Spring reverb - differing intensity on amps

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Spring reverb - differing intensity on amps

Postby cheyenne » Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:12 pm

I have a simple question that I know someone will know the answer to.

With some types of solo slide styles, (especially instrumental stuff) i'm a fan of lots of thick sustained reverb from the amp to give that haunting sound. I can't seem to have too much.
But i've noticed something that doesn't quite make sense to me, which is that some amps just don't allow anywhere near enough reverb in the mix for my tastes, or else perhaps the reverb unit itself doesn't sustain very long.

The amps i've played on seem to fall into one of two categories so far...

A large Fender Twin i'm pretty sure it was, that i've played through once, I set the reverb to 8 or 9 or so and the resulting sound was a huge mess because it was ~way~ too much. This is good though, means there's lots of room to work with and you can just dial it down.

The other sort is the sort that I've turned it midway whilst playing with a band, and notice hardly any difference to the sound and I end up maxing it out and still only *barely* getting enough. Certainly not enough for if I wanted to use it solo.
This has happened on both a mid-size Laney (very subtle and not enough sustain even on 10) and a smaller-bodied Fender tube-amp of some sort with red knobs. (A more modern one, possibly a "Super 60" from memory.)

So can someone enlighten me as to why this is the case?
Is it the physical length of the internal spring tank that's the deciding factor, or is it just very conservative settings on some factory amps and not others...
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Postby straightblues » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:35 pm

Yes the length and quality of the tank may be a factor. You can buy replacement tanks. Acutronics is the name of the biggest supplier of tanks.

If you really like reverb that much, you make want to buy a fender tube reverb tank. These are outboard reverb tanks that will give you all of the reverb you could ever want. They became very popular with the surf musicians in the 60's. I have a resissue.
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Postby ricochet » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:50 pm

Yeah, reverb tanks come with differing reverb times, and amps have different balances between the "wet" and "dry" signals. It's just part of the amp builders' philosophies about how they want their amps to sound. You have to try different amps and see what you like, and there's always the possibility of modifying an amp that you like in every other way but doesn't quite have enough reverb.
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Postby cheyenne » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:24 am

Is "tube-reverb" the same as "spring-reverb"?
That outboard unit looks quite nice but I'm not into carting around more than I need to. I like smaller amps as it is...

And if some of these weak reverb mixes just come down to the manufacturer not allowing you enough of the 'wet' signal in the circuit, then I disagree with that presumptuous philosophy entirely.
If manufacturers in the past prevented the amps from going into overdrive just because it didn't fit with their philosophy, then that nice tone would have never come about as no-one could have reached it on their dials.
I think with most products, the end-user should have full control at both ends of the spectrums, because pushing the envelope is where sonically interesting things can happen.
Plus, there's enough censorship these days in many people's lives, without feeling like you're being hindered by an amplifier.
(tv/media censorship, political correctness at workplaces, cars with so many electronic aids dulling your responses, that they have about as much charm as a washing machine to drive...)
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Postby ricochet » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:19 pm

Tube reverb only means that there are tubes in the circuitry of the reverb unit.

You can disagree all you want, but amp makers must make these philosophical choices. They have to decide what sounds good to them, and more importantly, will appeal to the most of their buyers. You can't make an amp that'll be everything to everybody, though some of the digital modelling amps are trying to do that.

And many amps have been built that won't overdrive much, if any, with just a guitar pickup driving them. And they have their own fans that think their sound just can't be beat. You can get around that by putting an overdrive pedal in front, of course.

We're blessed with a huge choice of amps to suit just about every taste, and there are lots of custom builders and modders to make you happy if you just can't be satisfied. Check out BrianP's stuff, for instance.
:D
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Postby NEONMOONY » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:58 pm

I used to have an old Silvertone Tube head amp that didn't have any effects, overdrive etc, at all. Man, I thought it was great. I didn't realize I was being censored. Now I'm pissed off!!! :x
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Postby ricochet » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:27 pm

No reason to be. You thought it was great. It was.
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Postby cheyenne » Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:52 pm

Ricochet you're right of course about manufacturers having to make decisions. But at the risk of over analysing this, I have to say, my suggestion of simply allowing the owner of the amp to turn the wet/dry ratio up with the dial, doesn't hinder the tone or change anything for the rest of the players. I'm not after digital effects, delay, overdrive or tremolo, or anything that's not already there in a simple amp.
It would still sound the same tonally, and people who don't want to use that much reverb can simply put the dial to '5' or wherever their comfort zone is.

By limiting it (if that's what's going on sometimes) then the only thing that's happening is they're slightly narrowing their market unnecessarily. Even if it's only by one in my case!

Anyway this is just a curiosity and slight dissapointment to me, that's all.
And you're right about the plethora of choices.
I'd like a small-bodied, 10-25 watt one, but with the more lush reverb as an option on the dial, and a master volume/gain control.
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Postby NEONMOONY » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:22 pm

I didn't realize I was being censored. Now I'm pissed off!!!


Hey, it's a joke Rico, it's a joke. (Wish I still had that old amp!)
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Postby ricochet » Thu Sep 14, 2006 12:08 am

Yeah, those old Silvertones are cool.

Write to the amp companies, folks! Tell 'em what you want!

And also tell 'em how cool it would be to have a user-adjustable bias setting with a built-in meter showing green, yellow and red cathode current ranges, with the adjustment limited to where an ignorant, enthusiastic knob-twister can't fry his amp by "turning it to 11." It's ridiculous to sell amps to the public that require professional service to retube and set bias.
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Postby cheyenne » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:17 am

^^^
Now that's a type of limiting I *would* support!
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