Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 6 months ago

Amp terminology?

I don’t know what mid ranges are, precense, master volume, all of those things and more. Can somebody explain?

3 Answers

  • 6 months ago

    There are four divisions in frequencies by amp makers. From a bass tone to high pitch, they are bass, mid, high and presence. The guitar is a mid range instrument. The tone knob on the guitar affects the highs and presence. Not all amps control all those frequencies. Some amps have more than once channel. If an amp has more than one channel, then it may have a master volume which allows one to set each channel to a different volume. Increasing the channel volume can increase the distortion and the master volume can make the sound coming out of the speakers more tolerable to one's hearing and neighbors.

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  • Tony B
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    I hope you know what a tone control does - turning one down gets rid of treble frequencies and makes the sound less bright and more dull.

    Treble, middle and bass controls affect the tone but in a more specific way - each set of frequencies can be turned down (and sometimes turned up or boosted). Bass affects the low frequencies, treble affects the high frequencies and middle affects those in between. Not all amps have a middle control. These controls affect the overall tone of whatever the amp is amplifying, not individual instruments or notes. For example, turning down the treble will affect the sound of a bass guitar just as much as it would a piccolo.

    Tone controls work on the preamp, before the signal reaches the power amp. The presence control is part of the power amp circuitry and boosts the higher frequencies. The effect is usually quite subtle. Again, not all amps have a presence control.

    A master volume control affects the overall volume (loudness) of the whole amplifier. Some amps simply have a volume control. Usually turning it up high results in the amp distorting or overdriving. That's a sound that lots of guitarists want. The problem is that with something like a 100 watt valve amp the volume had to be deafening before there was any overdrive. Nowadays there is usually a “channel volume” or “gain” or “preamp volume” control that allows overdrive at low volume - turn the preamp/gain up and then use the master volume control to set the overall volume you want - overdrive at a reasonable level. For a clean sound, turn the preamp/gain control down and readjust the master volume.

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  • 6 months ago

    Bass, mid, presence and treble are tone controls - they allow you to adjust the relative levels of notes or sounds at different parts of the audio spectrum. Low, medium, medium-high and high respectively.

    Gain, in eg. a guitar amp, sets the input level to the preamplifier and tone stages.

    Using too high a gain or input level accidentally causes distortion or "clipping". That can be unwanted, or with a guitar it's "overdrive", deliberately excess level causing distortion and a fuzzy sound.

    Guitar amps may have switchable input channels with different gain controls for clean or distorted sounds, or a switch that changes the range of the one gain control between normal and high.

    The master volume sets the level sent to the power amp and loudspeaker, and how loud you hear the amp.

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