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Thread: Experiment - Combine a UL Pro Reverb and a Super Texan Circuit to make great AMP!

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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    Experiment - Combine a UL Pro Reverb and a Super Texan Circuit to make great AMP!

    I’ve made many a great sounding amp over the years and am always interested in a challenge. By the title, many of you can see that I am about to stir up a hornet’s nest.

    My most recent project started with a chassis from a late 1970’s-early 1980’s Pro Reverb…yes the UL, MV version that everyone generally seems to pan all throughout the www.

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    My goal was to take the basic elements…and I mean basic…the circuit boards, chassis, wiring, and the UL OT and wire it up as a Torres Super Texan. Channel Switching, DC Heaters (to also conveniently power the relay’s) and all.

    Ideally I would be taking my many years of experience (bumping my head) to build all kinds of amplifiers and applying it to understanding the Super Texan circuit. Yes, the Torres Super Texan!!!

    Truth is that Dan Torres and his designs don’t get a lot of kind words on the forums and I got to thinking that it seemed like very few people actually played one, built one, or even seen on to have such disdain.

    (I know, I know many of you have, but indulge me.)

    I realize that there have been some “transactional issues” with purchases from him, etc., so I do not want to discuss that stuff. I just wanted to study his circuit, build it, and OBJECTIVELY show that it can be great (secretly I do have an opinion prior to this project) but I thought I would let the process speak for itself.

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    Or course I have seen many images of Torres builds on the web, as well as have seen inside many, too. Some made by Dan, others by his numerous employees over the years, and those built by the wayward souls who decided to try their hands at building an amp with little or no experience.

    The following are some of the underlying reasons and proofs I wanted to address.

    1. One observation I had and wanted to somehow prove or sadly disprove if that should be the result; that the Super Texan circuit could indeed be a viable, reliable and great sounding design. Clearly it is very similar to other amplifiers – leaning toward Fender designs – but it’s actually Dan’s interpretation of a Fender circuit; resulting in what he believed (now me too) (along with several guitar magazines who actually utilized his knowledge and services in amplifier Q & A columns) sounded good.

    From my study, I can see that it really was re-voiced and modified to create a High-gain, switching amp with all kinds of bells and whistles (many features that all of you have applied to any number of the circuits that you all have individually built) but in this case to meet his design and playing needs.

    2. I also wanted to prove that Fender UL designs were ultimately plagued by a bad combination of values that took all the life out of the circuit, not the UL Output transformer. By combining the Super Texan circuit with the Fender UL Pro Reverb components that I had…that I could really show that any good design come down to many factors - with execution being a large part…not to mention just making good choices in the design ranging from parts values, placement and grounding practices.

    4. I also really like using recycled parts that have plenty of life left in them, too. So, the final design will be placed in a repaired late 1970’s Fender Twin Cabinet and will power a couple of JBL’s. (Again another test…)

    As you can see much of the same wire is used. Original circuit board made me be a bit creative with position as well.

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    By the way…it is totally quiet! You’ll get a sense of that when I upload the sound clip.

    So, for now here it is...I figure out how to upload the video.

    I realize there is a lot of wiring in there, but I believe it was tastefully placed utilizing the available real estate.

    Now that I put myself out on the chopping block, please be kind and respectful. THis was fun and it's already sold!

    Happy Holidays all and kind regards...

    (Apologies how all the photos attached. I tried to do it cleaner, but...enjoy all the same.
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    Mandopicker

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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandopicker View Post
    I am about to stir up a hornet’s nest.
    ...... to have such disdain.
    ...... (I know, I know many of you have, but indulge me.
    ........ (many features that all of you have applied to any number of the circuits that you all have individually built)
    Welcome to MEF, where happily none of that applies
    Now that I put myself out on the chopping block, please be kind and respectful.
    Oh, we ARE

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    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Nice work!

    Awaiting the clip.

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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    Thank for the welcome. While resizing the sound clip, figured I would include the image of it from the front.


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    More to follow.

    Best...
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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    Finally found a way to upload the rather large video clip of the amp demo.

    https://www.facebook.com/576199903/v.../?id=576199903

    Again, apologies for the technique in advance. I'm really trying to pull notes and demonstrate the tone and sensitivity of the amp.

    So, be kind and enjoy.

    P.S. Intentionally built it with lots of recycled parts including the JBL's....I could throw a few bucks at it and it would be a total crusher, but then again, what's the point!

    Happy Holidays

    David

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    Mandopicker

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    Site Janitor tboy's Avatar
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    I was not able to view the video. This is the message I got from Facebook:

    Sorry, this content isn't available right now
    The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in.


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    -tb

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    don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    The message I get says "you must log in to continue".
    Sorry, but no.

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    The voices in my head are idiots!

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Me neither. I don't even have a facebook account to log into. It might be best to upload the video to YouTube and link that. No login required.

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    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    Sorry guys...I guess you need a facebook account. I'll go another route.

    Back soon... apologies.

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    What is the privacy setting fir that video? Is it set to "Public"?

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    I set it to public. On facebook or not...so I am puzzled. I have another idea. Again apologies.

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    Mandopicker

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    Senior Member Mandopicker's Avatar
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    Here might be a short term fix...man is this out of my realm...no tubes...no dice!!!

    Anyway...for those who are adventurous and not fed up with my bumbling...

    Download and view with quicktime. ***Warning 25mb***
    http://www.sagamusic.com/video/10000...93639936_n.mp4

    Again...thanks for patience and interest.

    Best,

    David

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    Mandopicker

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    On man, beautiful build, and it sounds AWESOME, great range of different tones! Thanks for the sound clips.

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    Junior Member killivolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    Welcome to MEF, where happily none of that applies

    Oh, we ARE
    Hi, I'm new to the Forum I just purchased a Torres Double Dee-Lux Amp and have no idea how to use it, no manual. I tried to attach some photos but it just sits there after selecting the photo.

    kv

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    nice built pics, but I have absolutely no idea what's special about your amp because you haven't posted a schematic.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Hi killivolt, welcome to the forum.

    MAy I suggest starting a new thread for your amp. it can get confusing talking about two guy's amps in the same thread, especially for old fuddies like me. We can talk about posting photos and drawings there.

    I don't know the amp either, but to me they all work about the same. When you have pre and post controls (or Gain and Master) I usually dial up the gain for the amount of overdrive I want, and the master for how loud. Tone controls I set by ear.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    As a prior customer of Dan's I can honestly say that whether people choose to nit pick the technical aspects of his work or not, his amps usually sound better than average if not pretty damned good. I was Dan's customer back when he ran his amp biz out of his home, before he ever had a store front, but after he sold his repair shop in Saratoga (though I shopped in that store with the new owner many times). Dan was a forerunner in the amp mod game and the Super Texan was developed shortly after I went rouge and started building my own circuits. But I have no doubt about it's nature. He was great at getting preamps to generate the desireable tones that people were familiar with from whole overdrive amp systems. That is, with a Torres amp it wasn't usually necessary to overdrive the power tubes to get a tone. So mating a clean-ish ULpower amp to a Torres preamp seems like a very reasonable thing to do IMHO. Though Dan was also somewhat particular about power amp distortion NOT being objectionable with his own product, it's not a necessary component. I haven't listened to any clips of the amp in question yet. I don't doubt the preamp overdrive sounds great. I wonder how it sounds clipping the UL power amp. Dan was big on exploiting some PI distortion as an aspect of the overall tone when possible. He used a lot of post PI master designs. I wonder if that is part of THIS design.?.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

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    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    there goes that UL misnomer again...

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    there goes that UL misnomer again...
    C'mon Bob Big deal. Distributed load, so, DL instead of UL? Anyway... It's just the common moniker we use today for "screen grid tapped into the primary wind". Many engineers didn't like the name when it was developed either from what I've heard. But no one is grumping about the name Big Mac for a burger siting that it's made of meat and not Mac.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Next we will start enforcing "Kleenex" and "Xerox" and "Q-tip".

    But you are correct, we should be more precise.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Channellock, Vise Grip, Crescent, Krazy Glue, White Out, Jet Ski, Jacuzzi, Crock Pot, etc...

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Channellock, Vise Grip, Crescent, Krazy Glue, White Out, Jet Ski, Jacuzzi, Crock Pot, etc...
    Don't forget my fave, Dumpster.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Hoover is a verb in our house.


    I guess we no longer need concern ourselves over Ditto Machine instead of spirit duplicator. (Ask grandma)

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    Between ourselves, I think we all know the score with the output stage arrangement / conditions of those late 70s Fenders (ie it's DL, basically regular pentode, rather than UL).
    But the main problem with the 'ultra linear' terminology is that regular players think that those amps somehow won't overdrive, or that there is something fundamentally different between those Fenders and the rest.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdf64 View Post
    Between ourselves, I think we all know the score with the output stage arrangement / conditions of those late 70s Fenders (ie it's DL, basically regular pentode, rather than UL).
    But the main problem with the 'ultra linear' terminology is that regular players think that those amps somehow won't overdrive, or that there is something fundamentally different between those Fenders and the rest.
    Or they think that the design inherently produces more power and that these amps will be louder (or "harder/harsher" sounding) than their non DL/UL cousins. Also not true. At least not because of the screen circuit in particular.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdf64 View Post
    But the main problem with the 'ultra linear' terminology is that regular players think that those amps somehow won't overdrive, or that there is something fundamentally different between those Fenders and the rest.
    Oh, they will. They SO will. Ask anybody who's wound a Super Twin up to 10, without the "Distortion" circuit.
    IE, ME.

    Come to think of it, I've wound up my Bassman 100 to 10, too. And that's basically a Twin Reverb Normal channel. And by golly, it WILL do the "Working Man" tone.

    Justin

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I've wound up my Bassman 100 to 10... And by golly, it WILL do the "Working Man" tone.
    Great tone. And loud is the only way there

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate that the UL moniker is like a Scarlet Letter to those amps. They're pentode mode amps, just like the rest. They're not ultralinear HiFi amps, and dumb people avoid them for invalid reasons ... just like they avoid amps that have a master volume, presuming that the MV is evil in some way. They just can't seem to understand that by turning it up to 10 it goes away...

    I'm with Justin -- there's a lot to be said for sitting a plain-Jane Bassman on top of a Marshall 4x12 and turning it loose. I spent a lot of time gigging a stock Bassman on a 1960. Fabulous. LOUD! But Fabulous!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Great tone. And loud is the only way there
    Damn right. And I don't compromise. I have this fight every so often when I get asked to play at church. They've all moved on to "profiling" "amps." I refuse. An ability to program every possible parameter is too safe for me. And I would rather not play than sell myself out.

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I'm with Justin -- there's a lot to be said for sitting a plain-Jane Bassman on top of a Marshall 4x12 and turning it loose. I spent a lot of time gigging a stock Bassman on a 1960. Fabulous. LOUD! But Fabulous!
    Fabulous, and WORTH it.
    As for the "UL" Fenders, the Super Twin was not MY thing, but I never felt any desire to turn it into something else. I did notice how well it took pedals up front, and it DID cut through a mix, which was what was needed when it was made. It's an incredibly valuable and flexible tool to keyboardists or pedal steelers, and even metalheads, which is where it went - to a young guy who knew enough to know he needed LOTS of watts and who got all of his distortion from pedals, and used a lot of processing. And so it went to a great home, without having to be hacked or mongrelized. The only "mods" I did were to put a 5W wirewound resistor in place the low-frequency inductor because I didn't know where to find an inductor, and to put a 25uF cap on the first gain stage cuz I didn't have a 750. The resistor actually worked okay, after checking the other four's resistance and using some "best guess..."

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Damn right. And I don't compromise. I have this fight every so often when I get asked to play at church. They've all moved on to "profiling" "amps." I refuse. An ability to program every possible parameter is too safe for me. And I would rather not play than sell myself out.

    Justin
    I haven't played a modeling amp in a long time. I remember hating them. It didn't feel quite right (I mean in playing response, not in my head) and the tone was sort of "safe" sounding. Maybe they've gotten better. I may never know.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Just say no to modelling amps. I've never plugged into one of them, not even a Pod.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  33. #33
    Old Timer
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    Bob and Chuck,

    I've played a Line 6 Flextone and a few Pods, a Vibro-Champ XD, and I've heard the "best" Kemper has to offer. I am yet to be impressed by any of them, the VCXD being the best of the lot... I think as a recording tool, or as a substitute for blasting your Orange Graphic 120 at 1:00a.m., they are passable. Maybe in a huge room where you've got a giant PA, too. But in a small to medium sized gig, where a real amp could do the job, they just don't cut through a mix. And if they do, they just hurt. They have software crashes, and there's just something thoroughly FAKE about being able to program every single parameter with no errors. As Bob said, "safe." Boring.

    I think the old adage is true: "Real Amps Have Knobs, Not Buttons." Add "hard drives and USB ports" to that.
    We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it.

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  34. #34
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Most bands play covers to drunk people. When I toured with a horn band, not one person ever came up to us and said "Gee you really nailed Terry Kath on that Chicago tune." Nor did anyone ever say we didn't. In another band, we played Jimi with a Vox fuzz instead of a Fuzz Face. No one cared.

    The crowd wants you to sound more or less like the record. That crummy little modeler box gets you close, then it did its job.

    I don't much care for them either, they remind me of those 100 patch DOD pedals with all the over the top effects. But to me, the gig is about the audience, not about me.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  35. #35
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    > But to me, the gig is about the audience, not about me.

    Enz, you're the consummate professional. Not everyone considers appeasing a drunk to be the barometer of their success.


    > We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it.

    You're after chaos, nsubulyssees is a vigilante and I'm an anarchist.

    We really should form a band.

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    Last edited by bob p; 12-18-2017 at 01:23 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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