clean rig totally in red zone

  • I tried these clean rigs from RM, especially chosen because they pretend to be clean.

    Hiwatt DR 103 1972 (gets clipping in orange)

    Ampeg J20 Clean (clips also a bit)

    DP 1967 Vibrolux Clean (no clipping, but also no volume...)

    DP Bad Kitty Clean (clips a bit)

    MESA MARK V Clean (with chorus) right output without clipping but..


    All of these rigs I play in my study and with my volume pedal to toe, rig volume at 0 dB, mixing desk channel gain at 15 dB and fader at 0 dB, mixing master volume at almost 0 dB, I can start a discussion without any problem! BTW I have two 100 W KRK Rokit 6 studio monitors connected to the mixing desk. My cab is turned off.

    I would expect that I would run from here because of the loudness. None whatsoever.

    I fear the next gig.

  • I don't has a Les Paul but I just tried with a PRS DGT which has vintage sounding PAF type humbuckers.


    With clean sens on 0 the DR103 rig clips for me too with guitar volume up. Particularly on the bridge pickup. The neck isn't so bad. I normally run my clean sens around -5 to -7 to stop clipping and have the clean and distorted rigs balance well in volume. I don't have any guitars with particularly high output pickups. Even at -5 it still clips a little.


    The Ampeg J20 clips badly. It doesn't help that the volume in the Amp stack is boosted 4.8db. If I reduce that to 0db it is a good bit better but still clips.


    I can't find the two DP rigs in Rig Exchange.


    I'm not sure which Mesa Mark V Clean Profile you are using. Is it the Clean+ by Steph.L with the comment pull me under? If so the reason it isn't clipping is the compressor in Stomp A. If you turn off the stomp and effects blocks completely it clips like crazy too if you play hard.


    It seems like a large part of the problem is the profiles themselves.


    Try loading any profile then completely turn off the Stomps, Amp and Effects block so you just have a direct signal. Now play normally. Is this clipping. If so turn down the clean sens until it stops. Now turn on just the Amp block (all parts Amp, EQ and Cabinet). How does it sound. In my case the Mark V profile only clips very slightly if I really smack the strings. Under normal playing it is fine.


    As another experiment try going to the Factory content in Rig Manager's Rig Packs folder. Rank the rigs by gain with lowest at the top. The first rig should be TJ - Fan BM Cln-3 and the fourth rig should be TAF - Fan D'Lux Clean. Try those two. In my case with clean sens at 0 they will clip. However, with clean sens at -5 I have to REALLY hammer the strings to get them to clip at all.


    Also bear in mind that the clean sounds you are used to hearing on records are very rarely actually clean. Yes there is a difference between hard clipping of the input converters and the natural clipping of a tube amp but you might be pleasantly surprised how clean a rig with a little bit of gain actually sounds in a band context.


    Tim Pierce did a great video on this which you might find helpful.



  • It seems like a large part of the problem is the profiles themselves.

    That might be the problem. I'm gonna try a bunch of other profiles in the Factory, as you suggested. And of course also those two you mention. BTW this is that MARK V profile I used : https://ibb.co/KDZrvWN


    I know now that clean is not always clean. But for a number of songs I just want a clean sound without any distortion and also any volume as I please to stand up next to a solo or band volume, like in this small clip. https://soundcloud.com/theplayer-3/clean


    I took my old dusty Line 6 VETTA head with my 4*12 Line 6 cab from the attic and tried this again, using the same cables: LOUD (!) in stereo and practically no clipping. Comparing this amp to my KPA it's best to use an old phrase in that old song HELP from the Beatles, with a small variant : My KPA seems to vanish in the haze....

  • Yes that is the Mark V profile I used.


    I understand what you are saying about needing totally clean sometimes and yes some things do use totally clean sounds. In the 80's it was really common to record straight into the desk with no amp for really clean sounds.


    There is definitely something wrong in your case because there is no way your KPA should vanish in the haze. I use mine in rehearsals plugged straight into the PA with no cabinet beside me to provide additional monitor volume. Last rehearsal I was greeted by a chorus of "turn down!!!!" when I plugged in but before I started setting levels ^^

  • You're right when you say that there must be something wrong but I can't put my finger on it. I've learned that about -12 dB is perfect for main volume setting so I leave it there. One way or the other: the mixing desk receives a much to high guitar signal, even when the channel gain on the mixing desk is set all the way down, to -10 dB.


    You also experienced that a numer of clean profiles are badly clipping so these are no good. So it's digging into RM to find good ones...


    Still a good clean profile should have more than enough headroom (volume) without clipping for the rhythm part to compete with a solo part in a song. Otherwise you'll end up with a big volume gap between these two during playing. Balance is the keyword here, with a slight volume increase for that solo part. This means that there has to be room left for pressing a volume pedal to toe position for this.

    That's why my volume pedal is set to 2.3 on heel position for rhythm . But my volume pot is set to the max.

    Keeping my volume pot around 5 to stay clean (without clipping) decreases volume even more or am I wrong here..?

  • What you are describing is probably best described as Gain Staging. You are obviously correct hat the clean part needs to be loud enough to stand up in the overall mix. However, the key is not to create distortion at any point in the signal chain. So turning down the levels at one stage allows you to increase the levels at another point and bring the overall level up to what you require. If you turn down the level on the KPA input (using clean sens) add a compressor in the early stomp slots etc, then you have more headroom later in the chain to turn up the rig volume or the mixer gain to make everything balance.


    When it comes to the guitar volume it varies from guitar to guitar. Lowering the guitar's volume knob is a great way to ensure clean sounds remain clean/ In fact my favourite clean sounds often come from slightly dirty profiles (or real amps) with the guitar volume turned down a little. This works great on Fender style guitars but is often not so good on Les Pauls. With a Fended the sound tends to stay bright even with the volume knob turned down. However, on Gibson style guitars the tone tends to get quite muddy as the volume knob is reduced. Some guitars with humbuckers include what is often referred to as a Treble bleed mod (a simple capacitor on the volume knob) that makes the tone stay bright (or even become brighte)r as the volume knob is turned down. As you can see there are a lot of variables that can affect the end result and some of it is just personal taste. Some people like the way a LP gets darker as the volume is rolled back while others find it drives them crazy.


    I have never used a volume pedal. I do however, use the guitar volume knob all the time. This doesn't mean using a volume pedal is wrong, merely that different approaches achieve different results and sometimes there are multiple ways of achieving the same (or similar end result).


    Are you still using the Clean Sens at 0?


    My first recommendation would be to experiment with this control. Set at 0 it is pretty much unusable for me but some others find it works for them. Someone once told me (I think it was paults - most good ideas I get seem to come from him :)) to take a profile and set the gain to 0. Now also set the Clean Sens to 0. Listen to how it sounds. Turn up the Gain. If the sound get louder (as in too loud) when you turn up the gain the Clean Sens is too low. Increase clean Sens until the levels stay roughly constant as the gain is increased. To hear the opposite effect and get a sense of perspective try setting the Clean sens to max. Now with the gain at 0 the clean sounds should be WAYYYY louder than the dirty sounds i.e. as you increase the gain the volume should reduce. This will give you an idea of ho powerful the Clean Sens control is. If you are leaving it set too high there is a much greater chance of clipping. Remember that you need to try this test at the overall volume you are likely to be playing at as our ears can trick us a low volumes.


    Also, you mentioned several times that main outs are set at -12db. What is the actual main out set to though. The -12db means it reduces the actual volume setting by 12db not that it sends a signal of constantly -12db. If your mixer inputs are particularly sensitive you might need to reduce the Main output from 0db to something they can handle then balance the levels of the individual rigs using the rig volume.

  • It is unfortunately, fairly common for people to turn up the volume of their profiles to try and make them stand out on the basis that we generally perceive louder as better.

    yes some people don't seem to understand the difference that louder can be better til distortion happens then its bad . As bad as it can be... I met some newbies like that along the way. Ex: in studio they say OK more volume on the bass , ok now boost the drum too ... ok we dont hear the voice can you boost it? Alright now more guitar now we dont hear it .... alright now the bass is too much behind can you boost the bass? allright and also the drum boost the drum ? gee man... how come we hear distortion????? (maybe some people will recognize themself I dont know but if you mix like that this is WRONG !!!!!!!)

  • How's your KPA connected to the mixing desk? XLR? If yes keep in mind that some mixing desks automatically engage mic preamps when seeing XLR. This can drive the desk easily into the red zone (audio interfaces as well btw). Try TS cables instead.

    I could have farted and it would have sounded good! (Brian Johnson)

  • How's your KPA connected to the mixing desk? XLR? If yes keep in mind that some mixing desks automatically engage mic preamps when seeing XLR. This can drive the desk easily into the red zone (audio interfaces as well btw). Try TS cables instead.

    Hi Kempermaniac. Connection by two TS cables from main outs into two inputs. My cab though can go loud but of course it can not show clipping.

  • Personally I think that if you having such a problem with a profile, ditch it and move on rather than start trying to make it work by changing significantly clean sense etc.


    I haven;t touched mine and have a some nice clean profiles.


    Plenty out there...

  • I have been studying all your useful tips, suggestions and recommendations. Every time it's clear to me a lot of you have a profound theoretical background knowledge, so I take a deep bow for you. You all are great to learn from and have a good sense of humour as well. What an awesome combination!

    And I learned a lot here in the past years. So it can't be said enough: Thank you!


    Anyway it's seems obvious that I have chosen the wrong clean profiles or at least use them in a wrong way. One of your useful tips is to reduce output level on my guitar. So this indeed results in decreasing level meters on the mixing desk. Still I can increase volume with the faders, without clipping.


    I took also the liberty to seek for other clean profiles and found several others which are better and even without clipping, and also with the addition of fx. For this I will keep in mind how to control exessive volume increase when use fx.


    The problem occured just with the mixing desk (so without the use of my cab) and I believe I can solve that now. As for my cab. That can still go loud and though it's not to control for any clipping there, the mixing desk instead will function for my as a reference for keeping everything nice within the green section.

  • I'm glad you're looking at different profiles, that's definitely the way to go. There are some really good ones out there that will cure your problem with ease.


    I put one of my nicer clean rigs to the test for the heck of it after reading this fun and illuminating thread (man, you're right, there are some out there with amazing technical knowledge). I maxed out everything from guitar volume, pure booster, rig volume, EQ, compressor - and I could not make anything glow red!