AmpStamp V1.4 – Legendary Tone

We think you’re going to love this next revision of AmpStamp, version 1.4. It’s vintage gear done right so you can sound closer to recorded tones, more than ever before. There are so many sounds packed into this release we didn’t know where to begin so lets just start by giving an overview of what’s new. Stay tuned for more detail about how to achieve some seriously legendary tones with our Classic Sounds Series.

Classic Combo

VG207A AmplifierWe’re sure by now that you’ve heard of the mojo tweed amplifiers can add to your playing. Loaded with an upgraded speaker (VG 1X12C 15W ’68 Cabinet), this amp will place you in one of several places… a hot studio in Miami recording some assorted love songs, the studio scene in LA circa 1976/77, or amidst the second guitar revolution that was launched in 1978. Regardless of the year, the tone is unmistakable so make sure to check out the VG207A Amplifier, you won’t be disappointed.

Another 100W Cabinet?

VG 4X12B 100W '73 CabinetYou heard us right, we have another 100W cabinet. This time capturing classic tone from 1973. This cabinet barks and howls at exactly the right moments bringing you instantly into it’s sonic temple. From quiet finger-picked passages to blistering leads and everything in between, make sure to check out the VG4X12B100W73 Cabinet.

Heavy Fuzz

FZ104A FuzzSpeaking of blistering leads, get ready for some serious fuzz with the FZ104A Fuzz. What’s most impressive is how different this pedal sounds depending on which amplifier it’s being run through. We encourage experimentation and think you’ll find some really interesting tones. Turning the tone down will add more bass helping to overdrive small combos while turning it up will yield a high end sizzle ready to cut through any mix.

Ultimate Phaser

PH102B PhaserLast but not least is this awesome pedal, the PH102B Phaser. There is a lot going on with this effect. Simply put, it’s two phasers in one. And you can run them in series or parallel, with the latter configuration giving its characteristic deep phasing effect. But that’s just where the fun begins, the second phaser can also be controlled by a second LFO. In this configuration setting different speeds for each LFO will provide endless variations on some very unpredictable rhythms. Then, each LFO can be toggled between sine and square waves for even more interesting effects. As if that weren’t enough we’ve also provided a twist that allows the first LFO to be modulated by the second LFO. Needless to say there are a lot of options. Oh and try adjusting LDR sensitivity for a brighter or more mellow sound.

Same Subscription, More Great Products

As always, we think you’ll find that AmpStamp has endless variations of tone to satisfy guitar players in any genre of music. If you’re already a subscriber then thank you! If you haven’t subscribed yet, then hurry up! You’re missing out! Check out our product page for more details and stay tuned for new products.

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Celebrate the Summer of Love

At The Musicology Group we’re constantly searching for vintage gear, listening to classic records, and reading various articles to build a picture of what artists were using in the studio when recording some of their most famous works. Whether trying to assemble a collection of different gear or taking one element and tweaking it to perfection, it has to sound good and it has to sound right.

With that kind of mission statement it’s no less than a miracle when we find the right piece of gear that not only sounds good but sounds right. This is the magic we have captured with the VG 4x12A 100W ’67 Cabinet. Plucked from the confines of a home lost to time, nearly invisible to passerby, it’s what makes for a great quest. We think you’ll agree we have captured the sound of the Summer of Love, the year 1967.

Along with the VG402B Amplifier, your tone will be unmistakably familiar. And you won’t hear it anywhere else as manufacturing techniques and circuit designs after this point went through dramatic change. The intent was to improve upon previous limitations but the result was to isolate a period of rock n’ roll history with a unique sound. Stay tuned as we continue to revisit a long list of classic tones for the electric guitar through our app for iOS, AmpStamp.

AmpStamp V1.3 – Find Your Sound

With this next revision of AmpStamp, version 1.3, we unveil some legendary speakers from the mid-1960’s, offer up one of the first tone shaping effects, and add a tape echo so classic, all delays that followed make reference to this seminal unit.

The Many Uses Of Tape Echo

EC101C Echo

From the first notes from Les Paul to the classic recordings made at Sun Studios in Memphis, treating the guitar with echo quickly became a new tool that all musicians had to learn how to wield. It started with a type of echo referred to as slapback, a short delay (longer than what’s used in chorus effects, but those hadn’t been invented yet) that sounds similar to shouting in a narrow alleyway between two buildings. Almost immediately many in the music technology field realized that with a loop of tape and possibly more than one tape machine, the record and playback heads could be used to add a repeat of what was played. This was at first reserved for studio recordings as most musicians did not carry tape machines for live use, let alone possess the technical skill or bring someone with them who could maintain and operate these units. But then in 1952 the EchoSonic was released, an amplifier with a built-in tape echo effect.

Quite a bit later this was productized into a more portable unit that could be used in a variety of settings. One key improvement that the EchoSonic and its successors had was the ability to feed back the current echo for additional repeats. With a simple potentiometer, variable decay could be dialed in and with a small signal amplifier, the repeats could be sustained and even grow louder! This is usually referred to as runaway sustain or oscillation, as the original signal is reduced to noise it’s an unmistakeable sound.

But what else was it about tape echo that makes it so desirable? Of course, the imperfections. As you dig deeper with the EC101C Echo, we’ve captured several elements that truly make a tape echo sound the way it should. First and foremost, tape is not a perfect medium. When first recording to a new reel of tape any studio engineer will tell you, the tape machine needs to be calibrated. Both frequency and level are not consistent even between two batches of tape from the same manufacturer. Furthermore, after heavy use specifically associated with tape echo effects the constant erasing will degrade the performance of the tape. And so with Tape Quality you can adjust this from near perfect to very poor. Additionally, the motors that drive the reels of tape often suffered from performance issues as well. And so we’ve provided a Wow and Flutter control to help capture some of the more extreme variation that you might experience with an older unit needing some maintenance. Of course, you don’t have to worry about that now, the control is all at the tips of your fingers.

Another 100W Amplifier?

VG402B AmplifierYou heard us right, we have another amplifier that captures classic tone in transition from 1966-67. We think you’re going to love the VG402B Amplifier. It captures the sound of the first super amplifiers with all of the extra Bass and additional part variations that were so common in amplifiers built during this period.

VG 4x12A 100W '67 CabinetBut it would not be complete without the VG 4x12A 100W ’67 Cabinet. This cabinet gives you the legendary sound of near unobtainable speakers. This is the sound of rock n’ roll from the mid-to-late 1960’s. You won’t hear it anywhere else as manufacturing techniques and circuit designs after this point went through dramatic changes. The overall effort was to improve upon previous limitations but the result was to isolate a period of rock n’ roll history with a unique sound, nearly lost for the generations to come.

We have been working hard to bring you the sounds of rock n’ roll history and this is another milestone for us. We can’t wait for you to rock out with this new amplifier and cabinet combination, or for that matter any combination of our gear, with a product this flexible keep an ear out for some classic tones. More on this soon!

Tone Shaping Primer

EQ100 Treble BoostLast but not least, it was also important for us to being our investigation into EQ effects. Tone shaping is a key component to modern day signal chains and whether good or bad, it can have a drastic effect. So like most things at The Musicology Group, we decided to start at the beginning with the EQ100 Treble Boost. This unit is rumored to have been used on some genre-defining recordings, though never confirmed, we couldn’t help but try it for ourselves.

We also added an additional twist to make things interesting of course. Accessing the More Control section, you can flip the effect from a Treble Boost to a Bass Boost and adjust the tone anywhere in between. Boost your solos or just tweak your sound with this first offering, you just might find the tone you’re looking for.

Same Subscription, More Great Products

As always, we think you’ll find that AmpStamp has endless variations of tone to satisfy guitar players in any genre of music. If you are already a subscriber then thank you! If you haven’t subscribed yet, then hurry up! You’re missing out! Check out our product page for more details and stay tuned for new products.

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AmpStamp™

We are excited to announce a new update to our application for guitarists, AmpStamp version 1.2.1!

What’s In A Name, Again

You are probably wondering, another name change? This time we think we landed on the perfect name, something that represents why this application sounds so much better than the competition. And also we wanted to avoid any confusion with the popular TAP-TONE Delay Pedal (please note there are no tone controls on this unit).

Still Real Cabinets, Still Real Sound

After many hours of playing through AmpStamp, testing out different effects, and capturing some classic tones which we will share with you via presets, we realized that effects pedals are only going to sound as good as the amplifier you are playing through. Even further, in most cases, the amplifier is the last piece of the signal chain that imparts its sonic signature most identifiably on your tone. With our technology we are able to stamp your guitar signal with a near perfect representation of the recorded tones of the amplifiers and cabinets that we characterize. We always knew this was the case but the exciting fact that this plays a huge part in your ability to achieve great tone means more great tones are on the way!

Same Subscription, More Great Products

As always, we think you’ll find that AmpStamp has endless variations of tone to satisfy guitar players in any genre of music. If you are already a subscriber then thank you! If you haven’t subscribed yet, then hurry up! You’re missing out! Check out our product page for more details and stay tuned for new products.

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TapTone Vintage Guitar

We are excited to announce the next version of our application for guitarists, TapTone Vintage Guitar version 1.2! There are a few major enhancements that we would like to highlight, overall we think the quality of sound and flexibility has increased to a point where you can now achieve near-perfect tones to match your favorite artists. Here’s what’s new:

What’s In A Name

Most obviously, we have modified the name of the application to avoid any confusion with the print and digital publication Vintage Guitar. Our focus is still on Vintage Gear and we will continue to expand our offerings under the TapTone moniker.

New Gear Shop

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We have updated the Gear Shop to include new models of Amplifiers. We realized that getting a great sounding amplifier for free was a good place to start but found most musicians were looking for ways to achieve tones even closer to their favorite recordings. Similar to how we provide accurate and tweakable models of your favorite pedals, we are now going to include the same level of performance, accuracy, and flexibility with your favorite amplifiers. This includes details that drill down to specific revisions of amplifiers only offered for a few years before changing, stay tuned for some great new products.

Real Cabinets, Real Sound

Of course, with great amplifiers come great speaker cabinets, and so we have also updated the shop to include cabinet simulations that pair with their respective amplifiers. In keeping with our goal of flexibility and performance we are offering new cabinets as individual products so you can mix and match to suit your needs. All amplifiers now come with a Rear Panel that provides extended control which includes a Cabinet Blend control. You can load up to two cabinets and smoothly blend between them, even during live performance.

Our previous Amplifier has now been split into the original Amplifier and Speaker Simulator as a separate product, all for free. The Speaker Simulator has added tone flexibility and can be blended with real speaker cabinets for even more options. We will be slowly revealing some new presets that accurately capture classic tones, sounds that are so good you won’t believe your ears.

Same Subscription, More Great Products

We think you’ll find that TapTone Vintage Guitar has endless variations of tone to satisfy guitar players in any genre of music. If you were already a subscriber then everything we just mentioned here, the new amplifiers, new cabinets, and all of our pedals are available to you today! If you haven’t yet subscribed, hurry up! You’re missing out! Check out our product page for more details and stay tuned for new products.

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The History of Rock n’ Roll Sound

Follow with us as we revisit a long list of classic effects for the electric guitar through our first app for iOS, Vintage Guitar. The history of rock n’ roll sound is at your fingertips.

Free Stuff

First things first, effects were never meant to replace good tone. In fact starting with a great sounding amp is always the best way to get the most out of any pedal. So we decided to give you just that, great tone, for free. As soon as you launch the app you’ll be greeted by our Compressor and Amplifier models that can be used to instantly shape your sound. You might stop there if you want, as good tone can go a long way but we know your creative spirit is ceaseless and will lead you to more experimentation.

Head to the Pedal Shop

From the first batch of transistorized effects to the latest boutique pedals our goal is to experience classic fuzzes and distortions, phase shifters, chorus/flangers, and wahs with a fresh take. With such a long list of great sounds it was difficult to decide where to start, so why not right at the beginning. Starting with the very first transistorized fuzz effect released in 1962 we begin our journey, here’s a look at the current effects available in the Pedal Shop.

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Save Your Sounds

When you first launch the app you’ll see the Floor Controller, the center of your operation. Here you can save, recall, reorder, edit, and delete presets, as well as route any of the knobs/switches or expression pedal to any (and multiple) physical controls modeled in any pedal in your signal chain including the Compressor and Amplifier. This all-in-one pedal is also a classic take on a piece of vintage gear but with much more capability.

Floor Controller

Stay Tuned

With unlimited possibilities for realtime control, a growing list of vintage effects, and an awesome Compressor and Amplifier that you get for free, we think you’ll find that Vintage Guitar has endless variations of tone to satisfy guitar players in any genre of music. Check out our product page for more details and stay tuned for new pedals.

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Classic Sounds: Phase Shifting

Welcome to the first installment of our Classic Sounds series. In this edition we are going to touch upon the history of products that first implemented the effect known as phase shifting and how you can achieve similar sounds with the Digital Filter.

Technology

Traditional phase shifting is accomplished by passing an input signal through a set of All-Pass filters in series and then summing the output with the original input. All-Pass filters do not attenuate the input but like Low- and High- Pass filters, they shift the phase of specific frequencies. Wherever the output is inverted or 180 degrees out of phase with the input signal, a notch will occur in the frequency spectrum. Modulating the corner frequency of these notches creates the effect we know as phase shifting. With two All-Pass filter stages in series, we expect one notch to be created at the corner frequency. As we increase the number of stages by 2*n, we can expect to add n more notches.

Fg. 1: All-Pass Filter Phase Response
Fg. 1: All-Pass Filter Phase Response
1968: Breaking New Ground

The first popular effect to make use of phase shifting was the UniVibe (Shin-ei). Released in 1968, this circuit design is the most unique of the products we considered. This effect has four filter stages but is not typical in that each stage is tuned differently. Furthermore, the signal used to modulate the filters is not a standard waveform. This was due to the use of light-dependent resistors (LDRs) and the associated limitations with turning the light source on and off.

Though three years later, Maestro is credited with releasing the first official phase shifter, the PS-1 (1971). This effect has six stages and uses field effect transistors for variable resistance to modulate the filters. Musitronics (Mu-Tron) was inspired by this design and created the Phasor (1972), built with Operational Transconductance Amplifiers (OTAs) which eliminate the need for FETs as they can be directly modulated via bias input.

1974: Year of the Phaser

The next most popular effect is the Phase 90 (MXR). Released in 1974 with just one knob, a product for musicians couldn’t get any simpler. This effect has four stages and later introduced an internal feedback resistor which added a mild distortion and increased filter resonance. MXR also released the Phase 45 (2-stage) and the Phase 100 (10-stage). The Phase 100 had a few additional features including applying modulation to a subset of the filter stages.

In the same year, Mu-Tron released the Bi-Phase (1974), a configurable series/parallel combination of two six-stage filter banks. Each modulation source is selectable between sine and square waveforms and can be synchronized.

Also in that year Electro-Harmonix released the Small Stone (1974). This effect has four stages and was technically the first to introduce feedback, controllable by a switch. Electro-Harmonix then released the Bad Stone (1975), revised from an earlier design. This effect has six stages, a dedicated feedback control, and a manual-mode with dedicated control of corner frequency.

1979-Present: Coming Up To Date

Later, A/DA released the Final Phase (1979), with six stages and steeper notches for a more pronounced effect. The Final Phase had an additional feature that added a second low(er) frequency oscillator to create more complex modulation schemes similar in concept to the Bi-Phase.

Fast forward to modern times and the release of the Moogerfooger MF-103 (1999), a selectable 6/12-stage filter, and the Boss PH-3 (2000) a selectable 4/8/10/12-stage filter with additional features including rise/fall and step modulation, and that sums up the history of phase shifting as we know it.

Not so fast, with the growing interest in Eurorack Modular gear, it’s worth mentioning Pittsburgh Modular and the release of their Phase Shifter (2014). This effect has sixteen stages and brings the experimental nature of modular synthesis along with it, providing custom ins and outs, switchable changes in configuration, and multiple taps.

Fig 2: Vital Statistics
Fig 2: Vital Statistics
Digital Filter

Though the Digital Filter is not a phase shifter by design, we were able to overcome these limitations by combining the output of both HP and LP filters. There was enough difference in phase to generate notches or cancellations at the appropriate locations in the frequency spectrum when summed with the original signal.

We built up a set of patches based on classic designs, including the unmistakable sound of the UniVibe, the dual configuration of the Bi-Phase, and the simple but effective Phase 90. The intent is that this is a starting point for experimentation. We hope you find something useful and inspiring.

Download the Phase Shifter Refill

Sources

• Hughes, Tom. Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects. For Musicians Only Publishing, 2004. Print.
• Thompson, Art. Stompbox: A History Of Guitar Fuzzes, Flangers, Phasers, Echoes & Wah. Miller Freeman Books, 1997. Print.
The BOSS Book: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Popular Compact Effects for Guitar. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001. Print.
http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/univibe/univtech.htm
http://www.pedalarea.com/small_stone.htm

 

Acid On A Budget

We’ve been having lots of fun with the new Digital Filter and we thought we would share some of our findings with you. For those who are still championing the sub-genre affectionately known as Acid House, we have some good news for you. With a few simple elements from Reason plus the Digital Filter, you can create your very own TB-303. Let’s get started.

• First, instantiate an instance of the Subtractor Analog Synthesizer, this will act as our main voice. In fact, the very first preset “Bass Guitar” is just what we are looking for to achieve this simple but classic sound.

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• Next, connect the Digital Filter and also add a Spider CV Merger & Splitter. Since the Digital Filter supports Note and Gate CV inputs, this will be able to accurately track the output of the Subtractor just like the TB-303.

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cv-merger-splitter

• Next, instantiate the Matrix Pattern Sequencer and make sure that the Note and Gate CV Outputs are connected to both the Subtractor and Digital Filter (using the CV Splitter). Though this is not visually like the original sequencer, the Matrix is fully capable of generating both discrete and continuous note events. If you’re not that familiar with the Matrix, for instance you can hold down Shift while drawing Gate information to add continuous steps, release Shift to draw discrete steps. For more information about the Matrix, check out this awesome article from Sound On Sound.

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• Lastly, you might notice that this sequence does not glide between notes. Though this feature was more configurable with the TB-303 you can achieve a similar sound by increasing the portamento control in Subtractor, we recommend a value of 90 as a starting point.

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Here are some sound samples that demonstrate this approach:

And we have created a Combinator for you to explore. To start, try flipping the State (HP/LP) switch to HP and experiment with sounds not previously available from the TB-303. Also, we set the order at an 8-pole filter since that sounded best but you can find a more subtle sound with a 2- or 4-pole filter (as in the original) as well as reach beyond with a 12-pole filter, and everything in between.

• Download TB-303 Clone Combinator

 

The Ultimate Filter

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We are excited to announce our next product for Propellerhead’s Reason: The Digital Filter is a device designed to cover a wide range of sonic possibility from subtle sweeps to screaming feedback. Use the Envelope Generator to create sharp shifts in timbre, apply a sidechain signal to the Envelope Follower to track movement in another part, wire the Note and Gate inputs to follow your custom sequence, and add copious amounts of CV to generate interesting rhythms. Check out our product page for more details.

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