PRS HXDA 30W Combo

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by Em7, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    That really surprises me. Mine’s butter smooth, and so was my early 50 Watt version (first year of production, whenever that was).

    A lot of it is in the setup. But it could be crappy tubes. I use NOS Mullard 12AX7s and Siemens EL34s, and they matter, though mine was never harsh.

    Why not take a pic of how you set the controls, post it, and I’ll try to duplicate the setting on my amp?
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Well, no. Not true. Not even remotely true. Playing (and recording) with tone is my specialty and my livelihood, and I know different.

    While it’s just fine to go straight into the amp, the result is different, not somehow “better.”

    I’d argue with you about what you said about Blackface Deluxes, amps that were used to lay down some amazing classic blues and rock sounds, but that’s a taste thing. You’re entitled to your opinion.

    You drive a tube amp with solid state pedals, and of course you’re altering the guitar signal with the pedal, but the tubes and other parts of the amp still add their coloration to the sound coming out of the speaker, just as they add coloration when you don’t use pedals.

    If you can duplicate the tones that I got on this piece where I used a chain of about half a dozen pedals into my HXDA, with your solid state amp, I’ll buy you a beer.

    NOTE: I’m not posting my track because I think I’m so awesome; I’m posting it because I know exactly how I got those tones, from guitar settings, to pedals and pedal settings, to cables, to amp settings, to recording chain. Everything matters. Every link in that chain resulted in changes in the tone. Since I know exactly what I did, I can share the info with you, and you can try to duplicate the sound with your solid state amp.

    Throw down, record the result, and let’s see how well your claim can be backed up! Here’s my track:

    https://soundcloud.com/lschefman/pedaland-4

    Or better yet, try to get those tones with just guitar, amp and cable, without pedals. You won’t be able to do that, either. I’ll buy you a second beer if you can.

    Folks who set an amp clean and try to get all their sounds with pedals (I don’t work that way) can still benefit from what tubes do to a degree, but when pedals are set just right, and the amp is set to react to the input with any level of distortion, you get a unique sound that a solid state amp will not create in the same way. That’s just a simple fact.

    And it’s been attested to since the first pedals ran into the first tube amps (I’ve been playing since the late 60s), over and over again by an awful lot of great players. I’m not going to recount them, the evidence has been all over records and the airwaves for over 50 years.
     
    #22 LSchefman, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  3. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    If you haven’t already seen it, check out Tim Pierce’s you tube vid from Exp 2018. It may be of interest to you.
     
  4. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    Do you notice that I said non-modified BF amps? Almost all of the BF Deluxe and Princeton amps used on those recordings were modified. That is how Paul Rivera made his name. It is also how Randall Smith got into the business. Unmodified, the major BF topology (AB763) just sucks the living daylights out of the amp's tone. Leo and company did that in their quest to progressively provide amps with a very clean tone using a technology that lacks the linearity of solid-state. They never expected guitarists to dime the amps. An unmodified BF suffers that tone sucking BF tone stack that loads down the preamp. If you look at older topologies, they almost all use some kind of buffer between the gain stages in the tone stack to prevent this kind of loading. Most use a cathode follower as a buffer. A cathode follower provides an almost unity gain stage while converting high impedance to low impedance. It is a current source that can handle the loading effects of a passive tonestack. Almost all of the other old designs that are still in production in some form that produce great overdriven tone either have a cathode follower, or they have a simple RC circuit as a tone control. Really old Vox designs have the tone control between the phase inverter and the power tubes to prevent affecting the preamp.

    By the way, the Tweed Champ is the most recorded amp in the history of blues and rock music. It was used because it was microphone friendly. The brownface amps were also used on a lot of recordings. They are step-wise refinements on the tweed circuits whereas the BF and SF circuits threw the tweed-era circuits out the window. The sound on "Catch Scratch Fever" is a brownface Deluxe, and so are a lot of the tones on the early ZZ Top recordings. It is a very different animal than a BF Deluxe. I owned a blackface-white knob Princeton for several years back in the late nineties/early 00s. That amp is bascially a 6G2 brownface Princeton in blackface clothing. I stand by my assertion that the BF Deluxe and Princeton are the most overhyped amps in the amp world. Very few of the recordings made with those amps were made with unmodified amps.

     
    #24 Em7, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Actually, you’d be surprised.

    Modding BF Deluxes and the like became a thing long after they’d already made their appearance on lots of famous records.

    The Beatles used unmodified Deluxes on recordings, also stock Silverface amps on “Let It Be.”. The Stones used BF amps in the 60s. Motown players recorded with stock BF Deluxes. Many Chicago blues players used stock Deluxes - and they used Blackfaces; I saw them perform with them. Cranked ‘em up and rocked. Clean BF amps were still popular with Funk players in the 70s, unmodded. The Roy Buchanan sound that was so imitated was a Tele into a stock BF Deluxe. BF amps were popular with the New Wave bands of the late 70s. Lots of current players have recorded hits with perfectly stock BF Deluxes. You still see them in world-class studios everywhere.

    At present, having old BF amps like Deluxes and Princetons restored to stock form after decades of having the wrong parts substituted, or crappy mods, is a “thing” in the studio world. Seems folks are still after those mid-to-late 60s stock tones.

    This doesn’t mean that plenty of the old BF amps weren’t recorded with mods; certainly many were.

    But many weren’t.
     
  6. jtgblade

    jtgblade New Member

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    Wow, this tones is amazing, I love it.
    How set your amp?
     
  7. justmund

    justmund Plank Spanker

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    Literally just got my 30W 2x12 HXDA back from a (very) long-term loan.

    Looking forward to spending some time with it, although it probably needs a retube...
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    It’s a combination of guitar, amp and pedals. I listed the pedals and mic setup here:

    http://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/have-you-found-the-one-i-think-i-have.30559/page-6#post-409409

    I set the amp up so that with the guitar’s volume control around 4-5 I got a clean tone with just the tiniest amount of hair on it, and so that when I turned the guitar’s volume control to about 6-7 I got a crunchy lead tone.

    The key to the HXDA (or any old-school Plexi) is to use the guitar’s volume control to determine how much gain the amp delivers. With a Plexi the settings on the guitar’s knobs are more important than the amp’s gain settings in many ways. Here’s a shot of the amp’s settings:

    [​IMG]

    It may be a little hard to see the markings on the knobs, so I’ll list them, left to right:

    Switches:

    HX, DA, HX

    Knobs:

    HX/DA Gain 11:30, Bass Gain 9:30, Treble 11: 30, Middle 1:00, Bass 9:30, Presence 10:00, Master Volume 2:00

    I used the guitar in the pic below. Neck pickup on the cleaner track, bridge pickup on the lead track. I used this guitar, with Paul’s Guitar 408s and a Narrowfield 57/08 middle pickup.

    [​IMG]
     
    #28 LSchefman, Jul 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  9. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    Uh, I’d like to add my name to this list of “borrowers!” :)
     
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  10. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc New Member

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    Not all Plexis are created equal, that’s for sure. Ever tried a Carr Mercury V?
     
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  11. Steve's addiction

    Steve's addiction New Member

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  12. Steve's addiction

    Steve's addiction New Member

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    And maybe Les can explain this better but just last week I did a side by side comparison with my (original) Music Man and Mesa 5 50 express. For those that don't know, the mm is hybrid ss/tube 1-12, 65 watt & the Mesa is a 50 watt all tube. Both set basically the same tone, same pedals, same volumes. Mesa was very smooth and creamy. The mm was louder but harsh. Tone leaned more towards it's
    Solid state side to me. Tone I know is subjective but I got a solid knowledge on what I prefer. All tube for me. Also I didn't notice any difference pedal wise between the amps.
     
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  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Thanks, Steve’s addiction! Years of overly OCD analysis went into getting that thing right for my needs. At this point, I wouldn’t change a thing on it.
     
  14. 11top

    11top Cousin Eddie's cousin

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I have a number of amps that I like, but just can’t bond with the HXDA. I may have it looked at again. However, for what I’m doing these days, my modelers are fine. I’ve been touting my Kemper, but lately for my band I’ve been using my Headrush board with the new Headrush FRFR-112 monitors. At 2000 watts each, relative light weight, sound really good, and under $300 shipped, I don’t know of anything to compete with them.
     
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  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    If it’s the 65 Watt late 70s-early 80s Music Man I’m a little familiar with, doesn’t it have a solid state preamp and tube output stage? If that’s the one, I think it was designed to be primarily a clean amp that could put out a lot of volume.

    Whereas tubes that are pushed into clipping will “warm up” the lower midrange and bass end while generating second-order harmonics in the crucial mid and upper-mid frequencies (second order being a doubling of frequency), the solid-state preamps from that era tend to generate third-order harmonics when driven into clipping that the ear perceives as harsher.

    It’s really about that simple.
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Do me a favor, Steve; take an iPhone pic of your amp settings, and also let me know how you’re running your guitar volume and tone controls. Maybe I can help by offering a few suggestions.
     
  17. jtgblade

    jtgblade New Member

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    Thank you so much for the information, I learn a lot with you.
     
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  18. toothace

    toothace At least I'm good at dentistry

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    Les was very helpful when I first got my HX/DA. This is about where I started, and tweaked to my tastes. Depending on my mood I'll fiddle with a knob or two (heh heh) but without running to the basement to check, this is close to where I have mine set at. And to reiterate Les' comments, the guitar volume has as much impact as the amp settings.
     
  19. Boogie

    Boogie SuperD

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    Maybe I need to borrow this amp and see if I can blow the “harsh” out of it. Before you decide to move it.
     
  20. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc New Member

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    I thought I read 2 THOUSAND WATTS. 2000 W??? FM!!!!
     
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