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What Makes Originals Better?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Plucky The Bassist, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    In the time I've been on Talkbass, I've been exposed to a great plethora of GAS-inducing gear that I never even knew existed at all. While it's a common stance for many musicians that a 60's Fender bass or a 70's SVT would outperform some of today's recreations or models...where do effects come into this philosophy?

    I hear tales of pedals that have no equal when it comes to recreations or knock-offs today; the Roland Jet Phase, Digitech Bass Whammy, Mu-Tron, and a whole host of others. With how common PCBs are today in almost everything, you'd think that we'd see higher-quality pedals at lower costs, but often times the new versions of these pedals don't stack up to the originals according to some players. Is this a case of "they don't make em like they used to"? Are they too preoccupied working around a price point instead of quality? Too much digital modeling that just doesn't stack up to analog effects? Are we listening with our eyes and falling under the placebo effect?

    Granted, I am POSITIVE that there are plenty of bassists who do not hold this view at all, I am just wondering what the purists have to say on why their vintage pedals outperform the new ones. Boutique pedal builders shell out some seriously awesome pedals now that are often clones, but what keeps the original manufacturer from stepping up and restoring some of these to their former glory? :bag:
  2. some chips are no longer available, or they don't make em like they used to. i think for some it's about collecting a rare piece that's out of print. for the most part i've been happy with modern "equivelants" or "recreations", sometimes they're an improvement due to lower noise thresholds & more efficient circuit design. all depends on what is important to you. YMMV
  3. I've just grown to like older/vintage/classic stuff more over the years. From basses and amps to cars and furniture. That and I love the way my old SVT sounds. I'm not sure any of this stuff is "better" than their current equivalent, but I still like it more for some reason.
  4. It could be just the phenomenon that nothing is better than it was when you were in your teens. Like the music you listened to when you first fell in love with music will always hold that special place in your heart even if now, you don't listen to it that often. Everything was new and fresh in your formative years and now everything is just a copy.

    On a different note, asking how pedals fit in just makes me think of an old-school tape delay. The reason it sounded good was that each taped repeat was slightly degraded, just due to the technology itself. So in that sense, nothing ever is as good as the original.
  5. LeoTender


    Aug 19, 2013
    exactly. and some sounds and the respective instruments, effects and other gear skip certain periods of time. like the fender jaguar that nobody cared for in the sixties that suddenly became popular in the 90s through kurt kobain or the mu-tron III that somehow is very much looked for now that people are somehow into funk and bootsy collins (again). i suppose one single artist is enough to create a hype (not necessarily unjustified) about an effects unit. like john frusciante and the ibanez wh10.

    like metaball said, the reissues are often the way to go. old effect pedals can often sound great while you use them but suck all the tone out when being "bypassed" or go bust just because you stared too hard at them.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't believe in the superiority of the old stuff when it comes to basses, amps, effects or cords. As anything, it's a case by case basis.
  7. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    Mostly because its a fetish.

    The next answer is because certain components have gone rare and are substituted in newer versions for price and availability. You'd be surprised what people will pay for a rare chip or hard-to-find matched transistors. Is the difference audible? probably not in all cases, but they are desirable nonetheless.

    Part of it can also be that some original models are hand wired with an attention to craftsmanship that is just more interesting than later PCB versions.

    Are they worth what people pay? Most of the time probably not. But most people with the rare and vintage aren't touring 10 months a year with them, they are collecting them like any other collectable because they're freaking cool!

    They have a bit more story behind them. The first album I recorded in a real studio, we got to use a '70's Tycobrahe Octavia they had on loan for a guitar solo, it was a memorable and cool experience! We probably could have dropped in some quantized plug ins, but this was unique even if only for the story.
  8. THIS!

    The "problem" is that (lots of) musicians are obsessed with classic tones on classic tracks. They "want to sound like Jimi, maaaaaan". So then they have to get old gear, because thats whats on all those old recordings, and then, because the old gear sounds like the "classic tones", that somehow gets confused into the old gear being "better".

    It also becomes a kudos thing. Owning an old bass or amp is inherently cool. And cool stuff must be "better", right?

    Of course, the irony is that most of the dudes playing on all these classic tracks will have just plugged into whatever they had lying around and not really worried about it too much :bassist:

    On a related note, a couple of years ago a very good study was conducted which strongly suggested that professional violinists were unable to tell the difference between 300-year old Stradivarius violins and top-class modern instruments:

    http://www.theguardian.com/music/20...linist-stradivarius?guni=Article:in body link

    I suspect that a study of bass guitars would show much the same.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I can't say I like anything old in music gear really, there's progress and development that - in my opinion - makes newer products better in most every respect. I used to have an old wooden sailing boat and that's about the only old thing I have really liked, the feeling of new plastic boats just don't compare with wood and brass. Electronics on the other hand really were not better in them good old days, they were just noisier, with worse frequency response and housed in big ugly enclosures. Others may love them for just those reasons though, getting the sound and "mojo" of the old stuff, and that's fine of course. Use it if you like it, use modern stuff if that fits your tastes and sound ideals better.
  10. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    History juice. Builds up over time.
  11. rsmith601


    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    President, Source Audio
    I am reminded of a conversation I had at NAMM a few years ago with a guy who was questioning why we are trying to create new sounds in some of our products. I suggested that, for instance, Jimi would most likely NOT be trying to recreate his Woodstock tone night after night. I got a look of confusion that I wish I could have captured. It had never occurred to this guy that his hero might explore other sounds.
  12. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I agree it's mostly the sound of the old transistors or such that are no longer manufactured that gets players wanting the old stuff.

    There are a lot of boutique analog effects builders that advertise the use of hoarded old stock parts that are no longer produced, and charge a premium price for the privilege of owning a new effect that features them. Old germanium transistors vs silicon, for instance.

    1969 Porsche or 2009 Porsche? You can easily go 110mph in both, but the ride isn't quite the same, and also quite subjective depending on the needs of the driver.
  13. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    I see what you mean. some people seem to like the older musical gear they got more than the new musical gear that's available today. they like the older musical gear because of how authentic they sound. and some of us like to try something new once in a while. I've been a gk player for many years and about a few months ago I started getting into a hartke lh500. it sounded really awesome through my gk cab. it delivers a smooth warm beefy sound. I still like gk amps, but I'm really digging the hartke lh500. recently I've purchased a fender rumble 150 bass combo and it sounds totally awesome. I tried one out at a guitar center 3 months ago and I really like how thick and punchy it sounded. it sounded like a cross between a fender bassman and a gallien-krueger. I do like gallien-krueger and fender bass amps and the fender rumble gives me the best of both worlds. it's a keeper.

    As for effects, I still own a digitech bass driver. it was my first bass distortion pedal and I do like how it sounds. even though I do own an ebs metaldrive, I still like the digitech bass driver. even though it's considered tamed compared to a boss obd-3, but it can go from a low gain overdrive to an extreme fuzz-like distortion. and because I like both the digitech bass driver and the ebs metaldrive, I am considering keeping both pedals on my live set-up.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    How could Jimi NOT have used all those cool new toys that came out after he died if he were still alive? I'll never understand the thought processes of some people...sheesh!
  15. non creative types are more focused on recreating a lost moment in time, than projecting a trajectory forward.
  16. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    This thread is just turning into people taking sides on old vs. new. It's silly really. Being closed minded from either side only limits creativity.

    The OP seemed interested in actually hearing why people prefer originals. I think that we have established that it is not performance, it's just taste. Some of it is audible taste and some of it is user interface taste and some of it is just nostalgia and affective perception...

    As someone that owns vintage gear, hand-wired effects, digital effects, new gadgets, and will utilize everything that I can get my hands on to make sounds, you can be equally creative with new and old... When you combine both you can do really interesting stuff that you could never accomplish by camping out on one side.
  17. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Right on, man. In favor of new stuff, I'll cite my two most recent purchases: MXR Bass Envelope Filter and EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff. The blend knob and crossover features on the DBBM are AWESOME and it's a totally different pedal from the original BBM, a huge step up in my opinion. The MXR envelope is the same, the blend knob was the whole reason I got it and the tone is great IMO. I would love to see some GOOD reissues of a few that I've wanted for some time now (Digitech Bass Whammy and the Jet Phaser!). A Roland Jet Phaser with blend knob would be killer! :bassist:
  18. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
  19. jdwhitak


    Mar 20, 2012
    Greenwood, IN
    I agree. I think it is a psychological thing. I read a similar study where double blind listening tests of guitar amps was done. No one was able to consistently tell a difference between tube, solid state and digital modelers.

    Also, electronic components degrade over time. Something that is 40 to 60 years old isn't going to sound like it did back in the day.

    I think boutique amp and pedal builders have done a very good job of marketing a mystique surrounding these devices.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    73% of people on here were able to tell the difference between a REDDI and a VT Bass pedal set to sound the same.

    Not true. Sure, if it's never serviced for 40-60 years, stuff inside will wear out, but it all can be replaced, and if it's replaced with parts that are in spec, it would sound identical to what it did when it rolled off the assembly line.

    That much is true, but there's a mystique surrounding a lot of that stuff for good reason, and it's no wonder boutique builders try to recreate it...a lot of it was pretty darn good. Now does it matter if you only have a new recreation of it and not the real thing? Not in the least. But while I'm not necessarily a vintage hound, I'll certainly give a lot of that vintage stuff for sounding pretty great and setting standards for today's stuff.

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