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Amp Feature Rant

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MooseLumps, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. MooseLumps


    Nov 4, 2007
    So, my biggest pet peeve about bass amps is knobs, switches,ect that have an effect on your tone, but have stupid, non-descriptive names or are poorly explained in the manual.
    why not just use a three knob or a 12 band graphic? why all the Voodoo?

    Example:MosValve™ REAL TUBE 3300 SERIES & 3175 BASS AMPS

    Excerpt from the manual: CONTOUR — Forms a gentle over-all bass-response slope across the most active bass frequencies.
    Very useful in compensating for stage size and room acoustics.

    one knob labeled Contour with a very poorly described function. AARGH!!

    Example: TECH 21's RBI:

    Excerpt from manual:presence Brings out the upper harmonic content and attack. For a smoother high end and for
    clean settings, decrease to taste.

    ***??? MOJO KNOB? CARROTS I SAY!!!

    Finally, my all time most despised knob

    Example: SWR Aural Enhancer:

    Excerpt from Common feature page, Support Section, SwrSound.com: Aural Enhancer™
    The Aural Enhancer has been a feature on nearly every SWR amplifier since the company's inception in 1984, and is a trademark part of the "SWR Sound" people have come to know and love. It was developed to help bring out the fundamental low notes of the bass guitar, to enhance high-end transients and to reduce certain frequencies that help mask the fundamentals. The result is a more transparent sound, especially noticeable when slapping and popping, and it can give a passive bass an "active" quality when set at two o'clock" or higher.

    The Aural Enhancer works as a variable tone curve that changes depending on how you set it. As you increase the control clockwise from the "MIN" position, you're elevating a whole range of sound (lows, mids and highs) at a variety of frequency points selected specifically because they're different than those selected for the individual tone controls.

    This remains true up to about the two o'clock position. This position—a favorite for many users—brings out the low-end fundamentals and crisp highs. At the same time, it adds a little lower midrange to help cut through the band. If you go further clockwise past the two o'clock position, however, selected mids will start to drop off; specifically, a group of frequencies centered around 200Hz. At this point and beyond, the effect becomes much more pronounced, but the curves involved here are gentle as opposed to the extreme curves you can create by boosting or cutting the active tone controls (EQ).

    Most significantly for basses, the Aural Enhancer will help bring out the fundamentals of your lower registers without masking them with overtones, as is possible when using the Bass control only. It also opens up the sibilance characteristics of all instruments without being harsh.

    Obviously, numbers and curves and circuits mean nothing compared to what you hear with your own ears. Play a chord, a repeated lick or a harmonic, and adjust the Aural Enhancer to various points to hear the effect for yourself. As always, your ears are the best judge when it comes to settings that affect the tone of your instrument.

    This tells me essentially nothing about what the feature really does!!! The only hard data is that past the 2:00 setting, some mids are dropped, specifically the ones around 200hz

    Seriously, any one else sick of this stuff? Give me a nice graphic e.q., semi or fully parametric eq, or don't bother and leave me the three knobs an go.
    I like the way Carvin did the eq for the b 1500 :
    Excerpt from manual for Carvin B1500: Tone Controls: ±12dB @ 30, 100, 300, 1k, 3k, 10k (Hz)

    Bam. That's sweet. Why all the obfuscation?
  2. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    The MosValve/RBI/SWR jargon is winded, but I understood it all pretty clearly after I read it...
  3. MooseLumps


    Nov 4, 2007
    I have to disagree. What does the Controur knob on the Mos Valve unit in question do?

    Tell me.
  4. what about the tube drive on the 3 pro. that thing does almost nothing!
  5. MooseLumps


    Nov 4, 2007
    13. TUBE GAIN: The tube gain control varies the
    high voltage supply to the power amp tubes. This
    allows a variety of tonal response characteristics from
    the power amp and replaces the limiter found on typical
    solid state power amps. At “10” the voltage is at
    maximum, providing a dynamic, highly responsive
    tone. At “0” the voltage is at minimum, offering a thickened,
    more compressed tone. This tone can also be
    distorted, depending on volume level. In between settings
    are best for preventing harsh distortion when
    driving the power amp to its limits. The effect of this
    control increases from moderate to dramatic as the
    power amp is driven harder.
    NOTE: When adjusting the tube gain control from
    “10” to “0” rapidly, a low frequency hum as well as
    muting of the output signal occur simultaneously. This
    is due to shifting of the DC bias point of the tubes, and
    is no cause for concern. Adjusting the control quickly
    from “0” to “10” brings a moderate delay due to the
    power supply capacitors charging.

    Well tom, this is one knob that i don't have a lot of problem with. the explanation in the manual is fairly explicit. It increases voltage to the preamp tube. weather or not it's effective is the decision of the end user, but it's the knobs that have mystery functions that give me fits.
  6. Have you ever played a 3 pro?

    I honestly can hear almost no change in the tone.
  7. lorenk


    Apr 8, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    I second the vagueness that manufacturerererers often use.

    With my BDDI, I know I like what the presence knob does. It sounds good when I use it, I just wish I knew what it did to my sound to make it sound good.

    But then again I'm a curious person...
  8. I understand where U R comin from Tom, I had a 3PRO. But there IS a difference. Fully turned One way- it has a definate S.S. sound- for want of a better description- clean & 'trim' :p
    Fully the other way- gives a 'slightly' more tubey tone. Sure it's SLIGHT. BUT- IF U 'disreguard' the clip light, - crank the EQ volume slider up full & the gain up to where U want, U WILL get a tube O.drive. I can't remember whether the tube gain control actually 'cancels' this when turned the other way fully, But with it ON(or off- can't remember which way was what) - or with the control adjusted so U R getting the MOST amount of "tube sound"- I did get a pretty good grind/overdrive.... BUT as I said- I hadda not worry about the gain light being on for a lotta the time.
    This is all just from MY experience w/ the 3PRO. I am NOT saying to DO this or saying it will or won't do any harm.. I don't know-hopefully someone will know here on TB. BUT I did it for a few months-on & off- with MY 3 PRO & AFAIK she's still working well.
  9. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Too many potential buyers who want knobs that say "crush," "killer," and "kewl."
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Here's my handy guide to amp knob terminology:

    Contour = mid scoop
    Enhance = mid scoop
    Slap = mid scoop
    Shape = mid scoop
    Maximizer = mid scoop
    Voicing = mid scoop
    Filter = mid scoop
    Exciter = mid scoop
    Punch = mid scoop
    Color = mid scoop

    In fact the only common one of these vaguely-named controls you see that isn't a mid-scoop is "Presence" which boosts the highs and sometimes the high mids.
  11. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    "Amp Feature Rant"

    Built In


  12. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Hey man, unless it's lying to you...
  13. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    And yet, it sounds like a mid scoop ;)
  15. MooseLumps


    Nov 4, 2007
    Jimmy and Bongo's posts always make me happy.
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    No love for the VLE & VPF knobs on the Markbass heads? :bag:
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Love for the VLE, though its name is silly. They should just call it a treble cut. But guess what the VPF is?
  18. lorenk


    Apr 8, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    lol uh *scratches head* is the VPF a mmm ,mid scoop?
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Yeah, it's stupid, but all of those different control terms really mean 'bedroom knob' (a term that could have a few meanings).

    Usually I stay as far away from any of these controls, except for the VPF, which when used very sparingly and with the VLE can work pretty ok.

    Other than that, its a gimmick knob.
  20. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    All this 'contour' like controls pretty much do the same thing, as mentioned above. I actually find the variable ones somewhat useful at very low levels, since they not only cut low mids a touch, but also expand the deepest bass and highest treble. With some cabs, this seems to actually bring the cab a bit more into a more even frequency response, especially with some smaller cabs.

    However, a VERY little bit goes a long way, and some of these controls (like the SWR and Eden versions) seem extreme even at low settings.

    The DISASTER design of these controls IMO is the 'all or nothing' buttons like on some of the EA, EBS and Genz heads, etc. IMO. As long as it is variable, IMO, it's not a bad feature, and most of the hate comes from user error!

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