Solid State Guitar Amp Forum | DIY Guitar Amplifiers

Solid State Amplifiers => Tubes and Hybrids => Topic started by: spud on April 01, 2012, 02:17:39 PM

Title: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 01, 2012, 02:17:39 PM
Hi guys,

I just played at a party last night with some guys that I've been jamming with - we're starting to put together a pretty good band.  This was our 6th or so session playing together and the singer has only been playing with us for the last 3 practices so this "gig" (party) was only his 4th time with us.  We played about an hour (we only felt comfortable playing about 12 songs of 25 we've been working on) and I think it went really well - the people kept saying how good we sounded, esp the singer - he is killer.  Well, I'm not happy with my sound.  I have a 1993 Marshall Valvestate 8080 Combo (80w) with the original 8 ohm Eminence OEM speaker in it.  The other guitarist is playing through a Peavy Valveking 100/120 W half stack.  Obviously, his sound is much fuller/deeper, with way more punch.  My amp sounds thin - I think it sounds like a toy.  He says it's the speaker and I need to get a 4 x 12 or at least a 2 x 12 sealed back.  I think that's part of it but I'm also suspecting the SS power amp in my Marshall just won't cut it.  In the room we practice in I can get a reasonable sound out of it but we were playing outdoors last night (backyard party) and my amp was just not putting out even though it's a 80w amp (well that's what it's rated for). 

Obviously, the simple solution would be to buy a half stack like his and that would be it - well, money's tight and I don't have the $700.00 or more it would take to do that (I want a good amp, not something cheap).  So some ideas I've got on how to "fix" my set up for minimal investment of cash. 

1) I have a separate speaker cab - a Jet City 1 x 12 that I got for super cheap at a local music store.  They were getting rid of all their Jet City stuff and the price was so low I couldn't resist.  It has a 16 ohm Jet City Speaker in it made by Eminence (not sure of the "model" as it just says Jet City on it) and is a totally sealed back cab.  So my question is: can I run this safely with my Marshall amp?  My amp has a hard wired cable going to the speaker and no "speaker output" jack.  I could install a jack really easily but it would just be coming off the same leads just going to a jack.  I guess my question on this is can I run the 16 ohm Jet City speaker cab without hurting my amp?  Also, related to that question:  can I parallel the Jet City cab with my amp speaker safely - this would be about 12 ohm load (parallel)?

2) As I mentioned about paralleling the Jet City cab and the internal speaker, if it's not safe can I install an 8 ohm power resistor (50w or more) wired in series with my internal speaker (or the cable) to raise the impedance to 16 ohms and with that in parallel with the jet city it would be ~8 ohm load for the amp.

NOTE:  One thing I've heard is that it's safer to go up in speaker impedance (like to 16 or even 12) than to go down (to 4 or 2) with a SS power amp (or any amp really) - is this true?  Does this matter?

3)  Is it ok to "seal" up my combo cab as it is now an open back (almost the entire rear is open)?   The other guitar player said it would make my amp overheat but there's nothing at the bottom of the chassis that is dissipating heat - no vents, no heat sink fins, just a bank chassis.  If needed I could put a small fan somewhere to help reduce the heat but at this time, the amp has no heat issues and is always pretty cool running so I'm not sure if this necessary.  Related to this, if I can seal it up, I'm thinking of leaving a "port" to see if I can "tune" it for best sound/bass response or should I just seal it completely.

4) Another thing is I've considered replacing the internal speaker with a high efficiency model like the Emi Wizard or even a Vintage 30 as I'm not sure of the OEM speaker's efficiency rating - probably sucks.  I've also heard good things about the Private Jack.  So that might be a low cost option - probably not more than $100.- dollars or so.  I've also considered replacing the speaker in the Jet City cab with a Wizard or Private Jack or something along those lines.  I'm open to any opinions on speakers that might be good for this (keep in mind that this amp is Marshall's attempt to create a JCM like sound in a lower priced SS/Tube hybrid amp so that's the sound "signature" that this amp is intended for).  Obviously, I'd do the internal one first but I was concerned that if I replaced it with an 8 ohm one, I'd have the same issues like I discussed in #1 (12 ohm total parallel impedance load).  If I replaced it with a 16 ohm, I'd have 8 ohm's in parallel but if I wanted to just run the internal speaker alone, I'd be back to a 16 ohm load.  So back to the question #1....is 16 ohm ok?

Well, sorry for the long email.  Really appreciate any insights from you guys on what would be the best option/solution or even if you have other ideas.  I realize that it would ever get to being the equal of the half stack but I'm just looking to get the sound NOT TO SUCK - as I'm feeling it does now.  I guess I really need more bass/low end, more punch/tightness, and I need to move more air. 

And yes, I fully realize that a longer term solution is to build a 50w or so Tube head and get a decent 2 x 12 or 4 x 12 setup.  I'm working toward that but I'm currently in the middle of a Tweed Deluxe build that is now in it's third year!  Still haven't drilled my chassis yet so I'm still not committed to my layout and keep changing it (the wonders of VISIO - I call it virtual amp building).  Anyway, after I get this issue resolved with my current setup and if I can get it to sound Ok (and I make progress on that Tweed Deluxe), I'll get to work on that 50 watter - probably a Trainwreck variant as I just love that tone it has. 

Thanks in advance for all the input/advice -

Jim  (aka Spud)

Prologue: 

BTW if you're interested here's my Tweed Deluxe stuff as it stands now:

http://s252.photobucket.com/albums/hh7/spudjds/Public/Builds/AMPS/5E3/

Also, here's all my DIY and Guitar stuff on Photobucket:

http://s252.photobucket.com/albums/hh7/spudjds/Public/

I welcome any comments. 

Thanks again.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 01, 2012, 02:52:24 PM
Hey, just realized this might have been better to post to "Players Corner".  Not a big deal but if the admins want please feel free to move it there if for nothing else, house keeping.   

Thanks -

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 01, 2012, 09:28:57 PM
Before deciding your amp is a problem, make sure you've given some thought to these points:

From my experience, an open back combo will not behave like a closed 4 x 12 and won't flap people's pants as hard, but that doesn't have to be a negative thing. I've found closed 4 x 12s to produce a fairly focused beam of sound, which can really zoom out off the stage but can tear some people's heads off while not being as audible as you might like elsewhere in the room (obviously not as much a factor if everyone's playing at modest levels and miked through the PA).

Open-back combos don't project as well, but produce a more diffuse sphere of sound around the amp. In some ensembles and styles of playing, this might be preferable, and getting the amp up off the floor or at least tilted back and aimed at your head, or aimed across the stage at everyone in the band's head like a sidefill monitor...that might help you compete in terms of cutting through the onstage mix.

As far as sounding thin and toylike...what kind of music are you playing, and are you cutting out a bunch of mids? It's a Marshall, baby! The mids are where the magic is--check out some early Walt Mink music!--and also constitute the frequencies that are easiest to make seem "loud" to us. Especially if the other guitar player scoops his mids, you've got an opportunity to expand here. Before chasing off after other gear, make sure you've explored your eq settings...in the context of the band's mix, not solo. What might not be an ideal tone by yourself can sound great in a mix. Give some thought to conserving sonic real estate so everyone's not stepping all over each other. If one guy has scooped mids, the other guy can dial up some mids, be heard and not be in the same equalization "zone."

I'm not familiar with the 8080 specifically, but if it has no ext. speaker jacks and has an 8-ohm speaker in it, it probably wants to see an 8-ohm load. Two 16-ohm speakers in parallel make an 8-ohm load; you could install a 16-ohm speaker in your amp and combine it with a 16-ohm cabinet in parallel and have more volume that way, and just live with somewhat reduced output when using the amp without the cab, due to the impedance mismatch. But before doing that, or replacing the speaker with a more efficient one, I'd try eq-ing it with "cutting through the mix" in mind and experimenting with where the amp is onstage and at what height/angle. I have heard Valvestate heads through various cabinets in bands before and thought that they could sound good, so don't start buying stuff until you have exhausted the options with what you already have...consider its compact size and easy portability! With your one-trip load-out, think of how helpful you can be to the other bandmembers in helping to load out their gear! Yeah!
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: J M Fahey on April 01, 2012, 09:47:16 PM
1) get/buy/steal/build a 4x12"
2) fill it with good 8 ohms speakers.
At least Jensen MOD1270 or any Emi Legend/Blackpowder or Emi Governors or G12T or Greenbacks or V30.
The order follows the cost.
3) add a backpanel jack connected to the power amp and solder a plug to the internal speaker.
In a rehearsal or a small place use the internal speaker; un a larger venue unplug it and connect the 8 ohm 4x12" .
4) do not add speakers in parallel with the internal one.
16 + 8 ohms means 5.3 ohms, not 12.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 01, 2012, 10:20:17 PM
In my post above, I meant to add that if you're using a really distorted sound right now, even if you're not sucking out most or all of the mids, you should try backing the gain down in increments and maybe cranking the amp's output louder if needed.

In my first band, the lead singer/rhythm guitarist used an 80-watt Laney 1 x 12 combo and a strat, and he kept up fine with my 100-watt half-stack and the bass player's 350-watt Harkte...using a low-to-medium gain sound, but loud.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 02, 2012, 12:35:30 PM
Thanks for the replies guys - I appreciate you taking the time. 

Mexi:

Since I posted I've spoken with some other guitar players and they pointed out some of the points you've made.  The closed/open back cab is definitely a factor.  And I'm definitely with you on the eq settings - right now my Amp settings EQ wise are Bass=10, Mid=8ish, Treb=4-6 (depends on the song).  Gain wise I'm at about 6 (out of 10) so I'm not maxed out and the way I've found sounds good is to put the MV at around 8 or so and control the level with the channel volume.  On the Clean channel the Gain=volume but on the Lead Channel there's a sep gain and volume for that channel.  On my Guitar I'm running it mostly on the neck pickup and even then I turn the tone down to about 7 or less.  If I use the bridge the treble/tone is down even more but that could depend on the song.  I'm going for beefy, meaty tone but everything I've tried just doesn't get it.  Reason I was lamenting about the amp is that it's a MOSFET back end and you know the old saying about tubes and the lower/deeper bass they can get because of the harmonic content.  I really beginning to think this is true.  That said, I'm still going to tweak the eq and see if I can't get it to sound better.   Oh and we play mostly classic rock - CCR, Grand Funk, some country, Seger, Skynyrd, stuff like that. 

JM: 
Yes, I'd love to get/steal/make a 4 x 12 but not with my money situation at the moment.  As for the making option, I'm "wood working challenged" so that would take me 3-4 times as long as someone with those skills.  As I mentioned, I have that un-used cab with the 16 ohm and I've already started the work to install the jack.  And yes, how you describe is how I'm planning to do it - jack in the chassis and solder a plug to the short cable attached to the speaker (using spade lugs) then plug it into the jack as needed.   One question about your comments: Yes I found out I had calculated the parallel impedance wrong - just by simple logic I should have seen that since 16||16 is 8 ohm 16||8 has to be less than that - Doh!  But IF (when), I replace the internal speaker in my Valvestate with a 16 ohm speaker, I can run that in parallel with the Ext Cab without any issues right? 

Again, thanks for all the great input. 

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 02, 2012, 01:09:29 PM
Oh, one thing - I've never used the Jet City cab as I bought with the intention of converting it to a combo - putting my Tweed Deluxe (TD) into it.  Since I'm not so good at wood working I figured that I could maybe cut here and there and get the tweed chassis to fit into it.  I measured everything and it seemed like it would fit.  So I took it apart and it's been that way since.  So to break in the speaker (which is brand new) I took the PT destined for the to be completed TD and capped of all the secondaries except the Heaters and the CT's.  The Primaries I wire nutted to a power cord (with 3 prong plug).  I got a jack and attached 2 wires to it and twisted them and wire nutted them to the heater leads.  The CT's I attached to the power cord ground.  I plugged the speaker into the jack and it's been humming along for about 12 hours.  How long should I run it like this to break it in? 

Jim 
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 02, 2012, 07:05:21 PM
 

"Mexi:

Since I posted I've spoken with some other guitar players and they pointed out some of the points you've made.  The closed/open back cab is definitely a factor.  And I'm definitely with you on the eq settings - right now my Amp settings EQ wise are Bass=10, Mid=8ish, Treb=4-6 (depends on the song).  Gain wise I'm at about 6 (out of 10) so I'm not maxed out and the way I've found sounds good is to put the MV at around 8 or so and control the level with the channel volume. "

I would suggest backing off that bass. You're probably fighting a losing battle (and eating up headroom) trying to get all that bass going. But the stuff people are going to hear offstage is not the pants-flapping low-end chunk (especially with a 1 x 12 open-back), however they will hear mids and highs, and that's where a lot of the tonal character resides anyway.

I have found that while it seems counterintuitive, sometimes small amps can make some righteous sounds if you run the eq knobs pretty low and slam the signal elsewhere in the chain. For example, I have a one-channel Peavey with pre and post gain, plus bass/mid/treb. With my single-coil guitar, with pretty low-output pickups, I can get a nice rhythm grind that's bright and cutting but not harsh if I run the bass on 2, mids on 3, highs on 4...but make up the gain by pushing the post gain hard, like 6 to 10, and then setting the grit level to taste with the pre gain...in my case, I like it about 6. This makes a surprising amount of noise from a 12-watt SS amp, with light speaker breakup but it sounds bluesy, not "about to catch on fire." A similar approach might work for you; try backing all the eq down and cranking the channel's post gain and master harder and see what that does. Maybe knock the pre gain back a number or two and see if shifting the gain boost later in the chain, with less in the EQ, sounds "rootsy and organic and cool" or just "stupid." Can't hurt to try it.

From the music you listed, I think this could work for you; none of those bands relied on large amounts of chunk coming from the guitars.

Keep in mind that the bass guitar and drums have physics on their side for producing low frequencies, and if you step out of that realm somewhat you are making it easier to hear them do their thing, while keeping your efforts in frequency bands your equipment's better set up to deliver. Again, even if the sound you get is not ideal to your ear when soloed, it's how it sits in the mix that counts, if you're in a band.

Keep us posted on how the experimenting goes. Maybe you'll find that you just don't like your amp, but if you can make it work for you it's cheaper and easier to carry...
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 03, 2012, 03:59:03 AM
Go find a graphic EQ   (I use old 70's HiFi types as they only cost $10,,, Hint)
Or go find a Parametric EQ,,,, they can be very powerful When used right.
** Used in Gain Cuttting mode are very powerful TONE tools 8|

I Agree with Jaun,,,, Speakers maketh the sound. :tu:

And you have not mentioned the ******Pickups Used *****.
This can make or break the whole thing. 8|
Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: joecool85 on April 03, 2012, 10:01:39 AM
I'm not convinced you need a 4 x 12", although they certainly do have a signature sound.  Before I'd go that far I would replace your current speaker with an Eminence Legend.  Also, I would do Juan's suggestion and keep the internal 8 ohm and build an 8 ohm cab, then use one or the other.  You could do an internal 16 ohm speaker and a 16 ohm cab, but then half your wattage will go to the internal speaker and the other half to the four speakers in the 4 x 12", limiting your "punch".  Best to use one or the other in my mind.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 03, 2012, 11:10:45 AM


I would suggest backing off that bass. You're probably fighting a losing battle (and eating up headroom) trying to get all that bass going. But the stuff people are going to hear offstage is not the pants-flapping low-end chunk (especially with a 1 x 12 open-back), however they will hear mids and highs, and that's where a lot of the tonal character resides anyway.

I have found that while it seems counterintuitive, sometimes small amps can make some righteous sounds if you run the eq knobs pretty low and slam the signal elsewhere in the chain. For example, I have a one-channel Peavey with pre and post gain, plus bass/mid/treb. With my single-coil guitar, with pretty low-output pickups, I can get a nice rhythm grind that's bright and cutting but not harsh if I run the bass on 2, mids on 3, highs on 4...but make up the gain by pushing the post gain hard, like 6 to 10, and then setting the grit level to taste with the pre gain...in my case, I like it about 6. This makes a surprising amount of noise from a 12-watt SS amp, with light speaker breakup but it sounds bluesy, not "about to catch on fire." A similar approach might work for you; try backing all the eq down and cranking the channel's post gain and master harder and see what that does. Maybe knock the pre gain back a number or two and see if shifting the gain boost later in the chain, with less in the EQ, sounds "rootsy and organic and cool" or just "stupid." Can't hurt to try it.

From the music you listed, I think this could work for you; none of those bands relied on large amounts of chunk coming from the guitars.

Keep in mind that the bass guitar and drums have physics on their side for producing low frequencies, and if you step out of that realm somewhat you are making it easier to hear them do their thing, while keeping your efforts in frequency bands your equipment's better set up to deliver. Again, even if the sound you get is not ideal to your ear when soloed, it's how it sits in the mix that counts, if you're in a band.

Keep us posted on how the experimenting goes. Maybe you'll find that you just don't like your amp, but if you can make it work for you it's cheaper and easier to carry...

Mexi - Thanks for the ideas - I'll check out your suggestions - I suppose I just thought that I was too bright and wanted to "warm" up my sound so I ran up the bass and dropped treble and recently I've been playing with the mid trying various settings and that's where I last had it.  I've also been trying various gain/volume/mv settings.  I should probably explain - and this would also go to Phil's post - some more about what I'm using as far as guitars and amp. 

Guitars: 

- 1982 Ibanez Artist (AR-100) with Humbuckers - this is my "main" guitar and use it for most things. 
- 1993 Charvel Strat copy with single coils - - this is my "single" coil guitar for use on the songs that need a single coil sound
- 1993 Fender '57 Vintage reissue Strat - I don't use this right now as I need to do some work on it

Amp:

1992 Marshall Valvestate - 2 channels, Clean and OD - Clean has Gain, B, M, T:  OD has Gain, B, M, T, Contour, Vol, - There's in/out effect loop with effect mix (dry/wet), Reverb, Master Vol.  Also, each of the channels has a OD level switch - in the clean it just adds a little grit but on the gain channel it takes it from pretty good crunch/dist to "JCM-900ish" scream.  Some people don't like the JCM setting because they say it gets buzzy but if you adjust the eq it tones down the buzz.  Now the contour is pretty cool, if you max it you get a really scooped out sound and at the minimum setting the opposite - it gives it a really good mid boost/peak.  I don't like the minimum setting and the scoop can be good for some stuff (metalish or just really high gain lead sounds).  I usually run it at around 6 of 10. 

Overall, I play both rhythm and lead - more rhythm probably.  Lately I've been switching between the Charvel and the Ibanez when I need to but I really don't change the amp settings other than to switch to the clean channel.  I usually don't run the Charvel on the OD channel as it's not shielded (something I need to do) and can buzz/hum a bit if the gain is up.  I tend to use an old Boss OD-1 to boost the clean channel with the Charvel if I do a lead.  I also have a dist box that I use on the clean if I want some more dirt for lead but for rhythm I just use the basic amp - sometimes the boost and just control volume with my guitar.  I tend to use the Ibanez more for the OD/higher gain stuff - we do some Santana and it works well for that.  One thing I should say is that I tend to play a lot of stuff, even my leads, on the neck pickup of both guitars - I like a warmer/mellower tone that's not so trebly/biting/buzzy - I guess it's the Santana influence, trying to get the "woman" tone.  ;-)

Phil, I'd been thinking about building a small eq since I saw some plans and a PCB someone sells to make one.  Where do you find the graphic EQ you mentioned for that cheap?  Aren't they rather large?  Where do you put them while you're playing?  Parametric is also interesting.  Oh, as far as pickups, all stock - I was considering changing out the Charvel ones for some SD and possibly getting the stacked humbuckers for the bridge - I'd like them to be switchable between SC and HB mode.  Still, to change them all out would be a chunk of change too.  I really don't want to mess with my Ibanez as I've read they are now rather sought after and mine is in really good shape - I got all my equipment new and have been the only owner/user.  I tend to take good care of my stuff - other guitar players are amazed that they have so few scratches/dings in them for their age, well, I don't to drink to excess, don't do drugs and I put them back into their cases when I'm done using them - no extraordinary measures.  Maybe it's the hard shell cases - I like to get hard shell with my instruments and "back in the day" lots of music stores would throw in a case to sweeten/close the deal. 

Joe - your post hit as I typing this.  That's a good plan but I"m no where near the 4 x12 in terms of ability to build or buy.  I think I'm going to replace the internal speaker with a 16 ohm and in parallel with the external 16 ohm that should be 8 ohms right?  I was thinking an Emi Wizard but it says on the Eminence site that it's more for closed back cabs not open so I'm looking for something with super high efficiency like the Wizard (103 db!!!) so I won't loose so much "volume" when I put the 16 ohm load on the amp.  That way, I can use my Jet City cab with the 16 in there in parallel with the internal for 8.  I suppose another option is to replace the Jet City speaker with the 16 ohm Wizard and move the Jet City into the Marshall to see how it will sound.  That way I can parallel the 2 or use the ext or internal - with some reduction in power output.  - I think that's my plan. 

So for now, I'm going to do the following - work on the eq settings, as I beleive and as Mexi has pointed out, this is core to my sound.  Try to get/make a low cost graphic or para eq per Phil's idea.  Continue with breaking in the Jet City speaker and getting the cab put back together to use with my Marshall for now.  Order the Emi Wizard when I get my Tax refund!!!  I've already done the jack as Juan recommended, it was super easy - there was already the perfect sized hole in the bottom of the chassis where a wire crimp/holder thing was installed to hold the hardwired speaker wire.  I just removed the wire from the speaker (spade connectors) cut off the ends and installed a 1/4 cliff type jack (hole is perfect fit -no drilling required).  Made a speaker wire from some 16awg speaker wire I had (stuff that you use for stereo speakers - 2 parallel, copper/silver leads in red/black plastic) and attached spade connectors and a 1/4 plug to the ends.  Works good.  Now I can run a speaker wire to the ext cab and play through that or plug in the internal speaker.  I could also make a "Y" cable to run both the internal and external at the same time - in parallel.  But that will be after I get the other 16 ohm speaker - which ever one I decide on.  Right now the Wizard looks like a good candidate.  I'll look at Juan's list of speakers and see if any of them might be good for the open back Marshall or the Jet City.  Not sure if he really only meant them for the 4 x 12. 

Lastly,  in light of the size and cost of getting and fitting out a 4 x 12, would a 2 x 12 be worth considering? or would it be case of just a "bit more" and you'd have a 4 x 12 so why not go for it.  One very big consideration is the size and weight issues of lugging it around. 

Thanks again for all the great input - really helps me to figure this out.

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 03, 2012, 06:28:39 PM
Well, you've got some avenues to explore, which ought to keep you entertained for awhile. I'll readily admit that I probably wouldn't have been too receptive to my own advice in my first band, when I really wanted a rig the size of a refrigerator for the visual and sonic impact. But even if you're in that boat, hopefully trying some of this stuff (lowering the input gain a bit and compensating with boosting gain farther in the chain--to push the output section and speaker harder with a louder, cleaner signal--and lowering all the EQ values to regain some headroom) will work somewhat in the meantime, or keep you from having to buy anything.

Along those lines, try edging that contour knob (I forgot about that feature) juuust a little farther than you're comfortable with toward the mid-peak extreme and just live with it a while while you play in the band, and listen to its effect on your position in the mix. It might be the kind of thing that you get more comfortable with as you experiment. Or maybe not.


Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: erokit on April 04, 2012, 07:37:01 PM
If it's in your budget . . . I have these suggestions. I realize that much of this has already been posted.

Keep the back open on the Valvestate. Open back cabs are 'louder' as the sound comes all around the cab. The sound isn't forward focused  - that's a good thing. Keep the Jet City cab. The closed back cab has more low end. The two will balance nicely. And this rig will be MUCH easier to gig with. Take that tube head/4x12!

Replace both speakers with 16 ohm speakers. Use them in parallel. That'll max out your power with an 8 ohm load in parallel..

I recommend Celestion G12M greenbacks. It's a 25w speaker and should have good sensitivity. (Someone had an excellent post on this forum on speaker sensitivity and perceived 'loudness'.) I prefer them because they have a darker tone. Combined that's 50w of power handling. Doubting that you'll be running the amp dimed. If so,then the Celestion Vintage 30's. 75w power handling each. A bit brighter though. Never met a Celestion I didn't like.

Celestion's are a bit pricier I believe. If they're too expensensive get an Eminence Celestion clone. Folks I don't know my Eminence speakers so you'll have to provide a suggested model.

Use a stomp box EQ. That will give you extra bottom and the ability to tweak your tone. Try to avoid using it as an overall volume boost. That will only boost the specific frequencies and with what likely be a 5 band EQ, sound poorer (to my ears).

Realize that even though the Valvstate has 80w, it's still not going be able to totally keep up with a 100w tube amp and 4x12. A tube amp has more peak power over the rated RMS wattage. Also a 4x12 is pushing more air so it's 'louder'. Finally having more speakers doesn't eat more wattage/reduce 'loudness'. The more speakers you have at the proper impedance, the more air is pushed. However this diminishes after a total of 8 speakers is reached in general.

My two cents.   ::)
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 04, 2012, 10:48:19 PM
Erokit - Thanks for the ideas.  I appreciate any input on speaker selection as I don't have any real identifiable speakers right now to form an opinion on.  The one that came in the Valvestate is a "non-specific" model OEM Eminence.  I might as Eminence if they could tell me how they would describe the voicing that they used for that speaker. 

I've considered the Celestians but as you point out they are pricey but there's Warehouse speakers and they are supposedly some very good clones of Celestians for a very good price.  I'll be looking into those for sure - probably 75 watt model. 

Update on what I've been able to do with the Jet City cab - finished running it with the 6.3 heater supply of PT for the in progress TD.  Since the Marshall is at the drummers house (he took all the equipment in his truck to the gig and brought it all back to his house, which is where we practice anyway), I hooked it up to my AX84 HO SE tube amp.  It's only about 5 -10 watts (depends on which tube I use).  I've tried it with my Ibanez and man it pumps out the Bass - I can play my marshall at pretty good volume levels in my basement but with this my wife came down and told me me turn it down - I think it's the whole lower harmonic content that you get with tubes.  My Marshall NEVER has this much bass - in fact I had to turn it down as it was almost too much bass.  I'm going to try some different tubes as this is an SE amp that has adjustable cathode bias (uses a pot in series with a small cathode resistor) .  So far I've tried an Old Stock Sylvania 6L6GC that has killer bass but it's almost too much.  I'm going to take it tomorrow to practice and see how it does.  I'll also hook up the Marshall to see how it does with the Jet City and report back - maybe I can record the practice.  I'll ask the drummer if he has any way to record us.

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 05, 2012, 09:03:42 AM
Hi spud,  You asked about GEQ;
Replace the RCA sockets with 6.5 sockets,, will make life easy.

This is all I use and yes it's all plugged into a Keyboard amp LOL.
**ED Picture on next page**

Yet at our local muso jam I'm renowned for being the loudest player. :lmao:

This competes with Valve states (like yours) even Fender deville,s have trouble beating this sound.
I don't consider it loud,, just damned effective at amplifying the right frequencies that make guitar stand out.  8|

You would be lucky if this all SS amp was 35 Watts @ 8 Ohms but with the preamp setup it just sings.

The unit is NOT used in stereo as that is a waste of time and won't make you play better.
The Red switch just jumps from one mono setting to the other.
Handy when jumping from rock sound to a metal sound.

I'm in the process of designing a complete floor unit which will allow all hands free operation.
I've found a simple Notch Filter will take the place of the GEQ so it won't be needed but it's been a great tool to learn how to dial in different sounds.

Sure once your famous it matters little as THEY come to you and give you all the goodies your heart desires.

When I do use FX they are on a side chain (Parallel loop) as that keeps the original (All Analog) signal untouched. That is how I preserve my tonal signature. <3)

My focus is on Tone not FX stuff and as I have a rotary speaker setup I will never need stereo FX.  :lmao:
Oh yeah be aware that the guitar used is a cheap copy no fancy hot PU's.

The main source of tone is found in the tone circuit and then boosted or more importantly CUT and refined via the GEQ.
My *PhAbbTone* circuit can be found here; http://www.ssguitar.com/index.php?topic=2013.0
This can be made in pedal form if you so wish.


Re Valves;
I know this may open up a mindless debate from tube freaks ,,, but your Bass comes from Circuit topography Not the Valves.
Yes different Valves do possess some subtle tonal nuances but stuff like interstage cap values and OT windings have a massive effect on tone.

Also,,I found Interstage cap changes are a heck of a lot cheaper that Valves and do a better job at refining amp tone. winky.
Lower thr value on one of your coupling caps. hint.
Have fun,,Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 05, 2012, 09:35:54 AM
Oh I'm the dumb one :-[
A picture would help explain the above.
silly Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 05, 2012, 10:16:36 AM
Phil,

Wow - thanks for the detailed descrip and pic.  I have a few questions - can you lay out the single chain for me?

Is it something like: 

Guitar ->  GEQ -> PHABTONE -> AMP

Are your effects in parallel to both the GEQ and PHABTONE or just the GEQ?

I think I might be able to find GEQ like that for cheap somewhere - online, thrift shop or even my local pawn shop.

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 05, 2012, 10:47:17 AM


Guitar > presense circuit > PhAbbTone > OD > GEQ > AMP.

(Tone and OD are on a true bypass setup).

The Amplifier has a side chain loop built-in as well as a basic spring reverb.
(the white buttons switch these in/out for each input)

I play keys as well as Axe so this amp gets a lot of use.

Now that I've refined this circuit I've opted to make it a lot more compact.
The Idea is to combine the whole thing into one big floor unit.

The new setup has a triode front end much like the clean section of a Vtwin pedal. (The Triode really jumps the SPL and well worth the extra fuss).

Then > PhAbbTone > OD > Notch filter > Presense > FX side chain > master out.

ODrive/Notch and FX will be bypass switched.

Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 05, 2012, 02:17:19 PM
Cool rig! I'd like to hear it in action. Is the Laney keyboard amp a 1x15 + horn/tweeter? 1 x 12 + horn/tweeter? How many watts?

I'm experimenting with an Acoustasonic Jr. as a slave amp and considering disabling the tweeter, adding an attenuator to it or just eqing excess frequencies out of the sound between the source amp and the slave. Does the graphic do everything you need for that, running your front end through a full-range amp?
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 05, 2012, 02:43:12 PM
Ok - thanks Phil.

Man, I've got some reading to do.  Been chasing down all your posts you linked to and then links inside of them.  Got it all downloaded and I'm going through it - this is so cool!   

Thanks so much,

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 06, 2012, 11:16:45 AM
Cool rig! I'd like to hear it in action. Is the Laney keyboard amp a 1x15 + horn/tweeter? 1 x 12 + horn/tweeter? How many watts?

I'm experimenting with an Acoustasonic Jr. as a slave amp and considering disabling the tweeter, adding an attenuator to it or just eqing excess frequencies out of the sound between the source amp and the slave. Does the graphic do everything you need for that, running your front end through a full-range amp?

@ *mexicanyella*,
The Amp came with a 12 inch FANE Driver (No Horn) but it had insane hi FREQ output.
It was used for a long time as a fold back (for voice) but that is no longer needed so it sat for a long time.
Rated @50Watts into a 4 Ohm load,,, which in real terms means it's more like a 35~40 Watt Amp @ 8Ohms.  So my earlier comment of 35 Watts is a conservitive estimate.

The Amp though basic and *very un guitar* did have spring reverb and 2 efx loops. Hum

So after many hours of testing I found another speaker which had a much flatter response.
Sadly it has absolutley no markings on it so it's origin is unknown but very much like the great Celestions I've heard, new and very old.

Re acutronic,  Yes definitly disable the horn for OD guitar.

IMO ( O is for *Observation*)

Most modern gear (I play in shops at least) has miles too much bandwidth for good guitar.
People just assume MORE IS BETTER and higher SPL drivers can add even more pain to your learning curve.

It took me a while to catch onto the Fane Driver problem. OK you loose a little percieved power but it makes fine tuning the audio path a lot easier.

If all you do is strum an acoustic and sing a few songs then stop reading now but once you introduce ANY Form of hard driven guitar sound then bandwidth is a BIG gotcha.

Anyone can make distortion but refining the tone is a whole other subject that gets little attention.

My PhAbbTone in front of even the most basic TS9 stomp box will open your eyes about how Tone shaping can dramatically alter a basic sound.

To the casual observer tone controls are just knobs but in reality tone shaping is a culmination of many tone alterations all the way through the signal path.

If you keep your bandwidth narrow then focus on the important frequencies it will make your learning happen a lot faster than trying to use 20/20 HiFi rated digital wizardry to improve tone.

My rig is loud and clear simply because I wiped out all the extra bands that just muddy the signal.
(I'm talking about Internal tweaks not just the ext GEQ)

If I EQ the laney to hifi specs then I only have half the volume because the poor thing will be trying to reproduce very low freq content which it's not capable of reproducing cleanly.

I also have a 100 watt Amp that turned to mud when I tried to use the Keyboard which produces a lot more very low freq content than guitar. A few cap changes and then I could use the power.

Be aware it takes a lot more wattage to produce clean low frequency content which is why a 30 Watt AC guitar Amp can be as loud as a 400 watt bass rig.

Point of interest;
One of the most famous guitar amps was also the worst designed/built.
Marshall had big money issues at one point in time and decided to use cheap inferior components and transformers.
Those plexi amps are now much prized for their unique tone and sell for insane money.

Want a good guitar Amp? then find a crappy cheap circuit that covers the basic fundermental frequencies and find cheap parts.  8|
I believe Leo used to source 2nd's from the factories.

Yet today nothing short of the very best is considered of worth.
And still they wonder why their sound has no soul ::)

When will it dawn on folks that you get MORE with Less.  8|
Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 06, 2012, 11:37:52 AM
I hear you about limiting frequencies; doing more with less, etc. I don't think I've followed that path to the extent that you describe, but I've gotten a lot of mileage in a full-band context with a little 12-watt Peavey...in the right setting. It was enough by itself for basement practices and it could cover live club gigs with one other similar sized amp (old tweed Valco 1 x 10, Crate GX15...I tried various things in that size range) to double the wattage and speaker area.

The right setting: a drummer who could play with attitude but didn't necessarily have to hit hard with giant sticks, a bass player who liked a middy sort of R & B tone from a smallish amp (sized to work with the controlled drum volume) rather than a giant megawatt thundering explosion, and an amplified acoustic guitar. Against that backdrop, a lightly distorted and sort of cutting tone could come through without having to be that loud. And by being cutting (some might say "thin," but I thought it was "good") it left room for the other instruments to do their thing without being too loud.

Once you experience a group of people who have that kind of awareness of what you're trying to do and operate with that kind of chemistry, it's addicting! It would be hard for me to go back to everyone having 100 or more watts and cranking them over monster drums. You can bring the rock at lower levels if everyone's on board with that concept.

Say, phatt, got any recorded stuff to post up in the thread I started yesterday in Player's Corner? I'd like to hear your rig in action, if you do...
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 06, 2012, 01:15:03 PM
Phil,

Looks like I'm going to end up building your PhABBTone -  :)  - read a lot of the other threads and like the sounds in the clips.  Still working on getting some that I can show you what the sounds are like now and after I get it tweaked. 

The Jet City worked well - for almost the whole practice I used it with my HO - SE all tube, about 10 watts.  The amp was barely able to keep up as the other guitar player had it volume up.  It did ok.  At the end of practice I tired the Marshall and it really does improve the sound - deeper and fuller.  Also, because the speaker is 16 ohm, it is less volume at the same settings but that's good as I'll have more lee way in adjusting it - if that makes any sense.  I did try backing off the gain and getting cleaner signal even on the OD channel and that seems to also help with the "cutting through".  I'll have to retrieve the Marshall as it's still over at the drummer's house and play with it at home where I can work on the EQ settings and trying to tweak that.  So progress is being made but there's more work to do to get it optimized and I'm sure I can get killer sounds out of it with the right EQ - I'm going to build the PhABBTone and try that out too! 

Many thanks to all for the great insights - ROK ON !  8)

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on April 06, 2012, 05:31:20 PM

Yes there are a couple of low quality clips posted here somewhere.
But not sure which ones.
Here's one I quickly whipped up while breadboard testing the Valve boost circuit.
I had to manually stop to engage the OD which was not set correct but no matter it gives the idea.

So the signal path is ; Guit > Valve > PhAbbTone > OD (DDC) > GEQ > Amp.
Delay is on the side chain built into the Laney and of course some onboard Reverb mixed in.

This is a direct line out recording straight into Cakewalk on my laptop with nothing done except MP3 conversion.
No doubt you can't hear the speaker influence but it's close to what you get.

Obviously a lack of bass if playback thru small speakers.

Guitar is the same elcheapo Casino strat copy,, LOL you can purchase these fake Scoils for about $15 AU each.
I also own another Strat which has genuine Strat PU's and those are just a bit darker.
I did have to wax pot the fake ones to stop them squealing but for a $150 Guitar I was impressed.

Have fun,, Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: erokit on April 06, 2012, 08:16:27 PM
Interesting factoid. I don't remember where what equation this based on. But doubling the speaker impedance from the amp output impedance reduces the wattage by 31%. So an 8 ohm 80w amp into a 16 ohm speaker is 80 * .69 = 55.2w.

 ;)
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on April 06, 2012, 09:31:04 PM

Yes there are a couple of low quality clips posted here somewhere.
But not sure which ones.
Here's one I quickly whipped up while breadboard testing the Valve boost circuit.
I had to manually stop to engage the OD which was not set correct but no matter it gives the idea.

So the signal path is ; Guit > Valve > PhAbbTone > OD (DDC) > GEQ > Amp.
Delay is on the side chain built into the Laney and of course some onboard Reverb mixed in.

This is a direct line out recording straight into Cakewalk on my laptop with nothing done except MP3 conversion.
No doubt you can't hear the speaker influence but it's close to what you get.

Obviously a lack of bass if playback thru small speakers.

Guitar is the same elcheapo Casino strat copy,, LOL you can purchase these fake Scoils for about $15 AU each.
I also own another Strat which has genuine Strat PU's and those are just a bit darker.
I did have to wax pot the fake ones to stop them squealing but for a $150 Guitar I was impressed.

Have fun,, Phil.

Wow, that's nice and sparkly...very lively, and goes well with what you're doing on the instrument, which sounds like it's combining a lot of fretted notes and open ringing strings. I like the Bigsby-esque shallow trem-bar dives and quivers in there too.

I'm reminded of the Phantom, Rocker and Slick song "Men Without Shame," combined with Montrose's "Rock Candy" and various songs by Walt Mink. Cool tone.

Erokit: that's interesting about the watts/ohms relationship. Does it then follow that halving the ohm load increases the wattage by 31%, until the amp smokes?
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on April 07, 2012, 12:18:19 AM
Well, if this example is any indication I'd say it's more -

So as Mexi pointed out, we have:
80w at 8 ohms
What is the wattage at 16 ohms given that doubling impedance will reduce the wattage at 8ohms by 31%. 

So 100% - 31% = 69% so the reduced wattage is 69% of 80w so:

.69 * 80= 55.2

But to go back:

X% of 55.2=80

And we solve for X:

(55.2 * X) / 55.2=80 / 55.2

Then simplify:

X=80 / 55.2
X=1.449275362318841

So let's just say it's 1.45  - so going the other way is 45% more (if I did that right - and that would be amazing as I'm pretty math challenged)

I think that the danger is that if you drop it further than the rated impedance, it tends to have a run-away condition when the actual impedance drops even lower.  Keep in mind that the 8 ohm impedance is "nominal" meaning it can vary - less and more depending on frequency.  So really at certain points, if it drops too far, poof, there go the output transistors:  crackle, roast, melt...

So if we go a head and do the last part:

1.45 * 80 = 116

So 116w at 4 ohms

What about 2 ohms (which it will hit at various frequencies)?

1.45 * 116 = 168

So double the wattage at 2 ohms!   It all really depends on what the transistors are rated for.  I'll have look them up. 

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: Roly on May 05, 2012, 03:50:00 PM
Interesting factoid. I don't remember where what equation this based on. But doubling the speaker impedance from the amp output impedance reduces the wattage by 31%. So an 8 ohm 80w amp into a 16 ohm speaker is 80 * .69 = 55.2w.

 ;)

Nope.    :(

Power Law.

P = E^2 / R

E-squared remains the same because it is determined by the amplifier supply rail voltages (the output voltage does change slightly due to amp internal supply resistance with heavy loading, typically less than 0.5 ohm, but this is minimal until the amp is being seriously overloaded anyway).

Therefore P varies inversely as R.

Double R, half P; half R, double P.

Worked example, 80 W in 8 ohms

P = E^2 / R

80 = E^2 / 8

E^2 = 80 * 8 = 640

E = 640^0.5 = 25.29 volts RMS


Set R = 16 ohms

P = E^2 / R

P = 640/16 = 40 watts


Set R = 4 ohms

P = 640/4 = 160 watts, then smoke because the output current is now double what the amp is rated for.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: J M Fahey on May 05, 2012, 07:25:03 PM
This Math is fine in amps with *very* good and quite over rated transformers; usually in both extremes : Lab equipment (as in the transistor or chip Manufacturer's own Labs) or hobby makers who don't mind paying extra since it's for own use anyway.
The 95% others (Commercial manufacturers) use *just* what's needed and nothing else.
Or they suicide commercially.
There's much cut throat competition out there.
So normal practice is often to use transformers so rated that the voltage rails, under max load (which is what happens when you are measuring max power) fall between 20% (*very* good) to 30%.(average).
Just yesterday we were commenting about the happy repairing of a Sunn 300 amplifier (a very high quality unit).
Rated power was:
300W/2 ohms
200W/4 ohms
120W/8 ohms.

I repeat, the Math is right, but Accountants rule the World ... or so it seems.  :(
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: Roly on May 07, 2012, 10:55:14 PM
When in doubt, throw it up against the universe and see what sticks.

Tests on some 50 watt solid-state amps in the workshop.
Percentage watts
Load4816
[td}Jade 100ke (commercial)149%100%58.3%
Homebrew "Red"164%100%62.9%
Homebrew "Black"155%100%64.4%

Not too surprising that the overbuilt homebrew amps did somewhat better than the commercial one.

None of these amps are characterised for 4 ohm operation so the prospective 4 ohm power output was derived from measuring the output voltage at the same current point as 8 ohm clip level, and is therefore a bit dodgy and may be somewhat less.  All values corrected from real load values to exact resistances; all 1kHz sine.

The only valve/tube amp to hand "smoked" during warmup after being dragged out of long term storage, before any figures could be obtained (damn EL34's again).
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: J M Fahey on May 08, 2012, 06:58:45 AM
Yes, that's about it.
And as you checked, homebuilders can often "spend the extra $10".  ;)
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on June 01, 2012, 10:04:10 PM
Ok - so an update is in order.  We haven't played in a while so nothing new on the amp and cab front.  What I've been doing is looking for a new speaker for the guitar amp.  So far I think I'm going with the Warehouse Guitar Speaker (WGS) Retro 30 or the HM-75.  Here's a comparison I've compiled.  Some of the data is from other comparison charts but I just put it all into one (rather than 2 or 3).  The pricing is from the web (Amazon and Parts Express) but the WGS prices are from them direct.  Note that the WH (Plus) column is Warehouse Plus models.  These are enhanced models that map back to previous versions under the "Warehouse" column. 

Anyway, I'll post the links of the comparison Vids if anyone is interested. 

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: joecool85 on June 06, 2012, 10:43:08 AM
Ok - so an update is in order.  We haven't played in a while so nothing new on the amp and cab front.  What I've been doing is looking for a new speaker for the guitar amp.  So far I think I'm going with the Warehouse Guitar Speaker (WGS) Retro 30 or the HM-75.  Here's a comparison I've compiled.  Some of the data is from other comparison charts but I just put it all into one (rather than 2 or 3).  The pricing is from the web (Amazon and Parts Express) but the WGS prices are from them direct.  Note that the WH (Plus) column is Warehouse Plus models.  These are enhanced models that map back to previous versions under the "Warehouse" column. 

Anyway, I'll post the links of the comparison Vids if anyone is interested. 

Jim

I'm surprised that I don't see the Eminence Legend on there...or any Weber speakers for that matter.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on June 08, 2012, 01:59:12 PM
Joe,

I didn't create the comparisons but got the info from various sources and mapped them all out on one SS. 

I found this that mapped the Celestians with the Eminence models: 


http://thetoneking.com/wp/eminence-celestion-speaker-comparison-chart/
 (http://thetoneking.com/wp/eminence-celestion-speaker-comparison-chart/)

and this:

http://forums.peavey.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6947&p=42694 (http://forums.peavey.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6947&p=42694)

also some more comparisons here.

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/archive/index.php/t-124326.html (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/archive/index.php/t-124326.html)

The WGS data I got from their site:

http://wgs4.com/sites/default/files/WGS2011.pdf (http://wgs4.com/sites/default/files/WGS2011.pdf)

I didn't see anything that mapped Weber directly to Celestian like I found about the EMI's or WGS but it might be out on the web somewhere I just didn't do the correct search phrasing for it.  And to be fair there's the whole ToneTubby and Hellatone as other options but they are typically higher $ and I'm on a serious budget. 

One last thing is that I'm looking at replacing a speaker in a Marshall so I was focused on the Celestian comparison angle so I didn't even consider Jensens - which may be a fallacy in my thinking but in my mind Jensen is more for Fender type amps.

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: J M Fahey on June 09, 2012, 11:20:58 AM
Let me add that when comparing you must substract 3 dB from the Eminence published specs.
They measure "different from the others" but the acknowledgment is buried in the small print which nobody reads.
So Eminence's , say, "impressive" 101dB really means 98dB and so on.
Peavey published a paper with some serious Math complaining about that "trick" used by others.
Oh well.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: phatt on June 10, 2012, 10:18:02 AM
Hi Spud, still struggling with this? :'(

OK maybe try a different approach,, Maybe try a Graphic EQ in the signal, might work out cheaper. :tu:
I use 2 tone altering circuits in my setup and I'm apparently the loudest player at the local club yet I only use a 40 Watt SS Amp.

That Amp originally had a Fane driver and it was not just much louder it was insanely bright as well so I swapped it for a no name driver which obviously is not as high in the SPL department.
But at least now my sound is far more balanced.

I also have an Eminence Legend driver from a Deluxe and that is also much louder but they do tend to sound very harsh. (situation depends what style of music to some extent)

Also,
You may find the other player could just turn down to accommodate the situation.

Some players seem to just play at the same volume failing to realise that if they just turned down for the rhythm parts or while other players are playing their part it would make for a far better result.

Although I said I play loud that is only when I play the lead part,, the rest of the time I only play a few grace notes between the lyrics,, if it suits.
just a thought?
Phil.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on July 03, 2012, 01:08:17 PM
Phil,

Still messing around with this although I've gotten a better sound by working the eq and pedals I have now.  But i haven't abandoned your eq approach - just looking for an eq that will meet the needs and is priced right.  For some reason they are all pretty pricey around here (Wash DC/N VA area).  I'd like to find a stereo one that I can re-purpose and have the advantage of using the L/R as 2 alternate eq channels - sound familiar?  :)

I decided to look at speakers since I'll be getting a 16 ohm as the internal speaker for the Marshall.  When I found the comparisons, I decided to compile them and post here.  Also WGS speakers look like a great alternative and from I've seen on YouTube and other places compare well to the Celestians, as much as you can get from YouTube vids.

I've also been looking at just running clean and doing all my overdrive from pedals.  I'm seriously considering the Valvecaster or one of its variants (as on DIYSTOMPBOXES and BeavisAudio). 

Jim
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: J M Fahey on July 03, 2012, 09:47:02 PM
Hi Spud.
I guess you can get a Home Hi Fi type Equalizer for peanuts at a local garage sale, Salvation Army type shop , maybe even Craigslist and such.
They were very popular once, there must be many now unused ones around.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: mexicanyella on July 04, 2012, 12:37:53 AM

I've also been looking at just running clean and doing all my overdrive from pedals.  I'm seriously considering the Valvecaster or one of its variants (as on DIYSTOMPBOXES and BeavisAudio). 

Jim

You might find a some unique sonic distortion aspect that appeals to you by combining distortion-producing pedals with low-to-medium gain with your amp in a low-to-medium gain setting. Sometimes you can get more complex-sounding tones and responses to input level dynamics this way. The downside being that you might have to try a lot of things together with one another to land on a combination that appeals to you. But for some people, all that gear trying is a part of the fun, and maybe you're like that.

I'd think using a lower-gain, OD-type pedal into a Valvestate (dirty channel, but gain set pretty low) could sound pretty neat. In my case, I discovered, mostly by accident, that my ProCo Rat 2 pedal sounded really great when followed by my BBE DI-10 direct box, with the speaker simulator switched on...then into the amp. The speaker sim filtered out the sort of harsh, fizzy buzz aspect of the Rat and what was left sounded more amp-like and punchy and real. Setting the Rat at a gain level where it was just barely breaking up with single-coils and just barely crunchy with humbuckers, and running it into an amp just on the verge of breaking up itself...rhythm guitar heaven. Hitting this combo with a clean gain boost made this great big fat overdriven sustainy singing solo sound...loose but not farty, and no overt harsh buzziness. It really suited me well for what I was doing at the time, and it just came about because I liked to plug stuff in in weird orders and try it and that time I lucked out.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: QReuCk on July 04, 2012, 05:03:05 AM
Spud, if you search for a graphic EQ with 2 outputs to drive either 2 different sound chains or 2 amps, maybe have a look at MXR m108 Kerry King. It's 10 bands, have a pre gain and post overall level, have 2 outputs...
Sounds promizing, even if a bit pricey.
What's interesting is that you have the 2 most bass bands outside of typical guitar range. Might look unneaded, but it's an opportunity to cut completely (well, not completely but -12db is pretty significant I would say) these unneeded frequencies and therefor help your amp dealing with only what really matters. Same in the high range with 8 and 16 Khz. Use the rest of the bands to fine tune how your signal will be presented to your drive.
In my recent testings, I found that there is a lot to do with pre-dist EQ, not in terms of general EQ, but in terms of what part of the sound your dist will clip/compress.
I'm currently simulating some clipping on complexe signals made of several harmonics (guitar signals are NOT sinusoids, even when playing single notes, and obviously more so when struming chords). I'm not at the point where I can present some results, but it's really interesting how filtering some of the harmonics and frequencies produced by the guitar before clipping (I'm using a square hard clipping for simulation purpose) does affect a lot the wave form of the resulting signal.
Clean boosting has its merrits, but if you can combine it with some alteration of the EQ in the same time, you're golden.
Another thing to try would be to insert a soft clipping slight overdrive adjusted to just barely clip the heaviest strummed chord you can make before your amp. This retains a lot of dynamic variations. Then you set your amp dist to clip a bit before that. You know have access, just with the power of your attack on the strings to:
- clean and clear tone when strumming really gently
- various amounts of distortion, in proportion with your attack
- a really fat tone with lots of sustain when both stages clip
This is really subtle to adjust, but if your overdrive as a different colour to what your amp does and you are able to control your attack, you will be able to have a lot of variety in how each note sounds. It's also super usable for "let ring" arpegios: the attack might be clipped, but as the note decreases, it becomes cleaner and cleaner so you have both sustain and clarity. Combine this with intellingent EQing before your clipping stages (actually, even the tone pots of a guitar are a really basic sort of pre-dist EQ) and you will find that your amp might produce impressive tones. Well, this might cost you a lot of time to experiment, but I'm pretty sure the results will be worth it.
Title: Re: My Rig and how I can get a beter sound
Post by: spud on July 06, 2012, 12:56:10 AM
Thanks for all the great input guys.

JM - Yeah, you'd think there would dozens of them but I've looked on Craigslist and hadn't seen much.  I'll have to be more diligent and check more often.  As far as garage sales, I hadn't considered that but might give it a try.  I suppose they're listed on Craigslist as well.  I was also thinking about the old Pawn shop - I managed to get a decent dual Sony cassette deck there for $50.- a while back when mine died on me.  It was in perfect shape and still works great. 

Mex - I was working along those lines too - I finally figured out that the way the amp is designed, with all the distortion coming from the pre-amp on the OD channel (using the tube and clipping LEDs), my sound is way fuller if I run on the clean channel and use by old Boss OD pedal.  I do that mostly now but every once in while I need some real massive OD and what I've found is that I can do pretty good if I turn down the dist on the amp and run my OD with minimal OD (just starting to break up) I can get some pretty nice thick lead tones out it that way, thicker than before.  I think the amp's natural distortion starts to sound thin when you really turn up the volume - it sound great a lower volume but as you turn it up, it gets shrill and thin - even with lots of mid and bass and little treble.  Getting the dist lower preserves more of the punch and doesn't thin it out so much.  I have another dist pedal that I need to experiment with more to try an use that as well to see how that works. 

QReuCk - I've seen that EQ but I'm looking for super cheap so it's kind of outside my price range at the moment.  Thanks for the suggestion though.  Your setup ideas are right on though and I'm already on to some of that in my experiments with my amp and the pedals I have.  My pedal board is pretty limited (in order) is: Cry baby Wah (the "original" one), Delta Lab Rock Dist (cheap dirt pedal), Boss OD-1, Washburn Chorus, Boss TU-3 tuner.  Oh, I'm also using a A-B switch now to switch between my Strat to Ibanez - just quicker/easier/cleaner than un-plugging/plugging to switch guitars. 

One thing is that I've been kind of limited in what I can do experimentation wise because my is over at the drummer's house - I have to arrive early to rehearsal to try out different set ups.  But I think I'll drag that thing home next time and work with it here with various set ups to nail this down once and for all.  At home I've been using one of the tube amps I've built - the AX-84 HO and my Jet City 16 ohm cab.  I really like to play the HO at home but it's just not loud enough to play with the the band.  I tried it once and it was just not quite loud enough - everyone kept saying that I needed to turn it up. 

About the AX-84 HO amp: It's a singled ended amp with a "hot rodded" Marshal pre-amp.  It can run a EL84 or 6V6 to max output: about 5-7 watts.  It can also run other Octals: EL34 or 6L6 too but those it won't push to the max due to PT voltage/current ratings - it gets about 10 or so watts out of one of those where it should be closer to 15 or more - some folks run the larger 5881/6550 or KT-66 or even KT-88 for up to 12 watts or so (but I figured if I can't get the max output, I'll just stick with my EL34 or 6L6).  The PT only puts out ~290V at ~70ma.  The output tube is run between 250v for the EL84 and 280v for the Octals.  The PT's current capacity is really the limiting factor because I can't bias the output tube to more than 60-63mA because there are 2 12AX7 pre-amp tubes - it starts sagging and stealing current from the pre-amp if I set the bias higher than 63mA or so.  At these voltages you'd have to bias the EL34 at over 80mA to get max output, the larger tubes would be even higher - inverse voltage/current relationship - higher voltages would require less current.  Typically I run the larger Octals around 60ma and the 6V6 much lower, 40-45mA or so and the EL84 sub-40mA.  It has a bias pot/circuit on it to set the bias for the different tubes - a monster pot with a locking nut on the shaft which only takes a screwdriver to turn.  I built it back in 2006 from a kit I got from Doberman Amps (the retail side of AX84 - the amp building forum).  I have pics of it if your interested. 

Again, thanks for all the ideas,

Jim