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View Full Version : Preamp question, DC, AMT, Radial


Robzebr
08-04-2010, 10:22 AM
Does anybody have any experience with using these units.... I'm in the investigative mode and these look interesting as an overdrive/distortion solution....

Radial TriMode
http://www.tonebone.com/tb-trimode-using.htm

Damage Control Womanizer
http://damagecontrolusa.com/products/womanizer/

AMT SS11 (SS20)
http://amtelectronicsusa.com/productpagess11.html
http://amtelectronicsusa.com/productpagess20.html

The Radial uses a "starved" tube design where the DC and AMT use a plate voltage of 250-300 volts... What are the issues regarding a starved plate design and a higher voltage at the plate design?

Does the AMT effects loop switchable in and out? or is it always "on" for both channels?

This would be a first pedal for overdrive and EQ .... nothing else between the guitar and the amp....

peridot1
08-04-2010, 07:49 PM
What are the issues regarding a starved plate design and a higher voltage at the plate design?

IMHO.. one sounds like solid state the other a tube pre. For me as simple as that. Tri Mode has a nice tone but direct into a mixer it didn't sound like a tube pedal. Again not an expert and no knowledge of circuitry. Just going by what I hear.

Does the AMT effects loop switchable in and out? or is it always "on" for both channels?

Have the SS-20 and it's always on.

If you're in the investigative mode and willing to spend 3 to $350 check out the Kingsley Jester and Effectrode Tube Drive. They're great. Wmz/SS-20 also great.. but they're so different from each other. SS-20 specializes in high gain while Wmz shines in cleans/lows/mids.

Also I find youtube vids to be accurate. Good hunting.

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 08:55 AM
Thanks... I was actually looking more at the SS-11 ... a little less heavy....

One reason I liked the Radial is because they have a FX loop off channel 2

So they market it as a 3 channel setup.... bypass.. (clean) Channel 1 for rhythm and Channel 2 with the FX loop for lead... so one stomp puts you into Channel 2 higher gain with your effects....

So on the AMT it doesn't matter whether you are on Channel 1 or 2 the effects are on regardless .... thats a little different than the Radial which allows you to switch the FX in and out by selecting Channel 2....

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 09:42 AM
I just checked out the Effectrode.... one really nice feature about it is if one ever wants to get into tube swapping they are all right there.... The Radial has to have major surgery done to it to replace the tube.... also I need to read up on the high voltage to the tubes versus a circuit that uses a "starved" tube....

Radial says that while high voltage is necessary to make a tube sound good clean.. thats not the case if distortion is what you are looking for.... so their clean channel is really "bypass mode" .... they really don't have a clean channel ... just 2 channels of varying distortion using a starved tube...

Agreed
08-05-2010, 03:49 PM
In the ToneBone starved-plate tube pedals, the tube is used very well to soften the harsher diode clipping and provide some pretty good sag-like responsive "feel" to the pedals. It does a good job in 'em. I think starved plate gets a bad rap, personally, it can be used to great effect. It does not make a tube clip "like a diode," well, not exactly - they still exhibit a behavior that isn't identical to solid-state clipping, including the more responsive JFET/MOSFET types.

I have two Damage Control pedals, a Liquid Blues and a Solid Metal, and I also have the newer Ibanez Tube King reissue which has a higher non-starved plate voltage. As to the DC pedals, they definitely have more range and respond more like a tube amp, no doubt about it, I love them dearly. I don't think they get EVERYTHING from the tubes. Well, maybe the Liquid Blues gets all its dirt from the tubes, I could see that level of crunch coming out of just two tubes maybe if you really slam them up front... But if you look at amps that have distortion comparable to the Solid Metal, you've got at least four cascaded preamp tubes and they're at higher voltages than the DC pedal tubes too. So while I haven't traced the circuit, I just don't see how those two tubes could be doing all of that clipping. Now, again, both the DC pedals sound absolutely fantastic! After all, there are plenty of beloved solid-state circuits that have a lovely, open response, it's not like good sounding distortion is the sole providence of tubes alone. So a good hybrid of solid state and tube would probably account for the sound I get out of them.

The Ibanez Tube King reissue bears no resemblance, circuit-wise, to the old Chandler/Butler Tube Driver that the original was based on. The new one definitely uses its tube at a higher voltage, but I say again, if two tubes couldn't pump out that much distortion, how in the world can one? It's doing something neat in the circuit, it sounds great, it is lively and harmonically rich, but it has as much distortion as a Mesa Triple Rec before you even get halfway up the gain knob! It's got as much distortion as a Peavey 5150 (errr, 6505, ahem), and those use a ton of cascaded tubes in the preamp to get the characteristic massive gain.

Don't get too caught up in tubes tubes tubes, or discount starved-plate circuits either.

peridot1
08-05-2010, 04:38 PM
One thing about the Effectrode is it's the most amp-like of all the tube pedals I've played. Call it a midget amp. Kingsley Jester has loads of sounds though so you might want to check that. Very versatile. Womanizer is no slouch either.

And thx Agreed. There you have it. One who knows nada about circuitry and another who studies up on them. I have nothing against Radial and am interested in their direct boxes. Tri Mode just sounded so different.

And yeah the only reason I got caught up in tubes is I go direct. If I knew then what I know now I'd probably go tube amp head into a Palmer Rack with built-in load and cab sims. Too late for that now but I'm happy.

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 05:23 PM
Thank you for that explanation... so I'll forget about that its a starved tube and just go by the features and the sound....

Regarding the Damage Control Liquid Blues and the Womanizer... on their website they mention that the VooDoo Labs PP2 doesn't have enough juice to provide enough current.....

Do you have your Damage C pedals on a pedal board? ... just wondering how you are powering them...?

I just picked up the Liquid Blues from the DC website close out sale.... I had been looking at it for awhile and couldn't pass it up at that price....

The Womanizer is also being closed out.... Would having the Liquid Blues feeding the Womanizer make sense?.... my thought was having the light overdrive (the Blues) feeding the Womanizer (medium gain overdrive) and getting the benefit of the pre distortion and post distortion EQ (as well as the compressor) in the Womanizer...?

I've been looking at at the Womanizer for a while and now that its being discontinued I'm thinking of going for it....

The one thing that keeps bringing me back to the Radial is that FX loop in channel 2... I like the idea of being able to be "clean" in bypass mode and then have a channel 1 for mild distortion and then channel 2 for heavier distortion with the rest of the effects in the loop.....

I looked at the AMT ss11 but the email I got back said that the effects loop was always on regardless of which channel you selected....not as flexible as the Tri Mode....

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 05:34 PM
http://www.tonebone.com/re-bigshot-mix.htm

I need to factor this into the equation too.... If I went with something like this ... I could switch to a different signal path and get the effects there... like an effects loop....

So it would look like this....

guitar... liquid blues.... womanizer .... Big Shot Mix.............. ..... amp
| fx send fx return|
| |
|-- delay, reverb etc.|

That would basically do the same thing as the TriMode just without the tone shaping... but that would be done by the Womanizer anyway....

could go LIquid BLues ... Womanizer... TriMode.... but that would mean 3 overdrive distortion pedals.... before the amp.... a little extreme eh?

Agreed
08-05-2010, 05:38 PM
First, the power question - the deal with that is that they take 2,000ma (2 full amps) to run. The transformer brick that comes with them takes wall voltage and current and turns it into 9V@2A. That's a LOT of juice. So if you plan on using multiple (previous gen? I guess they've closed out the whole line, that's a shame, definitely hanging on to mine though!) Damage Control pedals, you'll need to figure out somewhere to put the transformers that power them individually, too.

For about a year, my main dirt was the Liquid Blues into the Solid Metal, and they do stack really, really well together. You'll get great results with the Liquid Blues into the Womanizer, I'd bet a pedal on it :)*

*Note: This does not constitute an actual bet, nor a promise, if you come for my pedals I'll be mad!! ;)

I defer to peridot's opinion on the Tri Mode, as I haven't used it personally so I don't feel comfortable speaking on it. I do have pretty extensive experience with the Hot British, but it doesn't have what you're looking for.

peridot1
08-05-2010, 05:58 PM
You can always order the Tri Mode from GC and return it if it doesn't suit you. It's been over two years and I forget what it sounds like. Gave it to my brother and he loves it.

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 06:45 PM
So then the only thing that I found that will work out of the box for using the Damage Control Pedals with a pedal board... is the Furman...

http://www.furmansound.com/product.php?id=SPB-8C

you could plug the wall warts in right there into one of the 4 ac outlets....

Most of the pedal boards I see .. Pedal Train, Puma Boards etc... are pointed at using the VooDoo Labs PP2.... which I guess isn't going to work with the DC pedals....

This isn't an issue now.... but something I'll have to deal with as time goes on so I just want to be up on the issues.....

I'm glad you said that the Liquid BLues going into a Womanizer is a valid (sweet) setup..... I thought so I was just making sure.....

So thats what I have it down to.... the Womanizer or the TriMode.... interestingly both are the same price....

So what do people do that have high current drawing pedals and want to put them on a pedal board....? Do they automatically use something like the Furman or do they just get a power strip and fasten it somehow to the back of a PedalTrain or a Puma Board....?

Not a big deal I won't need to worry about it for awhile.....

Thanks for the info.....

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 07:05 PM
Oh I forgot to ask......

In the Damage Control pedals... Blues and Womanizer..... 2 tubes.... one is the "nuclear" or boost ... (10db I think).....

Is the second tube not being used until the "nuclear" switch is selected? and the 10db gain is a product of the second tube now being "on"....

or

is it that both tubes are always running and when the nuclear switch is selected it just adds more voltage to each tube ... so it gets the 10db boost as a result of increasing the gain in both tubes...?

The reason I'm asking is I thinking of the whole thing of tube swapping and just want to know how the circuit is set up.... I'm a techy at heart....

Agreed
08-05-2010, 07:42 PM
The Blues and Metal both use both of their tubes as standard gain stages all the time. The "Nuclear" boost is a solid-state boost, very clean boost and sounds great. I think it's 20dB in both the Liquid Blues and the Solid Metal. In the Womanizer, it's 12dB, if I recall correctly. I am a little fuzzy on the boost level details, I'm sure you can check it out on their web site to make sure, but I am certain that in the two non-direct-box dirt pedals (that is, in the Liquid Blues and the Solid Metal) both tubes are in use full time. The switch placement is just part of their standardized enclosures, it doesn't turn the second tube on or anything. It just happens to be located over by it.

Edit: For clarity's sake, the "Nuclear" boost comes before the tube stages. It's sort of like if you had a nice clean boost pedal to run into it. Damage Control's dirt pedals all have/had a lot of features, they really tried to justify the high price by packing a lot of well-designed and well-implemented features in there. E.g. the great opto-comp on the Liquid Blues, just a really transparent compressor that has a nice evening-out effect on your string levels (and its great "Clarity" control which blends in the unaffected signal level adjusted to the dirt), or the cleverly designed "Scoop" EQ knob on the Solid Metal which, as it further reduces the midrange, tightens the Q and moves the center frequency upward. So it behaves like a sort of parametric EQ designed specifically for keeping your guitar's signal tight and clear even as you get more of a "scooped" sound. That's a great feature, really well done, where a lot of mid knobs can literally suck the fundamentals right out of your tone and bury your guitar in the mix.

Alright... The Womanizer and Demonizer are advertised to use the two tubes differently, with one of them apparently wired in to behave more like a really low wattage power tube to get some of the different sort of crunch of a power amp going. That sounds a little weird to me, but I'll go with it, no reason to doubt them and I don't have a schematic of it to give me any reason to doubt the claim.

Of course, that does mean that once again any preamp-like distortion in them is supposedly coming from just one tube, which I find preeeeetty unlikely, just knowing how tubes behave and how high-gain amps get their clipping.

Have you thought about shooting off an email to inquire further? I doubt they'd reveal anything they consider "industry secret" obviously but you might be able to get them to explain how they get so much distortion using just one or two tubes, or acknowledge that there's more going on there. Ultimately what matters is the sound, though, and they sound great, so however they accomplish that goal, it is accomplished.

While it technically violates the warranty, changing tubes in the Damage Control pedals is really easy to do. I swapped my Solid Metal's tubes out for Tung Sols to get more distortion out of it. I still use the stock "Damage Control" branded EHX tubes in the Liquid Blues, good sound and plenty of gain for what it does. I shot DC an email back when I did it, and they said, basically, that while they can't say "you are free to change the tubes and we will still give you warranty service," they DID say that they are sensible about that kind of thing and won't refuse service for a pedal if it wasn't abused. So unofficially I think they don't frown on tube replacement, provided you don't break your pedal doing it :)

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 09:20 PM
Isn't great when you ask a question and.... you you just get an answer....

and not the ......."What do you want to do that for?" or "Try it and see" .... I love that one ...

Yeah I know I can try it and see but if somebody knows the answer I'd rather ask the question and get the answer from somebody that knows the answer as opposed to spinning my wheels ....

Thank you for all the answers .... that was very helpful!

Now I have to decide if I want to take a bit of a gamble and wait and see if DC drops the price on the last remaining Womanizer units or not take any chances and just get it.... thanks again....

peridot1
08-05-2010, 09:57 PM
Hope I wasn't spinning your wheels when suggesting to try the Tri Mode and if 'no bueno' return it. It appears to be the only dirt preamp out there with an effects loop that can shut off when changing channels. It's worth a shot.

Robzebr
08-05-2010, 10:46 PM
No ... not at all.... everything was very helpful.... I was referring to other forums where a lot of the times people ask you why you are asking the question instead of just trying to answer the question.... I've been online all day... hours but I got a lot figured out from the answers here .... narrowing things down....

thanks,
Bob

peridot1
08-05-2010, 11:11 PM
Oh I get ya. Yeah forums are frustrating and I don't do techy talk too well. Btw I didn't respond to how well the Liquid Blues and Wmz stacks cause it's been so long since I used the Liquid blues I can't quite remember.. other than if I ever need a superb clean or low gain sound that's where I'll go. I just can't remember what it sounds like with the gains up and trying to compare it with the SS-11. Been busy with more aggressive sounds.

I will say the Wmz is the best stacking pedal I've found other than the Jester. It has an EQ function to die for imo. I doubt they'll lower the price but who knows?

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 11:10 AM
Yeah.. it comes with an EQ and a compressor... so thats 2 pedals that I don't need... so for its size being a little big ... you get some space back by not having to get separate pedals for EQ and compression....

roquero
08-06-2010, 11:53 AM
You might want to check out the new AMT SS-11A or SS-11B preamps which are just now coming out
I ordered the SS-11A and should have one next week!
The SS-11A is voiced for classic rock, while the SS-11B is more for the "brutalz"
Here's 2 excellent videos of the pedal that Brett Kingman just put up on youtube, one going direct to sound card, the other to a Laney amp:
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Robzebr
08-06-2010, 01:02 PM
The SS11 has been out for awhile .... is the SS11 A a new version....

http://www.thevintagesound.com/store/amt-ss11-tube-guitar-preamp-p-1319.htm

these look really good ... but the effects loop is always in the circuit.. regardless of which channel you select.... (I don't know about these if they are new but the older SS11 and 20 worked that way... so I was told...


what I liked about the Radial Trimode is that the FX loop is connected to Channel 2... so you can play rhythm on Channel 1 and then switch to Channel 2 for the lead and effects....

Are they still making the SS-20... ? maybe the ss11-B is replacing the 20...(?)

roquero
08-06-2010, 01:09 PM
The SS11 has been out for awhile .... is the SS11 A a new version....

http://www.thevintagesound.com/store/amt-ss11-tube-guitar-preamp-p-1319.htm

these look really good ... but the effects loop is always in the circuit.. regardless of which channel you select.... (I don't know about these if they are new but the older SS11 and 20 worked that way... so I was told...


what I liked about the Radial Trimode is that the FX loop is connected to Channel 2... so you can play rhythm on Channel 1 and then switch to Channel 2 for the lead and effects....

Are they still making the SS-20... ? maybe the ss11-B is replacing the 20...(?)

According to an email that I received from AMT:

"The SS11 a and b are new. We will be updating website in a couple weeks to reflect this.
There is either a or b now. a is voiced more classic and b is voiced more modern metal."

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 01:10 PM
these 2 boxes in the vids are the same box... I think the A and B are just the video names....

roquero
08-06-2010, 01:13 PM
these 2 boxes in the vids are the same box... I think the A and B are just the video names....

they are both the SS11A, but one video is with the pedal plugged direct into soundcard, and the other is of the pedal into the line in of his Laney amp
If you read the description, you will see that he states that he also has the SS11-B, and will be uploading demo videos of the B shortly.
Brett is a TGP member, maybe you can PM him if you have specific questions about either pedal

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 01:14 PM
Is there any information on the new SS11 online....?

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 01:23 PM
I think this is the same box that has been out for awhile....

roquero
08-06-2010, 01:43 PM
I think this is the same box that has been out for awhile....

This is NOT the same box

Apparently you didn't read my post a few posts up from yours, but here it is again, direct from AMT USA:

"The SS11 a and b are new. We will be updating website in a couple weeks to reflect this.
There is either a or b now. a is voiced more classic and b is voiced more modern metal."

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 04:07 PM
Thats great, I'll have to check it out when they update the website....

I wonder if the SS-20 is going away...

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 04:13 PM
http://www.amtelectronics.com/faq/

This explains a little more about it.... I don't know about using the same name... that will cause some confusion.... it looks like the differences between the A and B only affect the lead channel...

peridot1
08-06-2010, 05:26 PM
I wonder if the SS-20 is going away...

I imagine it would be. For $40 more you get a high gainer with an extra tube.

I thought the SS-11 was out for months as well. AMT site had them displayed for that long though no price tag. There's even a Japanese youtube demo of this done 8 months ago.

Robzebr
08-06-2010, 06:13 PM
The SS-11 has been out for awhile.... apparently they're tweaking it to have a classic rock sound and a metal sound.... so they are going to call it
SS11-b and SS11-b... the 20 will probably go away... probably easier to have one form factor instead of 2.... and then just tweak it to make it an A or a B.....

I'll look at it again but I want to be able to only have the effects when I want them... I asked a few weeks ago and they told me that the FX loop applies to both channels and is always there.... these guys are in Russia and there might have been something lost in translation... but thats what I got out of the response....

That means I can't be playing rhythm on Channel 1 without having the effects ... I have to double check that...