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I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:05 pm
by lydian7
Let me just say I really do like the album Real Illusions. In truth it took a lot longer to grow on me when it first came out than his other albums but there's no denying the sheer awe-inspiring artistic scope. Not quite up there with the likes of Fire Garden but pretty damn great in its own right.

One thing that does bother me about the album, and Vai's live shows post-Bogner - the tone! I really can't stand the tone of the Legacy. I think it sounds scratchy, has little harmonic content in the upper frequencies, and I think it sounds muddy and messy when blurring notes together. I loved his tone back in the hot-rodded Marshall/Soldano and also the Bognor years, so I really can't understand why he chose to go with the Legacy. Perhaps he genuinely does like the tone. Or perhaps he let the inner-teen in him, fetishising the Carvin magazine and seeing the X100b stack on the lawn, get swept away with the idea of having this influencial company design an amp built to his specifications. I have a nagging suspicion that he wasn't altogether satisfied with what came out, but perhaps was ever so slightly obliged to carry on using the amp after such a big sponsorship deal was struck. After all, it's not just yourself who's affected when you ditch the bride at the alter, right?

I know Steve has been toying around with the Axe-FX and from what he has said he's really impressed with the tone. Personally, I'd like to see him try and utilise the Axe-FX and use its multitude of 'perfectly' simulated amps to create an even richer and more tonally diverse soundscape.

Another think that bugged me about RI:R - the Roland synth sounds. I'm a huge synth fan - love artists like YMO and Vangelis from the 70s/80s - but the synth sounds on RI:R were quite weak to my ears and lacked the richness and tonal warmth of a great synth like a Moog or a Nord. I know he was trying something new in terms of compositional colouration, but I'm really not a fan of the Roland sound.

Ok, rant over :P

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:02 am
by ClarkyNZ
Maybe you should buy yourself a new stereo. Or some new ears!

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:15 am
by Jeries
I like the tone of Real Illusions, but i always like his tone... no matter what- although the bogner stuff sounded maybe better... i don't know


i bought a legacy a few months ago and returned it... i thought the clean was amazing but overall thought it sounded bad... i thought the carvin x100b i bought around that time sounded much much better distortion wise...

the clean of the legacy was great but not worth keeping because i felt the distortion was useless to me... i wasn't a fan....


I also thing something COULD have been wrong with the legacy i had, it didn't open up and just sounded bad (tubes were in great shape too)

I only paid $400 or so for it and i returned it to guitar center

I sold a few things with the intention of buying 3 new heads for preamp sounds (marshall dsl, my current boogie road king and a carvin legacy) once i got the legacy home i didn't want it (i ordered it from a different state so i couldn't try it out)

but vai gets a great tone out of it

i do like the Soldano sound... (not $3000-4000 enough)

I have an Axe Fx Ultra... if you heard my cover of Sleigh Ride a lot of the melodies (clarinet parts etc) were done with a SLO100 preset.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:05 am
by lydian7
Oh, I completely agree his Soldano tone on S&R was great. I even liked his tone back in the flexable years - very raw and unique. His fingers are his ultimate tone producing tool, but I feel I would personally enjoy his tone a lot more if the personification of his notes were being emphasised with another amplifier.

Another factor that may come in to the tone on RI:R for me is the digital recording sound. I know traditional anologue recording is now turning in to a thing of the past, which is a shame. The sound of a digital recording always sounds slightly colder and more clinical to me - no warmth in the in-between spaces.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:40 pm
by kyle am I
Well, his tone seems to be a matter of perspective. I enjoy his tone, I really do. But the tone seems to suit him. I like the rich creamy slide of power chords and the peaking highs during solos.I have tried some legacys and they seem to.be very versatile amps. But I think in order to truly get his (Vai's) sound you must really dedicate $$$$ to it. He uses different wahs and harmonizers and guitars and pickjps and bands and effects and everything. Sometimes he has his fender and combos. I have no doubt you know this. But it dosent help if you just don't like his sound... but I think the point of the legacy was to create an amp that you could form to yourself and create your own sound. I can understand how you do not like his tone, but it seems he enjoys it and uses it to the best if his ability... I also saw a v3 in a tour interview on one of his stacks. He kinda forced the cameraman away and was like come look at this... don't look.at the v3 I currently use Lol :)

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:25 am
by paulh123
the v3 was actually a legacy 2 prototype in a v3 chassis.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:13 pm
by carvinrep
lydian7 wrote:I really can't understand why he chose to go with the Legacy. Perhaps he genuinely does like the tone. Or perhaps he let the inner-teen in him, fetishising the Carvin magazine and seeing the X100b stack on the lawn, get swept away with the idea of having this influencial company design an amp built to his specifications. I have a nagging suspicion that he wasn't altogether satisfied with what came out, but perhaps was ever so slightly obliged to carry on using the amp after such a big sponsorship deal was struck. After all, it's not just yourself who's affected when you ditch the bride at the alter, right?

I know Steve has been toying around with the Axe-FX and from what he has said he's really impressed with the tone. Personally, I'd like to see him try and utilise the Axe-FX and use its multitude of 'perfectly' simulated amps to create an even richer and more tonally diverse soundscape.
Search youtube for the full unedited Carvin interview with Steve. He talks in great detail about the development of the Legacy. The Legacy was completed and released in January 1999 to Steve's complete satisfaction. In the interview you'll hear him say in his own words what he didn't like about the other amps from the past and exactly why he wanted to design his own amp. This is a Signature Product and Steve would never put his name on a product that didn't meet his expectations. He also wouldn't continue to use the product for 12 years if he wasn't satisfied with the tone. Everyone forgets that his music, tone and every decision is done to please himself. It's the same with the products he designs.

The Axe-Fx is a great product. Great guys over at Fractal Audio. But as many know, Steve still prefers an analog tube amplifier for his primary guitar tone. The Axe-FX are great products and I see why Steve likes the effects they offer and we have been working with the staff at Fractal when setting up Steve's pedal boards.

So the bottom line is, fans may prefer a certain tone from Steve's past, but his current tone exists to please Steve and only Steve.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:16 am
by Samuele
As a matter of fact, in the interview Steve says that when developing the Legacy he tried every amp that you could come across, so he must really like the Legacy if he prefers it over any other custom amp. I remember another interview where he said that in the past, in order to achieve a certain sound, he needed to blend two or three amps toghether, and also that some of the amps had too much low end for his taste.

If you look at his past rigs since he started to tour as a solo artist, he was using a lot of different amps and power amps. Back in '93-'94 he had a Soldano, a Marshall, and a Bogner Ecstasy, plus the rack had two Yamaha PC2002M power amps and a VHT Classic power amp. During the Fire Garden era he mainly had a Bogner and an Egnater with two Carvin F150 power amps, a Carvin F300, and the VHT Classic power amp. Since he started using the Legacy, I've always seen him just that. No power amps anymore and just the added Fender for clean tones on the 2007 tour. On that tour, Steve had the most jaw-dropping sound I've ever heard in my life so far.

I love the sound of the Legacy.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:26 am
by Jeries
let me change my above statement
i think Steve sounds great with any amp, and some of his greatest tones have come through a carvin legacy..

I think I sound like shit through a legacy...

I love the Mesa Boogie sound... it's my sound...the sound in my head...the sound i strive for... Boogie

I like Metallica a lot...
I think they have the best tone of all...

I think James Hetfield is a genius not just for his guitar playing... or his songwriting... but the tone he strives for in his head- is in my opinion the greatest tone to ever come from guitars... his tweaking and constant attempts to have a sound he's happy with is some of the greatest tones i've ever heard...

So...Boogie stuff works for me...

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:23 pm
by avianoguitarist
The Legacy was my favorite amp ever after chasing my "grail" tone for 28 years. all 36 of my Ibanez guitars with various combos of DiMarzios sounded so sweet and organic through it. But, what's good for some isn't for others.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:50 pm
by aaronm
I think he sounds cool with the legacy ,..thought he sounded good with what ever he has used in the past .

never played through a legacy my self though .

:guitar

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:36 am
by kyle am I
its nothing truly amazing. Its just a great sound. Depends on your style of music though. If your a metal player, the legacy may be hard to squeeze that high wailing tube screamer sound without special rigs.
aaronm wrote:I think he sounds cool with the legacy ,..thought he sounded good with what ever he has used in the past .

never played through a legacy my self though .

:guitar

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:58 pm
by Andrew J Dampier
I owned one of the first run Legacy's when they first came out. Killer sounding amp!

I sold it because it was 'too Vai' for me.

That said, I much prefer his tones pre-Legacy days. Alien Love Secrets is a benchmark of tone for me....just amazing tones.
Ever since he started using the Sustainer...things went downhill (for me).

However, the vid of the new Legacy 3 has some GREAT tones on it. Also, after watching vids of him in Australia on the current G3 tour, it sounds like he's backed off the 'mush' sounds I've heard previously and gotten back to that sharper tone.

Either way, BOTH those types of tones are available from the Legacy.

I'd love to own one again. It's very much like a hot-rodded Marshall and if ya want to get those scooped metal tones, you can do what I did when I had mine- threw a 31 band EQ in the effects loop and cut out the mids a bit. It's got more than enough distortion already, it's just dialing in the frequencies to get the sound you're after.

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:17 am
by Jeries
i never found the legacy to sound Vai like at all

even with every amp setting from all the photos out there- didn't sound anything like Vai to me

Re: I don't like the 'Legacy tone'

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:49 pm
by aaronm
could this be a good thing ? :idea: