Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... FINALLY A FIX!

Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... FINALLY A FIX!

Postby lunasparks » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:54 pm

If link works, we should be getting an image of the kind of Q-Tron+ I recently purchased (eBay). Unfortunately, I think it's got a major issue. Just wondering if anyone else has ever encountered this one: basically, I think I've got it set up to be pretty Jerry, but the tone (or lack thereof) is basically a big, bassy, muddy mess.

My settings are Drive Up, Normal (not Boost), Mode: LP, Range: Lo, Response: Fast. Gain and Peak dials I've played with a bit, both below the midway point, although the mud seems to clear up a bit as I push the gain higher until the Overload light starts blinking on hard notes.

I'm running buffer, OBEL. Have tried running direct to amp and same issue, so I don't think it's the effects chain/order or anything else. Could it just be a bum Q-Tron? Maybe my settings are crappy? Any thoughts appreciated...

Image
Last edited by lunasparks on Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:32 pm

After posting this, I really started to experiment with taking the gain a lot higher, even almost to 11. This definitely seems to clear up some of the mud, but odd that it would need to be really cranked to get a clear tone, no? Certainly seems at odds with the comparable settings I've seen on the Mutron, where I think neither of the peak/gain dials makes it past the halfway point ... or I'm wrong about the "common" settings?

Again, any one with any tips for dialing in this particular unit, please speak up :-)
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby cmc64 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:01 pm

I used to have the exact same Q-Tron+ but I recently sold it as I came upon a killer deal on a Mu-Tron III. Anyway, when I first got it I had the exact same issue. Now I do not know exactly what pickups you are using or how you have your tone knobs set, but therein was my issue and solution.

My Strat currently has EMG DG-20 Active pickups in it. It is designed to look like a stock Fender Strat setup but the tone controls are completely different. Instead of having a master tone for the neck and middle pickups and the bridge wide open, EMG has what they call the EXG guitar expander and SPC presence control. The two knobs are an active EQ system that work in conjunction with each other in whichever setting you have the 5-way pickup selector switch set. So it's pretty versatile.

Check it out here if you are so inclined: http://www.emgpickups.com/products/category/11/1

Anyway, when I play I have the neck pickup engaged, the EXG on 7 and the SPC on 2 and it sounds great. Not Jerry, but that is soon to change. But my point is that while this setting sounds great for most anything I play, when I kicked on the Q-Tron+ (and now the Mu-Tron) the tone was kind of bassy, muddy, lifeless. However, when I switch to the middle pickup and set both "tone" knobs to about 6 - total Mu-Tron funkout!!!

Keep your gain on the Q-Tron+ down (so on your loudest chord/note the red light comes on), the peak around 12 noon, and try out some different pickup and tone knob settings. You'll find the sweet spot on your guitar for that effect and end up right where you want to be.

Happy hunting (and funking)!
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:38 am

cmc64 wrote:Keep your gain on the Q-Tron+ down (so on your loudest chord/note the red light comes on), the peak around 12 noon, and try out some different pickup and tone knob settings. You'll find the sweet spot on your guitar for that effect and end up right where you want to be.

Happy hunting (and funking)!


Thanks! I'm running split Super 2, middle position, treble knob wide open. I'll try again to play around with treble knob to see if it helps to clean it up. Maybe that's just it, I'm simply missing a sweet spot that resides in there somewhere?!

Also, I was digging around the forum yesterday and found an older thread where waldo suggested that the Q-Tron (not the plus version, but same big box) with super 2, buffer, OBEL the peak/gain knobs both about 8:00 on the dial. On my box that setup doesn't work at all. It seems that keeping the peak in that neighborhood is acceptable, but I need to really crank the gain knob to noon or 1:00 (basically near the max). This is the point where the overload starts lighting up a lot and I'm entering the useable tone zone. I wonder if the box isn't getting a strong signal or something...I don't know?
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby waldo041 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:32 am

lunasparks wrote:
cmc64 wrote:Keep your gain on the Q-Tron+ down (so on your loudest chord/note the red light comes on), the peak around 12 noon, and try out some different pickup and tone knob settings. You'll find the sweet spot on your guitar for that effect and end up right where you want to be.

Happy hunting (and funking)!


Thanks! I'm running split Super 2, middle position, treble knob wide open. I'll try again to play around with treble knob to see if it helps to clean it up. Maybe that's just it, I'm simply missing a sweet spot that resides in there somewhere?!

Also, I was digging around the forum yesterday and found an older thread where waldo suggested that the Q-Tron (not the plus version, but same big box) with super 2, buffer, OBEL the peak/gain knobs both about 8:00 on the dial. On my box that setup doesn't work at all. It seems that keeping the peak in that neighborhood is acceptable, but I need to really crank the gain knob to noon or 1:00 (basically near the max). This is the point where the overload starts lighting up a lot and I'm entering the useable tone zone. I wonder if the box isn't getting a strong signal or something...I don't know?



what height are your pickups at? you may need to raise them which will definately increase db's.

~waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:49 am

waldo041 wrote:
what height are your pickups at? you may need to raise them which will definately increase db's.

~waldo


I didn't think about that.

Middle pickup, fretted at 24th:
Low E: 6/64ths
High E: 5/64ths

Middle, unfretted:
Low E: 9/64ths
High E: 8/64ths

Given differences in action people may be settled on, what do you think is a good height, assuming fretted at final fret? Maybe my pickups are just too low?
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:55 pm

They like a strong signal that could be it
:D
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby cmc64 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:56 pm

I don't have a 64th's ruler so I am not sure of the exact height of my strings/pickups - but my I do know my Strat setup is standard so I am pretty sure the strings fretted at the 22nd are at 4/64th's - regardless they are quite close to the pickups.

Edit: I was just re-reading and I something caught my eye: Waldo is most certainly right in that getting your pickups closer to the strings will increase your dB output. Having your gain set that high should not be necessary. I don't run Super 2's with a buffer but I do have an active system - my buddy has a Moriarty Wolf and mentioned that the Super 2's are really hot - my EMG's must have a similarly high output because when I had my Q-Tron+ if I turned the gain up past 7:00 the overload light pretty much stayed on and the pedal started clipping the input to my amp. I actually picked up a volume pedal so I could keep the amp input hot but tone down the signal hitting it. I have heard a few others mention using a compressor, volume pedal, or other such "attenuator" after the Q-Tron to tame the really hot transients it pushes.

I am far from an electronics expert but it seems to me either the initial gain stage in the Q-Tron+ is flaky or your guitar is not putting out the level of signal it should be.

I am a taper first and a a musician second so my concepts of gain-staging are in keeping the signal clean, using the least amount of gain needed (although not a hard and fast rule as some mics/pre's like to be run smokin' hot) - but in this hobby we seem to be more into pushing things into the breakup range....

Am I getting off topic? I am trying to learn as much as possible - the subtle nuances on this end of the spectrum are new to me but becoming more familiar every day (thanks to these forums).
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:21 am

cmc64 wrote:Edit: I was just re-reading and I something caught my eye: Waldo is most certainly right in that getting your pickups closer to the strings will increase your dB output. Having your gain set that high should not be necessary. I don't run Super 2's with a buffer but I do have an active system - my buddy has a Moriarty Wolf and mentioned that the Super 2's are really hot - my EMG's must have a similarly high output because when I had my Q-Tron+ if I turned the gain up past 7:00 the overload light pretty much stayed on and the pedal started clipping the input to my amp. I actually picked up a volume pedal so I could keep the amp input hot but tone down the signal hitting it. I have heard a few others mention using a compressor, volume pedal, or other such "attenuator" after the Q-Tron to tame the really hot transients it pushes.

I am far from an electronics expert but it seems to me either the initial gain stage in the Q-Tron+ is flaky or your guitar is not putting out the level of signal it should be.


I'm thinking it's got to be the Q-Tron+, something wrong with the gain. I raised the pickups up really close last night and it only made a really minor difference--now a solid noon on the gain knob gets the overload light blinking. 7:00 would still be total mud. Well, this sucks...not sure what, if anything, can be done?
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby tigerstrat » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:22 am

Doesn't look like we've quite narrowed it down between A) weak pickup output and B)choked (defective?) effect input.

Let me ask this: With your tone pot open all the way (as you described) does it go from a screaming clean treble signal when bypassed to overly bass/muddy (quiet/ barely triggering?) when the Q is engaged? Are they equally loud/trebly? I use a vintage M3 so perhaps it's n/a, but I usually will give my tone pot a gentle crank in the bass direction when engaging the filter, and frequently also turn the Volume pot down (at least to comping level)
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:14 am

tigerstrat wrote:Doesn't look like we've quite narrowed it down between A) weak pickup output and B)choked (defective?) effect input.

Let me ask this: With your tone pot open all the way (as you described) does it go from a screaming clean treble signal when bypassed to overly bass/muddy (quiet/ barely triggering?) when the Q is engaged? Are they equally loud/trebly? I use a vintage M3 so perhaps it's n/a, but I usually will give my tone pot a gentle crank in the bass direction when engaging the filter, and frequently also turn the Volume pot down (at least to comping level)



I'm going to put some clips together this afternoon. Def not quiet, just like a blanket over the whole thing.
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:59 am

Okay. Listen to link below and you'll hear (hopefully) what I'm talking about. At the beginning, I play clean to establish a baseline. Then first time with the Q-Tron is with Peak and Gain both about 8:00, per Waldo's (and others) suggested neighborhood. Then clean again, followed by me cranking the gain to noon, then some more clean noodling to the end. When I push the gain it does clean up a bit, but still not quite right it seems...and I think it becomes touchier, though that could just be me. Hopefully this gives some flavor for what I'm wrestling with, very bassy, dull mud coming out of this thing....

http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=11756535&q=hi
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby Tennessee Jedi » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:12 pm

What kind of amp ?
My Twin is hard to dial in .... its a master volume model .... always needs tweaking
Channel vol and the master make the Q ( mines the mini ) react similar to your sound clip
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby lunasparks » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:18 pm

Tennessee Jedi wrote:What kind of amp ?
My Twin is hard to dial in .... its a master volume model .... always needs tweaking
Channel vol and the master make the Q ( mines the mini ) react similar to your sound clip


Thanks for the response. It's SMS --> MC250. Basic Jerry settings on the SMS, MC250 at 11:30 on the dial. It all sounds good to me on the clean side, but then yuck. I also tried another guitar, tone knob adjustment, pickup height adjustment, taking everything out of the signal chain and running straight from Q-Tron+ into the SMS. No dice. I'll try another amp, but I'm leaning to the problem being with the Q-Tron+ itself.
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Re: Muddy, Bassy Q-Tron Plus (+) ... Normal?

Postby cmc64 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:15 pm

lunasparks wrote:
Tennessee Jedi wrote:What kind of amp ?
My Twin is hard to dial in .... its a master volume model .... always needs tweaking
Channel vol and the master make the Q ( mines the mini ) react similar to your sound clip


Thanks for the response. It's SMS --> MC250. Basic Jerry settings on the SMS, MC250 at 11:30 on the dial. It all sounds good to me on the clean side, but then yuck. I also tried another guitar, tone knob adjustment, pickup height adjustment, taking everything out of the signal chain and running straight from Q-Tron+ into the SMS. No dice. I'll try another amp, but I'm leaning to the problem being with the Q-Tron+ itself.



Mmmm.... SMS -> MC250. Exactly the setup I want - unless I find a really good deal on an MC2105.
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