Tube amps...why?

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by Boogie, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts

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    And its this attitude that I was referring to. Just because you can hear the difference doesn't make one version 'inferior' or that they are 'compromising' their sound. Its not flawed until the artist who recorded the piece decides that their sound is 'flawed'. If they decide its just as good for them, then its not flawed or a 'compromise'

    Its like saying the SE Paul's guitar, the SE Custom 24 etc are 'flawed' or a 'compromise' on their tone because they are different from a Core version, and as these are 'modelled' on the core, these mist be the 'flawed' version, the artist is compromising because they haven't spent 4x as much (or more) on the US made versions.

    You could go further and say all the re-issues are 'flawed' and artists are compromising because they are buying a guitar modelled on the orignal guitars. There are a LOT of digital pedals recreating things like Tape Delay, Spring Reverb etc - none of which are inferior and at most, they are 'different' and its subjective as to which someone may prefer - just like the subjective nature as to whether a person prefers an SE or even a CE Custom 24 over a Core Custom 24.

    If an artist is happy with the sound, whether that sound has been amplified by Valves, pushed out by a Cab and recorded via a Mic or just a DI from an Axe-FX, Helix or Kemper, then neither are a 'compromise, not inferior. Artists may actually prefer a modeller over a Valve and that wouldn't make valve inferior, just a different technology. Its up to the artist as to which they prefer or where they prefer to use the technology if they happily use both. Both are tools to an artist and a method to give their instruments the voice that they want others to hear. Where the artist chooses to use Digital options, whether that's just a single Pedal recreating Tape Delay and/or Spring reverb, whether that's the whole pedal board (like a Helix or GT1000), whether that's the Amp head (like a Kemper) or Cab/mic or the whole backline, that is their choice and not a flawed compromise for them.

    Its like dismissing electric vehicles because the combustion engine is the traditional method of powering a car. Saying the electric vehicle is flawed because it doesn't sound as good as a V8, doesn't have the range and takes too long to charge at the moment. But one day, the electric vehicle could replace the combustion engine and those in Electric vehicles saying the combustion engine is flawed as its noisy, polluting the atmosphere, not as efficient etc etc. Both are viable today and both perform the same task of transporting people around and look at what has happened to Diesel cars. A lot of cities won't allow Petrol cars on the roads in a decade or two.

    As far as I am concerned, Modellers or any Digital options, regardless of where in the Signal chain they are - even if they are used for every part, that does not make them flawed or a compromise but a tool for musicians to use as they want, where they want and as much/little as they want. The PT15 for example is still a Valve amp but with modelled cabs and speakers. An example of using BOTH as a tool to the musician. It doesn't make it flawed or a compromise because its not using a real cab and real mic. I have NO intention of getting rid of my Valve amps and would happily use digital models of Pedals instead of the individual versions. I wouldn't feel like my sound is flawed or a compromise and a multi-FX pedal, like a Helix, can be very inspiring regardless of whether I use the amp/cab/mic modelling. There are Speaker cabs that offer modelling of speaker types as well as offering Flat Response Full Range as an option too. This offers the modern musician far more options to find their sound, experiment with Pedals and FX that can spark inspiration, don't need a big studio to have 30+ amp heads, 20 different cabs with different speaker types and 10 different mics to capture the sound they want. Its not a compromise for space but an avenue to open up much more choice, more creative opportunity etc.

    If you want to stick with 'Oil paints', that's up to you but that doesn't mean that artists who choose acrylics, water colours, even pencils or charcoal/chalk produce flawed or inferior works of art because they didn't use 'oils'. I can happily accept that at the moment, digital technology isn't necessarily capable of recreating the feel and reaction as a Valve amp yet, not that that is the 'be all and end all' and may not matter at all to some musicians and their preferred genre, but that doesn't mean that the sound is inferior and flawed or the artist is compromising because the artist may want and even prefer the sound they have, prefer the response even if its not what you prefer.
     
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  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I’ve kinda had it with the assumption that I need a lecture on this. Why can’t it be, “I’ve tried them and didn’t like them?” Because that is EXACTLY what it is for me.

    Do you think I’ve never owned or tried modelers? Do you think I’ve done no exploring and understanding of my options? Why would you make those assumptions? I make a living at understanding and using up to date technology, and I have since day one.

    You know nothing of my studio background, except you’ve maybe seen a few pictures of some amps I have.

    I still have dozens of amp models on my computer from a variety of highly regarded vendors, including several I bought this year. I wanted to like them. That’s why I spent money to get them!

    I go way back experimenting with all kinds of digital technologies. I have owned amp modeling hardware going back to Roland’s ‘90s V-guitar system and the POD, and before that the Sans Amp. I owned two of the very first physical modeling hardware synths, the Yamaha VL-1, and the Korg Prophecy back in the early 90s.

    I try ALL the latest hardware modelers, because that is my obligation to my work!

    I was one of the first adopters of computer recording technology back when Pro Tools was called Sound Designer, and could only record on two channels at a time. I ran a hybrid system of analog tape, computer recording, and digital tape, all SMPTE synchronized.

    I’ve had more recording gizmos than you can imagine even existed; analog, digital, whatever. Ever used a machine synchronizer fed with time code to synch two analog tape machines, analog video, several digital recorders and a computer?

    Didn’t think so. I did it to take advantage of the very latest technology available at the time.

    I’ve booked studios in NY and LA back in the day just to get the material recorded to 48 track digital tape, which I liked quite a lot, and that was only available in NY, LA, London and Amsterdam for a while. Cost me thousands of dollars to book those sessions just to get good sound!

    I actually want to like these modelers. As a studio person, why wouldn’t I want the latest/greatest?

    So of course I try everything. I continue to try everything to this day, because I like experimenting with recording technology. I’m no Luddite.

    The fact is that I don’t choose tube hardware because I’ve got my head in the sand. I choose tube hardware because I have explored and compared, and found digital amp emulations wanting.

    I speak from experience, from ‘been there, done that’, and not from some kind of closed-minded prejudice.

    You simply picked the wrong guy to lecture on this stuff. I’ve been around the audio block many times. Lecture someone else on being open minded, I already am and have been for 30 years.
     
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  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    See my answer, above.

    And I’m the one who said in an earlier post that it’s up to the artist to choose the medium. I don’t care what anyone else uses.

    I care what I use, and I speak only for myself. I don’t use modelers for the simple reason that I don’t like the way they sound. I’m free to decide that without needing a lecture.

    You and everyone else are free to reach other conclusions.
     
  4. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Ok, Mr. Studio Master (and I do mean that in a flattery kind of way!), I need some explanation to something I read the other day. Being a Neanderthal with respect to all things recording, I'm hoping you can add some insight to said reading. In an article, a guitarist was talking about how he recorded his tracks for their most recent album. It's a metal band, so lots of gain. He said he recorded all of his rhythm tracks (the other guitarist does all of the solos) with a Kemper. His words; "Once the rhythms were tight enough, the DI tracks were re-amped through Marshalls and Mesa/Boogies by mixing engineer Jens Bogren."

    The way I read that is they ran the recorded Kemper tracks back through actual amps. Can you explain why they would do something like that?
     
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  5. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts

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    You did but then went on to insinuate that if the Artist does choose a different medium that there sound was inferior, flawed and a compromise. I was merely pointing out that their decision is equally as valid, not inferior in any way, certainly not flawed or a compromise. Regardless of where an artist chooses to use a digital option - whether that is live, studio or home, regardless of where in the signal path its used, these are tools for the musician and no doubt the 'best' tool for the Job otherwise the musician wouldn't use it.

    I have no issue with you (or anyone) opting for the tools that they have decided as the best tool for them and the sound they want. Whether its the tool I prefer or not, it doesn't make that choice inferior, flawed or a compromise. Its equally as valid a choice as you opting for Valve and the sounds you prefer to hear or where you are performing. I wouldn't say you were old fashioned or stuck in the past for example for opting to use old technology and would respect the choices you made for your need and by the same token, I wouldn't call someones sound inferior, flawed or compromised because of their choice to use a digital option.
     
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  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    That’s not how it works.

    Re-amping is done by splitting the guitar’s output into a “dry” signal, that is, what comes out of the guitar without an amp or processor, and simultaneously a “wet” signal is sent to the recorder from the Kemper fed via a “through” output. So you have two signals, the “wet” Kemper signal, and the “dry” direct signal.

    If you take a look at the Avalon U5 in this pic, you’ll see two jacks on the front panel. One is the input jack, and the other is the “thru” jack. You’ll also see jacks on the back panel for two different outputs.

    The U5 sends the dry signal to the recorder, and the “thru” signal to the Kemper. The Kemper can be recorded at the same time, if desired.

    http://www.avalondesign.com/instrudi.html

    You can record both the “dry” track and the Kemper at the same time. The direct output is fed to the recorder in its unprocessed state. The Kemper signal can also be recorded in its processed state for future reference.

    To re-amp, only the dry signal is sent to the real amplifier. Usually this happens at some point during final track prep and mixdown.

    That real amplifier signal gets recorded with a mic, and the Kemper track is replaced by the real amp’s track.

    This is something I’ve done often, though not with the Kemper, I’ve used other devices.
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Gosh, I didn’t insinuate it; that’s pretty much what I said openly, and here’s why:

    I think what comes out of today’s modelers is a compromised representation of a tube amp. If you want to represent the sound of a tube amp, the best thing is to use a tube amp to do it.

    If the modeler fails at sounding like a tube amp, it fails of its essential purpose, and therefore, it’s compromised, as far as I’m concerned.

    The fact that it’s a compromise isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

    Compromises can be embraced by artists. Maybe the artist likes the thing that the modeler does that tube amps don’t do. Picasso made a famous ‘found object’ sculpture of a bull’s head from a bicycle seat and some handlebars. It didn’t really look like the bull he could have painted or sculpted, but he embraced the compromise, and did so in the best humor and to great effect.

    I’m good with that. I may think the modeling medium isn’t good at replicating the real thing, but I can still respect the work, and I would love to see someone creating new, unheard sounds and incorporating them into a work. Unfortunately no one’s doing that.

    The thing about modeling that could be cool would be to look at what it does in a different way, and create unheard-of new sounds.

    Maybe someone will push the boundaries of the medium, and create wonderful opportunities for the artists who use it.

    I’d love to see that.
     
  8. ]-[@n$0Ma☩!©

    ]-[@n$0Ma☩!© ▲▼▲▼▲▼▲▼▲

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    The great TLDR war of 2019.













    [playfully intended]
     
  9. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Too Funky

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    Hahaha!!


    Les is right, of course.

     
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  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    One thing I should mention, having the benefit of hindsight and a martini, is that I use modeled synthesizers in my work, in addition to hardware synths.

    The hardware synths sound “better” to my ears, at doing the things they do. However - this is a big ‘however’ - some software synths are capable of doing things no hardware synth can do. I love that! And it’s why I use certain ones that have that capability. Even the model I use of the minimoog does things a real one can’t do, such as play chords.

    I wish that modeled amplifiers could do that!

    I also use sampled piano, something akin to a model. I think that sampled piano is a compromise. I try to use it with processors to enhance the ‘unreality’ of the sound. There are times this works, and times it doesn’t work, but the reality of my life is that I don’t have a proper studio for recording piano. I had a grand piano for many years, and wasn’t able to record it because the room it sat in didn’t sound all that great. My wife insisted that it live in our great room, and I never fought her on it. My bad. Our great room wasn’t a good piano recording room. It had too much glass, and too many echoes.

    But I got used to sampled pianos. That was an inferior choice to the real thing, and I did it anyway. Yes, I used inferior technology and still do.

    I’m not against inferior technology, I use it. I try to get really good piano rooms when budgets allow. Most of them don’t. Also budgets don’t usually allow me to bring in a real orchestra, which they once did, and which I used to do. I conducted a real orchestra on a Budweiser Olympics ad, for example, that had budget for it, but hiring an orchestra is still a 50-60K proposition. No one I know spends that on original music tracks any more, sadly. They do on licensed tracks. Sigh.

    Maybe if I was in NYC or LA. Right now, it’s impossible. :(
     
    #130 LSchefman, Jul 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Haha! You are so right.
     
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  12. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Too Funky

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    And I say this as a frustrated ex-recording engineer/producer: How [email protected] hard is it to mic up a guitar amp? I mean, it’s really one of the easiest things to do.
     
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  13. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy/posts

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    @LSchefman I think we may have to agree to disagree. I don't see the modeller as having to be a exact replica of all the components that go into the sound coming out as there are variables in Valve amps that mean they can vary a bit - plus it depends exactly where the cab and mic are positioned too. Its close enough that many cannot tell the difference, distinguish which one is a model and which is the Valve - not saying that there isn't a perceived difference but that they both sound great. Its not as if the Digital option is so bad that its obvious.

    They are a tool for the musician to use how they want, what works best for them and in each situation. Taking a valve amp, Cab and mic, trying to get that set up to give the right sound without additional room noise being picked up and compromising their sound, being inconsistent night after night after night because of the numerous variables in the chain could make a Modellers consistency be a better option. They would compromise their performance, sound and consistency by taking a valve amp on tour. The 'best' tool for this job could very well be a modeller and they are NOT compromising but finding a better solution to suit their needs.

    In a studio under those conditions, it maybe that the best tool for the job is a valve amp, cab and mic and that's the best tools in that environment bit at home with neighbours nearby, having to play at a reduced volume but wanted a 'cranked' Marshall tone, the best tool for the Job could be a digital modeller connected to their PC and run through the monitor speakers and the valve Marshall is not appropriate or the best tool in that situation. Every tool can be the 'best' tool and that can differ between musicians and the situation they are in. Its not a compromise if its the best solution, the best tool for that situation.

    Anyway, it seems that we are going in circles so I will just have to agree to disagree.
     
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  14. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Too Funky

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    You don’t have to agree to disagree when if you read what he’s saying...you’re actually agreeing with Les. :rolleyes:

    He’s got high blood pressure, don’t kill him. :p
     
  15. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    Congratulations! You’re not the only person who has had considerable success in life. You’re right to be proud. However, I have as little interest in the details of your CV as you likely have mine.
    The problem here Mr Schefman, is that you are having an argument with me, that I’m not having with you. I’m not trying to convince you to like anything. Nor am I trying to convince you to give any technology a chance. So please aim your defensiveness elsewhere. As I’ve said more times than I care to count, I’m trying to figure out this stuff, both aurally and analytically for myself (something you either don’t believe or a fact you choose to ignore). You see Mr Schefman, though Im fortunate to have had some of the finest music education one could hope for, this guitars and amps stuff is quite new to me. So I will approach learning it with the same inquisitiveness and skepticism that approach any new topic with. Moreover, all of my inquiries and push backs have been polite and good natured. I cannot say the same for you. So if you’re going misrepresent what I write as having negative intentions and try to intimidate me with your resume, you, sir, have picked the wrong person. I’ve been quite polite across this forum at all times. So if your attention biases cause you to interpret what I write as somehow trying to insult you and your impressive career, I’ll thank you look inside rather than engage me in an argument that I’m not having
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Oh for god’s sakes.

    You quote me, post a reply to my statements, disagree with what I said, and then tell me you’re not arguing with what I have to say.

    BS.
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Yes. This.

    Don’t kill me, my wife needs me to keep her company.
     
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  18. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    I’m arguing with your all or nothing attitude, not your choices in gear and sound. Give your defensiveness a rest.
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Give your passive agressiveness a rest. My attitude is the result of my experiences.
     
  20. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    You may not be clear on what that term means.
    Your opinions on sound may be the result of your professional experience. Your attitude, accusations, are probably the result of something else.
    Why one earth you’ve taken ANY offense from anything I’ve written is a mystery. And though at first I cared- as, if my goal is to be a pr&ck, (which is exceedingly rare) then I’m very very clear- I no longer do. You’re welcome to think me some brainless internet troll. However, I will not tolerate being treated as such. If that’s your opinion, either keep quiet or expect me NOT to keep quiet
     

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