ENGL Savage 120 needs help

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Young Angus, Jan 27, 2006.


  1. Young Angus

    Young Angus Member

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    Hi there,

    i don't see much about ENGL stuff on this page but i do own a komet 60 head so please don't pigeon-hole me too quickly ;)

    My main rig is the ENGL Savage 120 and i am just sure that it has not been 100% for a long time now...you know when you just have that feeling that something inside you knows its not fully right! Well i have that feeling about the ENGL...and when i got it i soon after fully retubed the amp with new JJ's supplied from Bob at eurotubes...KT88's for the power section...and it sounded a bit better...but still the cleans don't shine like they're fabled to do and the first crunch channel totally sucks and is pretty useless for anything at all! And im pretty sure these channels are supposed to sound full, warm, and just plain great even when totally dry!

    The heavy crunch channel and lead channels sound pretty damn good but there is still something missing i feel deep down...like its lacking the big huge open sound that ENGL's usually produce.

    One main reason i just started thinking about this again is because i tried out a small ENGL Screamer 50 combo because i want something a little smaller i can rehearse with but still get all the sounds i want...and every channel sounded top of the range!!!! Like the cleans were brilliant, and every crunch and lead channel sounded massive, full and warm...without any effects whatsoever!

    Now what im after from you guys if possible is a list of things that i could check off one by one to make sure the amp is running at absolute 100%...maybe not for me to do myself, but just pretty much everything you can think of that i would have to check to make sure the amp was in absolute top form.

    What does everyone think of that :NUTS
     
  2. Randy

    Randy Member

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    Did you think it sounded better once upon a time and has gotten progressively worse, or has it always sounded this way since you've had it?

    I've yet to play any of the Engl heads, but have owned the E530 and E570 preamps which I ran into various power amps and heads. Both are now gone mainly because I always felt there was something missing in their tone. At first glance they sounded awesome but over time I grew increasingly dissatisfied with them. Both seemed to lack a 'real' quality to them, kind of like a POD or other modeler. They sound great and it's hard to put your finger on what's missing but when you play a real tube amp you immediately know the difference. I suspect their simpler circuits like the Screamer are better in this regard.

    Then again, those are just my findings with a couple of preamps. There are plenty of Savage lovers out there so maybe there is something wrong after all.
     
  3. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Hi there, I have about 30 amps /preamps including an old Engl 520 pre, a Stereo EL84 rackmount they made 15 years back, and an Engl Screamer. My advice is NOT related towards Engls though . I LOVE all of the ENGL gear I've tried and find nothing at all missing or synthetic that was Randy's experience.. I'd kill to own the Savage or SE,etc...BUT I also love loads of others amps and that's why I have so many...
    First of all , my only experience with any relatively new amp that loses its kewlness, is tubes make a big difference.. yea yea you've heard it before! Unless you have a bunch of tubes to experiment with though , you'll never learn for yourself , what differences they make.. I've accumulated loads over the years... BUT it took lots of years.. Dont' assume just because everyone might say JJ preamp tubes are great, they are... I'm not a big fan of the few I"ve tried, but I guess they've been redesigned.. I really like RFT's and YUGO's (Old EI's) in my Engl stuff. Regardless of that, did someone bias your Power tubes ok? That's biggie for sound ..
    Meanwhile, something that people don't mention much when amps start sounding a bit ratty or lackluster is I have certain amps including a a few old Marshalls, where a POT that's not in 100% condition can actually take away from the whole amp's sound.. Check out all the pots and make sure none are gritty or staticy and if so clean them the right way . IF NOT, there's something else people rarely mention on these forums ,BUT it 's my experience that it's a biggie.. FX LOOP SEND AND INSERT Jacks sometimes aren't great... Also even your amp's INPUT jack... I've found many modern pieces of "High Quality ' jacks and switches suck. They become intermittent.. and actually totally ruin the sound of your amp. Unplug and plug a few times and you can tell .. ANyway , OR maybe you just don't like the amp as much as you did, OR maybe your ears are now shot from playing it cranked thru 4 4x12's! :jo GOOD LUCK

    ERIC
     
  4. rjmmusic

    rjmmusic Member

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    I've owned a Savage 120 in the past, and I can point out a few things: first, I always thought the crunch channel was weak (one of the main reasons I sold it). Also, I tried KT88s in mine and I thought they sounded terrible. SED 6550s are the tube to use in that amp, IMHO. As mentioned in the previous post, some NOS preamp tubes will help a lot. RFTs are great for adding lots of smooth gain. This also was one of the few amps where I thought Chinese 12AX7s sounded really good - you might want to try them. They're brighter than JJs, so you might get some of the "sparkle" back in the clean channel.
     
  5. Young Angus

    Young Angus Member

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    Well funny i started talking about this yesterday because today my phase inverter tube was blown and had to replace it with a spare older GT i pulled out of it when i retubed it with JJ's.

    Anyway while i had it open i thought id try an old chinese 12AX7 like was suggested and i loved the tone it gave me! To be honest i really havent experimented with different tubes at all since ive got to know the tone of this amp...i tried a few when i first got it but i didnt really have a solid point of reference so i didnt notice much...but the chinese one sounded a fair bit better to my ears...a more open brighter sound. Trouble was it got all hissy straight away and was just hissing all over the place so i put the high gain graded JJ back in V1, and the JJ quietened it down hiss wise, and sounded tighter...but also muddier...so i think i liked the chinese one and might try and get a new one from somewhere, dunno where though cos im in australia and music stores only sell things like "mesa" tubes or "engl" tubes.

    What i might do though is retube the whole amp with ENGL labelled tubes...someone who owned a screamer said he did this and it really brought his amp back to life after he tried a bunch of other tube types. I think i might have mentioned that above in my first post so sorry if i did...but hey, cant hurt too bad ;)
     
  6. LordRiffenstein

    LordRiffenstein Member

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    Weird that I overlooked this thread but anyway, here goes.

    I´m pretty certain you have some dodgy tubes in there because I preactically live on the crunch channel (ch2) for some of my gigs. Loading it up with JJs is NOT a good thing. As someone said, the JJ KT88s suck in this amp imho, I´ve been using SED 6550s for a couple of years (own my 120 5.5 years now) and they are excellent.

    Engl used to load their amps with a combination of Sovtek and JJ tubes and ALWAYS had a Sovtek in V1. I have done a lot of experiments with tubes in my Engls and am now using a combination of NOS pre-amp tubes and it responds really well to those tube changes. All JJs will make the amp way to dark and muddy sounding so I´d suggest you do some experiments. You also might try a ECC81 as PI, tends to open up the amp.

    HTH,

    Yoeri
     
  7. Young Angus

    Young Angus Member

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    Okay well thats given me a bit of hope before i go out and get myself an el34 SE instead ;)

    Okay well SED 6550's...are they just Svetlana ones or is it a different tube yet again? When i was retubeing a while ago i would have known this but ive forgotten now...but i seem to remember SED just being shorthand for Svetlana...?

    And which NOS preamp tubes would you suggest...and will the right production tubes really sound that much worse than NOS tubes in this amp or should i really go for NOS? In fact, Lord Riffenstein you pretty much sound like the next best thing to Horst here so "what tubes should i get in this amp"?

    Cheers...im looking forward to getting my 120 absolutely smokin once again ;)
     

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