Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:47 am

Chuckles wrote:Now, I'm just askin'... but if this could be something that sits in front of the pre, couldn't it be built into the SMS Classic as a first stage?

I know, I know... ya got plenty on your plate, Brad. Just wondering, that's all. Whatever you come up with is gonna be the balls, I'm sure. 8)



Chuckles, that's a good question. Basically, I'd hate to mess with the extreme purity and minimalism of the all-tube signal path factor of the SMS Classic. I'm also working on a clipping device that's a rack-mount thing and does a "mac-like" clipping at line level instead of guitar level. This would go AFTER a preamp and before a power amp. Mattson also has my prototype of this as well. I think he does a balancing act of both the pedal and the rack unit. If I ever were to implement this mac-style clipping into one of my preamps, I'd be more likely to add at at the end of the preamp circuit, at line-level, after all the EQ and reverb, etc. The closer to the power amp, it seems, then the more it would actually be like the real sound of a power amp clipping. And at line level, I can even more closely emulate the behavior of a real power amp clipping, with more current flowing and higher voltages. That rack-clipper is still way more in a prototype stage.

I'm feeling a stronger push to get the pedal done because it's far more versatile. It can be a ultra-barely-clipped Jerry 80s like thing, and with a little turn of the drive knob, suddenly it's kind of like '72 where Jerry had a real solid amount of grunge in his clean tone. And then it can get even a bit dirtier for true overdrive pedal action.

But for now, it's my intent to keep the SMS Classic a pure tube path with no switching or other stuff. Just a tweaked out Twin Reverb preamp in a rack.

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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby Bear62 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:58 am

Stronger Than Dirt (or Milking The Turkey). However, I would shy away from using the initials STD. You should run a name this box contest winner get's the prized box! peace, Gregg
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby williamsaut » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:46 am

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.

Brad



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!!
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:54 pm

I agree with a whole lot of what you said here. I think that by the '80s, much of Jerry's energetic and harmonically rich guitar tone did come from all that clean circuitry and those very bright single coil pickups. It's hard to know which began to saturate or clip first, the JBL's or the McIntosh output. It seems it all works together.

I do have a very amazing recording around here somewhere that I'll try to post for people to check out. It was made with a portable Uher tape recorder literally a few feet from Jerry's amp at a JGB show from 1980. Not the sound of his amp mic'd, but the actual sound coming from his rig at close proximity. What I can say is that it's a thicker, warmer, fuller sound than what most of us hear from Jerry that typically came to us thru a Sennheiser 421 inches from the voice coil and metal dustcap. This sound is chunky and fat and full of "gut".

As far as emulating a push-pull clipping at low level, this can be done with discrete components or with properly run and selected opamps because they naturally are differential or push-pull circuits. Nothing is like the real deal, but you can achieve some similar clipping effects. I think the push-pull symmetry is central to that particular Jerry clipping tone. Even a well tweaked tube amp can do it. That's push-pull too. There's just something about the 2300 with all the juice and the autoformer. The Mc2300 is set up as a pretty normal single-ended push-pull, and the output autoformer is tied to the output and ground. The Mac wanted to see 2 ohms, and just loved to move lots of current. That's part of it I guess. The transistor Mac's aren't radical at all. Kind of a very well thought out, meat and potatoes circuit with the unique addition of an autoformer at the output to let various impedance loads match for full power delivery. An autoformer is half of a "transformer". It's just a primary, and the speaker outputs are tied along the primary coil along with the amp's output and ground. No secondary winding.

I think that SO much of Jerry's sound really does have to do with what JBL's sound like at such extreme power levels, stressed and saturated and compressing and distorting a bit. Driven to the point of being non-linear, but not so much of the time that they overheat and cook too often. But Jerry did eat them up. A JBL at low power doesn't sound as warm and rounded. Probably because they're so linear that they deliver the ice-picks without any restriction.

Brad
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby lunasparks » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:41 pm

I'd be interested in hearing that recording. Please post if you find it -- and definitely another +1 for interest in this new box....!
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby williamsaut » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:05 pm

Excellent ! Thanks for the dish on some of this stuff. I was aware in my non-expert way that SS amps didn't actually need OTs do to the fact that the transistors were already impedance matched 'roughly' to speakers but to be able to put out 'rated' power to multiple impedance speaker setups, thus the autoformers. But like you said, their not really transformers because they don't have a primary. just a coil of wire? Like the choke that drives 8ohm spring reverb tank in an amp? Can these 'saturate' like tube amp OTs and add compression to the sound of an alnico speaker?

Speaking of the speakers themselves, when I first heard the idea of driving a single E112 with a 105 watt Mac, it sounded so right that I wanted to immediately go get a Mac2105 and one of you preamps to try this theory out but alas, funding is going to put that off for a while although no that you mention it, a Weber Beam-blocker would probably take the ice-pick out of the sound.

I feel that this Forum is very lucky to have someone such as yourself that's knowledgeable and loves this stuff and actually has a Co. that's putting out high quality designed products.

I think I can speak for everyone on this thread that if you make it, We'll buy it and try it!!

Thanks,
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby unnbrokenchain » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:41 pm

a Weber Beam-blocker would probably take the ice-pick out of the sound.



If anyone has the answer for this, I'd appreciate it too. Always wondered if anyone actually used those, or had any answers or experience with them.
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:40 am

Thanks for the kind words Will.


Off topic, but...
Regarding the Weber Beam Blocker for ice-pick removal, I'm not a fan. It's a reflective, domed surface and that energy gets sent back into the speaker and dispersed all over the place. I'm more a fan of using an absorbing device, like dense foam on plywood or something like that to soak up the beam and not bounce it back and scatter it everywhere. I think that a 7" square or round absorber on a small mic stand about 10" in front of an amp would make a good beam absorber. Far enough from the speaker itself to not create new artifacts, but close enough to grab it. Personally, for years I just aim the "beam" at my back so it doesn't get past me and nail the aud or soundman.

The beam is a very "coherent" kind of thing, and I mean "coherent" like how laser beams are coherent. The waves are focused so they dont really fan out and weaken much as they travel. A speaker beam can travel a huge distance without losing much energy. When Jeff Mattson first got his new rig going, he had a HT cab with Tone Tubbies in it. He had it aimed at the soundman. Even though he was nearly 75' away, the treble beam was so brutal that the soundman had him completely out of the mix and was still being hurt by it, and in a big house of over 1000 people. If you stepped 10' off to the side, his guitar completely disappeared and nobody could hear it. But in the beam, all you heard was treble and it was brutal. The soundman did all kinds of EQ and everything he could until he realized that it was entirely from the speaker and not in the PA or thru the mic at all. For 2nd set, we tilted the cabinet up and aimed it off a little bit. Then suddenly he was able to be in the mix in a big way, and the soundman needed very little EQ. The beam is brutal and deceiving. Never aim it at your own ears or a soundman, and preferably not at the audience either, although it's only a few people that are likely to actually be in the narrow beam.

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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby jeffm725 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:43 am

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:Thanks for the kind words Will.


Off topic, but...
Regarding the Weber Beam Blocker for ice-pick removal, I'm not a fan. It's a reflective, domed surface and that energy gets sent back into the speaker and dispersed all over the place. I'm more a fan of using an absorbing device, like dense foam on plywood or something like that to soak up the beam and not bounce it back and scatter it everywhere. I think that a 7" square or round absorber on a small mic stand about 10" in front of an amp would make a good beam absorber. Far enough from the speaker itself to not create new artifacts, but close enough to grab it. Personally, for years I just aim the "beam" at my back so it doesn't get past me and nail the aud or soundman.

The beam is a very "coherent" kind of thing, and I mean "coherent" like how laser beams are coherent. The waves are focused so they dont really fan out and weaken much as they travel. A speaker beam can travel a huge distance without losing much energy. When Jeff Mattson first got his new rig going, he had a HT cab with Tone Tubbies in it. He had it aimed at the soundman. Even though he was nearly 75' away, the treble beam was so brutal that the soundman had him completely out of the mix and was still being hurt by it, and in a big house of over 1000 people. If you stepped 10' off to the side, his guitar completely disappeared and nobody could hear it. But in the beam, all you heard was treble and it was brutal. The soundman did all kinds of EQ and everything he could until he realized that it was entirely from the speaker and not in the PA or thru the mic at all. For 2nd set, we tilted the cabinet up and aimed it off a little bit. Then suddenly he was able to be in the mix in a big way, and the soundman needed very little EQ. The beam is brutal and deceiving. Never aim it at your own ears or a soundman, and preferably not at the audience either, although it's only a few people that are likely to actually be in the narrow beam.

Brad


I have literally been knocked off balance from being in direct line of an E120 beam powered by a 100 watt Fender custom shop Dual Professional. I was about 12 feet in front of it in a direct line at my head and it knocked my equilibrium out of wack. I stumbled, it was like someone physically pushed me. Not a very healthy activity and can totally ruin your hearing for a lifetime. I used to have my ears professionally cleaned every 18-24 months and it would be like someone removed a moving blanket from over my head. I have a theory ( and my DR agrees with this), that your body will produce excess Wax as a mode of protection if you are in High Sound pressure environments for a period of time, as he said my build up was much faster than normal. I am more careful now (use plugs and/or in-ears, depending on venue and best of all we seem to not play quite as loud as we used to) and I dont need to go for cleaning as much but I know there is some damage already.

Brad is right as usual :-) in that the BEam is very focused. If you are in line with a Beam from a High powered amp it can be stupid loud at 100 feet! But go off the beam and it is lost.
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby unnbrokenchain » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:15 pm

^^^ Ha! Seems to happen to us all. Happened to me once and it won't ever again. I literally had to hold my hands over my ears and kinda shake my brain back to reality. Those speakers should come with a Caution or Warning sign lol.
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby caspersvapors » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:16 pm

please post that recording!!!
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby redbeard » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:34 pm

Wow, had never heard the "laser beam of sound" idea put into words, but have definately experienced it and been knocked over without knowing what had hit me. At a DSO show a few years back, right in front of JK's 3 E120s in one particular spot I stood and had never experienced anything approaching the volume my ears experienced in that moment. Quickly moving to the side from that spot the sound remained loud but lost the absurd ferocity with which it had initially hit me. Definately negatively impacted my hearing for the night and many thereafter, and who knows, probably a good part of the reason I cant hear the miscellaneous debris my ears used to pick up that no one else could even hear, but who needs all those highs anyway, right? ;)

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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby JonnyBoy » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:57 pm

I totally agree, and to put it into a small bar context, my 1x12 E-120 being pushed well, was hitting my wife and the other guests of the band at the table about 20 ft away. They complained I was too loud in the mix and my guitar hurt their ears. I tilted it back and all was well. Everyone else thought it was fine. Thank god it wasn't the bar owner's table. They said it was horrible and painful, not at all enjoyable. I use a lot of treble. Lesson learned well that night. I can only imagine the power behind a 3x12 with 1000watts. that's just scary. :shock:
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby Scarlet » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:39 pm

SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:I do have a very amazing recording around here somewhere that I'll try to post for people to check out. It was made with a portable Uher tape recorder literally a few feet from Jerry's amp at a JGB show from 1980. Not the sound of his amp mic'd, but the actual sound coming from his rig at close proximity. What I can say is that it's a thicker, warmer, fuller sound than what most of us hear from Jerry that typically came to us thru a Sennheiser 421 inches from the voice coil and metal dustcap. This sound is chunky and fat and full of "gut".

Brad

Would this be The Stone SF 03/07/80 by any chance?
Great show for Jerry scholars. He is LOUD!
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Re: Sarnomusicsolutions dirt box

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:47 pm

I'm trying to find the hard drive with this audio. It's here somewhere. If I can't find it, I'll re-transfer the cassette.

I think you may be right about the Stone.

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