A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

  "Punchworthy feeds our deepest Freudian wishes!" --Entertainment

  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Tubes part 4: "The last dance" or "Baby, why'd you have to go an' do me that way?"

Where did I leave off..? Oh, yes! I was still bathed in the afterglow of the Vox, but wondering if I was compelled enough to sell the Pro. It had been a long time since I'd actually played that amp.

In fact, other than a brief stint as my vocal monitor for jam sessions with John Hocking and Tim Combs, it was mostly just serving as a very, very heavy drink holder for John's drum kit. (John, Tim and I were going to be "Mudville 9: Mach II"--until I realized that we were missing the time and motivation critical to that endeavor's success.)

So the next time I was at John's house (New Year's Eve), I snagged to Pro out of the drum room and took her home. Later that week, I would have a little exploratory one-man-jam session. With the tones of the Vox still pretty fresh in my ears, I thought I'd see what I could do with the Delta and the Pro to match the sound.

I started by doing a little tube-swapping, taking the Sovtek 12ax7's out of the Pro and putting them in the Delta. Bad choice. The chinese no-names sounded way better.

I tried taking the JAN 12at7 out of the Pro and putting that into the "distortion" spot on the Delta. Another bad choice.

So then, with all tubes as previously configured, I tried to make the Delta sound like the Vox.

Couldn't do it. I did improve it quite a bit, though, eventually maxing out both the treble and bass controls and only using the mid control to thin or thicken. This sounded very good on all of my guitars. I remember having it set this way a couple of years ago, but I found that there was too much chime and low-end for compatibility with the Church sound system. Or at least with the sound guy.

I can almost imagine that, with new tubes and new speakers, I could get some crazy Vox-y sounds out of it. I'm pretty sure that with a new Yamaha hollow body I could get some awesome stuff. : ]

Delta plumbed, I moved on to the Pro, for what I expected to be our last dance. I expected to be disappointed once again. But I was disappointed by my lack of disappointment. Man! That thing sounded good. So so clean and clear. Like a'ringin' a bell.. go go!

So, fine.. right? It still has no lead channel, and I need one of those. It's always sounded good clean... In the past, I've gotten some pretty decent tones out of it with a tube screamer, so I hooked that up. Sounded awful. So I tried input 2. Sounded better. Went to input 1, channel 1. Input 2, channel 1.. m'eh. Dead-sounding. I used to use a daisy chain to hook channels 1 & 2 together, so I tried that. Much better.

Finally, the winning combo... (here it is, for posterity)

Use a daisy chain to link channels 1 & 2. Link through input 1. Plug into input 2 on channel 2. Set both volumes and tone controls at the same level. Max out the reverb and throw a big wobbly tremolo on it. Fan-freakin-tastic. Unbelievable. Sounds great. Sounds exactly (almost) like the Vox when you use the switch to combine channels 1 and 2. Amazing.

Now.. this is all nice.. but getting the Pro to sound good was not what I'd hoped for. I was hoping to be able to say, "Yeah, this thing is a dog. I'm'a go get me some good amplifier stuff!"

Discouraged and confused by all the brilliance, I shut it all down and went back upstairs.

Two days later, I tried it again. Could_not_recapture it. Could not. Just wasn't there. I have no idea why. I don't know if it's the weather.. maybe I burned up a spider that was adding some key juice to the circuit.. but whatever the case, it's not there. And I'm off the hook. The Pro can go. Still sorta like stabbing myself in the heart.. but I'll get through it.

Now my only problem is deciding how to best spend the cash. Gonna have to do more research on modding the Delta, and gonna have to go back and play that Vox again!

So I still don't have an ultimate decision, friends. But I've at least got a bankroll. Now it's just a matter of adding up the potential cash, and the potential combinations of how to spend it (buy the guitar, mod the delta, then if delta doesn't add up, sell it and buy the vox? buy the vox, sell the delta, buy the guitar? buy the vox, mod the delta, don't buy the guitar? buy the vox AND the guitar AND mod the delta..?? maybe in a couple years... and what vox to buy? celestion 2x12? 1x12? head and cabinet? regular 2x12 and replace the speakers?).

You'll be pleased to know, I'm not going to bother you all with the details of that, but I'll let you know what I come up with. Something, I'm sure.

Bill.. you should probably expect a couple calls from me. ; ]


At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

For my ears, I'd go with a 2x12. I like the twin output, plus you won't worry so much about volume(except turning the thing down). Besides, the one you played at CV's sounded great--it was a 2x12.

As for head/cab or combo... tough call. HGaving went head/cab on the MESA, I can tell you it takes up more space in the vehicle... there's another heavy piece to tote... set-up time doubled... but for me, I didn't mind that. I'm amazed by how the cab sounds, and I really like the head/cab look.

Happy hunting! : )


At 5:47 PM, Blogger kirk said...

I will have no peace until you make up your mind on this

At 6:41 PM, Blogger caparoon said...

haha. Sorry, Kirk!

I know, this last episode kinda stunk. I was in a hurry, not feelin' it, and also at work (getting paid to do a lot of things *other* than blog about amps). So it's kinda like.. "Thanks, everyone, for wasting all your time following me through this. Welp! Gotta go!" {running footsteps, banging door}

I promise, I'll let you know. In the meantime, here's what I'm thinking:

I will sell the Pro, mod the delta, and buy the new guitar. Then if the delta still doesn't match up to the Vox, I will sell the delta, another guitar, and my vibro champ(and maybe some blood), and buy some variation of the Vox. It would be in that event (the variation choosing) that Bill should expect some calls.

Hope that tides you over until I actually get around to doing something.


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