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  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
    There's a big difference between using a dirt box and compressor and cranking an amp into clipping such that the power tube voltage sags in half whenever you touch the strings
    And here's the "different strokes for different folks" thing popping up again!

    My favourite guitar tones have all come off a recording (not live), played at comfortable listening levels in my living room. So I know it's perfectly possible to get great guitar tones without huge SPL - there they are, coming out of my speakers! For me, beyond a certain loudness, there is increasing physical discomfort - my ears hurt, my head hurts, my ability to discern fine details in the music decreases. It's not an enjoyable experience, but the reverse.

    So, for me, the quest is to see if I can get great guitar tone no louder than a vacuum cleaner.

    That's where the 6AK6 amp idea first came from - I was looking for a way to build a low powered amp that sounded great, but had no idea what valves to use. I figured there must be some devices from the era of valve radios and TVs which would have about the right level of power, but didn't know what they might be. Stumbling across Printer2's "mini 5E3" gave me a starting point. As a bonus, 6AK6's are inexpensive.

    By the way, I find that using a small-signal beam tetrode in the preamp tends to generate lots of "squish", because the screen grid voltage sags when you start to overdrive the valve, taking the gain down with it. Electronically, it's pretty much the same mechanism at work as overdriven power tubes sagging the B+ voltage, and therefore their screen grid voltage, and therefore their gain. But the preamp version happens regardless of SPL at the speaker, depending instead on signal level. The master volume controls the speaker SPL.

    -Gnobuddy

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  • Chuck H
    replied
    I don't think Justin was knocking compressors. I think he was saying that he doesn't need one because his amps are being used at power and clipping levels as to create their own compression. Any one who's played an amp loud knows this and it's hard to go back once you get a taste. There's a big difference between using a dirt box and compressor and cranking an amp into clipping such that the power tube voltage sags in half whenever you touch the strings

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  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    But I can honestly say I've never used an attenuator or compressor.

    Justin
    So what? There isn't a medal for not using them, you know! They're just tools - use them if you want to, don't use them if you don't! No biggie either way.

    It's true that a compressor can cover up some types of bad guitar technique. But so can high volume, and uncontrolled acoustic feedback. Covering up bad technique is not the only reason to use a compressor - the instrument we love has a sustain problem, we only put energy into the string at the start of a note, unlike a saxophone or violin. Acoustic guitarists were thoroughly ignored as a breed because they were never loud enough, and nobody could hear them in the band.

    At our weekly jams, I often play single-note guitar solos with clean tone and using an acoustic guitar (plugged in). I can play without a compressor, sure, and have done so for years. But I started using one recently, and you know what? If I do use one, people hear me better, and my solos can be technically better, because I'm not forced to play barrages of fast notes just to be heard. With a few dB of compression, I can throw in some longer notes as well, and still be heard.

    I also play amateur recording engineer for my own compositions sometimes. Ever wonder why virtually every recording you ever hear has compression on it? Certainly it's not because all those hot-shot studio musicians can't play properly without a compressor. These days, with digital recordings, it's also not because the recording technology is incapable of handling the dynamic range. And let's leave off the made-for-radio crappy pop that's compressed for maximum loudness.

    So why is compression used almost universally on recordings, then? One reason is because a mix usually doesn't gel as well if all the instruments in it - particularly the ones providing the basic rhythm and harmony - are fluctuating in volume (for example, guitar and bass notes decay away after the initial attack, so volume isn't constant). Adding just a couple of decibels of compression to bass guitar and rhythm guitar can really improve the sound of a mix. This works live, in a band context, too; not just in a recorded mix.

    I agree entirely with what you said earlier: we're not all the same. We don't all have the same tastes. And life is too short to waste it worrying about whether someone uses a compressor or not!

    -Gnobuddy

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  • Justin Thomas
    replied
    Well, it was a joke, after all... But I can honestly say I've never used an attenuator or compressor. And I'm also always (okay, SOMEtimes) getting yelled at by soundguys. Well, the ones who want to CONTROL me. Some of them are still okay with a cranked 15W amp. Not many.

    Justin

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  • bob p
    replied
    Originally posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    "Using a compressor or limiter like this can be pretty interesting, I think it's easier to control the acoustic feedback this way..."

    Control? Where's the fun in that? Not to mention, CHEATING!
    well, if we're going to call people out for cheating, then we need to take aim at people who use attenuators.

    being one of the guilty i just can't bring myself to do it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chuck H
    replied
    I don't care that the thread is drifting. That good sounding clip is too convincing to be squashed by any "reasoning". I will be building this thing from mostly scraps and report at some later date. I mentioned I already have the OT, but I'm so intrigued by the prospect of line transformers that I might break the budget and order a thirteen dollar part just to see.

    I just shelled out some likes too. Some funny stuff here and I almost sprayed my keyboard with beer (again!). But my favorite moment is where Gnobuddy singled out that quote from Justin. It passes for banter in context, but reads like the sort of thing people just need to hear out loud sometimes to stay centered when featured on it's own. So special thanks Justin and Gnobuddy.

    Leave a comment:


  • bob p
    replied
    Originally posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I've heard Bela Fleck play a banjo and make it actually sound beautiful. But he's the only banjo player I've ever heard who can do that.

    I once saw a video clip of an interview with Fleck in which he said that he became interested in the banjo because of its history, but was quickly frustrated by the rather primitive traditional playing techniques used by banjo players. So he started to apply classical guitar playing technique (which has had centuries of development in Europe, and evolved to become became very sophisticated and very extensive) to his banjo.

    The rest is history, he became the first true banjo virtuoso.
    if wonder if he tuned it like a guitar instead of keeping it in Gmaj.

    i think those open string chordal tunings have a way of fencing you in.

    Leave a comment:


  • Enzo
    replied
    Only jazz banjoist I can think of.



    I may be missing something, but ins't there a joke:

    Guy wants to get rid of an accordion, so he leaves it in his unlocked car hoping someone steals it. COmes back to find two more accordions sitting in his car.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Enzo View Post
    A friend of mine picked up a banjo and cranked out the opening of Stairway on it. Unexpected, and a place I never thought a banjo would go.
    I've heard Bela Fleck play a banjo and make it actually sound beautiful. But he's the only banjo player I've ever heard who can do that.

    I once saw a video clip of an interview with Fleck in which he said that he became interested in the banjo because of its history, but was quickly frustrated by the rather primitive traditional playing techniques used by banjo players. So he started to apply classical guitar playing technique (which has had centuries of development in Europe, and evolved to become became very sophisticated and very extensive) to his banjo.

    The rest is history, he became the first true banjo virtuoso.

    We're a long way from 6AK6 sound now... (What happens if you blast a 6AK6 through a banjo? Should you be happy that you destroyed a banjo, or sad that you destroyed a 6AK6?)

    -Gnobuddy

    Leave a comment:


  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Other way 'round. The idea being, a heavy accordion will crush the banjo.
    Okay. It's another low-IQ day for me, apparently!

    Originally posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Say, did you ever leave an accordion in the back seat of your car and park it in downtown London?
    A little confused here...am I missing something?

    -Gnobuddy

    Leave a comment:


  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I think this can all be settled by acknowledging that we're all in this together, but we're all different.

    Justin
    Indeed!

    -Gnobuddy

    Leave a comment:


  • Enzo
    replied
    A friend of mine picked up a banjo and cranked out the opening of Stairway on it. Unexpected, and a place I never thought a banjo would go.

    Leave a comment:


  • Leo_Gnardo
    replied
    Originally posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    What's perfect pitch?
    Answer: A perfect pitch is when you throw a banjo in the dumpster, and it lands on an accordion!
    Other way 'round. The idea being, a heavy accordion will crush the banjo. A banjo landing on an accordion, there's a good chance both will survive. Say, did you ever leave an accordion in the back seat of your car and park it in downtown London?

    Leave a comment:


  • Chuck H
    replied
    Yep. It's like that. Getting old I mean. Living with pain truly sucks, but you get use to it.?. It certainly beats the hell out of the alternative. That is, since the pain is chronic NOT living is the only way around it. I use anti inflammatory drugs, usually aspirin. I love opiates but I don't dare go there for that very reason. I'd over use and end up a dysfunctional addict. So... Strictly recreational there

    Leave a comment:


  • Gnobuddy
    replied
    Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
    then my @$$ is a banjo.
    Come on, Chuck, surely you can pick something better than a banjo!

    Which reminds me of a joke: What's perfect pitch?
    Answer: A perfect pitch is when you throw a banjo in the dumpster, and it lands on an accordion!

    I've got some tinnitus too - in my case, probably from driving a too-loud muscle car in my twenties. Hearing damage is cumulative, another reason I watch my exposure to high SPL these days.

    Sorry to hear about the RSI - been there, done that, got to the point where I couldn't even drive a stick-shift without severe pain. I switched jobs, and stopped using computers almost entirely for a year or so. That let my arms, wrists, and hands recover enough to resume somewhat normal activities, cautiously at first.

    It's been years now, but I still have to watch that I don't type too much, or spend too much time on high-speed guitar picking practice exercises.

    -Gnobuddy

    Leave a comment:

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