SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:Waldo is spot on.
This pedal is for all kinds of uses. It's partly inspired by the fact that single coil pickups into clean tube amps can make a very ice-picky spike with the pick attacks. One approach to clipping is to overdrive a preamp. Some preamps will do this from one tube stage to the next. Others will use booster devices to clip the first tube. Triode (preamp tube) clipping is a certain type of clipping that's pretty asymmetrical, and has a mushy, soft bass response, a compressed feel, and lots of overtones. To me, triode clipping is not really a very Jerry sound. I believe pretty strongly that for the most part, Jerry's sound came from a fairly to very clean tube preamp with lots of dynamic, percussive, expressive headroom, and the clipping largely came from a clipped power amp and saturated speakers. I know there are players who try this, but to my ears, this gives a splatty, compressed, choked sound that doesn't let the guitar breathe and "pop" and have the big dimension Jerry had.
The type of clipping I'm going for with this pedal is much more symmetrical, and is more in line with the type of clipping you'd get from a well balanced Twin Reverb or a McIntosh power amp. It's a stiffer, cleaner, more dynamic, punchier sound that nicely removes the ice-picky transients, and also creates a harmonic distortion that's not quite as complex or messy as the asymmetrical approach.
It's definitely not a replacement for the MXR+, and hopefully will be a nice complement to it. Since many of us are using very clean rigs, this pedal would likely be the very last pedal in a chain before the preamp, even after delay, maybe even after an OBEL loop and the guitar. That's how Jeff Mattson is using his prototype with DSO. It's right before the SMS Classic preamp input. He sets it so it just barely clips when he digs in or turns way up. It lets him shave off and round off and smooth over the pick spikes, yet doesn't change his guitar tone and doesn't create too much distortion. His Bryston power amp is way too powerful and clean to clip. He even blew an E120 recently.
One could use this as a normal overdrive pedal as well because it will also get fairly dirty if you want it to.
It's fascinating to listen to your descriptions of the type of Power Amp clipping Jerry got from his Mac. I used to confuse his timberous almost stringy clean tone as a form of clipping but after hearing you SMS preamp on this site realize that that's the sound of the highest quality preamp and single coils. The other aspect of his sound is that clipping. To me it sounded the same no matter how hard he dug in. Relatively light picking and hard would pretty much send the amp over the top in the same manner and just for a split second to add the 'hair' that's referred to on this site. More pronounced and louder yes but different or sustained no. Sounds like a function of shear volume and the JBLs breaking up more than anything else and something that would be hard to hear unless mic'd which of course he always was. Does anyone have examples of Jerry's tone when NOT close mic'd? I remember instances when the house system used to kick out and the bands raw sound would remain and they'd play on but these were short periods of time.
How much of this clipping is speaker and how much amp? Exactly what components are clipping in the Mac and what are the characteristics of the clipping? SS Macs are basically push-pull amps right? I've read about tube amp guys building copies of PP output stages using preamp tubes to emulate the sound of saturated full size output stages at 'bedroom' levels. Can this be done with SS output transistors to create a similar effect for the Mac design? I've heard a lot about the OTs used in the macs. OTs can have a lot to do with the sound and clipping yes?
As a EE guy, How would you describe the Mac2300 amp design and what about that design makes it so sonically unique?
Hope that wasn't too long winded!!