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Mistaking dark eq sounds for "warmth"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jeff schmidt, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. jeff schmidt

    jeff schmidt no longer red carded, but my butt is still sore.

    Aug 27, 2004
    Novato, CA
    I see, hear and speak the word "warmth" tons in association with music and sound. I think there's some confusion about the nature of "warmth"

    In the production environment I can clearly hear it. And 90% of the time I know it's a function of a signal passing thru various tubes and valves where harmonic distortion ADDS overtones the human ear find pleasing and often softens the quality of the sounds.

    Rarely is the character "warmth" imparted by solid state gear. I said rarely- not never.

    The 1 mistake I've seen huge - is mistaking various EQ type bassyness, fullness or treble/presence cuts as "warm".

    There is a difference.

    Various solid state gear seeks to emulate the craved "warmth" with various eq schemes under the hood - but really - in side by sides - it clearly falls short. Cab makers try to further the deception by building eq curves into them to accentuate the eq scheme propigated by their own amps and pres.

    There's a reason all the amp manufacturers are starting to put tubes in their pre-amp sections. Faux warm isn't cutting it.

    The reason for this post? :eyebrow:

    Just a simple reminder to train your ears not only for the music - but the sound of the music. Learn the difference between true warmth and faux eq emulations.

    Soap box returned to the utility closet. Door left unlocked. Help yourself.

    And I thank you.

  2. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    And your warm might be my muddy... My crisp might be your harsh. My Eden/Epifani rig sounds pretty warm to me. To you, it might sound aggressive and dark. In the end, none of it really matters because even Munjibunga stepped off his soap box and tried another amplifier. Personal preferences people, take them with a grain of salt. :cool:
  3. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I have really had a problem with tube pre amps 'cause to me they sound mushy. BUT I must admit there are times when my SS Ampeg leaves me wanting something warmer. I am cosidering buying an Ampeg tube pre and maybe blending with my ss pre through the effects loop and see if I can find a happy medium. Will this work?
  4. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    If there is a wet/dry blend or level knob to your efx loop that mixes the effected signal to the preamp's unaffected signal it should work to your liking. Try it out. ;)
  5. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    You might want to try a Real-tube pedal set to clean in there is your loop can accomodate pedal-level signals. It will be smaller and cheaper than than a whole separate pre- that needs to be racked up.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    or an SIB Fat Drive, which has worked great for me.
  7. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Thing is, what you are describing there is simply distortion, which says nothing about the character of tone. "Warmth" is such a crappy term to describe sound becasue it is actually a term that is meant to describe a property, temperature, that tone does not have. It's analogous to saying, " Dude, that smell is crunchy"

    It is quite easy to pass a signal through a tube and wind up with a thin raspy whine with overtones added. It is also pretty easy to dial up a "warm" treble attenuated tone using transistors (Family Man Barrett comes immediately to mind).

    Distortion does not equal warmth. Distortion is distortion which is a separate characteristic from "warmth" which is an arbitrary and subjective term.
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As noted, it's subjective. One could argue that classic warmth is a combination of overdriven tubes and lo-fi (i.e. "dark") sound reproduction: Ampeg B-15, perhaps?
  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    It can often be difficult to describe in words what you're hearing. At the end of the day it's all relative. Read my sig. Your ears can tell you more in 5 seconds that you can get from pages and pages of words. Know what you're listening for, then learn how to get it. In doing so you will learn to trust your own ears rather than relying on the ears of those around you. I can't emphasise how important this is.
  10. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Which is why I don't use the term "warm"; I consider it meaningless.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Sure, "warm" is a vague term, but not meaningless... not for most of us, I don't think.
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    Agreed. "Warmth" is one of those nebulous terms that no can define, but most experienced musicians will recognize it instantly when they hear it.

    And as Jeff mentioned, "EQ is not it". As far as tube vs. solid state, I've heard some very warm solid state stuff, for instance the old Neve and API console preamps are extremely "warm". It seems the transformers make a significant contribution to that, a lot of what one hears in those preamps is the "iron".
  13. Basspolizei

    Basspolizei Pseudo bass player/collector

    Jun 23, 2004
    Buy basses and lots of guns before it's too late! You have been warned.
    God forbid all members find "their tone". We would all be logging onto Ebay, CNN etc. at work........ :hyper: Warmth is a subjective subject and aren't we a subjective group! The manufacturers are sure glad we are. Certain tone is like game. If it's what you want, hunt it until you can find it and kill it! No, I'm no hunter of animals but tone, that's another story. Enjoy the hunt! :smug:
  14. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I'll admit it, I have been guilty of this. :scowl: But now I see the error of my ways.