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Presence and Resonance

Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Hey y’all ! 👋🏻

    As the title says, my question is about presence and resonance settings on my amp.
    I have in fact googled and gotten a very textbook definition of the two, however, can anyone put it into beginner friendly layman’s terms please! Haha.

    Ive never adjusted them and curious as to what they actually do and when and what to adjust them for.
    Any feedback is greatly appreciated !
    :rock-hand:
     

    Forgetabull

    Local Dive Bar Favorite
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    This is a better description:


    However:

    Presence - this is your "sharpness", think of when you have that glassy, crispy single coil tone where there's little mids or bass. Essentially you're using this to cut through the rest of the mix the higher you go. If you try turning it all the way up, you'll see how "pointy" it sounds.

    Resonance: Essentially the overall body of the amp, so a bit like when you use the tone knob on your guitar and turn it all the way down vs all the way up, one is dull and one is clear.

    Typically you'd use these when you're playing with others and you need to cut through or back off your sound depending on the band. ie. every instrument has a certain range they're supposed to sit in, bass sits on the bass, drums are a certain spot, keyboard etc. This is why when you're playing by yourself, you might have the bass turned up on your amp, but when you're recording (with the intention of going into a mix) or playing with others, you'll turn the bass down and push the mids up because you will have a bass guitar for the low end and you're filling the middle/upper area.

    If you were recording multiple tracks by yourself, you might consider playing with those two knobs to put your rhythm(s) in the background and your lead(s) in the front to sound more prominent.

    Caveat: People who know stuff will know much better than I do :)
     

    Alicia Willis

    Administrator
    Staff member
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  • Nov 11, 2019
    796
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    Augusta, GA
    2
    This is a better description:


    However:

    Presence - this is your "sharpness", think of when you have that glassy, crispy single coil tone where there's little mids or bass. Essentially you're using this to cut through the rest of the mix the higher you go. If you try turning it all the way up, you'll see how "pointy" it sounds.

    Resonance: Essentially the overall body of the amp, so a bit like when you use the tone knob on your guitar and turn it all the way down vs all the way up, one is dull and one is clear.

    Typically you'd use these when you're playing with others and you need to cut through or back off your sound depending on the band. ie. every instrument has a certain range they're supposed to sit in, bass sits on the bass, drums are a certain spot, keyboard etc. This is why when you're playing by yourself, you might have the bass turned up on your amp, but when you're recording (with the intention of going into a mix) or playing with others, you'll turn the bass down and push the mids up because you will have a bass guitar for the low end and you're filling the middle/upper area.

    If you were recording multiple tracks by yourself, you might consider playing with those two knobs to put your rhythm(s) in the background and your lead(s) in the front to sound more prominent.

    Caveat: People who know stuff will know much better than I do :)
    Thank you Alan !!!
     
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    Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I might add that your tone can take a lot of room if you use effects like reverb and delay that gives you a lot of sustain and can really grasp attention from the audience.
    Thank you !!! I’ll try messing with that too ! Always leave my reverb off lol. Good to know !!!
     
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    Ed Seith

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    They're really just focused EQs. Presence is usually upper mids, right on the border of the high frequencies. Cutting the presence adds depth and mud, mids. Adding presence usually adds more "razor" sharpness to the tone and the attack, but may make high gain tones more "fizzy" if you use too much. I've never really heard of "resonance," but it is also likely a focused EQ, perhaps in the low-mid range.
     
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    Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    They're really just focused EQs. Presence is usually upper mids, right on the border of the high frequencies. Cutting the presence adds depth and mud, mids. Adding presence usually adds more "razor" sharpness to the tone and the attack, but may make high gain tones more "fizzy" if you use too much. I've never really heard of "resonance," but it is also likely a focused EQ, perhaps in the low-mid range.
    Yesss ! Thank you Ed ! I played around with it earlier and I see what you mean about making the gain sound “fizzy” I definitely got that ! Now I just gotta figure out what the resonance really does 🤣
    Never had an amp with that before, But what I gathered from a forum for this amp was that it deals with the low end and something About “negative feedback”
     

    Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    This is what I found on a Marshall forum and it’s ridiculously confusing for a noob. But I think I’m kind of getting it 😅


    “The negative feedback loop in an amp is a sort of 'damping' (that isn't quite the right electronics term, but it will do) and makes the power section run more linearly, or 'smoothly' - by taking some of the output signal, running it 'backwards' (that's the negative bit) and re-applying it to the input, as a sort of self-regulation.

    If you put what are essentially tone controls into the negative feedback loop, you can affect the degree of smoothing at those frequencies. Presence affects the top end, resonance the bottom end. Basically turning either of these 'up' actually turns those frequencies down in the loop, and allows those ranges to be less restricted. They don't sound the same as simple bass and treble controls because they affect the dynamics of those frequencies more than the 'amount' of them - which is why you tend not to hear them doing very much at low volume, but once the power section is really cranked they can become more effective than the normal tone controls.”
     

    Ed Seith

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I think that's mostly marketing speak :cool: . That description seems like it flattens the Q-value a little (Q is a measure of how fast the EQ point is rolled up to and away from. So, if you're on your bicycle, a long Q means, "this will be hard, but I can make it up this hill, and it will be fun going down the other side!" A short Q means, "fuck this shit. Where's the bar? I don't care what I smell like."

    I hope that makes sense.

    As for where they are on the frequency, I'd call presence hi-mid and resonance lo-mid. I had an old amp with "contour" instead of "resonance," but I bet they were mostly the same thing.

    As with all things, start at noon, jam, drop to zero, play, then up to 10, play more. That's what it does :).
     
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    Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I think that's mostly marketing speak :cool: . That description seems like it flattens the Q-value a little (Q is a measure of how fast the EQ point is rolled up to and away from. So, if you're on your bicycle, a long Q means, "this will be hard, but I can make it up this hill, and it will be fun going down the other side!" A short Q means, "fuck this shit. Where's the bar? I don't care what I smell like."

    I hope that makes sense.

    As for where they are on the frequency, I'd call presence hi-mid and resonance lo-mid. I had an old amp with "contour" instead of "resonance," but I bet they were mostly the same thing.

    As with all things, start at noon, jam, drop to zero, play, then up to 10, play more. That's what it does :).
    Thanks Ed ! I thought the bit about volume was interesting. Maybe I just need to crank it up and rattle the neighbors to really hear the difference. 😈 muahahaha ! Lol.
    Seriously though, I appreciate you so much !
     
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    Donovan Etue

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    I see you've got a ton of info about what presence is/does but I figured I'd drop a vid that in laymans terms talks about presence and how it works. If you haven't checked out CSGuitars youtube channel it is definitely worth checking out when it comes to the tone side of guitar. The guy knows his stuff and if I remember right has a degree in physics which he uses to describe the science behind say how pickups work. He's an awesome dude with a ton of info on his channel!
     
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    Alicia Willis

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    I see you've got a ton of info about what presence is/does but I figured I'd drop a vid that in laymans terms goes talks about presence and how it works. If you haven't checked out CSGuitars youtube channel it is definitely worth checking out when it comes to the tone side of guitar. The guy knows his stuff and if I remember right has a degree in physics which he uses to describe the science behind say how pickups work. He's an awesome dude with a ton of info on his channel!
    Thank you so much Donovan !! I’m definitely about to check him out !!!
     
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    Dominik Gräber

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    😒 just realized you trolled the shit out of me. I just cranked up the volume and turned the presence wide ass open.....it sounds like shit ! Lmao.
    man, fuck you dominik ! 😂😂😂😂😂
    Everybody says that eventually😂
    Honestly though, I usually have my presence fairly high to give my Tone more of a dominant Edge. Just Sounds sharper
     

    Alicia Willis

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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Everybody says that eventually😂
    Honestly though, I usually have my presence fairly high to give my Tone more of a dominant Edge. Just Sounds sharper
    I can become part of the “man, fuck that guy Dominik” crowd lol

    well mine didn’t sound sharper, it sounded like ass haha but then again I did go big with it 🤣
    I’ll try the “Dominik” way
     
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