Amps

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Transcript

Okay, so up to this point, we have a teeny tiny little AC signal coming right out of here. And it's just a ton of electrons moving back and forth. In an analogue to the vibration of the strings add job is to take that signal and reverse what the pickup did, and change electrons moving back and forth in an AC or alternating current, and make that move the cone of a speaker to give us sound. Now you can plug your guitar into a speaker but nothing much will happen. It needs to be amplified. And the history of the guitar amp closely follows the electric guitar for obvious reasons.

An electric guitar without an app is kind of like a kind of like a movie without a projector. The relationship is so tight that back in the 30s give some first electric guitar that is 150 came with a matching amplifier and sold for a big price of 150 bucks. Probably a lot manufac now, the job of ads back in the early days was just to simply amplify the sound cleanly to bring the sound of the guitar up to the level of all the other instruments distortion was really something to be avoided at all costs. But something started happening when players ran their amps at high level and they started getting a nice breakup of the signal, which we all now know are those call harmonics that happen when you overdrive, an app, particularly tube amps. So generally speaking, we have two main types of amps, tube amps, and then later transistor amps.

An amp consists of a preamp and a power app along with tone controls, and perhaps effect loops and such but for the moment, let's just look at the straight application stages of an app and We'll start off with a tube amp now here's a homemade tube amp called the lamington. It's a design that my brother grout wills has put together with his business valve heaven in the beautiful abrasca Valley one growing regions absolutely gorgeous down there in Australia. Now one thing to note is that the Americans call these things here, tubes. and elsewhere in the world. They're known as valves. Hence my brother's business is called valve valve heaven.

He actually runs app schools where he gets together five or 10 folks, and walks them through how to build this little app with just off the shelf pass, and it's a great sounding app. Now you might wonder why is it called a lamington? Well, this baking tray it's a baking tray here. You know, it's used to bake lamington as a basis as chocolate and coconut covered sponge cake down Australia. If You're in the States. And then maybe you call this a brownie tray.

Because especially if it's a baking tray here, whatever you call it, it is a great introduction to what an app does. Let's take a closer look at this one. I can't believe I made this. I never made anything like this malarkey, but I made this. So what do vacuum tubes or valves do? Well, they're comprised of a few different parts inside.

The first one is the heater and the heaters job is just to throw off a bunch of electrons. Now it does this in a vacuum, in the same reason that you have a vacuum inside your incandescent bulbs, if there was any oxygen inside that that tiny filament would just burn up. So within a vacuum, there's no oxygen in there, and that allows the stock not to burn up. So the heater throws off electrons. On the other side of that we have a plate whose job is to collect those electrons, but in between, we have a grid and a grids job is to vary the electron flow and kind of model Light, the blockage between the heater and the plates are very good at that those flow of electrons. Now this is what it looks like on a circuit diagram, you might have seen a circuit diagram like this, in this case, we have three valves and the circuit diagram.

And a cord is zero in on that a symbol of a vacuum tube, we have a heater, we have a place and we have our grid in the middle. So let's zero in on that with those three parts there, the heater grid and the plate. And as I said before, the heaters job is just a trough and electric throw off lots of electrons. And if there were no grid there, then all of them would just flow straight to the plate. But there is a grid there and a grids job is to vary that flow between the heater and the plate. So that's kind of in in the middle, the net will resist some of those that electron flow that current.

So if we'll look at that grid What could we send into that grid to modulate an open and close that? Well, we can send in a weak AC signal. What do you know that produces a really weak a signal, AC signal back and forth? waveform, what do you know? Absolutely pick up the pick up a new guitar, if it's connected to a grid will allow you to vary the amount of those electrons that move from the heater to the plate. So your pickup is basically open and closing that variable resistance between the here and the plate.

And what do we get out of that? Well, we get a stronger AC signal that's coming off of the plate. Now here's something very worthwhile kind of understanding this stronger AC signal is not an amplified weak AC signal. In fact, the weak AC signal is just simply modulating the amount of electrons that are flowing from the heater Screw to the plate. So you kind of get that idea that stronger AC signal is just an analogy of that weak AC signal. But here's my analogy that might be able to make a bit more sense.

Imagine I'm using this forces, and I'm moving this letter back and forth. I'm not generating any water pressure, I'm just modulating that quarter pressure. You can think of this area down the bottom here is the heater. Here's that place. And the lever adjusting the water flow is the grid. Now similar to how turn roll up works on a guitar, the internal electronics view guitar rolling off those high frequencies basically shunting them to ground using a simple capacitor.

Amps can do the same thing but instead of doing it just your top end, they can do it to tops and middles and bottoms. And you know, there's various other bands well, but in a typical you know, simple guitar and you might have a three Read banned passive tone stack like this we call stacks because everything's kind of stacked on top of each other as you can see in the diagram. So, all this is basically comes straight off basic electronics theories is built a theory if you go down basic electronics, you will have seen something like this, where you have a capacitor followed by a resistor, that gives you a high pass filter. In other words, it rolls off the low frequencies rolls off your backs. The opposite of that is a resistor followed by a capacitor that will build you a low pass filter. In other words, the low frequencies will pass but the high frequencies will roll off there.

Okay, so let's have a look at an equation that might freak you out a little bit. Take a deep breath, okay. This is how we calculate what the, the cutoff frequency is for any filter. Don't worry about you know, all the stuff that's basically the filter cutoff equals one over two pi The values of your resistor and capacitor, but let's just look at just a couple of things here. Basically your cutoff frequency as that goes up, in other words, look at our high pass filter, and that goes up, it's moved to the right on the low pass filter, it's moved to the right as well, if your filter cutoff frequency goes up, it's gonna be because your AR and your C values have gone down. Okay, don't worry about the rest of the equation.

Let's just look here, which is the cutoff frequency and your values of your resistor and your capacitor. Okay? So nothing else is gonna change in that equation. One's always gonna be one two's always gonna be two PI's always gonna be pi. But these two other variables right here, we One could say the frequency cutoff. And the resistor and Kat values are inversely proportional.

In other words, one goes up, the other one goes down or the one goes up, no one goes down and they just go back and forth. As You make adjustments, it will change what is happening on the other side. So let's see an example of this. This is a great little program. I know you've ever seen this 10 step calculator, you can find a Duncan amps comm slash TSC. And what it does, it shows you the frequency response of all these different type of time stack circuits.

But then, and you can go from tab to tab between the Marshall Fender box and some other circuits as well. But the crazy thing about this is you can punch in values for these resistors and caps. And as you make those changes, the frequency response will be plotted on the right hand side and you can see all of those cutoff points all being updated in real time. Let's see this in in action. So I have three basic tone stacks your fender your Marshal your box, the fenders in white, the marshals in green And the box is in red, you can see the fender and box a pretty similar the boxes frequency response, it just kind of transpose to the right a little bit. The Marshall is quite different.

And but one thing to notice about the Marshall, it's a lot harder, right? Okay, so let's A B, just the fender and the Marshall circuit. And here they are, right here and what is in the fender circuit, and the Marshall circuit is at top end, a treble. Here's our low end or bass, and then anything else is left, and that is the mid down here. So let's go ahead and look at the fender circuit, as opposed to the Marshall circuit. And you can see, by the way, I mean the circuits are basically exactly the same.

The only thing that's changed really is some of the values of the capacitors and resistors. And as we've learned, as those values change, the cutoff point adapted Part of the circuit will either move left or move left or right, right, a lot of go up or down. I'm talking in this case, a high pass filter we're talking about just that little cutoff point. Where is that going to go? Well, let's start off over on the fender side. First thing to think of is this resistors 100 K. This one is 33 k on the Marshall Silas so that's much smaller on the Marshall side.

Let's look at the capacitor over on the fender side 100 nano ferrets versus 22 narrow Nana ferrets. So in both cases on the Marshall, those values have gone down and what did we learn remember, as the resistor and cap values go down, the frequency cutoff will go up. So the Marshall side is lower than the tender side in terms of its resistant cap values. What do you think the frequency cutoff would be on the martial Do you think it'd be higher or lower? Right? The resistor and kept values have gone down.

I'm thinking that the frequency cutoff for the low band on the Marshall is going to be to the right of the fender and let's see that, okay, there's a cutoff frequency. Let's check it out. Ah, look at that. There is the cutoff point for the low frequency and that is much higher than the fender ban. Everything we learned in terms of the relationship between your resistor and cap values and the cutoff frequencies. You can see why the the frequency response of the Marshall and the fender are a little bit different.

But there's another thing about the Marshall Why the heck is it so much louder? Why does it have so much gain? Well, this has a lot to do with impedance to ground. So what we can do is we can look at the impedance on the fender side and add them all up and see what we have. So we've got 250 k there. Now the 250 K is 500, K, and 10.

So that's 510 or point five one, make mega ohms total. On the right hand side, we have 220 K, that's about the same as the fender. But boy, we got one mega arm over here, and then 25 K, which is quite a lot more than the fender circuit. So if we add all that up, that's 1.245 mega ohms. That's about two and a quarter more resistance to ground. So in other words, the martial has less leak through its tone stacks, which will give you a much, much more gain because there's there's a higher impedance to ground in the martial.

So now we know how tubes work. let's actually look at the lamington schematic that I made from Valve heaven. I'm not going to get into all the capacity resistor values right now we're just basically going to be looking at basic signal flow we have an input going straight in its job is to control that grid, which in turn, modulates and controls the amount of electron flow coming off of the heater into the plate. And then that gets passed on through to the second two. Now it's worth mentioning the first two tubes in this diagram actually part of a dual Triaud. Two, there's basically two tube circuits within one actual tube enclosure.

And then of course, that gets bumped up, it goes through a time stack and then gets placed onto the third gain stage. Remember, the tone stack is where we adjust at bass and treble. So once it's gone through there, you can see that the signal just gets bumped up every at every stage it goes through. And once it's gone through all of the preamp circuitry which is up on the top hand side The schematic It then goes down to an output stage or a power amp. And the job of this tube circuit right here is to split the phase of the signal so that we have basically two versions of that signal going through. And because they're out of phase with each other, they can work together in a push pull arrangement.

To then drive your speakers. It's not unlike the two guys pushing and pulling on a sore it is a much more efficient use of the output of the power app. Now won't get into any detail demonstrations of how I put this together. But basically, with all the instructions that came from Valve Heaven, I just used the drill guides to be able to place the holes and just punch into that baking tray. So then I could draw holes very, very easily. And then using a step a bit.

Oh, it'll allow me to play some of those larger holes with it. absolute precision in terms of the diameter to put things like the valve sockets, the parts, the switches and so on. Then just by following the schematic and also the detailed instructions which go line by line, connect this to connect that, make sure that your diodes are in the right way and all that kind of stuff. I've never done any of this stuff before. But by just following that instructions, I end up having a finished app. And this is what it sounds like.

So it's not imperative to know every nook and cranny of Amazon's use apps you can just plug them in and play. But it is really interesting how these times came to be with an app. So all early apps were to base as well as all the other applications of tubes. Since john Ambrose Fleming invented these little suckers. Back in 1904, though we use in radio, TV communications, even in early computers, but the best little quirk these little guys here is what happens when you overdrive them. Once you start squaring the waveform off, it starts to throw off all sorts of yummy little overtones, and predominantly the even order harmonics, which we've also learned before, they're much more pleasing to the ear because they tend to fall in the musical scale in a pleasing way.

Now we'll look at distortion and overdrive in detail as unplaced within the effects section of the course. But for now, just know this, that for the most part, you know, there is not hype here. tubes generally do distort a little bit better than transistors that they're catching up, but they distort better, but you might be asking better than what well it's transistors. Leave it to the moment Americans to make something smaller, cheaper and more durable. And that's what a few Americans physicists did back in 1947. In creating the semiconductor that did basically what a tube did.

So all the applications that use tubes could now replace those tubes with transistors and have a much smaller footprint, use much less power and will less fragile than your than animalia tubes that are that we're using. It was such a breakthrough that Breton Shockley and Bardeen received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1956 for their work at at Bell Labs. Now, this was awesome for guitar app makers because they could make a more reliable apps that could be you know, maybe drops without worrying about damaging these little tubes right here. And folks started overdriving their transistors and you know, they started getting distortion, but the resulting sound just wasn't quite as pleasing, we'll see the reasons in the distortion overdrive part of the effects section coming up soon. Now, so what we've learned, for the most part transistors, they're amazing breakthrough in the world paving the way for integrated circuits or ICS.

They can have millions of transistors now on a single chip, you can't do that with ours, right? But guitarists kept on coming back to these vintage amps. And you know why you can say there's something to be said, For nostalgia, you know, of old gear. A lot of people are kind of into that in this arena. There's a lot of truth behind it. tube amps generally sound better.

So let's look at the various stages of overdrive there can be there can be a lot of gain stages where you can introduce distortion, but we'll look at kind of the big three here. We'll start off with our guitar signal as we said before, It's a very weak AC signal, that'll go over to our preamp section. And its job is to just bump that up a little bit. And then that gets passed over to the output or the power amp stage, which bumps it up even more, so much so that you can drive a speaker out of that. So it's basically a clean signal and clean signal through the preamp, and the power app and we have a clean sound coming out of the out of the app. But what if we were to crank up the preamp?

If we were to do that, then what we start doing is squaring off that wave and that won't be a complete square wave. But you kind of get the idea from these graphics here. Once you start squaring off the that waveform then it starts to throwing up a lot of those very cool distortion those those overtones that we've learned about just a moment ago, and then that gets sent over to the power app, which just gives you a louder version of that distorted guitar. It would attack that preamp and bring it back down that would clean up and that would clean up on the power amp stage. Well, if you wanted to, if you could just leave the preamp the way it is, but crank up your power amp, you'll get a different kind of distortion. It's kind of hard to describe, you know, people using words of yours more crunchy, or you know, there's so many different ways to describe this.

But just try that. Try to listen to the sound of your power app. Being over driven versus your preamp. The big difference is that when you get to the store in your power app, it's going to be loud, right, you can distort your preamp and turn your parent down for a different kind of sound. And of course, if we were to then start introducing something before the app, then you can get another stage of distortion. So let's put something in between the guitar and the app and that's going to be his overdrive pedal.

So we're going to have just a straight, very weak AC signal, the overdrive just kind of gooses that up a little bit enough to overdrive the preamp without even cranking up the preamp, and then that version gets sent over to the power amps. And for that to be be a lot louder. If we were to take out that overdrive, then you know what would happen is it would clean up the signal and the preamp and then the power amp. So the job of the overdrive is just to goose. There's a lot of people use a different tweak or whatever you want to call it, but just kind of give a little juice to the preamp enough that it's overdrive a little bit more. Alright, so for our demonstration today with running pedals and everything that we plan on doing here, I think it's a worthy to mention what we're going to be using.

So we have, I just want to talk about just some of the main stuff so we have some old Fender amplifiers here today. The lower wattage ones like the deluxe reverbs that I have in here I have a 62 and I have a 65. That's a 66 to configure on the output side, the front end is x Evans and then they both use a gZ 34 rectifier tube. And then when you get into the higher wattage fenders my Pro is a 65 Pro X 62 basement over here a 64 by merlocks that would all be a six l six tube configuration on the output. Also using the GZ 34 rectifier and front tube slot on these as either 87 or x seven on all the fenders box that this is a 65 box ac 30 in it obviously runs off of El 80 fours standard front end on the box there and and then we're just going to be using this as 79 Marshall, it this 79 Marshall actually has 6550s in it your Marshall might have l 30 fours but those are the standard two configurations on the most general sense of speaking and, you know just for what we're going to be listening to today and talking about how they're affecting the front end The front end of the you know, the first tube slot and things like that how we're going to use apply boost against it, how we're going to apply gain against it, how we can drive these output tubes so that they can have some saturation, how those output tubes can finally push to the speaker causing some speaker overdrive and, and things of that nature.

So anyway, in the most general sense, we're talking about tube configurations of Fender, Vox, and Marshall. Okay, we're going to illustrate how preamp sections work and amplifiers and how you can overdrive them. And the the most important thing for us to think about in the beginning here is we have nothing turned on driving the front end of this amplifier. And we have the pickup to the cable to the input basically. So at that point, you're only reliant upon the pickups output to be driving that input which is Most scenarios, if you don't have like a real hot active pickup, it's not going to drive it very much. So if you're into people like Stevie Ray Vaughan and players of that nature, we all know that they turn their amplifiers up incredibly loud to get them to break up.

And that's a different style of breakup. That's natural amplifier breakup. So we're still only reliant upon just the pickup, hitting the front end of the preamp, so it it's not going to break up. Let me give you an example of what that would sound like. So as you can tell, it's not breaking the amp up at Harley at all. There is just a little bit of grain in there, which is beautiful, but it's not the same kind of drive that we're going to be experiencing as we start adding pedals to the front end of the amplifier.

So the topic right now is, this is non master volume amplifier. So this is a 1965 Pro Reverb, and so they didn't have master volumes then so that's why people like Stevie Ray Vaughn turn their old Fender Super Reverb way up until they started breaking up. And that breakup is caused from the back end. Okay, so this is 66 tubes and a 212 speaker cabinet. So as you turn that guy up, now it starts getting natural overdrive on the output section of the amplifier. And then as the output of that amplifier goes up, then it starts causing speaker break up as well.

Speaker break up in a good in a good way, not the kind of some people would consider called cone cry, where it gets that on Audible as picky thing going on their natural speaker breakup is a pleasant thing. It's not a bad thing. However, comb cry can come into play in there, but we're just talking about overdrive at this point. So What we're going to do is we're not going to turn this amplifier up, because we'll blow the whole entire room out here that we're trying to fill them in with its volume trying to achieve that kind of breakup. And that's why people started making these pedals and stuff like this so that they can get that breakup going on before they get into that output section, you know, so that way you're, you're using your amp at overdrive at a Bible level of wherever you're at your church, you know, your live gig, your recording studio, whatever have you.

And then so what we're going to do is we're slowly going to, we're going to jump over to this Deluxe app, the brown one, and then it is a lower wattage amplifier. And we're going to show you the differences on playing something that's not over driven on on the backside because we can't turn it up that loud and then actually turning it up loud enough to get that break up. So we'll be back in a second and we'll have that that brown paste Deluxe up. I'm going to so right now I'm going to give you one more sample of my guitar and in this clean so you can have a sample of that and then in the next shot, you will get to be able to compare that with that brown face. Okay, so here you go one more time. Okay, so we're back.

Now we've got the brown face Deluxe 262 Brown face Deluxe. And what I've done is I've ran a longer speaker cable out of the back of the amp, and then plug it into the 212 speakers here on this Pro, which is a really cool little trick is, by the way, like running your your Princeton or something like that through a 412 cabinet as long as you're keeping your ohms correct. It's a really, really cool little trick to for recording, by the way, but anyway, so I'm plugged into the normal channel, I've got the volume up on five, I still only have just the pickup going through the cable straight to the input. So there's no pedals causing any drive before the amplifier. We're hearing pure Natural amplifier overdrive of the output section of this amplifier. So here's the difference.

If you were to AB it from earlier, on the Pro Reverb, we were at similar volume. And we had no breakup because we didn't have the AMP turned up loud enough, that's a 15 watt amplifier, and it's not bone crushing loud by no means. And this is natural amp overdrive. So you can hear that that's one of those creamy sounds that you hear. Like, you know, when Stevie and all those cool guitar players turn their amps up so loud that they could barely even play in Carnegie Hall without blowing the whole place out, which is kind of cool in my opinion, but you can get that to happen. So that's the difference.

On non master volume amplifiers, we're not using a preamp On our master volume, like on an AMP like this to start causing distortion that's purely output section and hopefully a little bit of speaker drive breakup as well you get speaker drive, you get output section, overdrive. So that's purely what that sound is. Okay, so now we're over to a master volume amplifiers, we just got done discussing the non master volumes and showing natural amp breakup. And those are the ones you got to turn up to a bone crushing volume to get to break up. So now we're into a 1979 Marshall that has a master volume in it. And so right now I'm going to show this at a lower gain, then we'll do medium gain, and then we'll turn it all the way up to 10 on the preamp and show you what how much gain the amplifier can actually do.

And as we as we do this, we're going to slowly bring the master volume down so that we don't change the volume in the room and that's the whole point of the master volume amplifier versus the non masters were able to continue to drive up the preamp section on it and then turn The output section down so that we're still at a reasonable volume. So this is the amplifier sound. Once again, just cable straight into the front end. No overdrive pedals on the front. We're only relying on the pickup to get to the amplifier and that's it. So, this is the lower gain setting up the 1979, JMP.

Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm basically going to flop these knobs now. So right now, I have the preamps set to three and a half. And I've got the master volume set to six and a half. So I've already kind of pre mapped this out. So I know that if I switch them the opposite. I'm going to have unity gain, but I'm going to have more distortion now or overdrive.

Okay, we're gonna dive it out. Now we'll turn the preamp all the way up to 10. A little bit less on the makeup game. Okay, so right now you can hear that the amplifier isn't any louder. We just have we got the preamp turned up to 10 and we're just getting as much out of the preamp that we can possibly get out of a x seven distortion with the in the amp. I'll give you another audio sample here with the same part played so you can actually hear that and Okay, so that's Are master volume, older martial, so we weren't really trying to at that stage of when people were writing and making music that's about as heavy as what amplifiers were.

So now we're going to graduate into a more modern tone stack and so we back in a second. Okay, so now we've graduated over to a more modern tone stack of a master volume amplifier. I've got this angle here, and I'm going to give you just a couple varieties of pushing its preamp section into drive mode, basically, in getting our distortion out of this amplifier via only using tubes. Once again, plugged straight. It's going through my pedal board, but nothing's turned on, right straight to the input. Okay, so this is kind of picking up where this one leaves off and you can kind of almost hear how that happens in music throughout the years to you know, the 79 amplifier, if we had it all the way pegged, we had it dialed out when we left off.

So here we are, this is at a pretty low gain level for this modern tone stack. Okay, so like the marshal sample, we're going to go ahead and do our makeup volume as we go. So here we go. I'm going to turn up the preamp. That's gonna make the AMP louder. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to find my spot and bring the main the master volume down to meet the room level or get a little bit here, okay.

Okay, so we're back in that we have unity Gain going on again and here's a sample of it at a for this amplifier is still considered kind of mid level gain for the preamp. Okay, so we're we're gonna go ahead and peg this baby up there too and get as much gain out of the app as we can possibly stand. Okay, here we go. Alright, so that puppy gets pretty high gain. So that's your modern gain bag, basically more of a modern kind of sounding tone stack. So that's what we did wrap it up here we went a non master volume to where we can't control the volume and a little bit older tone stack to where it maxes out at about almost that areas of music and only Europe in the 80s.

And people were still using these massive volume JCM, eight hundreds and whatnot. And then as time progressed, then we started getting the more modern tone stack. And these cater well to seven string guitars and things like that as to wear this kind of head is not really the same kind of tone stack that fits that criteria of more modern, heavier music. So anyway, there there's a really good overview of how gain staging works and kind of how it's worked through the errors of the decades of music as well. Okay, so now we're going to take our modern tone stack sounding head that we have here, it happens to have three individual channels. So we can illustrate how to set up you know, a clean a mid game in a dirty, but if you were to step back and you were going to be the one that was doing this prayer song, and you might want to look at from the perspective of, Okay, so this channel one is going to be our non master volume sound.

Alright, and then maybe we can have like that amplifier over driven sound like we had gotten from the fender Deluxe by just using natural drive. And then also then we can finally jump over to our high gain side. Okay, so So maybe your song had something where this was on the top. Alright, so then maybe the chorus parts. He's lines a great application for that sound. Then maybe when you get to the bridge, or maybe you're solo and you're the rhythm guitar player on the solo and you're going to go to your rear pickup now because the song changes a little bit on bridges and whatnot on arrangements.

We can pop over to this high gain side So there you go, simple three channel setup. Obviously, you can do that in any of the degrees that you deem fit for your song or your band or your artist gig or however the the commercial sense of what you might be working in. But, but that's a good way to think about that too. You know, if you want to be really broad with how what you're doing, you can get that non master volume kind of sound, you can get that semi amp driven sound, and then you can get the bone crushing metal sound, if that's what you need. You could also dial that back and that could just be your solo tone to your mid game that we had illustrated. So it's all artistic from that point on.

But that's just a simple illustration of a three channels set up on an amplifier that indeed has three channels to set up.

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