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Thread: Tube amp. Direct VS Mic'd. Tube warmth influence. Difference?

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    Tube amp. Direct VS Mic'd. Tube warmth influence. Difference?

    Isn't the whole point of micing a cabinet to absorb the tube warmth dynamics from the speaker?

    My question is: Do you still get tube warmth, organic sound, connecting directly to a tube head, wether for live use or recording; or you need to mic it for that?


    As i am looking for a Amp&FX Simulator i am trying to figure things out. If connecting direct still has impact in tube warmth tone i must get Amp&FX Sim with tubes! Otherwise will get a Kemper or Axe FX.

    Looking to get 2 FRFR monitors for stereo. So if there is a difference woud be nice to get (natural organic warm tube tone) from them.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Whether the guitar amp is tube or solid state, mic'ing the speaker is the standard way of getting the final product into the recording chain. So much for "tube warmth."

    Direct from the amp's output, the signal tends to sound bright and spiky. First time I tried to DI an electric guitar for PA was the last, not acceptable. Since then some products came out that try to emulate the sound of a mic'd speaker, everything from H&K's "Red Box" to Rocktron's "Juice Squeezer" and another similar gadget from Groove Tube. All of 'em roll off top end, roll off low end, put a mid peak here or there, and the fancier ones add some compression/limiting. A couple of amp manufacturers put in DI outputs that have some degree of sonic treatment, usually just a low pass filter iow roll off the highs.

    If possible audition the Amp/FX simulators you mention. No guarantee you'll decide to spend extra $$$ for one that actually has tubes. Whichever sounds best to you, get that one tubes or no. One advantage of the tube-free ones, you'll never have to wonder whether the tubes are failing.

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    Thanks Leo,

    In the case of kemper/axe fx, you can bypass cab and mic, and connect direct, as it simulates both. Less signal loss, less gear.
    This is why i asked about tubes; Digitech GSP 2101is a valve preamp processor, Amp/FX simulator.

    With Digitech GSP 2101 for ex., will you hear a "tube warmth" difference in a PA/FRFR system?

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    With Digitech GSP 2101 for ex., will you hear a "tube warmth" difference in a PA/FRFR system?
    Can't promise anything. The only way to know is try it out. Anything will make a difference, whether it's a difference that pleases your ears only you can tell. And we know the internet is loaded with plenty of folks who will try to tell you what you ought to think, I think that's bunk, you gotta make your own decisions.

    What I do know, Kemper owners seem to be very happy with their purchases. I'm a little worried eventually all these amps & fx will be totally obsolete. Drat, they're so much fun! And that's how we make a living.

    I dunno which system it is, one of my customers bought one and besides simulating everything including the kitchen sink, it has simulated mics with which you can mic your simulated speaker (choice of those too) Shure SM57, Sennheiser421, 441, Neumann U87, plenty of others. Just amazing!

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    Thats true!
    You mean real amps wether solid state or tube will be obsolete; or kemper etc will? If the 1st, it will take a long time!

    Your friend's got something like kemper, fractal, helix. Helix ain't good enough.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    You mean real amps wether solid state or tube will be obsolete; or kemper etc will? If the 1st, it will take a long time!
    The first, amps, fx etc gone obsolete. The only thing that keeps them going, we musos are such gadgeteers. It better take a long long time, It's not practical taking up a new career this late in life.
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    hahaha; you sure seem like a white bearded wizard. A technician and engineer?

    Some guys like the smell of tubes. That can be emulated as well! But then it's psychologicall and you'l say it's not real tubes lol.
    Could be a stubborn thing; but some guitars players still swear by the difference between the real thing VS emulation; sonic wise.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    but some guitars players still swear by the difference between the real thing VS emulation; sonic wise.
    A good sound is a good sound, however you go about getting it.

    White bearded wizard I wish. What's left of the hair is going white, any time I try to grow a beard it's a scraggly Ho Chi Minh special, no Santa Claus here. See Enzo for that!
    bsco likes this.

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    hahahahaha

    I think Enzo has commented on my threads before.

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I was just walking downtown here a moment ago, and I ran into the kid who calls me "Santa." I'd kill him, but he is the grandson of one of my neighbors her at the home.

    You mic a speaker because the speaker is the single item with the most influence on your sound. There are speaker emulators, some better than others. If you like them, fine, if you don't, fine. Just as ther are amp emulators - modelling amps - that some like and some hate.

    It isn't about tube versus solid state, the speaker is a major contributor to tone in either case. Not all tube amps are warm, I'd not likely use "warm" describing a 5150.

    It is amazing they go so far as to emulate teh different microphones you might use, but do they emulate a variety of speakers? I mean teh Hemp Tone doesn't sopund like a Vintage 30, and so on through a thousand speakers.

    Ultimately, just listen to the things, you like the results or you don't, there is no right and wrong. There is what you like and what you don't. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether I like the same things as you do.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Good point of view, thanks!

    Yeah a 5150 is not really warm but you still hear the tubes doing what they do.

    Btw axe fx and i think Kemper as well, emulate both microphones, speakers and cabs Yes its state of the art technology!

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Tubes have their way of acting. My point was simply that "tube" does not equal "warm".
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Yep got it!

    From your experience why do you consider tubes important sonic and feel wise?

    Old school guitar tube head distortion comes more from the output tubes. Harder to master. But no one cares about this nowadays.

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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Old school guitar tube head distortion comes more from the output tubes
    'Scuse me?? A 5150 may not be old school, but it doesn't make clean even on 1 at the master. A typical Vintage Marshall has no trouble overdriving in the preamp. Power tube distortion ONLY occurs at full power output - overdriving the outputs. I suspect most of us do not play our 100 watts flat out maxed.

    Most amps I like are tube, but I really don't approach it like that. I like an amp or I don't, and I only care if it has tubes after the fact.
    PremiumPlus likes this.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    'Scuse me?? A 5150 may not be old school, but it doesn't make clean even on 1 at the master. A typical Vintage Marshall has no trouble overdriving in the preamp. Power tube distortion ONLY occurs at full power output - overdriving the outputs. I suspect most of us do not play our 100 watts flat out maxed.

    Most amps I like are tube, but I really don't approach it like that. I like an amp or I don't, and I only care if it has tubes after the fact.
    I don't yet understand much on Preamp/Power/Output tubes. I know trainwreck's dist comes more from the output tubes.
    You're right about liking an amp or not. What i have realized myself is that cranked SS amps like line 6 spider grate my ears while tube amps even when really loud do not.
    I think the ears like cranked tubes better for some reason...

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    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    Some guys like the smell of tubes. That can be emulated as well! But then it's psychologicall and you'l say it's not real tubes lol.
    Could be a stubborn thing; but some guitars players still swear by the difference between the real thing VS emulation; sonic wise.
    Speaking as a guitarist it is not just the sound but how the amp responds to your playing (all of the nuances that I call "finger English.") I just picked up two used amps that I really like for their sound and response.

    The first is a Vox AC4C1-BL, all tube, based on an early Vox amp but with the top boost preamp as well as both volume and gain controls. Very fun to play perhaps my favorite small combo amp. (Only problem is that it lacks the Cut control on the AC30, essential for taming the highs. Being single-ended having a Cut control going to ground rather than the opposite phase might work. No room for another control so I'd hardwire in whatever RC network seems to work the best for me, perhaps on a mini-toggle.)

    The second is the Marshall CODE 25, a digital modelling amp. When I first tried it out without a manual I was overwhelmed by all of the crap going on in the presets, with no clue how to edit the parameters or switch off the FX. I eventually did buy it and finally got around to tweaking some of the patches the other day. Hot damn! I really love the amp models for a 60's Twin Reverb and the clean channel of a modern Marshall DSL amp (good timing I just sold my DSL15C back to GC.) The sounds are very close but more important, the response is amazing even faster than the real amps, as though they were tweaked perfectly.

    This is the first time that I have liked a digital amp as much as an analog amp, tube or solid state. (I should mention that I like the sound on blues and rock recordings from the 60's and 70's with not a lot of FX besides reverb and a nice dirt box as needed.) I guess it is time to end my crusade against digital modellers...

    Steve A.

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    I think the message here is that it is the sound that you like...never mind what somebody else likes.....Being a guitar player I prefer the sound of my Gibson Les Paul (1974) with Boomer guitar strings.....and I use 8's....that is the only strings I have used for years.....they sound fantastic to me...they might sound like crap to somebody else......I use a 1976 50W tube Marshall head....and I run that through an old 1960's cab with 4 12in speakers....I don't even know the brand...I think it is an old Sound City cab....I have the treble turned off.....completely...I just use the bass and midrange controls and the presence control......the sound is amazing to me...to somebody else, I really don't know......as far as the general audience is concerned, everything sounds good especially after a few drinks or whatever......so look for the gear that sounds good to you......me personally, I always mic up my cab with the mic dead center to one of the speakers and usually one of the speakers closer to the floor and furthest away from the drummer....... and up as close as physically possible...even touching the grill cloth if I have to....I don't like the sound with the mic off to the side of the speaker.....not that there is anything wrong with it...I just don't like it......keep one thing in mind, everything changes the sound.....even the mic cable can enhance it or kill it...Happy recording!!
    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    Speaking as a guitarist it is not just the sound but how the amp responds to your playing (all of the nuances that I call "finger English.") I just picked up two used amps that I really like for their sound and response.

    The first is a Vox AC4C1-BL, all tube, based on an early Vox amp but with the top boost preamp as well as both volume and gain controls. Very fun to play perhaps my favorite small combo amp. (Only problem is that it lacks the Cut control on the AC30, essential for taming the highs. Being single-ended having a Cut control going to ground rather than the opposite phase might work. No room for another control so I'd hardwire in whatever RC network seems to work the best for me, perhaps on a mini-toggle.)

    The second is the Marshall CODE 25, a digital modelling amp. When I first tried it out without a manual I was overwhelmed by all of the crap going on in the presets, with no clue how to edit the parameters or switch off the FX. I eventually did buy it and finally got around to tweaking some of the patches the other day. Hot damn! I really love the amp models for a 60's Twin Reverb and the clean channel of a modern Marshall DSL amp (good timing I just sold my DSL15C back to GC.) The sounds are very close but more important, the response is amazing even faster than the real amps, as though they were tweaked perfectly.

    This is the first time that I have liked a digital amp as much as an analog amp, tube or solid state. (I should mention that I like the sound on blues and rock recordings from the 60's and 70's with not a lot of FX besides reverb and a nice dirt box as needed.) I guess it is time to end my crusade against digital modellers...

    Steve A.
    Lol; i wanted to be a tube bigot, but people on fractal forums gave me different perspectives. Some for commercial reasons, were bashing at me for bashing digital.
    But traded some PM's with some of the users and they gave me good feedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsco View Post
    I think the message here is that it is the sound that you like...never mind what somebody else likes.....Being a guitar player I prefer the sound of my Gibson Les Paul (1974) with Boomer guitar strings.....and I use 8's....that is the only strings I have used for years.....they sound fantastic to me...they might sound like crap to somebody else......I use a 1976 50W tube Marshall head....and I run that through an old 1960's cab with 4 12in speakers....I don't even know the brand...I think it is an old Sound City cab....I have the treble turned off.....completely...I just use the bass and midrange controls and the presence control......the sound is amazing to me...to somebody else, I really don't know......as far as the general audience is concerned, everything sounds good especially after a few drinks or whatever......so look for the gear that sounds good to you......me personally, I always mic up my cab with the mic dead center to one of the speakers and usually one of the speakers closer to the floor and furthest away from the drummer....... and up as close as physically possible...even touching the grill cloth if I have to....I don't like the sound with the mic off to the side of the speaker.....not that there is anything wrong with it...I just don't like it......keep one thing in mind, everything changes the sound.....even the mic cable can enhance it or kill it...Happy recording!!
    Cheers
    Sure.
    Last year i never placed the mic in the center of the speaker; always a few cm to the left not to pickup a lot of trebly, harsh sound; but almost always touching the grill.
    If the grill wasn't there i would have it even closer to the speaker

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    Sure.
    Last year i never placed the mic in the center of the speaker; always a few cm to the left not to pickup a lot of trebly, harsh sound; but almost always touching the grill.
    If the grill wasn't there i would have it even closer to the speaker
    I find the center of the speaker makes it easier for me to get the same sound out of the PA as what is coming out of the cab....so I eq the board channel so the two sound as close as possible.....then I know that if I make a tonal adjustment on my amp or guitar, the sound I hear coming out of my cab is what is out in front especially when you do sound from the stage like I had to do.....and it was also good that I had a wireless system...I could run around the club while I was playing and check out the sound....and I always kept the same mic cables attached to the same mics...and I always used the same channels for the same instruments as well....

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    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsco View Post
    I think the message here is that it is the sound that you like...never mind what somebody else likes.....
    Agreed! What I think is most important is that the sound and response of your amp and guitar inspires you to play more and play better.The sound that the audience hears is not as important as the actual notes as well as the feeling that they pick up from your playing, perhaps even inspiring them to be a better listener.

    As for "response" part of that is having your amp or rig respond very quickly to what you are playing. And part of that for me is by being able to get different sounds depending on how you pick the string and what you are doing with your fretting hand. (For some guitarists that is unimportant as they are striving to get a very smooth sound with no "quirky anomalies." Diff'rent strokes...)

    Back in the late 60's/early 70's I had a fuzz box that produced the same sound regardless of picking dynamics... or even the setting of the tone control(s) on your guitar. Definitely very unresponsive to any nuances in your playing. My older brother who played tenor sax professionally for many years thought that a wah-wah pedal was a much better effect because you could use it to interactively shape your tone.

    But I was most impressed by an early Sea Moon Funk Machine mounted in a Foxx wah pedal housing (with the typical Foxx fuzzy finish.) My neighbor brought it over and I was playing it like a regular wah but when I stopped moving my foot it kept going! Total mind f*ck! An early design by Craig Anderton the circuit board was encapsulated in epoxy making it impossible for me to reverse engineer it and make my own. Bummer! 45 years later I am still hoping to find one or at least a schematic for a Funk Machine mounted in a wah enclosure. (R.G. had no idea what the wah pot might have been used for when I asked him about it.)

    So for me having a very responsive rig is most important, like a race car that responds instantly to your steering, etc. But that is just me (quirkiness is next to godliness!) and some guitarists are striving for a very smooth and even tone.

    Quote Originally Posted by bsco View Post
    I find the center of the speaker makes it easier for me to get the same sound out of the PA as what is coming out of the cab....
    You mentioned having an old 412 cabinet from the 60's. Perhaps being old and seasoned the center of the speaker might not be as harsh as a typical modern speaker...

    Steve A.

    P.S. One of the complaints about the early Line 6 amps was that while they might have sounded great right next to you on stage once you got out into the audience the sound turned into mud.

    A looper is your friend! Play a bit during your sound check and then let it loop as you walk around the venue making sure that the sound out there is what you want the audience to hear. (The tone might be brighter with nobody in the audience but you can get a general idea.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsco View Post
    I find the center of the speaker makes it easier for me to get the same sound out of the PA as what is coming out of the cab....so I eq the board channel so the two sound as close as possible.....then I know that if I make a tonal adjustment on my amp or guitar, the sound I hear coming out of my cab is what is out in front especially when you do sound from the stage like I had to do.....and it was also good that I had a wireless system...I could run around the club while I was playing and check out the sound....and I always kept the same mic cables attached to the same mics...and I always used the same channels for the same instruments as well....
    From what i have been reading, mic should be placed according to the venue and what the FOH engineer says.
    Whenever i play live again, i'l place it in the middle and ask the engineer if he likes it.

    I think sound from PA is relative. My combo last year didn't have a lot of bass and i preferred it this way, so that it did not cover up the frequencies on the IEM's.
    The sound guy always said trough the PA the guitar sound had more bass. Every time i removed the IEM's the guitar sounded more trebly.

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