BB Preamp, Suhr Buffer, DG30 & Thanks To Aristotle!

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by LSchefman, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Aristotelean logic dictated that I at least try out the Xotic BB preamp with the DG30, as I've been searching for something elusive with the amp.

    So I picked one up, and I agree that it's a really good match for the DG30. I've wanted something transparent enough to clearly hear the tone of the guitar, open sounding, etc. But at the same time, I've wanted a pedal that warms up at various gain levels. Of the pedals I've tried, the BB works best with the DG30 for what I want to accomplish.

    Thanks for the tip, Aristotle!

    The most crucial thing I picked up today in accordance with my plan to redo most of the stuff on my board is a Suhr Buffer.

    I won't get into the whole science of buffers too much, except to say that most of them sound outright bad. Even some of the "good ones" are artificially bright. The meh ones take away the 3 dimensionality of the signal and make it sound a little bit cardboard-y.

    I've been looking for a high quality buffer to serve as the sonic foundation for my pedalboard.

    The Suhr simply sounds like the guitar. Except unlike going without a buffer, the high end of the signal is preserved along with every other detail in what's coming out of the guitar, as it travels from your guitar's cable, through the pedals and their cables, and then through the cable from pedalboard to amp. I tested it out against the pretty good sounding buffer in the Peterson tuner (which is also a direct box, designed as such to have a decent buffer compared to most) and switching the Peterson into the chain definitely obscured some of the richness of the tone.

    So the Suhr buffer is highly recommended. Best one I've found yet, even more natural sounding than my old Axess buffer which was a high quality box in its day. The Peterson is now in a true bypass loop, out of the signal chain, but I can hit a button and put it into the chain for tuning.

    It's a keeper. Also very beautifully made of machined, anodized heavy aluminum and tiny, so it's out of the way on your board. It even has a parallel output for a tuner, second amp, or what-have-you, and a phase switch so if you run it into a second amp, both amps are in phase with one another.

    It's first thing on my board, so as much of the signal as possible is preserved. If I trot out a wah, I'll have it second in the chain (wahs like to interact with pickups).
     
    #1 LSchefman, Aug 17, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Well, Day Two with this rig.

    I realize I'm talking to myself here. But I'm going to post this anyway...the BB/DG30 combination is a subtle but important improvement. The Suhr Buffer is a subtle, but important improvement.

    I'm getting my best tone ever with both amps, and this makes me a very happy old coot.
     
  3. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    Suhr makes some great stuff. The Xotic products get rave reviews as well. Glad you've found some new tone tools that work with the DG30 and cabinet.

    Is Grissom rocking an EP Booster with the Psionic Telos since it has a boost?

    If I had a DG amp I'd try an EP and Klon clone of some sorts first. No reason other than I've seen plenty of people with real EP's in their rigs or the EP Booster. The Klon clone of Boogie's was killer. While likely different I bought a Klon clone from a local store's special run of them. Shame on me for not having picked it up yet, but I am excited to get around to my very own DG rig.
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    According to the last "new board" pic he posted on his Twitter while evidently working on the new record, no. -- this is a later pic than the one on his website. He appears to be using an Xotic SP compressor with the Telos. Also this board has a Line6 M9 instead of the Strymon.

    However, I have a suspicion that he rocks more than one board, depending on the session or gig.

    I got a chance to hear my buddy's silver Klon recently. My feeling is that if you have a "klone" set as a clean or semi-clean boost instead of as a mild overdrive, the EP might be overkill. I'd mess with the klone awhile to see what it can do before adding the EP.

    The EP is a terrific pedal. I respect it. In fact, when my boy Jamie was in from LA fresh from all that 30STM stuff, I had him try the pedal with the DG amp, and he just looked at me and said, "This is a great pedal." It does add a bit of harmonic richness and a little grit.

    On the other hand, in my studio I am able to accomplish that and more simply by going over to the amp and giving the gain knob just a touch of an increase. That's something that is sometimes a little impractical in a live show, hence Grissom's need of a boost, but for me in my studio work, if I want more oomph there are the guitar controls, amp controls, and OD pedals set for just a bit of crunch. That's really enough for my needs.

    What I like about the BB pedal is that in addition to its clean boost ability and EQ, the gain can go from subtle to fairly high, and it adds a touch of good compression. The EQ sounds great, too, and in fact it's needed because the pedal tends toward HF crispness and needs a bit of bass boost to warm things up, at least with the DG amp.

    Also with the BB in place, I can dial in a little crunch and I can lower the gain and master volume on the amp enough that I don't run screaming for earplugs. This is a good thing!

    Finally, I've been experimenting with the high cut control on the back of the amp. It's interesting, because I like to turn the treble control to around 2 o'clock, where it sounds really good. But at lower volumes, I like to add the bright switch, and that shifts the treble response enough that I want to turn the treble control down. However, doing that makes things a little dull. So I've found that leaving the treble control where I like it, but using the high cut control changes where the frequencies roll off, and using all three controls I can dial in the right treble balance. It's a useful control, and I didn't fully understand it until over this past weekend.
     
    #4 LSchefman, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  5. aduayer

    aduayer Zomb!e One, DFZ

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    It's very interesting your journey to find the Holly sound with this amp. I am having my quest too. I also have a DG30 and the amp sounded awesome out of the box, but I got really impressed how good it sounds with pedals, so I started to try out all the combinations.
    I am using for sometime the EP Booster On all the time (to be honest, the DG30 should come with it installed), Dunlop Bonamassa Wha, Fulltone OCD for the high gain tone, a Z Vex Box of Rock, Strymon Mobius and Time Line. I also have other stuffs, but for many reasons this set up is where I can get the best sound and performance.
     
  6. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    Woohoo!!! :dancing: Les found a grail tone. :cool:

    Sorry for not posting yet, but I read it Sunday and it prompted me to head down to the Cave to test pedal combinations. When JFB played my rig, the EP was set conservatively at about 10:00 to push an overdriven signal into a distortion. It makes for a good hard rock rhythm or lead sound. But for live work, I'm always aware of the two cardinal rules: all songs are rushed, even if only slightly, and, guitarists add too much distortion. It's been my objective to lower my crunch factor by a healthy margin. Changing the EP Boost from 10:00 to 2:00-3:00 completely changed the response of my amp. So much so that I could use only the EP and guitar volume for rhythm that I previously used the Klone and dialed back guitar. So instead of stacking pedals almost every song, in one combination or another, I'm relying on just the Klone or just the K'zoo or just the EP. Yes, the combinations are still very tasty and my go-to lead sound is the Klone+K'zoo, but stepping onto the EP cranked (or nearly cranked) gave a really good and nicely cutting tone. And mix-cutting is a problem for me with the SuperD's bass response.
     
    #6 Boogie, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  7. prsrocker1988

    prsrocker1988 New Member

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    Awesome!!!!

    The BB pedal is great.

    I saw Keith Urban live last year and his solo on "Stupid Boy" had THE best tone I've heard live and I've been to tons of concerts before and after. It was a vintage Goldtop with P90s into an Xotic BB but with the midboost (custom shop Xotic pedal) into an old Tweed Twin. Smooth as smooth gets.
     
  8. slev

    slev New Member

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    The BB plus is a staple in Andy Timmons rig, he's actually got a sig model now I believe, and, that guy has an unbelievable tone.
     
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Actually, no...my grail tone is still the HXDA without any pedals, just as I recorded it on that Hammer Of The Gods demo.

    That tone, for me, is the exact perfect deal. Hammer, cable, amp, cab.

    The BB pedal will be used with the DG mostly.

    It's the DG that gave me fits, because it's come so tantalizingly close to achieving a different kind of tone I like. I love the DG amp and cab, and the set certainly wasn't cheap, so I want to bring out its best qualities for my style of play. This BB pedal definitely inches it closer. So does the Suhr Buffer.

    But that grail ship came in with the HXDA. ;)

    The DG30 is an "extra added attraction."
     
    #9 LSchefman, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I've always liked the OCD, and have had several. It's got a different tone from the BB preamp, and I was wondering how it might sound with the DG30, so I'm glad you posted this. How do you set your OCD for the DG30?

    Similar to your Strymon gear, I've used the Eventide ModFactor and TimeFactor in the past, and plan to add them to my board again.
     
  11. aristotle

    aristotle New Member

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    I suck at keeping current on forums lately.... Cool post Les. The BB and the DG30 is a combination made in heaven for me. It isn't Grissom tone (in my opinion....) I just seems to transparently match with the DG30 very well. It also works extremely well with fender amps also....

    I've also been using it with the MDT a bunch lately (truth be told....the MDT keeps calling me even after months of not having played it....) The BB is more of a "push it over the edge" with the MDT than it is with the DG30 (here it's more of a "add color sort of thing...)
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I agree. It's a super pedal for the DG30. Not Grissom-ish, but then I don't play anything like Grissom. I like to have it give a little grit and boost to the front end of the amp so I don't have to crank the amp quite so loud in the studio. It's very clear and crisp, so it's great for that, and doesn't mess with the guitar tone too much.

    Next stop for me may be a Moog minifooger pedal. I'm digging what I'm hearing from the tremolo pedal; it's not like a vintage trem, it's a bit more unusual and smoodgified, almost gooshy with interesting twists and turns.
     
  13. aduayer

    aduayer Zomb!e One, DFZ

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    About my OCD. I bought one a couple of years ago and I was in love. Then I bought another one but it just didn't sounded the way the other one did. I preferred the sound and feel of my first one. So after some research on the internet I found out that my first OCD was what people call version 3 and the newer one was Version 4. I said was because I sold it.
    So I use the OCD as the mean distortion and the box of rock as the drive. If I need extra boost for the a solo I use the Box of Rock's boost switch. To me, I can cover lots of ground with this set up.
    I also have and use from time to time Mesa Boogie VTwin, Bogner Ecstasy Red and an Ibanez 90's TS9 modded. The DG30 really is a "pedal friendly" amp, if that makes any sense in english. Some pedals just don't sound good with some amps, but in this case, I didn't find one that sums up. It's just that ones delivers more what you want to listen.
    Another thing is that I've never heard about Grissom until I saw him on Experience. I did saw him on a few adds on guitar magazines, but had no idea how he sounded. Of course he can play the hell ou of a guitar and has a bad ass sound, but what I like about him is the gear developer side. I mean the DGT guitar and DG30 amp are a classic. They are just perfect rock machines where you can do it all, and that's why I think they are very popular. I mean, people who wants to find the Grissom sound and people who doesn't have a clue who Grissom is can have hours, days, weeks and decades of inspiring sounds. Damn, I think I am writing too much.
    Almost forgot. The OCD I change how I dial it every day. The EP Boos is on all the time, but the way I set the amp, and that I change a lot depending where I am playing and what guitar I am using, will determine the sets on the OCD and the Box of Rock. The mini toggle is always on the HP mode, Volume around 9:00, drive and tone around 1:00.
    I am planning to get a Mesa Boogie's Cab Clone in the near future.
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I agree, there isn't much you can't do with the DG30 especially if you're into pedals.

    It's a somewhat unusual experience for me, because I'm used to something like the HXDA, a Two-Rock, or Mesa, where I wouldn't often use OD or gain pedals, boosts, etc, to get my distortion.

    We must think alike, though. I had a V-Twin, too, but gave it to one of my friends during a time I was insisting on guitar>cable>amp (I do get a little crazy from time to time). But it's a great pedal, insane in front of a wah by the way. I wish I still had it, but they're discontinued. At one point in the 90s I even had a rack mount version of one. Had their Bottle Rocket, too, half of a V-Twin.

    I'm planning on a Cab Clone as well. It's a great solution for certain things.
     
    #14 LSchefman, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  15. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    Those new Bogner pedals look cool to me. You going to try one?
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Well, today with a judicious amount of tweaking and dialing, I've managed to come somewhat close to my HXDA tone with the DG30 and the BB preamp pedal.

    I have to laugh at myself. I already have that tone residing in the HXDA, yet I find myself trying to duplicate it with the DG!

    Of course, the texture and feel of the two amps remain very different, even with the BB in the circuit.

    I'm really just talking about the overall tone balance here. But I have to ask myself, is it really necessary to have two amps and set them to do pretty much the same thing? :iamconfused:

    I definitely need a new recording project so I can stop thinking about this stuff.

    Probably so.

    I know what a good transformer does in Rupert Neve's designs, as I have his preamp design and had his transformers in my Neve submixer.

    It adds heft and solidity to the signal, and isolates it from noise.
     
    #16 LSchefman, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  17. django49

    django49 New Member

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    Sold my Mesa V-Twin pedal, but still DO have the V-Twin rackmount, ;long with the 20/20 amp. Great combination.
     
  18. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    Going to be interested in hearing your tone report as they have my attention.
     
  19. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I've asked Sweetwater to let me know when they're in stock. I'll probably start with the overdrive, sort of a middle ground pedal, and see what it does.

    Apparently the transformer is designed to saturate as gain is increased, and throw off harmonics. Should be interesting.

    Still digging the Xotic BB, though I do find it a little noisy. Definitely noisier than my Fulltone Secret Freq set for similar gain. But it's a small difference.
     
    #19 LSchefman, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    OK, so for a day I was going to sell my HXDA and get more studio junk. Then I decided...no.

    So much for that concept.

    I do, however, have the DG30 sounding amazing, and I love it with the Suhr Buffer and the Xotic BB preamp. Love it. Hearts and flowers.
     

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