Consummation of a Plan

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by LSchefman, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. Tosca

    Tosca Zombie 10, DFZ

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    Warning if you like lighter cabs Les...the Silent Sister weighs a ton!!! But it has wheels and you probably won't have to move it much once placed.
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    It would live on an isolation pad completely out of the way, maybe even in my studio's storage room and never move.

    I'd use it for late night recording sessions.
     
  3. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    I'm hopeful you like the pine 2x12 as much as I do. This stuff is so subjective, but there is a marked tonal match between the PRS amps and this cabinet. Maybe it's just me, but after trying so many other speakers and cabs, the pine 2x12 brought a focus on character that I missed with my amp. It was tough to ignore the fact that it was loaded with V30s and just play it! But once I did, it all clicked. I'd LOVE to spend a weekend with an HXDA.

    Just as a small suggestion for pedals, the EP Booster is a no-brainer. Keep it even if you decide you don't like it coloring your sound. Put it after your ODs (you need 2 for stacking...a milder one with a buffer and a wilder one for screaming leads) where it will essentially gives you another amp channel. I've found the Paisley, Timmy, Prince of Tone, Klon (any variety plus Klones), Klamazoo Gold, OCD, FullDrive, and probably a couple others I'm forgetting, worked beautifully in front. Some worked better than others together, but the similarities in these pedals made it easier to justify keeping 2 boutique ODs on the same board. Currently, I have the Monster Klone in front of the K'zoo gold then the EP Booster. My Strat doesn't like this combo as much as the DGT but it doesn't suck. :biggrin: The tonal variety is crazy huge!

    Your project is is getting exciting!
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    What seems to be working for me best with the DG now is the EP Boost stacked into the Fulltone Secret Freq, I can get good, greasy OD out of the Secret Freq set conservatively, but when I hit the EP, everything goes into a beautiful screaming gain. When I use the EP boost by itself, I generally just use it at around 5 db of gain, to add some gristle and girth when I roll back the pickup volumes. I do like what it adds to the overall tone at times.

    With the HXDA I generally don't like OD pedals. It's fine with them, but it's just not all that necessary. However, a Fulltone '69 Fuzz or Catalyst does something magical. Of course, the guys who used the original Plexis used fuzz, not ODs (not even sure there were any ODs at the time!).

    But the biggest change I made today in terms of getting the most out of the Hammer of the Gods with the DG?

    Going to a 10 foot cable from guitar to pedalboard instead of 20. I can hear the pickup resonances much better, and the guitar sounds woodier and just all around better. I'd read that capacitance could interfere with pickup resonances that give a pickup personality, and of course I knew that capacitance would mess with high frequency and overall volume. But I was surprised at how much more I like the rig now with this simple swap.
     
    #84 LSchefman, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  5. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    In a recording setting, I'd go crazy-esoteric with my cables. When my hearing was better, I could hear all of the nuances different cable brands made and the length. Now, I go with what is flexible, endures stage atrocities, and sounds great, not fantastic. (Canare GS-6 + Neutrik) I mean, it can sound fantastic, but I have over 50' of cable in my rig and I do expect treble attenuation. In fact, I bank on it, so it's a shock when I go directly to the amp with a short cord.

    People also tend to go cheap on the speaker cable to the cab. IMO, it doesn't have to be ├╝ber expensive, but quality cable is essential in the entire chain.

    BTW, I'm VERY interested in the Secret Freq. For "reach out and burn someone's face off " solos, that seems to have the right mid-band frequencies isolated perfectly. A la Tom Scholz.

    And don't get me started on fuzzes. I have a couple of buddies that have some of the best fuzz options out there. I could easily have an entire pedalboard full of fuzzes! My fav is a custom built Cerberus by FORGE Pedals. :rock: Caution: slippery slope ahead! You have been warned. :p
     
    #85 Boogie, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Ah yes, cables...true bypass...buffers...and fuzzes.....

    Boogie, for a while around 2003-2007, I did go crazy-esoteric with my cables, especially for clean sounds with ultra-hi-fi clean amps like the Two-Rocks. And I ran the rig with an Axess Buffer in front, a great sounding buffer that preserved those ultra hi-fi tones. I had one cable that was so thick and stiff, it stayed curly and huge, and was like having a hula hoop attached to my guitar! I do believe in the importance of a quality buffer, and I also think that the follow-on pedals are better if they're true bypass so they don't alter the buffered signal as it passes through the pedals when they're not in use.

    Everything sounded clear and crisp with all the super hi fi stuff, but it wasn't what I actually wanted to hear in the mixes I was doing. I found myself wanting a more traditional, warmer sound.

    Gradually, I began to find a happy medium, and settled first on Mogami, later on the Van Damme PRS offers, for guitar. I like Canare for bass, too. These cables have good fidelity so everything sounds good, but aren't so ultra hi-fi that the tones don't fit in the mix. And as you note, they handle very well, especially the PRS/Van Damme, which is the most flexible I've worked with.

    I've never allowed myself to cheap out on any component (keeps me broke and humble), speaker cables included. I've tried a ton, including very high end hi fi cables as thick as a garden hose. What I've found is that the differences between instrument>>amp cables are clearly audible, the differences between a good speaker cable and a very high end speaker cable are not - on a guitar amp. YMMV, of course, but I connect my amps to my cabs with the PRS/Van Damme speaker cable, Mogami Speaker Cable, and two Monster Studio speaker cables I've had for 20 years, depending on length needed (I don't sit my amps on top of the cabs, like to move them closer to my workstation while I'm recording). All three cable brands sound 100% identical to me. No difference in the room or recorded. Their lengths are 3 feet, 10 feet, 25 feet, and 35 feet. The length makes no difference whatsoever in the sound of the amps with these speaker cables.

    While I do hear differences in hi fi speaker cables, we're talking full-frequency range monitor speakers. A guitar speaker, on the other hand, strains to reproduce anything over 5000 Hz, and of course the lowest note on a guitar is about 80 Hz, so...beyond the point of needing flexibility and generally solid quality in a guitar speaker cable is something I feel is kind of a waste. Incidentally, I've also tried esoteric power cords at the behest of a friend. And...man...at least on a guitar amp that is pure fantasy in my opinion.

    Bob, I like to use fuzz with the volume rolled back, too. I do find that it has to be the first thing in the chain to sound right doing that.

    I like the traditional, vintage fuzz sound best, and for me it's hard to beat the Fulltone '69 germanium fuzz. It's great with the HXDA. The Catalyst is also nice for its flexibility, and a nice thing about it is that it can follow a buffer and still sound good. But for the tones I like, the '69 has the edge with my gear. I also had an Austone fuzz that sounded exactly like my first fuzz, the ancient Gibson Maestro that I bought in 1966, and that really is my defining fuzz tone, but I no longer have it and haven't seen one anywhere lately. But I don't feel the need to try a bunch of fuzzes when I'm truly happy with what's on hand.

    What I plan to try is the Psionic Telos, because it sports a very high quality buffer (at least folks say so) and a good boost with overdrive. It seems to be a fixture on Grissom's rig, and since the DG30 obviously records well with it, I have to check it out.

    But the first thing I need to concentrate resources on is the new cab for the HXDA, because I already went and sold the Mesa Recto 212!!
     
    #86 LSchefman, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  7. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    I splurged and bought PRS cables for everything. I really like them.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    The PRS cables are indeed very good cables!

    They sound great, reject noise better than most (actually better than anything else I've tried but I haven't tried everything), and are extremely flexible, so laying them flat in the studio isn't a headache (the Mogami and Monster speaker cables I have also lay flat, which when I'm running 25-35 feet of speaker cable, or a 20 foot instrument cable run from pedalboard to amp, is a very good thing, so I don't trip over them)!
     
  9. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    Bob, you may have just spurred me into switching things around on the board for Saturday's show. When I first bought ethe EP Booster, it went first in the chain...period. Loved what it did to the K'zoo and made for a nice lead tone. But the buffer in my Monster Klone is really damned good. It's been my #1 in the chain for weeks. The thought of switching it around and changing the DIP switches to that dark mode sounds enticing. And since I may be taking my Mo' Lester as backup, it may give the flexibility to switch between Mr. Clean that much easier. Hmm...food for thought!
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Interesting, Bob...

    Like you, I've found over the years that my gain pedals really like to be ahead of the buffer to get the right feel. Until the other day I set them up that way on my board. But I found that the overall clean guitar tone into the amp was better with the buffer first. So...a dilemma.

    Of course, one factoid is that there are buffers...and then there are seriously good buffers!

    I've found that most buffers included with even very good pedals are kind of meh, and most are worse than meh and kill tone. Let's face it, most pedal buffers are cheap parts, and the builder works around what they do so the pedal sounds good when it's on, and that's about it. I've had the one Axess buffer that was a really nice design (no longer made), and it didn't mess with the gain pedals as badly as most.

    But it wasn't perfect; it was a little bright.

    I'll report back when I try the Psionic pedal. It's claimed to have a very high end buffer. We'll see.
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    One more thing -- re: cables...

    What I paid for when I bought the Hammer of the Gods guitar is a lot of very subtle detail that differentiates it from a production SC245. The pickup winds, the finish, the slightly thicker body, etc. These differences don't smack a listener over the head -- they're in there, but they're details. I certainly didn't buy the guitar for the trim upgrades or the looks. So I want to get the utmost out of how it sounds.

    I reported earlier that I replaced my 20 foot PRS/VanDamme cable with a 10 foot PRS cable, and it revealed more of what the guitar was doing. It is very, very hard to put into words what the difference is. It didn't seem to be frequency response, it's more that I was able to hear some very subtle stuff coming from the tweaks that Paul did to the pickups to differentiate this guitar from, say, the production SC245. Perhaps it's the pickup resonance differences that are affected by cable length, pedals, etc.

    Being the curious type, I decided to see if a different cable of the same length would make much difference. So I got a 10 foot Mogami Gold cable out of the cable box and replaced the 10 foot PRS/VanDamme with it. While there wasn't a noticeable difference in frequency response that I could put my finger on, the Mogami obscured the subtle nuances I was getting from the pickups with the PRS/VanDamme 10 foot cable. The guitar sound became a little two-dimensional.

    I tried it with the DG30 rig (didn't have time for the HXDA test) both with the pedals off, and with each pedal. It made a difference that I'm not doing justice to with mere words.

    There is no question in my mind that, at least with this particular guitar, and this rig, the PRS cable is a more revealing choice.

    Whether that's preferable or not is of course a matter of taste.
     
    #91 LSchefman, Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  12. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    I love hashing this stuff out before actually twisting a knob. Brainstorm Junkie...that's me!

    The input on the SuperD seems to react differently below a certain level of overload. I know, I know - DUH! But there's a threshold that I "blame" (maybe "attribute" is a better term) for the tonal shift as I dial up the gain on the EP. One big difference, I think, is that my V1 tube is a 12at7. There's a lot less gain there than a 12ax7 and may make it more sensitive to being slammed with hot pups and ODs. Pure speculation, though reasonable. When I recently dialed up the EP to 2:00 (with the +3db switch enabled, everything really came alive. That allows me to rely less on the stacked ODs, which are noisier and raunchier. The Monster Klone with a cranked EP is more my speed. Now I need to try it with the 2x12.

    Les, the PRS cables are singing their siren song, dammit! I'm about as happy with my cables as one can be, but I'm SO curious!

    Sorry for perpetuating the hijack.
     
    #92 Boogie, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    There's no hijack, Boogie, we're having a tone party, and everything is fair game! I agree, the AT7 would be a difference-maker in that situation.

    As to the cables, what really attracted me to them was their ability to reject a little bit of noise I was getting with my Mogami cables, and their flexibility. However, at least as compared to the Mogami, I'm hearing more of the extremely subtle stuff I bought the guitar for.

    So we're not talking about huge differences, and I wouldn't say you should change out cables you're happy with! As TR said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
     
    #93 LSchefman, Aug 9, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  14. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    Are you referring to handling noise or 60 Hz interference? Assuming the former since you don't have a very noisy environment. That's the two attributes I liked about the Canare, low handling noise and flexible. The really nice cables I've had in the past (Mogami, some private labeled Fender stuff) were like handling the 12 ga power cables for my rack servers. Ridiculous. And when I moved and slung the cable as I moved back and forth on the stage, it sounded like I was kicking a mic. That's silly. The Neutrik jacks are as good as they come and I opt for no gimmics like the silent switch stuff. That's just something else to eventually fail.

    Yikes. Gotta pack up the truck. Gig time!
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I'm referring to both handling noise and EMI, not 60 cycle hum. Even though the environment isn't terribly noisy, I would occasionally pick up some stray interference from who the heck knows where.

    My Canare cables are actually 22 years old, that's how well Canare holds up. At one time you could only get Canare through Pro Audio dealers, not guitar stores! You couldn't just order one, either. They expected you to order like a big time studio.

    So I bought a case of them from a place called Hy James Pro Audio that unfortunately no longer exists. I bought my first analog mastering deck and Neumann mic from them, too. The mastering machine used 10.5 inch reels, and had three tracks, two for audio, and a center track for SMPTE time code, so that the machine could be synchronized to a 3/4 inch video deck via a machine synchronizer. I also had a synchronizer to lock up my multitrack, a 1 inch 16 track. I'd slave my MIDI tracks to that as well via a SMPTE>MIDI converter box. You'd hit "Play" on a master remote, and all the machines would roll tape in complete synch. To make client approval copies, you'd use a second 3/4 inch tape machine and feed it the video from the video deck and the output of the mastering deck so the picture would synch up with the audio.

    Fun times. I miss them. Back in the day, you had to have some serious machine know-how in order to get this stuff to work!

    The whole thing was a gigantic mishmash of stuff that could fail, but miraculously, everything ran pretty well! I spent a lot of time striping SMPTE time code onto tape before every scoring session. Now, it's just a matter of bringing up a window on a computer, but in the early 90s it was a very costly investment indeed! But I digress....I mean I really, really digress!

    These GS-6 cables were factory-terminated with some very nice Japanese plugs with steel spring strain reliefs, with a ferruled grip and satin finish. Really beautifully made stuff. Not sure what Canare calls them now. In fact, I sent a couple to my son last year to use with his bass.

    But if you like the flexibility/lack of handling noise of the Canare, you will be wowed by the flexibility of the PRS/VanDamme. It's like cotton string compared to steel wire!

    As an aside, having nothing whatsoever to do with guitars, I loved the sound of my mastering deck and I used Ampex 456 tape with it. The combination really sounded good. The strange thing is that a couple of years ago, Slate Digital came out with a tape emulation plugin that sounds exactly like my old machine sounded! Most plugins sound nothing like a well maintained high end tape machine. They are poop. But the Slate one sounds real.
     
    #95 LSchefman, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    And The Moral Of The Story Is...

    ...When you know you have a really fine amp that you bought for good reason, it pays to roll up your sleeves and work with it and your ancillary gear to get exactly what you want out of it!

    I'll admit, I was frustrated with how the DG30/matching cab was working with the Singlecut I recently got, enough to put the amp on the block briefly, though I did change my mind. Fortunately!

    The reason for this is that the Singlecut is different conceptually and tonally from my former #1 Artist V. I thought, "Well, I've done it. I've screwed up investing in this amp when in fact the HXDA is so great with everything I have." I was even prepared to take a substantial financial loss after only a few months of owning it.

    Anyway, something compelled me to keep at it, and find the magic in this combination. Yesterday I put the final pieces in place.

    First, I took the EP Boost off my pedalboard. I found I like the tone better when I set the amp up with the guitar volume at around 6, turn the gain on the amp up just a little, and use the guitar volume to boost the amp. It's better for me that way, and I can't explain why. I wasn't using it with the HXDA anyway.

    A few fiddles with the treble and presence controls helped.

    So now I've reached the point where I like the DG30 every bit as much as the HXDA, and I'm a pretty happy camper. Even found a buyer for the EP Boost, so that's a plus!

    I think the recipe is good, the meal is cooked, and from here on out I'm good to go!
     
  17. aristotle

    aristotle New Member

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    For me (and I know that your ears are waaaay more sophisticated than most, so take this with a grain of salt...) the Exotic BB is the perfect boost / gain supplement to the DG30. For some bizarre reason, I find myself wanting to compare the DG30 to the DG50....
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I'd be interested in knowing more about the BB.

    I suppose I can just go pick one up and find out. They carry them locally at the GC near me.

    I know nothing about the DG50 other than it's a 50 watt EL34 amp that's tube rectified, and the master has a post phase inverter circuit. The 30's got a pre phase inverter master, which is why the master and the volume (gain) controls are interactive. So by all rights the 50 should be simpler to dial in because the volume and master are independent.

    The interactivity of the volume and master controls on the 30 are things that make it a "just a little different" to dial in. ;)
     
  19. tolm

    tolm New Member

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    Such a nice looking cab - so classy. I know Cornford used to use solid pine for "anything with a speaker in it" (i.e. cabs and combos) but ply (albeit high-quality ply) for heads. The new Victory Amps give you a choice of solid or ply wood cabs, with the ply being slightly less expensive.

    Speaker-wise, I've had V30s in some amps (one ably Cornford's) that I've really liked but in my old Jackson Ampworks Newcastle I much preferred the Creamback I switched in as it sounded warmer and less harsh than the V30. However, ubiquitous though the V30 may be, I can't imagine Mr Paul Reed Smith being anything less than utterly through in the specification and play testing so I would expect that PRS amps have been totally tuned to sound perfect with the V30s.

    Enjoy! :)
     
  20. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    That's an interesting reflection, Les. We do sometimes get a little bipolar with our gear, don't we? :biggrin: That's why I side-lined my MkIII...I didn't want to do something that I knew I'd regret. And I'm sometimes peeved at myself when I have to do a little self psychoanalysis. :) it's better than seller's remorse.


    There were two revelations this weekend for me. First was that, despite being around stunningly wonderful amps, "my" amp is a very, very small subset. Guitar-nerd get togethers are a great way to trim that list, or inadvertently add to it. This weekend was with people that predominantly play harder rock/metal and that's a totally different world from my classic rock focus. That also lends itself to equipment choices that are vastly different from mine, which is very interesting and refreshing to me. It serves as affirmation that - for me - my current choices are sound. And hearing more talented players put those amps through their paces is fun too. It also confirms that I probably won't be buying a Diesel for covering Clapton,Tom Petty and ZZ Top anytime soon. :p


    Revelation #2 involved the EP Booster. In my rig, it is a huge influence and serves two different possible purposes. Regardless of where it is in the chain, it has definitive impact. It took a while to find the right boost and to find the right balance and application. That also changed drastically when switching to the Boogie, which HATES that pedal in front and loves it in the loop. When demo'ing it with someone else's rig, it had almost no impact. In front or in the loop, yuk! This was a beautiful Bogner combo and it just hated that pedal. Not dislike...vehement disdain. Who knew?


    Rant moral: trust your initial instincts...if you really loved something once, chances are it will endure, despite being fickle in the future. And one man's (or amp's) panacea is another man's pile-o-poo. :D

    Oh, and I'm scared to try the DG50. Scared sh*tless would be a more accurate statement. I can feel my AmEx shaking in my pocket in fear...at least I hope that's what that sensation is.
     

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