so I had 3 songs to learn every month. now I have a million buttons, 9 guitars all the tabs in the world, and I'm sitting around creating tones instead of playing...

    I'm guilty as charged.
     
  19. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

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    Heathkit
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    I'd like to see something other than guitar forum talk that tube manufacturing is entirely on the way out. No argument from me that the market has shrunk and that NOS supplies are finite. However, until I see tube suppliers jacking their prices on the way to shutting their doors, I remain optimistic there will be supply (I'm sitting on a pile, anyway). Over the past decade, prices have remained remarkably steady. Even the NOS prices haven't skyrocketed. Hell, I assume there must be tens of thousands of Soviet 6P14P-EV tubes, because prices seem to have dropped among the Eastern European vendors on ebay.
     
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