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 Post subject: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:44 am 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Just a quick note telling i picked up a Vox Tonelab Le secondhand. Must say the strat sounds quite a bit different ! Managed to play some basic blues which i hope to upload soon so you can tune in. Little question though.

My strat was terribly noise. I opened it up and found several groundwires missing. Because of this there also was no tone control on the guitar. Fixed that. (must still replace the bad pots) It's playable now. Still with any of the higher gain amps i can't do much because of the hum being picked up. Is this normal for a strat ? Would it help if i line the body cavity with grounded self adhesive metal ? Anything elese i can do ?

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:32 am 
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i think that's pretty much normal for ANY unshielded single-coil pickup, unfortunately

you can try the adhesive foil trick, that may help to some degree. as far as recording goes, there is often a 'sweet spot' for where you're facing - if you have a swivel chair, try turning around to see if there's one position that gives you less noise than elsewhere (obviously this is not much help if you're jamming or playing live though)

fluoro-tubes, TVs, and computer monitors are often guilty of radiating noise - whenever possible or practical, shut these items off before you start recording (and fridges, aircons and washers too; if they cut in/out while you're recording you sometimes get a 'pop' on your track)

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:10 am 
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My lap steel hums like a bastard + I will have to shield the cavities at some point. Until then, I use the noise reduction on my tonelab to keep it in check. It works pretty good but you need to be careful not to colour the sound.

Dirk, you will probably find that swapping the factory tube for something like a JJ will improve the overall performance of the tonelab although it probably won't help the hum

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:35 am 
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Hi Dirk,

check if you have grounded the electrics correct. To do this check, if the noise changes if you touch the strings with your hand. No difference=correct grounding.

Whats about noise if you switch the pickup selector to select 2 pickups. Any noise?
What clivewil said about shielding may help a lot.

Andreas

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:22 pm 
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Strats tend to make a little noise for sure, but it shouldn't be completely nasty and unplayable... What level of noise are we talking about here?

-= Beer

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:59 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Thanks for your replies.

What level of noise ? Well with the AC30 model and not too much gain and noise reduction i can keep it almost quiet. With the higher gain amps the hum is louder than the guitar sound.

If i touch the strings the noise does go down to some extent. As i said i have already corrected the wiring as half of the grounding was missing. Before the noise was really bad. The noise also goes down if i touch the bottom of the Tonelab.

As you know the strat has a five point switch. The two uppermost settings (darker sound) don't give too much noise but the middle and the two lower ones (brighter tone) are sharply humming. Also i think that the uppermost tone pot is acting in the wrong direction. I would not be surprised if the whole thing is misswired.

I'm gona take the damn thing appart and redo the whole wiring. Obviously something is completely wrong here.

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Hi Dirk,

if the hum is louder than the guitar sound something must be wrong, even if a single coil will always make some noise.

Have you checked the bridge to be grounded, too?

Good luck
Andreas

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:57 pm 
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Have you thought about switching brands of guitar? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:01 am 
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Cheap , fairly easy and it works.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Electronics,_pickups/Supplies:_Shielding/Self-adhesive_Shielding_Kit.html?tab=Pictures#details

All of my hand made Fenders are done with this kit.

Make sure the strings (bridge are grounded)

Buy enough to do the entire back of the pickgard and the cavities.

msg

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:45 am 
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Nothing to it but to do it!

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:17 am 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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I've got an original Fender ! Five point switch that is. As i said i have taken the entire guitar apart and after carefull examination i found that the five position switch had a broken connection. There was one bad pot and as expected the wiring was all wrong. Did not even look like the diagram (thanks beersosaur !). So i went to the store, bought a couple of pots and a switch (original Fender part ! :D ).

I just finished soldering everything together again and the guitar has gone almost dead quiet on me. No, don't get me wrong, i mean the hum is gone ! I can still hear it on the heavy gain stuff but that is normal. On the other amp settings no more hum and it sounds a lot warmer too. One of the pots makes no difference where ever i turn it so maybe i made a mistake somewhere but it's much, much better now. Thanks for all those replies !

Msg, I'll see if can get that stuff overhere. Should make it even more quiet !

Oscar : did you now you can calibrate the lamp inside the Tonelab ? It does wonders for the signal/noise ratio but i guess it depends on the age of the lamp. I think they get quiter as they get older. So no need for a new one yet !

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:04 am 
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Dirk,

The ST does not have the tube bias adjustment feature, which does not bother me as I am not a tinkerer. I only mess with my gear if I have to.

My lap steel has a single tele bridge pick-up. With the strings set so high & no shielding in the cavities, it is always going to be noisy. I hope that the shielding will help. I may even end up leaving it as is & wiring my right hand to the bridge using an alligator clip....not pretty but it is simple & it works !

I used the following info to decide on a replacement tube. I ended up using a JJ Cryo 12AX7, which is not on the list....I went for the best tube I could afford. The difference from the factory tube (an EH 12AX7) was huge....as the tonelab is only 6 months old, tube age had nothing to do with it.

All these tubes will works in the tonelab.

TUBES

Tung-Sol 12AX7 - There are only so many ways to describe tube tone and most have become cliché's. The Tung-Sol 12AX7 has the gain and drive of a Chinese 12AX7 and the pure tone of a Mullard or Brimar from the U.K. I've had two people come to me recently with amps they thought were in need of complete overhauls. In both cases, careful examination revealed no serious problems and all the tubes "tested" as good. At the end of the day, I replaced the NOS Mullard and RCA pre-amps (one in each amp) with a reissue Tung-Sol 12AX7. In both cases the owners were very impressed and thought that their amps had been restored to full health. Believe it or Not.


Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 - These are not relabelled Sovtek 12AX7-LPS tubes. There is a marked difference in construction and performance. The 12AX7 EH has a nice balanced sound, fairly low noise floor and excellent performance in terms of microphonics. The lack of microphonics may be in part from the return of the shorter plate structure or materials.
I've had some samples that were tried in various amp stages. Pre-amps, tone stacks and phase inverters, a winner in every location, although I like to use a 12AT7 for reverb circuit drivers due to their lower gain rating (just a personal preference of mine).
I have used the EH to successfully tame amps that defied all other attempts to kill microphonics and unwanted feedback. This tube is a winner, buy 'em and try 'em, they may be just the piece you've been looking for.


Sovtek 12AX7-WA, 12AX7-WB - I've grouped these two together because they have essentially the same sound. The only noticeable difference between the two was a bit more gain from the WB model. These tubes are rugged little brutes, and that's probably why they are OEM components for many major amp makers. Both tubes could be whacked with a stick at full volume and not show much in the way of microphonics - but DON'T DO THIS AT HOME, as it is often a destructive test for tubes. They don't have the best sound in this type, being prone to the occasional pop or tick. The sound quality lacked any real character but was acceptable. If the budget is tight, their affordability will be attractive. Also, keep in mind that many amp designers design the equipment to sound best with the tubes they will use in production. I have a friend that claims his amp only sounds right using Chinese pre-amp tubes, but your mileage may vary on this issue. If you like the Sovteks then go for it, particularly if you will use them in high gain applications with lots of effects.


Sovtek 12AX7-LPS - This is an entirely new design from Sovtek and a great step up in sound quality. They have very large ribbed plates and great sound reproduction. I found them very smooth and well balanced in terms of bass, mids and treble response. The large plates make them more prone to microphonics and in combo amps, so they can be a problem if you like to run things wide open. It is still the best thing Sovtek has produced in a 12AX7, with very good gain and low noise. I would advise against using them in compact high-powered combo amps where they will be subjected to lots of vibration. One other note about the construction of these tubes is they have filaments that are almost completely encased in the plate structure. They often don't "light up" when working properly. This is not a problem, it's normal for the LPS.

Sovtek 5751 - The Sovtek 5751 is an affordable alternative to the 12AY7 used in original Fender tweed amps and can be subbed for a 12AT7 reverb driver tube. In this application, you will get good gain with a warmer sound than the 12AT7. The even balancing makes them a nice phase inverter and allows you push the front end of the amp a little harder. If you wish to use a 5751 in a 12AX7 position to reduce gain we recommend you use the JAN-Philips 5751 tube.



JAN-Philips 5751 - While not really a 12AX7, it shares the same pin-out arrangement and is designed for less gain in favor of lower noise and microphonics. It worked well in both test amps and can be used to advantage if your amp has too much grind. One of these should calm things down a bit. The 5751 is an affordable alternative to the 12AY7 used in original Fender tweed amps and can be subbed for a 12AT7 like a reverb driver tube. In this application, you will get good gain with a warmer sound than the 12AT7. The even balancing makes them a nice phase inverter and allows you push the front end of the amp a little harder.


Tesla / JJ 12AX7 / ECC83-S - This tube sports a different plate design than found in most 12AX7's. When you look at them you can't help but think that they must be rugged and good for the musician on the road. The compact plate structure does nothing to dampen their sound or dynamic response. I find them to be well balanced. While not as harmonically rich as others I tested, they do provide high gain without the usual noise and microphonic problems you would expect. This is great sound for your dollar. If you're using a combo amp and find the Philips a little rich sounding, the JJ ECC83 may be your solution.


Ei 12AX7 - This tube should win an award for best and worst in class. The first one I tried squealed in the combo amp and produced a ringing sound in the half-stack. (Remember these were not from the pre-screened tubes that thetubestore.com sells.) The second one I tried was fantastic. There were no microphonics problems with this second tube. The scores for microphonics (2 and 4) are for each individual tube that was tested. A few phone calls to another tech confirmed my suspicion: there is a high failure rate when initially screening these tubes for microphonics. The ones that do pass testing are wonderful; they are very musical sounding with lots of gain and a very low noise floor. When playing the guitar you could really get the benefit of their dynamic range. They can reproduce soft passages accentuated with a sharp punch and you don't have to go near the volume controls. I'm keeping the test tube for some long term testing. These would be great tubes for home audio applications. Due to the microphonics problem, I'm unsure as to their roadworthiness. At home or in the studio, they will deliver great results. The only caveats are; make sure they are carefully screened and don't think about using them in high gain combo's unless they are tested in a similar amp first.

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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 3:47 pm 
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I had the same problem with my strat- until I got noiseless pickups!!! I'd definitely check these out if I were you. =)


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 Post subject: Re: Strat Noise !
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:56 pm 
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EMG SA Pickups .....I want to try their DG 20 ....the David Gilmour system ....a friend let me hold his Anderson Strat with that ....man I almost kept the guitar ....lol....quiet as all hell .....hit one of the tone knobs and wham from clean strat to beast

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