"Black Pearl Posse"

Messages
597
Thanks so much for getting back to me! I can confirm that when you run it in 2-tube mode you only need the inner tubes (Jeff Genzler clarified that in a response years ago, link if you're interested).

So, for example, if I only had one bad power tube, and it was one of the outer ones, I could replace only the outer tubes with a matched pair and that would be fine?

Thanks again!
Technically yes, but when a power tube goes bad, unless it's a sudden early death, it usually is due to cumulative wear. The other pair is very likely to benefit from a swap to.
Unless your valves are 6 months old and have barely been played, I would look to replace the quartet myself.
 

peterm

Member
Messages
66
Technically yes, but when a power tube goes bad, unless it's a sudden early death, it usually is due to cumulative wear. The other pair is very likely to benefit from a swap to.
Unless your valves are 6 months old and have barely been played, I would look to replace the quartet myself.
That makes total sense, thanks for the add
 

peterm

Member
Messages
66
**************************************************************

UPDATE 7/7/20 --- THE BELOW IS OUTDATED, LEAVING UP TO MAINTAIN CONTINUITY

**************************************************************

Hi Everyone,

I've been putting together a sort of user's guide for the amp for myself, and it seemed like it might be worth sharing, so I cleaned it up and you can check out my first pass here (in two formats): Word, PDF. I'd view it in Word if you can, since I couldn't get the hyperlinks to work in the PDF...

It's LONG -- 33 pages, plus a 7-page appendix (just a TDPRI post from @Les Paul Lover copied in case the photos stop working), but it includes a one-page summary of what I consider the most interesting and/or important points (on p.2). I've copied that summary below, as well as the guide's Table of Contents below it.

If anyone's open to giving me feedback on it I'd be thrilled to fix anything I've messed up, etc., just send it over however's easiest. I'm also going to send it to Jeff Genzler (and maybe Andy Fields) to see if they're open to providing any feedback.

I could also copy the sections into individual posts if y'all thought that would be helpful (at least it'd be more searchable), but I didn't want to flood the thread unless people thought that was a good idea. Let me know.

I'm going to ~replicate this post over on the Black Pearl Pirate's Den thread on TDPRI as well.

Thanks to everyone for being so helpful over the years! And thanks especially to @ruger9 , who by my various estimates contributed 19%-24% of all information across the TDPRI and TGP owners club threads!




Summary of Most Helpful Items (p. 2 of the guide)
  1. Genz Benz Contact Info: this section in the document contains contact info for Jeff Genzler and Andy Fields if you need to contact someone from Genz Benz (e.g., for a repair question)
  2. Manual & Schematic: here are links to the Manual and Schematic (via here)
  3. Powering Amp On: when turning the amp on, let it warm up in standby mode for at least 30 seconds to prevent cathode stripping and extend power tube life
  4. Boost:
    1. Tone: some find the Boost too bright; you can increase the value of cap C6 to let more lows and low-mids through (stock is 0.0047uF)
    2. Replacement Footswitch: Can use any footswitch that shorts a mono cable tip to sleeve
  5. Reverb:
    1. Tone: the reverb is dark and cavernous, and does not sound like a Fender spring reverb
      1. Jon Dickinson at Dickinson amps in South London modded [rze99]’s BP30 to make the reverb “bright and lush”, probably by removing C26, C28, or both
    2. Feedback: you can get feedback within the reverb circuit at high Master Volume settings and Reverb above ~2 o’clock; reduce Master Volume and/or Reverb levels to mitigate
    3. Replacement Reverb Tank Part #’s:
      1. Accutronics 9FB1C1D (initial production pan)
      2. Ruby RRVL3FB1C1D (subsequent production pan)
      3. amprepairparts.com part # 4FB2C1D (Fender-recommended alternative)
  6. Master Volume: amp can become very bright when Master Volume is above ~1 o’clock
  7. Tubes:
    1. V2: only use Chinese tubes (e.g., Ruby) in V2 – half of V2 is a cathode follower, and Russian (and possibly Czech) do not function well in this application
    2. Rectifier: broad support for using any NOS rectifier
  8. Effects Loop:
    1. Designed for line-level effects (e.g., rack effects, outboard effects)
    2. Requires a line level shifter to run typical effects pedals
  9. Speakers: the stock Red Fang takes ~20-40 hours to break in
  10. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips:
    1. Commonly noted causes of amp problems include:
      1. Bad power tubes
      2. Bad pots and solder joints, with bad solder joints often being near pots
      3. Blown fuses – typically a symptom of other issue(s) (e.g., bad power tubes)
      4. The choke coming unscrewed from the chassis
    2. Commonly noted solutions you can try before taking the amp to a tech include:
      1. Let the amp warm up in standby for a few minutes before powering on
      2. If fuse is blown, replace it – see note on replacement fuses at [10.c] below
      3. Try replacing the power, rectifier, and/or preamp tubes, likely in that order
      4. Clean the inside of the chassis and pots w/ compressed air and/or detox
    3. Genz Benz recommends increasing the fuse value to either 1.5 or 2.5 Amps (not sure which) when replacing; later production amps may already have this higher fuse value

User Guide Table of Contents
  1. Genz Benz Company & Brand History
  2. Genz Benz Team and Contact Information
  3. Misc. Amp Details (Release Date, Measured Wattage, etc.)
  4. Comparisons to Other Amps
  5. Manual & Schematic
  6. Powering Amp On
  7. Boost
  8. Voicing Switch
  9. EQ
  10. Reverb
  11. Master Volume
  12. Tubes
  13. Effects Loop
  14. Speakers & Cabinets
  15. Speaker-Compensated Line-Out
  16. Volume and Headroom
  17. Configuration Sound Differences
  18. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips
  19. Shipping and Transport
  20. Amp Clones and Digital Models
  21. Trivia and/or TGP/TDPRI folklore
  22. Appendix – [Les Paul Lover] Post with Loose Choke and QC Date Photos
 
Last edited:

ruger9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,280
I miss my Black Pearl... one of the few pieces of gear I regret selling. It was such a shame to see Genz Benz have to stop making guitar amps after fender bought them. Real shame. BP30 is really a "boutique amp in mass-produced clothing", a serious sleeper.
 
Messages
597
Hi Everyone,

I've been putting together a sort of user's guide for the amp for myself, and it seemed like it might be worth sharing, so I cleaned it up and you can check out my first pass here (in two formats): Word, PDF. I'd view it in Word if you can, since I couldn't get the hyperlinks to work in the PDF...

It's LONG -- 33 pages, plus a 7-page appendix (just a TDPRI post from @Les Paul Lover copied in case the photos stop working), but it includes a one-page summary of what I consider the most interesting and/or important points (on p.2). I've copied that summary below, as well as the guide's Table of Contents below it.

If anyone's open to giving me feedback on it I'd be thrilled to fix anything I've messed up, etc., just send it over however's easiest. I'm also going to send it to Jeff Genzler (and maybe Andy Fields) to see if they're open to providing any feedback.

I could also copy the sections into individual posts if y'all thought that would be helpful (at least it'd be more searchable), but I didn't want to flood the thread unless people thought that was a good idea. Let me know.

I'm going to ~replicate this post over on the Black Pearl Pirate's Den thread on TDPRI as well.

Thanks to everyone for being so helpful over the years! And thanks especially to @ruger9 , who by my various estimates contributed 19%-24% of all information across the TDPRI and TGP owners club threads!




Summary of Most Helpful Items (p. 2 of the guide)
  1. Genz Benz Contact Info: this section in the document contains contact info for Jeff Genzler and Andy Fields if you need to contact someone from Genz Benz (e.g., for a repair question)
  2. Manual & Schematic: here are links to the Manual and Schematic (via here)
  3. Powering Amp On: when turning the amp on, let it warm up in standby mode for at least 30 seconds to prevent cathode stripping and extend power tube life
  4. Boost:
    1. Tone: some find the Boost too bright; you can increase the value of cap C6 to let more lows and low-mids through (stock is 0.0047uF)
    2. Replacement Footswitch: Can use any footswitch that shorts a mono cable tip to sleeve
  5. Reverb:
    1. Tone: the reverb is dark and cavernous, and does not sound like a Fender spring reverb
      1. Jon Dickinson at Dickinson amps in South London modded [rze99]’s BP30 to make the reverb “bright and lush”, probably by removing C26, C28, or both
    2. Feedback: you can get feedback within the reverb circuit at high Master Volume settings and Reverb above ~2 o’clock; reduce Master Volume and/or Reverb levels to mitigate
    3. Replacement Reverb Tank Part #’s:
      1. Accutronics 9FB1C1D (initial production pan)
      2. Ruby RRVL3FB1C1D (subsequent production pan)
      3. amprepairparts.com part # 4FB2C1D (Fender-recommended alternative)
  6. Master Volume: amp can become very bright when Master Volume is above ~1 o’clock
  7. Tubes:
    1. V2: only use Chinese tubes (e.g., Ruby) in V2 – half of V2 is a cathode follower, and Russian (and possibly Czech) do not function well in this application
    2. Rectifier: broad support for using any NOS rectifier
  8. Effects Loop:
    1. Designed for line-level effects (e.g., rack effects, outboard effects)
    2. Requires a line level shifter to run typical effects pedals
  9. Speakers: the stock Red Fang takes ~20-40 hours to break in
  10. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips:
    1. Commonly noted causes of amp problems include:
      1. Bad power tubes
      2. Bad pots and solder joints, with bad solder joints often being near pots
      3. Blown fuses – typically a symptom of other issue(s) (e.g., bad power tubes)
      4. The choke coming unscrewed from the chassis
    2. Commonly noted solutions you can try before taking the amp to a tech include:
      1. Let the amp warm up in standby for a few minutes before powering on
      2. If fuse is blown, replace it – see note on replacement fuses at [10.c] below
      3. Try replacing the power, rectifier, and/or preamp tubes, likely in that order
      4. Clean the inside of the chassis and pots w/ compressed air and/or detox
    3. Genz Benz recommends increasing the fuse value to either 1.5 or 2.5 Amps (not sure which) when replacing; later production amps may already have this higher fuse value

User Guide Table of Contents
  1. Genz Benz Company & Brand History
  2. Genz Benz Team and Contact Information
  3. Misc. Amp Details (Release Date, Measured Wattage, etc.)
  4. Comparisons to Other Amps
  5. Manual & Schematic
  6. Powering Amp On
  7. Boost
  8. Voicing Switch
  9. EQ
  10. Reverb
  11. Master Volume
  12. Tubes
  13. Effects Loop
  14. Speakers & Cabinets
  15. Speaker-Compensated Line-Out
  16. Volume and Headroom
  17. Configuration Sound Differences
  18. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips
  19. Shipping and Transport
  20. Amp Clones and Digital Models
  21. Trivia and/or TGP/TDPRI folklore
  22. Appendix – [Les Paul Lover] Post with Loose Choke and QC Date Photos
Peterm, you are in university/research academia aren't you?
This is thorough and well referenced.

I enjoyed the section about valves a lot. Useful to read all of various users preferred valves without judgement, or what valves didn't work for various users.

There really is no consensus. Tone is in the ears of the player.

By the way, as you noted, I can confirm all the ruby valves in my BP30 were sovtek. All of them. Just prechecked by ruby for obvious failures I presume.

I was impressed by the ECC83 actually. Top pick outside of NOS valves I've had.
 

peterm

Member
Messages
66
Peterm, you are in university/research academia aren't you?
This is thorough and well referenced.

I enjoyed the section about valves a lot. Useful to read all of various users preferred valves without judgement, or what valves didn't work for various users.

There really is no consensus. Tone is in the ears of the player.

By the way, as you noted, I can confirm all the ruby valves in my BP30 were sovtek. All of them. Just prechecked by ruby for obvious failures I presume.

I was impressed by the ECC83 actually. Top pick outside of NOS valves I've had.
Ha! I'm not not in academia, but I do try to pursue as accurate and neutral an understanding of the truth and reality as I can in most everything... and all to frequently when i re-read references I realize I've misrepresented things a little, hence the references...

Thanks for the tip on your ruby tubes. I'll add your comments into my document and re-upload at some point in the future. It does seem like the answer is to put the guide in a Google doc and just work through the formatting issues...

You have an opinion on posting the sections directly in the thread as individual posts?
 
Messages
597
I was looking at these on Reverb recently. How are they holding up with age?
Really pretty well. I think mine (made in 2008 so early run) is great. Beside a lose choke when I bought it 3rd hand, no technical issue yet, and the capacitor should be good for another 10 to 15 years before needing preventative replacement.

I can't really comment on why the choke on mine got loose - was it poor assembly or did someone remove the screws and lost them? I'll never know.

To be honest, the black pearl amp are one of the greatest bargain out there. Great built quality, great tone, mostly unknown brand means selling one is really hard. It means for the buyer, its a great amp at a great price. The story for sellers isn't necessarily so good though.... I got mine for around 30% of the original new retail price. The only reason I bought it was I tried a new one in store back in 2008 and was smitten with it, though I had my mind set on another amp at the time. I bought that #1 amp, and how have added #2 to the stable. (I did add #3 & #4 in between......)

The only down side IMO is the fx loop. It takes rack fx rather than stomp boxes. You can use a line level shifter, it there's some loss if you don't use buffers (a few of my delays and reverb have some so no issue for me), and definitely a big volume drop as most level shifters are passive. To be honest, it's such a monstrously loud amp, the volume drop is a god send for me.
 
Messages
597
Ha! I'm not not in academia, but I do try to pursue as accurate and neutral an understanding of the truth and reality as I can in most everything... and all to frequently when i re-read references I realize I've misrepresented things a little, hence the references...

Thanks for the tip on your ruby tubes. I'll add your comments into my document and re-upload at some point in the future. It does seem like the answer is to put the guide in a Google doc and just work through the formatting issues...

You have an opinion on posting the sections directly in the thread as individual posts?
To be honest, it really depends on how long your document will be available for at the link provided.

I suppose people are lazy and probably more likely to read it if posted in threads, even post by post, rather than clicking on the link to read it or download the doc.
 

peterm

Member
Messages
66
I've updated the guide given some feedback I've received, including from Andy Field (former Head Engineer at Genz Benz, now on the Mesa Boogie design team), who very kindly gave me feedback on the document. I'm ~copying what I wrote above so that if anyone only reads this post it makes sense.

Context:

I've been putting together a sort of user's guide for the amp for myself, and it seemed like it might be worth sharing, so I cleaned it up and you can check out my second pass here (in two formats): Word, PDF. I'd view it in Word if you can, since I couldn't get the hyperlinks to work in the PDF...

It's LONG -- 36 pages, plus a 7-page appendix (just a TDPRI post from @Les Paul Lover copied in case the photos stop working), but it includes a one-page summary of what I consider the most interesting and/or important points (on p.2). I've copied that summary below, as well as the guide's Table of Contents below it.

If anyone's open to giving me feedback on it I'd be thrilled to fix anything I've messed up, etc., just send it over however's easiest.

Since no one's objected, I will copy the sections into individual posts (so it will be more searchable, etc.). The entries in the Table of Contents below link to those posts.

I'm going to add a link to the Black Pearl Pirate's Den thread on TDPRI to refer to these posts.

Thanks to everyone for being so helpful over the years! And thanks especially to Genz Benz Head Engineer Andy Field for reviewing and providing feedback on this guide; and to @ruger9, who by my estimates contributed 19%-24% of all information across the TDPRI and TGP owners club threads!




Summary of Most Helpful Items (p. 2 of the guide)
  1. Genz Benz Contact Info: this section in the document contains contact info for Jeff Genzler and Andy Field if you need to contact someone from Genz Benz (e.g., for a repair question)
  2. Manual & Schematic: here are links to the Manual and Schematic (via here)
  3. Powering Amp On: when turning the amp on, let it warm up in standby mode for 30 seconds (prevents cathode stripping and extends power tube life)
  4. Boost:
    1. Tone: some find the Boost too bright; you can increase the value of cap C6 to let more lows and low-mids through (stock is 0.0047uF)
    2. Replacement Footswitch: Can use any footswitch that shorts a mono cable tip to sleeve; OEM footswitches still available from Andy Field (email: agedhorse@aol.com)
  5. Reverb:
    1. Tone: the reverb is dark and cavernous, and does not sound like a Fender spring reverb
      1. Jon Dickinson at Dickinson amps in South London modded [rze99]’s BP30 to make the reverb “bright and lush”, probably by removing C26, C28, or both
    2. Feedback: you can get feedback within the reverb circuit at high Master Volume settings and Reverb above ~2 o’clock; reduce Master Volume and/or Reverb levels to mitigate
    3. Replacement Reverb Tank Part #’s:
      1. Accutronics 9FB1C1D (initial production pan)
      2. Ruby RRVL3FB1C1D (subsequent production pan)
      3. amprepairparts.com part # 4FB2C1D (Fender-recommended alternative)
  6. Master Volume: amp can become very bright when Master Volume is above ~1 o’clock
  7. Tubes:
    1. V2: only use Chinese tubes (e.g., Ruby) in V2 – half of V2 is a cathode follower, and Russian (and possibly Czech) do not function well in this application
  8. Effects Loop:
    1. Designed for line-level effects (e.g., rack effects, outboard effects)
    2. Requires a line level shifter to run typical effects pedals
  9. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips:
    1. Section summary includes tips from Head Engineer Andy Field, who also still supports old Genz Benz and current Fender service center,
    2. Common causes of amp problems noted by amp techs include:
      1. Bad power tubes
      2. Bad pots and solder joints, with bad solder joints often being near pots
      3. Blown fuses – typically a symptom of other issue(s) (e.g., bad power tubes)
      4. The choke coming unscrewed from the chassis
    3. Commonly suggested solutions you can try before taking the amp to a tech include:
      1. Let the amp warm up in standby for a few minutes before powering on
      2. If fuse is blown, replace it with a 2.5A slow blow (T-2A) for 120V power, and 1.5A slow blow (T-1A) for 230V power
      3. Try replacing the power, rectifier, and/or preamp tubes, likely in that order
      4. Clean chassis and pots w/ compressed air and/or tiny sprays of Caig De-Oxit D-5
  10. Replacement Parts: Andy Field (agedhorse@aol.com) still carries some replacement parts




User Guide Table of Contents
  1. Genz Benz Company & Brand History
  2. Genz Benz Team and Contact Information
  3. Misc. Amp Details (Release Date, Measured Wattage, etc.)
  4. Comparisons to Other Amps
  5. Manual & Schematic
  6. Powering Amp On
  7. Boost
  8. Voicing Switch
  9. EQ
  10. Reverb
  11. Master Volume
  12. Tubes
  13. Effects Loop
  14. Speakers & Cabinets
  15. Speaker-Compensated Line-Out
  16. Volume and Headroom
  17. Configuration Sound Differences
  18. Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips
  19. Replacement Parts
  20. Shipping and Transport
  21. Amp Clones and Digital Models
  22. Trivia and/or TGP/TDPRI folklore
  23. Appendix – [Les Paul Lover] Post with Loose Choke and QC Date Photos (link goes to original TDPRI post)
 
Last edited:

peterm

Member
Messages
66
2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 1 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)

1. Genz Benz Company & Brand History
    1. This should probably be a graphical timeline, but I’m leaving this document in Word, in which I find adding graphics to be hell, so no timeline…
  1. Company History:
    1. Founded in 1984 (link)
    2. Genz Benz was acquired by Kamen Music Corporation (KMC) in 2003 (link)
    3. In January 2008 KMC was acquired by Fender Musical Instrument Company (FMIC, which also owns Fender, link, link)
      1. KMC may have been “under” FMIC starting in 2007 (link)
    4. From ~2006 (or earlier) through at least ~2010, either Genz Benz or KMC had its own sales, marketing, and engagement teams, i.e., separate from either KMC or FMIC respectively (link)
    5. Jeff Genzler hadn't been involved in any business decisions related to Genz Benz for several years prior to September 2015 (link via link)
    6. FMIC sold KMC to JAM Industries in February 2015 (link)
  2. End of Guitar Amp Production and Customer Service Transition to Fender:
    1. One user has said that FMIC “immediately discontinued the guitar range” after buying KMC in Jan. 2008 (link), and that may be true but it appears they continued to make them for a while after that, as one user had an amp with a QC sticker from Sept. 2011 (link); they had definitely stopped production by Jan. 2012 (link, link, link)
    2. As of May 2012 they were not being very responsive to customer emails (link), while previously they’d been very responsive, with Jeff Genzler answering many emails himself (noted multiple times throughout threads)
    3. As of Sept. 2012, Fender was fielding Genz Benz customer support inquiries (link, link)
    4. As of Jan. 2013, [Stratcliff79] had heard from Jeff Genzler via email that they did not have any plans to make new guitar amps (link)
    5. In Sept. 2013 a former Genz Benz rep, then at Fender, confirmed Fender had dropped all the Genz Benz guitar amps (link), saying they didn’t want Genz Benz to compete with Fender guitar amps
      1. [dagnabbit] notes this doesn’t make much sense since there was so little tonal overlap between Genz Benz and Fender guitar amps, and maybe they just weren’t selling well enough for FMIC (link)
  3. Bass-Amp-Focused Relaunch:
    1. In 2015, Jeff Genzler announced they were relaunching as Genzler Amplification focusing only on bass amps/cabs, with engineer Scott Andres, who designed the BP30, as part of the team (link, link, link)
      1. Many Genz Benz bass players say the Genzler amps are even better than the Genz Benz amps (link); Pearl reissue?
 
Last edited:

peterm

Member
Messages
66
2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 2 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)

2. Genz Benz Team and Contact Information
  1. As of 9/10/07, those at Genz Benz involved in new amp design – and maybe the full core team at the time – included (link):
    1. Jeff Genzler - Owner
    2. Roger Hart – Product Manager
      1. Jeff Genzler wrote that “Roger Hart was a key influence on the tone development of the Black Pearl 30.” (link)
    3. Andy Field – Head Engineer
      1. Per Andy Field via email, “This amp was a collaborative design effort between Scott and myself, I did most of the engineering and Scott did much of the tone and creative work. This is true of many of the products Genz Benz released.”
      2. Per Andy Field via email, “I remained with KMC/Fender for a year after Fender shut down Genz Benz, and then started with Mesa Boogie in 2014 designing their Subway bass amp and cabinet line as well as the Rosette acoustic amp.”
    4. Scott Andres – Head Tech
      1. Per Andy Field via email, “This amp was a collaborative design effort between Scott and myself, I did most of the engineering and Scott did much of the tone and creative work. This is true of many of the products Genz Benz released.”
      2. [1Coil] spoke to Scott at NAMM 2016 and said Scott was the lead designer (link)
      3. [ruger9] once exchanged emails with a Genz Benz tech named Scott (link); I’m assuming it was the same Scott given company size and how Jeff Genzler described Scott’s role in the 9/10/07 article referenced above (link)
  2. Contact Information:
    1. Jeff Genzler:
      1. As of Jan. 2012, contact info was Jeff.Genzler@kmcmusic.com, 800-959-1809 (link), but…
      2. I presume since it’s been 8 years, KMC was sold, and Genz Benz has restarted, that now you’d probably just contact Genzler Amplification directly (contact page)
        1. As of Sept. 18/19, 2015, Jeff Genzler's email was: jeff@genzleramps.com
        2. Scott Andres, who per above [1Coil] heard was the lead designer for the BP30, was working at Genzler amplification (link, link, link), so contacting Genzler Amplification may also provide a way to get in touch with Scott
    2. Andy Field:
      1. Via email, Andy wrote that he “remained with KMC/Fender for a year after Fender shut down Genz Benz, and then started with Mesa Boogie in 2014 designing their Subway bass amp and cabinet line as well as the Rosette acoustic amp.”
      2. As of 2017 was still doing first line support for Kaman and Genz Benz (link). As of 2017, he worked with Substrate Engineering, and his contact info was (link, link):
        1. Email: AgedHorse@aol.com (confirmed active as of 7/2/2020)
        2. Phone: 530-756-7312
        3. Address: Substrate Engineering, 26260 County Road 98, Davis, CA 95616
      3. Per Andy via email:
        1. He is unable to help with DIY repairs
        2. He still supports former service centers, as well as any Fender (electronics) authorized service center willing to work on the BP30, and he can release documentation to any Fender service center with an NDA on file and an active Fender service center number
 
Last edited:

peterm

Member
Messages
66
2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 3 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)


3. Misc. Amp Details (Release Date, Measured Wattage, etc.)
  1. Announced/released in May 2006 (link)
  2. Retail prices:
    1. Head: $1,399 list (link)
    2. 112 Combo: $1,699 list (link)
    3. 212 Combo: $1,999 list (link), $1,599 street (link)
    4. 310 Combo
    5. 212 Cabinet: $1,099 list (link)
  3. Chassis built in Taiwan, and Genz Benz did final assembly, cab construction, QC, and burn-in in Arizona (link)
  4. Cabinet constructed from 9 ply and 13 ply birch plywood (Manual p. 5), and the baffle is fixed (both glued and screwed) (i.e., it’s not a floating baffle design, where the baffle is only screwed on)
    1. Per Andy Field via email, “I believe the baffle is glued to the cabinet and is NOT floating. I don't recall that we built any cabinet with a floating baffle. I'm not 100% sure, but 99%.”
    2. Generally speaking (link, link):
      1. Floating baffle designs – the cabinet wood contributes more to the sound of the cab (along with the speaker and can have a softer and less immediate attack. 50’s Fender amps commonly used this design
      2. Fixed baffle designs – the cabinet wood contributes less to the sound vs. the speaker, and the tone is punchier, the attack is more immediate, and tone is more consistent cabinet-to-cabinet. Vintage Vox and Marshall amps used this design, as well as many modern boutique builders who build all-Baltic-birch cabs
  5. Weight:
    1. All the configurations are heavy
      1. Head: 38 lbs (link)
      2. 2x12 cab: 43 lbs (link)
      3. 1x12: 53 lbs (link)
      4. 2x12: 68 lbs (link)
      5. 3x10: 80 lbs (link)
        1. Regarding the 3x10, Jeff Genzler, maybe honestly, but certainly hilariously, wrote, “We also kept cabinet size and weight at a minimum.” (link) Maybe light for a 3x10 combo, but…
    2. To reduce the heaviest thing they have to lift, some people have pulled the chassis from the combo’s and rehoused them (link)
    3. From memory many people talk about avoiding the heavier combos if they have a bad back (link, pretty sure there are others)
  6. Wattage: Manual says the amp’s rated at 30W (Manual p. 7), but after service my tech said it was putting out 35W clean (comment duplicated in [Speaker] section)
  7. Gut shots from Les Paul Lover here (full post including photos pasted in the Appendix)
  8. Amp can be dated from the QC sticker on the circuit board (link, link, link)
 
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peterm

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2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 4 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)

4. Comparisons to Other Amps
  1. Jeff Genzler wrote that:
    1. The Genz Benz team ”studied Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Mark Knopfler and Santana as tonal benchmarks" when designing the Black Pearl 30 (link)
      1. Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, and Santana all play Dumble’s
      2. Mark Knopfler has played a wide variety of amps, notably: Fender Vibrolux, Mesa Boogie Mark II, Marshall JTM45, Soldano SLO 100 (link, link)
    2. They “combined our features, build quality and intrigue with EL84 power-tube tone and the classic/vintage EL84 amps.” (link)
    3. Regarding the 3x10 combo, Jeff Genzler writes that “When cranked, the amp is all classic rock, drive, and muscle – think AC/DC, vintage British rock.” (link)
  2. From memory, many say the amp is an all-rounder, and especially versatile given the Voicing switch and effective EQ (example)
    1. MusicRadar wrote that it had a “versatile range of sounds”, with elements of both Vox and Fender and the ability get AC/DC-type Marshall sounds by increasing the mids (link)
  3. Many say the amp was inspired by and/or sounds like Vox AC-30 and Matchless DC-30 (link, link, link, link), and Bad Cat (link, link), but you can nudge it out of Vox territory (link, I personally agree)
  4. Others say the amp sounds a little more like a cross between an AC-30 and a Fender:
    1. Personally, I’ve played AC-30’s and a DC-30, and I think the BP30 sounds more like halfway between an AC-30 and 6V6 Fender (Princeton, Deluxe Reverb), but significantly more present than a 6V6 Fender, and that a lot of the Vox similarity comes from using an alnico speaker
      1. [vincent] says that if you're trying to approximate Fender sounds, you'll get closer to a Deluxe Reverb than a Twin (link)
    2. Selah Sounds (which includes a profile of the BP30 in their “British Pack” of Kemper profiles, noted here in the guide) described it as an amp “Inspired by Britain and tastefully merged with some American influence” (link)
    3. Also, see comment from MusicRadar above
  5. In their review, GuitarPlayer said it straddled “line between classic Vox and Marshall amps” (link)
 
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peterm

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2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 5 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)


5. Manual & Schematic
  1. Manual (the old Genz Benz web address is no longer active, and as of 3/6/20 I could only find it on aggregators, so I’ve linked one the aggregators here)
  2. Schematic (via here)
 
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peterm

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2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 6 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)

6. Powering Amp On

  1. Turn the amp on in standby mode to warm up for at least 30 seconds (link)
    1. Prevents cathode stripping and helps extend power tube life; only turn the power switch on when the amp is in standby mode (link)
    2. [HEAVENandHELL] blew 3 fuses in a row at the start of a gig, and has since found that leaving his amp in standby for few minutes before turning it on from standby solved his issue (link) (comment duplicated from [Amp Troubleshooting and Repair Tips] section)
 
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peterm

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2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 7 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)


7. Boost
  1. Brightness and ideas on how to mitigate:
    1. Some find the boost to be rather bright and/or thin (link, link)
    2. [ruger9] tried some different tubes in V2 to see if that would “thicken” the boost, but none of them did (link)
      1. Half of V2 is described in the manual as being used for the “3rd Gain Stage” (Manual p. 7); I believe that gain stage is the Boost circuit
    3. A Genz Benz tech explained to [ruger9] how to let more lows and low-mids through the boost, detailed here
      1. To summarize, increase the value of cap C6 (stock is 0.0047uF) and sound test using the highest gain sounds you expect to use; ruger9 ended up using a .047uF cap (link)
  2. Footswitch:
    1. Circuit:
      1. There is schematic of the footswitch on the amp schematic (link) (comment duplicated from the [Manual & Schematic] section above)
      2. [1Coil] says that his amp has a note by the footswitch port that says "SHORT TIP TO SLEEVE TO ENGAGE BOOST", which he says corroborates the schematic (link).
    2. Replacement options:
      1. Per Andy Field via email, boost footswitches w/ cable are still available NOS. He stocks them and they cost $25 plus $15 flat rate shipping anywhere in the US (contact: agedhorse@aol.com)
      2. Any replacement footswitch that can short or break the connection between the connecting cables’ tip and sleeve should work
      3. Per Jeff Genzler, you can use a mono cable connected to an external switch to replace the included footswitch, even though the included footswitch has a TRS cable (link, link)
      4. On 2/9/17 [dbishopbliss] said that the original foot switch from KMC Music is item # F/S-BP30 and at the time was available from KMC customer service via phone (link)
        1. Previously [rze99] had reported that he asked FMIC to advise on a replacement and they said they couldn't (link)
      5. [1Coil] says you could use a simple A/B box if you put a shorted jack in the input (link)
      6. [Lizard Leg] was able to develop a basic circuit that included an LED on the footswitch that he’s shared previously (link)
      7. [dbishopbliss] tried a Traynor ASF1 latching switch but it didn’t work – LED turned on/off but boost was always on (link)
 
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peterm

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2020.07.07 Genz Benz Black Pearl User Guide v03 - Section Detail - Post 8 of 22
Full document here: Word (hyperlinks work), PDF (hyperlinks don't work)


8. Voicing Switch

  1. [ruger9] says the Voicing switch “doesn't ‘model’ different amps... i.e., it's not like the voicing switch will give you "Marshall", "Vox", and "Fender".... it's a tone filtering circuit, cutting or adding highs and lows on the different settings” (link) He spoke to a tech at Genz Benz who said that “Dark” is the "natural voice" of the amp with the least filtering (link, link)
 
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