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MK II pickups, harsh bright and brittle?
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Guitar God

Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 325

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thefairway wrote:
High end doesn't have to mean expensive in this case. I've got a two-PC setup, PC1 is my audio PC with the Delta 44, PC 2 has a SOundblaster PLatinum with the Live Drive (six years old now!) and I can get GR2 to work with both. Providing you find decent drivers from the Soundblaster, it will run decently. From memory, I think the 1/4 inch socket on the Soundblaster is unbalanced. Soundblasters aren't useless, the like of Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet have released albums made with just a PC and a Soundblaster so you can get very good results out of it. However, for very intense applications, and GR2 certainly falls into that category, I find it a little inflexible. The fixed sample rate is also a pain in the arse.

I'd wholeheartedly recommend the Delta 44 card for ease of use, ease of installation and absolutely no problems configuring it with my software. I bought it secondhand from a guy in the UK when I was living in Toronto. It's been in and out of three different PCs now, flown over 12,000 miles and still doesn't muck up. You should be able to pick one up new for about 100 quid. I prefer PCI cards to USB ones, something about USB worries me with audio.

What tube pre are you thinking of going for? After reading the Guitarist review of the new Matamp First Lady, I really want one of those now! Where's a free 600 quid when you need it?!?


yeah Andy i use the asio4all driver for my guitar rig 2 and i get real good latency with that driver with my soundblaster... but u are right i hear a lot of good things about those delta soundcards.......
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Guitar God

Joined: 30 Jul 2003
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yannis, I'm happy to help if I can.

I'll give you a bit of background regarding my amp history so hopefully you can get an idea of my tastes in tones. I've always loved the classic Marshall crunch and drive and my formative years were spent using a 12 watt solid-state Marshall combo (with reverb!). That amp found its way onto many of my recordings (even as a processor for vocals and keyboards...well, it worked, so who's counting..?). The drive especially was good.

From the 1990s until last year, I had Fender combos in form or another; great clean sound, as you'd expect, but that was about it. The last Fender I had was a Deluxe Reverb reissue, which is a classically beautiful amp but I was beginning to get fed up with not getting a decent drive from it. I appreciate that Fenders aren't necessarily considered the obvious choice for driven sounds but frequently I'd read something like "ah, just stick a TubeScreamer in front of it and you'll be well away." Trouble is, I'd had a TubeScreamer for years and after ten minutes of initial pleasure, my ears would adjust and I'd realise that actually it didn't sound so great with the Fender after all. Also, the DR did not suit humbucker guitars, or at least not in the way I like.

I began a quest for an amp that would deliver what I had in my head as 'the classic Marshall sound'. One might expect the obvious solution to be a Marshall. However, after a great deal of research, it became evident that Marshalls don't tend to sound like I want them to! Especially not the latest DSL and TSL series. Unfortunately, the JCM800s of legend only tend to deliver in specific circumstances and the clean channel isn't that great..."Hey, it's a Marshall!" I hear you say..."What do you expect?!"

I took my guitars to many shops to try many amps. I even waited for the Traynor YCV50 to arrive in the UK, famed as it is on many forums for its "Fender cleans and Marshall drive" combination. Well, EL34s... the specs had potential! And I was tempted.

However, a Laney TT50 I'd heard in passing at another shop kept sneaking into my thoughts. I went back and they demonsrated it for me; in so doing, I noticed that it never sounded bad. Normally, you fiddle with an amp to try and get a few good sounds...your desired clean, your preferred overdrive, this journey, you generally find you're not enamoured with some of the tones en route (Boogies are notorious for this..."all the tones are there, you've just got to find them!", my Boogie-owning friend was told on many occasions as his heavy and angry-looking box on wheels continued to produce harsh and gritty noises). The TT went through all manner of cleans - warm, Voxy tones to bright Fenderish ones - before the second channel was selected. Smooth, warm crunch...increase the drive, yes, kept on delivering. The third 'lead' channel...well, it was pretty similar to channel two until the boost was kicked in but then it was a great highly driven tone.

Needless to say, I decided that a TT50 would be the way to go!

However, before I got one, I gave in to tempation and acquired a TT20 on eBay. This is a single channel combo with the basic character of the 50 but in a smaller package (it's also switchable from 8 watts to 18, which is useful for recording). I struck it lucky a month or two later when a TT50 combo came up in the classified ads (I happened to look there after working out how infrequently they appeared on eBay...kind of never in the UK!). I chanced upon the ad the day it appeared and was on the phone as soon as was decent for a Sunday! The chap was selling it after a few months of next to no use as he'd been offered a great deal on a...erm, Boogie!! Well, his loss was my gain (excuse the pun)...

One of the great things about the TTs is that they sound great with both single coils and humbuckers. The only pickup that didn't win me round through the TTs was the P-90 but I never got used to them anyway...

Now, before I finish this lengthy late-houred rant, I should say that the 50 watt option is a good one for the TT as opposed to the 100 but if you're going to get the head rather than the combo, beware of which cab you match it with. My Boogie-owning friend acquired a Cornford 2x12 cab and demo'd a TT50 head through it; the results were disappointing, apparently. Laney recommend their TT 4x12 and I'd be tempted to take their advice or buy the combo. However, you of course should check all this out for yourself.

I have not found an amp that does what I want as well as the TT and I'm a fussy so-and-so!

Please feel free to ask anything you want to know and I'll try to be more concise than I've been in this gone-3 a.m. rambling account...
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Power chords are my friend

Joined: 07 Nov 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Guitar Rig and have a 2002 LC 80 with the vintage Mk II pups. I go either out of the NI footcontroller into an M-Audio FW 410 mic preamp or into a TPS II Tub Preamp system and then into the FW 410. It sounds great throught the TPS II and pretty good going directly into the FW 410.

The comment that was made about the all the noise on some of the presets that goes away when you start playing is actually the sound of the preset before the noise gate cuts in. It seems the gate is slow to cut in or if its not selcted your here all the hum and buzz. When you start playing those presets are distorted and effected that you can't hear the noise but it is still there.I find its difficult to get the basic gate to work properly. If you put the other gate into your Rig you can get rid of all that noise but tweaking it.. There is so much gain and distortion happening in some of those presets that if you had all that gear in hardware form it would be just as loud.

I think the mark two pickups sound good myself and don't find them harsh at all. I have guitars with Gibson Burstbuckers, Seymour Duncan JB and 1960's vintage Gibson pickups and the Mk II's aren't any harsher or brittle sounding in my opinion. They do sound different, however. They are a bit more airy and breezy sounding and maybe not as thick. I am basing this on playing through a 1967 blackface Fender Vibrolux Reverb (tube). When I use a Marshall 2 x 12 Cabinet with Celestions with the Vibrolux it sounds great when using the Tokai with the MK II's.

Those are my thoughts.

Regards, GuitarTed
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