Magic Dust the Two Rock killer?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by PeeCee, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. PeeCee

    PeeCee Member

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    After owning several of what TGPers generally refer to as the best of the Two Rocks (Opal, Type 3, 10th Anniversary and Eric Gales), I've come to the conclusion that these just aren't the amps for me.

    I'm not bashing Two Rocks. I love the clean channel, but I find the overdrive channel to be unusable. I think "aggressive" is a very misleading way to describe the overdrive. To my ears, it's compressed and buzzy sounding.

    I guess the Eric Gales was the biggest disappointment. I was really looking forward to getting it. It's the 50W tube rectified version with all the switches. Fantastic clean channel, but I'm not feeling the overdrive channel at all. I hooked up the EG to the buffered loop and 2290, but realized that I had probably sold a TR that I liked more in order to buy the EG.

    So, that's the depressing part. There is an upside, though. I recently acquired a Magic Dust Duo that not only has a spectacular clean channel, it does killer overdrive in spades--including the big mid, bloomy Dumble stuff.

    Not only that, the MDD is an amazingly deep, complex amp. I've already spent tens of hours with this amp and I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of what it has to offer.

    As far as I am concerned, the jury is in on this one. Red Plate walks away with it. Fantastic amp!

    I'm getting on the list for the Cosmic Dust combo to take to smaller gigs.
     
  2. zephaniah zion

    zephaniah zion Member

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    :phones
     
  3. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    I dont know about the phrase 'Two Rock Killer'.
    I've played/owned the Emerald Pro/Opal/Custom Reverb Sig v.1/Custom...and found all of them to be Killers in their own right.
    Never played a Red Plate, but I currently own a Glaswerks SODII.
    I think there's room on the planet for all of the above.
    If I had the dough, I'd have one of each! :D

    S.
    j
     
  4. Billion81

    Billion81 Gold Supporting Member

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    I personally think this dude owned all the wrong Two Rocks but hey.
     
  5. PeeCee

    PeeCee Member

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    I'm sorta thinking the same thing. Perhaps I should've gone the Custom Clean or Custom Reverb route--it is the cleans I'm digging, after all.
     
  6. Oz Hofstatter

    Oz Hofstatter Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey PeeCee,
    The beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.... I bet the Red Plate MDD is a killer amp, but my TR J2 is the best amp for single coils that I ever heard or played.
    Cheers,
    Oz
     
  7. Baminated

    Baminated Member

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    Seems like any amp is really dependent on the speaker/cab type.

    What speaker/cab config were you usin for the TR ?

    DISCLAIMER BEFORE THE LOCK:
    I am not a Two Rock owner, NOR AM I a Two Rock Basher, but here are some clips I recorded of the MAgic Dust Duo.
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=743288
     
  8. bjjp2

    bjjp2 Gold Supporting Member

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    Maybe I'm becoming a fanboy, but I love to death the lead sound on my TR Em Pro and Type III. "Buzzy" is the last adjective I'd use to describe them. I also have the J2 which is a little fizzier, but that's kind of it's thing.
     
  9. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Nice clips. Steel chassis, huh?
     
  10. Dave_C

    Dave_C Member

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    I've been saying this for many months now. I don't know how the builders who charge a helluva' LOT more and offer less (sometimes a helluva' LOT less) are going to compete with Henry's business model, not to mention his innovative products and his ability to offer the authentic Dumble tones that people want to have access to while also going WAY beyond those tones. What full time builder can compete with a high quality PTP D-style at the MDD complexity level for $2700 with 8 weeks delivery or less and the ability to rapidly customize on a dime??? I've always thought TR prices were totally out of whack, but Henry has now proven it!

    My prediction since the beginning of this year is that Red Plate will soon be the next big boy on the block in this industry (i.e. majority market share). I would have purchased a bunch of stock in them if it was available! Henry's already got one dealer and has managed to keep prices unchanged. All it takes is a few more (with the increased Internet and "walk-in" exposure) and he'll be a dominant force. If he keeps going like this, he'll be the next "Dr. Z" of the D-style industry and beyond!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  11. Dave_C

    Dave_C Member

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    Happy SOD II owner here too. The only thing that would slow Henry down is if Gary went full time! Then, you'd have two properly-priced, authentic-sounding amp sources innovating in their own unique directions who can get product to market in a reasonable time frame.
     
  12. Baminated

    Baminated Member

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    Good question !! Not sure. I do understand that aluminum chassis are preferred. Is that Right ?

    Thanks for droppin' the ear - and I LOVE your recordings w/the TWO ROCK, Steve. Keep Bangin' !
     
  13. MightyGuru

    MightyGuru Member

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    The one thing I will say is that in researching the D-style amps out there (before buying my MDD) I read that some of these amps require painstaking tube, speaker experimentation and outboard fx loops....not so with the MDD. Basically, it was plug and play awesomeness. That was a big factor.

    I love this amp more and more every gig.
     
  14. bjjp2

    bjjp2 Gold Supporting Member

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    I've been gassing for this amp and this thread pushed me over the edge into ordering one. You guys suck.
     
  15. trap

    trap Supporting Member

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    first off, i've been saying for a couple of years that henry makes a great amp. you can hear that in the clips that garth weber did. that shows the potential of the amp. and i'm glad that the mdd suits you more. i have yet to get over to my friends house who owns a new black tweed combo from henry to try it out but i can tell you this, at no point did my friend say man, thats it, i'm selling my CR sig version 1 and getting another redplate!!! he likes them both for the different sounds they produce. i'll get back to you on that.
    as for the price difference, well, thats two rocks business. they live in an expensive area, have full time employees, with benefits, comp, etc etc. henry is himself and i believe one other guy. comp and benees on him?? i don't know, and i don't care. two rocks components from the trannies to the caps and resistors in the sig amps are made just for them to their specs. $$$$$$$. if that matters, i don't know, but it adds to the cost.
    just in finishing, as to the buzzy fizzy thing - tubes!! especially v1, get away from the new stuff. special custom parts -cables-guitars and new tubes don't mix well. at least an rca in v1. obviously it's too late as you sold your amps but did we really need another TR bashing thread ??? i mean , c'mon!!!:bonk
     
  16. studiodunn

    studiodunn Supporting Member

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    Crate still makes amps........can anything be killed?
     
  17. Dave_C

    Dave_C Member

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    Dr. Z somehow manages to have a bunch of employees who love working for him and many custom parts as well and he still manages to put out sanely-priced PTP amps. Red Plate's doing it now too...and they seem to be starting out exactly as 'Z' did.

    Two-Rock used to claim their astronomical prices were due to all the R&D, but that doesn't really ring true. They've had a decade to amortize all that out, plus you don't think Zaite has (or had) any R&D expense? And Henry? What do you think it took to R&D the MDD??? TR started out cloning, but 'Z' never really cloned anything. Cost of living may be the only viable factor involved...but, I'd bet TR also enjoys a much higher profit margin. Nothing wrong with that at all because it's market-driven...but, at the same, buyer beware. There *are* other choices now.

    Regarding the comments on OD fizz in TRs, I've never heard any in clips or in person on those amps. They've always struck me as really smooth.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  18. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

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    There are several other amp builders of D-type amps besides Red Plate that are very price competitive including Brown Note and Quinn. I haven’t seen prices for them yet, but I suspect that the Welagen Overdrive Special will be in the same price range too. And of course, there is VVT and Ceriatone at the lower end of the price continuum.

    The dynamics of pricing, and how they effect the perceptions regarding certain amp builders is interesting. TR often gets criticized for their prices, and yet a builder like Tony Bruno (whose S100 D-type amp goes for a list price of $6200) doesn’t. Since I’ve never seen TR’s business plan I have no idea what the basis is for their prices. However, they must be doing something right because they seem to be selling a lot of amps. I’ve owned the Emerald Pro Prototype, a stock Emerald Pro, a Custom, and Sig1 & Sig2 CR’s. All very nice amps, well constructed and they sounded great. Excellent customer service too. Maybe the time-to-build issue is a big factor. If you buy a new D-type amp from one of the small builders such as Bludotone or Glaswerks there is a fairly long waiting list. With Two Rock they can turn around amps very quickly, even for very customized amps. Same thing with Fuchs. Perhaps having a full-time staff and the infrastructure available to support the delivery of a lot more amps per year is the defining factor in the pricing models.

    Also, I don’t think the comparison of TR vs Dr. Z holds up very well. The D-type amps that TR, Fuchs, Quinn, Brown Note, Bruno, and Red Plate are making are all a lot more complex than anything I’ve seen from Dr. Z. Also the cost of doing business in Rohnert Park, California where TR is located is much higher than in Maple Heights. Ohio where Dr. Z is located. Perhaps Mesa-Boggie, which is located in Petaluma, California, is a better example for comparison. Since they are only 12 miles apart the cost of doing business would be approximately the same. Does anyone know what Mesa’s pricing structure is like for their higher-end amps?

    In the end the various choices that are currently available really benefits those of us interested in the D-type amps. I now own a Bludodrive, a VVT X-Model and a Glaswerks SOD1 and I’m a very happy camper.

    FVB
     
  19. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    I'm going to steer clear of any comments regarding tone or quality, or any specific maker. BUT, people need to recognize that there are major substantial differences between a home based part time (or even full time) amp or pedal builder, and a company with an actual factory, employees that are not (free or discounted) relatives or spouses, and selling through a dealer network. The cost of providing quality customer service, warranty repairs, advertising, perhaps an amp show or NAMM show etc, well, they add up. Add to that equation: RoHs and CE compliance, which many builders either don't full understand, care about, or ignore. A single $ 50-K RoHs non-compliance fine will potentially change their business plan pretty quickly. If you buy products overseas, add the extra layer of distribution to it.....5% here, 10% there, 30% on top of that....VAT too

    In many cases (not all) there isn't much "r&d" costs, since these are clones of existing time-honored circuits already. Yes, some guys have put their own spins on these platforms, but no actual reinvention or few really new designs. Personally, I'm thrilled our business plan evolved to include diversification into pedals, and other types and styles of amps, since it seems anyone with an internet connection and a soldering iron can be a D-style amp maker these days, worldwide....absolutely amazing. Time is a bitch....eventually, a company must evolve to continue to function and to grow. Those who cannot design or evolve, well they will fade away. Vintage parts and flooby-dust carry you only so far.. Eventually, "painting by numbers" doesn't cut it anymore....you either learn what you're doing, or you run into a wall. I chuckle when I see people I actually helped with technical issues, who a few years later are suddenly " amp builders"...

    Mesa is a well funded quite well vertically integrated operation. Randy modeled himself after Peavey, right down to filing patents on anything he could in a smart way: They stuff and wave solder their own boards, buy in amazingly large volume, and sell lots more amps than the largest boutique builders do. Look at the Youtube videos of Marshall or Mesa Boogie, and you get the idea. Our whole factory is likely the size of Marshall's cafeteria...Mesa makes everything except the chassis. He does woodwork, boards, wiring, etc all in house....

    Many of the smaller home based builders have gone by the wayside, while others have slowly creeped up in price, and FVB's points regarding simplicity of a Dr Z amp vs a D-style amp from other builders is also important. Z-amps are much simpler executed non channel switching amps, usually sans reverb or boosts etc.

    Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll go look look for my teflon raincoat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  20. heady dude

    heady dude Supporting Member

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    Glad you are digging the amp Phillip. I wasnt lying when I said it was a keeper.

    Did you really find the Type 3 buzzy? I thought it was almost too smooth. What speakers were you using?
     

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