Questions about volume and your rigs...

Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby FretfulDave » Thu May 03, 2012 8:10 am

Smolder wrote:... I was thinking about grabbing a mc-50, but read where many see them as too small. Is there a disconnect between the watt rating of macs and twins? What am I missing here?


From my experience solid state watts <> tube watts

For reasons that I still haven't quite figured out, a 50 watt tube amp will blow away a 50 watt solid state amp volume wise. So we see the larger Macs in use and 50 watts of solid state may not be enough for your band mix, etc.

Others may have a different opinion but you will likely have to go over 100 watts solid state to equal the output of your twin, presuming it is not the Ultra Linear 135 watt jobber...

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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby Smolder » Thu May 03, 2012 8:29 am

Back to the OP... and maybe more precisely... it's that point where Jerry is playing clean... and I hear this best on the jgband recordings... where he seems to be pushing budman into some sort of odd but very cool clipping. Seems that I've read it as specific to part of the circuit in that model of mac. Not sure if that circuit and those results extend to other macs... but it seem like it is at a very specific output level. And... if the only way to achieve it is with that huge amp and at that volume... then I'm most certainly chasing my own tail here... but it would be nice to achiev.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby jkstraw » Thu May 03, 2012 8:54 am

Smolder wrote:Back to the OP... and maybe more precisely... it's that point where Jerry is playing clean... and I hear this best on the jgband recordings... where is seems to be pushing budman into some sort of odd but very cool clipping. Seems that I've read it as specific to that model of mac. Not sure if that circuit and result extends to other macs... but it seem like it is at a very specific output level. And... if the only way to achieve it is with that huge amp and at that volume... then I'm most certainly chasing my own tail here... but it would be nice to achiev.


Here was a great discussion on the topic: viewtopic.php?f=309&t=7743&hilit=sentry

One of the best things to come out of it was Brad's Earth Drive - set correctly (and placed in the chain correctly) it can get you that slight clipping without having to go huge with volume.

http://www.sarnomusicsolutions.com/products/ed.html

P.S. It is also a great drive pedal! That's why I must get two!
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Thu May 03, 2012 9:22 am

In my experience there's a huge difference between clean loud and ugly loud.

If a band is really loud but each instrument is clear and distinct and musical, it's a whole different experience than a band whose gear is all pushed into that realm of ugly messiness where it's just a wash of noise.

Similarly, most onstage volume wars are really clarity wars IMHO. Dan Healy's favorite technique of low-pass-filtering everything except bass really helps remove unneeded sound that contributes noise but no musical information. I think this is the same reason why Jerry instinctively ran the bass knob on his preamp at 0. But if you've got a guy mushing away, full-range, thrashing chords like he's in a Nirvana tribute, the rest of the band will struggle to find musical space in which to operate, generally leading them to turn up and play more noisily as well.

I don't know how it specifically relates to guitar amps, but it's why I now bring 2,000+ watts to gigs... I never need to turn it up past halfway and I know that no matter what happens, I can fill the room with nice clean bass tone.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby strumminsix » Thu May 03, 2012 10:06 am

Seems like this needs some clarification of setting:
Bar - needs lower volume
Venue - can open up into a medium volume
Club - definitely can bring up the volume
Big stage - can use higher volume

Most bars you best control your volume or you'll sound like crap and won't be invited back. In alot of venues you can open it up some but you still can't be cranked or it can't get mixed and you'll be fighting the soundguy. Large rooms you can open it up some especially if you have room between musicians.

I mean, think of a 3x12 of JBL E120s pushing 100w each it someone 20' out when it really opens up. It's a death beam. Folks don't wanna go deaf, they just wanna hear good music. And if the music is too loud for the room it's shit an I don't care how good the music is. There is a difference between being loud and too loud.

Just like there is a difference between pushing your gear like Jerry did and not being able to push your gear and risking sounding anemic :) back on track!
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby Smolder » Thu May 03, 2012 10:19 am

jkstraw wrote:Here was a great discussion on the topic: viewtopic.php?f=309&t=7743&hilit=sentry


dude... thanks so much for that link. In all my searching I had yet to come across that... great discussion that hits at the core of what I'm after... thanks again...

And, please... pardon my latency. I realize most of you guys are years ahead and decades into this quest and this info. I'm trying my best to catch up with out forcing redundant conversations.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 04, 2012 7:57 am

strumminsix wrote:...there is a difference between pushing your gear like Jerry did and not being able to push your gear and risking sounding anemic :) back on track!



This is the heart of the issue, big time. These clean setups with the clean preamp and big power amps and JBL's. This type of rig is always at risk of sounding anemic. They key, as we've discovered, is that the output sections of these setups must be pushed hard to become musical. That's where a bit of compression, peak shaving, harmonic distortion, etc. happens. When the power amps begin to stress and clip and round off, when the speakers begin to feel the power and the magnet/motor driver begins to saturate and become non-linear. This is where musicality lies, where the rig begins to feel like a guitar rig and sound like a guitar tone. It's very obvious to our ears that this is what Jerry did. And what I truly value in all the years of research and discovery by so many of us is that we see that Jerry achieved this fundamental result by having a very clean signal path with clean gain staging thru the preamp and then just hammering the shit out of it by pushing the power amp and speakers to the brink. That's where the tone comes alive. The challenge for any of us is to find the right power amp and speaker count to deliver this factor at an acceptable stage volume. There's a fine line between beautiful and painful. Too loud is no fun, but it's got to be loud enough to come to life.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby NSP » Fri May 04, 2012 10:37 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
strumminsix wrote:...there is a difference between pushing your gear like Jerry did and not being able to push your gear and risking sounding anemic :) back on track!
The challenge for any of us is to find the right power amp and speaker count to deliver this factor at an acceptable stage volume.


I think this where the banter begins again with us asking when the SMS Classic power amp will be unveiled :?:

Kidding aside, Brad is this something that would fit into your business plan at some point?
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby strumminsix » Fri May 04, 2012 10:48 am

NSP wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
strumminsix wrote:...there is a difference between pushing your gear like Jerry did and not being able to push your gear and risking sounding anemic :) back on track!
The challenge for any of us is to find the right power amp and speaker count to deliver this factor at an acceptable stage volume.


I think this where the banter begins again with us asking when the SMS Classic power amp will be unveiled :?:

Kidding aside, Brad is this something that would fit into your business plan at some point?

Not speaking for Brad but for him to meet this objective, he'd need to delivery around 8 poweramps w/Sentry like Mac:
22w to be paired with a single D120
50w to be paired with a dual D120s
100w to be paired with dual D120s
150w to be paired with trio D120s

Then double that for the wattage with E & K 120s!
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby jkstraw » Fri May 04, 2012 10:53 am

NSP wrote:
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:
strumminsix wrote:...there is a difference between pushing your gear like Jerry did and not being able to push your gear and risking sounding anemic :) back on track!
The challenge for any of us is to find the right power amp and speaker count to deliver this factor at an acceptable stage volume.


I think this where the banter begins again with us asking when the SMS Classic power amp will be unveiled :?:

Kidding aside, Brad is this something that would fit into your business plan at some point?


Also not speaking for Brad - he commented that it was " on my drawing table. That and an overdrive pedal are my top projects for 2010"

Original post: http://www.rukind.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... try#p73012

I'll let Brad speak to any status update.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby NSP » Fri May 04, 2012 11:27 am

strumminsix wrote:
Not speaking for Brad but for him to meet this objective, he'd need to delivery around 8 poweramps w/Sentry like Mac:
22w to be paired with a single D120
50w to be paired with a dual D120s
100w to be paired with dual D120s
150w to be paired with trio D120s

Then double that for the wattage with E & K 120s!


I suppose I should say I wasn't implying that he should produce all flavors, just something that would suit the majority of use using the SMS preamp and driving a couple E's or K's.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby Smolder » Fri May 04, 2012 11:37 am

You could (obviously) economize the production by creating bridgable mono blocks with multi tap outputs.


NSP wrote:
strumminsix wrote:
Not speaking for Brad but for him to meet this objective, he'd need to delivery around 8 poweramps w/Sentry like Mac:
22w to be paired with a single D120
50w to be paired with a dual D120s
100w to be paired with dual D120s
150w to be paired with trio D120s

Then double that for the wattage with E & K 120s!


I suppose I should say I wasn't implying that he should produce all flavors, just something that would suit the majority of use using the SMS preamp and driving a couple E's or K's.
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Fri May 04, 2012 11:43 am

I do appreciate all the encouragement for the idea of power amp design. To be honest, I'm not an expert in power amp design. I've spent my years working in instrument and line level analog processing, mostly tube. I did finally build myself a prototype tube power amp. It's about 60 watts using fairly high voltage and beefy transformers running a pair of 6L6's at the moment. It's very balanced and the feedback circuit offers some nice tailoring of the general treble voicing. I can't see myself going into power amplifier manufacturing any time soon though. I'm a one-man factory and I do everything in a crammed basement shop, hopefully soon expanding into my garage. Power amp manufacturing requires a whole new slew of bulky parts and suddenly becomes a much larger thing. And I really appreciate the post pointing out that there is a wide range of power demands for all of us depending on the size stages we play on and the general loudness at full power we're after. I can't imagine just one amp design being the solution for everyone. I'm currently more interested in hearing how people are faring with the variety out there that seem to be in common usage. Personally, at the lower stage volumes I must play at (I'm also a mastering engineer by trade and can't afford to blow my ears out), I'm more a candidate for a baby Mc50 into a single JBL. I know that's simply not enough balls for players in louder bands, and that's where the Mc250 comes into play. Or the Mesa 20/20, the 50/50, or the Fryettes or the Carvin or the Rocktron or the Mc2100 (Mc2105) or the Mosvalve, or some older Crests, etc. There are some valid options already out there and not too pricey on the used market. I also think that players need to be prepared to go thru a few amps before they figure out just exactly how loud and how much power the gig will call for.

All that said, I think that if I were to attempt an amp design, I'd likely try to go for a very clean and stiff and symmetrical tube amp in the 60 watt range or a solid state amp in the 150 watt range. Seems to me that much louder than that, we're just causing injury to ourselves or the audience. And if a rig doesn't seem loud enough, just move closer to the speaker cab. Too busy this year to be in power amp design mode. We've got two new tube preamps coming out this year. One is a tube bass pre and the other is a clean and simple pedal steel type guitar pre that would also work for bass and guitar. We're in the final stages at the moment on those.

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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby eric » Fri May 04, 2012 12:07 pm

Wow Brad , I suppose the next thing you're gonna tell me is there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny too! Thanks for ruining my day !! I even had a name for it already ; The SMcintosh.. ( pronounced Smack-intosh)

Jk jk jk ...still totally digging my SMS , thanks again for that fine piece of gear!
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Re: Questions about volume and your rigs...

Postby jkstraw » Fri May 04, 2012 12:16 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:I do appreciate all the encouragement for the idea of power amp design. To be honest, [..]


Rock and roll Brad - appreciate you weighing in on the topic! You make some of the best gear I own! Continued success! :cool:
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