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Thread: Ear fatigue and making mods

  1. #36
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Many years ago, I ran sound for a local night club - big place with what was then a large PA system. I was so attuned to the sound of the room, I swear I could tell you if it started raining outside. Humidity in the air makes a difference in sound propagation. Not only do bodies on the dance floor affect the sound in serious ways (compared to the empty house at sound check), but all that breathing and sweating fills the room with extra humidity. over the sourse of the evening, the sound changes substantially. I suppose the buildup of smoke in the air may have an affect as well. Certainly on a foggy day, distant railroad trains sound closer. I think most musicians recognize that first set doesn;t sound like third set.

    And this goes along with what defaced mentioned - your ear position. At that same old gig of mine, the sound booth was elevated into a poor place to listen. Down on the house floor, I knew what it needed to sound like, so I quickly learned how it needed to sound in the booth for it to sound right on the floor. If it was a little edgy and shrill up there, it was right downstairs. And you could walk across the rear of the room and listen as you passed through areas of phase cancellation as the speakers intereacted with each other and with the walls, etc.

    Your listening environment changes all the time. temperature and humidity vary. The difference between open or closed drapes over a window can have a large effect. For example in the afternoon the drapes are open for natural light. Windows are a natural sound reflector. And in the evening you close the drapes so people outside can;t see in, and you cover that reflector. ANy recording studio should have sound traps and things to break up standing waves.

    If you happen to sit a couple feet closer to a wall than last time, that matters too. If your amp is angled differently, that matters.

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  2. #37
    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Well, by the time it comes to the third set, you're drunk and your ears are blown, so it's not going to sound the same.

    I'm currently jamming with a really loud and not particularly good rock band. I end up cranking my amp and wearing earplugs: the Doc's Proplugs with the tiny hole that lets a little sound through. At the last rehearsal, I think we were all wearing plugs! If we ever get a gig, we should hand them out to the audience too. For me at least, the Doc's plugs stop any ringing and temporary hearing loss, but they change the frequency response of your ears, so your setup sounds different yet again.

    I once went to a metal gig where the sound guy was wearing those big ear defenders, as used by chainsaw operators and the like, and I was a little worried. Was he going to mix so that it sounded good inside industrial-grade ear muffs? Luckily I remembered to bring earplugs too.

    Daz said he thought I was being negative to him in the past, and I probably was, but I'm not sure exactly why. I spent some time thinking about it, and I don't think it's anything personal. I'm just tired of the whole "ultimate tone" trip, and it seems to me that's all it is, a head trip. I wonder how many of the mods and tweaks we discuss endlessly here would actually be detectable in a properly conducted ABX trial. I also wonder if any of the amps we build would fail to sound awesome with a Wes Montgomery or Joe Satriani plugged into them.

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    Last edited by Steve Conner; 07-03-2009 at 01:01 PM.
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

  3. #38
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Well I'm all for a guy getting what he wants, but I have to agree that I am no fan of "ultimate tone" either. To hear some guys tell it, they want a certain sound from the amp and then expect to play everything with it. I can;t imagine anything more boring. Granted I hear bands like that, every song sounds exactly the same. I mean amps have channels, and guitars have knobs.

    Of course that is nothing new. SOmewhere I have an old blues record, Little Walter or somebody playing harp. 12 songs on the album, all 12 bar blues, same tempo all 12 in the key of A. It sounded like they just played the same song 12 times in a row.

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  4. #39
    Old Timer daz's Avatar
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    I quickly learned how it needed to sound in the booth for it to sound right on the floor
    I know exactly what you mean, as i had to know this too. I ran our band PA for years because we played mostly bars and around here none of them have PA's and soundmen. So i had to know what the difference was between what i hear and the audience. A wireless system allowed me to do that in the guise of entertaining the audience by roaming thru them while playing. Fun stuff too, but while i'd do that i always listened to the band to hear what the mix compared to what i hear onstage. Didn't take long to get used to what the stage mix (and my guitar tone) needed to sound like onstage in order for the audience to get a good mix and tone.

    As to my looking for the ultimate tone, don't forget one thing guys.....i'm not only looking for great tone (tho i wouldn't call it "ultimate" because i will never accomplish that) but i do it partially because i enjoy the hunt and the learning process ! I can honestly say the way it sounds right now i actually fear changing it and decided to edit my schematic before i make any more changes so i can always go back to the way it is now. So why even touch it? Like i said, it's fun ! It's like a huge jigsaw puzzle where there are pieces you can never seem to find where they go, but every now and then you find one and it's exciting. I have considered building another very different amp like a fender style and just buttoning this one up. And i would except for one thing....i love fender clean but i have yet to find and amp that has that and can also have good OD too, or ANY OD for that matter except when cranked which is usless for me. i asked at another forum a while back if theres a design like that but no one could point me to one. If i could find a fender circuit with a master that allows a decant amount and quality of OD and with the master turned up and gain down gives very nice fender cleans, i'd do it and button up the *marshall* for good. But then you guys would have to answer another endless string of posts by me.

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  5. #40
    Old Timer daz's Avatar
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    Daz said he thought I was being negative to him in the past, and I probably was, but I'm not sure exactly why. I spent some time thinking about it, and I don't think it's anything personal. I'm just tired of the whole "ultimate tone" trip, and it seems to me that's all it is, a head trip. I wonder how many of the mods and tweaks we discuss endlessly here would actually be detectable in a properly conducted ABX trial. I also wonder if any of the amps we build would fail to sound awesome with a Wes Montgomery or Joe Satriani plugged into them.
    You gotta think about this tho....whether or not wes or joe would sound incredible thru a given amp or whether a particular tweak is detectable to you or not, none of that matters. It isn't pertinent at all. Why? because it's ME, not you doing the mods in question. I appreciate that you admitted the negativity in your posts towards me and i take no offense to it anymore because you admit to it. Most people wouldn't. But admitting it and trying to figure out why you felt like that is the sign of maturity, and i salute you for that ! Not many people will admit wrong. And yes, it was wrong because of what i said above.....you should not feel negativity towards someone just because you don't think the same way. What if you hated pizza and i loved it....you wouldn't dislike me for that. Nor should you feel that way because of my endless tweaking. To you it may be stupid, but all i'm trying to do is find ways to enjoy myself between the relatively short period from today till my final rest. I feel confused as to why anyone would want to make me miserable for doing what i enjoy unless i'm hurting someone else. I DO understand why they feel that way because as i've said, i run into people at forums that make me feel the same way towards them as you feel towards me. I just don't get the need to tell them how you feel and make them miserable. But again, i thank you for thinking about it and considering the situation instead of blowing it off and just saying F you to me.

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  6. #41
    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daz View Post
    none of that matters. It isn't pertinent at all. Why? because it's ME, not you doing the mods in question.
    What if you hated pizza and i loved it....you wouldn't dislike me for that.
    That's my beef exactly Daz! It's NOT you doing the mods in question. Ok, you might be physically wielding the soldering iron, but you're asking US to tell you what sort of mods you ought to be doing, yet we can't answer the questions because you're asking them in a language of subjectives that only you can understand.

    Keeping with the pizza metaphor, it's as if you called me (and Enzo, Chuck H, etc) for help because you were ordering a pizza but couldn't decide what toppings you wanted. And then got all snarky when I called you a fruitcake and hung up on you.

    Anyway, peace. I have no idea what toppings you like on your pizza and I'm going to leave it that way.

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    Last edited by Steve Conner; 07-03-2009 at 10:04 PM.
    "Enzo, I see that you replied parasitic oscillations. Is that a hypothesis? Or is that your amazing metal band I should check out?"

  7. #42
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    I would rather give up modding than pizza. pizza>mods. I wouldn't mind modding a bad slice, however. No ear plugs necessary.

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  8. #43
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    All this has me thinking... I'm starting a new thread.

    Chuck

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  9. #44
    Old Timer daz's Avatar
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    That's my beef exactly Daz! It's NOT you doing the mods in question. Ok, you might be physically wielding the soldering iron, but you're asking US to tell you what sort of mods you ought to be doing, yet we can't answer the questions because you're asking them in a language of subjectives that only you can understand.
    No, thats not true. It's you giving me ideas that i try, yes. But you gotta understand that the VAST majority of what i have tried came from me. Yes i try a lot of what you have advised, but probably for any one thing that someone has suggested, and this is NOT an exaggeration, i probably tried 100 things i thought of on my own. Maybe much more. If you looked at my turret board you'd have no doubt ! i only ask for ideas when i have hit some sort of dead end or such and want some thoughts to mull over. And when i DO ask, some people like chuck for example seem to understand exactly what i'm asking and have given me some darn good advice. You have to understand something.....what i am doing is a means to an end, and the end is what matters. Well, for a guy that knows very little my method has yielded some very good results, and i don't see why i should worry how it came about. You can fault me all you want, but understand that 1)-i have a lot of fun doing this, and 2)-the *end* result is i have a marshall sounding amp thats better than any of the real marshall's i've owned. I'm having fun and i have a great sounding amp. Where did i go wrong? If i went wrong in bothering you, then don't respond to my posts. No offense steve, really. But if i irritate you i suggest you don't read my posts. I don't watch TV shows i can't stand or listen to music that irritates me! But really, i understand i bother you and thats ok. I don't even hold that against you. i just don't get why you seem to need to let me know or why you continue to read my posts if they bother you.

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  10. #45
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    Gentlemen, nice work on getting through some growing pains
    Back to the topic, recently I built a 5E3 and used this board to talk about it. I used a Weber stainless steel chassis, a Mojo tweed cab, and a Celestion Blue speaker. A Heyboer power with a Wurlitzer organ output transformer; I drilled and turreted a fiberglass board from a scaled up Fend@r layout.
    I liked the amp when it was first powered up; you know, the honeymoon stage. But as I played it I decided it sounded...how do I say it...both distant and kind of Hi-Fi sounding. I had tried a different tube set, 6L6GC's and a 5U4, and thought it sounded better. Then I tried dropping the B+ from 375 down to 350 and returning back to the 6V6's and 5Y3. I raised the bias, I lowered the bias. Then I took out the zeners and left the B+ at 375, with ~275 ohms at the cathodes of the output tubes. So the amp is stock except for .02uF coupling caps instead of .1uF. Nice, but not a knockout. Decided to get a good night's sleep and try again. So yesterday morning I hooked the amp up to another speaker cab, a EVM12-L that is in a 3/4 closed back cab. There it was, the amp opened up and blossomed, for lack of a better descriptive. It chimed and just sounded great. So I'm looking at the Celestion Blue, thinking "You spent $250 on that?" and decided that I'd try breaking it in. I took my trusty HP signal generator and set it up for 82Hz (a low E), put in some cheap output tubes, and plugged the signal generator in instead of a guitar...set it for about 7.5 VAC on the speaker terminals, and let her rip out in the garage, for about 6 hours. About halfway through I dropped the frequency to about a low "C". It sounded so much better that before bed I hooked up a little 6.3 volt filament transformer direct to the speaker and left it overnight. It's going to be interesting to see how it sounds after ~18 hours of 1/3 power exercise!
    To make a long story short, it looks like there really is something to say about speaker break-in. Plus, I remembered how great a signal generator is at finding rattles in your amp. There are certain resonant frequencies that will reveal rattles that otherwise remain hidden.

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  11. #46
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PremiumPlus View Post
    Plus, I remembered how great a signal generator is at finding rattles in your amp.
    That's brilliant. I was still hitting the note that makes the rattle and trying to hunt it down with my free hand. Pich, hunt... Pick, hunt. ha ha.

    Chuck

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  12. #47
    Supporting Member tubeswell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PremiumPlus View Post
    it looks like there really is something to say about speaker break-in.
    Yeah there sure is. I found that with my tweed tremolux clone, if you put the speaker on the wrong secondary by one knotch (in my case I had the 8R speaker in the 16R tap) and switch it on and turn up the volume and trem speed and depth to maximum it makes a low-frequency chopper-like motor-boating sound (not unlike a Bell Iroquois) that is excellent for quickly breaking the speaker in. About 5 mins of this and the G12 that I (eventually) put in it sounds pretty damn heavenly.

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    Building a better world (one tube amp at a time)

    "I have never had to invoke a formula to fight oscillation in a guitar amp."- Enzo

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