New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby Emoto » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:19 pm

Any sound files online yet? I would like to hear how it sounds with the gain full up and half up.
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby strumminsix » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:28 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:What's wrong with mic'ing a real speaker with a real mic? Is this for in-ear direct use with no stage volume?


Brad

Brad, 1 venue we play requires we go direct. Another strongly prefers. These are places we play monthly. I have to imagine there are others in this same predicament or might be in the future. I'd love a real preamp w/cab sim + reverb to cover me in those situations!
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:57 pm

Emoto wrote:Any sound files online yet? I would like to hear how it sounds with the gain full up and half up.


I don't really know what power amp input could handle this thing cranked all the way up with a guitar played at full volume. That's a LOT of volts at the output of this preamp. You could maybe send it to a tube power amp and clip the hell out of its input, and maybe that would work. But in most cases if you tried this, you'd get severe distortion because the device that follows the SMS Classic would not be able to handle such a high voltage signal. It's a clean and high headroom circuit.

Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby tigerstrat » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:22 pm

strumminsix wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:What's wrong with mic'ing a real speaker with a real mic? Is this for in-ear direct use with no stage volume?


Brad

Brad, 1 venue we play requires we go direct. Another strongly prefers. These are places we play monthly. I have to imagine there are others in this same predicament or might be in the future. I'd love a real preamp w/cab sim + reverb to cover me in those situations!


Nick, is that Highwood Lanes by any chance? I saw a friend of mine's facebook pic, playing there, and he said they were all using simulators, including the drummer. It's the wave of the future, especially as baby boomers (and now post-boomers like me) get tired of lifting cabinets filled with iron...
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby Emoto » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:54 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
Emoto wrote:Any sound files online yet? I would like to hear how it sounds with the gain full up and half up.


I don't really know what power amp input could handle this thing cranked all the way up with a guitar played at full volume. That's a LOT of volts at the output of this preamp. You could maybe send it to a tube power amp and clip the hell out of its input, and maybe that would work. But in most cases if you tried this, you'd get severe distortion because the device that follows the SMS Classic would not be able to handle such a high voltage signal. It's a clean and high headroom circuit.

Brad


So, in terms of output sound, you're saying that the amount of gain dialed in does not change the clarity of the sound?
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:44 pm

Well, pretty much, if you drive the gain real hot, you're gonna have super hot output coming out of the pre. In a real Twin amp, you can do that because you'll begin to drive the tube power section, and it's likely to begin to break up maybe before any preamp clipping. But if you try that with an external solid state power amp, you're probably going to clip the input to that amp before you get the preamp to overdrive itself.

I do have ways in the preamp to drop in some resistors to tame the output level, and this would allow for you to really drive the gain and mids into a zone where you may begin to get some mush and maybe some audible clipping, but it wouldn't be much, and you'd need a pretty hot input signal. But really, this thing is meant to be run as a clean machine like the way Jerry ran his Twin preamp.

The topology of this or a Twin pre goes like this:

Input to tube stage 1 -> passive tone section with lots of insertion loss -> gain pot -> tube stage 2 to make up the lost gain from the tone section and then add a bit more gain on top of that -> big pad to drop the signal quite a bit so that the reverb can be mixed in - sparkle is added at this stage -> tube stage 3 to make up the gain lost from the pad and drive the reverb return - this 3rd stage is the output driver -> output jack

So I'd honestly have to check again. It's been a while, but I belive that if you're gonna generate any dirt in this circuit, it's likely going to be from hitting tube stage 2. If you crank the mids and the gain, you can probably make something happen there. But again, the resulting output signal will be extremely hot, so something would need to pad the resulting signal to make it usable.

I've also included two trimpots to tweak the reverb send and return levels so it can run clean and be gain optimized for how a player intends to use the pre.

So short answer, in general, changing the gain on this preamp doesn't change the tone much. It's pretty linear.

Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby strumminsix » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:20 am

tigerstrat wrote:
strumminsix wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:What's wrong with mic'ing a real speaker with a real mic? Is this for in-ear direct use with no stage volume?


Brad

Brad, 1 venue we play requires we go direct. Another strongly prefers. These are places we play monthly. I have to imagine there are others in this same predicament or might be in the future. I'd love a real preamp w/cab sim + reverb to cover me in those situations!


Nick, is that Highwood Lanes by any chance? I saw a friend of mine's facebook pic, playing there, and he said they were all using simulators, including the drummer. It's the wave of the future, especially as baby boomers (and now post-boomers like me) get tired of lifting cabinets filled with iron...


The place we have to is called Jerry's. A little joint in the city and the owner LOVES live bands but says real amps get WAY TOO LOUD. And for his room he is 100% correct. The band faces a wall about 20' in front of the mics and there is no stage so I'd literally have to be sitting on my amp!

Now the place where it's preferred is because the soundguy loves the control. He does a decent job but can't get it through his head that nothing feels like a tube amp pushing speakers! In reality we use his rig like sound reinforcement for the instruments and I think he wants it to be more like an auditorium. I told him to buy some baffles and he didn't like that idea :twisted:
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:00 pm

The page is now up. It's kind of basic and preliminary, but it's up.

http://www.sarnomusicsolutions.com/prod ... assic.html


Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:08 am

If anyone has a chance to catch the Great American Taxi on tour this month (March 09), Edwin Hurwitz has been test driving the new preamp on his bass rig.

Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby waldo041 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:13 am

the SMS Classic preamp is an awesome unit!

mine has the metal film plate resistors(healy mod), 225 orange drops and ceramic tone caps.

for those hauling around a twin head, your load will be lighten a whole bunch. this thing weighs about 2 feathers. LOL! but it packs a punch. i used an older 100watt mixer/solid state amplifier and a JBLk120 and nailed jerry's basic tone after tweaking the gain of the pre and the master volume of the power amp. so i would not clip the ss power amp. the results were that nice boingy, splatty low end, perfect mids and highs that were crystal clear up and down the neck. i also noticed just how quiet this thing really is, a testament to tapping the preamp of the twin the correct way. don't get me wrong, tapping the dozin way works and is just fine, but is noisy because it doesn't drop the power tube section completely out of the circuit. tapping it the alembicization way eliminates all that noise. my amp tapped this way was very comparable if not identical to the classic. but i would trade the classic's weight over my amp any day. the reverb was the best digital reverb i have used thus far. you don't get that splashy surfer reverb but more of a hall effect that sounds and performs really nice! being parallel to the preamp circuit is by far the optimal spot for it also. it mixes perfectly with the dry signal and does not burden its output in any way. one other thing i liked about this preamp is the added dark setting. it has bright/normal/dark. the dark setting beefed up my strat a little. it is a brighter guitar then my warmoth mahogany WGD, and the switch allowed me to get the strat almost equal to my WGD in the normal setting. NICE ADDITION!

i have always used a combo amp. so losing the sag, power tube saturation and natural compression the power section of a tube amp can do, i found just how dynamic the ab763 preamp can be. pick attack response is super quick. the harder you dig in the more it gives you. everything is even if you play even! that said, this setup will also highlight your pick approach flaws.

still more playing around with it for me. i'll try and post some clips or AB my combo tapped. just wanted to let you all know this is a very jerry pre, and i would bet all of you jerry's out there will love it!



peace,
waldo
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby drkstrcrashes » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:44 pm

Hey brad! Wanted to say "HI" (John Ruklick, Madison, WI). I believe we talked about this when it was in design phase. I am new here, and I did not read all 5 pages of posts. but let me ask you just a couple things because I was going to buy an F2b. First, what would be the major difference between the SMS Classic and an Alembic F2b preamp. (forgive me if this was gone over already). Knowing me I will probably have to try both.
Also, and sorry if this was asked, but what is the power amp that you are recommending most to guitar players? Not an MC2300??!! Have you happened to see the Butler Audio Thermionic tube power amp? This product is intriguing to me.

http://www.butleraudio.com/tdb2250.php

Keep a pickin' and grinnin' down in St. Louie, the city of blues!
-Ruk
(oh, and P.S. I am a player who does not mind digital reverb at all! and i am an old purist!)
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:29 pm

Hey John.

Well there are some basic differences between the F2B and the SMS Classic. First of all, the F2B is a two stage preamp based on the "normal" (non reverb) channel of a Fender Twin or Dual Showman amp. The SMS Classic is instead based on the reverb channel and has a 3 stage preamp because you need that 3rd stage to recover or make up the gain after the reverb mix section. This section also has a cap that adds a bit of high end sparkle that is distinct to the reverb channel of the Fender circuit as compared to the normal channel.

Also, we use a quieter power supply and grounding scheme, so the SMS Classic has less hum and noise than the F2B.

So basically, you get 50% more tube harmonic factor by having the 3rd tube stage. This means it's just a bit more juicy and lively sounding, and the overtones are a bit more complex. You also get the added sparkle in the top end which to my ears is a very Jerry kind of thing. And, of course, you get a parallel mixed reverb. Although it's a digital "hall" reverb, the routing and mixing topology is identical to that of the Fender's reverb channel. I've compared the F2B to the SMS Classic, and while they do have that nearly identical EQ curve, the F2B to my ears doesn't quite nail it, but I wouldn't expect it to since it's not really the preamp circuit Jerry used. The SMS Classic is very true to Jerry's preamp stage. This is why we made it. Nobody else seems to have done it yet.

By the way, I love the F2B preamp. It's a classic and it's awesome, but it's just not the ideal Jerry preamp due to the reasons I listed. I've always been a great admirer of Alembic's work.

Thanks for asking,
Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:34 pm

Oh,

I don't know anything about BK Butler's new amps that you mentioned. But BK is a design hero of mine, so I bet it's pretty darn cool.

Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:52 am

Here's a recent review of the SMS Classic used as a Bass Preamp:


http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=535095




Brad
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Re: New Tube Preamp for Jerry Tone

Postby Pete B. » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:51 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
...BK is a design hero of mine...

Brad


Any feedback on this older BK designed amp?...
Tube Works TD-752:
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