Hotrod Deville Dial Up Help!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by soa04lb, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. soa04lb

    soa04lb Member

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    Just bought a Hot Rod Deville 4X10 - wondering if any HRD owners might be able to help me with some tone advice. I am having trouble getting the sounds I want. I like a warm and fat sounds - play a LP Goldtop and a jazz guitar for slide - but the problem I am having is that when I play the amp on my own it sounds great but when I get in the context of the band it tends to disappear in the mix. It sounds good standing infront of it but in the gig and rehearsal recordings my guitar sounds muffled and distant.

    Its the interplay between bass/middle/treble and presence that I am struggling with. Any advice particularly about the settings other HRD users dial up would be gratefully received. Thanks in advance.

    Cliff
     
  2. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Something to try is to replace the first preamp tube (furthest away from the power tubes) with a 12AT7. I just did this for a friend, and it made a big improvement to the clarity and dynamics, especially on the distorted sound - it was fuzzy and indistinct (even though bright) with the 12AX7. We tried other combinations of the 12AT7 and a 12AU7 in various positions, but it seemed to sound best with just the 12AT7 in V1 and 12AX7s in the others.
     
  3. soa04lb

    soa04lb Member

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    Thanks, John. Never thoughts about changing the valves. Did the 12AT7 keep the warmth of the sound? Is it simple just to take it out and replace it or should I get an amp tech to do it?

    Much appreciated advice - I'll definitely give it a shot.

    Cliff
     
  4. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Cliff,
    You may want to have it checked out. I have had my deville (4\10) since they first came out, and for some things, its still my go to amp. I have used it in all kinds of settings from metal to jazz, both live and in the studio, and it has never seemed anything but stellar. I have never changed the tube types, but i found the standard groove tubes sound better in that amp than all of my NOS collection. Mine sounded better than my 66 blackface Super reverb, so i sold it and kept the deVille. Last time Trower played around here, he was using a stock HR Deville, and it sounded fantastic. george benson used one as well, and in both those varied situations, the amp just killed live. Work at it a little, and I think you will find a solution. Thats a GREAT amp you have there! :) Good luck!
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    You don't need a tech - just replace the tube - preamp tubes are operated in self-biasing mode.

    It did seem to retain the same basic tone, it just opened up the dynamics and made it clearer - it does reduce the gain a bit too, but this shouldn't be a problem unless you normally run it maxed; you may just have to set it slightly higher.

    I did cheat a little by using an old-stock Mullard 12AT7 :), but actually I think the bulk of the tone change was due to the different tube type, not the quality of the tube.

    I'm actually not usually a fan of 12AT7s in gain positions, I do tend to find them a bit cold-sounding, but in this amp it just seems to work. If you don't like it in V1, try it in V3 (phase inverter) - it made some difference there too, but less noticeable; or possibly try old-stock 12AX7s throughout. For preamp tubes you don't even really need new old-stock - just plain old will do, as long as they've been tested, and they're usually a fraction of the price.

    I'd also think about upgrading the power tubes to old-stock, but there you really do need NOS unless you're capable of testing them yourself, or you trust the seller totally.

    I've actually found that tubes do make a surprising difference to how well an amp 'sits' in the mix - you'd think that with all that other racket going on it wouldn't be noticeable, but in fact it is, in my experience.
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong here but I read in one of Gerald Weber's books or VG articles that replacinga 12ax7 with a 12at7 was a problem because the newer Fender amps (Bassman was his reference) use 1/4 watt resistors and the 12at7 ends up burning them up. I don't know id the Hot rod series is built the same way but I would check out resistor values first.
     
  7. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    I got a HRD 2/12 and found the key to the mix was the presense knob, the more you turn it up, the more it seems to get out in front of the mix. Like Tag, I found that the GT's seemed to just work in that amp best, for me anyway. For me, I like the presense around 4 or 5, treble up all the way, bass around 3, mid I will play with to dial in my sound, drive around 4. Reverb to taste. I know the HRD's kind of get looked down on, but I have found the amp to be incredible, I even like the drive and more drive channel. Nice, fat and greasy without being "fizzy". Great amp. I just prefered the 2/12 because I thought the 10 version was a little too bright for me.

    Another guy who uses that amp is the git player in Coldplay.
     
  8. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    The plate resistors in the phase inverter on these amps have a habit of failing anyway, even with a 12AX7 in. I'm not sure that it's due to the power draw, it might be the voltage rating, which is lower on smaller resistors too - none of the ones I've replaced show any sign of failing due to overheating, which they would if the power rating itself was the reason.
     
  9. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    John,
    I know its percentages and all, but you say they have a habit of failing. Victors house of Music (Musicians friend) sells boat loads of them, and says that problems are almost non existent. Between myself and guys I know, we have been playing the HR series amps since they came out, and there must be about 9-10 of us. Theses things have SERIOUS hours on them, and none of us have had any problems except with the footswitch. One friend plays live at least 3 times a week, and uses it for teaching every single day as well. Over close to 10 years, thats a lot of hours. Not a single problem. I realize that there are TONS of these things sold, but I wanted to point out that I do not think this is a problem on most of them.
     
  10. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    I've seen lots of threads on various boards about these amps having comon problems with poor/cold solder joints, failed relays, failed input jacks, failed pot/pcb connections, etc. Maybe the failure rate is not higher than other brands/models. Maybe the issue is the high numbers of these amps that are out there, so a normal failure rate looks like a lot.

    But that doesn't address the original question, of which I have no help to offer. I am not a fan of these amps, and do not understand their popularity. They do have a nice clean channel sound I suppose. But the overdrive sound is about one of the worst I've heard. Trying to make one work in a band situation seems like a study in frustration to me.
     
  11. spikeRI

    spikeRI Supporting Member

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    :horse
    another deville thread..........thought this was a gear forum
     
  12. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    Not all of us can afford the high end stuff.
     
  13. fjs1962

    fjs1962 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've worked on a few DeVilles and have to say they aren't the best built amps in the world. Things like plastic input jacks mounted to the main board, power tubes sockets mounted directly to circuit boards with no chassis support, solid state reverb, etc. keep me from wanting one. Still, for the price point (especially used) I'd have to admit they are decent sounding amps, especially if you put in decent tubes and bias them properly. And stay away from the overdrive channels. I have a friend who uses a 410 for blues gigs and only uses the clean channel cranked up. He gets a great sound out of his but I've had to work on it a couple of times over the past 5 years.
     
  14. Legend

    Legend Member

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    I've had a HRD 4x10 and a Limited HR Deluxe for a few days now. Some of us can't afford the expensive amps, some of us can. I can, though my wallet is usually drawn to new guitars, not amps anymore. I still love both my HRDs. I currently own a BF Princeton, a SF PR, a blackfaced SF twin, an Orange rockerverb50, a Marshall JMP50, and a hughes & kettner triamp MKII. I have owned a few more fenders and marshalls in the past as well. I still love the clean sounds outta both new fenders. I do not in any way ever use the gain "channels", that is for sure. For what they do, which is a great fender clean sound, I think they're great. I haven't had any reliability problems with either of them yet. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
     
  15. clunk

    clunk Member

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    Just wanted to add. I dont have any experience with the HR deville or deluxe models. However i do have a freind who does own the HR Deluxe model. Two changes he made were in changing the preamp tubes to TAD 7025 highgrades and changed the speaker to a Weber i beleive it was, not sure of the model of speaker though. I think it was a C12N. For him both made a huge improvement to his tone. From what ive heard from the majority of owners of these amps, the biggest upgrade is in changing the speakers. Most prefer the Weber as an upgrade in tone.

    Clunk
     
  16. clunk

    clunk Member

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    Actually sorry missed the 4X10 you posted originally. If you have access try your amp out to some different 10" speaker enclosures. See if any have any appeal to you with different speaker brands to your style of playing. And of course there is a whole multitude of tube brands and combinations you could try. Generally the biggest impact on your tone will be in speaker type.

    Clunk
     

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