Groove Tubes Trio on the Way!!

pfrischmann

Member
Messages
3,343
Hi Guys,
I was going to hold off until I got it but I couldn't resist. I've always wanted a trio, so I found one with the midi card. I'm pretty excited! I'm not sure how it's going to work with my Mesa 2:90 but we'll see.

I'll let you guys know when it lands..
 

Dave L

Member
Messages
1,289
Congrats, I had one of those for a while in the early 2000s and it definitely punches way above its price range.
 

pfrischmann

Member
Messages
3,343
Thanks,
I listened to every clip I could find and it seems to be a good representation of a Fender/Marshall thing with a certain tone of it's own. I get the impression It will make a good building block for some base tones. They seem to be getting more expensive as the Grateful Dead folks are searching them out. I guess Garcia used one for a while.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,908
Had one for a while, good sounding preamp, especially with the right power amp!
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,908
At the time I was using a Groove Tubes Dual 90 (I think that's what it was called), and it sounded great. I still have the Groove Tubes rack but the power amp and preamp are long gone...
 

Wyzard

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,924
What's the going on these ? - a mate of mine is selling one, but hasn't come up with a price yet.
 

pfrischmann

Member
Messages
3,343
I don't think there are a lot around. I'd say $450-$700 depending on condition and options. that's what I've found. It seems a lot of old rack stuff is being deemed rare and collectible.
 

pfrischmann

Member
Messages
3,343
Hi guys, so here's a quick update.
The Trio arrived and I had a chance to plug it in. First to the return on a Bogner Ecstacy, then into a Rocktron 150 power amp and finally into a Mesa 2:90. It's definitely cool but very different than any preamp I've ever used. It has a certain midrange that is just part of it's character. I haven't decided if I like it or not. It is the most touch sensitive preamp I've ever used, even more so than the CAE 3+SE

The clean channel is very good and clean all the way. It has a little more midrange than a typical blackface, maybe a bit more brownface or tweed, very fender either way. It has a ton of bass. I could see some guys buying it for this channel alone.

The mean channel is where it's at for me. It has tons of bassman/JTM type grind with great touch sensitivity. Turn the gain up to 8 and your much closer to JMP territory. I found that if I added the modern switch on the 2:90, I got a real good general Marshall tone. No problem playing early Van Halen. Turn it off and back off the gain and you got "Jesus just left Chicago, Tush, Just got paid tones". This channel is way more organic than most preamps I've played and more balanced than the CAE I owned. This mid gain rock tone is important to me. The CAE always had too much top-end sizzle. My Bogner was always too smooth.

The Scream Channel. I still have to figure this one out. At 3 it has more gain than my CAE at 7 on the third channel and a heavy mid range notch. It sounds cool on leads but weird on chords. I may have to check to tube compliment and see if it should have a lesser gain tube in one of the final gain stages. It's a fire breather.

Yet to understand:
O.K. the EQ is very unusual on this guy. They are interactive kinda like a matchless amp. Turn down the bass and you get more upper mids. The treble seems to have a sweep to it that is really exaggerated. It may change frequencies as you go higher, It's very different than any EQ I can remember using. It's effective, the controls really work, I'm just not sure what they are doing yet.

In a video, Aspen Pitman said you should dime the volume and gain on the clean channel and set your other channels accordingly. I'm not sure I agree with this as the other channels are much more compresed and have to be very loud to match it..That just doesn't seem right to me.

Synopsis: Cool and very organic with some quirks I need to figure out. I miss modded 3+SE but wish it had a little bit of the mean channel from the trio in it.
I'll post more when I can.

If any of you former owners have some tricks up you sleeves, let me know.
 

Lavely

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,614
Any further updates? I'm thinking of getting one of these as well. Would love to hear more about (and clips of!) the clean channel in particular.
 

pfrischmann

Member
Messages
3,343
Hi, I started another thread marked "first Impressions" where I go through some of the observations. My biggest comparison is to the 3+SE. I think the trio can hang with the 3+se and represents the "rootsier" side of similar tones. The clean is very good but it's more like the normal channel of a twin and in my set up (Mesa 2:90, Marshall 4X12 with scumbacks), the sound could use chime on the top end. In stock set up, I like the clean of the 3+ better but only by a little bit. The trio is remarkably close for what could be 1/2 the cost. With a 120pf cap across the volume pot, it may even be better.

I like the mean channel better than the CAE. It's more Marshall sounding. and warmer.

The scream is a little weird, It has tons of gain but no bottom. It's make very tight for lead work only. It works for that but the the CAE could be used as a high gain channel.
This limits the scream a little for me BUT..I made a recent change

I learned about a factory update that really changes the bottom end and volume of the preamp. I need to spend some time with it to understand the change and dial it it. I went into detail in he "first Impressions" thread.

FWIW,
I wouldn't spend the extra money to get the midi option, it works but you have to have a controller that can do scene capture, like an amp gizmo. if you already have one, it's the difference between running one cord (midi) and two 1/4" cords for amp style switching.
 




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