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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. I have some doubts that always seem to arise when you are going to buy new gear...... Now what I'm looking for is a good distorted tone for practicing at home. I'll explain a bit better.... I don't have the money nor definitely need a Legacy full stack..., what i want is something who could give me a noise-free distorted tone. I don't want to have milion of noises, harmonics and whatsoever coming out from my amp when i simply touch a string.... i think that what i need is a quite compressed tone, to ease soloing and avoid noises when playing legato or sweep picking. To give some examples..... i like very much Vai's and Gilbert's tone.... high gain but clean and very "fluid"..... i think you get what i mean ;). I was thinking to buy a POD.... have you got any suggestions? Would the POD serve me well?
 

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The Pod is a great choice for getting good distortion sounds at low volumes. It also has an OK compressor but you probably won't need it. Like most high-gain "amps" the amount of gain naturally compresses the signal. There is also a built-in noise gate to eliminate background noise when you are not playing.

However, keep in mind that the distortion and compression will expose noises not hide. Once you start playing, the only that that will keep accidently noises and harmonics from sounding is your own left and right hand muting technique.

Rick
 

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My opinion -- the POD is one of the WORST choices for getting a "good" distortion.  The type of distortion you are talking about REQUIRES *POWER TUBE SATURATION*.  This is where the compression, fluidity, warmth, and sustain come from, not to mention the individual characteristics of your amp and power tubes.

Solid state distortion uses clipping to distort your waveform.  Power tube saturation is a natural compression that distorts your waveform.  They are completely different animals, the latter one being more musical (no, you can't argue against that).

The advice I would give is to start with an all tube, low wattage amplifier.  For your purposes, you will want to find one that is meant to give a distorted tone or has some gain.  Chances are the amp will still be too loud even if it is only 20 or 25 watts...reason being that 20 watts wide open is loud.  In this case, you might have to resort to a power attenuator, which will let you turn the amp up all the way but keep the volume level down.

As for unwanted noise, it's going to depend on the amp, the tubes, the guitar pickups, what room you are playing in, etc., but maybe this is a start.
 

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I say go for a POD. Stay away from tube amps. To make a tube amp sound the way you want you'll need to crank it up really loud and add a distortion pedal. By the time you add a distortion pedal and a power brake to keep the sound levels resonable, you'll have spent  close to $1000 for a sound that may  or may not be that good. I say go with the POD. Check around the internet for sound samples and see if it has the sound you like.
 

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Quote: from Chan on 8:11 pm on July 8, 2001
I say go for a POD. Stay away from tube amps. To make a tube amp sound the way you want you'll need to crank it up really loud and add a distortion pedal. By the time you add a distortion pedal and a power brake to keep the sound levels resonable, you'll have spent close to $1000 for a sound that may or may not be that good. I say go with the POD. Check around the internet for sound samples and see if it has the sound you like.
But he said he wanted "good" distorted tone.
 

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I wish somebody would make a nice 1 watt tube amp *I* could crank. I don't need the volume, just the tone :)
 

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Rich -
Check these guys... Torres Engineering They make a 5 watt tube amp.

Also... I should add that you should not EVER *need* a distortion pedal on a good distorted tube amp. The only reason to *need* one is if you want disgusting amounts of preamp tube saturation... and if that's your goal, then get a Digitech 2120 because preamp tube saturation is not the "good tube tone" that someone like Josh has in mind.
 

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Rich...

www.amptone.com

Low wattage tube amplification is the whole point of that site. I know for a fact that I have seen 1 and 2 watt tube amps before, but the makes are too obscure for me to remember by name.

Also, a tube amp, power attenuator, and distortion pedal will not cost $1,000. There are some good tube amp combos to be had at around $400-$500, power attenuators (THD Hotplate is my pick) under $200.

If you have a good amp, the distortion pedal is NOT necessary. However, it can be useful as a boost or to flavor your tone, which is how I use them. In that case, I don't see why you would need a distortion pedal with a tube amp but not with a POD...doesn't make sense to me at all.
 

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Exactly, 100% boost, 200% more flavor :biggrin: Thanks for the link Josh, 1 or 2 watts is ALL I need!
 

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<<Also, a tube amp, power attenuator, and distortion pedal will not cost $1,000. There are some good tube amp combos to be had at around $400-$500, power attenuators (THD Hotplate is my pick) under $200.>>

Well if you get a $400 tube amp, a $200 attenuator and a $100 pedal, your up to $700. If he wants Vai's tone he might need a distortion pedal. Some of you have much bigger pockets than me, because I would never spend $700 for a practice setup.
Why does everyone love tube amps so much? I know I'll get flamed for this, but I'll say it. Tube amps are overated. I don't think they sound close to as good as people say they do. Some of the best tones I've heard have been digital or solid state. I've heard more good tones come out of tubes, but it's far from impossible to get good or even great tones out of non-tube amps.(Rant mode off) :argue:
Suggest trying out the POD and see if it has the sound you want.
 

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If you can take a look at a Cornford Harlequin.

Awesome tone ( very smooth ) and it's only 6 watts so you can really crank it.

Only problem is it runs at approx £400, and is a handbuilt British built amp so may be more expensive over in Italy, but you never know, may be able to pick up a cheap 2nd.

gl

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for your suggestions..... I'm a bit confused right now but that is what i wanted :)
I had already thought about a little tube amp but..... i don't know, reading from the reviews i thought that you could get a better tone with the pod. I have some doubts about the tone that could come out of a little and low wattage amp. Off course a Mesa full stack would be better than the pod, but how would you compare a little tube amp and the pod? + will this little amp have enough amount of gain?
I had also already thought about using a dist pedal to get more preamp distortion and flavour the tone..... and was wondering: will the pod with a pedal like the ds1 in front of it (used to boost the signal) react somewhat like a tube amp?


Federico


Ciao Nuno!
 

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The POD is the ultimate for low volume practice.  Just make sure it's plugged into a full range system *not* a guitar amp.  I've got mine into a couple of cheap old powered studio monitors, and it's bliss.

As far as driving it with a distortion pedal, no.  It has an emulated distortion pedal built in which works fine.

Try it out and decide for yourself....

(Edited by petedz at 8:30 am on July 9, 2001)
 

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As far as the pod goes... one final thought.  It was designed as a simple way to get your guitar on tape with no external noise.  That's it.  It was not designed to replace your amp.  However, as it gained popularity, the demand for an amp version from people who thought it was good tone became very high... so they made the same unit in an amp shape with speakers.  I still think it's a good unit for getting an idea down on tape when it's too late at night to play through an amp.

As for low wattage tube amps... if they are designed to have distortion... they just might distort very nicely.  If you can get the power amp tubes running you can easily get some sweet distortion going.  And if you so desire, toss a distortion box on there too.
 

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i treat my flextone just like my rack ---

original whammy
boss cs-3      only added for super smooth unending sustain
boss sd-1      for adding the midrange smoothness for really fast stuff
boss ds-1      for all lead tones
bad horsie

an ive gotten some unbelievable tones out of that thing.  if you learn to work with the flextone or the POD just as you would learn to work with your tube stuff, the tone is definitely in there -- but dont expect "plug and play" like everyone seems to think.  i am a tone freak, and have been very happy with some of the things i can get out of the line6 stuff.
 

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I'd say a POD (or a similar device) through a set of headphones would make a nice little practice set-up. I use a Digitech GNX-1 for this very purpose (plus recording). The GNX-1 has the added benefit of built-in drum loops and a metronome. :)

   Conversely, a small tube combo will give you better tone when it's cranked but for a practice rig I'd say stay light on the wallet and everyone's eardrums as well.
 

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Here's my take on it, FWIW.  I love tubes, I have a Rivera S120 head with 2 60W tube power sections and 7 12AX7s for the preamp, reverb driver and effects loop buffers.  Tubes are warm, tubes sound great, tubes are my friend.  

Yuza is looking for practice equipment though, do I use my Rivera to practice through, yeah, sometimes, but even turned way down through a 2-12 cabinet, it can be pretty loud, too much for an apartment but okay in my basement.  What do I use for practice most of the time?  My Boss VF-1 amp models running through my board and monitors.  Does it sound like a cranked Marshall, Soldano, Boogie, or _________?  No, but my big tube amp at low volumes doesn't live up to it's potential either.  Does the VF-1 sound good enough for practice and to lay down some tracks at a reasonable volume, heck yeah!  Do I want to spend money on a small tube amp to practice through?  I have an old Blackface Champ and it sounds okay, but I prefer to play through the VF-1 just for the variety of sounds I can get, not to mention it doesn't have small tubes running in class A putting off alot of heat and wearing out.  

My advice, again, FWIW, for small practice stuff try some solid state stuff or modelers, the Tech21 Trademark amps are supposed to sound great and since they are solid state, 0 maintenance.  If you want effects and stuff the Pod may be worth checking into, just remember you'll need something to monitor it through, don't know if it has an input for CDs or drum machines to jam along with either.  If you are going that route, the Johnson J-Station might be worth looking into, they just reduced the price on them and I've seen them go for around $149 new.

A practice setup will never sound like a screaming stack, it's not moving enough air there aren't big power tubes pumping.  You can get "good" tone to practice through, just keep your expectations in line with the intended use and your budget.

$0.02,
Roger
 
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