tigerstrat wrote:.... However DH told me the slight dirt was basically equal parts distorted Mac, distorted speaker, AND distorted preamp.
That's where I think it'll be interesting for us to explore things a bit on our own and with our ears. I honestly believe that at different times there were varying degrees of each. When I hung with Dan while did DSO sound, there was a discussion going on about where Jerry's "dirt" came from. Dan was not in agreement with the notion of at least one particular means of tube preamp distortion, and that was by means of boosting the signal level by a large amount before it ever reaches the preamp, and thereby clipping the first input stage of a tube preamp. Dan eventually swore fairly adamantly that the preamp was setup to run clean and surely wasn't clipped like that. It robbed the sound of headroom and clarity. But that was in the context of suggestions that there were some "secret magic mojo" methods of creating large amounts of internal preamp overdrive. He was very adamant that the circuit was not messed with like that at all, and while the component selection in Jer's preamp was very precisely chosen and improved, the general circuit design was still true to the original Fender circuit. He said that the dirt would have likely come from the Mac and the saturated JBL's. But I think he was trying to stress the point at the time that the preamp was not hod rodded to become a hot, overdrive circuit. That mixed with numerous comments from those who had talked to Jerry or observed his knob settings that he didn't typically drive the preamp all that hot. As many of us know, if you have the normal Jerry guitar setup and run thru a Twin preamp and really crank the gain and the mids, you can begin to get just a bit of dirt, not much, but a bit of squish. Maybe with the mid and gain both up past 7 or 8. This is where I can see how at times Jerry may have gone for that preamp dirt to a degree. If Dan said preamp dirt was part of the formula, then I believe it.
We know that the clipped mac and JBL's are given the most credit for any dirt, and there are clues and comments even from DH that the preamp may have also contributed at times. I'll tell you though, I've done a lot of experimentation and listening to preamps and Mac power amps and JBL's, and the driven preamp dirt in the Twin circuit just doesn't quite do "THAT" thing. I can see that maybe the preamp pushed to begin to smooth out a bit could be a component, but in my listening experiments, that sound isn't even close to what the pushed Mac sounds like. I just listened to an '89 JFK show, a Healy SBD. Jerry's tone is amazing. To my ears it sounds like a very clean and hi-fi preamp sound, crisp and solid and really not squishy at all. Then as he picks or strums, it just smacks real hard with percussive clarity and a bit of grit. Not warmed over in a tubey way, but with teeth on it and slicing thru the mix with a lot of clarity. I really think that there is the sound of a clean pre into a clipped Mac.
Dig the Scarlet/Fire. This show really has what I think of as the refined Jerry tone. And what's very interesting is at the end of the show, Lovelight has that clean/dirty tone that's so fascinating. It's his clean (no pedals) tone, but he's really diggin in and getting some breakup. http://www.archive.org/details/gd89-07- ... sbeok.shnf