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GuitslingerTim
08-01-2006, 04:19 AM
My Blues Custom arrived yesterday in a standard-issue chinese cardboard box with no padding inside. Having read so many recent horror stories about boutique amps being decimated while in shipment, I had prepared myself for the worst, but my concern was unwarranted.

After examining the exterior of the amp closely I was impressed by the squeaky clean construction--flawless is the appropriate term for describing the build. I really like the handle, which is wider than usual and made of a thick, doubled leather strap looped through two brackets that are attached with wood screws. Weighing in at a hefty 69 lbs, the wide strap makes carrying the amp with both hands easy and comfortable. The tolex is smooth, with tight fitting corners--it even smells good.

I laid down on the floor with a flashlight and had a look inside, which was equally impressive. The opening in the back is covered by a heavy-duty steel grill, concealing behind it the two brightly colored 12" Eminence Lady Luck speakers. The two 5881 power tubes are Sovteks, and I'm not sure about the others. The two most impressive features inside are the shields that cover all five of the preamp tubes, and the size of the trannies--they are huge, about twice the size of those in my DSL50.

I'll post again in a few days with a tone report.

bluescube
08-01-2006, 04:27 AM
Looking forward to the tone review!

TopJimmy5150
08-01-2006, 05:15 AM
Make haste with the tone report! I'm looking for vintage sounding Fender sparkle on a cheap budget.

Tuberattler
08-01-2006, 06:16 AM
Let's have pix or linx!

GuitslingerTim
08-01-2006, 06:54 PM
Let's have pix or linx!

http://hakela.com/sitebuilder/images/IMG_0074-600x450.jpg

http://hakela.com/sitebuilder/images/IMG_0075-600x450.jpg

http://hakela.com/sitebuilder/images/IMG_0073-600x450.jpg

bluescube
08-01-2006, 07:17 PM
How does it sound? good/bad?

utterhack
08-02-2006, 12:36 AM
Guitslinger, I salute you! I've been curious about this one ever since it popped up on the Epi site lo these many moons ago. If the tone is anywhere near what the specs suggest, at this price it should be a killer (less the usual bellyaching about country of origin).

Though it's academic for me now (an AC30CC2X seems to have followed me home :o - can I keep it?) I will be counting the hours until you post your tone report. Happy playing 'til then!


PS - rear shots plz :D

GuitslingerTim
08-02-2006, 06:51 AM
My schedule has been tough the last two days, so I've had little time to check the Blues Custom out, but even though I was exhausted I forced myself to play with it for hour last night. :D

I tried experimenting with the recommended presets in the manual, but realized this morning that I overlooked the switch that changes the EQ from independent to interactive, so I'll have to try them again tonight.

The Clean Blues setting sounded good, but the EQ button was on the wrong setting. The clean tones are clear with a tight bottom end. In 30-watt mode this amp gets loud and has a lot of headroom. I'll have to reserve judgment on the clean tones until I can really experiment with the controls. Most of my experimenting happened toward the end of the session while working with the crunch settings, and I did get some good sounds.

The Clean Jazz setting was very nice, albeit a little dry for my tastes. After adding a little more reverb I was very impressed--you can definitely play some sweet jazz on this rig.

Texas Heat is what you would expect, a sizzling tone that would work well with single coils. I played solely through an LP, which made some of the settings seem a little bass heavy, so I'm assuming that most of the recommended settings are intended for strats or teles.

Thunder From Down Under is as one would expect an effort at copping the AC/DC sound, and this amp can do it in spades.

The last settings are called Classic Crunch, and as advertised crunch is what you get.

The strength of this amp is in its versatility--it may well be the swiss army knife of amps. It will do anything from clean to very dirty without any pedals needed, and do it at moderately low volumes. I bet if a high gain pedal were inserted into the clean channel it will cover the whole gamut of tones.

The reverb is nice, definitely better than the typical spring reverb on a Marshall, or a digital pedal, but not as good as a blackface twin.

After trying the recommended settings, I turned down the volume on the guitar and started tweaking the tone controls and was able to pull out some convincing classic rock tones. This amp does produce a lot of sparkle in its tones, but the gain has to be controlled--I was caught off guard by how much it produces.

The big surprise was the switch to Class A mode. The tones were smooth, warm and loaded with chime. At one point some of the overtones sounded like I was playing through an octave down pedal.

There's a little fan in the back that comes on when Class A is selected, but it's not noticable until the amp is turned off. With the exception of having the tone controls dimed the BC is very quiet all-around.

As of now I can't think of a thing I don't like about the Blues Custom except its weight. I can only wonder what it will sound like with some Tunsol 5881 reissues and some better preamp tubes. I'll work with it this week and report back this weekend.

Roodboy
08-02-2006, 08:45 AM
Does the diagonal piece of cabinet on the front block the right hand side speaker?

GuitslingerTim
08-02-2006, 03:20 PM
Does the diagonal piece of cabinet on the front block the right hand side speaker?

Somewhat, yes.

Todd Lynch
08-02-2006, 03:21 PM
built-in Beam Blocker

GuitslingerTim
08-02-2006, 11:04 PM
I just spent two hours wailing on the clean channel in the 30-watt mode, and I'm here to tell you the Blues Custom is a little monster. Tonight I had the eq controls set to 12:00 with the interactive eq mode engaged. The tones were crystal clear, sweet, and with lots of warmth. A tight bottom coupled with a buttery top end is hard to beat. Having never owned a boutique amp, I'm curious to know what a cork sniffer would think about the Blues Custom.

bluescube
08-03-2006, 04:13 AM
Seems like hte new Epiphone is putting out good amps. I like the Valve series but I wished they would ditch the dsp.

The Blues Custom has all the features I want.

Todd Lynch
08-03-2006, 07:55 AM
How much are these amps; ~$500? How would it compare to other ~$500 tube amps (HRDX, et al)?

KeithC
08-03-2006, 08:28 AM
I just got one in yesterday for my band mate buddy. He doesn't have a MF account so I bought it and had it shipped here.
We tried it out last night.
Pretty cool amp. The cleans are nice for sure.
I'll agree with everything said above. It did really get smooth on the 15 watt setting.
The high gain stuff did get a little noisy.
We have band practice tonight so he will get a chance to crank it.

On a side note.....when I unpacked it I heard something rattling/rolling around inside amp. I saw the little moisture packet had broken and all the little BB sized pellets were in the bag and rolling around inside the chassis!

So, when he got over last night we pulled out the chassis and shook them all out.
Works and sounds great.
Of course is in on board and not PTP. We knew that though.
I told him I think he got a nice little amp for a good price. As long as it hold up.
I had a Hot Rod Deville quite a few years back and it fried. Burnt traces etc.
All in all with just a little time with it I think the Epi is a great deal.
More after practice tonight though!

TopJimmy5150
08-03-2006, 09:53 AM
I have the Valve Special, and after recently purchasing a '76 Vibro Champ, I found the Epi to be WAY too dark sounding and lacking the sparkle the VC has. I really want that sparkle in a bigger, louder package. The closest I can get is bigger Fender vintage amps, but I just can't afford them, and the reissues just don't sound as good to my ears.

I love my HRDv 4x10, but doesn't have the same feel as a vintage amp. I'm hoping the new Epis with their tube rectifiers, decent cabs and stock speakers, will posess that feel.

KeithC
08-03-2006, 10:36 AM
I can tell you the little time we had on my buddies Epi Blues Custom it could get plenty bright.

It's outfitted with all Sovtech tubes so I told him we may experiment with some different ones. He is not much of a tweaker so I think he'll just make it work.
Blasphemy!

KeithC
08-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Tim,
One questing about yours. The little "grill" area over the fan. More like slits cut in the metal. Was the metal directly over the fan vent sort of folded or angled?
When I first opened it up I thought it had been hit there and the actual metal was "dented" but after we took out the chassis it looked like it was made that way. It definitely didn't happen in shipping because the box was undamaged.
It wasn't a concern to my buddy but I thought I would check it out with someone else that has a new one.
Thanks.

GuitslingerTim
08-03-2006, 11:59 AM
Tim,
One questing about yours. The little "grill" area over the fan. More like slits cut in the metal. Was the metal directly over the fan vent sort of folded or angled?
When I first opened it up I thought it had been hit there and the actual metal was "dented" but after we took out the chassis it looked like it was made that way. It definitely didn't happen in shipping because the box was undamaged.
It wasn't a concern to my buddy but I thought I would check it out with someone else that has a new one.
Thanks.

I try to avoid disassembling a product during its trial period, so I have yet to remove the backcover. I'm 90% certain I'll keep mine though. When my next AMEX pay period starts I'll order a round of tubes and get inside it.

What I can see behind the slits cut in the back is a fine mesh of sorts that presses flat against the interior surface of the slits and behind that what appears to be the fan motor, I'm not sure though.

GuitslingerTim
08-03-2006, 12:31 PM
I can tell you the little time we had on my buddies Epi Blues Custom it could get plenty bright.

It's outfitted with all Sovtech tubes so I told him we may experiment with some different ones. He is not much of a tweaker so I think he'll just make it work.
Blasphemy!

It can get plenty bright or dark, you can have it how you want it.

Better news--I called Gibson and learned the BC is a true class A amp--no biasing necessary, so if your buddy can pull tubes and replace them he can tweak with the best of us. :D

KeithC
08-03-2006, 01:53 PM
It is actually the chassis metal I am talking about. It's the same one piece of metal runs the full lenght of the chassis. Has all the jacks for speaker connections and the fuse etc. Right in the middle where it covers the fan (where the air would get to the fan) the metal on his is sort of dented in in one direction on the bottom of the circle and kinda the other direction on the top of the circle.
Not sure if that makes sense! In otherwords it is not just perfectly straight across those vents like the rest of the back of the chassis.

You don't have to pull the chassis to see it at all since it is actually the chassis I'm taking about.
As far as tubes.When we had the chassis out I saw what looked like maybe some bias test points but no bias pot.
But, sometimes they are hard to find.

Thanks,
Keith

GuitslingerTim
08-03-2006, 03:51 PM
It is actually the chassis metal I am talking about. It's the same one piece of metal runs the full lenght of the chassis. Has all the jacks for speaker connections and the fuse etc. Right in the middle where it covers the fan (where the air would get to the fan) the metal on his is sort of dented in in one direction on the bottom of the circle and kinda the other direction on the top of the circle.
Not sure if that makes sense! In otherwords it is not just perfectly straight across those vents like the rest of the back of the chassis.



I understand--it sounds like the metal was bent a little while the slots were being punched out, but I doubt it could cause any problems.

KeithC
08-03-2006, 04:04 PM
That's what I told him. Something in the making or putting together of the amp. None of the chassis paint in that area is chipped or cracked. And, no damage to the box.
The only thing I worried about for him was that if he wanted to return it to MF they might say he damaged it.

He'll get to crank it up here in a few hours.
Thanks.

TopJimmy5150
08-04-2006, 06:51 AM
Better news--I called Gibson and learned the BC is a true class A amp--no biasing necessary, so if your buddy can pull tubes and replace them he can tweak with the best of us. :D


Hmmm... I wonder if the guy from Gibson was confusing the product with the Valve Jr.? Isn't the BC class AB switchable to class A? I thought any amp with pairs of output tubes have to be biased?

GuitslingerTim
08-04-2006, 07:16 AM
Hmmm... I wonder if the guy from Gibson was confusing the product with the Valve Jr.? Isn't the BC class AB switchable to class A? I thought any amp with pairs of output tubes have to be biased?

I talked to the resident expert--his first name is Bob--probably the head engineer/designer. Apparently the Blues Custom is a Class A amp that is switchable to Class A/B. I was assured that no biasing is needed after a tube change, and the man answered without hesitation, as if it was possibly his two-car garage the amp was designed in. :)

studio8000
08-04-2006, 09:46 AM
I talked to the resident expert--his first name is Bob--probably the head engineer/designer. as if it was possibly his two-car garage the amp was designed in. :)

actually the amps were designed by Pyotr Belov (who used to make his own custom amps) and is a good buddy of mine. lives down the street from me. glad to hear people are diggin these amps.

DiazDude
08-04-2006, 01:39 PM
I played one today at a local music store. I'd say it's OK for a "entry level"
tube amp the 1st channel sounds the best..smooth breakup in the 2oclock. Where it's lacking is in the OD channel..sounds like a modeling amp to my ears. In all modes the bass tone control acts like a volume control. Maybe a tube change would help.
For the money it's not bad but it's no tone monster out of the box.
Don't buy one just on the tech specs try one BEFORE buying it.

utterhack
08-04-2006, 03:33 PM
Where it's lacking is in the OD channel..sounds like a modeling amp to my ears.

I bet you could get GC to throw in a Bad Monkey. Sorted.

Until I actually play one I've got to believe it's the best bang-for-buck amp out there ;)

studio8000
08-05-2006, 10:23 AM
GC told Me they won't be carrying them in the stores. It's special order only. I played a valve standard and wasn't blown away. Nice bluesy tone down low but the od was to bass heavy. What about a fender Blues Deluxe? $130 more but a great amp.

Valve standard and Blues Custom are totally different amps, totally different design and totally different tones. you wont get bass heavy or muddy overdrive with the BC. i personally like the clean channel cranked better than the gain channel, but thats cuz i dont use much gain anyways. but yea, you cant really compare the Valve standard and Blues Custom. the BC is not a "big brother" version of the VS. new design. just so you know.

dave71
08-05-2006, 10:03 PM
I'm trying to find out more about the Epi BC 30. I noticed a couple of inquiries posted and my question is; How is the volume level when playing with a band? About what level is the amp set at to push through during a lead? Thanks Dave

Ray McFergus
08-05-2006, 10:31 PM
I'm very interested in these amps-I'm hoping for a poor man's JTM 45. Any one got clips?

dave71
08-06-2006, 10:57 AM
I'm trying to find out more about the Epi BC 30. I noticed a couple of inquiries posted and my question is; How is the volume level when playing with a band? About what level is the amp set at to push through during a lead? Thanks Dave

GuitslingerTim
08-07-2006, 03:48 PM
GC told Me they won't be carrying them in the stores. It's special order only. I played a valve standard and wasn't blown away. Nice bluesy tone down low but the od was to bass heavy. What about a fender Blues Deluxe? $130 more but a great amp.

The Blues Custom has one more speaker than the Blues Deluxe, and has a tube rectifier--why would you pay more for an amp that has less features? I weighed the possibility of buying another Fender, but after the treatment received when the last one purchased fried on me, I swore I would never buy another Fender product.

Bloozcat
08-08-2006, 10:23 AM
Well, I had the chance to play mine some last night. The clean channel is pretty nice, but the OD channel I found to be bright, trebly, and a bit spikey. I found the bass to be thin on both the clean and the OD channel. It was ok on clean, but lacked depth IMO. Not a chance that it's boomy though...it's doesn't get close to that territory.

While doing some research I noticed that the amp is cathode biased. I don't know how I missed that initially, but it's a relief to know because cathode biased circuits are self biasing. So, the info Tim got from the Epi people makes sense.

Late last evening I replaced the tubes in mine with all NOS. It was too late to crank it up, so I just turned it on at low volume to make sure it worked. It does, so tonight it'll get a workout. The tubes I put in the amp are as follows:
Starting with the pre-amp tubes, V-1 got an RCA blackplate 12AX7A, V-2 got a BEL 12AX7 (Indian made Mullard Blackburn), V-3, V-4, and V-5 each got a GE 12AX7WA.
I replaced the puny Sovtek 5AR4 with a Philips 5AR4 that looks to be a third again the size of the Sovtek.
I replaced the miserable Sovtek "5881's" with a pair of Philips 6L6WGB's.

About the OEM tubes in this amp....

The Sovtek "5881's" are not 5881's at all, and they are not 6L6GC's either. They are a Russian Mil. tube that was designed for use in servos in MIG jets. They can take higher plate voltages than almost any 6L6GC making them durable, but they are one of the most sterile and non-musical power tubes made. The tube itself is the length of a 6L6GC, but seems to be smaller in diameter. The tube is about 1/2" longer than a true short bottle 5881/6L6WGB. A true 5881/6L6WGB is also rated at 360 plate volts at 23 watts. Another BC 30 owner reported recently at the FDP that he checked the plate voltage in his amp and it was 410 volts. So, you can't even use NOS Tung-Sol 5881's (or the reissues either, most likely) without the probability of frying them in this amp. Fortunately, the NOS Philips 6L6WGB's I just put in mine were made in the 1980's and have a voltage rating in the upper 400's, so this amp won't fry them. With a reputation for earlier breakup than a 6L6GC, I'm hoping that these 6L6WGB's will bring this amp alive.

The same guy who tested the plate voltage in his amp tried a pair of 6L6GC's. He said that the voltage wasn't sufficient for these tubes and he was still left with a dry, sterile, solid state like tone...which he said was only a little better than the Sovteks.

It may come down to some of the amp Guru's going through the circuit (as they did with the Valve Jr's.) and tweaking it to allow for some decent replacement tubes to be used. I'm just hoping that I'll get lucky with my tubes....I'll know tonight.

utterhack
08-08-2006, 11:04 AM
Thanks for a great post... but now the suspense will be killing me!

GuitslingerTim
08-08-2006, 04:11 PM
While doing some research I noticed that the amp is cathode biased. I don't know how I missed that initially, but it's a relief to know because cathode biased circuits are self biasing. So, the info Tim got from the Epi people makes sense.

Late last evening I replaced the tubes in mine with all NOS. It was too late to crank it up, so I just turned it on at low volume to make sure it worked. It does, so tonight it'll get a workout. The tubes I put in the amp are as follows:
Starting with the pre-amp tubes, V-1 got an RCA blackplate 12AX7A, V-2 got a BEL 12AX7 (Indian made Mullard Blackburn), V-3, V-4, and V-5 each got a GE 12AX7WA.
I replaced the puny Sovtek 5AR4 with a Philips 5AR4 that looks to be a third again the size of the Sovtek.
I replaced the miserable Sovtek "5881's" with a pair of Philips 6L6WGB's.

About the OEM tubes in this amp....

The Sovtek "5881's" are not 5881's at all, and they are not 6L6GC's either. They are a Russian Mil. tube that was designed for use in servos in MIG jets. They can take higher plate voltages than almost any 6L6GC making them durable, but they are one of the most sterile and non-musical power tubes made. The tube itself is the length of a 6L6GC, but seems to be smaller in diameter. The tube is about 1/2" longer than a true short bottle 5881/6L6WGB. A true 5881/6L6WGB is also rated at 360 plate volts at 23 watts. Another BC 30 owner reported recently at the FDP that he checked the plate voltage in his amp and it was 410 volts. So, you can't even use NOS Tung-Sol 5881's (or the reissues either, most likely) without the probability of frying them in this amp. Fortunately, the NOS Philips 6L6WGB's I just put in mine were made in the 1980's and have a voltage rating in the upper 400's, so this amp won't fry them. With a reputation for earlier breakup than a 6L6GC, I'm hoping that these 6L6WGB's will bring this amp alive.



The tubes in my BC are 6L6WGC, rated at 500 volts, so your worries about using 25watt tubes is justified, but there are a number of choices out there. The Sovteks are without a doubt the least expensive 6L6 that'll work in the BC at $23 a matched set. What about the JJ's, or the SED Winged-C 6L6GC--both are affordable. There is also the Phillips 6LGGC at $99 per matched set. I'll probably go with the SED.

Bloozcat
08-09-2006, 11:25 AM
OK, I did get the chance last night to run the amp through a number of different settings.

As delivered I found the amp to be trebly, bright, and ice picky on channel two, and pretty decent on channel one. The differences between the class A and class AB modes was not as pronounced as I had expected. The bass response overall was very disappointing.

Well, what a difference a re-tubing made! The amp has come to life now. It's still a little on the bright side, but the icepick to the ears is gone, and the bass is deeper, fuller, and a little more rounded, but with a very punchy quality to it. There isn't any dark, flabby, or muddy tones, just crisp bass notes that seem to jump from the amp.

The EQ is much more responsive now with the slightest of tweaks adding nuances to the tone. Tim mentioned versatility as a main strength of this amp. I think it's going to take a considerable amount of time to explore and catalog the various tonal subleties that are possible with this amp. There is now a noticable difference between the class A and AB modes of the amp. The class A setting is very pick attack sensitive, and delivers some great tones at moderate to low volumes. In the AB mode this amp goes from crunchy to really sharp, edgy lead tones. The sustain is beautiful. I found myself playing with a much lighter touch on lead runs and the notes just seemed to flow out of the amp like a liquid.

I used two of my home made Strat clones and a re-wired Agile with Highorder humbuckers in it to test the amp out. These three guitars sound great through my 65 Bandmaster, my Ampeg V-2, my Crate VC 30, and my other Epiphone...the little Valve Jr. They sound just as good through this BC 30, but there is a very different quality to the tone of this amp. I was expecting something on the order of tweed or brownface tone with this amp, given it's tube configuration. While there is some of that on the clean channel, the OD channel reminded me more of an AC30 at times...like the difference between a broadsword and a rapier. The Strats sounded decent before the tube change, and a whole lot better now. The Agile LP sounds worlds apart with the new tubes as opposed to the OEM's. With just a little tweaking of the EQ, I was able to go from Allman Brothers tone to heavy AC/DC crunch. I even stumbled upon a little of that hollow/middy Jimmy Paige tone thrown in.

The reverb was very good as first reviewed, and is the pretty much the same now. Deep, lucious, dripping reverb tone that you can only get from a tube driven spring reverb. It does stop a little short of classic Fender reverb, but it's as close as any other to it (well, maybe not as close as Ampegs :) ).

It's a common notion that a rectifier tube has no bearing on an amps tone. It's just there to convert voltage. Where the difference is heard though, is in the sag and how it relates to the tone. The Philips 5AR4 that I used in place of the OEM Sovtek is as different as if I had gone from a solid state rectifier to tube.

Another thing that was and to a degree remains difficult to evaluate are the speakers. While I couldn't tell to what degree the speakers contributed to or detracted from the tone in the stock mode, I can now hear that the speakers are reproducing the rather versatile tonal ranges quite well. In all fairness, the speakers will need several more hours before they're broken in, but I have no qualms that they'll be up to the task. In fact, I believe that they are very well matched to this amps circuit.

I did make one change to the pre-amp line-up listed in my previous post. I put an NOS GE 5751 in the V-2 slot and moved the BEL 12AX7 to V-3, dropping one of the three remaining GE 12AX7's down to two (in V-3 and V-4). The GE 5751 did tame the OD just enough.

So, my earlier apprehension has decidedly changed to elation after testing the amp with it's new tube complement. Now I can't wait to get home to see what other tone I can squeeze out of this little jewel...:dude.

BTW: I'm still trying to get more information on this amps plate voltage and the voltage limits of the reissue Tung-Sol 5881's. If these two do turn out to be compatible, I'd surely like to try a pair. It still seems that those tubes and this amp would make a perfect match. More to come....

GuitslingerTim
08-09-2006, 02:58 PM
Bloozcat:

Well, what a difference a re-tubing made! The amp has come to life now. It's still a little on the bright side, but the icepick to the ears is gone, and the bass is deeper, fuller, and a little more rounded, but with a very punchy quality to it. There isn't any dark, flabby, or muddy tones, just crisp bass notes that seem to jump from the amp.

Well I guess I was lucky and got a little better set of Sovteks in mine. I was able to get some bright tones, but only when the treble was cranked. With the tone controls and reverb all dialed in at 12 oclock, and the integrated eq button engaged I was getting some sweet, warm, round tones. What I noticed missing was some of the three dimensional qualities that better tubes bring to the table.

The EQ is much more responsive now with the slightest of tweaks adding nuances to the tone. Tim mentioned versatility as a main strength of this amp. I think it's going to take a considerable amount of time to explore and catalog the various tonal subleties that are possible with this amp. There is now a noticable difference between the class A and AB modes of the amp. The class A setting is very pick attack sensitive, and delivers some great tones at moderate to low volumes. In the AB mode this amp goes from crunchy to really sharp, edgy lead tones. The sustain is beautiful. I found myself playing with a much lighter touch on lead runs and the notes just seemed to flow out of the amp like a liquid.

I noticed the same thing about the touch sensitivity, but when I dig in there is that little extra something there namely pinch harmonics. After playing on mine few a few days, I switched back to my Marshall and found myself playing with a lighter touch and more command--I was reminded of a post in which Tomo mentioned the advantage in practicing loud on a clean amp, now I can see why.


The reverb was very good as first reviewed, and is the pretty much the same now. Deep, lucious, dripping reverb tone that you can only get from a tube driven spring reverb. It does stop a little short of classic Fender reverb, but it's as close as any other to it (well, maybe not as close as Ampegs :) ).

Some experimentation with preamp tubes could only improve it. :AOK

Another thing that was and to a degree remains difficult to evaluate are the speakers. While I couldn't tell to what degree the speakers contributed to or detracted from the tone in the stock mode, I can now hear that the speakers are reproducing the rather versatile tonal ranges quite well. In all fairness, the speakers will need several more hours before they're broken in, but I have no qualms that they'll be up to the task. In fact, I believe that they are very well matched to this amps circuit.

I can already tell the difference after putting in several days of play on mine.

I did make one change to the pre-amp line-up listed in my previous post. I put an NOS GE 5751 in the V-2 slot and moved the BEL 12AX7 to V-3, dropping one of the three remaining GE 12AX7's down to two (in V-3 and V-4). The GE 5751 did tame the OD just enough.

Have you tried the tung-sol reissue 12AX7?

So, my earlier apprehension has decidedly changed to elation after testing the amp with it's new tube complement. Now I can't wait to get home to see what other tone I can squeeze out of this little jewel...:dude.

BTW: I'm still trying to get more information on this amps plate voltage and the voltage limits of the reissue Tung-Sol 5881's. If these two do turn out to be compatible, I'd surely like to try a pair. It still seems that those tubes and this amp would make a perfect match. More to come....

I called Gibson again today, and the rep said he would research the plate voltage issue and email me with an answer tomorrow.

Thanks for the update and for forging ahead with the tube change. I'll report back after trying a few tube changes on mine.

Bloozcat
08-09-2006, 09:28 PM
Thanks for contacting Gibson about the plate voltage Tim. That will save me the trouble of doing it. It was on my "to do" list for tomorrow.

Regarding the reissue Tung-Sol 12AX7's. Yes I've tried them, and I like them so much that I can finally say that I've found a suitable replacement for NOS...at half the cost. The new TS's will stand up to any NOS IMO..they're that good. Same with the TS 5881's...I'm anxious to hear about the plate voltage on this amp to see if these great new tubes can be used. As good as my Philips 6L6WGB's are, in side by side comparisons the TS 5881 wins. So, I'd love to try them in this amp.

Looks like we're the pioneers with this amp for the time being Tim. There are only a handful of BC 30 owners who I've seen posting on the various music websites out there. Not many (only one I know of) have ventured into the tube swapping realm though. So, where no man has gone before...

utterhack
08-09-2006, 11:09 PM
You guys are indeed the canaries in the coal mine, and your service is appreciated :AOK

I'm not even in the amp market these days, but I'm following this eagerly just because I want to believe that a feature-laden, great-sounding 212 can be brought to market at a remarkably low price.

Bloozcat
08-10-2006, 06:26 AM
You guys are indeed the canaries in the coal mine, and your service is appreciated :AOK

I'm not even in the amp market these days, but I'm following this eagerly just because I want to believe that a feature-laden, great-sounding 212 can be brought to market at a remarkably low price.

Well, I think your belief is being rewarded with this amp. The more I play it, the more I like it. With most amp makers today using easy to find tubes like the Sovteks, there is always an issue with tube tone. I understand why Epiphone chose the tubes they did - low price, and bullet-proof performance. When a company goes out on a limb with such a feature laden amp at this price point and with a 5-year warranty, two things are essential; keeping costs down, and components that will take a beating. The build quality of this amp is excellent (ok, maybe the pots are just a little suspect), and the tubes that were chosen have a track record of reliability. Something in this formula had to give, so it is the tone. I'm not saying that the tone is bad, it's just that given all the features this amp comes with - an all tube circuit including the rectifier and the reverb - I think that it's natural to expect tone to match. Well, this isn't a $2000.00 + boutique amp, it's a $500.00 amp. For someone like me, who spends endless hours tweaking my guitars and amps, this amp is a gift. And unlike other amps I've played with, the only thing that appears lacking in this amp is a good set of tubes (and maybe some cap tweaking). Big deal. It even comes to you as a cathode biased amp, so there's one less worry when changing tubes (it's self biasing). All I need to do is to find out what the plate voltage is, so I can buy tubes in the right range for the circuit. Tim's got a call in to Epiphone, so we'll have the last piece to the puzzle shortly.

As with the Valve Jr. (which I also own), this amp is more than a breath of fresh air in the amp market...it's a cool breeze. :cool:

TopJimmy5150
08-10-2006, 06:28 AM
Are the tube sockets mounted on the PCB or the Chassis?

GuitslingerTim
08-10-2006, 06:01 PM
I called Gibson again today and pressed them for an answer on the plate voltage of the BC. The top man put me on hold and tried to find out, but returned to tell me he would have to forward the question to the lab and would email me with the response, if the lab is willing to release the information, or in other words, don't call us, we'll call you. :horse

studio8000
08-10-2006, 06:12 PM
plate voltage is 360 when line voltage is 114. straight from the designer. so there ya go.

bluescube
08-10-2006, 07:52 PM
Can it get Voxy in Class A mode?

Robert1950
08-11-2006, 10:19 AM
actually the amps were designed by Pyotr Belov (who used to make his own custom amps) and is a good buddy of mine. lives down the street from me. glad to hear people are diggin these amps.

I've previously heard good stuff about this guy. Now if Gibson can find a guy like him for their guitars.

Quantumphysics
08-11-2006, 10:47 AM
Anyone know how this amps build (and sound after retube) quality compares to the Traynor YCV40 WR?

Bloozcat
08-11-2006, 11:22 AM
plate voltage is 360 when line voltage is 114. straight from the designer. so there ya go.

Sounds like you've got a good rapport with Pyotr, studio. Perhaps you could ask him the following questions:

We now know that the plate voltage is 360 volts at a line voltage of 114 volts. Am I correct in assuming that the plate voltage is @ 23 watts as the old Tung-Sol 5881's are rated at?

What is the current?
What is the screen voltage?

and...Does this amp require 6L6GC's to replace the so called "5881's" from Sovtek, or can a real American designed 5881 like the Tung-Sol or the reissue Tung-Sol be used safely?

There are two camps in this debate. Those who think, wish, hope that real 5881's can be used in this circuit, and those who say the plate voltage, screen voltage and current are all too high for real 5881's and will smoke them. This camp says that only a good 6l6GC will work properly.

So, maybe he can settle the debate and tell us which it is...:AOK

mr. meeks
08-11-2006, 01:40 PM
so after a retubing what kind of cost are you looking at overall?

Bloozcat
08-11-2006, 02:03 PM
so after a retubing what kind of cost are you looking at overall?

That depends upon the tubes you choose.

It could go anywhere from $85.00 - $150.00, maybe higher.

GuitslingerTim
08-11-2006, 04:02 PM
plate voltage is 360 when line voltage is 114. straight from the designer. so there ya go.

Thanks for your help. Bob Burns at Gibson confirmed those numbers by email. :AOK

studio8000
08-11-2006, 05:26 PM
Thanks for your help. Bob Burns at Gibson confirmed those numbers by email. :AOK

yea, cuz he emails pyotr... haha.

by the way... has no one noticed that Mike Soldano laid out the pcb? i'll try to post a picture of the guts here soon. we're talking about 2 fantastic amp builders.

Bloozcat
08-12-2006, 11:26 AM
yea, cuz he emails pyotr... haha.

by the way... has no one noticed that Mike Soldano laid out the pcb? i'll try to post a picture of the guts here soon. we're talking about 2 fantastic amp builders.

The PCB for the BC 30?

Any chance studio8000, that Pyotr would answer the questions I posed a couple of threads up? I'd like to be able to call Lord Valve with the full specs of the amp so I could get a good match on new tubes.

That's funny that Bob Burns is e-mailing Pyotr for the answers to Tim's questions. Do you think Gibson themselves know anything more about this amp than we do? :confused:

Barge Concepts
08-12-2006, 11:41 AM
Any chance studio8000, that Pyotr would answer the questions I posed a couple of threads up? I'd like to be able to call Lord Valve with the full specs of the amp so I could get a good match on new tubes.

That's funny that Bob Burns is e-mailing Pyotr for the answers to Tim's questions. Do you think Gibson themselves know anything more about this amp than we do? :confused:

You might want to try the email link at the bottom of this (http://epiphone.com/news.asp?NewsID=600) page. I sent off a couple of questions, and got a response directly from Pyotr...

Leftee
08-12-2006, 12:08 PM
Those Sovtek 5881's are poo. They "work" and that's about all that can be said about them, IMO.

Bloozcat
08-12-2006, 01:53 PM
OK, enough screwing around. I sent an E-mail to Gibson with all the questions regarding the plate voltage, screen voltage, catode bias voltage, etc., etc....

I truly hope that these questions are refered to Mr. Belov so we can finally have the real scoop on this amps circuit. We'll see....:BEER

utterhack
08-12-2006, 02:16 PM
Those Sovtek 5881's are poo. They "work" and that's about all that can be said about them, IMO.

I disagree. You can say that they work AND that they cannot be killed.

bluescube
08-12-2006, 02:41 PM
Can it get VOX like in class A?

dk_ace
08-12-2006, 05:01 PM
Can it get VOX like in class A?

+1:BOUNCE

Bloozcat
08-12-2006, 07:08 PM
Can it get VOX like in class A?

Not really...not yet at least. I don't think we're going to know the full potential of this amp until the tube thing/circuit layout thing is sorted out. With the stock tubes, this amp is an under achiever.

Well utterhack we'll just say that the Sovtek 5881's are cheap, readily available, and tough to kill...but they're still poo....;)

studio8000
08-12-2006, 11:42 PM
You might want to try the email link at the bottom of this (http://epiphone.com/news.asp?NewsID=600) page. I sent off a couple of questions, and got a response directly from Pyotr...

yes, emailing the ampacademy email link is your best bet. they forward emails directly to Pyotr. he asked me to mention that here, but you beat me to it.

studio8000
08-12-2006, 11:44 PM
The PCB for the BC 30?

Any chance studio8000, that Pyotr would answer the questions I posed a couple of threads up? I'd like to be able to call Lord Valve with the full specs of the amp so I could get a good match on new tubes.

That's funny that Bob Burns is e-mailing Pyotr for the answers to Tim's questions. Do you think Gibson themselves know anything more about this amp than we do? :confused:

yes, the Blues Custom PCB was designed by Belov, and laid out by Soldano. as for the questions, i've been out of town for a few days, and he's leaving town for a few weeks, but i'll see if i can get some of those answers for you before he leaves.

Bob Arbogast
08-13-2006, 10:48 AM
Why in the world is it spec'd at 360V DC on the plates with 114Vac input? Who has 114Vac at the wall socket? Around here it's 124!

Bob Arbogast

GuitslingerTim
08-13-2006, 12:13 PM
Why in the world is it spec'd at 360V DC on the plates with 114Vac input? Who has 114Vac at the wall socket? Around here it's 124!


AC line voltage is allowed a variation of +/-10% in the US, so I would assume that with 114 volts being the average line voltage, the average plate voltage for the BC is 360 volts. 120 volts * .95 = 114 volts.

GuitslingerTim
08-14-2006, 05:03 PM
Well, I received a response from Belov today in the form of a nice technical explanation on how to check the bias and voltage levels on the Blues Custom. To sum up the response, he feels that even at 125 volts line voltage, the plate voltage of the BC is unlikely to exceed 400 volts. He went on to say that he thought any 5881, 6L6, or KT66 tube will work in the BC. He recommended using anything but the Sovteks, including JJ's, Winged-C (he used to work for SED), but not surprisingly he prefers NOS.

utterhack
08-14-2006, 05:20 PM
Well, I received a response from Belov today in the form of a nice technical response on how to check the bias and voltage levels on the Blues Custom. To sum up the response, he feels that even at 125 volts line voltage, the plate voltage of the BC is unlikely to exceed 400 volts. He went on to say that he thought any 5881, 6L6, or KT66 tube will work in the BC. He recommended using anything but the Sovteks, including JJ's, Winged-C (he used to work for SED), but not surprisingly he prefers NOS.

Very cool :AOK

Bloozcat
08-14-2006, 06:28 PM
I too received a reply from Pyotr Belov today as well. He knew that I was a poster here at The Gear Page, and he said that he was expecting my e-mail (because of studio8000, no doubt). He said that he would get back to me shortly with a full answer to my questions.

Tim...did Pyotr's instructions for testing the circuit involve any of the following:

With the amp off and one of the output tubes removed from it's socket, measure the resistance between pin 8 of the socket and ground (cathode bias resistor value).

With the amp on, the output tubes in the sockets, and the signal turned to 0, measure voltages from pins 3, 4, and 8 to ground.

I was given these instructions from someone on another site who's worked with tube amps, but I'm waiting for confirmation from Pyotr.

GuitslingerTim
08-14-2006, 06:57 PM
I too received a reply from Pyotr Belov today as well. He knew that I was a poster here at The Gear Page, and he said that he was expecting my e-mail (because of studio8000, no doubt). He said that he would get back to me shortly with a full answer to my questions.

Tim...did Pyotr's instructions for testing the circuit involve any of the following:



Here's the technical information he provided:

Note 1: On a cathode biased amp the Plate voltage is measured from Plate (pin 3 of the power tube) to Cathode (pin 8 of the power tube).

Note 2: Cathode voltage is measured across the cathode resistor (pin 3 to ground). To calculate your current at idle the cathode voltage measurement is divided by the value of the cathode resistor (in the case of BC30 it is 250 ohm rated 25W) and then divided by the number of tubes tied to this cathode resistor in the case of BC30 it is two).

Note 3. B+ voltage of the power tube is measured from Plate (pin 3) to ground. In the case of a fixed bias amp, where there is no cathode bias resistor, the B+ is your plate voltage.

Pyotr, if you object to me posting the information you provided to me by email, let me know and I will delete it from this post.

Pyotr also told me that a cathode-biased amp with a tube rectifier will experience a greater voltage drop than a fixed-bias amp with a solid state rectifier, and that was one of the reasons he's confident that any 5881 can be used with the BC. At a maximum of 125 line volts, which is the voltage at my place, the maximum plate voltage of the BC will be 395 volts. I'm still a little leery of using tubes that are rated at 400 volts, all it would take is a slightly defective tube for the tube to blow along with the mains. Plus there's also the downside of pushing a tube to its limits and causing it to wear out quickly. Should we flip a coin to see who the guinea pig is gonna be? I'm jonesing hard to try the Tung-sol reissues. :D

Bloozcat
08-14-2006, 07:58 PM
Well here's Pyotr's answer to my questions. He said it was ok to pass it along:

Again thanks for the support.

As promised, here is the info.

Option 1 Straight out of the Box BC30 with stock Sovtek 5881 - Line Voltage 120

Sovtek 5881 Plate 23W dissipation + Screen 3W dissipation.

B+ Voltage - 406VDC - Measured from Pin 3 to ground

Plate Voltage - 375VDC Measured from Plate to Cathode

Screen Voltage - 374 VDC Measured Pin 4 to Cathode

Cathode Voltage - 31VDC - Measured from Cathode to ground

Cathode Bias Resistor - 250 Ohm Rated 25W

Cathode Current - 62mA per tube


Option 2 Exchanged 5881 for Chinese 6L6GC. Line Voltage 117VAC

Let's assume it is the typical spec as all 6L6GC

Plate 30W + Screen 5W Dissipation

B+ Voltage - 400VDC - Measured from Pin 3 to ground

Plate Voltage - 368VDC Measured from Plate to Cathode

Screen Voltage - 367 Measured Pin 4 to Cathode

Cathode Voltage - 32VDC - Measured from Cathode to ground

Cathode Bias Resistor - 250 Ohm Rated 25W

Cathode Current - 64mA per tube

Hope this helps.

Best,

Pyotr

I spoke with Pyotr this evening, and he expressed his thanks for all of us who have shown such interest in this amp. After discussing a wide range of topics regarding this amp, I'm more convinced than ever that we've just begun to scratch the surface of the tonal possibilities that this amp has to offer. This amp has more potential than we know...:AOK

GuitslingerTim
08-14-2006, 08:13 PM
I spoke with Pyotr this evening, and he expressed his thanks for all of us who have shown such interest in this amp. After discussing a wide range of topics regarding this amp, I'm more convinced than ever that we've just begun to scratch the surface of the tonal possibilities that this amp has to offer. This amp has more potential than we know...:AOK

So.......are you going with the Tungsol reissues? I'm ordering some new tubes on Wednesday, but I'm still on the fence.

Bloozcat
08-15-2006, 06:32 AM
So.......are you going with the Tungsol reissues? I'm ordering some new tubes on Wednesday, but I'm still on the fence.

I think I'm going to run these numbers by Lord Valve to see what he'd recommend. I'd like to try the Tung-Sol 5881's, but I'll go with whatever has the greatest potential for producing the best combination of cleans and warmth. Pyotr did say that the amp was voiced for a bluesy vibe (hence the name). I'd just like to enhance that with a new set of tubes. If staying with the Philips 6L6WGB's that I have in it now is a good option, I wouldn't be unhappy with that. Still, those Tung-Sols are just beckoning me...:AOK

TopJimmy5150
08-15-2006, 08:06 AM
I'm thinking seriously of pulling the trigger on one of these.

My concerns are:

1. Are the tube sockets mounted on the chassis or the PCB?
2. How heavy is it? I have a HR Deville 4X10 that is just awful to carry, but it's longer cabinet really makes it awkward. I'm thinking if the BC is just as heavy, maybe the more conventional cabinet size might make it not so bad.
3. How is the sparkle compared to say a Vintage Fender Vibrolux? Can it get those kinds of tones?

I own an Epi Valve Special and I need to throw a new speaker in it, but even then I doubt I'll get the sparkle of my SF Vibro Champ. I don't want a dark sounding amp.

GuitslingerTim
08-15-2006, 07:19 PM
Well, I received a response from Belov today in the form of a nice technical explanation on how to check the bias and voltage levels on the Blues Custom. To sum up the response, he feels that even at 125 volts line voltage, the plate voltage of the BC is unlikely to exceed 400 volts. He went on to say that he thought any 5881, 6L6, or KT66 tube will work in the BC. He recommended using anything but the Sovteks, including JJ's, Winged-C (he used to work for SED), but not surprisingly he prefers NOS.

I misunderstood what Pyotr Belov relayed to me in his message about his opinion of the stock tubes in the BC, and I need to correct the misinformation posted in this thread. Pyotr selected the Sovtek 5881 tubes "across the board" for the Blues Custom. I apologize to Pyotr for any false impression I may have created, and to anyone I may have mislead.

Bloozcat
08-16-2006, 07:24 AM
I'm thinking seriously of pulling the trigger on one of these.

My concerns are:

1. Are the tube sockets mounted on the chassis or the PCB?
2. How heavy is it? I have a HR Deville 4X10 that is just awful to carry, but it's longer cabinet really makes it awkward. I'm thinking if the BC is just as heavy, maybe the more conventional cabinet size might make it not so bad.
3. How is the sparkle compared to say a Vintage Fender Vibrolux? Can it get those kinds of tones?

I own an Epi Valve Special and I need to throw a new speaker in it, but even then I doubt I'll get the sparkle of my SF Vibro Champ. I don't want a dark sounding amp.

1) The tube sockets are PCB mounted, but they are quite solid. There's none of the usual "flexing" of the board that you get when pushing the tube into the socket. The board must be supported well (I haven't pulled the chassis to confirm this, though).

2) The amp weighs 65 lbs. As with most all tube circuit amps,
it's no lightweight.

3) Well, the way I would answer this question is to say yes and no. A Fender is a Fender, and it's sound IMO is unique. What I will say about the BC 30 is that the clean channel is very clean, clear, and has a lot of headroom to it. It's not as loud as channel two, but that's not an issue. There is a certain sparkle and presence to the clean channel on the BC 30...especially when the superb reverb this amp has is added to the mix. The use of the interactive EQ also enhances this. One thing this amp is not, and that's dark sounding. The lows are crisp and tight with no flab or boomy-ness. The amp tends towards the bright side, but I've already noticed that tube changes effect this to a degree. Additionally, since the speakers are new, they tend to sound a little stiff. Once they are sufficiently broken in, I believe the tone will round out some more. After only about 5-hours of use mine are starting to break in and the tone is definitely improving.

If I were to pick one thing that impresses me most about this amp, I would say that it is the amps versatility. There are so many different tones available from this amp that can be unlocked by just subtle EQ and volume adjustments. Each time I play it I find more. There aren't a lot of amps out there that I can say this about, especially in this price range. When you add up all of the features of this amp starting with the fact that it's all tube including the voltage rectifier and the reverb driver, you're getting a lot of amp for the money. This is certainly not a custom amp with a hand wired turret board, but what it does so well is to take some of that custom amp vibe and incorporate it into a PCB board. Not bad considering that the amp costs at least $2k less than a custom amp.

I took a chance on this amp largely due to Mr. Belov's reputation as a custom amp builder, and also because of my satisfaction with the Valve Jr. head I own. I have been rewarded for taking that chance with an excellent amp that has exceeded my expectations.

Leftee
08-16-2006, 07:32 AM
I disagree. You can say that they work AND that they cannot be killed.

Good point! :p

rex kwon do
08-16-2006, 07:40 AM
Well, based on what you guys have said in the last couple of weeks about the BC, I took the liberty of ordering one and it should arrive in a few days. I'm stoked about it and look forward to "customizing" mine with some NOS tubes I've had for a while - and can't wait to try it with some of my overdrive pedals. Thanks for sticking your necks out and giving a "non-boutique" amp a go.

I will give a full report by next week......

Bloozcat
08-16-2006, 11:15 AM
Well, based on what you guys have said in the last couple of weeks about the BC, I took the liberty of ordering one and it should arrive in a few days. I'm stoked about it and look forward to "customizing" mine with some NOS tubes I've had for a while - and can't wait to try it with some of my overdrive pedals. Thanks for sticking your necks out and giving a "non-boutique" amp a go.

I will give a full report by next week......

:AOK

GuitslingerTim
08-17-2006, 03:52 PM
Well, based on what you guys have said in the last couple of weeks about the BC, I took the liberty of ordering one and it should arrive in a few days. I'm stoked about it and look forward to "customizing" mine with some NOS tubes I've had for a while - and can't wait to try it with some of my overdrive pedals. Thanks for sticking your necks out and giving a "non-boutique" amp a go.

I will give a full report by next week......

Cool, we wait with anticipation. I sprang for a full round of new tubes for mine today. I went with 5 Tung-sol 12AX7 reissues, a pair of SED 6L6GC powertubes, and a JJ 5AR4 rectifier. :BEER

Bloozcat
08-17-2006, 08:10 PM
Cool, we wait with anticipation. I sprang for a full round of new tubes for mine today. I went with 5 Tung-sol 12AX7 reissues, a pair of SED 6L6GC powertubes, and a JJ 5AR4 rectifier. :BEER

Sound like good choices Tim. Can't wait to hear your report.

I now have e-mails out to about three places regarding specs on the Tung Sol 5881's. I heard from one source that they're rated for 500 volts at the plate. That's an encouraging start, but I want to hear the rest of the specs before buying. If they look good (and I'm increasingly encouraged that they will), I'll pull the trigger on them. I think I'll pick up several Tung Sol 12AX7's while I'm at it too.

Tonight, I tried my BC 30 through my 2X12 cab loaded with 25 watt ea. Weber C12N's. The cab is wired for 4 ohm. The amp was quite noticably louder through the Webers...and I don't just mean a little. I have a 65 Bandmaster which is a 40 watt amp, and the BC 30 through the same Weber speakers is at least as loud and I'd honestly say louder than the Bandmaster. Although the lows and mids were more sparkly and solid, the highs were very bright. The highs were bordering on ice pick brightness. Very odd. The Bandmaster is very sweet through these speakers. I have this feeling that down the road I'll be looking into some circuit mods to soften the brightness a little.

First things first though...tubes are the current priority. If the Tung Sol 5881's won't work out, I'll go with another New Sensor/Mike Matthews offering, the Reflector made Svetlana 6L6GC. This is another tube in Mike's latest line-up that's getting rave reviews.

GuitslingerTim
08-17-2006, 11:36 PM
I now have e-mails out to about three places regarding specs on the Tung Sol 5881's. I heard from one source that they're rated for 500 volts at the plate. That's an encouraging start, but I want to hear the rest of the specs before buying. If they look good (and I'm increasingly encouraged that they will), I'll pull the trigger on them. I think I'll pick up several Tung Sol 12AX7's while I'm at it too.

From what I can gather a true 5881 is rated at 400 volts. There was a guy that posted in a Tung-sol 5881 reissue thread on the GP that blew two sets of the reissues back to back in his Fender amp--that was a red flag for me that indicates the Tung-sols are rated at 400 volts.

Other factors in my decision to go with the SEDs is the added clean headroom they offer over 5881s--which the main reason I bought the BC, for good cleans--and the excellent performance I've had from their EL34s.

The Tung-sol 12AX7s [B]better be good considering what they cost, I expect nothing less than magic. They cost 40% more than the EH do, and so far those have held up and performed stellar in my Marshall.

Tonight, I tried my BC 30 through my 2X12 cab loaded with 25 watt ea. Weber C12N's. The cab is wired for 4 ohm. The amp was quite noticably louder through the Webers...and I don't just mean a little. I have a 65 Bandmaster which is a 40 watt amp, and the BC 30 through the same Weber speakers is at least as loud and I'd honestly say louder than the Bandmaster. Although the lows and mids were more sparkly and solid, the highs were very bright. The highs were bordering on ice pick brightness. Very odd. The Bandmaster is very sweet through these speakers. I have this feeling that down the road I'll be looking into some circuit mods to soften the brightness a little.

It may be the 4 ohm speakers combined with the fact you were only using part of the OT windings. I've noticed that amps with switchable impedance selections seem to sound better when all of the windings are being used. When I get a chance I'll plug my BC into my 16 ohm cab with V-30s.

First things first though...tubes are the current priority. If the Tung Sol 5881's won't work out, I'll go with another New Sensor/Mike Matthews offering, the Reflector made Svetlana 6L6GC. This is another tube in Mike's latest line-up that's getting rave reviews.

I've heard the Svetlana's are dark sounding, very good for high gain rigs like Mesas, but not so good for sparkling Fender cleans, but you never know how any tube will sound in an amp till you try it.

rex kwon do
08-18-2006, 07:01 AM
Today is the day and the anticipation is almost too much to take. When the amp comes in I will fire it up, but expect to change the power tubes pretty quickly. Now here is a different take on the power tube situation: I will be loading the amp with KT-66's and see how that is going to work. I know that's a little different spin on what everyone has thought about, but with the availability of all other 6L6 tubes, I feel it's worth a try to acheive that huge low-end sound that the KT-66's are famous for.

Hey, maybe some 7581-A's MIL spec tubes could be tried out, too? But they almost cost as much as the amp!

Bloozcat
08-18-2006, 09:20 AM
Today is the day and the anticipation is almost too much to take. When the amp comes in I will fire it up, but expect to change the power tubes pretty quickly. Now here is a different take on the power tube situation: I will be loading the amp with KT-66's and see how that is going to work. I know that's a little different spin on what everyone has thought about, but with the availability of all other 6L6 tubes, I feel it's worth a try to acheive that huge low-end sound that the KT-66's are famous for.

Hey, maybe some 7581-A's MIL spec tubes could be tried out, too? But they almost cost as much as the amp!

KT-66's are an option, but I'd be a little concerned about the cathode bias resistor. The one in the BC 30 is 250 ohm/25 watt. Most of the KT-66 applications that I recall have much higher value resistors. Might be a good idea to e-mail Gibson on that one. They'll probably refer it to Pyotr.

The 7581A's are another option. They are absolutely great if you're looking for additional clean headroom...there's none better for that than the 7581A. I have a pair in my 65 Bandmaster, and they're fantastic. I bought them more about two years ago when they were about $50.00 a matched pair. :)

I'm still vasilating a bit on the tubes right now. I'd love to try out the Tung-Sol 5881's, but they might not work in this circuit. I've been thinking about trying the New Sensor Svetlana 6L6GC's, but I've had such great experiences in the past with the SED 6L6GC's (when they were still called Svetlanas) that it's hard not to consider them as well.

GuitslingerTim
08-18-2006, 09:43 AM
KT-66's are an option, but I'd be a little concerned about the cathode bias resistor. The one in the BC 30 is 250 ohm/25 watt. Most of the KT-66 applications that I recall have much higher value resistors. Might be a good idea to e-mail Gibson on that one. They'll probably refer it to Pyotr.



Pyotr told me that he saw no problems running any 6L6, 5881, or KT66 in the Blues Custom.

Bloozcat
08-18-2006, 12:50 PM
Pyotr told me that he saw no problems running any 6L6, 5881, or KT66 in the Blues Custom.

That's unusual, but Pyotr is the guy who knows! :cool:

Bloozcat
08-18-2006, 01:16 PM
From what I can gather a true 5881 is rated at 400 volts. There was a guy that posted in a Tung-sol 5881 reissue thread on the GP that blew two sets of the reissues back to back in his Fender amp--that was a red flag for me that indicates the Tung-sols are rated at 400 volts.

The data I found said that a true 5881 (meaning original Tung-Sol), was rated at 360 volts @ 23 watts dissipation. That's what's made me so nevous about using the new Tung-Sol 5881. With all the add copy calling it "the real thing", and a "true 5881", I was afraid that it would fry in the BC 30.

Other factors in my decision to go with the SEDs is the added clean headroom they offer over 5881s--which the main reason I bought the BC, for good cleans--and the excellent performance I've had from their EL34s.

The SED 6L6GC is a good tube without a doubt. It should stay clean longer than a 5881, and still deliver a nice growl when pushed. At least that's been my experience with them. They're a nice balanced tube (I still haven't ruled them out myself). The one factor that concerns me though is are we changing the intended character of the BC 30 with 6L6GC's? I like 6L6GC driven amps, but is this a good thing for the BC 30?

I guess you'll be the first to report on that, Tim.

The Tung-sol 12AX7s better be good considering what they cost, I expect nothing less than magic. They cost 40% more than the EH do, and so far those have held up and performed stellar in my Marshall.

From the "everything's relative corner"...They may be twice what some current production 12AX7's run, but at $15.00 ea they're a whole lot cheaper than NOS...at or close to half the cost.

It may be the 4 ohm speakers combined with the fact you were only using part of the OT windings. I've noticed that amps with switchable impedance selections seem to sound better when all of the windings are being used. When I get a chance I'll plug my BC into my 16 ohm cab with V-30s.

Good point Tim, and one that briefly crossed my mind last night. Since my cab is an open back, it'll be a quick and easy swap to 16 ohm. That ought to give a little more perspective. I also plan to try swapping out the Lady Luck's for a pair of Mojotone MP12RHD Alnico's I have at home. They are 8 ohm each as well, so in that regard they'll be a close comparison to the C12N's. I've noticed that Pyotr has used these (and similar) Mojotone's in some of his custom amp builds. I wonder what he'd think of these speakers with the BC 30. I forgot to ask him the other night when I spoke with him.

I've heard the Svetlana's are dark sounding, very good for high gain rigs like Mesas, but not so good for sparkling Fender cleans, but you never know how any tube will sound in an amp till you try it.


I did hear one or two comments to that effect, but I also heard that the tubes had a very balanced tone. Who knows? Maybe it's the particular amp circuit that causes it. Like I said, I haven't ruled out the SED's yet. I still like that tube.

We'll have our answers soon....:AOK

GuitslingerTim
08-22-2006, 07:44 PM
I picked up the new tubes for the Blues Custom today. I just removed the 10 screws from the back panel but I can't get it to budge. Any thoughts on how to proceed? I hate to take a screwdriver to it in order to pry the back panel open.

Skip62
08-22-2006, 09:07 PM
7 pages of techno crap doesn't let me listen to it. somebody record the BLOODY already thing...PLEASEEEEEEEE :)

Heliman
08-23-2006, 10:53 AM
I picked up the new tubes for the Blues Custom today. I just removed the 10 screws from the back panel but I can't get it to budge. Any thoughts on how to proceed? I hate to take a screwdriver to it in order to pry the back panel open.
Take a coathanger wire and bend the very end into a small hook. Insert it into the screw hole and try to grab the panel from the back. Pull with a moderate amount of force. If it don't budge, try the next hole and so on. It is highly unlikely that it is glued on, but knowing Epiphone and the Chinese, anything is possible. :o

If that don't work, then there is always the option of a cutting torch or plasma cutter. :AOK

Respectfully yours,

Heliman

jpervin
08-23-2006, 11:27 AM
What I will say about the BC 30 is that the clean channel is very clean, clear, and has a lot of headroom to it...The lows are crisp and tight with no flab or boomy-ness.

Are we talking (almost) Twin Reverb-type cleans and lows here?

GuitslingerTim
08-23-2006, 12:16 PM
Take a coathanger wire and bend the very end into a small hook. Insert it into the screw hole and try to grab the panel from the back. Pull with a moderate amount of force. If it don't budge, try the next hole and so on. It is highly unlikely that it is glued on, but knowing Epiphone and the Chinese, anything is possible. :o

If that don't work, then there is always the option of a cutting torch or plasma cutter. :AOK



Thanks for the advice. :crazy

Actually, the design of the BC30 is quite good. The appropriate tool for removing the back panel is a claw hammer, preferably one with a straight claw. There is a designed gap between the chassis and the edge of the panel that serves two purposes; one is to accomodate an interior cable that protrudes through the gap so it can be plugged into the 8-ohm impedance jack. The other purpose is to allow the insertion of a tool with a hook of some sort to pull the panel out. The claw hammer did the trick, but was only necessary because the freshly-cured paint stuck to the tolex a little. Now the panel can be pulled out easily by hand.

Heliman
08-23-2006, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the advice. :crazy

Actually, the design of the BC30 is quite good.

I have one as well and have to agree that it has great potential, but it certainly ain't there yet. I do have an issue with the overall tonal balance and the screwed up bass tone control when in the Interactive mode. I am hoping someone will do a bit of research on tubes and possibly some tone control modification. Someone wrote either here or on some other site that the bass tone control serves as a volume control and they hit it right on the head!

Personally, I think the amp goes pretty well with Les Pauls but on single coil Strats and Teles ... well, it is just too darn thin sounding (think 60's AM car radio with the treble turned all the way up).

Here's hoping that your tube swap helps address these issues! :BEER

Respectfully yours,

Heliman

rex kwon do
08-24-2006, 10:39 AM
I had the same issue with the back panel, but after several days of full volume playing, the board loosened itself up!

I agree with all the observations on the tonal response of the amp - it has so much potential as a circuit design, but it quite thin and harsh sounding at times with the tubes it currently has.

I have several sets of tubes that I will be trying in the next few days: a set of SED 6L6 GC's, a set of NOS G.E. 5881 and a set of GT-6L6S Slovakian produced tubes. Plus some different preamps to try as well. I think the speakers will be fine after some breaking in.

The best tone I have gotten is in the Clean channel with my Barber Direct Drive - it's thick and very violin(y). But unfortunately right now, Channel 2 is almost unusable.

There is still much hope with this amp, IMHO, however.

GuitslingerTim
08-25-2006, 09:19 PM
Okay, after a couple of days of working out with new tubes I'm ready to report my findings. The SED 6L6GC powertubes both help and hinder the tone of the Blues Custom.

The hinderance is in the overall tone being brighter, with the addition of some harshness in upper registers. While that observation might steer some away from the SED tubes, the good news is the notes have much more definition, with the overall quality of the sound increased by several degrees. Chords really shimmer and sparkle on both channels. The clean channel, while being brighter, is greatly enhanced since most clean tones are bright as a matter of necessity.

By turning the mids up halfway, the bass up 3/4, and the treble down to 1/4, I can get some thick sounds out of channel 2, and found that overall it was much improved compared to the sounds produced by the stock tubes. What I can't get however is much warmth from either channel with SED powertubes. Rather than harp on negative aspects too much, I'll point out that for recording purposes, the SED tubes are skookum when it comes to delivering clear, quality tones with a lot of sparkle and chime, which is the main reason I bought it. What is missing are the fat greasy tones with lots of sponge that vintage amps deliver. Overall the amp produces tones with a hard edge using the SED tubes.

As for the Tung-sol 12Ax7, they did nothing but help the sound. The reverb sounds much sweeter to my ears. The preamp tubes may help the overall sound quite a bit also. Tomorrow I'll try putting the stock powertubes back in and see how they sound with the new 12AX7. I'll also try swapping out the rectifier to see if it makes any difference.

What this amp needs are some tubes that tame the harshness, while enhancing the definition--is it possible? I'm wondering if a set of KT66 might be the answer.

GuitslingerTim
08-26-2006, 04:40 PM
I put the stock Sovtek 5881's back in my BC30, left the new preamp and rectifier tubes in, and was totally impressed. Let me make it clear that I liked the sound of the BC30 right out of the box. Pyotr got it right on the powertubes--with mine set up like it is the clean channel is The Tits. It sounds so balanced and sweet that it makes me really happy I bought the amp. It may be that the Tung-sol 5881 reissues will sound good in the BC30, but if you want to add to the sound without losing anything, skip the 6L6 tubes and get some Tung-sol 12AX7 reissues, or some EH 12AX7--although I've used them both, I've never compared them in the same amp. There is definitely more sparkle with the Tung-sol preamp tubes, and more defintion in the upper register which is really the only gripe I had about the clean sounds.

To get a fat overdrive out of channel 2 you have to engage the interactive eq mode, turn up both mid controls about halfway, turn the treble down to 1/4, and turn the bass up to 3/4--the tone is there, you just have to dial it in.

Heliman
08-28-2006, 08:56 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for speaker upgrades to give the amp a darker timbre?

Bloozcat
08-29-2006, 09:50 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions for speaker upgrades to give the amp a darker timbre?

I guess I'll have to try my Celestion G12H30's next. They're known for their big bottom end. I'd really like to get the tone where I want it through the tubes, the EQ, and if necessary, so circuit tweaks though. I really like the way my Weber C12N's sounded with this amp...minus the inherent brightness of the circuit that is. Those speakers have nice punchy bass, smooth mids, and nice clean and clear highs.

dougb415
08-29-2006, 10:46 AM
I may have to take a drive over to one of the local stores, as I think they might have this model in stock.

Jonster
08-29-2006, 11:00 AM
Well, I planned on checking this amp out,.....

but to be honest, after reading about the lengths folks are going to to neutralize the "sterile" and "harsh" tones.......I will pass.

I admit, tube changes and speaker changes are the norm at my amp camp, but usually performed on amps that were inspiring in stock form.

This amp kinda sounds like a dud, at least from the responses. The mere fact that the dirt channel is un-inspiring kinda removes any lust for me.

On the other hand, the amp that intrigues me these days as a good budget combo, is the Kustom Coupe series. That amp seems to have mucho promise.

Heliman
08-30-2006, 04:19 PM
I have been in communication with Bob Burns regarding my Blues Custom and requested the schematic for the Epiphone Blues Custom 30. I just received it in pdf format. The file size is 988 kb and when converted to jpeg it is 5000 x 3500 in size. It appears that it was last updated on August 25. I would post a link to my webhost file but my webhost only supports pictures of 800 x 600 and it makes the schematic completely unreadable. I would assume that Gibson will soon make it available on their website.

Update: Gibson Customer Service just told me if anyone is interested, contact them and they will make the schematic available. They can be reached at 1-800-4-GIBSON

bluescube
08-31-2006, 04:25 AM
Please host the file at www.bestsharing.com

other sites:

www.megaupload.com
www.rapidshare.de

Heliman
08-31-2006, 10:36 AM
Please host the file at www.bestsharing.com (http://www.bestsharing.com)

other sites:

www.megaupload.com (http://www.megaupload.com)
www.rapidshare.de (http://www.rapidshare.de)

As I told you on the Tele forum:

"Gibson will be glad to send you a copy, at least according to Gibson Customer Service, but would prefer that I not send it out. I will respect their request. However, you can give them a call at 1-800-4-GIBSON and give them your email address. I hope you understand."

Have you tried to call Gibson?

GuitslingerTim
09-01-2006, 07:50 AM
I learned something useful from Pyotr Belov about the BC30: he designed it to produce a broad range of tones, which means the brightness people are complaining about was intentional, giving the amp the ability to cut through in a live band situation. Pyotr suggested turning all of the knobs of tone stack to zero, and building the desired sound from there. I experimented with the concept the last few nights and found that zeroing the tone controls produces a dark sound without a loss of volume, which is unusual compared to most amps. With my Marshall, zeroing the tone controls has an equivalent effect on the volume.

On the clean channel, the secret to a twangy Fenderish tone is turning the mid control up quite a bit, with just a little bass and treble added to balance things out. I was getting some very good early Fleetwood Mac/Bluesbreakers rhythm tones last night. The lead tones were pretty good, not harsh at all, but not quite as thick and sweet as I'd like. Some of the sounds were well into what I would call beefy territory.

The drive channel requires a lot of bass and with a little treble and midrange added for balance. I was surprised at how useful the drive channel becomes when eq'ed properly. The tones are a lot thicker, and some very hot lead tones can be coaxed out of it--I was getting some badass pinch harmonics last night.

Until the speakers break in it's gonna be hard to tell whether the speakers are keepers or not. I suspect some darker speakers like the Eminence Govenor will take this amp to another level.

Bloozcat
09-01-2006, 02:31 PM
Pyotr told me about this. He called it the "bedroom setting", because you can get some nice tones at lower volumes. It is true that you can't treat the EQ on this amp like other amps. The tone stack acts as a volume control as well as a tone control.

After playing with the amp for a few weeks now, I still haven't mined all of the tones this thing has to offer.

rex kwon do
09-01-2006, 03:33 PM
It's kinda like a great painting or wonderful glass of wine - it might not be your thing in the beginning, but you learn to love it.

This amp has really been growing on me and after loading up some Groove Tube 6L6S power tubes, I am a very happy camper. As far as changing speakers, I'm not ready to give up on the Eminence Lady Luck's yet. They need some more break-in time and that's half the fun, breaking them in.

GuitslingerTim
09-01-2006, 05:34 PM
It's kinda like a great painting or wonderful glass of wine - it might not be your thing in the beginning, but you learn to love it.

This amp has really been growing on me and after loading up some Groove Tube 6L6S power tubes, I am a very happy camper. As far as changing speakers, I'm not ready to give up on the Eminence Lady Luck's yet. They need some more break-in time and that's half the fun, breaking them in.

How about a detailed comparison between the GT6L6S and the stock tubes?

I emailed Eminence today in an effort to get a frequency graph on the Lady Luck for the sake of comparison with other speakers. If I interpret correctly what Epiphone has to say about the Lady Luck, it was designed to impart no color to the signal, which means the speaker has a flat response, making it darker than other guitar speakers available. If so, swapping speakers will add a sizeable treble spike to the pattern.

Heliman
09-02-2006, 01:14 PM
It's kinda like a great painting or wonderful glass of wine - it might not be your thing in the beginning, but you learn to love it.

This amp has really been growing on me and after loading up some Groove Tube 6L6S power tubes, I am a very happy camper. As far as changing speakers, I'm not ready to give up on the Eminence Lady Luck's yet. They need some more break-in time and that's half the fun, breaking them in.

Nice analogy, but it just doesn't seem to work for me.

An amplifier, in my humble opinion, should be acceptable and usable sonically when all the controls are centered. If you want to peel the paint off your walls, kill your cat, and sour your gallon of milk in your fridge, pick up a strat and whail away with the controls centered using the OD channel. The bass tone control needs to be maxed or nearly maxed and the treble reduced in order to find a setting that is close to being acceptable, according to my ears.

Since I am still awaiting new tubes, all of my observation have been made with the stock tubes.

P.S How long does it normally take for Boones Farm, Ripple, or MD 20-20 to age properly? I think I still have a bottle of Pear Ripple circa 1969 left over from an all-nighter.

rex kwon do
09-02-2006, 02:27 PM
Well, let's get together with our BC-30's and drink your hootch - then there's no way the tone will be bad then! Actually, I would rather listen to the BC-30 with the treble/mids all the way up then drink Boone's Farm (however, Thunderbird wasn't so bad when I was 13).

I hope when you trade out the tubes you'll find some more acceptable sounds. My Gristle King just came in, so I have another overdrive/boost pedal to work in the mix. I am finding the speakers to be a little more tasteful after having the amp for almost a month.

Red Planet
09-02-2006, 03:52 PM
Those Sovtek 5881's are poo. They "work" and that's about all that can be said about them, IMO.

I've not been happy with any of the New Sensor Stuff. They seem to have managed to salvage their reputation with all these new Branded Products.

How is Volvo doing?

How is Leftee Doing?

VTX-XTC
09-02-2006, 05:50 PM
With the tone controls, what is the difference between "Independent" and "Interactive" mode?

GuitslingerTim
09-02-2006, 08:18 PM
With the tone controls, what is the difference between "Independent" and "Interactive" mode?

The BC30 has two different two-band treble/bass circuits. The independent circuit allows the bass and treble frequencies to be cut or boosted without affecting each other. The interactive circuit works more like a traditional tone stack where adjusting one frequency will affect the other.

Guitar Desire
09-03-2006, 12:44 AM
ya umm this all nice but pointless without clips. How 'bout them?:BOUNCE

IPlayHamers
09-03-2006, 01:57 AM
If they did a head version of this amp I'd be all over it. Do any of you know or think that will happen.

Also, I have an old Traynor that I'd like to try the Tung Sol 12AX7's in. How much better than the JJ ECC83 is that tube.

Seeking various opinions.

Thanks,

IPH:RoCkIn

Red Planet
09-03-2006, 07:52 AM
Try the JJ ECC803 in V2 and V3 and a Tung Sol in V1. My problem with the Tung Sols though have been they sound real good for a very short time then they go south. The JJ's are consistent and consistently sound good.

Bloozcat
09-03-2006, 05:03 PM
I'm still waiting for New Sensor to reply to my e-mail regarding the specs on the reissue Tung Sol 5881's. I sent the e-mail out eight days ago...no reply. I re-sent it today. I'd really like to try these tubes, but I don't want to buy them just to fry them if they're not suitable for this amp.

With a whole cottage industry having popped up around the Valve Jr. and all the mods for it, I'm hoping that the same will occur among the amp modders/builders regarding this amp. The subject has already come up on the 18watt.com site where there have been some extensive mods discussed and done to the Valve Jr.

For now though, I'd just like to try the Tung Sol 5881's out if they're suitable. Come on New Sensor...please answer the e-mails....:AOK

GuitslingerTim
09-04-2006, 02:27 PM
I plugged the BC30 into a 4x12 Marshall 1960 cab with V30's yesterday. The tone was much darker, and much thicker, which tells me the Lady Luck speakers play a substantial role in tone of the BC30. Overall the V30's made the tone sound duller, and much less lively than that produced with the Lady Lucks. 50oz. speaker magnets are definitely out--probably need to stick with 35oz magnets.

The one thing I liked about the V30's was the sweet top end--there was no harshness at all, even with the treble turned up higher than usual.

i51423
09-05-2006, 02:44 AM
So.. clips?

I'm hoping there's one of these at Guitar Center tomorrow. I doubt there will.. but that would be super.

Bloozcat
09-05-2006, 08:59 AM
The one thing I liked about the V30's was the sweet top end--there was no harshness at all, even with the treble turned up higher than usual.

I found the same to be true with both the Weber C12N's and the Mojotone MP12RHD's I tried in my BC 30. They did nothing to affect the inherent brightness of the amp - which can border on spikey at times - but the mids and top end are sweeter. The Mojo's didn't do anything to enhance the bass response, but they also didn't adversely affect the bottom either. The bass response with the Webers on the other hand was more punchy and crisp than the Lady Lucks.

I also found the Webers to sound thinner when wired in series for 16 ohm than in parallel at 4 ohms. Trying this same thing in my Valve Jr. the difference was even more pronounced, favoring the 4 ohm wiring.

rex kwon do
10-30-2006, 03:37 PM
Just thought I would extend this thread and let everyone who owns or is thinking about owning an Epiphone BC 30 that I have installed some Weber Beam Blockers. And the results are fantastic! Gone are the ice picky sounds that I have had since I bought the amp and the speakers now are much more mellow/dark sounding. This is an interesting "fix" for the new Eminence speakers and a circuit that has a tendency at brightness.

GuitslingerTim
10-30-2006, 03:39 PM
Just thought I would extend this thread and let everyone who owns or is thinking about owning an Epiphone BC 30 that I have installed some Weber Beam Blockers. And the results are fantastic! Gone are the ice picky sounds that I have had since I bought the amp and the speakers now are much more mellow/dark sounding. This is an interesting "fix" for the new Eminence speakers and a circuit that has a tendency at brightness.

Outstanding. Did you have any trouble installing them?

rex kwon do
10-30-2006, 03:56 PM
Hey Tim, forgot to PM you about the results, but I figured everyone needed to know this tidbit of info. The installation was a piece of cake, and I'm a complete idiot when it comes to those things. So it's idiot proof! The interesting thing about Beam Blockers is that since it takes all the spikeyness out of the center of the cone, there is a perceived volume drop. Ted Weber warned me about this, but it's no big deal, 'cause the BC 30 is a loud son-of-a-gun.

Plus, it's allowed me to crank up the volume more which has made the amp perform at a more optimum level.

contest38
01-12-2007, 09:59 AM
I have questions as well...I just joined this forum and would like to continue .........please keep me posted if this forum continues...My custom 30 is being delivered today....Thanks

ford
01-13-2007, 09:07 AM
What's awesome is when you search epiphone amplifiers at www.musiciansfriend.com it says the Blues Custom 30 comes with EL34's. If you click on a review of it and the California 50 by Epiphone, then it says the Custom 30 uses the 5881's.

Rock on musician's friend!

Without ever seeing this thread, I saw the band the Hold Steady play these amps on the Letterman show on January 11and they sounded great. Of course, no idea how much change if any was made to the amps from stock.

I did a search on youtube and from a concert in November of 2006 it didn't look like they were using these amps at that time. May have just been a tv deal for the show.. both guitar players did play Gibson guitars.

rock

bford

Splendor
01-18-2007, 12:26 AM
Anyone have clips?

MichaelK
01-18-2007, 12:35 AM
I played through one of those briefly on Thanksgiving weekend when I was in KC. I thought it sounded very sweet at first, great tone. But when it started to break up the distortion was very sloppy, I felt. It's possible that different tubes would have tightened it up.

Yeah, I wouldn't turn one down if it showed up on my doorstep.

contest38
01-18-2007, 08:11 AM
I finally got the chance to put my new Epi to work in a rehersal setting. I must admit I thought it was just a shade harsh at first....but that quickly seemed to disappear.......By the end of a 4 hr. rehersal it was sounding incredibly sweet........tons of clean head room...even in the class A mode......The tone on the clean channel can be a bit on the bright side....but even the suggested settings in the manual recommend backing off the hghs.....The reverb is very musical and drippy when you need it say "CHRIS ISAAK"....maybe not a TR but quite luscious. The amp is built like a tank and the workman ship is excellent (my re-issue Fender custom vibrolux is built like a piece of crap by comparison). I think the speakers are breaking in nicely and in mho are well suited to it...........to some up the "Clean" end!..I love this amp....toneful and musical...and my main axe is a strat...so much for the thin and tinny statements above.
I have rehersal again tomorow......will be putting it through some good blues and clasic rock OD.....I will let you all no how that goes.
I'm sure I'm going to be doing some tube upgrades for my own insanity....but not until I think she has had a satisfactoy break-in period.
More soon ...Thanks!
Wayne

Tomo
02-02-2007, 12:14 PM
Anyone have clips?

I have a video clip from NAMM 07.

Tomo

dverna
02-06-2007, 12:47 PM
I have a video clip from NAMM 07.

Tomo


Is that the clip you posted in the "Amps" section, Tomo? Sounds great....I'd like to hear more of you playing through this amp.

Splendor
02-06-2007, 09:25 PM
I have a video clip from NAMM 07.

Tomo

Where? Link?

EDIT: Nevermind I found it.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8127637511296515755

contest38
02-06-2007, 09:42 PM
Epiphone Blues Custom 30 clip Tomo twinkle twinkle.......under "Amps and Cabs"

Splendor
02-07-2007, 08:14 PM
Epiphone Blues Custom 30 clip Tomo twinkle twinkle.......under "Amps and Cabs"

Yep. Found it. :AOK

Tomo
02-07-2007, 08:29 PM
Is that the clip you posted in the "Amps" section, Tomo? Sounds great....I'd like to hear more of you playing through this amp.

Yes, thanks for listening it. I will do. Great clean sound.
Epiphone Blues Custom 30 clip by Tomo Twinkle Twinkle (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=212415)

Tomo

V-Mike
12-16-2007, 11:36 PM
I have one of these and don't plan on changing the tubes until they die because they sound ok to me (I'm pretty new to tube amps). Does anyone know if the tubes wear out quicker on the 15W Class A or 30W Class A/B settings?

jrincones
12-31-2007, 08:15 AM
Hello to all I am new to the Gear Page and this is my first post.

Wanted to say that I am excited to see what I am reading. My wife recently purchased the Epiphone BC for my birthday but I can't open until my birthday next week. Hard to sit here and look at the box sitting there waiting for me to make the first move. :drool

Anyway I wanted to say that I am happy to see what I am reading that the Epiphone BC has alot of potential. I play lead guitar in a band called "Speedtrap" here. Actually I am the only guitarist in the band so therefore that makes me the lead guitarist. Title by default I say!

A question I have is about the rectifier tube, which replacement is recommended and is replacement needed? I have decided to try the Tungsol 12AX7 reissues and leave the stock 5881. I have read that the 5881 are sturdier and last longer. I am also thinking about the Weber beam blockers but not sure which size to use.

Looking forward to any advice or tips anyone may have for me.

MacA
03-10-2008, 05:09 AM
Those wishing to hear sound clips may wish to hear the BC30's thoroughbred stable companion, the Gibson GA-42RVT 30 watt combo that has suddenly appeared -- with four sound clips -- on Gibson's website at www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/One%20Giant%20Leap%20for%20Ampkind_%20Gi/ (http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/One%20Giant%20Leap%20for%20Ampkind_%20Gi/). I await comparable clips for the BC30 with anticipation.

wiggy
06-27-2008, 05:41 AM
I've been offered a pair of NOS RCA 6L6GC Blackplate valves (fully tested) for silly money and was wondering if they would worth sticking in my BC30. I guess anything is going to be better than the Sovtek 5881s which are i there now but I would really welcome peoples' opinions on these.

powermatt99
06-27-2008, 07:55 AM
I've been offered a pair of NOS RCA 6L6GC Blackplate valves (fully tested) for silly money and was wondering if they would worth sticking in my BC30. I guess anything is going to be better than the Sovtek 5881s which are i there now but I would really welcome peoples' opinions on these.

I upgraded the Sovtek crap in mine to simple Tung Sol 5881RIs. It made a huge difference in picking responsiveness and tightened up the bass. You might want to check all the voltage stuff (that I know nothing about) to make sure you're not going to blow up your tubes or the amp. I think the plate voltage is relatively low.

Upgrading the preamp tubes has more of an effect on tone, however. Seemed to get rid of some of the harshness.

wiggy
07-09-2008, 03:24 PM
Well they arrived a couple of days ago. They're not a matched pair but have been tested on a Hickok 532 tester and came out at full scale for one and 7/8 scale for the other which is plenty close enough for power stage.

Only had a chance to have a quick play through them (will be able to really open them up tomorrow) but the difference between them and the Sovteks (6L6WXT's not 5881's as shown on the spec sheet) is incredible. Closest analogy I can come up with is that it's like going from a mid range stereo system to a full blown audiophile setup - music sounds pretty good through the first one but sounds in a whole different league through the second.

Cost me less than 25 each incl shipping from the US so well chuffed (I know in reality they're probably REALLY worth about a couple each but looking at the sort of prices being charged for them - does anyone really pay $140+ a piece for these things? - I reckon I got a bargain!)

quaig66
10-29-2008, 05:43 PM
what am I looking for in a footswitch for my BC 30? I know it's a 2 button but is there anything that has been found to work better than others?
thanks,

quaig66

SeicheNZ
07-22-2009, 01:29 PM
Hey Guys,

My first post, trying to revive this thread.
I read in a German forum that it is possible to replace the 5ar4 with a 5r4wga or 5r4wgb(the potato mashers). Has any one of you any experience with this?

Alternatively, any tips for 5ar4s? My BC30 seems to like frying JJs, don't know if it's the amp or if i had two bad tubes in a row. The stock chinese 5ar4 seemed fine before, and since I have put it back in I don't have any problems. But the tone of the JJ was better. Just more sound if that makes sense.

cheers

wildschwein
12-05-2009, 11:29 PM
The BC30 sounds great if you change out the tubes. I found the Sovtek 5881s and 6L6WXTs are just too brittle and too flabby sounding. They're work horse tubes that last forever but don't sound very good in this particular amp. I put in some Reflektor-marketed (ie not the winged C's) Svetlana 6L6GCs and EHX 12ax7ehs in v1, v2 and v4 (reverb v3 and v5 are still stock Chinese 12ax7bs); and also a JJ rectifier tube. My od channel now sounds absolutely great - I actually prefer it to the clean channel. Sure it's still bright, especially on the bridge pickup but it has a huge, rich bottom end (almost piano-like) and an harmonically complex midrange that can only be called juicy. And, I can control it all from my guitar via pickup selection and tone and volume controls. I can back off the volume and get a reasonable clean tone; roll off the tone knob and get a good woman tone from the front pickup. On some all-Humbucker equipped guitars I have a phase switch that allows me to get some BB King and Peter Green type sounds; especially with the reverb turned up high.

I find though that you have to set the knobs on the amp in the right way so you don't unleash too much brightness. Independent mode on the eq is the only way to go. The interactive mode is pure icepick - great if you're going for the "Achilles Last Stand" guitar tone but too much brightness for everyday use. I run my bass knob on full, my treble on about 9-10 'o' clock and the mid knob on very low - about 8 'o' clock. The mid knob on the general eq is where all the nasty stuff is - keeping it low keeps all the brightness from coming through. On the drive channel I run the mid "contour" knob on full because that lets through the warmer lower midrange - on lower settings the tone is thin. I run the od gain between 12 and 3 'o' clock depending on the guitar I'm using. I still have an okay sound on the clean side but I would call it warm and Jazzy. But to get a better clean sound I just lift the treble a little more and maybe add just a touch more of the mids.

This amp does older guitar styles best - stuff like Blues, Rockabilly, Country, Jazz, 70s Fusion etc. It's not suited to really hard rock and detuned metal IMO. I even find that vintage sounding pedals work pretty well with this amp; fuzz, old-school phasers, Univibe clone pedals, analog delays and choruses all sound great; but modern high gain dirt boxes and digital delays and choruses sound rather bad and tinny. It takes some time and experimentation but you can get good sounds out of this amp without cutting any capacitors. I didn't like it at first but since the Svetlanas and 12ax7ehs went in I'm loving it.

GuitslingerTim
12-14-2009, 09:17 AM
I started this thread over four years ago, and just wanted to update some recent developments with my BC30.

Although I practiced some on the BC30 to save wear on the tubes in my other amps, I eventually put it in the closet and forgot about it, treating it as an inexpensive chinese-made amp, which it is. Over the years several people began experimenting with mods and a consensus formed on some simple changes to the BC30 to overcome its bright characteristics, and improve the overall tone.

The essential mods consists of cutting caps C3, C5, & C6. Other mods require changing resistors R15 to 1.6k, and R21 to 1.1k, and changing cap C15 to 2.2uF. I made all of the changes except C15, which requires pulling the circuit board.

The other essential change is installing a JJ 5AR4 rectifier tube, Tung-sol 12AX7 preamp tubes, and a set of Tung-sol 5881 reissue power tubes.

SeicheNZ
01-06-2010, 01:56 PM
Okay People,

I took a chance and replaced that 5ar4 with a vintage 5r4wgb(the potato mashers).
It has been working for 5 months and I'm really happy. It's every bit as good as the JJ soundwise, the same prize(most of the time even cheaper) but much sturdier. They look cool too, they are about twice the size of a 5ar4. They fit, though, and work.

Have fun!

ps: I actually like both modes, though i mostly use the independent mode, as I'm playing at home most of the time and its not as boomy and loud. It allowes for turning up the amp a bit more. I found the Interactive mode better when playing with a band, though.

baltimoretim
01-15-2010, 07:02 AM
Last night I dropped a pair of Svetlana 6L6GCs into my BC30, replacing the stock power tubes. It made a HUGE difference in sound. The top end got less ice-picky and more chimy, and the bottom went from boomy to focused. A $60 investment really paid off.

Bloozcat
01-22-2010, 11:12 AM
I see this post is still kickin'!

More than a year ago I finally settled on reissue Tung Sol 12AX7's in V1, V2, V3, and V5 and a balanced triode Tung Sol 12AX7 in V4 (the PI slot). That final pre-amp change went along with the reissue Tung Sol 5881's and the NOS Philips 5AR4 rectifier tube I had mentioned in earlier posts.

The mods Tim mentioned seemed to complete the journey (excepting the C15 cap change that I didn't do either). The tone has smoothed out and the EQ is more usable and responsive now.

After all of this, it's hard to imagine a better, more versatile amp with the features of this one in anything close to it's price range - although the additional costs of the tubes, the footswitch, and the few bucks for the misc. electronic parts did jack up the cost by about $150.00 or so. Still, for a total of $650.00 (about $80.00 higher now) I don't know of another 2X12 combo amp with tube driven spring reverb, tube rectification, and 15w/30w switching. And it's built like a tank as well (and almost as heavy!).

After picking up a Ceriatone Overtone Special, I kind of ignored the BC 30 for awhile. But, when I went back to playing it again later, I was still amazed by the tone of this amp. Once a "diamond in the rough", now just a diamond.

SeicheNZ
02-18-2010, 02:45 PM
Do any of you guys know how to hook up another amp to the BC30, only using it as a 2x12 speaker box?

I just bought a speaker cable just to find that i can't just easily hook it up to the speakers only. :eeks

OaklandA
03-01-2010, 10:13 AM
Anyone try Cannabis Rex or another hemp speaker (Tone Tubby) to tame the treble in these?

giogonzalez92
03-29-2012, 08:47 PM
[QUOTE=Bloozcat;7568978]I see this post is still kickin'!

More than a year ago I finally settled on reissue Tung Sol 12AX7's in V1, V2, V3, and V5 and a balanced triode Tung Sol 12AX7 in V4 (the PI slot). That final pre-amp change went along with the reissue Tung Sol 5881's and the NOS Philips 5AR4 rectifier tube I had mentioned in earlier posts.

The mods Tim mentioned seemed to complete the journey (excepting the C15 cap change that I didn't do either). The tone has smoothed out and the EQ is more usable and responsive now.

After all of this, it's hard to imagine a better, more versatile amp with the features of this one in anything close to it's price range - although the additional costs of the tubes, the footswitch, and the few bucks for the misc. electronic parts did jack up the cost by about $150.00 or so. Still, for a total of $650.00 (about $80.00 higher now) I don't know of another 2X12 combo amp with tube driven spring reverb, tube rectification, and 15w/30w switching. And it's built like a tank as well (and almost as heavy!).

After picking up a Ceriatone Overtone Special, I kind of ignored the BC 30 for awhile. But, when I went back to playing it again later, I was still amazed by the tone of this amp. Once a "diamond in the rough", now just a diamond.[/QUOTE

I want to do the cap mods? Are they fairly easy? What does it sound like?