Distortion on the Clean Channel
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If the AMP1's Clean Channel distorts, this can have several causes. Here's what they are and what you can do about them:
Crackling noise with sound dropouts
Crosstalk of the overdrive to the clean channel
Natural distortion, but more than intentional
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Cracking noise and sound dropouts
A cracking noise and sound dropouts indicate one or more defective Custom Control trimmers. If the phenomenon occurs in the Clean Channel, the Custom Control trimmers for CLEAN TONE and BOOST come into question. You can provoke the noise by turning the relevant Custom Control knob.
If the noise is only in the Clean Channel, the CLEAN TONE control is probably defective. If the phenomenon occurs on all channels as soon as the BOOST is activated, it stands to reason that the BOOST control is the culprit.
In any case, your AMP1 should be examined by a service technician.
If you bought the AMP1 from a specialist retailer and your warranty is still valid, please contact the store directly. If you do not have a warranty or if your AMP1 was purchased directly from BluGuitar, please contact us via our contact form.
Overdrive crosstalk on the clean channel
If the Clean Channel of the AMP1 Mercury Edition is turned down very far and the overdrive gain is turned up very far, a slight cross-fade of the overdrive into the Clean Channel can be heard. It becomes all the more inconspicuous and disappears completely the louder the Clean Channel is and the less gain is turned up on the overdrive channels.
This phenomenon is normal with the AMP1 Mercury Edition and cannot be avoided due to the layout of the circuit board. Live, this background noise is only perceptible – if at all – with an extreme constellation of clean volume and overdrive gain (see above: clean volume very quiet and overdrive gain and overdrive master turned up full).
A workaround in the studio is to dial back the overdrive gain when using the Clean Channel.
However, there are a few amps where this fade is so loud that it is annoying. The remedy for these devices is to move the CLEAN TONE Custom Control knob on the side of the amp once to the left and once to the right. This significantly reduces the volume of the cross-fading overdrive signal.
More reasons for clipping on the Clean Channel
Here are other reasons why your AMP1's clean channel might be clipping:
Distortion on the Clean Channel
Natural distortion, but more than intended
CLEAN VOLUME control
In order to keep the structure of the AMP1 as pure as possible, the amp has only one CLEAN VOLUME control in the Clean Channel, which basically works like a classic California clean amp with a bright switch: the more the volume is turned down, the more transparent and hi-fi sounding the Clean Channel is. If, on the other hand, the CLEAN VOLUME is turned up further, you can also achieve dynamically reacting, slightly crunchy sounds.
Most clean sounds sound best just before such audible clipping occurs. Since the power output of guitar pickups (from single coils to active humbuckers) varies by up to a factor of 10, there is no perfect CLEAN VOLUME setting for all pickups. If you're getting too much distortion in the Clean Channel, the CLEAN COLUME may be turned up too high for your taste and your guitar's output.
To find your clean sound, it is advisable to turn up the CLEAN VOLUME to around 6. Depending on the pickup, distortion may already be audible. Now reduce the CLEAN VOLUME until the tone is clean enough for your taste (usually 5-6 for single coils, and 3-5 for humbuckers).
The BOOST switches a 2-stage tube simulation in front of the channels of the AMP1. With the BOOST Custom Control controller, its character can be adjusted from "transparent" to "creamy with light distortion". Depending on the channel, this enables even more transparent, creamier or more brutal sounds.
With stronger pickups with a high output, there is a slight overdrive from about half way up on the BOOST. If you want ultra-brilliant and pure clean sounds, it is therefore advisable to turn the control up to halfway or turn it off completely.
The AMP1's nanotube power amp behaves just like traditional tube power amps. By raising the master volume, the AMP1 saturates the output stage like an all-tube amplifier and also generates output stage saturation up to and including output stage distortion when the output stage is overdriven. This phenomenon becomes noticeable from a MASTER position of approx. 5 to 6.