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Amptone.com

Guitar Amp Tone, Effects Placement, and
Cranked-Amp Tone at Any Volume

Since 1997

 

Basic Tone
Amp tone MP3s
Tube amp Tone
Preamp tube distortion vs. power tube saturation
Compression
Rectifiers
Distortion voicing; alternating eq and saturation stages
EQ concepts and pre-distortion EQ
EQ products

Distortion and amp simulation
Distortion pedals
Guitar preamps (no amp sim, few effects)
Multi-voiced distortion pedals
DI preamps and amp simulators (some amp sim, few effects)
Preamp/processors (a few distortions, some amp sim)
Amp emulators (dial-an-amp, few effects)
Amp-modelling processors (dial-an-amp, heavy effects)

Modelling amps
Flat amps for amp-modelling processors

Quiet cranked-amp tone
Problem of loudness being tied to Tone
Approaches
Product ideas
Adding a low-wattage power tube
Tube Convertor Sockets
Feedback generation

Speakers and speaker isolation boxes
Speakers
Speaker isolation boxes
Iso-Box Products
DIY Iso-Box

Selectable-wattage amps
Power-supply based attenuation
Integrated power soak
Post-PI master volume
Multiple output stages
Solid-state with wattage control
Tube-disconnecting
3-stage amps

Low-wattage amps
Guitar amps 10W or less, single-wattage
Boutique low-wattage amps
Kits or optional kits for low-wattage amps
Out-of-production low-wattage amps

Power attenuators
Power attenuator/ dummy load/ cab-sim filter
Power attenuator/ dummy load (no cab-sim filter)
Power attenuator (no dummy load or cab-sim filter)

Products with a power tube and dummy load
Power tube/ speaker out/ dummy load/ cab-sim filter
Power tube/ speaker out/ dummy load
Power tube/ dummy load/ cab-sim filter (can't push spk)

Dummy loads and cab-sim filters
Amplified dummy loads
Dummy load/ cab-sim filter (can't push a spk)
Dummy load (can't push spk, has no cab-sim filter)
Cab-sim filters and DI boxes

Effects
Post-amp effects placement
Effects loops
Switching and signal routing

Software and Recording
Re-amping and A/B tone-cloning techniques
Amp simulation software
Guitar preamp/effects software
Guitar recording/processing software
Guitar recording techniques

Forums, links, books, and videos
Amp resources
Effects resources
Guitar recording resources
Discussion resources
Other resources

                                                      


To find a product model or manufacturer, first try using your browser's Find command on this page, then try the Search page.

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry – the result will be new, cool kinds of gear for you to use.

Copyright Notice -- why it benefits you to mention Amptone.com. Comments about the guitar-gear industry and changing the paradigm.

Newest Items Added (Aug. 8, 2006)

Beaver Bottoms - isolation cabinets (ext) - 12" or 10" speaker, Illinois

Paul Lenders Guitar Systems - ISOCAB (ext) - 120 W, 725 euros, 12" Eminence speaker, Netherlands

Cicognani - Brutus (ext) - isolation cabinet, Italy - search

Mr. Fastfinger, re-amped 4MB .mp3; right-click, Save. Improved version. This is Mr. Fastfinger, of GuitarShredShow.com, burning up the fretboard, re-amped by me through an EQ pedal driving a completely cranked Fender Blues Junior tube amp, pushing a Celestion Blue speaker in a double-layer speaker isolation box.

When Cesar Diaz first heard Stevie Ray, Cesar knew he could help the sound reach its potential. I thought the same regarding Mr. Fastfinger; his mastery of the guitar was not coming through to its complete potential, using such a preamp-distortion centered tone. But gear is easy to provide.

I'm hoping that Mr. Fastfinger is amenable to providing some dry-guitar files to make available to everyone such as at my site. Meanwhile, could you please email me some unprocessed dry-guitar mp3 files, recorded straight to disk via buffer? You'll be able to hear your own guitar played through other people's gear, by online collaboration.

Thanks
Contact


Blankenship – Variplex (ext) – Variac with head combination. Edited mp3 demo clips of playing various Van Halen passages, dry and with reverb. "The different tones sound really great all the way from 10 to 120 volts." 1 W output at 10 V supply, reputedly. Amp cloned from a good-sounding 1968 Plexi of Dave Friendman of Rack Systems. Direct link to the mp3 that has with reverb in right channel quietly

Wikipedia Amptone Contributions - I contributed to guitar-gear related Wikipedia articles: concise summaries about power attenuators, pre-dist eq for dist voicing, types of Volume/Gain controls and how they affect distortion shaping.

The Gear Page (ext) – good moderated discussion area for amps, effects, and recording

Key Approaches for Typical Goals - new summary table, Aug. 2, 2006. Table of scenarios and tricks/solutions, such as when it makes sense to use an isocab vs. power attenuation, or when to use the Reamp technique.

7 Approaches to Power Tube Saturation at Low Room Noise Levels - updated Aug. 2, 2006

The Amptone Reamp Project: Collective Dry and Amp-Processed Guitar Files - Aug. 2006 new page

Books about Getting Guitar Sounds - added latest amp tone books and videos, Aug. 2, 2006, including the new circuit-design book on Power Scaling, which is power-supply-based power attenuation that enables power tube distortion at a truly quiet level.

Stephenson Amplification - LJ-15 (ext) - Power Scaling, "2-channel" power amp; 2 Scale controls
Stephenson Amplification - LJ-10 (ext) - Power Scaling
Stephenson Amplification - Stage Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Stephenson Amplification - Bass Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Stephenson Amplification - Harmonica Combo - Power Scaling, ported cab, 2x8" spks, reverb
Reeves Amplification - Custom 30 - Power Scaling, Hiwatt-type amp, by Dave Reeves
Soultone Amps - Revolution 45 (ext) – Power Scaling, Plexi-style amp, by Michael Corrieri
Suhr Amps - Badger (ext) - Power Scaling, Plexi-style, by John Suhr
Lehnert Amps - Rambler (ext) – Built-to-order amps with Power Scaling option for around $165. Sweden.

What do guitarists need for amp rig consulting? - new page, Aug. 2, 2006

Fatback's stompbox tone online videos -- the Amptone Reamp Project needs dry-guitar mp3 files from players like this. He chains the demo od/dist pedals into the Valveboy 2 preamp-tube od/distortion pedal. Uses the built-in camera mic.

Sopht.ca – various milliwatt-level DIY amps (ext). The limited guitar-playing ability here shows the benefit of dry-guitar files per the Amptone Reamp Project, useful for amp builders, power-tube circuit designers, and preamp distortion circuit designers.

PS Systems - EB100S - Digitally controlled all-tube guitar amp from 1992. The H&K Switchblade amp isn't the first programmable tube amp.

Songworks - Little Lanilei 1/4 watt Tube Recording Amplifier (ext) - 1/4 watt 12AX7 power amp in compact combo package

Songworks - 3350LT (ext) - 1/4 watt 12AX7 power amp, dummy load, and solid-state 33-50 Watt amp in compact combo package. I'd like to reamp files through an EL84 version of this, A/B'ing the power tube distortion quality versus the 12AX7 design.

Grailtone.com (ext) – guitar gear info site, includes Tone Settings and Tone Articles sections.

Mike Ralph's DIY speaker cabinet isolation box -- fits a 2x12 cab. Added July 29, 2006.

Jeff Strong – DIY amp isolator box (ext) – shown in his book Home Recording For Musicians For Dummies, so that makes isocabs now "mainstream" (link added Aug. 2006)

UralTone Hot Mama (search) - power attenuator kit – search-link added July 30, 2006

Antelope - Morning Dew (ext) - 3-band eq pedal

Sequis - Richter Control (ext) - power attenuator

Ultimate Attenuator (ext) - dummyload>solid-state final amp, positioned and packaged as a "power attenuator". Link added July 29, 2006.   Emailed: "I want to place a 10-band EQ pedal, Flanger pedal, and Reverb between my amp's power tubes and my guitar speaker, as used for Van Halen I. Do you offer an FX loop option in the Ultimate Attenuator placed between the dummy load and the solid-state amp?"

Eddie Van Halen's rig and Tone techniques -- Updated July 29, 2006. Added note about preamp-centric vs. power-tube-centric distortion voicing, and a more relevant analysis of the Script button on the MXR Phase 90 than any review I've seen.

VOX - Valvetronix AD60VT, AD120VT -- Updated July 29, 2006. Added a summary of how the Valvetronix amp needs to be improved for next-generation valve-based modelling technology.  Added criticism of the power-tube distortion sound resulting from a 12AX7 preamp tube.

Amptone.com Excellent Design Awards -- moved to separate page (need an icon)

New pages and links


Objectives of Amptone.com for 2006

The overarching objective of this website for Fall 2006 is to break-through the guitar industry slumber and get everyone to understand distortion voicing, power attenuation including Power Scaling, speaker isolation cabinets, and re-amping. These need to stop remaining "new" and "esoteric subjects"; they need to become routinely familiar concepts for everyone, including gear designers, columnists and gear reviewers, guitarists, and book authors.

I am dissatisfied with the take-up speed of the ideas at this site – we need to accelerate and get on with spreading this information that so many individuals have found useful. I'm also disappointed to see Amptone.com rarely mentioned in print, where these "esoteric" subjects are being discussed and this site has by far the greatest concentration of information – and in various cases is the only concentration of systematic information on the subject, including techniques and products available so far; it would've been so much more helpful for the reader had the author pointed to Amptone.com.

It's safe to mention Amptone.com in print media; my information has been developing online since 1998 and this particular domain name has been going since early 2000 – Amptone.com has been a stable and very popular online resource for 6 to 8 years – I just wish this website were more explicitly influential across the industry, rather than just giving individuals ideas to use in isolation.

This is why I wrote encyclopedia entries about these should-be basic topics. So if you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard basic knowledge throughout the industry.

Citing Amptone.com will result in the following, the end of the Dark Ages for guitar gear. This change will include the end of the half-baked "Master Volume/Power Soak" era and the beginning of the integrated "Power Scaling" era.

  • Power attenuation will become a standard feature on guitar amps, demanded by guitarists just like preamp distortion has been demanded ever since Marshall's master volume amps. For example, the Mad Professor amp with PowerSuck switch, and especially amps with integrated power-supply-based power attenuation, which avoids burning-out the tubes and OT, such as amps with London Power's Power Scale and Sustain controls or Maven Peal's equivalent (but loud) Wattage and Sag controls.

    Guitarists will quit buying amps lacking power scaling. Reeves amps describes this feature as "extras that will be useful to the bedroom player as well as the pro-player. Power Scaling...the ultimate master volume control ..." and finally eliminate the fundamental reason for the deeply entrenched product category distinction of "bedroom vs. pro". Clips of Power Scaling demonstrating that it works: Vintage Vibe, Bruce Clement: installing a kit in a Plexi

  • Power tubes and dummy loads will be integrated into preamp/processors
  • Isocab products, isobox kits, and isolation booth construction will be common knowledge and truly common practice; it will be routinely discussed in all books on amp tone how to use an isocab or construct a cab isolation box.
  • The grandma amp: finally, a small, $175 combo guitar amp with power tube (not 12AX7) and power attenuation allowing volume-independent power-tube distortion, as well as headphone jack, suitable for staying at grandma's house or for at work, yet also with jacks to be scalable to pro live performance.  There is no reason for the existence of solid-state "beginner" amps or "kids' amps".
  • Modelling amps will be properly built around actual power-tube distortion, not just preamp distortion or preamp tube misuse.
  • Pre-distortion EQ voicing (pickup voicing) will no longer be considered an "advanced trick" that's understood only by Eddie Van Halen and Slash. Books will finally start talking *systematically* about eq *placement* and how it affects and enables *distortion voicing*. 
  • Libraries of dry guitar playing will be available and routinely used to help dial-in tone, and will help prove that digital amp modelling by itself or a 12AX7 misused as a power tube fails to sound like power tube distortion. The reamp technique will be used to find and attain the limits of all the approaches and types of setup, as well as comparing power tube distortion character; it will so speed up exploration and experimentation, alternative power tube types and circuits will be found.
  • In general, the entire guitar-gear industry must undergo a revolutionary paradigm change along the lines of this site, that will eliminate the entire category of solid-state kids' amps/beginners' amps; essentially, solid-state guitar amps will stop being made, replaced by properly feature-configured power tubes with power scaling/built-in attenuation down to the 1mW level.

-- Michael Hoffman, BSEE, Amptone.com -- a revolutionary activist designer out to change not only product design, but the entire paradigm of "good tone is hard to obtain".


To do (really):

  • Create dry-guitar files with Sustainiac Acoustic Sustainer B, then C. Upload to Reamp page.
  • Write manufacturers asking them to make Power Scaling a new industry-wide standard like Master Volume has been.
  • Write guitarists to email me dry-guitar mp3 files for the Amptone Reamp Project.
  • Update pages per 3 years of manufacturer request emails and new product notification emails (around 50 emails).

To do (don't hold your breath):

  • Upload photos: double-layer isobox, Paul Frank tshirt of halfstack soundwave danger zone, swirlpainted large stompbox case for a power-tube saturation pedal, EQ pedal collection, amp tone book collection, tiny mp3 player feeding dry-guitar tracks to reamp through a guitar rig, Marshall Capri small combo tube amp, Jim Marshall autographed Power Brake, stock Ibanez Blazer guitar held by Bill Webb as the Clockwork Orange guy in October 1982, lamps that look like power tubes and the clear 60W halogen bulbs, "woman's waist/hips/thighs" power-tube envelope shape.
  • Write a new, condensed amp tone summary article: state of the art; what everyone needs to know about using today's gear; what's wrong with today's gear paradigm; what changes in gear and common knowledge are needed.
  • Finish my list of what exactly I want in the industry.
  • When have a Reamp library, create mp3 demo of how the distortion sounds from 12AX7 as power tube in the VOX Valvetronix AD120VT combo amp.
  • Write-up my planned isobooth design such as a 4' isocage that can fit a 4x12 cab and 4 mics.
  • For each isobox product, list the number of layers and their materials, speaker size, innermost damping material, access hinge design, and whether it integrates a power attenuator or hits the speaker with the full input wattage, and number of mics supported.
  • Make a local page for each product, not just an external hyperlink.

Basic Tone

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Key Approaches for Typical Goals - new summary table, Aug. 2, 2006

True "Secret" of Amp Tone - EQ>Dist and Power Attenuators - Jan. 2003

Using 2 EQ Pedals and a Power Attenuator with an Amp or Processor - new page 10/3/03

Amp tone MP3s

Amp Tone MP3 Samples

The Reamp Project - Direct/dry guitar samples and amp Tone reference library. Original idea page.

The Amptone Reamp Project: Collective Dry and Amp-Processed Guitar Files - Aug. 2006 new page

Featured amp tone clips: Danny Russell (ext)

MP3 amp tone samples to merge

Tube amp Tone

Featured site: GM Arts guitar amp intro pages (ext)
The need for a detailed systematization of Tone
Principles of Rock Guitar Tone
Amp tone, general concepts
Factors shaping Basic Tone
Tone spectrums: crusty vs. liquidy, hard vs. soft power tubes, preamp vs. power tube
Power transistor vs. power tube saturation
Getting the best amp tone even with solid-state power amps
Rigs of big guitarists

Preamp tube distortion vs. power tube saturation

You should specifically say "preamp tubes" or "power tubes"
Character of preamp, power tube, and power transistor distortion
Touch-sensitivity of power tubes
Power-tube saturation is essential for rock Tone
How to bypass preamp clipping and hit the power tubes directly, with a strong signal
Hybrid amps are a scam; tubes are needed in power amp, not preamp
Tube types
Did Hendrix like EL34's, 6550's, or 6L6's?

Compression

Compression as part of Basic Tone
Peavey VC/L-2 Valve Compressor with EL84

Rectifiers

Tube vs. solid state rectifiers

Distortion voicing; alternating eq and saturation stages

Distortion and power-tube saturation voicing: using the eq->dist->eq sequence
Overdrive through a mixture of clean and clipped signals, tube amps warm up effects
Examples of amp tone and distortion types: songs and artists
Metal tone
Using a home stereo as a guitar amp, and other advice for new electric guitarists
Guitar amp evolution (ext) - Must-read article about preamp architecture in amps

EQ concepts and pre-distortion EQ

John Murphy, chief engineer for Carvin Corp., wrote "the pre-clipping frequency equalization and post-clipping EQ are absolutely critical adjustments. Once you have a well-behaved clipper -- even if it's just simple diodes, as in the stomp boxes -- it is the precise combination of pre- and post-clipping EQ that mostly determines how an amp sounds. The 'secret' of the best sounding guitar amps lies in the pre-clipping EQ response curve."

Van Halen's guitar tech recommends an EQ pedal above all, as the most valuable pedal, in his book Guitar Gear 411: Guitar Tech to the Stars Answers Your Gear Questions, pp. 75-76.

Pre-distortion equalization
Controlling guitar EQ, central EQ, and cabinet EQ
Getting more treble in the post-amp stage via speakers Tone control circuits
Table of parametric-EQ settings to produce various EQ curves
3-band eq needed on electric guitars, pickup response curves needed
Selecting Pickups
Distortion voicing

EQ products

MXR - M-108 Ten Band EQ (ext) - 10-band EQ pedal, now with bypass footswitch and Gain control. MXR108, M108. Search Web. - new link 10/2/03.

BOSS - EQ-20 Advanced EQ - Jan 2001
List of EQs, products for controlling EQ before distortion
Parametric EQ Pedals for Pre-Distortion EQ
MIDI rackmount EQs
Digitech - MEQ - MIDI EQ
Peavey - Autograph II - MIDI EQ
Yamaha - YDG2030, YDP2006 - MIDI parametric EQs
TC Electronics - 1128 - MIDI EQ

Musician's Friend catalog ad for MXR 6-band EQ pedal: "Carve, scoop, rumble, and shriek all at the touch of a switch!" -- but the reason I don't much like the MXR is, just as the picture clearly shows, it has no switch (or overall Level control, either).


Distortion and amp simulation

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Distortion pedals

Distortion-related pedal categories
Overdrive/booster products
Fuzz products
Distortion products
Metal and grunge products
Power-tube saturation pedals
Design for a power-tube saturation pedal - new Jan 2001

Guitar preamps (no amp sim, few effects)

Tubester - tube distortion pedal
Egnater - IE-4 Preamp
Morley - Matchbox
Marshall JMP-1

Multi-voiced distortion pedals

Line 6 - DM-4 Distortion Modeller
C-Tech - Sonny Boy - overdrive, single-coil open-back sounds
C-Tech - Red Rooster - distortion, humbucker closed-back sounds
Yamaha - DG-Stomp
Tonebone - tube distortion pedals w/ voicing control
The QuadraFuzz project for guitar

Akai G-Drive D2G distortion box with full pre- and post-distortion EQ (ext) - great design concept. Jan 31, 2002

DI preamps and amp simulators (some amp sim, few effects)

Marshall Direct-Recording Preamp DRP-1
Morley - JD-10
Hughes & Kettner Tubeman Plus - tube preamp with speaker simulation
PAiA - Stack-In-A-Box - tube preamp with speaker simulation
LXH2 amp and cabinet simulator - schematic
Replicator - general gear sampler/emulator

Preamp/processors (a few distortions, some amp sim)

DigiTech 2120 (2101, 2112) preamp/fx-processor with speaker simulator
Peavey and Rocktron preamp/processors support eq before distortion
Rocktron - Prophecy
Rocktron - Taboo
Rocktron - VooDu Valve
Rocktron - Chameleon
Rocktron - GAP1 and Pro-GAP
Zoom - 505 Guitar MultiFX, 510 Dual Power Driver OD/Dist
Zoom - 505 MKII
Zoom - 506 MK II - bass processor

Amp emulators (dial-an-amp, few effects)

Tech 21 - SansAmp
Zoom - GM-200 Guitar Amp Modeler
Zoom - 503 Amp Simulator
CB Labs - PRX-902 Amp Emulator
Ibanez - VA3 Virtual Amp

Amp-modelling processors (dial-an-amp, heavy effects)

Amp-modelling processors
These products should be redesigned to integrate a power tube and load, for even better sound
Categorizing preamps, distortion pedals, and amp-modelling processors
BOSS - GP-20 Amp Factory - Jan 2001
DigiTech - Genesis3 - Jan 2001
DigiTech - GNX1 - Jan 2001
Line 6 - POD Processor - GUI-programmable
Line 6 - Bass POD Pro
Johnson - J-Station Guitar Amp Modeller - GUI-programmable
Yamaha - DG-1000
Digitech - RP14D amp modelling fx processor
Digitech - RP2000 amp modelling fx processor
Digitech - RP100
Zoom - GFX-8 - GUI-programmable floor unit
Zoom - GFX-4 - floor processor with VAMS, new 1/2001
Korg - AX1000G modelling processor
Korg - AX100G modelling processor (ext)
DOD - GS30 and Bass30 amp modelling processors
Roland - COSM amp modelling (VG-8, GP-100, VS-880, BOSS GT-5)
Roland - GP-100
BOSS - GT-5
Additional preamps or multiFX claiming amp or speaker simulation, other products


Modelling amps

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Modelling amps
Online research page for "amp modelling" or "modelling amps"

Analog controlled, discrete solid-state modelling amps:
Tech 21 - Trademark 60, Trademark 10

Digitally controlled discrete solid-state modelling amps:
Peavey - Transformer solid-state modelling amp
Fender - Cyber-Twin

Digitally controlled DSP-algorithm modelling amps:
Line 6 - AX2, AxSys
Line 6 - Flextone
Johnson - Millennium - button-based interface
Johnson - Marquis - easier, less expensive, knob-based interface
Johnson - Mirage - easiest, least expensive, knob-based interface
Crate - DX112/DXJ112, DX212
Hughes & Kettner - Zentera
Rocktron - RepliTone
Yamaha - DG100
Roland VGA-7 V-Guitar

Digitally controlled, power-tube signal-processing modelling amps:

Designers should incorporate an actual power tube (not 12AX7) and dummy load in the signal processing stage, perhaps using Power Scaling to run the tube cool.

VOX - Valvetronix AD60VT, AD120VT -- Product announced around July 2001.   Page created Aug. 22, 2001, updated July 29, 2006: Added a summary of how the Valvetronix amp needs to be improved for next-generation valve-based modelling technology.   Added criticism of the power-tube distortion sound resulting from a 12AX7 preamp tube.

Flat amps for amp-modelling processors

Tech21 - Power Engine
Budda - Slavemaster - rack format, built-in attenuator, DI out, fx loop, hi-power In jack and inst-level In


Quiet cranked-amp tone

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Practical ways to get authentic, authoritative cranked-amp tone with minimal noise leakage

The ideal approach is to create a permanent setup of a double-layered guitar speaker isolation cabinet in another room, or a super-insulated closet in another room.  The most ideal would be a small massive concrete or brick room with inner insulation on the surfaces.  Purchase one or two guitar speakers dedicated to this isolation booth and one or two guitar-cab mics dedicated to this isolation booth.   The ideal is a booth large enough to roll in a 4x12 cab and mic setups, with breathing room for the speakers.   Run permanent cables between your control room/performance space and the remote isolation booth: one speaker cable and two mic cables.

When using a remote multimiked speaker isolation cab, which is the only way to get authoritative cranked-amp Rock guitar tone quietly, you end up with three cables running off into the distance, from the control room/performance area.  These form an abstract transducer processing module, converting a high-power signal as the input signal, to a complexly smoothed and complexly distorted multimiked output signal which you can then blend and equalize at the mixer.

Be sure to put an equalizer on either side of this speaker-mic transducer processing module: one equalizer (such as a guitar amp's bass, mid, and treble controls) before the power amplifier that's driving the guitar speaker, and one equalizer (such as the mixer's bass, mid, and treble controls) after the mics -- just as you should bracket *any* major distortion stage with equalizers, one before and one after.

A minimal approach is to place an isolation box over a miked combo amp in the same room or put the miked combo or cab in a closet as a makeshift iso booth. Best is a many-layer isolation booth in a distant room.

It is a practical idea to keep a good power attenuator such as the THD Hot Plate in between whatever amplifier you use to drive the guitar speaker, and the guitar speaker.  This can be used to incrementally reduce the volume late at night (alas, reducing the amount of highly desirable, even though subtle, speaker distortion).   A power attenuator also enables using a 100-watt amp to drive a 25-watt guitar speaker without blowing up the speaker too soon.

You should purchase extra guitar speakers, because speakers are like tubes and guitar strings: they regularly break when pushed into their interesting, nonlinear range.

You can also use a muffled guitar speaker without a cab or mics, or in a face-down cab, just to load the amp -- but the Weber MASS may be a less expensive and more ergonomic solution; it's a power attenuator using an actual guitar speaker, without surface, as the dummy load component.   It has tone controls on the line-level Out jack.

For a further tonal compromise, using no actual guitar speakers, but still obtaining power-tube saturation, use a dummy load then a guitar speaker cab simulator.  Power attenuators always have a dummy load component, and typically *don't* have a built-in guitar speaker cab simulator.

Problem of loudness being tied to Tone

5-watt tube amps are still as loud as a trumpet! 50 mW is needed for 1/8 the volume of 50 W
A 15 watt combo amp is not "low power"; it's very loud when driving a full-sized cabinet
Power tube wattage
"Just turn up the amp" is an impractical way of getting great Tone
Plugging straight into the amp is simple but too loud
Champ mods, Kendrick attenuator, Tone Pump, why 5 watt amp is ideal

Approaches

Pros and cons of various approaches to cranked tube amp tone
7 Approaches to Power Tube Saturation at Low Room Noise Levels - updated Aug. 2, 2006
A good setup for bell-like power tube tone at low volume

Product ideas

Amptone.com Virtual Store
Designers and product managers, read this feedback about new equipment needs
Innovative combinations of gear; keeping the gear industry thriving and innovative
Product ideas for quiet cranked-amp tone; inductive loads
Quiet cranked amp tone; product ideas; post-amp effects
Guitar stores: lack of awareness and promotion of products for quiet cranked-amp tone
The huge market for low-watt power tube products
Programmable Rig Design: eq/distFX->tubeamp->iso.cab->timeFX
1999 NAMM wish-list for quiet cranked-amp tone
A gear-design mentality for guitarists

Adding a low-wattage power tube

Circuit using a preamp tube as a low-watt power tube
Amp modelling is an advance but need to integrate a power tube interacting with speakers
So far, no single product combines a low-watt power tube with full processing, for ideal DI
Power-tube redesign of multieffects processors
Quiet power tube saturation: approaches, products, techniques
New hybrid amp: Tube preamp, low-watt power tube, solid-state power amp
Low-wattage power tube saturation; Fretlight and computer-augmented jamming

Tube Convertor Sockets

Tube Convertor Sockets - triode/pentode operation, Mesa/Boogie amps
Ruby/Tone Bone - Plug & Play Tube Adapters - Added Jan. 2002

Valve House - KT50 tube convertor sockets
THD - Yellow Jackets
Jester - Black Jack Tube Convertor BJ6V6
Jester - Black Jack Triode Convertor
Smicz - TAD [to do: separate from Portablues page]

Feedback generation

Feedback helps the tone sound authentic
Maniac Music - Sustainiac Model C & Model B
Fernandes - Sustainer guitars
Heet Sound - PlusEBow


Speakers and speaker isolation boxes

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Speakers

Speakers
Speaker clank and the "physical" sound
The importance of using an actual guitar speaker; the need for speaker articles
Balancing speaker power handling capacity and amp
Speaker specs

Speaker isolation boxes

Isolation boxes and booths

Speaker isolation booths and rooms

Good rock tone requires hard-driven speakers, not direct-to-console

Amp or cabinet isolation booths, control room isolation, and speaker isolation cabinets

Speaker isolation cabinets

Using a mic'd car speaker in pillows in a closet

Dummy speakers

Weber - MASS (ext) - coneless speaker-based power attenuator with adjustable-EQ line-out jack

The Tone Engine concept (integrated speaker isolation cabinet)

Extra gear required for a speaker isolation cabinet rig

Speaker isolation cabinet vs. power attenuators and inductive loads

Speaker isolation cabinet with Marshall head

Iso-Box Products

Most companies misrepresent the efficacy of their isocab, should warn that they leak bass, and should offer an outer box as well, perhaps as a kit.  A hybrid isobox might produce the desired sound at truly private levels by integrating a power attenuator and 6" guitar speaker.

Todo:

  • Upload my photos of my double-layer isobox
  • Write-up my planned isobooth design such as a 4' isocage that can fit a 4x12 cab and 4 mics.
  • Upload the isobox webpage from the guy who prepped it for me showing his isobox containing a 2x12 cab.
  • For each isobox product, list the number of layers and their materials, speaker size, innermost damping material, access hinge design, and whether it integrates a power attenuator or hits the speaker with the full input wattage, and number of mics supported.
  • Make a local page for each product, not just an external hyperlink.
  • Add other items to homepage listed in newlinks page.

Beaver Bottoms - isolation cabinets (ext) - 12" or 10" speaker, Illinois

Paul Lenders Guitar Systems - ISOCAB (ext) - 120 W, 725 euros, 12" Eminence speaker, Netherlands

Cicognani - Brutus (ext) - isolation cabinet, Italy - search

AxeTrak (ext) - speaker isolation cabinet.  link added 6/17/04

VocalBooth - Amplifier Enclosures (ext) - Search Web - new link, 10/2/03, link updated July 2006

Smart Sound Direct - Hermit (ext) - Search Web.  Double-layered, nonresonant, multi-miked speaker isolation cabinet, 10" spk

Randall - Isolation

Euphonic Audio - Rumble Seat - designed for bass. 8" speaker and amp

Demeter Silent Speaker Chamber SSC-1 - 12" speaker

Folded Space Micro Room - 6" 5-watt speaker, built-in power attenuator

WhisperRoom speaker isolation booth

Gobo products

DIY Iso-Box

Mike Ralph's DIY speaker cabinet isolation box -- fits a 2x12 cab. Added July 29, 2006.
Jeff Strong – DIY amp isolator box (ext) – shown in his book Home Recording For Musicians For Dummies, so that makes isocabs now "mainstream" (link added Aug. 2006)
Speaker Isolation Box Design - 6x4x3' isolation booth
Building a speaker isolation cabinet
DIY project: Building an attenuation cab


Selectable-wattage amps

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Comparison table for power-tube saturation products - major page, several years out of date
Variable-wattage amps

Carr - Mercury - power attenuating circuit for 8, 2, 1/2, 1/10 watts, EL-34 power tube

Guitar amps with a range of wattage suited for stage and home. Categorization of below amps is best estimate based on information gathered so far.

Power-supply based attenuation:

Amps Using London Power's Power Scaling Circuit

In the past, amps called the first control Gain and the 2nd Volume, but that Volume knob ought to be renamed to "Power Tube Distortion Intensity" and a 3rd knob be added, called Volume (or Power Scale). In a conventional amp that's run with a power attenuator, the so-called "Master Volume" no longer primarily acts as a listening-volume controller; it is forced to behave instead as a distortion-voicing control, with the power attenuation knob now servicing as the real listening-volume controller.

As guitarists move to dialing-in more of their tone through the power-tube stage, 2- or 3-channel amp designers will need to move or extend their "channels" to include parameter changes in the power-amp stage. Seeing 2 Power Scale controls really clearly shows you that we're entering a new paradigm – the equivalent band-aid approach in the old Master Volume/Power Soak era would be to switch between two power attenuators set to different levels in conjunction with changing the amp's so-called "Master Volume" setting.

A 2-channel amp now needs a 2-channel power amp (in a certain sense) with two separate Scale controls, to switch between combinations of preamp distortion and power tube saturation at selected volumes.

Maven Peal - Zeeta amp with variable wattage and Sag circuit - 1-watt lowest limit on volume.
London Power - Studio and Session Amps
Stephenson Amplification - Harmonica Combo - Power Scaling, ported cab, 2x8" spks, reverb
Stephenson Amplification - LJ-15 (ext) - Power Scaling, "2-channel" power amp; 2 Scale controls
Stephenson Amplification - LJ-10 (ext) - Power Scaling
Stephenson Amplification - Stage Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Stephenson Amplification - Bass Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Reeves Amplification - Custom 30 - Power Scaling, Hiwatt-type amp, by Dave Reeves
Soultone Amps - Revolution 45 (ext) – Power Scaling, Plexi-style amp, by Michael Corrieri
Suhr Amps - Badger (ext) - Power Scaling, Plexi-style, by John Suhr
Lehnert Amps - Rambler (ext) – Built-to-order amps with Power Scaling option for around $165. Sweden.

O'Connor's list of companies using Power Scaling (ext)
London Power - Power Scaling kits

Davies Amplifiers (ext) - Corybilt amps – not found online.
Rhino Amps (ext) - some models use Power Scaling, mainly high-gain amps for Metal. I surmise that their implementation of Power Scaling was poorly done, wasn't licensed from L.P., and wasn't technically consulted by L.P.
Mojave Ampworks - Peacemaker, Scorpion, Coyote, Sidewinder, Plexi 45, and all future Mojave amps (ext) - has Power Dampening, a kind of Power Scaling that doesn't use solid-state to control plate voltage. There is even what I consider a recall of the old-paradigm models to retrofit what all amps ought to have, the new-paradigm equivalent of Master Volume.

"BIG MOJAVE ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!" Aug 25, 2004, By plexi – condensed: "Well boys, we’ve done it. We are now offering the Mojave Peacemaker and Scorpion with an adjustable power level that still has our exact Mojave tone. It’s called Power Dampening and it offers 6 selectable settings that allow the user to find the over all volume they need all the while getting the exact same tone with low volume. The amp still has the clarity, definition, good brightness and authoritative bass response at near bedroom levels or where ever you choose the amp to be set volume wise. This is a new feature that will be found on all Scorpions and Peacemakers models. We also offer this Mod for all Peacemaker and Scorpion users so no one is left behind. We are adding it to the Coyote as well. We’re working on putting this on our 30 watt Sidewinder as well as the coveted Plexi 45. Mojave tone at low volumes without the squashed down effects of attenuators and buzzy preamp master volume. Power Dampening is without a doubt revolutionary for us and puts us on a level playing field with Master Volume amps by allowing the user to adjust distortion volume levels without the need for a power attenuator. We are hoping to make Power Dampening available on all Mojave amps in the future. This is not an Attenuator or a Master Volume Mod. Our amps are exactly the same and will still be able to run full power with Hot Plates or other attenuators as they have always been. We are not changing the voicing of the amp or its architecture in any way. Your amp will not act differently."

That's a step in the right direction, but the design choice this designer restricts customers to is still old-paradigm, "guitar = loud", with 3 watts minimum – that's half the volume of a cranked 30-watt amp. 3 W / 0.01 W = STILL 300 TIMES TOO LOUD; that is, 300 times louder than people in fact play 99% of the time. People play at 10 mW 99% of the time and therefore the designers ought to be designing amps that sound great at 10 mW, not 3 W minimum. So owners are still in fact attaching power attenuators to these Power Dampening amps. This fact is confirmed via search.

Kevin O'Connor as a power-supply attenuation engineer Gets It; he is a new-paradigm guy who is in touch with the reality of private playing levels. This isn't about whether or not his circuit is superior, but more importantly, that his feature-design objectives are superior. The most important thing is getting the goal definition right, defining the objective rightly. His product packaging needs a makeover by the Damage Control industrial designers, but he's in touch with what people want to be able to do with power tube distortion sonically.

Many guitarists and designers are "slow", unable to think in categories other the the old "good guitar tone has to be loud; it must sound bad if played quietly". They don't get it and never will get it until they plug into the gear. They have low self-awareness, full of contradiction; they talk about 1 W or 15 W being quiet and suitable for power-tube distortion at apartment levels, but then they turn around and in fact play their own rig at 10 mW; they say you are absurd for wanting to play quietly and laugh at you saying "why would anyone want to play at the level of unplugged guitar; you need to compromise with a POD and headphones", but then they turn right around and play that quietly through their guitar speaker.

So forget those slow masses, the conventional designers, marketers, and columnists stuck in the old-paradigm thinking; leave it to the new-paradigm guitarists and designers, who are reality-based and recognize their desires, their actual practice, and the solutions aimed at those real-world practices.

Designers, you have to get it down to 10 mW or less, whisper level, unamplified guitar level – that is the reality of what level guitarists actually play at almost all the time, regardless of what people say and think about wattage levels, where no one knows what they're talking about and people – even designers – are unable to grasp the concept of log curves. Most people listen to their stereo at 0.01 watts – a comfortable level – and then turn around and talk about 1 W as "apartment level quiet" – they have no idea what they're talking about. It's time to do a reality check.

http://mojaveampworks.com/index.php?id=16,24,0,0,1,0 "Power Dampening ... allows infinite power levels to be selected. ... you can dial in an output wattage anywhere between the amplifer's maximum wattage to the minimum of 6 watts or less, depending on the amplifier. The smaller the amplifier, the lower the minimum wattage. If you need to get a full throttle overdrive tone, but at a volume you can play at home, then you can select the power or volume level that works best for you and still get the same tone you had with the amp cranked up."

Could you please redesign Power Dampening so that it works down to the 5 mW - 10 mW range? This is the level at which most guitarists in fact play, 99% of the time. 6 watts is 6 W / 0.01 W = 600 times too much power for private-level amp playing slightly louder than the unplugged guitar. A 6 watt or 3 watt tube power amp is as useless as a 100 W amp for getting apartment-level sound, which is to say, the comfortable level at which most people play their stereo or tv most of the time, 10 mW.

People are having to turn down the Mojave Power Dampening all the way and then *still* buy a $300 Hot Plate power attenuator to bring it down to the level they actually want -- proving that the current implementation of Power Dampening does not live up to the marketing claims that "If you need to get a full throttle overdrive tone, but at a volume you can play at home, then you can select the power or volume level that works best for you".

There is a market opportunity now, *if* you bring Power Dampening down to 10 mW -- if you keep it at 3 Watts, it's not significantly better than any other brand, because the only real choice people now have is a Marshall 50 W amp with a Hot Plate, or, a Mojave amp at 3 Watts combined with a Hot Plate -- amounting to no actual advantage in purchasing a Mojave amp over another brand.

Amps Using Other Circuits

Cruise Audio - MQ4 - multitap pwr xfmr, multi output ckts
Bogner Ecstacy - half-power, attenuator loop, variac option
Hughes & Kettner - Tube 20 (over 10 watts)

Integrated power soak

Mad Professor amp with PowerSuck switch -- The lowest switch setting is claimed to be at conversational level.
THD - UniValve and BiValve - low-wattage, with power attenuator (built-in THD Hot Plate) 1/2001, BiValve 2002
THD - Type-O - with variac and variable Output control
Aiken Amplification - Invader - built-in power attenuator with the same two controls as the Hot Plate
Koch - Twintone amp - has half-power soak
Budda Dual Stage 30 - EL84 amp w/ soak and 6L6 amp
Clark Amplification - Tyger
Jim Kelley - FACS 112
Marshall - Studio 15 (4001)
JayTronics - Tru-Tone - with built-in attenuator
McIntyre - Mc-38DTM Dual 12
Carvin amp with soak

Post-PI master volume

Post-PI master volume
Ampeg/Lee Jackson - VL-501, VL-502, VL-503, VL-1001, VL-1002
Duncan - Convertible
Boogie S.O.B.
Sundown amps with governor control

Multiple output stages

Mesa/Boogie - Blue Angel
Indoor Storm - Amethyst Special
Lennon Audio - STR6V6

Solid-state with wattage control

Roland GC-408
Pritchard amps - tube-emulating solid-state amps with Watts control and attenuator
Peavey TransTube

Tube-disconnecting

Jamison 35/15 watt amp
Egnater/ Rocktron - TOL50 - 50/10 watts selectable

3-stage amps

Guitar amps with preamp, power amp and load, and final power amp.

3-stage amp architecture for variable-SPL cranked-amp tone
3-stage amp rigs: test results, conclusions, and revised opinions
3-stage rig architectures using various combinations of guitar speaker, full-range speaker, dummy load, cab-sim filter, and mic
3-stage amps
Slaving or cascading tube power amps
3-stage amp configurations: tube vs. solid-state in the preamp, saturating power amp, and linear final amp
Eddie Van Halen's rig and Tone techniques

Guytron - GT-100
AX84 Rail Rocket - kit/project
Warwick - Quadruplet bass preamp
VOX - Valvetronix AD60VT, AD120VT


Low-wattage amps

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Low-wattage amps
List of tube amps under 20 watts
Small tube amps are used for blues harp
Low-watt amps; low-watt power tube products
How to isolate a combo's tube power amp section (outboard preamp, serious spk cab)
List of tiny solid-state or hybrid amps, for blasting, experimentation, and parts - some battery powered

Guitar amps 10W or less, single-wattage

When you play guitar at a private, bedroom level, 1 mW to 10 mW is being sent to the speaker. 10W, 5, 1, and 0.5 tube watts at full distortion is very loud – far louder than ordinary television levels. Only down below 100 mW do we approach the level of "not loud". Probably the best figure for "private bedroom level" is 10 mW – 1/100th of a watt. A 1-watt amp is a hundred times too much power for getting power tube distortion at private bedroom levels. It's taken people too many decades to realize this.

Demo of the Lovepedal 1/2-watt amp. The cab in this demo has a Weber blue-pup 10" speaker. "Although the camera's mic didn't really show it, it was LOUD in there when I cranked the amp for a second." In the video at 1:08-1:18 he cranks it and then says "Dang! Nobody wants to be *that* loud in their bathtub. So I'm gonna leave it down a little bit."

So please spare everyone the uninformed predictable comment "It sure is loud for a 1/2-watt amp," which only shows a complete lack of understanding the subject. Any 1/2-watt amp is not "loud for a 1/2-watt amp"; it is exactly as loud as half-watt amps inherently are, which is half the volume of a 5-watt cranked tube amp, which is half the volume of a 50-watt amp; that is, a 0.5-watt cranked tube amp is 1/4 the volume of a 50-watt cranked tube amp. Which is why we must start at 0 mW and work up toward 10 mW, if we are looking for the level at which 99% of all electric guitar playing is in fact done. People talk as though 15 watts is "great for an apartment", but how loud do those same people in fact play, 99% of the time? Probably 10 mW, not 15 watts. Finally we get to a point where people won't say "Wow, that sure is loud for a 10 mW amp!" because only down at 10 mW do we finally avoid being loud.

Kingsley Amplifiers - Overdrive Series (ext) - Slave Out designed to cascade power-tube distortion into another amp, switching provided for, optional built-in dummyload.

Gerhart Amplification - Gilmore 1/2-W amp (ext)

Gerhart Amplification - Gilmore Jr. 1/2-W amp kit (ext) - Mar 2003

Fab Amps - Scamp (ext) - 2 or 5 watts.  Search Web.

Fab Amps - Fox (ext) 2-16 watts depending on output tubes.   Search Web.

Gjika - Mini Amp Power Tube Distortion Pedal - (Higgins Production Services) - At Picturetrail.com look up Garbud for pics. Pedal-sized. Fall 2002.

Doberman Music Products - DMP-1 (ext) - completed amp similar to the kit design at AX84 site.  High-gain,all tube amp with one triode(6N1P) used as an output tube,for about 1 watt.   Search Web.

Spirit - 7.5 watt amp (ext)

Cornford - Harlequin - 6-watt all-valve combo recording amplifier
ADA/Rocket Amps - RA 10 - in production; kit or prebuilt
Smicz Amp'n - Portablues 110
Top Hat - Portly Cadet - 5 watt tube amp
Emery Sound - Spotlight
Crate - VC508
New Marshall 10-watt tube amp
Clark Raeford
Victoria - 518 - Champ clone
Clark - Lil' Bit - Champ clone
Kendrick - 118 - Champ clone
Kendrick - Roughneck
Trace-Elliot - Velocette 12R
Holland - Holland 8-watt
Epiphone - Electar Tube 10
Bluesland - BabyBlues B10
Vacuum Tube Valley - 2x4-watt amp
Bill Young - StudioPlex
Laney - LC15 (over 10 watts)
HiWatt - Custom 20, Booker Valve Dynamics
Rivera - Chris Duarte BM100 - half power, built-in full dummy load

Boutique low-wattage amps

Alessandro - Beagle
Alessandro - Plott
Specimen - Petimor
Mill Hill - Summer

Kits or optional kits for low-wattage amps

Kits and schematics for low-power tube amps
Allen Amps - Class Act
Stephen Delft - Moonlight amp
Torres Amplification - Tiny Tone
AX84 collective - AX84

Out-of-production low-wattage amps

Marshall - Capri, Mercury, Popular
Gibson - Skylark
Hi-Mu - 5.5
Fender - Champ


Power attenuators

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Power attenuators

Using a Power Attenuator with a Mic'd Isolated Guitar Speaker in a Home Studio

Using a Wall-Mounted Speaker Attenuator L-Pad as a Guitar Amp Power Attenuator – on my HotPlate, I avoid the lowest range of 7-10 o'clock because it has a trivial circuit flaw resulting in too much high treble; I keep the right-hand knob at noon and then follow the HotPlate by a 2nd attenuator: a wall L-Pad, which does not shift the EQ even at 1mW. I'll upload pictures of this awful bandaid needed for the HotPlate.

Guitar Amp Power Attenuator FAQ
Dummy load and power attenuator projects - the best DIY project
DIY Power Soak Bypass Box - 10/1/2001
Power attenuators, inductive loads, post-amp effects
Pulling tubes to reduce power

Power attenuator/ dummy load/ cab-sim filter

Weber - Load Dump (high-power version) (ext) - Has features like the THD Hot Plate, but a different approach to boosting bass and treble. 150-watt unit in the same size enclosure as the MASS. Switchable 2, 4, 8, and 16 impedances, variable balanced DI output, fixed and variable attenuation.
Weber – MASS (ext) – coneless speaker-based power attenuator with adjustable-EQ DI line-out jack
Sequis – Motherload - April 2002
Aiken Amps - Afterburner - Feb 2001
McIntyre - SPA-25 Spk Att
Marshall - SE100
Groove Tubes - SEII Spk Emu.
Koch - Load Box LB120

Power attenuator/ dummy load (no cab-sim filter)

Comparison of popular power attenuators
Weber - Load Dump (low-power version) (ext) - Inline power attenuator with Volume Control and bass/treble boost. - added Jan 2003.  Consider repackaging this in a stomp-box format, with bypass switch or two levels of attenuation and also bypass.

Altair - PW-5 Power Attenuator
Scholz - Power Soak
Rivera - Super Sink
THD - Hot Plate
UralTone Hot Mama - power attenuator kit – search-link added July 30, 2006
Marshall - Power Brake
Kendrick - Power Glide
Trainwreck - Airbrake Mark II
Alessandro - Muzzle

Power attenuator (no dummy load or cab-sim filter)

Harry Kolbe SoundSmith - The Attenuator
Tenma - Variac - variable autotransformer for AC

G-Tronix - Power Control (ext) – product type? can't find info


Products with a power tube and dummy load

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Categories of quiet cranked-tube-amp products
Design for a power-tube saturation pedal - new Jan 2001

Power tube/speaker out/ dummy load/ cab-sim filter

JLA/Jarrod Lee - Lawbreaker - never produced, power-tube saturation pedal
Lexicon - Signature 284
Groove Tubes - STP-G II
McIntyre/ Actodyne - Lace Electro- Furniture
Rising Force - Paradox
Hughes & Kettner - Crunch Master
Hughes & Kettner - Cream Machine
Mesa/Boogie - Subway Blues

Power tube/speaker out/ dummy load

Stephenson Amplification - Stage Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Stephenson Amplification - Bass Hog (ext) - Power Scaling, 12AX7 power amp pedal
Hughes & Kettner - Bass Master
SWR - Interstellar Overdrive bass/guitar

Power tube/dummy load/ cab-sim filter (can't push spk)

VHT – Valvulator - very low-power guitar amp, using a 12AX7 as power tube. Search Web. Link added Oct. 1, 2003
ADA - Ampulator - has preamp tube as power tube with load; rack format
Koch - Pedaltone - has preamp tube as power tube with load; stompbox format
Mesa/Boogie - Formula


Dummy loads and cab-sim filters

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Amplified dummy loads

Budda - Slavemaster - rack format, hi and lo pwr In jack, dummy load, fx loop, DI Out, tube power amp Out
PS Systems - Power Tool - rack format, dummy load, processing, solid-state final amp

Ultimate Attenuator (ext) - dummyload>toneswitches>solid-state final amp, positioned and packaged as a "power attenuator". Link added July 29, 2006.

Dummy load/ cab-sim filter (can't push a spk)

Palmer - PDI-03 Mike Braithwaite's page w/ pics
Rocktron - Juice Extractor
Palmer PGA-04

Dummy load (can't push spk, has no cab-sim filter)

Randall Aiken - schematic
Harry Kolbe SoundSmith - Silent Speaker
Rocktron/ Holdsworth - Harness II – has para eq rather than cab-sim filter

Cab-sim filters and DI boxes

See also the Reamp Products section below.

DI - direct-inject
Cab-sim filter products are like a direct box - Direct boxes that also have a guitar cab-sim filter

Hughes & Kettner - Red Box Pro
Palmer - PDI-05
Rocktron - Phantom Cab
ADA - MicroCAB II
Voodoo/Dig. Mus. - CabTone
Whirlwind - Mic Eliminator
DOD - 285 Cab. Emul.
Stedman - GA12
Aiken GoldBrick Speaker Emulating Direct Box (cabinet simulation filter)
Palmer - PGA-05
G-Tronix Stimulator (ext)


Effects

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User reviews of effects, by manufacturer (ext)
Rare effects
Descriptions of many effects parameters
Wah products
Rare but cool FX: Modulated delay, multitracking via multitapped delay, vibe, Pixellator, vocorder, rando-wah, random LFO
Long delay times
Octaver products
Ring modulators
Digitech - Pixellator
Crate 2112 amp with Digitech 2112 effects processor
Aluminum foil on a talk-box driver: the ultimate, horrible torn-speaker sound

Post-amp effects placement

Digital effects *can* be combined with a great cranked tube amp tone
Effects Placement
A tube power amp, like a distortion box, needs time effects *after* it for clarity
How Brian May manages echo before power tubes, with clear saturation tone
Ideal effects & amp sequence
Post-amp effects placement
Post-amp effects placement; mic'd amp in fx loop
Effects placement principles
Effects placement sequence

Effects loops

Ideal processor placement: before and after amp, not in amp's fx loop
Using an amp's effects loop
Using fx loops to separate components into modules - alternating processor and amp sections. MPX G2 preamp/processor
Connecting distortion, amp's effects loop, and time-effects
Lexicon - MPX G2

Switching and signal routing

Innovation in combining effects and amp technology
Vincent of The Blues Mothers - Share-A-Loop - DIY switch box to use the same effect loop with 2 different instuments, each one having its own amp.
Digital Music Corporation - System Mix Plus - guitar audio mixer, rack utilities, cab-sim filter
Product guide: Switchers, MIDI pedalboards, and Routers
Boss - Line Selector LS-2
MXR - Loop Selector
Bradshaw - Audio Controller
DMC - Guitar Audio Switcher GCX
Rocktron - Patchmate
Rocktron - Rack Interface - mixer, cab-sim filter, rack utility processor
Sound Sculpture - SwitchBlade - signal-route switcher. WinBlade software for configuration.
Sound Sculpture - WinBlade - switcher configuration software
Vinteck guitar-gear switcher company - Italy; Guido Michetti, added: Dec. 2005. English site

Pete Cornish - Rig Designer
Bob Bradshaw/ Custom Audio Electronics - Rig Design

What do guitarists need for amp rig consulting? - new page, Aug. 2, 2006


Software and Recording

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Software
Guitar software at H-C (ext) - Includes signal-processing
The importance of buffering guitar output before a soundcard or audio gear

Re-amping and A/B tone-cloning techniques

The Reamp Project - Direct/dry guitar samples and amp Tone reference library
Creating a clean-guitar auto-loop recording for dialing in Tone, and ideal amp Tone recordings
Reamp Products

So far, I've reamp'd with no problem, using just a soundcard and EQ pedal as a buffer, doing short runs to the guitar amp head in the control room and the miked guitar speaker far away in the isolation box, connected by a long run of speaker cable, not needing a long run of instrument-level signal.

Cuniberti - Reamp - impedance and level interface between pro audio equipment and instrument amplifiers. John Cuniberti - Reamp (ext)
Little Labs - Red Eye (ext)
Radial - X-Amp (ext)

Amp simulation software (few fx)

Steinberg - Warp VST - amp modelling software plug-in with Jazz Chorus, Plexi, Recto amp models.  Audiomidi.com. Search Web.

Alien Connections - ReValver
Line 6 - Amp Farm software
Cakewalk - AmpSim (Audio FX2 plug-in)
Tech21/Bomb Factory - SansAmp PSA-1 Plug-in
Guitar Samples CDs for Sampling

Guitar preamp/effects/amp software (much fx)

This list is dated 2002 – it's interesting to compare the 2006 list of such software; the product list has changed more in this category than my other categories; this is – as I expected – a hot area of product development.

IK Multimedia - Amplitube plug-in (ext) - 2002 - amp & fx emulation software Plug-in.  Official page. Search Web Press Release (DirectX). Mac support.

Native Instruments - Guitar Rig (ext) - amp sim software.  Link added July 28, 2006.

Gojkovic - Guitar FX Box
Bizzetti - DspRT
Simanenkov - GuitarFX
Quadrafuzz plug-in
Rocktron - PC Preamp - PC interface and guitar preamp with speaker simulator

Steinberg & Wizoo - Virtual Guitarist (plug-in) - Press Release 3/02. Search Web.

Steinberg& Wizoo - Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition (plug-in) - Press Release 11/02.   Search Web.

DSound - Stomp'N FX.  Plug-in. Virtual guitar fx pedals.

DSound – GT Player Official page.  Compatible with other VST plug-ins such as Amplitube, Warp, Virtual Guitarist.  Search Web.  Some intro is at the RT Player Lite page, with diagram.  Your computer becomes a guitar preamp/processor, and you can connect a physical MIDI foot controller to your computer just like to a physical preamp/processor. Guitar-dedicated version of RT Player. Use GT Player software as a preamp/processor, and Amplitube as a guitar amp (tube power amp and guitar speaker), and control this assembly with a MIDI foot controller.

Comments about amp sim software (~2002):

I suppose Line6 had some reasons not to promote and develop Amp Farm -- software isn't their business model.  Then some individual coders with a low-key business model worked on amp sim software, but Amplitube [and later, Guitar Rig] seems to be most effectively developing, packaging, and promoting such software. Keep an eye on this product.  I'm surprised at how little guitar-processing software there is at this point.

Some well-designed products have come and gone, such as the ADA Ampulator and the H&K Crunch Master.  Even the good and well-respected THD Hot Plate is unknown to most guitarists, most of whom haven't heard about power attenuators at all. So packaging, publicity, and marketing are very important.

Consider the Tech21/Bomb Factory - SansAmp PSA-1 Plug-in -- surely this is the same product category as Amplitube, and likely sounds about as good, but look at how much more vigorously and effectively Amplitube is being promoted.   Again I suspect this is because the Amplitube company, IK Multimedia, is wholeheartedly committed to actually selling this product, unlike -- I surmise -- Tech21, who seems to be doing a great job of keeping the SansAmp plug-in a secret.

It's hard to find good lists of such software, because the category hasn't officially been created at places such as Harmony Central. Such software isn't a guitar amp, and isn't a guitar effect box.   Most "guitar software" categories online have nothing to do with *processing* guitar sound, only with music composition and guitar instruction.  What site has a category of guitar *processing* software?

GUI-programmable guitar gear

DigiTech - GeNetX Editor/Librarian software for Genesis3 - Jan 2001
Zoom - GFX-8 - GUI-programmable floor unit
Johnson - J-Station Guitar Amp Modeller - GUI-programmable
Line 6 - POD Processor - GUI-programmable
Line 6 - Flextone
Line 6 - AX2, AxSys

3rd-party software to control guitar hardware:
Patch Wizard - Windows GUI for POD, Bass POD, Flextone II, AX2 (ext)

Guitar recording/processing software

Cakewalk - Guitar Tracks 2 - software guitar system
Cakewalk - Guitar Studio
Sound Sculpture - WinBlade – switcher configuration software

Guitar recording techniques

Guitar recording techniques
Different approaches for live vs. studio gear
Complete thinking about Tone extends beyond the amp, to the final full-range monitors
Getting a great tone at the guitar speaker vs. all the way to the headphones/monitors/recording
Multi-mic mixing technique, for post-amp EQ and reverberation
Parallel mic'd amp and direct effects
MiniDisc-based mixers, lossy compression in MD and MP3
Silencing PC Noise
Hum, buzz, and hiss
The importance of buffering your guitar output before a soundcard or audio gear


Forums, links, books, and videos

If you find this information useful, please mention Amptone.com so other people learn this information and it becomes standard knowledge throughout the industry.

Books about Getting Guitar Sounds - books and videos that instruct guitarists how to hook-up guitar gear and use guitar gear to dial-in, emulate, and reproduce desired sounds. This is the main list of amp tone books.  Jan 2003.

The Gear Page (ext) – good moderated discussion area for amps, effects, and recording

Guitar Magazines

July 2006 – I've been reading all the latest books, magazines, and magazine special issues related to guitar amp tone, guitar effects, recording the guitar, soundproofing for electric guitar, and artists' recording studios, and have updated the above lists.

Amp resources

Links for amps and speakers
Discussion areas about amps
Guitar amp history and design - not usage.

Effects resources

Books and videos about guitar effects -- general use of effects for instruments, effects design, not about usage of guitar effects processing
User reviews of effects, at Harmony Central (ext)

Guitar recording resources

Links: guitar recording, studio design, and home recording
Discussion areas about recording
Books and videos about recording in pro and home studios -- not specific to guitar

Discussion forums

GoogleGroups advanced search

alt.guitar.amps

alt.guitar.effects

rec.music.makers.guitar

alt.music.home-studio

alt.music.4-track

rec.audio.pro

Other resources

50s-style Kay amp (relink and upload my pics and his)
Doorway page to this site
To investigate
To do
Information to incorporate - interesting assorted Net finds

The spirit of Amptone.com - Editorial September 1, 2000

Banner you can use


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