Does anyone recall the sensations of awe at hearing and, mayhap more importantly, *seeing* those tower totems of pure powered amplification? Cabinet upon cabinet, head upon head, and bels to spare; ahh, the glory of tonal overbearing.
What better way to decorate your vinyl-stocked den than with
wallpaper to commemorate the definitive sound of the era? Authentic cabinet and head faces, replete with simulated road wear; scratches, speaeker cone gouges, missing knobs, etc. Go on, touch your lips to the "microphone". That jolt you just got is true-to-life electrical current, same as any guitar-weilding stoner might get if his amps were improperly grounded/out of phase. And that noise you hear is the only one of it's kind; a hot tube amp turned up to 11 with 60-cycle hum. Ahh, the nostalgia.-- absterge,
Jan 17 2001
(?) Line 6 pod
http://www.line6.com/PODxt/A fantastic bit of kit. All singing all dancing. [sufc, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
All together now: "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?":-)-- hippo,
Jan 17 2001
Can't find an authoritative reference, but most of those humongous stacks used by the big guitar bands are just empty cabinets. Marshall makes 'em, but they sure don't advertise them...-- rmutt,
Jan 20 2001
You could also do the Grateful Dead's wall of sound, which is the largest PA ever constructed. That way, you don't limit it to the guitar amp--you get the whole thing, shocks and all.
A microphone is never plugged into an amp, so you sort of lost me there. Well, it GOES through amps, but only after it goes through a lot of processing equipment. Anyway, I know what you mean. Sort of. The shock factor is definitely there, but why not put the whole thing on the wall, instead of just a guitar amp...
Hell, what do I know. I can't even play a damn kazoo!-- rachele,
Jan 20 2001
I believe [rmutt] is correct. I have heard that many bands will have a wall of amps on stage, but sitting behind it all they have mic'ed a normal sized, high-quality amp (with a name that most pople never heard of) and pump that though the soundboard for mixing to the PA. At least that is what the guy who sold me my no-name amp said.-- blahginger,
Jan 20 2001
Here's what's up. Yes, rmutt has the right idea. Lots of touring bands use empty cabinets in their stage shows even as they rely on "those high-quality amps most people never heard of" for sound--i.e., Mesa Boogie, Fender (which EVERYONE has heard of), etc. Why? For show, yes, but also to preserve their hearing. Pete Townshend learned the hard way that real stacks, like Hi-Watt, make you deaf. Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes has used, live, a small, mic'd amp behind his stack of six Marshall cabinets, and in doing so, achieved a clear, crisp sound at a reasonable volume. The appearance is that of an impressive rock 'n roll stack, though it's kinda stupid, too, considering it's painted with winged figures and that sort of kitsch. But they did pay full price for their once-loaded Marshall stacks. (My husband told me this--he's friends with these goobers.) Once you take the components out, shipping and load-ins are a lot easier. Unfortunately, they listened to their guitar through a PA monitor. Maybe they like it that way, but in my opinion, real guitarists use an amp on stage that achieves their sound without having to run through endless busses. Examples: Stevie Ray Vaughan used a 100-watt, 4-12" Orange amp; Mike Houser of Widespread Panic uses a 4-12 Soldano; and Jerry Garcia used a Fender Twin/Mesa Boogie combination with custom guitars and tons of processing--stuff that most of us probably couldn't comprehend. Oh, and Dread Zeppelin used 12-inch Fender Champs. No, really.-- rachele,
Jan 21 2001
Actually, there's at least one type of musician who DOES plug a mike into an amp: a harmonica player (which is what I happen to be, BTW). My combo is a Shure 520DX mike (1/4" jack) and a top-end Marshall 30-watt tube amp for most small gigs. From there, I patch it into the PA using the Line Out jack. My guitar player does the same with his Fender Twin.
Incidentally, the reason most professional musicians use a Line Out jack is because it eliminates the need to use a microphone to patch it into the PA. Normally, the Line Out jack is a lot cleaner than a microphone- nobody's going to knock it over, you're not going to blow the diaphragm out of it, and the sound reproduction is much more accurate than a microphone.
Of course, if you're lucky enough to own an old Fender 20-watt tube amp (c. 1960's) or similar, built before anyone thought of using a Line Out jack, you have to mike the thing. It's worth it sometimes, though. We used one on our upcoming CD, which we just recorded- best damn guitar tones I've heard in a long while.
Marshall still makes the huge stacks and actually does advertise them as well. Check out any new Marshall catalog- they still make the huge cabinets (usually with 2 or 4 12" speakers minimum, if not 15"), and they still work in series as well.
A lot of the bands do use empty cabinets, but it depends on the dynamics of the stage. Because monitors don't give you anything but the dry sound without effects, a lot of players will use slightly larger amps on bigger stages so they can hear their tones without having to pump things through the monitors- which sounds awful. Full Marshall stacks, though? It's doubtful.
I've seen players hook up several actual cabinets (not empty ones) and then connect the amplifier head to only one or two of them, rather than just use empty cabinets. Our bass player sometimes does this on larger stages just to make the stage look a bit more full without ruining the chances of fatherhood for the rest of the band <g>.
However, he gets to cart them around by himself when we don't use roadies- he's got 2 Mesa Boogie stacks with 4 15" speakers each, so this is a bit of work. To pay full price for an empty Marshall cabinet or head just doesn't make much sense, especially when most larger gigs supply their own roadies and stagehands who will cart the entire stack around for you in any case. Some stagehands actually get a hell of a kick out of setting up Marshall stacks- I knew several that would argue over the privilege when I was a stagehand myself.
Whether you use empty cabinets or simply don't plug the extra cabinets in, either option is easier on the ears than playing through a huge stack of speakers. I know one person (a local guitar player) who actually DOES always play through all 4 of his 4x12" Marshall stacks (yes- that's 16 speakers in all). He's lost 50% of his hearing in each ear, and he's 25 years old. What a waste.-- BigThor,
Jan 22 2001
yes, waugsqueke! you've got it! hahaha...
actually, rachele, with the little rig that our (me and my bro's) band has, we'll sometimes run vocals through one amp and the instruments through seperate ones (that is, ~1964 fender tube amps on various custom [read:DIY] cabinets). (obviously, we've never played any *huge* venues)-- absterge,
Jan 22 2001
Yes hippo, but THESE ones go up to ELEVEN-- Scarth,
Apr 01 2001
Excuse me, could you repeat that?-- whatsbruin,
Sep 06 2001
1) Line out into the board generally doesn't sound half as good as a properly miked amp, miking amp is still THE prefered technique in the studio and live because speakers are actually part of the alchemy that creates good guitar tone, some direct boxes like Line6's POD however do produce some very usable tone straight in the board thanks to speaker emulation algorythms, much better than line out.
2) Having had access to the technical riders of hundreds of top touring act I can tell you that almost every guitarist has his own particular setup and even if some bands display speakers for visual effects, mostly they will use from 1 to 4 cabs for real monitoring.
3) Monitors sounding awful and not being effected, that must have been one of your very own painful experiences....
4) Mesa Boogie never made 4x15, Marshall stopped making them in the 70's, How old are you??
5) Playing a full stack on 10 IS harmful to the ears and you WILL loose some hearing every year.. ...but not 50%, come on!-- fantomaz,
Jan 10 2002