Have your say now (so you can't blame me later)

ZEN Amps

Well-known member
I know I've been talking a lot about putting these damn youtube videos together but it is actually happening, very slowly. Thanks again to the brave beta-testers that sat through my draft versions and provided feedback - legends!

Here's a final query for the gallery before I commit to a few things - it's about overall eq and your personal preference for listening to isolated guitar.

So let me say this - we're going with close mics with a small amount of room blended in, depending on the genre. The heavier stuff sounds better with little to no room, as you would expect. Anyway if you hate the sound of close-miked cabs no need to read further as you'll hate everything that follows.

For everyone else the question is about low and high end really. I'm pretty experienced with tracking and mixing but this is an odd project - the guitar clips will mostly be raw and lonesome, no band to compete with. The target audience is all sorts of YouTube watching folks, many of whom aren't used to hearing in-your-face, close miked tones like the more experienced guys and/or pros. This has prompted the following discussion our end, the options are:

- sculpt the tone as you would for an album: lean low end, keep the highs bright and sizzling
- go the other way and round the highs, leave all the lows in-tact
- a compromise between both

I should say this won't be done with drastic eq - we're keeping post processing to an absolute minimum. So the options really are the balance of the mics (two per cab - a bright one and a darker one), and possibly simple high and low-pass filtering as is commonplace.

Here's a quick example, excuse the slightly loose riffage:


The chapter things should work if you want to skip around.

Decent monitoring is required, the differences aren't massive. The brightest one seems a bit abrasive at first but it's about average for modern album work. The other two are dialled back a bit to potentially work better in an isolated scenario. Who knows, it's not like there's any agreement whatsoever on what good isolated tone is, or what good tone even is in general!

I'm so used to hearing close-miked, bright, HP filtered guitars that I thought it might be wise to get some broader opinions, so let's hear them.
 

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
I like the darkest and medium tones just about equally. They're both great. The "middle ground" tone might just edge out the darker tone because it sounds slightly bigger.

I thought the 2nd clip, the brightest tone, was the weakest by a good bit. It was both too sibilant / ice-picky in the highs, and too thin in the lows. I do think this tone would probably work really well in a mix, but in isolation I think most people would just hear the unpleasantness of it.
 
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311splawndude

Well-known member
I honestly thing your channel will be one of the best immediately. Can’t wait
For sure :yes:

I like the 1st (lower end) from a personal perspective.
I have a hard time with ice pick'ness no matter what (is going on)
I agree with TheGreatGreen.
Therefore, for what you are after, I say go for the middle ground (last) and I also think that will satisfy the most listeners.
But I'm just a pion wanna be basement dweller. Listen to these other guys and VESmedic, DanTravis, smashedguitarist, glp80, psychodave, LPfreak, Racerxrated, etc as they are the pros at this shit.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
It was all very balanced for me. I was listening to that hiwatt, trying to find braintheory's weird mids. But damn thing sounded sooo good. Probably the players. Congrats, man
Just a few things to clarify: I never used the term "weird" to describe anything tone related because "weird" is too vague of a word to be helpful. It's others who coined the term "weird mids". I've been saying that Hiwatt's, Wizard's and Fryette's have this hollow quality (sorta like a notch) somewhere in the midrange. My ears don't like that, but that's me. If you listen around the 5:30 mark in that Hiwatt video I think that's pretty good demo of the Hiwatt crunch. The speakers and pickups used have the opposite of that hollow sound and I think offset it a little bit (the pre-rola GB's used in other parts especially are the complete opposite of hollow), but I still hear the Hiwatt crunch and it's very good sound (never said otherwise) but it has that quality to it. A direct AB comparison clip to a Marshall it would make it clearer about the big difference in nature of the midrange in those amps. I think this hollow quality is possibly what could've been meant at the end of the video with the players comments when they said it wasn't as aggressive to them as Marshall's

Check out this vid (Hiwatt at :40 and Marshall at 1:05)
This is a good example of what I'm talking about with Hiwatt vs Marshall. Both sound very good, but the Marshall is to my ears so much more aggressive and imo just plain better in the midrange. If this doesn't show what I'm talking about then I'm not sure what else will. We all hear things a bit differently I guess
 
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Racerxrated

Well-known member
Just a few things to clarify: I never used the term "weird" to describe anything tone related because "weird" is too vague of a word to be helpful. It's others who coined the term "weird mids". I've been saying that Hiwatt's, Wizard's and Fryette's have this hollow quality (sorta like a notch) somewhere in the midrange. My ears don't like that, but that's me. If you listen around the 5:30 mark in that Hiwatt video I think that's pretty good demo of the Hiwatt crunch. The speakers and pickups used have the opposite of that hollow sound and I think offset it a little bit (the pre-rola GB's used in other parts especially are the complete opposite of hollow), but I still hear the Hiwatt crunch and it's very good sound (never said otherwise) but it has that quality to it. A direct AB comparison clip to a Marshall it would make it clearer about the big difference in nature of the midrange in those amps. I think this hollow quality is possibly what could've been meant at the end of the video with the players comments when they said it wasn't as aggressive to them as Marshall's

Check out this vid (Hiwatt at :40 and Marshall at 1:05)
This is a good example of what I'm talking about with Hiwatt vs Marshall. Both sound very good, but the Marshall is to my ears so much more aggressive and imo just plain better in the midrange. If this doesn't show what I'm talking about then I'm not sure what else will. We all hear things a bit differently I guess
The Wiz MTL mids (or lack of) are why I moved on from it. The MCI with the C transformers was very close to Marshall mids, but not quite there. If Marshall tone is your thing you just won’t get it with other amps. Even clones I’ve tried (Ceriatone for one) still don’t get it right. Which leads me to believe it’s in the transformers mostly. Since the eq tone stack is copied directly.
 

RevDrucifer

Well-known member
- go the other way and round the highs, leave all the lows in-tact

This gets my vote; I want to hear the amp on it’s own, in all it’s glory. While we may make similar EQ moves to fit a mix, ultimately the mix will end up defining those EQ moves and that’s way too open of an area to allow the amp to stand on it’s own.

More so, I want to hear what the amp has to offer, not how it might work within the confines of something specific.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
The Wiz MTL mids (or lack of) are why I moved on from it. The MCI with the C transformers was very close to Marshall mids, but not quite there. If Marshall tone is your thing you just won’t get it with other amps. Even clones I’ve tried (Ceriatone for one) still don’t get it right. Which leads me to believe it’s in the transformers mostly. Since the eq tone stack is copied directly.
The MC I I had also had the C transformers. I remember the mids having that same smooth/laid back, hollow quality, but the mids were just a lot more present (not scooped). To me it still didn’t really have a true Marshall sound. I had some older Marshall’s at the time to compare (although they were Cameron and Gower modded). I would guess that like anything else when you have other qualities that are impressive sometimes other things get sacrificed and seems to be mids in the case of some amps (like M vs H magnet GB’s. Again hollow sound in H’s). The Marshall’s, on the other hand, have amazing midrange, but not as heavy of a bottom end. In fact my Purpleface has some of the most complete, aggressive midrange I’ve heard in an amp. It’s so thorough throughout the whole midrange spectrum, no holes, but not a lot of bottom end or high end (doesn’t sizzle or bite). It cut more than any other amp I had at the time in my friend’s re-amp. Some guys are so particular about high end (like not being too harsh, fatiguing or things like that) and I guess I pick up more on details in the mids
 

ZEN Amps

Well-known member
Yep I'm a middle man too after taking an ear break for a half day. It feels the truest and while it may feel bright to some, I don't love the idea of rolling of the highs to make it more palatable - the listener can always turn the treble down if they so choose.

No I won't aggressively roll-off the lows, but they need some attention otherwise you get that woofy, ugly rumble that farts out your monitors. Cheers as always for the input guys, I think I have everything I need to get started.

It's a 2016 Wizard MTL in that clip btw the way, through a Mesa OS V30 cab from memory.

On the whole mids thing - well it's such a vague term really. Mids to me are broken into so many sub-categories that it's hard to define what someones else may mean. Most amps just do not have that aggressive push in the upper mids like a 1959 or 2203. So I don't hear something like a Hiwatt or Wizard as hollow, it's just not pushing hot in that region. Good thing, otherwise every amp would sound like a Marshall. Hmm, maybe that's not a good thing....
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Yep I'm a middle man too after taking an ear break for a half day. It feels the truest and while it may feel bright to some, I don't love the idea of rolling of the highs to make it more palatable - the listener can always turn the treble down if they so choose.

No I won't aggressively roll-off the lows, but they need some attention otherwise you get that woofy, ugly rumble that farts out your monitors. Cheers as always for the input guys, I think I have everything I need to get started.

It's a 2016 Wizard MTL in that clip btw the way, through a Mesa OS V30 cab from memory.

On the whole mids thing - well it's such a vague term really. Mids to me are broken into so many sub-categories that it's hard to define what someones else may mean. Most amps just do not have that aggressive push in the upper mids like a 1959 or 2203. So I don't hear something like a Hiwatt or Wizard as hollow, it's just not pushing hot in that region. Good thing, otherwise every amp would sound like a Marshall. Hmm, maybe that's not a good thing....
Haha sorry for getting off topic there. I also liked the middle ground sound best, but thought all 3 sounded good and workable. IMHO the sound most gear channel YouTubers get is not very good and this is a lot better

My MTL is also a 2016. Cool to see it was in that vid. To me it’s when I compare them to amps with more aggressive mids like Marshall’s or my Purpleface where they come off comparatively hollow, but like I think you meant no amp has it all, otherwise I wouldn’t have 30 amps. All IME have their share of strengths and weaknesses in sound
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
Mids, if pleasing, are fun to play. Period. I hear a sweet singing quality to them IF they are right. And Marshalls have that quality every time. The vintage ones especially. And that’s where I think the transformers come into play; not that they are so special or unobtanium but I think when they age, they just get better sounding. That’s my take anyway.
 
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braintheory

Well-known member
Mids, if pleasing, are fun to play. Period. I hear a sweet singing quality to them IF they are right. And Marshalls have that quality every time. The vintage ones especially. And that’s where I think the transformers come into play; not that they are so special or unobtanium but I think when they age, they just get better sounding. That’s my take anyway.
I’m sure the transformers are part of the sound being great and more raw in the vintage amps, but I don’t think that’s the main factor in the midrange. Plenty of old amps are more hollow sounding: Ampeg V4 (as well as some other Ampeg’s. Great amps still imo) and Hiwatt at the top of my head, but I’ve played plenty others, while I have some recent made amps that have very aggressive and juicy midrange like my Reason SM50 and Purpleface (‘90’s, so I guess maybe not too recent)

I think it’s just probably a trade off. All the gear I’ve tried with the most pleasing midrange to my ears was not as impressive in the lows or highs. Some examples: 20w GB’s vs H’s, Furman PQ3 vs other rack PQ’s, Fortin 808. I got also recently a Thorpy Scarlet Tunic that’s tied with 2 others as my favorite all time boost, but again the mids are a bit hollow, but almost everything else about it is 10/10. Nothing is perfect sadly
 
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Just a few things to clarify: I never used the term "weird" to describe anything tone related because "weird" is too vague of a word to be helpful. It's others who coined the term "weird mids". I've been saying that Hiwatt's, Wizard's and Fryette's have this hollow quality (sorta like a notch) somewhere in the midrange. My ears don't like that, but that's me. If you listen around the 5:30 mark in that Hiwatt video I think that's pretty good demo of the Hiwatt crunch. The speakers and pickups used have the opposite of that hollow sound and I think offset it a little bit (the pre-rola GB's used in other parts especially are the complete opposite of hollow), but I still hear the Hiwatt crunch and it's very good sound (never said otherwise) but it has that quality to it. A direct AB comparison clip to a Marshall it would make it clearer about the big difference in nature of the midrange in those amps. I think this hollow quality is possibly what could've been meant at the end of the video with the players comments when they said it wasn't as aggressive to them as Marshall's

Check out this vid (Hiwatt at :40 and Marshall at 1:05)
This is a good example of what I'm talking about with Hiwatt vs Marshall. Both sound very good, but the Marshall is to my ears so much more aggressive and imo just plain better in the midrange. If this doesn't show what I'm talking about then I'm not sure what else will. We all hear things a bit differently I guess
I love your descriptions, and the fact that you are so thoughtful in your analysis. Dont ever think otherwise. I was, as you pointed out, innacurate in your wording. But i was also having a bit of fun at your expense, but not in a negative way at all. No offense meant, bud.
 
Just a few things to clarify: I never used the term "weird" to describe anything tone related because "weird" is too vague of a word to be helpful. It's others who coined the term "weird mids". I've been saying that Hiwatt's, Wizard's and Fryette's have this hollow quality (sorta like a notch) somewhere in the midrange. My ears don't like that, but that's me. If you listen around the 5:30 mark in that Hiwatt video I think that's pretty good demo of the Hiwatt crunch. The speakers and pickups used have the opposite of that hollow sound and I think offset it a little bit (the pre-rola GB's used in other parts especially are the complete opposite of hollow), but I still hear the Hiwatt crunch and it's very good sound (never said otherwise) but it has that quality to it. A direct AB comparison clip to a Marshall it would make it clearer about the big difference in nature of the midrange in those amps. I think this hollow quality is possibly what could've been meant at the end of the video with the players comments when they said it wasn't as aggressive to them as Marshall's

Check out this vid (Hiwatt at :40 and Marshall at 1:05)
This is a good example of what I'm talking about with Hiwatt vs Marshall. Both sound very good, but the Marshall is to my ears so much more aggressive and imo just plain better in the midrange. If this doesn't show what I'm talking about then I'm not sure what else will. We all hear things a bit differently I guess
also, listened to the video with the timestamps and definitely hear what you hear there.
 
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