At long last, My Kingsley Review...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bobbymack, Jul 13, 2005.


  1. bobbymack

    bobbymack Supporting Member

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    Well, it's been about 6 weeks or so I guess since I got my Deluxe 30 head, beautifully finished by Simon after about a 3 1/2 month wait...

    As I said in an earlier post, I wanted to spend some time with the amp and play a few gigs with it before going off and gushing all over the thing. As background, I play in a classic rock / variety band, 2 guitars, bass and drums. I generally gig with an R7, R8 or R9 Les Paul, all equipped with WCR pickups (Darkbursts and Goodwoods). I do alot of rhythm work, some leads here and there (when Hoss is tired...) :p

    I'm a big EL84 fan, and have been through alot of them - Bad Cat Cub, Trace Elliot Velocette V12R, Bruno UG30R head, Traynor YCV20WR, Gibson (Trace) Goldtone RVH30 head, VHT Super 30 etc. All are gone except for the Velocette (a killer grab and go 1x12), and the RVH30 which is now my backup. Most of the others lacked headroom, couldn't stay clean when hot, etc. In the case of the Bruno, it was a stunning amp but just had to be so damn loud to really sound its best, which was brutal on stage volume...

    I'm running the amp through either a Marshall open back 1x12 Bluesbreaker w/ Scumback SA 75, or an A Brown 2X12 open back with original hemp Tone Tubbies (both sound great). I also have a Bob Burt Antique Pine V Front 2X12 on order, coming soon but Hurricane Dennis...

    OK, enough already. The Kingsley's clean channel is simply superb, rivalled only by the Bruno. Rich, detailed, extremely touch sensitive, and headroom to spare even with the HB equipped guitars. Chimey, bell like tones, clarity without ice. Absolutely fantastic when set on the edge and using the vol knobs on the LPs for clean to dirt -- it stays clean and detailed with complex chords, and breaks up great when you dig in and / or dime the vol. The Kingsley boost pedal also works great as a lead boost, probably the best I've played because of the gain knob on the pedal and the fact that ir delivers a boosted mid punch in the gut rather than a fizzy harsh trebly boost common in so many others. As I still gig with a pedalboard (Clyde, Rat II, DD5, TC Chorus, Tim), I've found myself living in the clean channel as it offers extra gain / headroom vs the gain channel. For most tunes I just run the Tim set for pretty low gain, just a bit of grit. I'll use the Kingsley Boost or the Tim Boost for leads, punch chords, etc...

    Tone controls are intuitive, and its easy to find sweet spots with just a few tweaks. The bright switch is great for lower volumes or dark guitars / rooms. Reverb is rich but not over the top. The half power switch is great for rehearsal / playing at home, with no difference in tone to my ears. I don't care for the triode setting, but I've never played an amp with a triode setting I did like...

    The gain / master channel is very similar tonewise, and would be easy to use if I chose to gig sans pedalboard, which is a definite possibility with this amp. I wouldn't hesitate to play a gig with just the amp and it's boost pedal (though I need delay and chorus for a few Floyd tunes etc, which is why I take it). That said, I am definitely glad I didn't opt for the D32, as I like simplicity and believe the channel switching capability would be rarely used (by me).

    Oh yeah, the EQ bypass switch kills for certain tones and tunes, and gives a nice gain boost while taking you pretty close to D*mble territory...

    Suggestions? Not many, but a few thoughts would be: 1) perhaps make the EQ bypass footswitchable on the Boost pedal, might make a killer (though different) lead boost option; 2) add an internal fan or at least cut a hole in the grille cloth baffle, this thing runs hot!

    I have played around with tubes, and am running it with a quad of Mullard Blackburn power tubes, Mullard 12AX7s in V1, V2 and the phase splitter, and an RCA 7025 in the reverb driver.

    Bottom line for me? I think the search has ended... :)
     
  2. wordsonyou

    wordsonyou Member

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    That is great that you are loving it. I have found the D30 to be one of my fave amps of all time. I currently have a head on order since the 2-12 combo was so darn heavy!!! I have really missed the tone in the interim period between Kingsleys.
     
  3. Sharkey

    Sharkey Member

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    BobbyMack Check your PM's
     
  4. 57special

    57special Member

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    Celestion Blues are "it" for the D30.
     
  5. billstets

    billstets Member

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    Great review. I have had a D30 combo for a year now and your review has given me an idea.

    I have been using the gain input all along and I use my guitar volume pots to control clean/dirt (I have added caps & resistors to the pots to keep them clear when rolling down the volume). I also use OD pedals when I want more gain.

    I have occasionally used the clean input and always though it sounded great too, but I have never used it with the band. I tried it the other night at home and found that it takes OD pedals extremely well. I can't think of a way to describe it other than the overdrive kind of connects with the amp rather than layering on top of the clean signal. The OD pedals sound so natural; really almost like the amp itself. And you can get that input to mildly overdrive by itself without pedals. I think I'll try using it now and see how I like it vs. the other input.

    Either way, my search has ended too. I really love the amp, even more after a year.
     
  6. bobbymack

    bobbymack Supporting Member

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    billstets and 57special,

    Agreed on the pedal friendliness, I should have remarked on that!

    I'm probably gonna put a Blue or two in the Burt cab when it arrives, maybe start with a Blue and a Tubby for a nice mix that should cover both ends of the spectrum well...
     
  7. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    Blues in a Burt is the absolute best recipe for that style amp. My English and Constellation are that style, and they both sounded their absolute best through that cab.
     
  8. The Whiz

    The Whiz Member

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    Yep, I loved the Deluxe 30 Simon lent me for a weekend. I loved the cleans especially.

    taco
     
  9. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I'm experimenting with some NOS Telefunken (stunning!) 12AX7s in my Deluxe 32 and I like them much more than Mullards - more detailed and balanced. Amperex are also great. I can never go back to current production tubes now - no comparison.

    Also, the Fane AXA12 is an incredible speaker that handles anything you throw at it, with grace. I'm also loving the new version of the George Scholz speaker. Even though they're both 100W, the Kingsley works with them beatuifully.
     
  10. billstets

    billstets Member

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    Where are you buying your NSO tubes? I wouldn't mind trying some. What would I look for in Telefunken and Amperex tunes?

    I have D30 combo with a Greenback and G12H 30. How are the Fane and Scholz different?
     
  11. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    eMail Terry Kilgore, aka TubeTramp... terry_kilgore2003@yahoo.com

    He's an honest guy and will get you great tubes at reasonable prices, eg: a matched quad of NOS Amperex Bugle Boys for $75! They were labeled otherwise, but they are the real deal. You'll get an education on tubes from him as well. You can also save money by getting strong 'pull's, ie: slightly used, but test like new, and they'll last a loooong time. I've also had good luck on eBay, but you have to be careful and be somewhat knowledgeable.

    Look for the Telefunken smooth or ribbed plate and Amperex Bugle Boys. The primary difference I've been hearing between 12AX7s/ECC83s Mullards and Amperex/Telefunken, is that the Teles and Amperex are not as pronounced in the mids, which may or may not be to your liking. I'm finding that the Teles & Amperex are more balanced and detailed across the spectrum, which I prefer. I like the tonal character of the cleans and OD better with Telefunkens. Teles are famous for audiophile applications - clarity, detail, etc - but some may not prefer that in a guitar amp context. I do.

    It's amazing how many tonal variations you can get by putting different tube brands in each preamp position. I like mixing them up, as opposed to using just one brand for preamp tubes. I'm also using a Mullard GZ34, which made a big difference over a new JJ.

    Both the Fane and Scholz are 100W speakers, so you'll never get cone cry or other such problems. The Fane is Alnico and the Scholz is ceramic. The Scholz is much more efficient, ie: louder, and more detailed in a ceramic sort of way. It has one of the nicest tones when using a bridge humbucker with OD, but then so does the Fane, but with that classic Alnico mojo, yet not too squishy/compressed. Neither speaker has any tonal weak spots and you can really hammer them. They both have a great feel when playing - not sterile or hard - very responsive and fluid. The Fane is rounder, being Alnico, and they both have a great high end - not harsh or ice picky.

    The Fane blew away a 50W Weber Alnico Blue Dog I had, which on its own sounded great, but A/B'd with the Fane, it lost out for my tastes. I liked the Fane so much, I bought two. The Fane together with the Scholz is pure magic and very powerful.
     
  12. billstets

    billstets Member

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    Wow. Thanks. Great information
     

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