Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

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abhinavjoshua
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Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:27 pm

Hi,
I'v been trying out the Mercuriall JCM800 Hot preamp with Ignite plugins. Its so real sounding! :o
Don't know why but I am getting a very annoying hissing sound with the preamp. I am attaching a preview of my settings. (Check 1st Pic)

Secondly, I am not sure about order of the chain I am using! Is it correct? (Check Pic 2) :shock:

Thirdly, I have read about some 'specific settings' of Mercuriall Cab, so is it fine to run the cab after Ignite amps?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

abhinavjoshua
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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:36 pm

Sorry I forgot to attach the sound clip. Here's the link: https://soundcloud.com/abhinav-joshua/j ... eamp-check

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:39 pm

:evil: The Pic order has changed! Pic 1 is Pic 2 and Vice-versa! :P

jorismak
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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:45 pm

first of, ts-999 is a guitar pedal. It goes _Before_ your amp (JCM hot800 in this case).

Second, 'the anvil' is _another_ guitar (pre)amp. You have two, with the t999 between them instead of in front. So yeah, it will get messy.

So, 'proper' order (normal order):
- gate
- TS-999
- JCM800 Hot
- TPA-1
- Mercuriall Cab
- ReaEQ

In JCM Hot, I'd put the input volume (the first bar) more in the middle (50%) to three quarters (75%). Not as far as you have it. But in all honesty, it depends on your input signal.
The second bar (the gain) can then be at 50% or more to taste.

IT's a good JCM800 emulation, so the EQ settings (bar 3,4 and 5? can't see on the picture) can affect the amount of gain quite a lot. All EQ on 75% will get you more gain than all eq at 50% for example.

I'd start with TPA-1 set to default settings (front side everything to 50%), and on the backside everything default as well.
And then tweak slowly (and basically only change the front side and the output-volume at the back). It's real easy to f*ck things up :P.

abhinavjoshua
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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:01 pm

Thank you man! I am totally a n00b! :lol:

Did you listen to the sound clip I attached? The annoying sound!

P.S. You can scroll down to see the full picture! :roll:

jorismak
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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:09 pm

What I hear is nothing but the noise that your guitar pickups are picking up from the outside world. Regular interference.

The gate is there to silence it when you're not playing. But as you stop playing abruptly, you hear the gate 'closing' in 0.5 second or something. Normal behaviour.

But since you had a tube screamer _After_ the amp and you _two_ amps I think noise is only logical.
Try it with a normal amp.

And does your guitar have humbuckers? If not, there is not much you can do and you must accept that there will be hum in the signal.

What do you use to plug your guitar into your computer?

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:23 pm

It's making sense now! but now I have tried it with the plugin chain you suggested: Gate- Ts-999 - JCM-800 - TPA - Mercuriall Cab.There is still the same noise which was before. The noise is going parallel to what I am playing! The gate only stops it when I am not playing or where there is no signal. I suppose it's the ground hum! :? If it is, then it should eliminate when I am not playing but it is still there!

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:24 pm

Yes, I have humbuckers in my guitar!

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:50 pm

That's setting up the gate now it is. It should have a threshold about what amount of level is background noise and what is you playing.

You still haven't answered how you're getting your guitar signal into the PC.
If you have proper humbuckers there should not be that large amounts of hum. So or you are using a DI box with the ground-lift switch set wrong, or you're going straight into an audio card or something like that. That's my guess since you didn't reply what you're using. A proper interface is a _proper_ interface :P.

So, a few lessons I learned:)
1) There is always _Some_ amount of hum, live with it. It should not be that much that it affects your tone
2) Running your computer from a proper grounded outlet is key. Mine apparently wasn't. I now have a ground-wire running from my PC-power-plug to the central-heating-grounding pins, and suddenly the hum is 95% gone, even on my real amplifier.
3) Setting up a noise gate can be tricky at first, but you'll get the hang of it (There is a 'reagate' built into reaper btw).
Simply touch your guitar strings (like holding your fret-hand around the neck and holding all your strings, just make sure you touch _and_ mute them) and don't play. Make sure your guitar volume is open. Now with your other hand adjust the threshold from the gate so that it's quiet. A threshold is pretty simple in terms: below this is noise, above this real signal. Tweak it.
4) Tweak the speed of the gate (how fast it closes). Also called the 'release'. The shorter, the less noise you hear when you stop playing, but the more it _can_ affect the tone.
5) Does your hum get less when you touch the strings compared to when you don't touch the strings? (While not playing). If so -> it's a grounding issue. You're not hooking it up right or you have an electrical problem in your gear / wiring in the house.

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:08 pm

Sorry man! I use M Audio Fast Track USB audio interface. The guitar is directly plugged into the interface. I also have D.I. box which I don't use. The ground lift on the DI is useless as there is no proper grounding in my home! I am familiar to grounding issues. The gate does a decent job in eliminating the hiss only when I am not playing. But when I am playing I could hear the hissing in the background. I have used amplitube and many more amp plugins which makes noise (ground issue) only when I am not playing (gate eliminates that), but not with my playing! I could hear the cracking sound of JCM800 preamp with my strumming.

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:39 pm

Fine tune the threshold and release of the (scarlett) gate then, that's the only thing I can suggest. Or lower the gain :P. Why do you use Scarlett Gate when you have a m-audio interface??

What did work for me was record on a laptop on battery power, to disconnect it from the electrical network. But that only works for short sessions :P.

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:54 pm

I suppose, recording it on a laptop is the last option left! :cheers:
Thank you very much for your help! :P

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:30 pm

To give you an idea, I plugged in my Yamaha THR10 (but used it as an interface only!) and recorded a DI in reaper.
I rendered it without a gate, and then I rendered it with a gate. To give you the differences.

Notice how my recording without any gate is still OK and quite usable. You hear background noise, but not the real hum as you have. The little background noise I have is gone with using a gate (or a denoise plugin you run over your DI once after you recorded a take, for example). But it could also be the THR10. I think if I recorded on my UR22 interface I could set the analog recording level better to get rid of the hiss.

Anyway, my chain: (reagate if using a gate) -> ts-999 (ignite amps, free) -> Roxolder's JCM800 Hot (free) -> TPA-1 (ignite amps, free) -> Roxolder's Mercurial cab v3 (free).

I normally wouldn't use this for myself (rather use his normal JCM800, or use the Conford Harlequin amp he did, I like them more, JCM800-Hot got a 'honky' thing going I don't like :)). And I would use Revalver as a powersim instead of TPA (it colours more) and / or Ownhammer's poweramp-nebula programs, and then use Ownhammers Marshall V30 studio mix library (nebula / impulses) as a cab. But to stick with your plugins as a demo I used them :).


Reagate settings: Image
Ts-999 settings: Image Image
JCM800-Hot settings: Image
TPA-1 settings: Won't display them here, but they're all stock, nothing changed (front everyting on 50%, on the back 6L6 tubes, bias in the middle, sagging at +/- 25%, feedback full, resonance off, output volume 50%, input volume 50%).
Mercuriall settings: Image

Without a gate that gave me this: http://clients.maxx-traxx.eu:8080/tmp/reaper_stems_track_01-008.mp3 (631 kb)
The same track rendered with reagate in front: http://clients.maxx-traxx.eu:8080/tmp/reaper_stems_track_02-005.mp3 (659 kb)
If you want to mess with it yourself, here is the DI of it: http://clients.maxx-traxx.eu:8080/tmp/01-140126_1748.wav (7 mb).

What I did in reagate, is pick the 'electric guitar rhythm' preset. Adjust the threshold (the big vertical slider on the left) so that it mutes the noise when you're not playing. Then raise it just a bit higher (To be on the safe side).
Then I adjusted the 'hold' value. It basically decides that when it opens the gate (your playing is coming through) it keeps it open for at least this long (so it keeps it open 200ms after you stop playing) meaning you get a little bit of noise after you stop or palm-mute. So I decreased the 'hold' a lot to around +/- 35ms, so it closes really faster after you stop playing. The 'release' can also help here, but I had no need to touch it.

Once again, this is not perfect: The level of the DI is too low, I played something so you could hear the effects of the gate, it's a barebones recording (no dual tracking, compression, reverb, eq, whatever) and it doesn't use my favorite amps + cabs. But it does show you that even without _any_ kind of noise reduction those plugins can give a good distorted heavy sound and not have loads of hum or noise.. at least not even close to the levels of hum your recording has.

See this as 'proof' that it's not in the software used, but it's in your guitar or interface (most of the times. PC not grounded). Try 'do-it-yourself' grounding tricks, as taking a bit of thick electrical wire and securing it to the grounding-part of the electrical outlet (or of your PC power plug) and routing it to your nearest radiator (heating) of the room. Most of the times, they're metallic and connected to the ground. If you're in a flat-building on the 5th floor for example, things can be more tricky since the heating systems are mostly connected to 'plastic' pipes and not grounded :).

And... I see you're in India, and I have no idea how the electric systems works there or what's different, so don't take my advise without making sure you won't kill yourself :P. Laptop on battery power is waaay safer :). And if you're just practising, you gotta put up with the hum while plugged in I'm afraid.

abhinavjoshua
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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:16 pm

Thanks for your explanation! 8) I'm clear now!

The A.C cycling humm/buzz is 50Hz in India.

I know this fact that a plugin never introduces hum or any kind of noise! I could see bars raising up in MASTER Channel (REAPER) when I am not playing. I think the noise is strong just because the preamp is "hot". With other mercuriall preamps, it's just fine and there is very less noise.

One question, I could see that you have your input level raised up in Ts-999. If I am not wrong, that will provide a good input level for the next plugin in chain (in this case, the hot preamp). How do you monitor a good level?

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:03 pm

Well, you use a TS-999 to boost your signal before it hits the amp (like in a real world booster pedal).
My DI signal was so low that ts-999 wasn't doing much. So I raised to _input into_ TS-999.
Another way would be to use a clean normal volume plugin before ts-999 to raise the level.

Normally, you want your DI signal to be as hot as possible without clipping, and then adjust and input/output knobs to taste.

What you can do though to monitor what ts-999 (or other pedals) are doing if they don't have a meter themselves, is just put the plugins on one-by-one.

For instance, I have on track which is armed and I'm monitoring. I make sure _ONLY_ ts-999 is enabled on this track.
When I start playing in reaper (not even recording), you'll see the orange meter of that track moving. That is your raw input level. But you'll see the blue-ish meters of the master track also moving. Use that to monitor what TS-999 is doing. Adjust it's level (on the front) and input-level (on the back) so that you get a nice strong signal that comes close to 0Db (close to peaking, but it must not peak).

But with DI-levels, it's about taste really! Just as with passive / active humbuckers, there is no 'correct' level. A hotter level hits your amp(sim) harder and responds differently, adjust input-knobs to taste.

I use this trick btw to monitor the output of the amp-sim before I go into a cabinet-emulator / convolver. I'm playing around with the amp-sim without a cabinet (it sounds harsh / wrong, but I'm only doing it to monitor levels). That way I can see that the output of the amp(sim) doesn't go over 0 dBfs (clips). For instance, plugins like TPA-1 if you drive the volume also produce more output, so you need to lower the output-level on the backside of the plugin to compensate.

In theory - in a good DAW - there is no clipping once a signal is properly inside your PC. Only when write your final mix back to .wav in 24bit/16 bit for example there can be clipping.
So it's not perse a bad thing if a signal clips between tracks and plugins, but you must be aware of it! Any (serious) DAW operates in at least 32bit floating point, but I think most these days operate in 64bit floating point. That means that if the signal as it goes through the plugins goes over 0 dbfs, there is no problem as this can easily be represented in floating-point math. A 'good' signal is between -1.0 and +1.0. Doesn't mean +1.2 or +5.4 for example is a problem. Only when you finally write your final 44.1khz 16bit wav file must it not clip :).
That being said, (why you must be aware of going over 0 dbfs) is that every plugin can respond to it differently.
A lot of 'analog emulation' for example have a sweet spot where your digital signal emulates the analog hardware coming in at exactly 0VU. If you go over it, you're driving the analog emulation too hard and it will sound like a piece of analog gear falling apart :).

The same with DI signals and amp-sims. You can send a signal as low as -12 dBfs or as hot as +30 dbFS (!!) into the amp-sim. But it will respond like a real amp would, and +30 dbFs will probably sound like crap :P.
Because of this 'Activate pickups' have a lot less meaning in the amp-sim world than in real-life. Because driving the amp harder can be adjusted by a simple 'input-level' knob on most plugins, the 'extra output' of (active) pickups is kinda useless. It has no meaning in the digital world. (Active pickups can have different EQ effects on your guitar that are still valid ofcourse, not saying buying EMGs is stupid in an amp-sim :)). But if you always wanted your pickups to have more output, just raise the level of your DI _before_ it hits the amp (by a simple volume plugin, a booster pedal-plugin, recording volume on your interface, whatever). There is NO 'correct' level here, you must really use your ears.
The other way around, if you are using an ampsim of a Fender Twin for instance and no matter what you try it still is always breaking up and you can't get a good clean tone, your input-level is probably too high and you always get a little bit of crunch. Lowering the input-volume decreases what the amp-sim does in it's virtual tubes (or something like that), just like rolling off the volume on your guitar would.

You're going to need a little bit of experimentation I guess with this :).

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:36 pm

Thanks man! Learned a lot. :)

I also do the same method of checking the input level through the MASTER Channel meter. I usually set the volume right above -6dBFS but below -3dBFS.

I tried the Revalver instead of TPA-1. It sounds more good and natural!

I can't seem to find some good Cab impulses. Most of the impulses makes the guitar a little thin or more on the metal side (looking for a crunchy rock sound).

Could you please tell me some good impulses, specially for Heavy Rock? 8) (Should be free :lol: )

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:37 pm

In all honesty, don't know free stuff from the top of my head, mostly because I hardly spent any time with the free cab impulses out here. Kinda started out with a selection of RedWirez stuff and went to Ownhammer's latest library.

Remember that you are creating a _recorded_ guitar tone. You are getting the sound of a cab mic'ed up. This normally sounds thinner and different to what you're used to if standing in front of a blasting 4x12 :).

That being said, I think any Marshall cabinet (even if it's V30 loaded + mic'ed with a sm57) is a good fit from everything bluesy to 'raw' metal. You can get a more classic tone by trying to find something with Greenback speakers. Isn't the free REdwirez pack something like that?

Yes! (http://www.redwirez.com/free1960g12m25s.jsp). Old 1960A Marshall 4x12 with 25watt Greenbacks. Load a sm57 in front of it, not in the center, but also not completely at the edge (somewhere in the middle) and close (0 to 2 inches) and you're basically there.

Did you also try good ol' LePou Hybritt? The mix between older (plexi?) mode and newer (jcm?) mode it can offer a lot of ground, and has a poweramp built in.

If not, sticking with a pre (like Roxolder's JCM) + separate poweramp I recommend cranking the poweramp more to get the tone a bit warmer and less 'shrill'. Contrasting myself here, but taking TPA-1, setting it to EL34's with a lot of Sag, setting the volume on the front pretty high, and then setting the 'resonance' on the back to taste (or if you used Redwirez impulse: set it to max) will get you there. Works also wonders with Ignite Amps' Anvil in ch2.

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby abhinavjoshua » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:10 am

I have the RedWireZ stuff. Will try that out with your suggestions! Thanks!

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby JEISEN » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:46 pm

abhinavjoshua wrote:Sorry man! I use M Audio Fast Track USB audio interface.


Sorry to butt in on things but I saw what you said about owning an M Audio Fast Track. If it was the first one like mine-it had an issue with bleeding which they fixed in the next version. I got rid of mine. That might be at the center of your issue-just a thought.

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby budwar65 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:07 am

Wow, this was mind blowing and exacting, I just have to read it again.............

"I normally wouldn't use this for myself (rather use his normal JCM800, or use the Conford Harlequin amp he did, I like them more, JCM800-Hot got a 'honky' thing going I don't like :)). And I would use Revalver as a powersim instead of TPA (it colours more) and / or Ownhammer's poweramp-nebula programs, and then use Ownhammers Marshall V30 studio mix library (nebula / impulses) as a cab. But to stick with your plugins as a demo I used them :)."

"In theory - in a good DAW........" in your opinion which is a good Daw?

thanx for this

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Re: Cracking sound in JCM800 Hot Preamp

Postby jorismak » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:13 am

budwar65 wrote:"In theory - in a good DAW........" in your opinion which is a good Daw?
thanx for this



Anything from the last 5 years, or anything that isn't 1980's Protools. More technical speak: Anything that uses 32bit/64bit floating points internally for the audio routing (which is basically every DAW that supports VST for instance).


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