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Tone Stacks

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and how they all stack up

Earlier Amplifier designs had primitive tone controls ( called "tone stacks") much before the invention of the Baxandall and the parametric / graphic equalisers.
Changing the tone control settings changed the volume
and changing the Bass control also changed the Treble response and vice versa !!
Many tone stacks had a mid frequency hump or depression.
However, guitarists got used to these primitive tone controls and we all grew up listening to the tone created by these primitive early attempts to shape tone.
Here we must mention Duncan's Tone Stack Calculator that allows engineers to see in real time the effect of the tone controls when arranged a la Marshall, Fender, Vox and other tube Amp manufacturers.
A normal Amp configuration has a preamp stage, the Tone Stack, some more gain stages and then the power stages.
When the tube amp is running at low gains, most of the distortion is caused by the preamp stages before the Tone Stack. The Tone Stack therefore acts as a post-distortion equalizer.
However when we start running the tube amp harder, we start seeing clipping of the other gain stages and power stages after the Tone Stack. It starts acting as a pre- distortion equaliser !!!
Indeed, placement of the Tone stack in an Amplifier Model is crucial in attaining the desired sound.
Fender's Cyber series of Modelling Amps actually reconfigure themselves based on the Amp being modelled. The main changes are the tone controls are placed before or after the tubes exactly in the same way as the original Amp being modelled. This technology was important enough to patent !


Unfortunately the GNX4 and the GNX3000 do not have the ability to model distortion both before and after the tone control structures. These modellers also do not have front panel accessible pre-distortion tone controls.
Hence in case one is interested in presenting a complete picture of a real amp on the GNX4/GNX3000, one has to make many patch files, each capturing the way the Amp behaves at one particular tone control setting.
Warp cannot allow modelling of Amplifiers at different Tone Stack settings. Lets see why :
Suppose you warp and make a patch that models a particular amp with its tone controls at a particular setting and the distortion around them.
Then you now need to keep everything the same and model an new setting of the Tone controls. But warp sees the whole Amp as one undivisible unit. If you warp two models, the tone controls and the distortion are both entered into the warp and both change !!
Our MEGS software sees an Amplifier model as made of up separate parts, each being individually addressable and alterable. After we succeed in modelling the distortion that an Amp creates, we keep this constant and can alter the tone stacks separately !

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