0670: "Spinal Tap Amps"

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phillipsjk
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:36 am UTC

DragonHawk wrote:\
Indeed: http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedic ... B000I1X6PM

(Be sure to read the customer reviews.)


I saw that page before, but did not notice the used ones for sale:
mn-guy-55115 wrote:burnt in to enhance your listening experience. the discerning ear will know the difference!
- $2,499.98 + $4.99shipping
Did you get the number on that truck?

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ATCG
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby ATCG » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:48 am UTC

The comic needs one more panel:

MARKETER:
"For $2,000 I'll build you one that goes to 12 or for $4,000 I'll build you one that goes to 13."

He knows that given three choices, a customer will most likely take the middle choice.
"The age of the universe is 100 billion, if the units are dog years." - Sean Carroll

Muertos13
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Muertos13 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:36 am UTC

What Randall might not know is that 2000 dollars isn't totally unreasonable for a boutique head-cab combo, even with funny knobs. (IIRC, Ibanez makes replacement knobs for guitars that go to 11)

knight2417
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby knight2417 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:21 am UTC

With some tape, paper and some pulling I managed to make my amp go up to 11, but it cant go to 0.

Wummi
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Wummi » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:25 pm UTC

i had mine just upgraded for 400$.
i think it's a steal at this price! it even goes up to 13 now!
..


...







Image

Random832
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Random832 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

Your balance knob only goes up to 5 - it needs to go to at least 6 to work effectively with a volume knob that goes to 13.

Wummi
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Wummi » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

Random832 wrote:Your balance knob only goes up to 5 - it needs to go to at least 6 to work effectively with a volume knob that goes to 13.

they ripped me off!!!!!

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby keithc » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:32 pm UTC

Vetch wrote:There's no reason why the numbers on an amp would have anything to do with decibels... Take, for instance, this amp: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Marshall-MG ... 1440389.gc It's 15 watts, with an 8" speaker. The knobs go to ten. Now, take this: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Marshall-19 ... 1322995.gc That's a full stack, and in each part it has four 12" speakers, and it's 120 watts. The knobs go to ten.
The difference between the 15W and the Full stack are obvious enough, but both have their own 0-10 scale. There's no consistency between different amps. In theory it might be 1/10 of the total volume for each increment, but that doesn't really work in most cases either (like the above comment that after 7, it's not as significant of a difference.)

Most people have no real understanding of the way our ears work. I have often seen amplifier reviews that say things like "it doesn't sound like 100W to me, more like 50W", when most people, in all honesty, can't tell the difference. And if there is a difference it's more likely due to speaker efficiency than the amp's power. This is (turn away now if you know all this) because our ears are essentially logarithmic for volume (as they are for pitch). So an amp putting out twice the power does not sound twice as loud. My band's guitarist often uses a 5W amp in our rehearsals, and it is plenty loud enough. For comparison, my bass amp is 100W. Ideally, the pot on an audio amp should be logarithmic, but most bodge it and have two linear sections because (a) making a true logarithmic pot would be hideously expensive and (b) most people just turn the knob until it feels right (hmm, did I really say that out loud?).

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vordhosbn
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby vordhosbn » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:27 pm UTC

I always figured that "10" was 100% of the watts. (for the record, I believe that "watts" are tiny creatures that live in my amplifier and scream in pain at various frequencies when an electric current is passed through them). So turning it to 9 means that 90% of them are being electrocuted and at 11 you'd need to pour a few more watts into the box. 10% more as it happens. Just my take on it though. :)
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adaviel
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby adaviel » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:11 pm UTC

How about dropping the arbitrary numbers and going with "soft,normal,loud,too loud". Or the musical notation "pp,p,f,ff" (pianissimo, fortissimo etc.)

One of my favourite TV episodes from when I was very small was the "Sooty and Sweep" show where the kiln control was marked "warm, hot, too hot". Sooty put a bowl in on "hot". Sweep came along and figured the hotter the kiln, the faster it would be done, and moved it to "too hot".
The bowl was burned to a crisp (years later I figured that was implausible - it would just crack).

Anyhow, the science of hearing loss suggests that "too loud" is appropriate for the top end of some amps.

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

Wummi wrote:i had mine just upgraded for 400$.
i think it's a steal at this price! it even goes up to 13 now!


Umm... how is going from 30 divisions to 13 an "upgrade"?
Did you get the number on that truck?

gargletheape
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby gargletheape » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

So is it just me or are the "normal person" and the "engineer" saying the exact same thing? What does the normal person mean by "make 10 louder" if not that these are arbitrary, unit-free numbers anyway? The normal person just groks one more thing that the engineer in the strip doesn't, viz that we spend lots of time thinking by tens and virtually none thinking by elevens.

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby mootinator » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:54 pm UTC

Q_< wrote:Maybe it's 10 bels. So 100 decibels. That sounds about right.


So, apparently I'm the only one who read this and immediately wondered "At what distance from the source?"

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby mootinator » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:57 pm UTC

gargletheape wrote:So is it just me or are the "normal person" and the "engineer" saying the exact same thing? What does the normal person mean by "make 10 louder" if not that these are arbitrary, unit-free numbers anyway? The normal person just groks one more thing that the engineer in the strip doesn't, viz that we spend lots of time thinking by tens and virtually none thinking by elevens.


I think the point is that an engineer will go on all day with a lengthy explanation of something which is actually quite simple to most people and doesn't require a lengthy technical explanation. My grandfather does this. If you want to ask him a question which engineering principles might apply to in some way, you have to clear your schedule.

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby dvandom » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Spinal Tap beat you all to it. Back in the 90s, when they were doing the talk show circuit for something or other, Nigel introduced a new amp that went to infinity. It doesn't peg right, so you keep turning it up as much as you want. I forget if it was on Conan, Letterman or someone else's show.

---Dave

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby swinokur » Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:59 am UTC

No discussion of Audio settings and SpinalTap would be complete without this...

Image

from http://nathan.chantrell.net/20021021/turn-it-up-to-11/

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby knight427 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:30 am UTC

vordhosbn wrote:I always figured that "10" was 100% of the watts. (for the record, I believe that "watts" are tiny creatures that live in my amplifier and scream in pain at various frequencies when an electric current is passed through them). So turning it to 9 means that 90% of them are being electrocuted and at 11 you'd need to pour a few more watts into the box. 10% more as it happens. Just my take on it though. :)


If volume knobs were designed this way there would be lots of problems due to our hearing which is more or less logarithmic.
1) Turning the knob from 0-5 would result in a huge change in loudness...going from 5-10 would increase it by a meager 3dB. Essentially your usable volume settings would be between 0-2 or 0-3.

2) When you turn it to 10, you now have no head room and almost any signal you pass through the amp will more than likely clip it, which will in turn cause harmonic distortion which will probably blow your speakers.

mootinator wrote:
Q_< wrote:Maybe it's 10 bels. So 100 decibels. That sounds about right.


So, apparently I'm the only one who read this and immediately wondered "At what distance from the source?"


No, I've just been too lazy to get into it. That's only the tip of the iceberg. dB of what? Power? Pressure? Voltage? You're thinking pressure, which you recognize is dumb b/c SPL is distance dependent, but it is also room, frequency and weighting curve dependent.
Last edited by knight427 on Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:43 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:38 am UTC

cerumen wrote:Am I the only one that upon reading this thought of another group of people that have trouble understanding units? http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/

and of which Randall has had dealings... http://xkcd.com/verizon/


I think Randall is just quoting George Vaccaro...

My God...
"0.002 cents is two thousandth of a cent..."

It was really painful to listen to. Specially when I've already worked on service calls for American clients :P
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Alx_xlA » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:55 am UTC

cerumen wrote:Am I the only one that upon reading this thought of another group of people that have trouble understanding units? http://verizonmath.blogspot.com/

and of which Randall has had dealings... http://xkcd.com/verizon/


Randall has an attractive signature.

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Monika » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:21 am UTC

I had to think about that for a while until I realized that "signature" can mean something else besides "text appended to your e-mails, Usenet and forum postings".
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Czhorat » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:10 pm UTC

As it's an amp and not a speaker, I suppose that you'd be measuring coming out of it is dBV, not dBspl, but this is way, way overthinking.

Does anyone else here use just one blade with which to shave? I find the two, three, and more kinda silly and the battery-operated ones very much so (although I do use a Gillette Mach for the back of my head)

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:42 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:As it's an amp and not a speaker, I suppose that you'd be measuring coming out of it is dBV, not dBspl, but this is way, way overthinking.

Does anyone else here use just one blade with which to shave? I find the two, three, and more kinda silly and the battery-operated ones very much so (although I do use a Gillette Mach for the back of my head)

I find the one, two, three, and more kinda silly and the battery-operated ones very much so.
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby mootinator » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

knight427 wrote:No, I've just been too lazy to get into it. That's only the tip of the iceberg. dB of what? Power? Pressure? Voltage? You're thinking pressure, which you recognize is dumb b/c SPL is distance dependent, but it is also room, frequency and weighting curve dependent.


Of course. I was just assuming we were working in a frictionless vacuum.1

1Yes, I know.

quuxo
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby quuxo » Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

Here is the controls panel for the Fender Hot Rod DeVille. It goes to 12.

Image

AlexanderRM
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby AlexanderRM » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:10 am UTC

torontoraptor wrote:Wow, 6 minutes to post a thread, thats pretty bad...

I'm slightly biased, but I think this is one of the better comics I have seen in a while. I burnt my cheese. I'm sure there is some logic behind the system though, maybe 0-10 is the safe percentage and 11 is the overload safety factor? So while it can go up to 10 normally, turning it up to 11 is akin to overclocking a cpu. *


Yeah, my dad mentioned space shuttles engines going up to 106% after I showed him this and I thought it might be that- you put 100% a bit below the actual maximum, kinda the way fuel dials show "empty" a bit before the fuel runs out, since the last 6% aren't entirely safe and you want it to stay at 100% or lower except in extreme emergency. (apparently it's actually that they designed a system going up to 100%, set that as the 100% level, and then imporved the engienes to be 6% better)

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Slusk » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:40 pm UTC

No no no, THIS is how it should have ended! Image

hordriss
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby hordriss » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:00 pm UTC

Mekmek wrote:
Amnesiasoft wrote:


Why not amps that go to googol, Clarkkkkson and the xkcd number? Integers are the better choice here over the Reals, imho. For that matter, why not amps with (-i)^2, -i, 0, i, i^2?

I know that last one wasn't a good joke. :P


Imaginary numbers would produce a phase shift, which you can get with an effects footswitch.

I currently have a fever, which might explain this thought I just had. What if the faders of mixers were shaped like mobius strips?

ihatebumperstickers
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby ihatebumperstickers » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:51 am UTC

DSDM wrote:"...and I'll even sell you a pair of Monster cables for 20% off."

Seriously, there are few things as delusional, gullible, or stupid as an audiophile.


recording engineers aren't much better... $1m records are made with crappy gear all the time, almost more often than crappy records are made with $1M gear.

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Brouhaha » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:48 am UTC

ivoriv wrote:Runner up comic text: "Smart engineers make sound decisions"


Hyuk hyuk hyuk. XD
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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby Gippslander » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:29 am UTC

Hi Folks!

I see that some others have already found some, but I wanted to show you my amp.

Image

Image

It really wasn't all that uncommon in the 50s and 60s. You'll notice the Fender amps that go up to 12 are reissues of 50s models.

I put it down to pre-metric times and people being more inclined to think in dozens.
Now someone build one with a baker's-dozen.

http://the-billablog.blogspot.com/2009/ ... mp_19.html

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Re: "Spinal Tap Amps" Discussion

Postby sandie » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:35 am UTC

The Spinal Tap amps comic makes me want to go into a long rant about the Yosemite Decimal System.

I agree that a multiples of pi system would be good, from zero to 2*pi. That way it's not "how loud is it", but "this is how far you turned the knob (pot)".


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