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    Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

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    VoodooJeff

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    Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by VoodooJeff on Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:32 am

    We`ve all posted our love for the GM36, and most of us have posted our current rig and compared it to setups of years past. I really wanted to come on here and post up for anyone researching this amp that it is quite possibly the most versatile amp I have ever owned. More than any single brand head (marshall, carvin, Bogner, etc...**As much as I love the H&K, though, it does not sound as good as my Ecstasy did**) and more versatile than any rack set up I`ve had. I`m currently in three very different bands. My rock band is like Tool with an extra spoonful of jazz/fusion, my solo project with my heavy Buckethead/Joe Satriani influences, and a rockabilly/punk band along the lines of Social Distortion and Bad Religion. And guess what? I use the Grandmeister for all three of them.

    *And if any of you will be at NAMM next month, come check out Wathen Audio and the Cryotone tubes. I`ll be at their booth at various times and Don (the head hero/owner/CEO/President of Wathen) will be there to tell you everything there is to know about their amazing tubes. (shameless plug, yes!)
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by bordonbert on Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:10 pm

    Great idea to post for thoughts on this aspect Jeff.  I "sort of" agree with you but I haven't got it quite there yet.  I come from the school of thought which says start with just a guitar, amp and cable and set it up very plainly.  You should be able to do most things with just those.  Then pedals/effects can be added for unusual specific purposes, but sparsely!  I cannot get on with the pedal junkie approach which seems to abound now and says let's see how many pedals we can squeeze onto a double bed sized board and how many leds we can light up at one time.  In a common pub setting it's overkill.  It's really more of an industry nowadays.

    My main criticism of the GM is that I still find the tone controls very, very restricted.  The turning points seem to be vague and the degree of cut/boost very limited at the edges.  I don't understand how they could release such a good amp with such limited or obscure capability to tune it by the most common method.  We have all said many times that the amp can respond to speaker selection, valve choice, guitar tone control tweaking, and the use of the channel voicings with gain/volume settings, but those tone controls continue to elude me!  I find the Presence/Resonance to be more useful tone controls than the controls themselves.

    I have recently started to use my old EQ pedal in the loop as I used to for my Valvetronix and that is now taking a lot of the slightly over emphasised top end off it.  It only needs a sharp drop in the top couple of channels to make a real difference so I am closer to some of the more throaty boutique sounds the Valvetronix did so well.  That was recently posted here as one user's way of getting around the need for valve rolling and I have to say it really helps.  I should really have bothered to try it earlier but I don't really want to start using that as the amp's external tone controls, it should have it's own internal capability.  I just don't seem to be able to find it.

    Do you have some way of getting any real advantage out of those tone controls and increasing the amp's range?
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    VoodooJeff

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by VoodooJeff on Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:51 am

    I can`t say I have really noticed a lack in the tone control range.Not that it isn`t there, I just haven`t noticed. I run a very, very simple rig. Amp, guitar (one volume, no tone knob, three way switch), one pedal in the loop (albeit an Eventide H9), and a wah up front. I turn the guitar volume down a hair on the clean tones to warm it up significantly (did NOT do that in my demo video). My pickups are admittedly super hot (a liquifire in the neck and the D Activator in the bridge) on my main guitar. The next model will be equipped elsewise (most likely a sustainiac and a Mo`Joe). Off the top of my head I couldn`t tell you where my tone controls are set. I turned knobs until I found the tone I wanted and clicked Save Cool
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    bish0p34

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by bish0p34 on Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:44 pm

    It's definitely versatile. I use this for all of my gigs these days, playing metal to funk. VoodooJeff, you mentioned it doesn't sound as good as your Ecstasy...try a Triamp. I have one, but it's just too loud for small clubs. It's more versatile (esp. the MKIII...mine's a MKII) and has another depth to it's tone that the Meister series. Almost like a third dimension. I miss it when I use the GM, but the volume and weight make up for it in a band situation where most people won't hear the difference.

    I also don't notice a lack in the tone control range. I find the knobs offer a great range of control.
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    gravydb

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by gravydb on Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:25 pm

    I'm in the camp that thinks the amp's EQ knobs don't have a big range. At least not compared to prior amps I've owned (mainly Fender). IMO this limits the GM's versatility, and you really need to love the amp's 'native' character because twisting the knobs doesn't change it very much. Fortunately, I happen to love the amp's character and so it's a non-issue for me. Experimenting with the Pres and Res controls is worthwhile as others have mentioned, they help make up for the Bass/Mid/Treb limitations.

    Back in the day I had racks of processing gear... dedicated reverbs, delays, modulation, etc. I can't quite make the statement that the GM is more versatile than those dedicated fx with all their seemingly infinite parameter controls, the GM simply isn't as flexible. However it is WAY more practical and the fx parameters are plenty sufficient for real world applications. And that's coming from a reverb/delay/modulation/ambience junkie Smile

    For me it comes down to "is it versatile enough?" and the answer is YES.
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    VoodooJeff

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by VoodooJeff on Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:29 pm

    bish0p34 wrote:It's definitely versatile. I use this for all of my gigs these days, playing metal to funk. VoodooJeff, you mentioned it doesn't sound as good as your Ecstasy...try a Triamp. I have one, but it's just too loud for small clubs. It's more versatile (esp. the MKIII...mine's a MKII) and has another depth to it's tone that the Meister series. Almost like a third dimension. I miss it when I use the GM, but the volume and weight make up for it in a band situation where most people won't hear the difference.

    I also don't notice a lack in the tone control range. I find the knobs offer a great range of control.

    For certain comparing the Ecstasy to the GM is not really fair. It`s a $1200 amp vs a $3600 head. The Triamp is a beast unmatched by most, and it`s price puts it in boutique company. In all honesty, the Bogner was my all time favorite sounding amp, but a little bit of a one trick pony.

    FWIW, it looks like after NAMM is over I`ll be running two GM36s, in stereo with 2 2x12 cabs and the H9 handling the sound effects (Eventides stereo delays are pretty dang heavenly).

    What I love about the GM is that there`s really nothing it just can`t do. Some amps might do one thing better, but no amp does all things better. And it`s so light and manageable that I really have zero complaints, going back to it being the king of versatility (even over the racks of gear I ran back in 1991 LOL. Not that they couldn`t be dialed in, but it was an exercise in proportion to rocket science)
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    bish0p34

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by bish0p34 on Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:47 pm

    Two GM's at once would be a sweet rig. Especially with an Eventide. The GM's effects are ok. I use them in a pinch, when space was limited. Otherwise I use a TC G Major for mine. I just really want the amp's tones most of the time.

    ConradK

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by ConradK on Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:39 am

    Yeah great amp

    I cut my treble and bass , boost my mids and use an eq pedal in the loop (I cut the last three frequencies) and this sorted the shrillness for me - and means I now cut through the mix - im using what others say is the dreaded celestion vintage 30 speakers but got to say I'm loving the sound for rock, hard rock and blues rock as I have the brightness under control.

    Agreed that the eq is far to subtle - I use the presence knob a lot.

    I'm finally loving the sound I'm getting - I'm playing almost every evening now!
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    billgwx

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by billgwx on Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:40 pm

    gravydb wrote:I'm in the camp that thinks the amp's EQ knobs don't have a big range. At least not compared to prior amps I've owned (mainly Fender). IMO this limits the GM's versatility, and you really need to love the amp's 'native' character because twisting the knobs doesn't change it very much.

    I had read elsewhere (maybe even somewhere in this forum?) that the tone controls of the GM36 and TM36 operate such that their lowest settings are their "flat" EQ, so you can only add and not take away bass/mids/treble. Yesterday, with the Clean channel on my TM36 I found that when I cranked the gain and master just shy of breakup, the overall tone was better and the tone controls were more responsive, and that was with a lowly 1W power soak. Maybe it gets even better at 5/18/36W? I don't know yet...
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:11 am

    All passive tone controls work by subtracting something, that's all they can do.  Only active controls set up around an active device with gain, (opamp, valve, jfet, bjt etc), can add i.e. increase the level.  (For those interested, that's why James and Baxandall types differ despite being exactly the same configuration of passive components.)  For what it's worth I'm working my way through a few areas of the amp to get to grips with this sort of thing.  Attached is a simplified version which is what I reckon the tone control section looks like.  Don't expect me to block out the whole amp!!!!  It's mega-complicated.  Tone controlwise, it's basically a Marshall setup with a few refinements.

    Firstly, the values for the pots are restricted due to them being from a small range of digitally controlled types, 20k 50k or 200k.  Everything else must work around this and any compromises this forces on the designers must be accepted.

    Secondly, some of the values are made switchable with reed relays to subtly change the frequencies of the controls presumably for different channels.  This is in line with H&K saying they voice each channel differently.  Believe me when I say there is a lot more additional switched voicing for each channel outside of this area which I have not gone into yet.  They've done extensive work on this aspect.  SW1-A increases the value of C2 by adding or removing the high value resistor R4 to C3 making it effectively inactive.  At the same time Sw1-B drops the value of R2 by putting R1 in parallel, and it also puts C1 into the circuit by shorting the high value resistor in series with it.  The circuit is complicated by the fact that there is a DC voltage reference added in there which introduces switching pops with capacitors, so R3 R4 and R5 are very high values and probably only there to prevent that by maintaining charge levels in the caps.

    If you plug in the basic values into the Duncan Amplification Tone Stack Calculator you will see that the amp is optimally flat with the Bass and Treble around 3% and the Middle at 81%.  That setup of Bass/Treble very low, Middle very high is normal for this sort of configuration though the Middle level is usually higher than that.  By flat I mean that it is electrically flat in its frequency response, that will not sound flat to our ears!  If you don't have the Duncan software you can get it free here:  Duncan TSC Download
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:37 am

    Just for reference here are screengrabs of the Duncan TSC plots for each of the controls with the others held at 50% rotation and the control under test set at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.  The pots are all linear taper which goes against normal practice but is all that is available.  This isn't the definitive word on the subject but it is useful.

    Notice that the Bass does not affect the treble but cuts the middle a tad when it is boosted and vice versa.  The middle lifts both bass and treble in the same direction as it is trimmed.  The treble affects the bass in the opposite direction as it is trimmed.




    EDIT:  I did a rethink of this setup and realised that the guys from H&K were pretty good so would have taken care of the external details which I could not get at.  In these passive circuits output impedance of the preceding driver circuitry and input impedance of the following part would make a real difference to the shape of the curves.  I dropped the driving impedance and upped the load impedance to more what I could see and things took a much more impressive turn.  There is now much less interaction between the areas when the Bass and Treble are used, that aspect is even better than in the Marshall setup it's paralleling.  The Middle still alters the Treble but that is unavoidable with the stacked configuration.  Remember, throughout each test the other two controls are held at 50%.

    It looks as though the best way to approach this is what I remember having discussed with others before, set all controls to 50% as though that was flat and proceed from there.

    I've replaced the original pics with the updated ones with lower driving and higher load impedance in order to save server space.
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    stargazer747

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    Versatile, HELL YEAH!

    Post by stargazer747 on Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:12 am

    This being my first tube amp (almost embarrassed to say that since I've been playing 37 yrs) I definitely feel its the most versatile in that its loud for a little guy, built in array of FX, and controllable via remote apps for apple, android, and windows devices. It changed my way I was playing guitar to being more in tune with my picking attack and gaining more control of the overall sound settings, even had me go back to using foot pedals which I had almost abandoned. It does have a brighter trebly side to the equalization than other tube amps I've tried among the same lunchbox class, but its easily compensated for by adjusting guitar's tone pot or on the amp itself, although I've noticed moving from the two 112s cabs that I was using with it (EVH 5150III Celestion Heritage & Blackstar HT Venue Celestion Seventy80) over to this Marshall 412 with Celestion G12s that shrill seems to have diminished, a 412 definitely gives more bottom therefore balancing out equalization.

    I am totally satisfied with choosing this amp for my main rig and have begun selling off all my other stuff, except the Fender Mustang III 100W combo in white, its a great practice amp yet versatile enough in its own right and very loud (12" Celestion Seventy80 in this amp) to go from home practicing, to garage band rehearsing, to outright live performances. I am thankful for this forum and for all the members for being major sources of information that has helped me a lot in my transitioning from solid state amps to all out tube head. Your ideas and tips are all downright indispensable!
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    chiliphil1

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    Re: Possibly the most versatile amp out there?

    Post by chiliphil1 on Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:19 pm

    I tend to agree. Back a couple of years ago when I was nieve about amps I wanted something that would compare to modeling. I wanted to have a stellar clean, a great classic rock, 80's rock, modern metal, all in the same amp. At the time modeling was the only choice I had.

    I ventured into tube amps and was a die hard Marshall man (still love Marshall) and had a JVM. That amp would do pretty much anything but the very high levels of noise and the constant feedback on the high gain channels made it a "not so great" choice.

    Finally came across the GM36 and ironically traded a JCM 800 for it. I now have that unicorn which I always wanted. Back when I was nieve and wanted something that didn't exist without a massive pedal board. It's all in the box, great tones to cover any need, effects, noise gate, etc. Just a fantastic amp and I really cannot complain.

    With the GM212 cabinet I am constantly shocked at just how full the sound is though this amp. I have now also swapped out those v30's for K100's and it's even better now.

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