Amp advice...

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by JackStraw, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    His tone is extremely stiff and hi-fi. That is what he was seeking when he switched to using McIntosh amps. He did not want the characteristic sag, compression, and back EMF of a cranked up tube amp. A clean tube preamp (the AB763 preamp is pretty darn clean by itself) into a highly-damped solid-state hi-fi amp is little better than a solid-state preamp into a highly-damped hi-fi power amp. What makes a tube amp sound louder than a comparable solid-state amp is voltage overshoot due to poor damping factor. Damping factor is the ability of a power amp to control speaker cone movement. In a poorly-damped amp, the cone is not tightly controlled by the power amp. The result is that the speaker starts to create its own signal, which is fed back into the power amp (back EMF) where it combines with the signal coming from the preamp. Back EMF is what makes guitar tube amps sound so different with different speakers. Global negative feedback is used to increase damping factor, making the difference not as severe, but a tube guitar amp is woefully under damped compared to a solid-state hi-fi amp.
     
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  2. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    Agreed. It is cleanly amplifying.
     
  3. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules On Double Secret Probation

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    Know all of that. But there is more than one way to get a tone. By the time it's mic'd recorded, mixed and mastered, it's been proven more than once that things up front change change but if dialed in, the end result is close to impossible to differentiate. How many players over the years, have switched amps, preamps, pedals, guitars, pickups, etc but always managed to find "their' tone. And no, I don't mean their style, their phrasing or the usual "no matter what I play, I sound like me." I mean "their tone."
     
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  4. Sonic Blue 55

    Sonic Blue 55 New Member

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    The best Jerry tone I have heard was a Quilter. Look up Jerry’s Middle Finger.
     
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  5. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    I was going to suggest a quilter. One of the two solid-state amps I own is a Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 8”.
     
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  6. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    I would like to add that the Quilter MicroPros appear to be loved by guys who are tired of lugging Twins around. There is an Eagles tribute band called "Desperado" where the guitarists use the 8" version of the original MicroPro.

    ).

    The downside to the MicroPro is that it needs to be turned up (not tube amp turned up) a bit to sound best and the speaker is stiff from the factory. It is a 200W amp. The 8" version uses a full-range speaker.
     
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  7. Sonic Blue 55

    Sonic Blue 55 New Member

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    Jerry’s Middle Finger.
    Quilter gets it spot on.

     
  8. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    Here's my Quilter MicroPro Mach 2 8":

    [​IMG]

    It is the size of a Champ, but the bottom end is unbelievable. It is kind of like a modern take on the Mesa Mark I stunt. Guitarists used to smirk when a guy showed up to a gig with a Mark I, an amp the size of a Fender Princeton. It did not take long to make them believers. :) That is what happens when people see an 8" MicroPro. The MicroPro was designed to be a gigging amp. It has to be turned up to at least loud home volume before it gives up the goods, which makes it a poor choice for a bedroom volume amp.
     
    #28 Em7, Apr 11, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
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  9. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    You could take any amp du jour through a UA Ox Box. Volume problem solved. Sounds amazing.
     
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  10. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    In the case of the 8” MicroPro, it is the speaker, not the power amp that needs the power. The stock 8” MicroPro speaker is a 100w 8” full-range speaker that can be a little on the boomy side at low volumes. That is why people are blown away by the bottom-end this little amp has at gig volume. Like most modern analog solid-state amps, the MicroPro uses preamp-level circuitry to simulate tube power amp dynamics. It is all disclosed in patents that were awarded to Pat Quilter. The power amp is a modern full-range Classs D amp. For those that do not know, Pat Quilter has been around for a long time. QSC (sound reinforcement company) stands for “Quilter Sound Products.” Quilter Labs is Pat’s second act.
     
  11. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules On Double Secret Probation

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    Yes, the people that love these things turn them up some. Many guys at TGP that got them thinking “Hey, it’s SS so it will sound great at low volume” we’re disappointed.
     
  12. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    You can count me in as one of those guys who was a bit underwhelmed when I first purchased the amp. I purchased the amp as a replacement for my Tech 21 Trademark 60, which is my home-use amp. The Trademark 60 sounds great at normal conversation levels (it can do the midrange thick singing solo Mark series Boogie thing). The MicroPro was a disappointment at that volume level. It was not until I opened the amp up volume-wise that I got why guys traded tube amps for a MicroPro. The MicroPro truly starts to act like a tube amp at higher sound pressure levels. It also cuts through the mix. The response is more immediate than most tube amps; therefore, it does not cover mistakes, and then there is the reality that the MicroPro is also not a plug-and-play amp. There is a learning curve because the amp has multiple voices. However, for those guitarists where a MicroPro works, the 8” combo weighs 19lbs and the 10” and 12” versions are just a few pounds heavier. That beats lugging a 72lb twin from gig to gig.
     
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  13. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    I appreciate all the amp advice and discussion.

    I decided to go with RickP's suggestion of a Mesa Boogie California Tweed. Ultimate factor was the multiple Watt settings. Seemed like a good option for someone that does most of their playing at home with occasional small gigs.

    Requisite pic (stock photo) of the new family member below.


    [​IMG]
     
  14. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    I’m looking forward to your review!
     
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  15. watelessness

    watelessness Member

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    Try a Louis Columbia Reverb and a PRS Dallas through big/wide PRS cabinet. Cleans and breaks.
     
  16. bodia

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

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    Sweet!
     
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  17. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    Congratulations, you can’t go wrong with a Boogie.
     
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  18. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules On Double Secret Probation

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    Congrats on the new amp. I'll issue my standard disclaimer here regarding the multiple wattage settings. Don't think that just because you're playing at lower volumes, you'll always leave it in the lowest wattage setting. Each wattage setting with Mesa amps is a different TYPE of power stage. They will all SOUND AND FEEL different, and you may well prefer the higher or highest wattage settings, even at low volumes. DO NOT fall into the "low wattage = better for low volumes" trap!

    When I had my TA15, I used the 5 watt mode especially for the Vox settings because it worked so well that way. Single Ended Class A works well with Vox voicing. And Tweed voicing and even the Marshall and Boogie settings but it is a "thing." Even at lower volumes, it doesn't have the tightness or punch of the higher wattage settings.

    And, IMO, 5 watts or so SE is the minimum of what can sound really good in most settings, at really low volumes. Example: 90% of my playing on my Bogner ATMA is in the full power 18 watt mode. 10% is in the 5 watt mode. The 1 watt modes SUCKS. (IMO, YMMV) It's simply lifeless squashed sound. I have probably tried it 3 times, and never lasted more than 60 seconds. Even at LOW volumes, the 5 watt mode kills it. Might as well use digital device or a Roland Micro Cube if you are going to use the 1 watt mode.

    40 Watts - 4x6V6 Class A/B Pentode
    30 Watts - 2x6V6 Class A/B Triode + 2x6V6 Class A/B Pentode
    20 Watts - 2x6V6 Class A/B Pentode
    10 Watts - 2x6V6 Class A/B Triode
    2 Watts - 1x6V6 Triode + 1x6V6 Pentode, Single-Ended Class A Parallel

    Looking at this, even the 10 and 20 watt settings will sound and feel significantly different. Pentode vs. Triode. Pentode will have more top, bottom, punch and clarity. Triode will sound smoother, less top and bottom and less punch. And it's not the wattages that matter here as the 10 watt will get plenty loud. They tried something unique with the lowest setting and didn't do a typical "one power tube SE" type stage here. I HOPE that this mode is nicer than most amps 1 watt settings, and it may be...
     
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  19. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    I took a bunch of Mesa amps for a test drive a couple of months ago. The California Tweed is an amp that I wanted to love, but found incredibly lack luster (one can build or purchase a modern hand-wired clone of a 5E3 Deluxe for less than that price and have a much better built amp). There was a time when Mesa built very good amps, but that time has come and gone. I will not work on any Mesa amp past the Mark III or the DCs. There is just too much cost cutting going on at Mesa. Everything is a ribbon cable connected subassembly that is designed to limit the amount of skill and labor needed to build an amp. These subassemblies are designed to be replaced as a whole, not repaired at the board level.
     
    #39 Em7, Apr 15, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  20. Glide-bpm

    Glide-bpm We were small but we were slow...

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    After being on Axe FX III for over a year, I can't even stand to use pedals and my two custom tube amps anymore. Always find myself missing my tones.

    Yeah, I hijacked three thread, but I must say this old tube snob is perma-converted. Not my first rodeo with digital either. Still have a Line 6 Helix (church and backup to Axe III), and a Kemper Stage (my bass player will be using it to go ampless on stage).

    Last few Axe 3 updates have been freaking awesome! I never thought I would completely admit I'm perma-digitalized!

    Just FYI if you haven't tried one! I've had 5 or 6 guitarists in different bands locally bend over backwards complimenting my tones since I overhauled them right before our last gig March 14. All the other st Patty's Day large parties got cancelled but our bar was packed and they came and hung out with us. One even sat in for 3 songs on my rig.

    All he said was "Holy [email protected], man... That guitar and that box are killer together..."
    He's one of the best blues guitarists around here. He played my Brian's run swamp ash Artist 509.
     
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