EL84 vs EL34 in a DC-30?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dead_Troll, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Dead_Troll

    Dead_Troll Member

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    Hey all,

    I'm new to the forum, as a member anyway.

    I'm thinking of getting a Ceriatone DZ30 built (Matchless DC-30 clone) and have stumbled upon a crucial decision.

    I'm looking for that ballsy Foo Fighters sounding rock tone, just to get a general idea; nice pushed full drive sound, without getting into high gain territory or anything. I know Grohl uses an AC30/Dual Rec rig for this, but unfortunately I can't afford a multiple amp rig like that.

    Nik suggested maybe using EL34's in the output stage of a DC-30 style head to give it a some more grunt, a heavier DC-30 sound if you will, to really get that heavier drive while still being able to roll back to a nice cleaner rock crunch.

    My question is, by using 34's in DC-30 styled amp, as opposed to the standard 84's, how much would it actually change the sound and in what way exactly? 34's in a DC-30 aren't very common and I cannot find any demos of such an amp.

    Any thoughts or experience from people that know amp components better than myself would be great.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    A DC-30 with EL34s is called a Matchless Phoenix. I used to have one. I don't think it's the best choice for Foo Fighters though. A Phoenix (or clone) is still going to sound very Vox derived.

    If I were chasing that tone, I would prolly check out some of the orange amps.
     
  3. Dead_Troll

    Dead_Troll Member

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    The Foo Fighters sound was just a general idea of the style I will be playing. I don't want that exact tone necessarily. I do love the Matchless drive sound which is why I'm leaning that way.

    So after doing a little more reading I came across the Phoenix anyway. From what I can tell, it is indeed a beefier and fatter sound, but has a lot more headroom therefore not breaking up as easily. That makes me lean back to standard 84's as I don't want to go to ear bleeding volume for a nice drive sound.

    Does that sound right?
     
  4. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    All Matchless amps are loud. I've got a DC30 and a Lightning. The Lightning is a 15 watt amp and gets very loud. . . . . the DC30 will run you out of a room loud.

    As to EL84's or EL34's. . .I would think that you should be able to dial in a DC30 circuit to approximate the sound you're looking for. If you get a chance, run to a store that has either Matchless or BadCat amps and check them out.
     
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  5. adudenamedrf

    adudenamedrf Member

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    I have found a lot of the time that it isn't as much the tubes you are using that have as much of an impact as the circuit design of the amp. Yes, tubes like the EL84 vs the EL34 can have some coloring characteristics on your sound, but if the circuit is the same then using different tubes probably isn't going to have a very drastic effect. It is probably more important to figure out the "Root" amp design that has more of the sound you are looking for (I.e. heavier Marshall distortion, Vox chime, Fender cleans, etc). I have a Matchless HC30 Head and a Matchless Clubman 35. HC30 uses EL84s and Clubman uses EL34s. IMO the C30 is a bit brighter and cleaner, Clubman 35 is darker and more ballsy with more gain on tap. Once again, that probably has just as much if not more to do with the design of the circuit than the type of tubes being used. If possible, try out as many different kinds of amps that you can and let your ears do the picking for you. Don't overthink the technical aspects, just pick what you think sounds the best. Best of luck!
     
  6. vds5000

    vds5000 Member

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    I respectfully disagree. I used to own a DC30 and currently own a Phoenix.

    I found the DC30 somewhat shrill/harsh. It was a very loud amp with an ineffective master volume. It stayed fairly clean at relatively high volume levels. I tried 2 different attuenators with it - both made the amp sound horrible. I couldn't get any gain tones at low volumes without some kind of pedal. I'm not saying it was a bad amp - it just wasn't for me.

    The Phoenix can reproduce many of the DC30 tones but without the harshness. The master volume works great - you can get very nice mid-gain tones (think AC/DC, old Aerosmith) without any pedals and without destroying your hearing. I put a short clip on YouTube to demonstrate the gain this amp can produce at civilized volumes - without the use of any effects.
     
  7. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

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    That is interesting because it is the same pre-amp design, moving the quad of el84's to a pair of el34's. Which channel did you use?

    Between these two amps it really shouldn't change the dynamic of the MV either - perhaps your C-30 had something wrong with it? Bad preamp tubes, etc.? I've found when I had my HC30 that the master worked great to about 11 O'clock. Never had issues with shrillness, especially compared to the King Cobra which is the ef86 preamp tied to the el34 output section (also 35 watts like the phoenix). This amp sounded VERY similar, but a little more low end on tap...similar breakup characteristics.

     

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