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Old 20th September 2005, 10:51 AM   #1
pamaz is offline pamaz  Italy
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Default A Question for Nelson

Yes i know this forum is focused on hi-end systems, but being myself a decent jazz guitarist, I'm curious to understand if Nelson ever tried ( or was asked for ) to develop a guitar or bass amplifier.
I've never tried to use my Pass clone stuff to amplify my arch top guitars, but i suspect that thru a proper guitar speaker, they are going to deliver an incredible sound when used ONLY for clean stuff (no distortion etc..).
Have anybody made an attempt on using let's say a bosoz for his musical instruments??

Bye

Paolo
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Old 20th September 2005, 02:48 PM   #2
azira is offline azira  United States
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I think there's nothing wrong with using NP amps for your guitar. A lot of guitar tube amps, for example, advertise pure class A performance.

The key, however, is in the EQ used. Guitar pickups don't have a flat response so the EQ circuitry is critical for making them sound "good".

I'm not as familiar with guitar speakers. I think they are usually a midbass-midrange kind of speaker.

Anyway, I think a quality front end with proper tone control circuitry would sound fine with a NP amp.
--
Danny
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Old 20th September 2005, 04:15 PM   #3
pamaz is offline pamaz  Italy
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Lately , jazz guitar player are using more and more very hifi sounding amps, like for example acoustic image ones. And most of them report to have a very flat equalization.

That's why i was asking the thing
Adding a tone controls section to a pass preamp is for sure possible, but i don't know if somebody has already experienced such thing. Furthermore I'm curious to know if Nelson has ever done such things in his career.


Bye

Paolo
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Old 20th September 2005, 07:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by pamaz
Lately , jazz guitar player are using more and more very hifi sounding amps, like for example acoustic image ones. And most of them report to have a very flat equalization.

That's why i was asking the thing
Adding a tone controls section to a pass preamp is for sure possible, but i don't know if somebody has already experienced such thing. Furthermore I'm curious to know if Nelson has ever done such things in his career.
Not for a long time.

I have wanted to take some of these amplifiers and "port"
them to musician use, but I haven't had the time. Also, I am
lacking in local good musicians who have a strong interest.
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Old 20th September 2005, 10:00 PM   #5
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This is a can of worms, unfortunately. Regardless of class of operation, gain devices used, etc. guitar amps almost invariably have very high levels of distortion--at least by stereo standards. Bass players can and do play through hi-fi amps, albeit with eq., but guitar players, pretty much to a man, want some level of distortion. Yes, even acoustic players.
Note that the speakers used are far from flat themselves, so people who claim to play with little or no eq. get really, really picky about their speakers, searching long and hard to find speakers that give them the tone they want.
This is not to say that it can't be done, but the number of guitar players who might want a truly "flat" guitar amp is very small, indeed. A few jazz players, a few folk, and possibly a few country and bluegrass players. Certainly not enough to make it a going proposition in the business sense.
Bass players are another matter entirely. A significant percentage play through flat amplifiers and use fairly ordinary eq. curves to get the tone they want. Power is a prerequisite, however, even for small gigs.
BEWARE: Home stereo sized power supplies are a no-no! You'll launch speaker cones across the room if you try it. Instrument amps have laughably small power supply caps as a sneaky sort of limiter. Even the hi-fi amps that bass players use are the ones will smallish power supplies (e.g. Hafler). They will frequently also use limiter pedals (mostly the slap-'n-pop players).
There might be a small subset of players who would would be interested in building a project piece, but even then there are problems. I've been playing bass for thirty years, have the equipment and such to build my own gear...and wouldn't do so on a dare. Why? Because this is not an area for sissies. First and foremost, stage gear must, and I mean must be reliable. It's an entirely different mindset from the hi-fi mentality. We're talking fall-off-the-back-of-the-truck-into-a-puddle reliable. The show must go on, and all that. No tweak. No diddly stuff. No instability. Nothing. We're talking lowest common denominator circuit design. The road is littered with the bones of companies who thought they were going to lead the amplification buisiness into the future by building cleaner-sounding amps. If the lack of "tone" didn't kill them, the lack of reliability did.
The only way to manage more than a niche market is to have a distinct tone (i.e. distortion) and to have a big-name endorser to get your product off the ground. Even then it's rough.
If you want to build your own amplifier, start by taking a look inside a bunch of professional amps. Excepting the all-tube ones, most amps are leaning heavily towards chips. Small and lightweight (very desirable).
If you smell class D here, you're right, but that's another thing entirely. A lot of the class D amps I've played through are thin sounding; eq. to counteract this is a requirement, not an option.
To get started on eq. look at Baxandall circuits and the famous Fender tone controls. Baxandall can be set to a flat position if you want. The Fender circuit cannot be set flat no matter how you twist the knobs. There is a book by Aspen Pittman that has about ten billion amplifier schematics in it. Go find that book and leaf through it. Home stereo guys wish they had such a resource, but it will never happen.
This will either be a short thread or a very long one, indeed. There's a lot that can be said. Opinions predominate in a way that would stun the average hi-fi user. You either like the way Marshall amps sound or you don't. You either like the way Crest amps sound or you don't. You either like Ampeg, Fender, et. al.. or you don't. Facts don't enter into the equation anywhere--it's all subjective. Never will you hear musicians fretting (please note that the applause sign just lit...) about what sort of current source is used or whether the circuit uses a differential in the front end. They don't know and don't care.
It's a different world.

Grey
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Old 20th September 2005, 10:36 PM   #6
pamaz is offline pamaz  Italy
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Default hello Guys

Hello guys.
Nelson was answering my curiosity,
Grey, Yes I know the Aspen Pittman book (that i have) but one thing that i have to say is that not all the guitar players are searching for distorsion.
I'm thinking for example at Tuck Andress that is playing his guitar thru PA systems, giving him a sound that is very personal, and very different from any other guitarist I know.
Acoustic guitar players (the serious ones) ar always unsatisfied with their amplification because of the unfaithful timbrical characteristic of the musical instuments amp, and usually they settle for amplifying the guitar with hi-end mikes and ( in very rare cases ) using some good quality speakers.
Myself have listened to a classical guitar concert with orchestra , where the guitar was amplified ( as per the requirement of the music sheet!!)
The amplification was made with a quadriamplified jeff rowland system that was driving the famous B&W nautilus.
I suppose that is not for everybody, but the result was amazing, and i have to tell you that was the best amplified classical guitar i have ever listened.


Ciao

Paolo
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Old 20th September 2005, 11:07 PM   #7
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Note that I didn't say that there were no musicians following this path, only that they represent such a small percentage of musicians overall that it's not feasible to build commercial product.
Your comment about playing through a PA system proves, rather than disproves my point. PA systems are not flat by any means, although they come closer than many guitar amps.

Grey
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