[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Why it has to be played loud

hi all,

i think the sonic qualities of guitar amplifiers turned up really loud have mostly to do with what Brian suggests -- but in an engineering sense, when you turn up the gain, it allows the electronics to be "saturated" -- i.e., you fill the bandwidth and drive the circuitry at or near its peak. i'm not an electrical engineer, but i would imagine that there is some principle in amplifier design models where they test peak efficiency, i.e., the amp is performing best when it's louder.

when recording guitar amps (especially ones with vacuum tubes), we typically isolate them in their own room, crank 'em up, and have the player in another room (because it would be too loud in the room for a human to be present). :)

i think there is a physicality to loud sounds that lends itself to rock music. feeling my bass amp pushing air through the plugs on the back of the speaker cabinet is pretty inspiring.

also, i think if we reduce so-called "classical music" to being nothing more than resolutions of dissonances, we are missing the large-scale formal structures that makes music from 1600-1900 beautiful. the true art in traditional western art music is in the key relationships and form, not localized resolutions of dissonances.


On Fri, 24 Sep 2010, Brian Gygi wrote:
I know from my experience as a "rock" musician that there are certain amplifiers (Mesa Boogie, Gallien-Kruger and Marshall seem to be the best examples) which sound their best when the gain is nearly at full. The harmonics are richer, and there is an edge to the sound that is just not present at lower settings. In fact, one G-K amp I had sounded fabulous right before it caught on fire (really). I don't know if this is a conscious engineering design (I suspect so) but I have found it's pretty reliable. That's why the joke about "turning the amp to 11" in Spinal Tap had such resonance.

-----Original Message-----
From: Laszlo Toth [mailto:tothl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 12:28 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Hearing Loss "False Positives"

On Thu, 23 Sep 2010, reinifrosch@xxxxxxxxxx wrote:> Old guys with undamaged hair cells have the advantage that they can fully> enjoy classical tonal music with its change from dissonant to consonant> chords and back. According to the Helmholtz consonance theory that> change is due to the presence or absence of beats generated by pairs of> partial tones of almost equal frequencies. These partials tend to be> soft, and their frequencies tend to be high.Do you know the answer to the opposite: why is rock music more enjoyableloud? I think that it would be important to understand. Laszlo Toth Hungarian Academy of Sciences * Research Group on Artificial Intelligence * "Failure only begins e-mail: tothl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx * when you stop trying" http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/~tothl *

dr. matthew mccabe  <mccabe_matthew@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
visiting assistant professor  ::  music technology  ::  columbus state university
office:  schwob school of music 2706  ::  phone:  706-452-1337 :: fax 706-256-9555