Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Aint Life Hell?, Jul 10, 2006.
Anyone have experience with this amp?
I did some searches w/o much success.
i have a bordeaux with the vos circuit on one channel and it's quite interesting. i know everyone says dumble meets trainwreck, but i don't find that description too helpful. plus, i've never played either. i do have a few two-rocks in the vein of each, so i can compare it to them.
the vos has some of the two-rocks' low-end growl, which makes it nice and thick. but it's not quite as beefy in the low-mids as the emerald pro, and not quite as super-smooth. it has a little more upper-mid bite like the opal (a little marshally), that gives it a rather vocal quality. but it's not dry or nasal, and the reverb doesn't intrude at all. it does respond well to playing dynamics, and hitting it hard generates a nice smooth, biting grind.
however, i don't find that it has a particularly generous amount of sustain. (i push it with PRS dragon I's, which are pretty high output). i haven't tried to throw a clean boost in front, but perhaps that would do the trick.
my only issues concern the gain & volume knobs. i have an 80 watt version and when i set the master volume to levels comparable to the two-rocks the vos gets a little fizzy. i find that i have to turn it up a bit and then attenuate it to get rid of the fizz. (but others may have a higher volume threshold than me and not have an issue with this). also, i found that turning the gain knob beyond 2:00 also got a bit fizzy. perhaps if i turned up the master even further it would again smooth out, but it was too much gain for me anyway so i haven't really worried about that. my favorite settings are somewhere around gain: 12:00 to 12:30 and volume around 9:00 to 10:00.
fwiw, i've had mine up for sale a few times, but then i play it for a while and re-discover its unique sound. i guess it does combine the fatness of the dumbly amps with some of the bite of the marshally/trainwrecky amps.
also, fwiw, the clean channel on the bordeaux is beautiful. extremely clear and rich, wonderful reverb, sounds great at all volumes. i'm considering adding a mid control since mine does not have one, but i tend to like a thicker clean sound than many, so that's probably just me.
EDIT: i recently tried a real VOS and it is completely different than the bordeaux's gain channel. (see below)
Thanks for the comments on the VOS as I was considering one but based on these comments I can take it off my list.
For what its worth, I owned a Fargen VOS head for about 3 months about a year ago and I felt it was a pretty bad sounding amp. I may get flack here for bad mouthing an amp, but I simply found it stiff, harsh, and unhappy with single coil pickups.
I tried everything from retubing/biasing to extreme EQ options and I always got a harsh response to whatever I played. I wanted to like this amp, but I would have to say I never got one sound out of it I liked. And THATS rare. I suppose you could always use the excuse that mine might have been a bad apple... but from what I could tell, it was doing what it was supposed to.
Between the VOS head and The Two Rock Em. Pro experiences, I have completely given up reading reviews on amps. I simply play them first. Thats how I discovered my budda 80 and its been my #1 ever since. I think the variation from player to player is actualy massively greater than is given credit.
Excellent post from a guy that's much younger than me and with much less experience but I think he has learned his lesson REALLY WELL!! I haven't tried the VOS or Emerald Pro , but have tried many others guys on the net raved and raved about and they didn't do it for me.. Btw, the irony here is I had a Budda SD30 II combo and that amp didn't do ANY MORE at all for me than a JCM900 2501 combo I had at the time, and I liked about 15 -20 amps I owned more than the Budda.. I've loved EVERY single Budda SD80 soundclip I've heard though... SO if I were to go by soundclips , would I love the SD80 although I wasn't impressed by an SD30? Hmmmmmmmm... interesting question... What I've learned, is you don't go by soundclips, and you don't go by 'strangers' advice. ESPECIALLY the latter. You go by "REAL LIFE" Experience and that's it, unless you're simply rich and/or don't care. I agree very much with the above post for it's 'common sense' content. I had it once upon a time, then came the internet. I got hooked on the internet. I lost my common sense. I got it back... good thing!
That clip was make under less than idea conditions, but the reason I'm not considering this amp is because you said it needs to be played loud. I've read similar comments (some from guys I know have similar taste in tone). I've owned enough amps that get toines I like at reasonable volumes, so it ends up just not being worth the effort to try this amp out.
Though if you want to send it to me, I'll be happy to try it and send it back lol
Lol..thanks. One bit to mention is that you might want to give the SD80 in head form a try. The SD30 in combo form sounds like a different amp and I personally don't like it. Budda's are intended for closed back 4x12s!
...but as reading rainbow says: "don't take my word for it... " ha!
I've had mine about 9 months and fortunately I have a loud band and in that context, it's an amazing sound - smooth WITH bite, very touch sensitive, nice woody mids, tight lows not the tightest I've ever heard but perfect in the general spectrum the amp produces. But I've also had Ben do a bunch of tweaking on mine to get it just right for me so it also sounds great at lower levels. Watching Ben do his magic on mine, I can see that these are very responsive to tweaks, including the more major change of putting in neg feedback, which the basic VOS design doesn't have. Also, mine's a SCO (6L6 based vs 34s).
Qualifier - I work for Ben building his circuit boards. So perhaps I'm biased. But my impression of this amp stands. And, it IS way better FOR ME with the various tweaks Ben did to suit my taste. And, my bandmates prefer me through that amp vs the other stuff I've hauled to our 'garage'.
The pups I tend to use are Bluesbuckers (like a silent P-90, Stan Hinesley's Fusion - resembles a Bluesbucker, TV Jones Filtertron, and a moderately hot tele br (budzguitars). Ie, no hot buckers. When Ben and I were working on the amp, he played his 61 RI SG into it and it was like a hot rodded marshall. But Ben's got the hands too. Great, great player!!
Thanks for the input everyone.
TGP rocks the house.
I've had my VOS since last September. Thats an eternity for me. I have no problem getting great tones, clean and mild to heavy overdrive out of it at low volumes. I'm using a Southbay Scumback HP75 in the matching cab, and a Guvernor in a rotary cab. Really cool tones. Mines pretty stock except it has a parallel loop instead of reverb. If your VOS wouldn't sustain a note, there was something wrong. Thats the deal with this amp. I play an MIJ strat with real low output BL pus and a Surles with Andersons and a HAS in the bridge. Medium output at best. Guys at some of Petes Calif. Tonefests have heard me grab a bend on the G string and it'll sustain as long as I want to hold it.
I think I need a Blackbird to go with it!
Yup. Stevo's VOS is a cracking good amp. I've had the pleasure to play it many times. Don't know what I'd compare it to, but it sounds good at reasonable volumes to me. Though Steve has the 45 watt version I believe.
when i was using the amp without an attenuator i was a bit disappointed. it really wasn't until i turned it up a bit that i really understood what the amp could do. i should qualify this, though, because i get the feeling i play amps a bit quieter than most people around here. it doesn't take a lot of attenuation to bring it even within my levels. but as you said, there are lots of great amps that don't need any attenuation at all ...
and as for the sustain issue, that probably also relates to the volume level. unless i walk right up to the amp it's not going to feed back and do the endless sustain thing. i do get a lot of sustain out of the two rocks without incredible volumes so i don't think it's me or the guitar. but also, as i mentioned, i preferred the amp with the gain around 12:00. so maybe if i cranked it up more i'd get the sustain - but then i didn't like the overall tone as much.
vos is a great amp,,,,but not my cup of tea....try befor u buy!!! oh the rsa31 i played made it sound thin....
No, had to sell it. I miss it though. Great amp.
I agree on your assesment too.
If a VOS tone at lower volume is what you're looking for, what about the El Bastage?
I haven't played one, but it sounds like it might fit the bill...
I pretty much agree with the comments so far. I have the VOS in my Epic 30 DC gain channel, so it is using EL84's.
The VOS is a throaty, somewhat unfiltered voicing that — as someone else mentioned — forces you to forego your familiar ideas of how to play an amp, and takes you into some very harmonically rich territory. I don't entirely agree that it has to be played loud to sound good, but there's no question that it reaches its full tonal girth and harmonic color up higher.
I also don't entirely agree that you can't get great sustain and soaring tones with single coils.
I've explored a broad spectrum of tones ranging from crunchy roots rock up to sublime Santana-esque soaring sustain. You have to want those tones for the VOS to work for you. I wouldn't describe the VOS as aggressive — just full-bored, deeply responsive and aching to be pushed.
Lately I've been having a great deal of fun and frolic with an Analogman
Sunface NKT 275 and my VOS. This pedal was made for this amp. It doesn't over saturate but allows you to get an awesome GregV type throatyness at low to medium volumes. I'm not into pedals at all, but I love this one.
As far as singles go, I prefer them and particularly lower output ones which allow me to get the tubes cooking a little more rather than slamming the front end so much with a humbucker. Thats where I find my sustain sweetspot.
FWIW, I had a Fargen Epic 30 DC/VOS and can comment a bit on the pros/cons of it.
The amp is thick, relatively smooth (with just a little bite to it), has some interesting sustain properties at high volumes that still stays articulate even cranked wide open. Unfortunately, even cranked I couldn't get every note to sustain endlessly like I wanted to (tried positioning my guitar differently, really digging into the notes, throwing in some trem to try to coax it, etc.). The amp has a unique tone and it can't be tweaked to sound much different. I found the amp didn't have the levels of gain I was looking for (if you have a tele or a strat, you'll get a sustaining clean tone without a pedal even with the gain cranked). I'm not a massive gain fiend, but I was expecting more of a Trainwreck type level of overdrive.
All in all, I thought it was a rather unique amplifier that had some great lead tone properties, but I felt it wasn't fully there for my tastes in an amplifier (if you don't need near as much gain as I do, you'll probably love it). I've never tried the EL-34 VOS, but I would imagine it would be similar, just louder. One thing's for sure, it doesn't get much better than Ben Fargen. That guy has some great ears, great talent and offers the best customer service I've ever personally seen on a boutique level. I'm not kissing @ss, it's fact.
I've got a lot of different amps, from plexis to Voxes to Heritage colonial to Trainwreck, and the VOS ( w/ FX loop, EL34s) is really doing it for me, cleans to ENDLESS sustain, crunch and bark and growl and meeeooow!
But like they say-
"There's an Ass for every seat"
I say LETS ROCK!!!
I actually liked the VOS alot. If only I could afford to keep everything I like.
I think I used the phrase Dumble meets Trainwreck, and alot of people latched onto that. I still stand by that... It's very punchy, massive low end, and eq'd kinda like a more-refined Marshall. I ran the gain wide open and it was enough for me. It's a unique tone, and frankly, I think more unique tones are needed out there.
I don't think I ever tried it with single coils??? Huh... Some amps I just say "This is a humbucker amp, stick with it..." I probably should break that bad habit ...
I think the Bordeaux was what I shoulda gotten. I don't think the VOS delivered as a 1 channel amp, 'cause I didn't care for the cleans with the guitar volume backed down. The Bordeaux design appears to address that.
The EQ is unique as well. As you turn the treble up, the mids scoop for a more modern tone. Turn the treble down below noon, and the amp get this TREMENDOUS girth in the mids, it's pretty astounding. Punchy and fat as all get out.
I'll own some more Fargens down the road, the VOS impressed me alot. I hear great things about the Weider model, and also the SCO.