Epiphone Valve Jr Head stock vs mods clips...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by AndyZ, May 24, 2006.


  1. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    I give to you some very short clips comparing a stock to a modded Epiphone Valve Jr Head. My amp guy is thinking of finding a reasonable solution to upgrade these over some of the more expensive ones that exist already.

    After listening to these clips, it would be a great asset to have your opinion on the mods vs stock tone and what you think a fair price would be to have the mods done (labor and parts). This would help determine if it's something other Epi Jr head owners might want.

    The modded Epiphone Valve Jr Head has a Russian Military spec EL-84 and a NOS Tung-Sol 2ax7. The screen power supply cap has been beefed up and a new and much upgraded output transformer. There were other slight changes, but these were the main ones.

    The stock Epiphone Valve Jr Head has the standard issued Sovtek tubes.
    I let both amps warm up for 20 minutes before doing these clips. I know you all like details, so... the guitar I used was a modified Squier 51 with a 1991 Rosewood Tele Am Std neck, GFS Liverpool bridge pickup, GFS Fat Alnico neck pickup, rewired for a dual concentric volumes, push/pull tone to split the bridge pickup, 3 way on-on-on pickup switch. I basically used the bridge humbucker for all of it, except on the clean clip I also used the neck pickup for one part.

    Here's a pic of the guitar if you like... http://www.instituteofnoise.com/pics/squier51-az-close.jpg

    The cab was a 4x12 with Celestion 25w Greenbacks.

    Ok, here's the clips... each one is from 12-20 seconds long max, each being short to easily/simply show each's tone. No EQ. There was a very slight amount of reverb to give a bit of ambience. The guitar volumes were set to 10 as was the tone knob to max treble. Stock clip is first, modded clip is second for each tone.


    CLEAN CLIPS:

    The part was first played on the bridge humbucker, then the neck single coil.
    (The difference is slight here but still an improvement).
    The amps were set to 9:00 on the volume...

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Clean-Stock.mp3

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Clean-Mod.mp3


    DIRTY CLIPS:

    The part was played on the bridge humbucker.
    The amps were set to 12:00 on the volume...

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Dirty-Stock.mp3

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Dirty-Mod.mp3


    CRUNCH CLIPS:

    The part was played on the bridge humbucker.
    The amps were set to 3:00 on the volume...

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Crunch-Stock.mp3

    http://www.instituteofnoise.com/music/amps/EpiJrHead-Crunch-Mod.mp3


    Thanks again for listening and providing your thoughts!
     
    guitar007 likes this.
  2. Lution

    Lution Member

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    Andy,

    Thanks for the cool comparison clips.

    The improvement was dramatic on the dirt and crunch clips. Not so much with the clean clips. I really liked the crunch and dirt that the modded VJ had going there. I could hear very clear mids and highs going on there. Some more richness going on for sure.

    What were the exact mods (please go into detail), besides the output tranny?

    The tube change probably helped somewhat with the tone. I know that my change to the Russian military EL84M and a Tung Sol RI 12AX7 helped a little, but it still seemed a tad dark and muddy afterwards.

    I have only performed one mod to my VJ Head. I added a 100pf cap to the resistor in the R6 spot. This mod alone opened up the high end and tightened up the lows. I'm still not really sold on the amp though. Not sure if I'm going to keep it or let it go.

    If you were to price out the mod, would the tube change be part of the deal?

    thanks again.

    -Lution
     
  3. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    Lution, he didn't want me to go in depth on those other changes quite yet. I'm just trying to get an idea if it's worth it and if so how much someone might pay for the mods or just the parts to do it themselves. Don't know if the tubes would be part of the mod cost yet. This is more of just a "getting a feel" for it exercise.

    I realize it's only a $99 amp, but with a few minor adjustments it still may be a worthwhile investment if ths cost is low and justified, still beatign out other amps at the price point with the mods.
     
  4. Lution

    Lution Member

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    no prob. :cool:

    if you are showing clips that include the tube change, you should include them in the mod

    I would say, if you can keep the mod under $99 that would be a good goal. I don't think too many people are biting on the MM mods being over $200 just for the parts. If you can make the mod lower than the actual cost of the amp, that would be attractive. Not sure if it's practical, but who knows.
     
  5. Wayne8

    Wayne8 Member

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    Lution,

    How does your amp, with your mod, compare to what I just heard on these clips with regard to taming the bass?
     
  6. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    Lution, you are right there. The MM mods are too expensive. But if it could be done for around $99, I still think that's a fair price for a noticable increase in tone all around. But I can't make that call. Consider me the messenger here...
     
  7. Lution

    Lution Member

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    hi Wayne,

    The mod I did helped somewhat with tightening the lows and opening up the highs, but it's still dark sounding to me... just less dark. :cool: Not quite there yet.

    I'll have to go home and play it for a little bit to compare.

    I feel my VJ head still needs more as it sits now.
     
  8. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    For anyone interested, I did the input mod and swapped the stock ax7 for an Ei. Less than $10 total. That's all mine needed in order to sound great. However, mine never suffered the dark bassy tone that most others have noted. Mine actually seemed a bit weak in the bass out of the box, which makes me wonder just how consistent these amps from one to the next.
     
  9. twangbanger

    twangbanger Supporting Member

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    you might try a 1uf cap at both cathods on the 12ax7 that really cleaned up the low end on mine and remove and install the .022 coupling caps with mallory mustard caps along with a couple other small mods including better tubes that keeps the cost down considerably under the $ 99 mark . changing out the cathode resistors to 1.5 k on the 12ax7 helped too!
     
  10. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    I agree that both modded clips sounded better. I could hear a difference in the clean clip, especially on the bridge pickup. More definition for sure. Easy improvement in the crunch clips.

    For $99 or less, I'd do these.
     
  11. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    I changed R1 to 1M and C3 to 4.7uF. Dramatic improvement, but still a bit flubby in OD - especially with a neck HB. Went to a 1uF cap on V1A (C3) and hit the sweet spot. Don't know that there's a need to change the other 22uF bypass cap on V2B. I didn't have another 1uF, so I used that 4.7uf on it just for experiment's sake. Couldn't really tell much, if any, of a difference. Put an NOS Matsushita 12AX7 in it and it's ready to go. One stellar little amp! I love it!
     
  12. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    To my ear the modded clips just seem a little brighter. Other then that it sounds like the same tone. I would think you could also just use a an eq or treble booster as well and more or less get the same results. Either way its a bit of an improvement over stock but certainly not day and night IMO.
     
  13. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    The mods I did were a more dramatic change than those demo'd in the clips. Wish I had recording technology here.
     
  14. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

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    Has anyone added an effects loop to one of these yet?
     
  15. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    No. Wasn't going to bother with one. IMO that's adding too much to a simple circuit.
     
  16. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    You can hear the difference, but in person it's much more noticeable. The output level is more in the modded model vs the stock at the same setting.
     
  17. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    IMO the modded OD clips sound a little more "open" then the unmodded. Otherwise they're very similar.
     
  18. ultrevex

    ultrevex Member

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    I'll tell you... I got a VJ head last week and it sounds AWFUL in comparison with these clips. I've swapped both pre and power tubes several times with good stuff and tried it with no less than 5 speakers. Bassy, weak, slightly harsh and just overall mediocre tone is what I'm hearing.

    Maybe I got a bum amp? This was from the brand new batch that MF got in recently.
     
  19. fyler

    fyler Member

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    hmmm...i got mine last week from MF & mine sounds pretty identical to the clips. i didn't find it to be muddy, either.
     
  20. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    Check your PM's again.
     

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