Setting levels on MTS modules and amps

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Jaded Faith
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Setting levels on MTS modules and amps

Post by Jaded Faith » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:34 pm

I am re-posting this to help others and document the discussion started in the thread at http://mtsforum.grailtone.com/viewtopic ... 114#125114.

There are an incredible number of ways to set the MTS system up. Proper gain staging has everything to do with the response and feel the amp and modules provide. The catch with this system is the large number of user variable points to change the level. You have a gain pot, a module level pot, an effects level, an output pot (on the RM4) and a Master volume on the power amps. With great flexibility comes great potential to ruin or improve the tone and feel.

How high you set the module level can be more important than how loud you set your Master volume on the amp for pushing the power section. Setting it too low will choke or starve the preceding stages. Doubt me? Try this test:

Put your multimeter on DC voltage and place the black probe into the common and the red into any of the bias points. With the amp on play you should have your normal bias setting, say 32mV. Now set your gain on the module at 11:00 and the level at 9:00. Put the amp Master at around 9-10:00. Start chugging a palm muted open E chord. Watch the meter read higher, probably about 49mV.

Now start cranking the module level and keep going up to wide open. Watch the meter as you do it. You will wind up around 160mV easy. This is the impact of the module level in how hard you hit the power amp. The Master on the amp will impact this, but not as easily as the module level. That has a direct impact on feel.

Think of all the times someone complained their MTS amp didn't feel like a "Brand XXX" amp. With less spots to adjust the level (in place of some of our volume pots there are preset resistive divider network in those amps, meaning a choice has already been made for you).

This is also what is impacting those comparing the RM4 module level to the level they would use in a combo or head. There's an additional output level on the RM4 providing another point to alter this balance.
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sargentcrunch
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Post by sargentcrunch » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:51 pm

So what module volume level do you suggest for a D-Zilla and ERect to get the closest to the real amp feel?

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Post by Jaded Faith » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:30 am

It's a bit different for each mod, but a good general starting point is the level pots at no less than 12:00. I'd say at around 1:30 you should start to notice it opens up a lot more.
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Rod
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Post by Rod » Mon May 20, 2013 7:25 pm

Thanks Rob.... I'll have to try that on my RM50's....

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Post by eyeball987 » Mon May 20, 2013 8:17 pm

Rod wrote:Thanks Rob.... I'll have to try that on my RM50's....
I used to fool around with level up / master lower and then level down / master up. Then I would read others thoughts and forgot about it for a little while.

After I read Rob's thoughts above, I bumped my modules levels up to 1:00 or higher and did notice a difference. I use less gain on the modules now and boost less too.

I think I was trying to recapture what I was losing by having the levels too low before I made the change.
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Rod
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Post by Rod » Mon May 20, 2013 10:04 pm

I've been running my module volumes only up to noon...will have to try it higher... Makes perfect sense.. Thanks for the advise Rob!

chadrexton
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Post by chadrexton » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:10 pm

Super useful. Thanks for the tips!

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Post by op1e » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:56 pm

Interesting. I've been turning my modules down to 10-11 o'clock because my amp models outta my gsp 1101 cant keep up. Even with the patch volume and amp level cranked, I had to add compressor in the loop and turn the level up to 80 on it. Research on it brought up the not so great fx loop problem with this amp. My Peavey Ultra is the same way almost. I guess I might have to put an eq between the 1101 and return of the RM100. It will be in my Rocktron Loop 8 and only turned on when I'm using amp sims.

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