This old posting (by someone else) is a combination of good advice and the enthusiasm of achievement, on my favorite subject: amp rigs for quiet cranked-amp tone.
From mas017 at aol.com
Oct 7 1996
Subject: The SECRET of Great Pure Guitar TONE !!!!
I want to share my excitement about finally finding the secret to that elusive warm guitar tone I have sought for years. I have tried all sorts of rackmount preamps, power amps, effects units, combo amps, and so on. I have finally found the secret to a warm guitar sound; this may help others looking for the same classic warm guitar crunch and long, smooth sustain!
- Fender guitar w/ HS3 pickups
- Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer (Drive: 8, Level: 10)
- Noise suppression pedal
- Marshall 50 Watt Plexiglass head, model 1987 (High Treble Input #1, Bass:2, Mid:6, Treble:6, Presence:4, Volume:10)
- Marshall Power Brake power attenuator
- Speaker cabinet with Celestion speakers
- Shure-57 mic about 2" from the speaker pointed at the edge (about a 30-45 degree angle)
- Record dry, and add an appropriate amount of reverb at the recording and mixing console.
It looks simple, but it took me 8 years of trial and error (and fancy equipment) to find this simple, straightforward approach.
This sound is more of a straight rock sound like old Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, AC/DC, and so on, rather than the more modern highly fx-processed sounds of players such as Steve Vai, Satriani, and Petrucci. Of course you could add any effects you wanted at the console.
[Time fx, in particular, should go through the console, not in the amp's fx loop or before the amp. Especially if you have heavy power-stage distortion. - Michael]
My sole goal was to find that smooth (not screechy) infinite "bell-like" warm tube distortion. If you have found the all-purpose effects units to be "cool" at first, but "gimmicky" and "fake" later on, perhaps you to will find this set-up to your liking.
[However, for processors that have a well-placed fx loop, you can wrap the processor sections around the cranked tube amp to produce the above chain, with post-amp placement of time fx. This sounds awesome, not gimmicky and fake. The power-stage saturation warms up the non-time-fx processing of the first section of the processor, and placing the second section of the processor (including time fx) after the amp preserves the "dry" character of amp breakup. - Michael]
Just thought it might help someone out there who is searching for Tone.
-- mas017 at aol.com
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