All out rock and Clubman-like cleans in one package?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by guitarded_1, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    So I have a Matchless Phoenix that I love, mainly for the treble, bass side. It doesn't have a lot of gain, but it brings the rock with authority and responds great to pedals.

    I use the click channel for cleans, but this is where I have somewhat of a problem. The cleans are pretty decent, but I guess that I have been spoiled by hearing the cleans that a Clubman can produce. The clean on the click channel of the Phoenix is a little dark and lacking that sparkle, chime and ever so slight grit that I'm looking for. It's just not as "alive" sounding on the click channel as I would like.

    So while I can't see myself actually selling the Phoenix, I might as well ask the question. Is there a 2xEL34 amp that can flat out bring the rock (ala Lizzy, Zep, AC/DC) but also has a clean channel but has the AC-30 on steroids quality that the Clubman has? I need it to be a 2 channel deal...either a dedicated footswitch or an A/B box will do fine.

    Something in the Bad Cat camp perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  2. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Clubman, I would highly suggest preamp tube swaps rather then selling your amp. If you have either Sovtek or JJ's in your amp this could be a huge reason why your amp lacks that sparkle.
     
  3. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    Yeah - I have tried swapping out preamp tubes and the EF86 for good NOS stuff...which does help. The Phoenix just doesn't quite have the clean mojo that the Clubman has.
     
  4. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Why not use the Treble/Bass channel for your cleans, and EF86 channel for dirt? I've got an HC-30 (granted - different power section), and the EF-86 has more than enough gain for rocking tones, and the Treble/Bass channel gets some amazing sparkling and chimey clean tones.
     
  5. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    I tried that, but I just don't dig the EF86 channel for dirt. Granted, the EF86 can get pretty dirty, but it's just not nearly as good as the 12AX7 channel when it comes to rock. The 12AX7 channel is fantastic, I'm just being picky about the EF86 channel.
     
  6. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    The Clubman 35 is my fav of all the Matchless amps. Wish I had mine back. Dang fine amp.


    Tom
     
  7. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    I hear you. We all have different ears. I usually prefer the EF86 channel for thicker/dirtier tones - but the Treble/Bass channel has plenty of the goods as well. You mention Zepplin/Thin Lizzy/AC/DC type tones. I'm surprised you aren't getting the goods on the EF86 channel. To me, those tones are relatively easy to get with the EF86 channel volume around 11 oclock. Tone control/cut/master (if you're using it) to taste. Then control everything with your volume control.

    How are you setting up your EF86 channel?
     
  8. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I have tried those settings. My issues is that I just don't like the way the EF86 breaks up. It sounds a little ratty to my ears...just not as robust as the 12AX7 channel. I have good NOS Dano EF86 in there, which was a big improvement, but I still think that the 12AX7 channel sounds better. Mind you, I'm talking about when I have the 12AX7 channel volume pinned.

    I shared my thoughts with Phil Jameson, and he prefers to use the Phoenix the same way. I may try screwing around with an EQ pedal on the EF86 channel to see if I can coax a more lively clean tone out of it.
     
  9. b-strung

    b-strung Member

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    By pinned, do you mean Eleven?!? Haven't thought of trying this on the side of my Phoenix. Does it bring the dirt? I usually use that side for cleans.

    This post is crazy, it has been exactly what I have been thinking since I sold my clubman to harryjmic, and got my phoenix. Tube changes have helped, but it is a very dark amp for a Matchless. I can't really get into NOS EL34's, but I found that good winged C's worked well, especially with a vintage brown bottom Mullard rectifier.

    I love the phoenix, definitely has a different vibe than the rest of the line-up. I have had mine on the chopping block a couple times now, but am glad it has stayed. I would like to get another clubman down the line.
     
  10. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    b-strung - your amp kicks, I changed the bias resistors in it so it idles a little cooler now, very nice improvement as the highs are a little sweeter and the midrange doesn't seem as forced.

    The amp has been bullet proof and I put KT-77s in it which really sounds nice, kind of 6L6ish but it still sounds like a Clubman. The only thing I wish I could do is keep it from gaining out so quickly but this is something I have been able to work around.
     
  11. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    I had a Phoenix for about a year and I did really like the amp, but ultimately I sold it for the same reasons as you. In the end, I bought a Chieftain that I use with pedals. I actually like the 2x 12AX7 preamp. I set mine with the gain about 10:30 - just about to breakup and use an OCD for my crunch. I also like the fact that the Chieftain has a full eq - bass, mid, treble, presence - since I found the click channel of the Phoenix never really gave me what I wanted. The Chieftain is just warmer, sparklier, and more 3D than the Phoenix.

    YMMV,

    Stormin!
     
  12. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    It doesn't bring lots of dirt, but it starts in AC/DC territory and sounds soooooooo good. Push it with a pedal, and to my ears, it sounds like the fat, juicy Marshall that I always wanted. Try this for kicks - treble 2:00, bass 2:00, channel volume max, cut 1:00, and master volume disengaged. Put a dirt pedal in front and prepare to rock.
     
  13. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    Cool. Yeah...I really, truly love Matchless amps, so perhaps I owe it to myself to swing by the local dealer and take a few for a spin. Chieftan, huh? I'll have to check it out. I was thinking of getting the OCD ver. 4 anyway. Thanks.
     
  14. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    I think my OCD is a V2 or V3 (can't remember). I actually run it pretty low, with the gain at about 10:00 - 11:00, and I use HP and LP mode depending on the guitar in hand. The thing about the Chief-y that's interesting is how the amp thickens as the master is brought up.

    I run the OCD for crunch and aslo have an FD-II that I run in addition to it for lead boosts. Currently, the Chief-y is my semi-hollow amp. I use it with an ES-137 and a Setzer Hot Rod. I can really nail higher gain Thorogood, mid gain Setzer, and low gain BB with just those two pedals and the amp.

    Stormin!
     
  15. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    How about the bottom end? The bottom end on the Phoenix stays together great. I positively love the Clubman, but I found the bottom end getting flubby when the amp is pushed. I'm a rock guy, so tight(ish) low end is important.
     
  16. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    My Chieftain is a 1x12 combo, so it won't be as tight as a head and closed back cab, but I haven't had a problem like others have reported - then again, I'm not trying to get "hard rock" tone out of it either. I can tell you that the amp "thickens" once you get the master above noon, which would lead you to lower the bass control to compensate. If you really need to get tight, modern "rock guy" bottom end, you may need to look elsewhere - I haven't found a Matchless yet that'll do a hot-rodded JCM800. I use a Bogner Shiva for those tones, and it rocks. For me, what the Matchless does well are those sparkly cleans and growly low to mid gain tones - like an old Tweed combo.

    If this helps, I run the tone controls as follows: bass - 1:30, mid - noon, treb - 10:30, brilliance - 9:00. Again, keep in mind I use a semi-hollow Gibby or Gretsch with an OCD set low on the gain - think: Who Do You Love or Bad To The Bone.


    Stormin!
     
  17. b-strung

    b-strung Member

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    The OCD is where it is at with Matchless amps. The amp that harryjmic was referring to loved that pedal. It was and perhaps still is my favorite sound i have been able to get out of an amp. The OCD sounds really good with the phoenix as well. The problem is I find myself sneaking the tone control up for some brightness at the expense of overall tone. The other problem is that the I found I could balance the dark tone of the Phoenix by playing my tele, however I have preferred playing a 335 recently, which definitely contributes to the overall darkness. Strat tones? Forgetaboutit. So good! My number one is an extremely heavy 70's les paul custom and I can't see the two playing nice. I guess I am a middle of the road guy. The c30 may be too bright, the phoenix too dark, and the clubman is the closest thing to a middle?

    I am digging this thread.
     
  18. guitarded_1

    guitarded_1 Supporting Member

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    I can't help but think about what hooked me on Matchless in the first place...the Clubman. What a sick amp. Again, my problem with the Clubman is that it seems to fall apart when pushed. If someone offered some tried and true tricks to make the bottom end of the Clubman hold together as nicely as the bottom end of the Phoenix, then I might be sold.

    I also wonder if the Clubman with a dirt pedal could get me into modern rock (not metal) territory if I needed it. I know the Phoenix can do it, but I'm not so sure about the Clubman. This is a deciding factor as well.
     
  19. vdoochild7

    vdoochild7 Silver Supporting Member

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    I push my clubman (NOS EF86) pretty hard with an OCD into a Z-Best Cab. The bottom is big and tight. No flab. I can cover a lot of ground tonewise with this setup.
     
  20. Jason_86_951

    Jason_86_951 Supporting Member

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    Bad Cat Panther.
    Great cleans on one channel and all out rock on the EF86 channel AND you have a button on the footswitch that mixes the 2.

    Very cool amp,
     

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