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Favorite Amps For Recording
Old 19th April 2003
  #151
Gear Addict
 

My understanding is that the big across the board change from all blackface to all silverface Fenders is the transformers. The smaller combos had the least change between eras, almost in progressive order with the Champ the most recognizably like the previous version, and maybe the Twin as the most changed. Wire routing changed in several models and caps were inserted to kill oscillations caused by some instances of the new routing. Really, if you have a good tech redo the circuits (you should probably have one recap anything that old, anyway) it's all down to the transformers and whatever speakers Fender was using at the time. (Weber VST is a great resource for replacement speakers of both American and British flavors.)

Oh, and on any blackface and silverface Fenders that have a channel with just treble and bass knobs, there is a fixed resistor in the circuit for midrange tone control, about the equivalent of having a knob at half-way up. You can either swap in a knob in an unused jack position or just change the resistor value to taste.

Bear
Old 19th April 2003
  #152
Lives for gear
 
Pohaku's Avatar
 

My local guitar store has a very nice looking silverface vibrochamp for $350. Fender speaker (assume its original). Didn't play it, but it looks to be in great shape cosmetically. If anyone is intrested, let me know and I can get details. They do ship. I think its a consignment so there is probably little give on the price.
Old 19th April 2003
  #153
Gear Addict
 

Dunno, I'm really liking the idea of DIY-ing a deluxe little Vibro-Champ head, and maybe a Vox AC-4 (kind of a Brit Vibro-Champ, with an EF-86 pentode into an EL-84 with a tube trem circuit) too for a different flavor. The parts for either will be cheaper than used prices like that, and I could set it up with an 8 ohm output. Hammond has a good air gapped single ended OT with multiple taps for about $30 (125ESE), which will probably kill anything Fender used for silverface Champs. Easier to do without trem, but I am so in love with trem lately . . . I really need a good little low volume amp, so I think this might not just sink to the bottom of my DIY-to-do-list like everything else. I think I'll check my schematics and price up the parts tonight.

Bear
Old 20th April 2003
  #154
Gear Nut
 

Sounds like a great plan. If I had the technical chops, I'd build up a couple of these as well. There is just no substitute for a nice bias-vary trem circuit.

I achieve a poor man's version of having the two amps you speak of by employing a THD Yellowjacket, which allows me to pull the VibroChamp's usual 6V6 and replace it with an EL-84 in less time than it's taking to type this post. No biasing needed, either.

All this talk really has me thinking it's time to put together a 4 ohm cabinet with a nice alnico 12"...
Old 20th April 2003
  #155
Gear Addict
 

Yeah, but I think I'd want to mess with the pentode preamp. Maybe I'll throw in an octal power socket in the AC-4 in use a YellowJacket there so I can also taste test octal tubes. To hell with the EZ-80 rectifier, though, I'll probably use one of the standard models.

I've been seriously digging through my resources and I think I'm going to do the Vibro head. Whether it works is another matter, but the parts will be relatively cheap. And with the Hammond iron, I don't have to worry about a 4 ohm cab.

Bear
Old 20th April 2003
  #156
Gear Head
 

I love my original '59 Bassman, but, I find that other players find it hit and miss. For pickin', here's my favorite rig :
http://www.gigaboyav.com/guitars.html
-green tube echoplex
-Fender tube reverb (RI)
-'63 Ampeg Jet
-'59 Fender Champ

That '59 Fender Super-Amp (diagonally mounted 10"s) aint chopped liver either!

GigaBoy
Old 21st April 2003
  #157
Jax
Lives for gear
 

I have a lead on a Silverface 1981 Fender Bassman 135 (watts) all tube head w/ 2x15 cab for $700. Two questions. Is it a good rig and is he asking a fair price? Very good condition, all stock.

Thanks.
Old 21st April 2003
  #158
Gear Addict
 

Generally it is best to stay clear of the 135 watt silverface amps. They pumped up the output really high at the expense of tone. The amps have a reputation for being brittle and cold. The 100 watt amps with four output tubes are okay, even with the master volume they can be rehabilitated, though I prefer the 80 watt versions. The 135's used a weird UltraLinear design, though, which isn't easily reversed. There is a trick to convert two or all four of the power tubes to triode operation to smooth things out if you happen to be stuck with one of these, but I think it's better not to start from this defecit if you don't have to.

Bear
Old 21st April 2003
  #159
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Looks like I'm steering clear of this thing, then. Thanks for the heads up.
Old 24th April 2003
  #160
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Now I have a lead on a Peavey 5150 cab with 4x12 celestions for $300 (vg condition). I've heard good things about 5150s. Is that a good price?
Old 24th April 2003
  #161
Lives for gear
 
sonic dogg's Avatar
Hey Jackson....what are you trying to find?...to go from a 135watt bassman to a 5150 with different cabs is quite a jump...

So what gives?
Old 24th April 2003
  #162
Gear Addict
 

Jax, it kinda depends on the Celestions. (The stock speakers are Peavey's copies of some variety of Celestion - they call theirs Sheffields.) I never recall anyone holding up the 5150's as great cabs, though they may well outshine the head.

Bear
Old 25th April 2003
  #163
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I like the 5150 cabs more then a new Marshall 4x12 and I like them a lot more then I like the 5150 heads.
Old 25th April 2003
  #164
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by sonic dogg
Hey Jackson....what are you trying to find?...to go from a 135watt bassman to a 5150 with different cabs is quite a jump...

So what gives?
With my guitar/bass player, I'm looking for variety of tone. We can get a lot of sounds (mediocre/good at best) from his Line6 spider, and pretty cool and very useful stuff from a little, surprisingly loud 30w 1x12 Marshall lead combo. But that's all we got until I get my ('65?) 1x12 Fender Musicmaster Bass combo fixed. Btw, the Fender doesn't show how many watts it is anywhere on it, but it says 0.5 amps. How many watts does that convert into? I'm also wondering if I should try to fix it myself, but I'll get back to that. Oh yeah, and we badly need a bass amp because the Marhsall is getting abused in that role.

Basically, we're collecting amps/heads to give us more tonal options. Two specific sounds I'm after after chimey Fender blackface, complemented by it's overdrive setting, and chunky, tight but clear Minisitry/Mega/Killing Joke guitar sounds. Mike Tholen is the only person on here who seems to be familiar with that genre, but I'm all ears!

I'm even collecting crappy old stuff like a cheap Acoustic 150 head. As long as it has a unqiue and entertaining or good sound, I'm there.
Old 25th April 2003
  #165
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I like the 5150 cabs more then a new Marshall 4x12 and I like them a lot more then I like the 5150 heads.
That might be good enough. I'll know when I have a listen through whatever head(s) I can borrow. The new Marshall 4X12 doesn't sound that bad to me (unless you consider the price). What are you hearing in it and comparing it to?
Old 25th April 2003
  #166
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Gone Fission
Jax, it kinda depends on the Celestions. (The stock speakers are Peavey's copies of some variety of Celestion - they call theirs Sheffields.)
Bear
Bear,

The kind of info I'm looking for, so I have a better idea of what the hell I'm doing in the used amp/head market, is exactly that. What separates garden variety Celestions from sought after (if that term applies to Celestions)?

Thanks!
Old 25th April 2003
  #167
I have a switchable Engle stereo cab

left 2/ right 2/ both sides 4

Vintage in one side
??? in the other

Vintage sound favorite for most things, other side adds variation... when needed (thats the theory anyway....)

Hey, (flame proof suit on) I am thinking about getting a Pod XT to broaden the array of sounds I can get. Mainly I imagine I would be sending it out to the power amp in on the Engle amp with 'cabinet emluation off....

My studio is shoebox sized! I cant afford at this time to collect backline!

Engle Savage 120 + hybrid 4 x 12 cab
Marshall JMP -1 pre amp
Digitech valve FX pre amp (very cool feeding powestage of Engle)
SansAmp
Hot Cake pedal (very cool feeding Engle)
Line 6 Distortion modeler - (just got this, aint tried it yet)

I DO want a Vibro Champ asap.

heh
Old 25th April 2003
  #168
Lives for gear
 
blackcatdigi's Avatar
The kids love the Dual Rec.
I like the 'ole Plexi and the Portaflex.
We also have a half dozen or so Fenders around for that 'twang thang'...

I also usually take a DI split for Sansamping, Amp Farming, or Reamping after the fact.

The Al Smart guitar distro is extremely cool for tracking.
Old 25th April 2003
  #169
Gear Addict
 

Jax, in the circles I travel in, there are three current Celestion 12"-ers worth checking out.

The Greenback is a fairly low watt ceramic magnet speaker that is a supposed reissue of classic speakers from the 60's. IME it is bright and crunchy without a lot of bass, and it really suffers in open back cabs. Best in a 2-12 or 4-12 sealed back cab. I'd say this is really best suited for vintage Brit hard rock sort of sounds.

The Vintage 30 is supposed to be a recreation of the sound of vintage 30 watt Celestions, but it doesn't sound exclusively vintage to me. This has probably been the most frequently used Celestion (well, at least by choice) since it's introduction, I believe in the early 90's(?), and I think it's left a bit of a mark on modern rock. It is more balanced and full range than the Greenback, though it is definitely a colored sound. The low E can kind of dissapear at high volume/gain in some cabs, which is likely to be an issue for the harder sounds you are looking for. I wouldn't mind having a cab loaded with these, but I'd look for other things, myself.

The Alnico Blue is a ridiculously priced reissue of original 15 watt Alnico speakers from the early 60's. These were used in early Marshall and Vox amps. The sound is bright, but it's more chimey and shimmery than crunchy or edgy, at least in comparison to the other speakers. These speakers run a few hundred a pop. Weber VST makes a similar speaker, the P-12B I think, which is reputed to be *almost* as good for about half the price. My info may be a little old on comparison of current production, though.

I don't really like the 75 watt Celestions that seem to be pretty standard, nor any of the higher wattage ones I've encountered. They seem too dull and damped. This may be more appropriate to the sort of hardcore and metal sounds you seek, though. For that sort of sound, I'd be looking for an amp with a solid state rectifier, probably along the lines of a VHT, Bogner, Hiwatt, or JCM-800 Marshalll (though I'm not a good guide on which specific model of Marshall). With a Marshall, I might even look into moding the output section to take 6550's for clearer, harder, stronger delivery of bass transients. I like lower wattage amps, but you probably want the headroom of a 100 watter in this case. Rather than the Celestions, you might investigate EV speakers.

On cabs, older Marshalls are pretty much always better than current production, though some deluxe models might be pretty good. Also be on the lookout for old Hiwatt and Orange cabs, either of which can be things of beauty. If you can score a deal on Bogner or VHT cabs, those are excellent choices. Don't be afraid to try less well esteemed brands, though, as sometimes they can sound pretty excellent by dumb luck.

Bear
Old 26th April 2003
  #170
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Bear kinda summed it up with the Celestion thing. I'm not a huge fan of the 75's but the metal players love 'em. Vintage 30's have a fuller midrange and the top isn't as stingy but they gut mushy on bottom when you crank 'em. Personally I dig the way the low E gets farty.

If your looking for a good amp to do the metal tones with stop kidding yourself and get what those players use. At the top of the list are VHT, Rivera (don't see as many of them) Boogie Dual Rectumfryers, and Marshall JCM 2000 DSL's. I can't stress the DSL enough, the TSL sucks donkey dick and should be avoided IMNSHO. But I've recorded and played many a DSL head and been happy every time.

I've compared the 5150 4x12 to new Marshalls with 75 watters and Greenbacks, Carvin's, a VHT cab with their speakers, a Bogner 2x12 with Vintage 30's (great cab) and other things I know I'm forgetting.

As for power it's kinda easy to figure out. 6L6, 6550, KT88 and EL34 tubes are roughly 40-50 watts per pair. EL84's are about 15-20 watts per pair. Just look in the back and see what's there. The actual output varys on lots of things like the tranny's, rectifier, ohmage, class etc.
Old 26th April 2003
  #171
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Very useful information. Many thanks to Bear and Jay in particular.
Old 26th April 2003
  #172
Jax
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
I've compared the 5150 4x12 to new Marshalls with 75 watters and Greenbacks, Carvin's, a VHT cab with their speakers, a Bogner 2x12 with Vintage 30's (great cab) and other things I know I'm forgetting.
.. and? You mentioned liking the 5150 cab more than the new Marshall 4x12. How about comparing to some of the others you mentioned?

I've heard a Carvin can with some solid state amp (don't remember) and it worked great for metal type stuff. Crate always sounded like pure ass.

To be more specific, I'm not looking for metal sounds exactly, but close. If you know Killing Joke and Ministry, most of their guitar sounds aren't completely chunky thump... think older Voivod like Dimension Hattross and Nothingface (actually their new record is a better recorded representation of their classic guitar sound). I'm not into the nu-metal bull**** downtuned sound. I still want to hear the bass guitar under the chunk.
Old 27th April 2003
  #173
Jax
Lives for gear
 

newflash:

"Bogner (Shiva) all tube guitar amp. 2 -12" celestion speakers, 50 watts, Reverb, Footswitch, Very Versatile Amplifier, Goes from Fender Clean to marshall crunch. In perfct condition. $1800"

If I could afford it ...
Old 28th April 2003
  #174
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax
.. and? You mentioned liking the 5150 cab more than the new Marshall 4x12. How about comparing to some of the others you mentioned?
I can't remember every little thing abotu each cab but the worst sounding cab by far was the new Marshall. Those comparisons have been made over the last 4 or 5 years. I guess you'll have to go out and listen to them yourself. But, guess what cab I have at the studio? A JCM900 4x12 slant. The only reason I got it was because it was dirt cheap. Under $200. At that price I can replace the speakers with something like Vintage 30's and still be ahead of the game.

Of course I've owned the cab for about 4 years and I still have the stock speakers in there. The other thing is that just about every new JCM 900 cab with the 75 watters has blown a speaker, usually the top left so I keep waiting to cake one but it hasn't happened yet. Go figure.
Old 30th April 2003
  #175
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sonic dogg's Avatar
Dont know if its a favorite, but this thing really does sound great...


www.gerlitzamps.com

and the best cabinets built on earth.....
Old 14th May 2003
  #176
Jax
Lives for gear
 

bumping so I don't have to page around for this thread

Old 19th May 2003
  #177
Here for the gear
 

Alot of great choices... the topic is recording amp. A ton of amps sound great but don't sit in the mix very well.

Never saw Dumble mentioned which is surprising. If you could ever get Howard to build you one, they're quite special amps..Are they even still around?

The other amp that impressed me was Dweezil's new Peavey amp the Wiggy.. I was up at Dweezil's studio and he showed me the amp he was designing for Peavey. The first model was all solid state but they just came out with a tube version. Man, that amp has a thousand tones in it and it's all simple volume eq changes. The eq is very active with just a little nudge changes the tone radically. The amp records great as well. Dweezil went with the "auto display" making the control panel look like a car's read out. Maybe that made people dismiss this amp as a gimmick amp. It's worth a look for any one in the market..

You can't beat any Fender Blackface amp for pure tone..
Old 20th May 2003
  #178
Gear Maniac
 
out1ear's Avatar
 

I may be repeating things, but I was to lazy to read the whole post.

My favs:

champ, supro, silvertone(the tube head/2X12 cab?)

VHT Pitbull
Bogner Shiva
I like little mini amps too....cigarette pack/marshall mini/radioshack.
Old 20th May 2003
  #179
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
I use a Mesa Boogie Mark III, cane and wood Simulclass. It's my favorite by default -- I don't own any other.

I only mention this because I haven't heard anybody mention this particular Boogie model, whether Mark I, II, III or IV.

Jasper
Old 20th May 2003
  #180
Gear Addict
 

Mesa/Boogie's can be a bit troublesome. The Mark series combo's seem prone to all sorts of squeals and oscillations at high volume and gain settings. I remember seeing it stated in a manual that "this is normal." Having the speaker in the same enclosure as the tubes and circuit board can be trouble in a high power high gain amp from any manufacturer.

The Boogie sound always seemed mid-heavy to me. I imagine they altered the Fender eq circuit so nowhere near as much mids are shunted. Even with the midrange at 0, it sounds like you're getting more mids than a Fender at 0. Now mids are undervalued and important to guitar fitting into place in a track, but too many mids can just sound boxy.

That the high gain stage in the standard Mark series pre is post eq does allow for some decent shaping of distortion character, though, although it's also the reason the five band eq is on most models, so you can also balance the tone post distortion.

The big issue that is a pain with the later Mark series is there are so many controls that you can spend more time tweaking than playing. I would only offer a Mark III or Mark IV as a house amp for clients if the goal was to spend time not recording. I've spent to much time plugged into a Boogie not really playing to expect much better. I'm not afraid of a player who has one and know his sound and how to get it out, but there really is a layer of learning to play these amps that scares me with someone who hasn't logged the time with one.

All the same, I'm not selling my Quad preamp anytime soon. Beautiful reverb in it.

Bear
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