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Discussion Starter #1
Im thinking about setting up amplification for myself, and i was wondering if this would work.

Sax - Groover condenser Mic - XLR- 1/4 in transformer - guitar petals :twisted::lick:- Roland Cube 60 Watts
:treble::bass:
If there are any problems or something is missing to get me fully amplified, I am taking suggestions, but do remember I am a poor college bound highschool kid.

thanks and keep rockin!
 

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Hey! I'm a big fan of playing through guitar pedals and amps. First, I would recommend something other than a condenser mic; it will be less expensive, less fragile, and more effective. Here's what I would recommend:

Sax --> Passive microphone (SM57, Sennheiser e604, etc) --> pedals (I highly recommend a clean boost like an MXR Micro Amp in front of all your other pedals) --> amp. A Roland Cube will work, for sure. I'm also a big fan of good tube guitar amps; Fender Deluxe, or, if you're on more of a budget, the Peavey Classic 30 is awesome.

What's your pedal board like right now? Here's mine, not that anyone asked... :)

MXR Micro Amp --> Boss PS-5 Pitch Shifter --> Boss DD6 Delay --> Ernie Ball volume pedal

I used to have a Boss Auto-Wah, but it got fried. Wasn't that good, anyway. I want to get a good envelope filter, like a Q-Tron or Moogerfooger, and an Electro-Harmonix POG for psycho octave awesomeness.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
well, I allready have the mic, would it still work? what would be some problems with the Condenser
.Im thinking just going through my Crybaby wah and big muff, Im buying a flanger, reverb/delay and possibibly an envelope filter. Someone else has recomended that i also get a DI box as well.
:bluewink::bluewink::bluewink::twisted::bluewink:
I got a tube amp as well 15 watt but doesnt have the wealth of effects that the cube has. I suppose i could try both if i get enough money to replace the tubes in it.:(
 

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I would use a contact mic. There's a good chance you'll get too much feedback with a normal mic going through effects, and any sound quality advantages of a good mic are wasted once it's been through pedals.

Plus, especially not a condenser mic as it will need phantom power, or have you already got the phantom power/micamp end of things sorted. If not, you can't just plug a mic direct into pedals which are designed for a guitar signal not a mic signal.
 

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I have very limited experience with guitar pedals and amps, but I did experiment a bit with my roommate's guitar pedals and Roland amp while I was at Berklee. (Pete knows the guy). I'm not sure which Roland amp he had, but it was a small cabinet with a great sound. I used an SM57 mic plugged directly into the pedals and didn't have any feedback problems that I recall. My favorite pedal was the flanger, but I learned that it only responded to relatively crisp articulations. It was a lot of fun experimenting, but I lost my infatuation with effect pedals when I stopped doing drugs. :bluewink:
 

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In which case I take it all back.
I wouldn't take it all back too quickly, Pete. Someone else's mileage may vary. I was only experimenting at living room, practice room, rehearsal room volumes...never on stage at full volume. Chances are that I might have had feedback problems in a performance scenario. I never put that to the test. I also don't know about the phantom power requirements for the SM57. All I know is that it was the only mic I owned at time, and I didn't have a pre-amp of any kind for it.
 

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OK, after taking it back, I'll put some of it back out there.

I still think a contact pickup will be best, or maybe a mic that as designed for use with gtr pedals, e.g this harmonica mic:

http://www.edencompanies.com/bogdon/

I think the important issue (apart from avoiding feedback) is to have a signal at the right impedance, ie the same as a guitar signal. (A signal with the wrong level or impedance may still work, but not be working as well as it might.

Alternatively use pedals that are designed specifically for use with microphones:

http://www.gear4music.com/Guitar_--_Bass_Effects/Vocal_effects_pedals.html
 

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Try something like the digitech vocalist. Designed for mic inputs. Compression, delay, chorus, and reverb on board as well as the ability to play harmonies. It also has phantom power and a 1/4" out so you can send the signal to guitar type fx as well if you want more fx options.
 

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I've had good luck with the SM57, which requires no power.

As for what amp to use: It depends on what you are trying to do. There is a division of opinion among guitarists and also on this forum about the relative merits of tube and solid state amps. My own opinion is this: One thing for which tube amps are thus far unparalleded IMO is gradual, touch-sensitive power tube distortion. Other things being equal, solid state amps are lighter, cheaper and more reliable than tube amps. Plus, these days, various MFX pedals and amp emulators do a more or less excellent job of imitating the sound of power tube distortion. To my knowledge, they do not yet do as good a job of imitating the feel (touch sensitivity) of gradual power tube break-up.

So I respectfully question why HW77 would recommend a tube amp for you (Edit: unless it's to achive power tube break-up), although tubes undoubtedly work best for him. I also question why you would put a gain pedal in front of your pedal chain, assuming that your XlR transformer is properly matching impedances. (The ones I've used do bump up the impedance enough.) You may want to check out this GM Arts page, which gives advice that has worked well for me.

With that in mind, I'd say the Roland Cube is fine, and so is the Tech21 Power Engine 60. These are both reasonably priced solutions that offer clean, uncolored amplification. Fender also makes a Mustang series of amps some of which are light, cheap, and offer digital modeling if you need it.


BTW: Lest anyone think I am anti-tube, my next tube amp (matching head and cab) is due to arrive today!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
this sounds like an awesome idea im gonna research that and hopefully find a cheap one.

my condenser mic will work because the digitech petal has phantom power right?
 

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I've had good luck with the SM57, which requires no power.
Ditto!

As for what amp to use: It depends on what you are trying to do. There is a division of opinion among guitarists and also on this forum about the relative merits of tube and solid state amps. My own opinion is this: One thing for which tube amps are thus far unparalleded IMO is gradual, touch-sensitive power tube distortion. Other things being equal, solid state amps are lighter, cheaper and more reliable than tube amps. Plus, these days, various MFX pedals and amp emulators do a more or less excellent job of imitating the sound of power tube distortion. To my knowledge, they do not yet do as good a job of imitating the feel (touch sensitivity) of gradual power tube break-up.
This doesn't make any sense, so correct me if I am wrong but don't tubes accentuate 3rd-order harmonics? And is not the Saxophone essentially all 3rd-order harmonics? I asked a guitar playing buddy about this one time and he said if I wanted to get into using amps and fx then go solid-state, or really just go with a small powered PA speaker like a Mackie SRM 350.
 

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Ditto!



This doesn't make any sense, so correct me if I am wrong but don't tubes accentuate 3rd-order harmonics? And is not the Saxophone essentially all 3rd-order harmonics? I asked a guitar playing buddy about this one time and he said if I wanted to get into using amps and fx then go solid-state, or really just go with a small powered PA speaker like a Mackie SRM 350.
Tubes distort with the even numbered harmoniccs (counting the fundamental as 1)--the 'sweet' sounding ones,

Solid state amps distort to the odd numbered harmonics--the nasty sounding ones.--think pulse/square waves.

Saxes produce all harmonics. Clarinets are all odd numbered harmonics.

FET (field effect transistors) distort similar to tube amps, so it's possible to design an amp with a similar sound to tube distortion.
 

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Tubes distort with the even numbered harmoniccs (counting the fundamental as 1)--the 'sweet' sounding ones,

Solid state amps distort to the odd numbered harmonics--the nasty sounding ones.--think pulse/square waves.

Saxes produce all harmonics. Clarinets are all odd numbered harmonics.

FET (field effect transistors) distort similar to tube amps.

Thanks for the correction!
 

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I don't recommend a tube amp for everyone. You definitely have to try it for yourself and see if you like it. For me, running a passive directional mic (let's say a 57) through my pedals and into a tube amp makes a sound that resembles recording with an awesome old ribbon mic. Using ribbon mics live is obviously a terrible idea, assuming you can even afford one, but the passive mic/tube amp combo can get a similar signal saturation that I really, really like when playing live. When I record in the studio, sometimes I set up an RCA ribbon mic 3 feet away (in the live room) and then play directly into a Sennheiser e604 which is running into an iso booth with a tube amp in it-- and then mic the amp and mix these two channels to get a gritty, gnarly sound. That's what I did on this track.

As for why I use a clean boost, I like what it does to my amplified sound. Also, my Pitch Shifter pedal and delay pedal suck up some signal, and the Micro Amp offsets that nicely.

By the way, if it's not obvious already, I'm not going for a perfectly high-fidelity, 100% clean and pure amplification of my sound. I like the somewhat lo-fi rock and roll electric saxophone sound; if I use an amp and pedals, that's what I go for. Otherwise I'll just go directly to the PA. Everyone likes different sounds, and YMMV anyway.
 

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Thanks for the explanation HW, and the track you put up is awesome! You obviously have a lot of experience figuring out what works for you.


BTW, about the harmonic content of tubes: The information haku mentioned about the harmonic content of tubes versus solid state is news to me, but so are a lot of amp related things LOL. I think a key difference for some guitarists and bassists is how abruptly harmonics are introduced into a signal with increasing volume. At any rate, I do know that the harmonic content of tube amps can depend on the power amp configuration, i.e. whether the power amp is running single ended versus push-pull. For example, according to Randal Smith, the maker of Mesa-Boogie amps, push-pull tends to cancel out the second harmonic in much the same way as a balanced cable cancels noise.
 

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Very interesting about push-pull vs single-ended... there's a whole world of tube amp design that's beyond me right now, and there are people who devote their lives to it. I play guitar as well, and I'm a huge fan of Mesa/Boogie. Those are truly well-made amps, and they're like instruments unto themselves with all the complex sounds you can get out of them. I think a Mesa would be a little much for saxophone; in my experience I prefer a very direct, simple amp, like a Peavey Classic or Fender Deluxe. I've seen Chris Cheek (who I stole most of my amp/pedal ideas from) use a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Polytone, which is a well made solid-state amp used for very loud but very clean and clear tones. He made both sound great.
 

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If your going to use pedals regularly i highly recommend the Pigtronix Keymaster. It will bring your signal to the proper impedance and all your pedals will respond better. It also makes it easy to blend a clean signal with your effected signal.
 

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I agree about the differences with tubes vs solid state, however I believe either can be modelled effectively in the digital domain. Plenty of room for argument there, which I'm not going to get too heavily into (especially with people who may have better ears than I do).

Just out of interest though, there's a track I did with soprano saxophone using a wah/fuzzbox. The last clip on the audio player on this page:

http://tamingthesaxophone.com/info-soundfiles.html
 

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… I'm a huge fan of Mesa/Boogie. Those are truly well-made amps, and they're like instruments unto themselves with all the complex sounds you can get out of them. I think a Mesa would be a little much for saxophone; in my experience I prefer a very direct, simple amp, like a Peavey Classic or Fender Deluxe. …
- I'm also a huge MB fan, but I don't like the weight of their gear or the prices. BTW, MB makes a range of designs these days, not just the Mark V. Maybe in the future for me.

- All electric guitar amps are instruments unto themselves, and they can certainly have as much or more impact on the music as the guitar itself. (I guess some might argue that acoustic amps and PAs are not instruments.) BTW, we sometimes talk about how it takes time to learn a mouthpiece, and I would say that amps are like that too.
 
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