I figured out Bogner EQ - it's more than just a log Treble pot (with clips) also NAD Bogner content

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
For the longest time, I always glossed over Bogner amps. I have always gone for heavier and more modern sounds, and for whatever reason I thought Bogners were too "boutique-y," too soft, not my style, etc. But not too long ago, a guy I know got me really interested in them and I started down the rabbit hole. Now, I've played Uberschalls, I picked up an Ecstasy 101B I've had for a while now that I really love, and I've just recently come across a Helios 100. I'm really, really digging it so far. What an amp. It’s deceptive, too. Its design language suggests it’s the kind of amp that can only do one thing, but with multiple inputs (that lead to entirely different kinds of input stages), multiple bright switch options, additional gain staging switches, and switchable channels, it’s much more versatile than it initially seems, and all the options sound good.

Anyway, the reason I'm making the thread is because although I've had good luck with getting sounds I like from Bogners, I always felt like it was kind of a fluke. I never felt like I was totally able to command the things to do exactly what I wanted... until I started to notice a pattern with all of them. And when things finally clicked, when I finally figured it out, it hit me like a ton of bricks, so I thought I'd share.


Treble pot:
So it's getting to be fairly common knowledge that several Bogners use a log Treble pot, which means that from 0-noon, the pot only changes around 10 percent or so, sweep-wise. While the Treble pots on both an Ecstasy and a Marshall open up to similar values when dimed, setting the Treble knob to noon on an Ecstasy is about like setting a Marshall's treble pot at 8:00. Frequency-wise, the Bogner Treble pot is also centered at a higher frequency than most other treble pots. Almost as high as the Presence pot but not quite. This makes for a pretty weird Treble control compared to what most people are used to, but it starts to make sense when you also consider how the Mid knob works, which is the real kicker I've never really heard anybody talk about...

Mid pot:
This is it. The real trick to Bogner amps is in how Bogner's mid pot works. Basically, it's not a normal mid pot, it's a high shelf knob that starts in the mids, around 500-600Hz or so. So while it does control mids, it controls the highs just as much if not more. I think this is exactly why most people find Bogners to be overly dark sounding amps. It has very little to do with the Treble knob. When people sit down at a Bogner and start tweaking, I see them tend to do the standard modern high gain Marshall EQ thing where they start by setting the Bass to around 2:00, Mids to around 10:00, and Treble around noon. At this point, the Treble is basically off, and the Mid knob is set relatively low for a Bogner, which means a ton of highs and high-mids are being shelved pretty hard, leaving only mostly the low frequencies to be heard. From here, people turn the Treble up because the amp sounds dark, but when they do that, they end up with a mostly dark tone that has an imbalanced sibilant hiss on top of it, instead of the increase in clarity and detail they're looking for because of how the Treble and Mid pots work. From there, they turn up the Mids too, just to see, but at that point the Treble and Mids are up too high and now the amp sounds harsh and scratchy, so they walk away from the amp not liking it, and it only reafirms what they've heard, that these amps only work when they have a "blanket over the speakers" sound going.

Bass pot:
No surprises here, works like a normal Bass pot.


To summarize:
  • Bogner Treble pot - more like a secondary presence knob
  • Bogner Mid pot - controls mids and highs almost equally. This also means you can't really scoop a Bogner with the TMB knobs. You have to use external EQ to do that.* This ALSO means that cranking the mids doesn't immediately catapult you into Honky Megaphone Land like it will with other amps, because the Treble will boost at the same rate, ensuring your sound stays full and wide even with cranked mids.
  • Bogner Bass pot - normal bass pot. yay.

*If you're playing an Uberschall, the Presence control is actually more like a Contour knob, or a wide-band mid control, which can be lowered to scoop that amp.


So, that's pretty much it. If you want to brighten up a Bogner amp, turn up the mid knob, not the Treble. Want to smooth it out and darken it? Turn the mids down. Basically, treat the Mid knob more like a very wide-band "Mid and Treble" control, and the Treble knob like a secondary Presence control. Once you learn that, you can get some pretty incredible sounds out of them, and you'll find yourself able to really fine tune them to get exactly what you want. I find it's best to start with all controls at noon, then set the Mid knob for how smooth or raw you want to sound, then set Bass for overall body, and finally, then set your Treble knob to fine tune the balance in the highs. Lower it to curb any scratchiness you might get as a byproduct of the Mids needing to be up high, or raise the Treble to bring back some shimmer to an overly dark tone.


And here it is, the Helios 100.


0WK4yCP.jpg


93Cms2g.jpg


S8JTa4A.jpg




Clips: only the Mid knob was adjusted between these first two clips




The brighter/darker clips are in 70's mode, boosted in front, and post EQ'd, but they're post EQ'd identically. Again, the ONLY difference between them is that I turned the amp's Mid knob down between punching in those takes. These clips were done with the Helios but most Bogner tonestacks work this way. It is an EXTREMELY powerful and influential control in Bogners, and imo it's absolutely necessary to understand how it works in order to get the most out of these amps. As for the darker of the first two clips, even though I lowered the Mid knob way more than I normally would go even if I wanted a darker sound, personally I find myself really liking it. It's definitely a more niche tone but it's so damn smooth I can't help but dig it. But again though, all I did between those clips was turn down the Mid knob.

Gear:
Guitar: PRS Custom 22 w/ EMG 81 bridge, 89 neck - bridge pickup used in clips
Boosts: Boss GE7 to cut lows, clean boost to boost input (just because the Boss is noisy as a boost)
Amp: Bogner Helios 100
Reactive Load: Suhr RL
Cabs: Mix of Mesa V30 IR's and Marshall Greenback IR's


Bonus old In Flames riff in Drop D because this amp rules:

The In Flames riff was done in 80's mode, and it was EQ'd and post EQ'd differently than the other two with a bit of boost in the lows for chunk. The amp looks like a vintage Marshall and it can do those sounds, but don't let those looks fool you. It takes boosts like a champ and with the right ones, holy shit can it get heavy.
 
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ZEN Amps

Well-known member
For the longest time, I always glossed over Bogner amps. For whatever reason I thought they were too "boutique-y," not my style, etc. Not too long ago though, a guy I know got me really interested in them and I started down the rabbit hole. Now, I've played Uberschalls, I picked up an Ecstasy 101B I've had for a while now that I really love, and I've just recently come across a Helios 100. I'm really, really digging it so far. What an amp.

Anyway, the reason I'm making the thread is because although I've had good luck with getting sounds I like from Bogners, I always felt like it was kind of a fluke. I never felt like I was totally able to command the things to do exactly what I wanted... until I started to notice a pattern with all of them. And when things finally clicked, when I finally figured it out, it hit me like a ton of bricks, so I thought I'd share.


Treble pot:
So it's getting to be fairly common knowledge that several Bogners use a log Treble pot, which means that from 0-noon, the pot only changes around 10 percent or so, sweep-wise. While the Treble pots on both an Ecstasy and a Marshall open up to similar values when dimed, setting the Treble knob to noon on an Ecstasy is about like setting a Marshall's treble pot at 8:00. Frequency-wise, the Bogner Treble pot is also centered at a higher frequency than most other treble pots. Almost as high as the Presence pot but not quite. This makes for a pretty weird Treble control compared to what most people are used to, but it starts to make sense when you also consider how the Mid knob works, which is the real kicker I've never really heard anybody talk about...

Mid pot:
This is it. The real trick to Bogner amps is in how Bogner's mid pot works. Basically, it's not a normal mid pot, it's a high shelf knob that starts in the mids, around 600Hz or so. So while it does control mids, it controls the highs just as much if not more. I think this is exactly why most people find Bogners to be overly dark sounding amps. It has very little to do with the Treble knob. When people sit down at a Bogner and start tweaking, I see them tend to do the standard modern high gain Marshall EQ thing where they start by setting the Bass to around 2:00, Mids to around 10:00, and Treble around noon. At this point, the Treble is basically off, and the Mid knob is set relatively low for a Bogner, which adds up to being that a ton of highs and high-mids are being shelved pretty hard, leaving only mostly the low frequencies to be heard. From here, people turn the Treble up because the amp sounds dark, but when they do that, they end up with a mostly dark tone that has a strange sibilant hiss on it, instead of the increase in clarity and detail they're looking for because of how the Treble and Mid pots work. So they from there, they turn up the Mids too, just to see, but the Treble and Mids are up high and now the thing sounds super harsh and scratchy, so they walk away from the amp not liking it, and it only reafirms what they've heard, that these amps only work when they have a "blanket over the speakers" sound going.

Bass pot:
No surprises here, works like a normal Bass pot.


To summarize:
  • Bogner Treble pot - more like a secondary presence knob
  • Bogner Mid pot - controls mids and highs almost equally. This also means that you can't really scoop a Bogner with the TMB knobs. You have to use external EQ to do that.*
  • Bogner Bass pot - normal bass pot. yay.

*If you're playing an Uberschall, the Presence control is actually more like a Contour knob, or a wide-band mid control, which can be lowered to scoop that amp.


So, that's pretty much it. If you want to brighten up a Bogner amp, turn up the mid knob, not the Treble. Want to smooth it out and darken it? Turn the mids down. Basically, treat the Mid knob more like a very wide-band "Mid and Treble" control, and the Treble knob like a secondary Presence control. Once you lean that, you can get some pretty incredible sounds out of them, and you'll find yourself able to really fine tune them to get exactly what you want. I find it's best to start with all controls at noon, then start by setting the Mid knob according to where you want to be on the "smooth to raw" scale, then set Bass for overall body, and finally, then set your Treble knob depending on how things are going. Lower to curb the things getting scratchy, raise to bring back some shimmer to an overly dark tone.


Pics

DtqeHT2.png


S8JTa4A.jpg




Clips: only the Mid knob was adjusted between these two clips



Bonus old In Flames riff in Drop D because this amp rules:



The brighter/darker clips are in 70's mode, boosted in front, and post EQ'd, but they're post EQ'd identically. Again, the ONLY difference between them is that I turned the amp's Mid knob down between punching in those takes. It is an EXTREMELY powerful and influential control in Bogners, and imo it's absolutely necessary to understand how it works in order to get the most out of these amps. As for the darker of the first two clips, even though I lowered the Mid knob way more than I normally would go even if I wanted a darker sound, personally I find myself really liking it. It's definitely a more niche sound but it's so damn smooth I can't help but dig it. But again though, all I did between those clips was turn down the Mid knob.

The In Flames riff was done in 80's mode, and it's EQ's and post EQ'd differently than the other two with a bit of boost in the lows for chunk. The amp looks like a vintage Marshall and it can do those sounds, but don't let the looks fool you. With the right boosts, holy shit can it get heavy.

Gear:
Gutiar: PRS Custom 22 w/ EMG 81 bridge, 89 neck - bridge pickup used in clips
Boosts: Boss GE7 to cut lows, clean boost to boost input (just because the Boss is noisy as a boost)
Amp: Bogner Helios 100
Reactive Load: Suhr
Cabs: Mix of Mesa V30 and Marshall Greenback IR's
Good post. And this is why we always use ears and not eyes to tweak amps!
 

CarlF

Well-known member
On the Bogner 101b, do the tones react a bit differently depending on where the Excursion Switch is set? I had a few 101b's and I remember liking the tighter, more immediate sounds w/ the Ex set to Tight.
 

sahlomonic

Well-known member
Nice writeup. My XTC 3534 tone controls behave the same way. Took me a while to figure it out, but once I did it really started sounding awesome.
 

Kidkramer71

Active member
I also have a 101b and a Helios.
I love them both.
They respond to speakers quite a bit.
The 2 combinations I like with the Helios
Are v30 in the bottom and 25w greenback in top and v30 and cream back 75 in an x.
The clean on the plexi low input is sweet on the Helios.
Of coarse on the high side it does 80's rock hard rock/ metal like a charm.
Congrats on the new amp.
 

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
On the Bogner 101b, do the tones react a bit differently depending on where the Excursion Switch is set? I had a few 101b's and I remember liking the tighter, more immediate sounds w/ the Ex set to Tight.

As far as what I'm hearing, the 101B's excursion switch only changes the poweramp behavior. It's basically a standard Depth control. At high volumes though, it would effect how the poweramp overdrives, yeah. The tighter you set it, the less you have to worry about lows clipping the poweramp and muddying up the sound.
 

NorCal_Val

Member
Congrats on getting the Helios!
Just picked mine up on Monday.
I've been playing through the Plexi channel, with the '80s switch engaged, the eq off,
the gain cranked, into a Suhr 4x12 with 25w greenbacks, and playing an LTD "Lynch/Burnt Tiger"
with a Duncan Screaming' Demon pickup(10 dcr).
I'm getting a really cool early '80s modded Marshall plexi tone; not overly saturated, but plenty
of grind, and it responds great to the Majik Box "Rocket Fuel" OD out front.
Seriously pleased with my first Bogner amp.
 

thegame

Well-known member
Clips sound great. I particularly like how it sounds smooth yet has a nice bite. Is this the original version Helios?
 

stratjacket

Well-known member
I wonder if the Bogner Synergy stuff behaves the same way?
I have the Ecstasy module, will plug it in later today and test.
 

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
Clips sound great. I particularly like how it sounds smooth yet has a nice bite. Is this the original version Helios?

Yep, it's the original Helios 100.

Again though, I cut bass at the input as well as added maybe 5-10 db's of boost, and I put about the equivalent of a Mesa 5-band EQ in post to slightly scoop out some mids by a handful of db's. The amp doesn't quite sound like that on it's own. But again, I didn't do anything special to it, I just broadly cutting some mids, slightly.

If I made a clip of the amp in a mix, I probably wouldn't have cut the mids in post like that, but as these clip are just guitar, a broad but shallow cutting of the mids helps add some extra clarity and size to the tone and better emphasize what's happening.
 
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thegame

Well-known member
Yep, it's the original Helios 100.

Again though, I cut bass at the input as well as added maybe 5-10 db's of boost, and I put about the equivalent of a Mesa 5-band EQ in post to slightly scoop out some mids by a handful of db's. The amp doesn't quite sound like that on it's own. But again, I didn't do anything special to it, I just broadly cutting some mids, slightly.

If I made a clip of the amp in a mix, I probably wouldn't have cut the mids in post like that, but as these clip are just guitar, a broad but shallow cutting of the mids helps add some extra clarity and size to the tone and better emphasize what's happening.
You broke my heart 😢
 

PLX

Well-known member
Again though, I cut bass at the input as well as added maybe 5-10 db's of boost, and I put about the equivalent of a Mesa 5-band EQ in post to slightly scoop out some mids by a handful of db's. The amp doesn't quite sound like that on it's own. But again, I didn't do anything special to it, I just broadly cutting some mids, slightly.

If I made a clip of the amp in a mix, I probably wouldn't have cut the mids in post like that, but as these clip are just guitar, a broad but shallow cutting of the mids helps add some extra clarity and size to the tone and better emphasize what's happening.
Pretty much have to do this when making audio clips of guitar only.
 

thegame

Well-known member
How do you mean?
Realizing that the Helios likely doesn’t sound as good as this on it’s own. Your article was excellent but I found it odd that the 3 applied ‘fixes’ (bass cut, input level boost and post mic eq) weren’t disclosed in the original write up since the focus of the piece was how to properly utilize the amp’s own EQ (especially the mid control) to correct any shortcomings. The impression I got was the amp can get there (the sound of your recording) by itself.
 

TheGreatGreen

Well-known member
Realizing that the Helios likely doesn’t sound as good as this on it’s own. Your article was excellent but I found it odd that the 3 applied ‘fixes’ (bass cut, input level boost and post mic eq) weren’t disclosed in the original write up since the focus of the piece was how to properly utilize the amp’s own EQ (especially the mid control) to correct any shortcomings. The impression I got was the amp can get there (the sound of your recording) by itself.

Ah. So, a couple things there.

The pre boost / post EQ details were included in the original post. It's there in the gear section at the bottom. However it is a long post though so I get it. I don't see the clips as disingenuous because for one, the main point was to illustrate what the Bogner mid knob does, which the clips do show rather clearly I think.

As for the tones themselves, in my mind, adding those specific ingredients to any amp is basically a non-issuse because it's all 100% clean EQ curves and 100% clean boosts, so nothing is happening that couldn't also be done with, say, a different set of hotter guitar pickups, a different choice of cab, or a different set of mics and mic'ing techniques.

Also, relative to the cost of the amp, EQ pedals and clean boosts are almost nothing. Complexity-wise, it's also almost nothing. A pedal or so in front and an EQ in the loop and you're there. Done deal, Ez Pz. It's just EQ, so all it can do is enhance or remove frequencies already there in the amp anyway. Besides, I can guarantee you that there is no amp out there that sounds closer to a boosted and EQ'd Helios 100 than a boosted and EQ'd Helios 100, just like there's no amp out there that's going to sound like a boosted and EQ'd Recto more than a boosted an EQ'd Recto, know what I mean? And personally I think this Helios setup sounds great, and therefore it's worth listening to and talking about.

What I'm saying is that if you love the sound of those clips up there, there's no single amp you can get that will get you closer to those clips than a Helios 100 with a bass cut and clean boost in front, and an EQ pedal in the loop. : ) People expect too much from guitar amps (or any other singular piece of gear) on their own. Things become a lot simpler and easier when you start thinking about guitar tone more like one big chain of dozens of gain and filtering stages as opposed to just a few magical pieces that should blend together to form perfection.
 
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