NAD - Sweet 16 Head and Cabinet

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by shinksma, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Yeah, I'm quite certain I have that fascination too.

    Which is weird - for years I had just a Fender HRDX because it was "good enough" for my basement/garage band aspirations (we did not gig in the slightest, purely our own entertainment).

    And before that I had a crappy SS amp that epitomized crappy 1980s SS amps. It was Peavey - I can't buy the brand to this day as a result.

    Once I took the leap and bought an Archon, I started down that slippery slope of "ooh, how do I get to that tone a bit easier?" Thus the HXDA. And now the Sweet 16.

    I will pause now for a while in my amp acquisition (except maybe a matching 1x12 cab for my HXDA to get a mini-stack). Perhaps I will buy an amp at Experience 2018, not a guitar? Ah, who am I kidding, it will be a guitar...
     
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  2. squirrel211

    squirrel211 New Member

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    To me, Bryan Ewald's product demo of this amp (Sweet 16) has been hands down, my favorite PRS amp tone.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Speaking only for myself, the PRS amps are keepers, pure and simple. They have honest, organic tones that I don’t get tired of, and each style of amp they make is one of those “that’s one of the tones in my head!” things.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are other amps that are fine amps. But somehow Doug and the PRS amp team keep hitting it out of the park. The amps are just quality builds, and make great tones.
     
  4. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    That video helped me make the decision to grab a Sweet 16 - it covered a bunch of interesting tones, and I had other Brian Ewald demos of other amps to compare (he is nicely consistent in his demo style and how they are recorded).
     
  5. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Agree 100%! I am glad I waited until now to "collect" amps - I get the benefit of a huge selection of PRS amps!
     
  6. mad monk

    mad monk Junior Mint

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    I've owned all 3 versions, and although I wasn't too fond of the first (at first), it's now my favorite. I have an 09 tuxedo with 2 tuxedo 1x12 cabs, and a rev C paisley combo. The rev B head left to help fund a Custom 20 head.
    Sweet is the correct name for these amps. If you play a different amp for a while then come back to it, it'll put a smile on your face.
     
  7. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Any specifics as to what the Rev C change was? I have seen written that the Rev B increased the headroom a bit. What did Rev C tweak?
     
  8. mad monk

    mad monk Junior Mint

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    I don't know. In the beginning, I thought the first version head was too bright, and broke up too early. It was a common response among the crowd. The rev B I had was a head that sounded a little dull (to me), once I learned how to properly use the guitar and amp together with the first version. I was going "full 10" on the guitar tone and volume, and that's not the way to go with a single channel amp. A major revelation for me. It opened my eyes and ears to the beauty of a single channel, master volume amp.
    The rev C is a combo, and doesn't sound as good as either head unit did with a good cabinet. I couldn't discern much difference between the rev B head and the rev C when I plugged it into a cabinet, without using the combo speaker.
    The rev C paisley combo is just so dang pretty, I can't seem to part with it. Mr Sewell can tell you what the difference between the B and C are. Both did have a bit more headroom than the the first version. I learned how to fix that with the volume knob on the guitar.
    I hope this helps.
     
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  9. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    I've got to see that one. Brian is such a nice player and knows how to bring out the best tones in gear. I've always been interested in these as a lower watt ... "Tweed-ish" amp. Any chance you can record some clips just to let us hear the tones? Even if it's cell phone clips?

    I'm going to look for Brian's demo now.
     
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  10. mad monk

    mad monk Junior Mint

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    I freeze up when I try to play in front of people, or even to record. I barely use my looper pedal, because I screw up trying to play a chord progression to learn solos over. If I know someone can hear me play; I can't.
     
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  11. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Word! If my wife walks into the room, I stop playing and pretend to be fiddling with the things. If one of the dogs walk in, I stop and find a treat that I can toss them to get out of the room.
     
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  12. mad monk

    mad monk Junior Mint

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    Whew! I thought I was the only one. Support group?
     
  13. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    Not even close to the only one. I tried to record things a few years back and I'd just PANIC when the red light was on. Went to a big get together a few years back and jammed my butt off. Every time they'd say "ok now we're going to record this" and then take turns doing your solo, I was fine right up until when it was my turn and I immediately went into ultra conservative mode, playing things I could have played 2 days after I picked up my first guitar. For quite a while I'd do solos by "looping" a track because after a few "nervous" runs, I'd finally loosen up and play.

    And I'm VERY shy about playing in front of people. I get very conservative and don't play anything like what I play when I'm setting back there by myself. I play every few months in front of 1000 people or so. I know most of them don't even have a clue how I play. I'm not saying I'm all that, just saying, they don't have a clue. I CAN loosen up and play in front of people, but it takes some prodding. I've always had a hard time cutting loose in front of other people.
     
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  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    The obstacle to performing is thinking you have to show people you’re good, or be impressive. You don’t. People will happily listen to cowboy chords played with feeling.

    The trick is to start with the simplest, easiest stuff you have. If it’s only one note, play it musically and well. As you get more relaxed, build from there.

    Let go of trying to be an impressive player, just play. After a minute or two, you’ll relax and the music will flow more easily.

    Concentrate on breathing at first if you’re terrified.
     
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  15. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    I agree with Les - start out playing simple stuff in front of folks, learn to relax, then get crazier as you see fit - you will soon find no-one notices or cares about the odd mistake you make.

    As for recording, try recording yourself with a mobile phone if you don't have a PC/Mac-based recording system. Just get used to hearing yourself, and get used to playing live with others which just happens to be recorded.

    I only ever jammed with friends for years and years, until I then got involved with some "jam sessions" with co-workers at work, after-hours. These jam sessions had gone on for years in the past, then went on hiatus, and when restarted I got dragged into it. I soon realized I was better than some other players, not as good as others, and everyone was OK with that, including the audience, which was often non-playing co-workers who just wanted to listen or support their friends.

    About five years ago I played my first true public performance, at a charity fund raiser at a church, accompanying what is now two of my band-mates - mostly true accompaniment, but I also sang and played a song (cover). It went OK, and soon we were playing small cafes and pubs for free or fundraisers or similar. I started to notice that folks just wanted good songs/tunes, weren't all that hung up on technical prowess, although the odd time I did play a tasteful solo they seemed to appreciate it. Eventually we started to book paying gigs (one band mate has been gigging professionally part-time for decades, she figured we were good enough to start asking). Our main paying gigs are smaller pubs still, playing to a few dozen folks maybe, but we also play festivals where the audience can be in the hundreds.

    And we record - did a CD last year, doing another later this year. We usually keep the first or second take, so obviously we all feel comfortable playing to the tape (well, DAW). While playing those basement/garage/cottage jam sessions with my buddies, I had experimented with multi-track recording, mixing, and burning to CD our rambling stuff, and I learned a lot from that, and got used being always recorded, I guess.

    Since my wife and I are in a band together (she joined the band a couple of years ago), if she walks in the room and I'm already playing, she'll play along - that is a really nice treat, being comfortable with each other.
     
  16. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    I am prompted to update this thread because I did some recording with this amp yesterday, and saw Sergio's and Les's recent posts in Sergio's NAD thread about his DG 30.

    Working on a short bluesy instrumental for a film soundtrack, I decided the Sweet 16 with just a BD-2 in front, would be a nice sound. Touch of reverb, a bit less for the rhythm part, bit more for the lead. Had a chord progression I liked, simple stuff since I'm trying to be background music for a particular scene, not a full-blown "song" that says "hey, look at me!". Did a basic rhythm track with medium-light dirt, then added a lead track with more dirt. Then decided I wanted possibly less dirt in the rhythm, so recorded another version so it was just a bit over the edge of breakup.

    Thought that was pretty good, rough mixed it. Then decided I wanted to watch the scene while just noodling, to get the feel of the scene into the music - pace/energy shifting up and down as the emotions of the characters varied with their conversation and actions. Plain solo noodling didn't discover anything too inspiring, so I went back to the chord progression, but chugged through it with varied pace to match the scene. Then I recorded some lead bits on top. Listening to the rhythm track, there was too much bass coming through, it sounded too heavy and had affected the finesse of my playing. Re-recorded it a couple times, finally settling on a different dirt pedal, a cheap RAT clone. Then I re-recorded the lead stuff a couple more times, feeling a bit more inspired - I was pretty happy with the last take.

    Recorded with a TASCAM USB audio Interface US-1800, Beta 57A pointed at side of cone, SM-58 hanging in front of other side of cone.

    Anyway, my point being, this amp gets pretty good tones, and is capable of a variety of heaviness/dirt, with or without pedals in front (but IMHO better with the drive/boost pedals).
     
  17. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Sounds like a darn good amp, Shinksma, if you’re feeling good enough about it to use it on a film project!
     
  18. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    It has a good overall tone, and gets dirty without being overly loud, which can be important at times. I was recording at my home with other folks in the house (quietly!) doing their thing, so having the volume loud enough to get a good tone (and mask any annoying background noises) while not driving everyone away is useful.

    Now that I've been playing it a while, I need to get myself to a GC or Sam Ash and run through their collection of Fender and similar amps to see how it compares (not necessarily as better or worse, just "similar to" or "different from").
     
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  19. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    OK, more gushing about this awesome amp!

    Last night we had a band meeting about this film project, and discussed some ideas with the film team via Skype. After the call we jammed a bit, and I switched from an electric (P245SH) to an acoustic (SE Angelus Custom), staying plugged into the Sweet 16 (via my pedal board that includes a Fishman Aura) rather than switching over to my usual acoustic amp.

    The Sweet 16 sounded really nice with an acoustic via the Fishman!

    So good that after the other two band members went home I recorded another demo track for the film using the acoustic->Fishman->Sweet16->Shure mikes->Tascam->PC set up. Really helped with the bluesy kinds tone I was going for.

    This has been the most surprising amp acquisition so far - I knew what to expect with the HXDA and Archon (both getting a bit dusty right now...), but the Sweet 16 was a bit of a leap of faith, and I did not expect it to be so versatile - if anything, I thought it might be a one-trick pony, sounding a bit like a Fender and useful for practice jamming only.
     
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  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Isn’t it great when you get a pleasant surprise with an amp?
     

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