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Amp and Pedal Reviews

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So here is a pet peeve - 

Why do I always have to look up ten different reviews to find out what an amp does clean, moderate gain, and high gain?  Now, amateur reviews, I don't expect someone to get outside of their wheelhouse, and that is fine.  But reviews from a lot of magazines and gear sites drive me nuts.  Maybe it is the metal-loving teen that still lives within, but they these reviews more often than not stop at "tasty"  on the ole gainometer. 

OK great, but that gain knob does go a little further, and some of us might actually *gasp* want more distortion than a 70s Kiss album.  

So then you end up in amateur metal-guy land, and some of these are pretty good.  But for some reason, if they aren't just using their camera phone for the mic, they are probably running something in front.  I mean, I'm sure that Mesa Mark IV just wasn't teh br00tlz without pushing it with that tube screamer or (dear god) a Boss Metal Zone, but it would be cool to just hear the amp.  Additionally,  somewhere that Metallica, Justice-era clean sound just got in the DNA in metal-guy land, so good luck finding anyone who actually fools around with that side of things beyond making it sound like a lifeless icepick shoved through your ears. 

But at the end of the day, I fault these guys less. They're just having fun and trying to post some sounds up, and I imagine most of them are younger and just excited to share what they have and do.  But the professional reviewers...  This probably projection on my part, but I feel like not really cranking the gain for a portion of the review is the other side of the cork-sniffer coin.  Since only barbarians would ever play with more gain than Robben Ford, let us not sully our ears with such noise! 

Anyway, I'm probably being a dick, but jeez. 

I do love this guy though, and that 2210 kills. 
 

 

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If it's just a kid posting something, I don't worry about it.  But, if it's someone with a produced channel, and they're hawking themselves and making money on the channel, then I think they should do it like Anderton's does:  Mic the amp and in post, mute the room sound.  I personally hate hearing the strings clinking while someone is supposed to be demo'ing an amp or other piece of gear.  I agree about the amp, if it's the amp we're supposed to hear, only add effects if they're built in the amp. 

Likewise, if you're demo'ing an amp modeler/multi-effects unit, let us hear the direct sound as well as plugged into an amp.  

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I like Zenmindbeginner's demos precisely because they are well-conceived and expertly produced. His playing is quite sharp, as well. He also varies the amounts of gain to show exactly what the pickup (and guitar) can do.

I must admit that I'm partly amused/annoyed by otherwise crisply rendered pedal demos (especially the ones for overdrives or boosts) where the player strikes a few chords of a base/clean tone before engaging the pedal....and it sounds like a Gorilla practice amp with the volume on 2.   It's even more striking when the demo player is (as is usually the case) playing a nice tube-driven half stack miked with a nice Sennheiser or AKG.  The effects usually sound good, but the weak base tones are enigmas to me.

Edited by Biz Prof
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4 hours ago, Biz Prof said:

I must admit that I'm partly amused/annoyed by otherwise crisply rendered pedal demos (especially the ones for overdrives or boosts) where the player strikes a few chords of a base/clean tone before engaging the pedal....and it sounds like a Gorilla practice amp with the volume on 2.   It's even more striking when the demo player is (as is usually the case) playing a nice tube-driven half stack miked with a nice Sennheiser or AKG.  The effects usually sound good, but the weak base tones are enigmas to me.

I know of at least one case where the reviewer (a pro type) says that the key to a good sound from the pedal is to set the amp up to a weak base tone.  Discussion starts at 8:24, and he says "plain vanilla clean tone" and even "your clean tone should kind of suck" at about 15:35.

 

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I wish I could find the one I watched yesterday.  Great video production values - multicamera and all that. 

And they didn't mic the guitar amp... they used the camera mic.  PLUS it was difficult to hear the amp over the acoustic ring of the strings.  It was cringe inducing.  The comments were such a bloodbath that I actually felt bad for the video's creator. 

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7 hours ago, Biz Prof said:

I like Zenmindbeginner's demos precisely because they are well-conceived and expertly produced. His playing is quite sharp, as well. He also varies the amounts of gain to show exactly what the pickup (and guitar) can do.

Agreed.  Can't wait for his new demos!

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I love the 2210. It`s a 2203 on roids. Ya, clipping diodes but oh so awesome!! I believe the JCM 900 MKIII is the same as a 2210.

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I hate hearing someone talk more than playing.  I can read, so throw in some captions.  Sweetwater has some demo videos that have more talking than playing.  No audience cares about technical specs, just whether or not the band sounds good.  The same is true for trying out an amp.  I want to hear it, not talk about it.  Andy at the now-defunct Pro Guitar Shop understood that it was important to get to the point right away in a demo. 

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3 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

I hate hearing someone talk more than playing.  I can read, so throw in some captions.  Sweetwater has some demo videos that have more talking than playing.  No audience cares about technical specs, just whether or not the band sounds good.  The same is true for trying out an amp.  I want to hear it, not talk about it.  Andy at the now-defunct Pro Guitar Shop understood that it was important to get to the point right away in a demo. 

I usually like the Sweetwater videos.  To me, yeah, some of them talk too much, but mostly, they show you a lot of the features, while demoing tones and variety.   

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My own pet peeve is so many demos where the gain side of the amp(s) featured is the main focus.  Granted, many who are contemplating buying the amp want to hear what it can really do, but others (as myself) who appreciate that style of playing are just as interested in the cleaner side of the amp.  I tend to do way more than 50% of my playing using cleaner tones.

Withinin the past two years I purchased two Orange amps known for their high gain value as an amp. First was an Orange Micro Dark and later, the Dark Terror.  Only a very very few of the demo videos showed the cleaner side of both amps.  I had a hunch before I bought each one, that there might just be a very good clean side to these two amps.  When I finally took delivery of each, my suspicions were confirmed.  It was not difficult to find a clean or "clean" tone in each.  Of course each amp has several versions of the "Orange clean".  It was up to me to search them out.

My point is that videos online can be of some help, but unless you can preview the amp before purchase, (and I could not); sometimes one has to go with a hunch that the amp will do more than just the higher gain tones.

 

Studioplayer 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Studioplayer said:

M

.  I had a hunch before I bought each one, that there might just be a very good clean side to these two amps.  When I finally took delivery of each, my suspicions were confirmed.  It was not difficult to find a clean or "clean" tone in each.  Of course each amp has several versions of the "Orange clean".  It was up to me to search them out.

 

Studioplayer 

 

 

 

I tried the stereo rocker out, and the cleans were unbelievable... one knob... but I couldn't see myself with the dirty channel.

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