Taming the distortion on Archon 50

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by ranchak, May 10, 2020.

  1. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    Hi guys. I have an Archon 50 head that I run through an EVH 412 EL34 cab. Playing an SG with Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Special pick ups. I currently have the volume on the lead channel at about 8 o’clock. I tried installing Gold pin Tung Sol 5751 tubes in V1, V2 and V5. I didn’t really notice any reduced gain. I’m going to try an Electro Harmonix 12at7 in the PI, as mentioned in one of the posts here. I am also going to try Svetlana 6L6s.

    I checked my bias, it was a bit cold at 28.5. Currently I have it set at 32. I’m going to bring it down to 30, but I don’t see any difference in gain at either bias settings.

    What I’m after is a more softer gain, think early AC/DC, Bad Company.

    I really like this amp, it’s probably one of the few tube amps that has tone and character at low volumes. I don’t much care for the 25 watt setting. I think the amp sound more natural at 50 watts.

    I’ve read through the last 30 pages of posts and have seen that some guys believe changing the EL34s out for 6L6s or even KT66s.

    Am I on the right track? Any other suggestions ? TIA
     
  2. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    Any time I have had an amp that I wanted to lower the gain on I have put a 12at7 in the PI and experimented with 12ay7 in the gain stages.

    I had an early Bad Cat HC30R that easily went into SLO100 territory. It was too much for me. I called John Thompson and the first thing he suggested was the advice I gave above. I did it and it brought the amp into a much more usable range of gain for me. It went from Skynyrd to modded JCM800 while never being mushy or over saturated.
     
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  3. pac90

    pac90 In Helix Land, the waters warm

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    Maybe an overdrive pedal into the clean side?
     
  4. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I will give this a try when my tubes come in
     
  5. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I’ve tried multiple pedals into the clean side, hard to get a nice overdrive sound. Actually I’ve tried many pedals into the gain channel and don’t care for the sound. I’m getting best results with an MXR Micro Amp, a Fulltone 2B and a Seymour Duncan Pedal Booster. These pedals seem to add just “a little bit more” without causing the distortion to get harsh.

    I’ve tried:
    Digitech Bad Monkey
    Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer
    Suhr Riot
    Fulltone OCD V1
    Fulltone OCD V2
    Butler Tube Driver
    Revv G2
    Revv G3

    All of these pedals make the distortion very harsh, even at low gain settings, in both channels of the amp.

    To me boosters are giving me the sound that I like. I would like to be able to use more of the amps tube distortion, otherwise I might as well get a pedal platform amp
     
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  6. bodia

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

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    I like the Bogner Burnley in the clean channel of my 50w Archon. Also, you should be able to get what you’re looking for. Check out this video



    Also, @DreamTheaterRules to the white courtesy phone.
     
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  7. Black Plaid

    Black Plaid just another Alan

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    I would try going with a power soak and cranking the clean channel for that kind of sound. Am pretty sure those classic rock tones come a lot more from the power section than the preamp.

    The OD channel *can* get Iron Maiden type classic metal sounds at lower settings, but I'm not sure it's going to do AC/DC or Bad Company type.
     
  8. Fro

    Fro New Member

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    Turn the gain knob down.
     
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  9. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    Definitely a difference with the 12at7 PI, but not so much a difference in preamp distortion.

    Funny you should mention this, because just lastnight I was playing with the PI in my MT15 (which is basically a tweaked Archon packed into a little box, same tube layout), a few months ago I put a 12at7 into the PI, not so much for tone but to tame a little bit of idle hum via the lower output, and just overall slightly tame the volume of the amp. So I revisited that last night and went back and forth between 12ax7’s and 12at7’s, and confirmed what I found before, the 12at7 tames the signal slightly into the power section, and also significantly cleans up the low and low mid (which is slightly overbearing with the 12ax7 on the MT15, IMO, not sure how you feel about your Archon). Now, the 12at7 PI won’t tame the amount of distortion much, with exception of when you have the amp running wide open and trying to get the power section to break up.

    All the PRS amps I’ve owned share the tendency to have a metric ton of gain on the lead channel, and it comes on quick. To really tame it, it’s possible you may have to put lower gain tubes in 2 or even all 3 of the preamp slots that supply the lead channel - not sure from you post if you were just doing one tube at a time or multiple. The V1, V2, and V3 all supply the lead channel. I like the new production Mullard 12ax7’s (long plate) for being a clear sounding tube that doesn’t have a ton of gain, at least for a 12ax7, great for giving some clarity to the high gain design of these amps. JJ ECC83s/12ax7 are very hot and make the gain a bit muddy in the lows if used for all three. Tung Sol 12ax7’s have a little more gain and thump than the Mullards, but not over the top like the JJ, somewhere in between. IIRC, in my V1, V2, V3 I have a Mullard, JJ (or maybe Tung Sol, can’t recall for sure), and Tung Sol. I would get 5751’s in all of your V1-V3, if possible, and then start swapping back for lower gain 12ax7’s if you want to add gain back.
     
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  10. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    Great playing. I am assuming the pedal comes on during the Stray Cats?
     
  11. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I played quite a bit today. I got a tone I really like in the clean channel. I have a tone I like in the gain channel. What I don’t have is something in between. I tried the MXR Micro amp, it’s adds a little, but nowhere near an overdriven tone. The Fulltone 2B just makes the channel too loud. The Seymour Duncan doesn’t do much of anything
     
  12. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I agree with you on the power tube tone. I have my clean channel volume at 2 o’clock. Both channel master volumes are at 8:30
     
  13. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    So this is my first PRS amp, I’ve had lots of Marshall’s, a Revv D20 and who can remember what else. The Marshalls only sound good when everyone in the room is telling you to turn down. I really liked the Revv amp, but I was running pretty hard and wanted to get Tube distortion instead of pedal distortion. Also the Marshalls needed a kick in the front to get the tone I was looking for, and then of course you are back to being to loud.

    I only tried a tube swap in V1 and V2. I didn’t buy three tubes, but....

    I really like the PRS, but I agree there is way too much gain and way too soon. Of course that’s what PRS was after in the design.

    I will look for some Mullard 5751s and see if that helps. If not it might be on to another amp
     
  14. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    Great idea, it’s already at 8:30. Anything less than that and the tone suffers
     
  15. Black Plaid

    Black Plaid just another Alan

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    Dave Weiner gives a demo of what the clean channel can do, but you*have* to crank the master (from my experience) to get this:
    skip to 3:37 for the relevant part:

     
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  16. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    I’ll admit, if “low” gain sounds (relative to today’s high gain amps) are what you’re after, that’s kind of pushing the Archon into the limits of its design. Not that it can’t do those tones to a degree, @bodia ’s video makes a nice example of it being done, but of course when pushing a high gain monster down like that, it just might not work for everyone depending on the other elements of the rig and the level of authenticity relative to the desired tone.

    I think it also depends on what your full set of needs from the amp are. If you really just want cleans and 70’s gain tones, and you can’t get the Archon to fully comply, I wouldn’t hesitate to look for something else - and that’s not a knock on it in any way. If you do need high gain rock tones, obviously the Archon can do that, and well.

    If you’re in the latter situation, I’ll submit that I find great success in using a Friedman Dirty Shirley pedal into my MT15 for all things Marshall, but I know you’re hoping to avoid pedals so that’s all I’ll say about it.
     
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  17. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I did not like his tone or the distortion of the clean channel when “dimed”. What I did like was what he was getting on the gain channel with his volume rolled down. I’ve tried this, but don’t get the results he does. I get good results with the volume rolled down to about 6. After that the amp gets thin and the distortion is harsh. I’m going to try a bit more gain, maybe that will offset the volume roll off. Another thing I may try is swapping to 250k pots instead of 500k.

    I also try to use a lighter attack, but I still can’t get that crunch
     
    #17 ranchak, May 11, 2020
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
  18. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    I guess I never really fully stated what I was after in an amp. I want the clean tone that I have. I would like to have something in between the clean and gain channel. I used to use a pedal on the clean channel to give me a overdrive/crunch tone. Or, I had my gain channel set as an overdrive/crunch tone and use pedals to go into heavier distortion. Also I need to be able to get a decent tone at lower volumes. Typically 90 - 100 dB, but closer to 90 - 95 dB.

    If I could find a pedal to kick the clean channel into a crunch tone that I liked and didn’t raise the clean channel’s volume I could live with that.
     
  19. ranchak

    ranchak New Member

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    Does the Bogner Burnley change your volume when you turn it on/off? I noticed that running the channel volume up so high that most pedals that I have tried are raising the volume drastically. But I am going to look at the Bogner pedal
     
  20. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules On Double Secret Probation

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    Pedal 101.... set the level to your needs... o_O
     
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