This must be good or better - it's expensive, new, great, ....

  • Problem:
    How to find out which amp, effect, profile,... sounds best?

    Why is it a problem?
    If we compare an inexpensive amp, effect device or whatever with and expensive one - a lot of strange things happened:
    -Most of us assume that the more expensive gear MUST sound better
    -So we actually play better with the more expensive gear when we compare
    -In many cases is the better amp, effect... only louder (an old trick in any shop to sell you a more expensive amp)

    I recently compared an very expensive boost pedal (400Euro) with my old boost pedal (129Euro) - and the more expansive one sounded much better!
    I was fooled too - I should have known better.

    1) If you check an amp, profile, effect or whatever - don't play your guitar into all this gear!
    Yes, play a very short riff or chords (max 5 seconds) into a looper pedal

    By using the looper you eliminate player better with the great gear.

    2) Use a foot switcher to be able to switch between the devices under test - don't plug cables.
    The ears are fooled very fast - so you need to instantly switch between the different gear.
    (For profiles put the ones to compare side by side - e.g. create a performance - don't browse thru your rigs)

    3) Our ears are fooled by loudness.
    To be able to compare amps, effects, profiles, ...
    The audio level must be the same - elsewhere will the louder win (in most cases) - and surely if they sound very close or even the same.
    Any audio meter will do - today there are level meters available for our smartphones.
    You need to match all level within 0.1db!

    You may find that some profiles are only louder than others - not better.
    Some amps sound the same when you use about the same level, gain and set the EQ similar
    And can surely save a lot of money.

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  • This was also known as the "Producer Knob" back in the old days.

    In the middle of a mix the producer would be micro managing and second guessing. "It needs something" or "It's not quite right". So I would make a show of turning some knobs and simply boost the track a few db. "Ah, that's better!"

    Then remember to turn it back down after the moment has passed.

    The other trick back then was to only buy gear with blinking lights. Lots and lots of blinking lights.

  • Sometimes comparing rigs in KPAland is difficult. Nearly all rigs show flat on the volume, but when you push the "Amp" button and scroll to the "Volume" position, you occasionally find a +5 (give or take.) And sure as sh!t, the louder one sounds better. So I dial it to flat, and re-compare (Bushism.)

  • The oldest trick in the music book. That's the reason the volume goes up 1-2db in a mix during the chorus. Dev's releasing e.g.a new vst compressor and crank the volume in the processed track vs the raw. Hey we enjoy more when our partner moans higher during the act. ^^ So yes louder is better.