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  #1  
Old 2008-03-05, 11:19
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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Question What exactly does the gain do to the sound? (Sorry for the silly question.)

Sorry for the silly question. I searched on Google and on this forum but couldn't find the necessary info I need.
I also read my Marshall amp manual but couldn't understand exactly what it means.

I'd be grateful if someone could explain to me what the gain does to the sound, thanks.

I'm looking forward to your replies.
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  #2  
Old 2008-03-05, 17:52
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  #3  
Old 2008-03-05, 21:05
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gain controls the signal strength. it basically means volume, but it may not control the overall volume, just the volume of the signal at a certain point.

you can think about it like your voice...
low gain would be a whisper and high gain would be like yelling. when the gain is cranked you start to get more distortion ('overdrive') and compression just like if you were screaming.
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  #4  
Old 2008-03-06, 08:59
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^yup.
Volume just adds...volume, while Gain boosts the signal, making it more beefier while incidentaly also making the output more louder.

In a massive oversimplification, little gain = clean, lot's of gain = distortion.

In most amps, both volume and gain kinda depend on each other.
So you have to balance them out, say if you like the amount of distortion, but want more volume, you'd adjust both knobs instead of just one.

Youd probly adjust your tone settings too, because of how harmonics work differently on different volumes, but that is a whole different story
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  #5  
Old 2008-03-09, 14:06
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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Question

Thanks a lot for the replies all of you!

My Marshall manual says that the gain:
1) Controls the preamp level.
2) Thickens the sound (Higher means thicker and lower means thinner)
3) Has an effect on tone. Lower gain is more trebly-sounding whereas higher gain is more bassy.
4) Adds 'crunch' (This applies to the Clean channel. On the Overdrive channels perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that it adds distortion, since it's a more distorted sound than the bluesy crunch.)

Anyway, I currently use a Boss MT-2 Metal Zone pedal. I set the Clean channel gain around midway and the treble, mid and bass controls are also set around midway.
I then scoop some mids to taste on the Metal Zone.

I found I got a better sound with the Metal Zone than with the Marshall's own distortion and frankly this surprised me as I expected it to be the other way round. I use a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 401 all-tube combo by the way.

Thanks again for the replies!

P.S. I might as well add that I use an EMG 85 and 81 combo and set the pickup switch in the middle so as to use both humbuckers. I reckoned since the 81 is generally bright and the 85 is generally warm, using both would give me a heavy sound. And finally, the tone control on the guitar I set midway, too.

Last edited by Carbonized : 2008-03-09 at 14:08.
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  #6  
Old 2008-03-09, 18:55
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you could try using an overdrive pedal to get more distortion from the marshall. that amp already has a lot of gain though. here are some clips...
no boost
with boost
does yours sound like that?

but if you really do like the sound of the metalzone better, you could probably sell the marshall and get something a lot cheaper because it won't sound much different. most of the tone is coming from the pedal.

as for your pickup selection ... usually for metal, people play the rhythm on bridge and use the neck for sweet/liquidy leads, or stay on the bridge for screaming leads. so try switching to the bridge and see if you get more definition through the marshall's distortion.
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  #7  
Old 2008-03-10, 18:09
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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Hey, kleenx. Thanks for the feedback.

I checked out those samples. I think they sound great!

Thing is, I like a typical 'scooped mids' sound hehe and the Marshall just doesn't give me the exact sound. I found out that using a Metal Zone did the job.

Yeah, I guess I could sell the Marshall and get a cheaper one if I'm going to rely on the Metal Zone. But I'm sure with the Metal Zone the tubes on the amp are still used?

I tried using the 81 for rhythm. It did sound more defined, as you said but I found that I prefer the sound from the 81 and the 85 together. At least at the moment that's how I like it. Tastes can vary with time, though!

Thanks again.
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  #8  
Old 2008-03-10, 22:21
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no, you're right. it may be the marshall + metalzone specifically that gives you the perfect tone that you're looking for. there are some pros that swear by pedal. but have you tried a lot of other amps?

it's not that it's a bad pedal, it's just like some people would say you're wasting the potential of the marshall using it in that way. if you run it on clean, there are other amps that have the same tubes and tone that could do that clean slaving job for a lot cheaper.

i was just thinking that maybe you could sell the marshall and get a head that does the scooped sound better (mesa, peavey, etc), and then you'd have more to spend on other gear.

maybe go try some other heads and see if you can get a better sound than you're getting from the metalzone. then you could trade the marshall for a different head that suits your taste better?

this forum is all about weighing the options ... and it appears that you have a decent budget to work with, so you should be able to get exactly what you want!
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  #9  
Old 2008-03-11, 14:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
Hey, kleenx. Thanks for the feedback.

I checked out those samples. I think they sound great!

Thing is, I like a typical 'scooped mids' sound hehe and the Marshall just doesn't give me the exact sound. I found out that using a Metal Zone did the job.

Yeah, I guess I could sell the Marshall and get a cheaper one if I'm going to rely on the Metal Zone. But I'm sure with the Metal Zone the tubes on the amp are still used?

I tried using the 81 for rhythm. It did sound more defined, as you said but I found that I prefer the sound from the 81 and the 85 together. At least at the moment that's how I like it. Tastes can vary with time, though!

Thanks again.


Just a little question. Do you play in a band situation yet?
A metalzone + scooped mids sounds okay playing in your room by yourself, however, as soon as you get gigging/practicing with your band, you're realy going to hate that MT2.

Scooped mids also sound quite brutal by yourself, but when playing with others, it'll be a small wonder if you can actualy be heard through the mix.

Think of it this way: the baseguitar and drums already use the lower end frequencies. That means they'll either drown out your bass, or you drown out theirs. It's the mid frequencies where a guitar realy shines imo.

Sorry if you don't like getting unasked advice, but I thought this might be helpfull
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  #10  
Old 2008-03-24, 08:24
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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Thumbs up

brainsforbreakfast: No, don't worry. Actually, I'm thankful that you mentioned the mids issue. At the moment, I'm not playing with a live band. Just recording.
On records, the scooped mids sound works though, right? I mean the guitars seem to cut through the mix well enough? At least that's how I perceive it.

kleenx: No, unfortunately I haven't tried any other amps besides Marshalls! hehe. Thing is... up to a few months or even years ago, the local dealers only got Marshalls and maybe Peaveys. Now there's the whole lot. Mesa Boogies, Ampegs, etc.
I am planning to go and try different amps out in the future. In the meantime, I'll try and get the best sound I can from my Marshall.
I see your point, though. Why use a Metal Zone if you can get the same sound naturally from an amp? You just get rid of the Metal Zone and the Marshall and get a Mesa Boogie or a Peavey. I think that makes perfect sense. The all-tube sound is more authentic than the pedal transistor sound.

Thanks again all of you!
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  #11  
Old 2008-03-24, 15:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
brainsforbreakfast: No, don't worry. Actually, I'm thankful that you mentioned the mids issue. At the moment, I'm not playing with a live band. Just recording.
On records, the scooped mids sound works though, right? I mean the guitars seem to cut through the mix well enough? At least that's how I perceive it.

kleenx: No, unfortunately I haven't tried any other amps besides Marshalls! hehe. Thing is... up to a few months or even years ago, the local dealers only got Marshalls and maybe Peaveys. Now there's the whole lot. Mesa Boogies, Ampegs, etc.
I am planning to go and try different amps out in the future. In the meantime, I'll try and get the best sound I can from my Marshall.
I see your point, though. Why use a Metal Zone if you can get the same sound naturally from an amp? You just get rid of the Metal Zone and the Marshall and get a Mesa Boogie or a Peavey. I think that makes perfect sense. The all-tube sound is more authentic than the pedal transistor sound.

Thanks again all of you!

You can get a good sound out of a marshall.

The only time being unable to be heard in a live situation with cut mids is if you cut them alot, (not to mention it depends on how the eq is set up on the amp as to how much is actually cut by turning the knob).

It is often the case that at least keeping the mid at 12 and raising the highs to something like 3 oclock is neccisary to keep a guitar in the mix. But cutting the mid a little isn't going to kill you.

It should always be kept in mind whose struggling to get what frequencies because too much of one area of frequency by too many instruments definitely has the drowning effect.
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  #12  
Old 2008-03-28, 18:05
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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That's right. It depends _how much_ the mids are cut. I read somewhere that 'dead panning' is theoretically wrong, unless one desires a very extreme effect.

Thanks!

Does anybody know about the Marshall JCM 800? It's a legendary model from what I read. Has it only got one gain channel, though? In that case, I assume it would be good for a Rock sound but for Metal?
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  #13  
Old 2008-03-28, 20:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
Does anybody know about the Marshall JCM 800? It's a legendary model from what I read. Has it only got one gain channel, though? In that case, I assume it would be good for a Rock sound but for Metal?


Sure, Chuck Schuldinger even used one I think.

It's not a super-high gain amp, but using a boost or high-output pickups is a surefire way to go.
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  #14  
Old 2008-03-29, 04:16
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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brainsforbreakfast: Thanks. Peavey amps are known to have more gain than Marshall amps, right?
Kerry King used to use a Marshall JCM 800. But I assume he used to use pedals. Now he's got his own signature model. I wonder how that sounds...
I personally would prefer not to use any pedals and just have a good tube amp with lots of gain.
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  #15  
Old 2008-03-29, 04:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonized
brainsforbreakfast: Thanks. Peavey amps are known to have more gain than Marshall amps, right?
Kerry King used to use a Marshall JCM 800. But I assume he used to use pedals. Now he's got his own signature model. I wonder how that sounds...
I personally would prefer not to use any pedals and just have a good tube amp with lots of gain.


Well, you might want to use some kind of EQing with it, Marshall's tone controls are notoriously unresponsive and mid heavy.

Otherwise, you should be fine. The JCM800 is a classic amp that stands the test of time
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  #16  
Old 2008-03-29, 10:38
Carbonized Carbonized is offline
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Wink

Yeah, I experienced that! The tone controls on my Marshall don't seem to respond well and even when one pulls back the mid control, the sound is still mid-heavy.

I'll have to try Mesa-Boogie and Peavey amps!
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  #17  
Old 2008-04-08, 17:43
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Try a Peavey 6505 (or used 5150). They have plenty of gain, and 2 channels. The clean/rhythm channel has a crunch switch which can make it dirtier, and so it can do anything from rock to death metal with ease. I play thrash and death and my lead channel preamp sits on 6 and its very saturated.

The clean is notoriously not-clean though, but I find my 5150 is passable with the preamp gain on 1 and if that's still too much gain, you can always roll the volume off on your guitar. A bit of extra EQing wouldn't hurt either.

Another one to try is the Engl Powerball (If that's the 60w one).
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  #18  
Old 2008-04-09, 04:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathmaster213
Another one to try is the Engl Powerball (If that's the 60w one).


nah, that's the fireball. The powerball is the 100 watt stack, I think.
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  #19  
Old 2008-04-11, 15:58
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Kerry King used a JCM800 but it was also heavily modded so he could get those tones and amounts of gain.
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  #20  
Old 2008-04-12, 07:11
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A tube screamer would work as well either.
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