Big Muff sounds great through Princeton but bad through Mesa?

BenTobith

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
62
Reaction score
32
I recently switched from a Princeton Reverb to a Mesa/Boogie California Tweed.

The Mesa is fantastic. Between the two amps, the EQ on the Princeton is practically nonexistent, whereas it is extremely sensitive to both guitars/pickups and pedals on the Mesa. It is definitely a tweaker's amp. This is mostly good...

One pedal that sounded amazing "as-is" through a Princeton with the EQ on 5 was the OpAmp Big Muff (reissue). It was the aggressive Siamese Dream tone I explicitly purchased the pedal to recreate. It was a simple setup and easy to get that sound. But through the Mesa, at least with the amp set to a particular cleanish tone, the OpAmp Big Muff sounds terrible. The best way to describe it would be lifeless, muddy, and washed out. It sounds almost too quiet, as well, as if something was muffling its output (no pun intended).
Has anyone else experienced something like this, and has tips or advice on where to adjust? I tried fiddling around with the EQ on the pedal and the amp, but could never really get "that sound" back, which was so easy to tap into on other amps.

Is there a technical explanation behind this I'm missing?

Thanks for any help!
 

TDA1966

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2012
Messages
1,149
Reaction score
1,247
Princeton Reverbs and most other all tube Fenders are well known as great pedal platforms.
 

BenTobith

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
62
Reaction score
32
This is normal. Some amps and pedals are best friends, some of them hate each other.

Yeah, essentially it seems to be both a headroom and mid scoop issue. Now that I've figured out a better EQ for me with this amp (way more Mids), as long as I'm on 20 watts or higher it sounds fine.
 

Flaps

New Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
12
I have a bit of trouble with my Big Muff sometimes, I have to turn the gain right down on the amp or there is some feedback. I've had the same with a Boss distortion pedal too. Only a cheap amp though.
 

Westernrider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2014
Messages
406
Reaction score
281
Location
Mid South
Have you tried a Fuzzface?

As noted before, some amp and pedals go together really well and some don't....
I had a nice OCD that wouldn't play nice with my Mesa Express yet my FD2 is incredible with that amp.
 

Flaps

New Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
12
I have a bit of trouble with my Big Muff sometimes, I have to turn the gain right down on the amp or there is some feedback. I've had the same with a Boss distortion pedal too. Only a cheap amp though.

Just to update - The cheap amp was a Micro Terror and the Muff is a Tone Wicker. I've since upgraded to a Rocker Terror 15 and 1x12 closed cab and the pedals still aren't very quiet. I'm going to sell both the pedals as I prefer the gain from the amp now anyway.
 

Joncaster

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
78
Reaction score
77
There's a relationship i've found when building big muffs and the amp i'm currently tweaking.
It has to do with both the gain staging and tone control section of the amp.
The tone section can make a fuzz or muff sound really weird and unbalanced due to phase shift.
The gain staging being setup to introduce too much asymmetrical clipping can make an already square waved signal have too much octave-effect happening, etc.

The two fixes for this, I've found, are to run the amp a bit more driven, so the internal gain stages don't get too lop-sided (they start evening out as you get more amp clipping),
and to use less EQ in the amp. So, an amp that has very basic passive filters has less chance of doing weird things to a heavily distorted input signal.
You can turn the mids up so it's less scooped, and that might also make the phase angle more consistent...still a working theory on that, though.
The Mesa will have some cold-clipping action and heavier tone stacks and filtering. The Orange will be a simpler circuit all round.

The only fix for the noise a big muff produces is to strap a germanium diode across the diode stack of the second BJT gain stage. Reduces it a lot (with slight loss in gain, but you're now running your amp harder).
The other way is a gate, but I hate gates in general.
 


Latest posts

Top