Questions tagged [electronics]

For questions relating to electrical sub-systems of many common musical instruments, as well as to aspects of professional audio amplification.

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31
votes
7answers
123k views

How do I know when it's time to change a tube on my amplifier?

I think this would be a wonderfully instructive question to people who are new to tube amplifiers. In short, how do I know that it's time to change a tube, and what's a good strategy for figuring out ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

When should I be concerned about calibrating the bias of vacuum tubes in an amplifier?

I think it would be useful to discuss the concept of bias as it pertains to guitar amplifiers. I have read some articles saying that you should always rebias your amplifier when you change the power ...
22
votes
5answers
29k views

What's a good strategy for adjusting pole pieces?

One thing I fiddled with for a short bit once upon a time is adjusting the pole pieces on my Humbucker/P-90 equipped guitars. As a matter of fact, doing just that was the only way I could get my P-90 ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

How to choose drum pitches?

I've been learning Ableton Live with an interest in making electronic music, and this has been my first exposure to drums whatsoever. Of course, I'm not dealing with a real drum set, but rather an ...
18
votes
3answers
8k views

What is a “death cap” ?

I have often heard/read people mention a "death cap" when talking about older Fender amps. Is this a capacitor ? What does it do ? Why is it called the death cap ?
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Are musical floppy drives tone wheel instruments?

So I'm doing a project involving classifying electrophones according to MIMO's Hornbostel-Sachs system (see here) and I'm looking at musical floppy disk drives specifically (see here). The drives ...
14
votes
2answers
8k views

What do the different tubes in an amplifier do?

Preamp vs Phase Inverter vs Reverb vs Power vs Rectifier. Many people get really, really confused when they try to understand anything about tubes. I spent a very long time myself trying to ...
14
votes
1answer
8k views

What changes in the amp when I adjust its presence?

The tone controls on a guitar amp are pretty obvious, but what does the presence knob affect? It's a subtle effect but can sure make or break a sound. It doesn't seem to be treble or midrange boost, ...
13
votes
2answers
25k views

Guitar produces hum due to poor soldering

Is it possible that a guitar could produce a low hum after replacing a pickup? I own a guitar that I (poorly) replaced a pickup on when I first started playing, and I was wondering if there was some ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Effect of nickel cover on Telecaster bridge pickup?

Traditionally telecaster guitars have the neck pick-up covered in a nickel/chrome cover, and the bridge pickup left with exposed pole pieces. What is the origin/logic of the nickel cover? What ...
12
votes
8answers
5k views

What can I build into my guitar and use the “tone pots” buttons to adjust?

The tone pots are fairly useless, for the most part, so I was wondering what else people have done to take advantage of having those two controls available. I would love some ideas of something I ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Balanced triodes. Gimmick, or worth the money?

When purchasing tubes from some reputable dealers, I have noticed that you are given the option for balanced triodes--sometimes at a much higher price. How does a tube with balanced a triode effect ...
11
votes
10answers
3k views

What are the advantages of point to point (PTP) wiring?

What are the advantages of having a pedal or amp that is point to point wired as opposed to one that is built on top of a printed circuit board? Are there any disadvantages of PTP?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I write a program to calculate the BPM of my mp3s?

I'm a DJ and have stacks of mp3s on my laptop. What I usually do is open the track in Ableton, wait for it to calculate the BPM, and then adjust the track name to XXX_Artist_Track, where XXX is the ...
11
votes
2answers
367 views

Is anyone able to outline the purpose of these controls?

I have an Aria MAC57/7 (7 string). Excuse the dust (the flash on the camera shows it up...) It has a dual humbucker setup and a set of controls that I never fully got to grips with. I assume the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a covering on a humbucker pickup make a difference?

I have seen a number of different pickup designs, like the ones in the image: http://www.wizardpickups.co.uk/images/humbucker4_large.jpg Notice how some humbuckers have a covering, and what look ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What exactly is the “cross modulation” on Roland Jupiter and JX analog synthesizers?

Roland's later analog synthesizers have a setting for cross-modulation between the two oscillators. I'm trying to find out what the exact technical nature of this effect is. Is it phase modulation, ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What are Tone Pots / Potentiometers?

Can someone please explain to me what tone pots are, and how they affect the sound of a guitar? Thanks very much :)
9
votes
3answers
15k views

What are all those extra controls on the Fender Jazzmaster?

The wikipedia article says a lot, but doesn't dissect the artifact.
9
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the touch-pad things that the guitarist and bassist of Muse use?

In concert video footage of Muse, I've seen both the guitarist and bassist use touch-pad devices integrated with their instruments. What are these devices, and what are they designed to do?
9
votes
3answers
27k views

Can turning on an amplifier without a connected load (cab) cause damage?

I don't recall where or from whom, but I heard that switching on an amplifier head without a connected load (a cab, that is) may cause damage—presumably to the tubes, but perhaps something else, I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
14k views

Can you play metal on single coil pickups?

People keep telling me you need humbuckers to play metal but I want to play some heavy stuff on my strat. How does high gain work on single coils and what are some of the pitfalls? People keep ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Hot guitar pickup

What does it mean when a guitar pickup is deemed "hot"?
8
votes
1answer
8k views

What are the most popular types or styles of pickups, and what is the genre of music most associated with them?

I see humbuckers, single coil, active pickups, etc. I see P90's, PAFS, etc. Which are basically for jazz, blues, metal?
8
votes
4answers
11k views

How to connect a line signal to a guitar amp?

My Laney Lv300 Tube Fusion Combo amp, doesn't have a Line-In, as such. It merely has one "Input" on the front, for the guitar and a pair of FX sockets, as an FX Loop (FX Send and FX Return). It also ...
8
votes
3answers
631 views

Travelling with electric violin under revised airport security rules

In light of suspected terrorist threat airport security has been tightened to include new restrictions on "electronic devices". For example, on Heathrow Airport's site they say: Make sure your ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

Why is my neck pickup quieter when playing with both pickups?

I have an Epiphone Les Paul and have noticed that when the pickup selector is set to both pickups, my guitar plays very softly from the neck pickup. When I play from the pickups separately the volume ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Silicon vs Germanium Fuzz

Hopefully without starting a holy war I would like to discuss the differences, electronically and sonically, of silicon and Germanium fuzz. This is inspired by my recent birthday present (my precious ...
7
votes
1answer
297 views

What is the nature of the signal between an electric guitar and an amplifier?

I can't seem to find information on this, but what are the properties of the signal passing through the guitar cable? What I mean is, if I were going to make a pedal of some sort, what sort of input ...
7
votes
2answers
624 views

Is it practical (or even beneficial) to put pickup phase switch on Telecaster?

I play three Telecasters, they all have standard single-coil pickups. The oldest of these has a really individual sound when using the middle pick up setting. It is really thin and nasal; great for ...
7
votes
1answer
15k views

What is a piezo pickup and how does it differ to a common pickup?

I have heard of a piezo pickup used in some guitars, like John Petrucci's signature Music Man. What is a piezo pickup and how does it differ to a common pickup?
6
votes
4answers
4k views

How does phantom power work?

I've set up stage monitors that only took 1/4" cables as input, and I took it for granted that they just worked until I realized they did not plug in to the stage's power source. Eventually I learned ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

How does sending MIDI over USB compare to using a dedicated MIDI interface?

Is there an informed comparison between sending MIDI over USB versus directly from MIDI interface on an expansion card - would a MIDI interface on a sound card provide some useful system enhancement ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Bad sound from amp

I get this really bad feedback sounding noise when I play stuff like this, from the beginning of the Free Bird solo, shown in tab: 1 ----18---18---18--------- 2 -18---18---18--------- (All notes ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

What's XLR output impedance?

I read that Line output impedance is about 100 ohm and input about 10k ohm. However I cannot find information about XLR connection (output) impedance (in a preamp, for example). XLR input in mic ...
5
votes
2answers
146 views

2 x Mono vs 1 x Stereo Quality

Two-channel Stereo sound can be provided by two Mono cables, or a single Stereo cable. What differences, whether significant or not, are there between pairing each voltage lead with its own ground ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is this guitar making so much noise?

My brother has an electric guitar which he has not played or even touched for at least fifteen years. It's a cheap strat-like guitar, equipped with three unknown (most likely stock) single coil ...
4
votes
4answers
183 views

Managing batteries for live performances

Many musicians use battery-powered "stomp boxes" and wireless microphones. When do you change the batteries? You can't have a device running out of power halfway through the show. Do people put in ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Visual Sound 1 Spot Power Supply Hum

I am using a Visual Sound 1 Spot power supply to power my pedal board. Every time I plug in my BOSS RC-2 to the power supply I get a hum. If I power the RC-2 with a battery the hum goes away. I have ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Tracking down hum in several amplifiers in a home studio

In my home studio I have several amplifiers: Fender Blues Junior III (guitar combo, all tube) Gallien Krueger MB150E (bass combo, solid state) SWR Studio 220 (bass head, tube preamp) Alesis RA 300 (...
4
votes
1answer
370 views

Why do A/B/Y boxes commonly use AND and OR instead of two toggle buttons?

Here's an example of a common ABY box: Why do these pedals use AND and OR? Is there a technical reason/limitation that causes this to be used over something like a toggle switch for A and a toggle ...
4
votes
2answers
367 views

How to sample live and loop with live musicians without a laptop?

I'm a musician in a live band that plays folkadelic music. Folkadelic music is played by bands like Kila or Shooglenifty. Instrument mix is acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, bass, drum kit ...
3
votes
3answers
905 views

What makes different tube amp heads different?

I want to make my orange dual terror have that chimey/glassy sound that an VOX AC 30 has, i know amp heads have circuit boards and tubes, but my question is, what makes a tube amp sound different then ...
3
votes
4answers
35k views

Can you use any footswitch on any amplifier?

For example, if I have an amplifier that comes with a 4-button footswitch (2 cables for this footswitch), can I use just any footswitch in the store with 2 buttons (1 cable) and just plug 2 2-button ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Do vintage guitar amplifiers really sound better when run at lower voltages?

I got a Marshall JCM800 2203X about a year ago and on the back of the amp it has selectable input voltage settings for 110V, 220V and 230V. Since I live in the US, the voltage that comes out of the ...
3
votes
1answer
645 views

Electric Guitar Jack: How To Get A Nice Fit

I've noticed on several guitars I play, that I will get a satisfying -click- when I plug the jack into the guitar. But on one guitar I own, there is no haptic sensation. You can feel that it barely ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

If I connect audio interface line out to guitar amplifier guitar input, can it damage the audio interface?

Generally audio interface line out is connected to studio monitor speakers. Since i don't have any i was wondering i could use my Marshall 15 W guitar amp as speakers. If I connect audio interface ...
3
votes
1answer
434 views

Electric guitar: why such heavy pots?

From what I've seen the potentiometers in electric guitars tend toward the large sizes, in the sense of physical dimensions, but I don't understand why that should be. For example, wouldn't it be ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

Troubleshooting Roland analog synthesizer's 'moving' dead notes

I have a 1982 Roland Juno-60 'polyphonic' analog synthesizer. Starting about 6 months ago it began having 'moving' dead notes. What I mean by that, is that there is no evidence that any one key is '...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to upgrade entry level guitar to a professional one?

I have old Ibanez GIO Fat-Strat copy and I somewhat like it (the colour and body shape). The frets are worn and keys (tuning machines) are bad quality. Will replacing whole neck (with keys and nut) ...