Mutron III Observation

Mutron III Observation

Postby zoooombiex » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:33 pm

I was playing around with my Mutron III the other night and comparing it with a Q-tron+. I've had both these pedals for a while and am very familiar with them, but last night I had an observation about what makes the Mutron so unique, even compared to the Q-Tron.

I've been through most of the other EF's out there (though not the proton). The first thing that I always notice when trying them out is the speed of the attack and decay of the envelope. The Mutron is pretty distinctive in that respect. Most are much faster and snappier, which makes it harder to get the very vocal Jerry-type sounds. In that respect, I found the Q-Tron+ to have the closest sounding envelope to the Mutron (it even has a slow response option which is very unique).

But there's another unique aspect to the Mutron that I always been aware of but never put my finger on it - the dynamic range at which it has a musical response. I can set up the Q-Tron to sound virtually identical to the Mutron for a certain range of the guitar and/or playing dynamics. At those settings, the Mutron can play pretty much anywhere on the neck and sound good. However, if the Q-tron goes outside a certain range it will stop working well - if you play too hard it will clip the input and sound very harsh, and if you play too soft it won't trigger the filter.

So, for example, if you set the Q-Tron up to match the Mutron in the middle register of the guitar, it gets hard to trigger notes properly when playing up high on the neck, and when playing down low on the neck you have to play extremely light to avoid clipping. The Mutron, however, can cover the entire range of the guitar without needing extreme dynamics.

I'm curious if anyone knows from an electrical or design perspective what accounts for that, and whether it's something that can be modded on current production pedals.
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Re: Mutron III Observation

Postby hippieguy1954 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:49 pm

Excellent question! Can't wait to hear the answers. Probably has something to do with components. From what I have read, some of the components used in the Mutron are not made at all anymore.

Makes me wonder how the Mutron "work alike" (I think it's called) kit that some have built and give very high reviews would stand up to your test.

Interesting, I've only owned a DOD FX25 and the Proton and have never noticed the situation you discribe. Maybe I'm just making up for it with my pick attack and not noticing.
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Re: Mutron III Observation

Postby JonnyBoy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:37 pm

Great job, that is helpful. I have sat with shows and youtube vids and tweaked my Qtron+ to be super close. depending on the year/songs Jerry had different settings he would use from time to time on his mutron and get different tones/sounds. I didn't find it all that hard to get my Qtron to create something similar with the ones I tried to copy. One thing I think I hear the mutron doing relative to the Qtron is clipping the amp a little. Getting an OD tone in there with some of the '77 estimated solos especially. The boost on the Q+ can help there too, if one was trying for that aspect of the tone.

I really don't have any issue triggering the envelope in different places when properly set, but if it is a little low, then that will happen. That is where the dynamics of the pedal come into play like hippyguy stated.

I am of the belief that Jerry could have switched to a Qtron+ and people would have a hard time figuring that out by just listening.
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Re: Mutron III Observation

Postby Jon S. » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:49 pm

Have you experimented preceding your 'Tron with a quality compressor? Doing so might address some of the issues you've raised.
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Re: Mutron III Observation

Postby zoooombiex » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:03 pm

Jon S. wrote:Have you experimented preceding your 'Tron with a quality compressor? Doing so might address some of the issues you've raised.


I haven't but could give that a try.

FWIW, the Q-tron+ is definitely useable as is. It's my favorite current production EF and I use it whenever I don't have room for the Mutron. My post was meant to be more a comparison of the two (and an observation that seems to carry over to all of the current production EF's I've tried). The Mutron has always had this extra bit of magic to it, and it occurred to me that its musicality across a wider dynamic range might be part of that.
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