Iconic vintage amp shootout collaboration: Marshall / Fender / Vox / Hiwatt / Orange / Supro

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 13stitches, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Hi everyone!

    First off, hope you all are doing well in these strange times...

    Sitting in self-isolation made me think of an amp shootout between the vintage amps at my disposal. The thing is, i've had little time to play guitar in recent years and my chops are dusty and were not fantastic before that either (unneeded distraction in a comparison). While many of us a re stuck in self-isolation, i thought: would you people, among whom there are many brilliant players, be interested in a collaboration for this? Send me your DI guitar recordings and I will reamp them through 6 iconic vintage amps and make the comparison publicly available for everyone. Important: clips need to be recorded through a Hi-Z input on your audio interface and be in an uncompressed wav format. You can send your own licks, some bits of classics from various genres (blues and rock styles would be particularly appreciated), anything that you yourself would be interested to hear in a comparison of this sort. You can also use your favorite overdrives, boosts, fuzzes or any other effects to see how the amps take these. A good way to record is probably by using an amp sim while recording, in order to get the feel and response that you are after.

    I have the necessary equipment to reamp the recordings properly so that the amps see the correct instrument level signal - it is as if you'd record directly into the amps - dynamics and all nuance will be preserved. All amps would be recorded through a Suhr Reactive load, then the signal goes into Cubase, where i add an Ownhammer IR. This way the results can be consistent and comparable on the same terms for all the amps across the board. So signal chain would be
    recording -> PRO RMP -> AMP 1-6 -> REACTIVE LAOD -> AUDIO INTERFACE -> IR
    Also, if you are interested, i could additionally upload raw recordings without added IR's, if you wish to try your own.

    The purpose of the video is to show the similarities and differences of these amps in a wide range of applications and situations under identical circumstances. The aim is not to monetize this content, so it can also be clips and bits of copyrighted material. Similar comparisons often compare different amps through different speakers. I'd like this to really concentrate on the amps and therefore run them all through the same IR (the most consistent way of recording/comparing). Youtube might be one possible platform for this, as it is a popular place where people look for this kind of content. Everyone who's clips would be used, would be referenced accordingly in the credits (or not, if he/she does not want to be referenced).

    I have various pedals too that can be thrown into the mix, if you aim for some specific sounds - SRV, Hendrix, Clapton, Brian May, Gilmour, Trower, etc.

    The amps at my disposal are:

    1963 VOX AC30 copper panel integrated top boost (Albion OT)
    1964 Supro 1688TN authentic clone with classic tone transformers, has no head cab yet
    1965 Fender Super Reverb converted to a head (by a previous owner)
    1966 Marshall JTM 45/100 (all era correct parts, Marstran transformers)
    1974 Orange OR120 running in OR80 mode (two tubes)
    1976 Hiwatt DR504 literally untouched inside

    PEDALS that could be tossed into the equation

    BOOST / PREAMP
    Dallas Rangemaster clone
    Buffalo FX PowerBooster
    Colorsound Overdriver (1973 original)
    Chase Tone Secret Preamp
    Vertex Boost

    TUBE OVERDRIVE
    Buttler Tube Driver
    Kingsley Page
    Kingsley Constable
    Kingsley Jester
    Kingsley Squire Top Boost
    Kingsley Squire 86
    Kingsley Squire Blackface

    OVERDRIVE / DISTORTION
    Ibanez Tube Screamer
    Klon Centaur clone (from AION kit)
    Marshall Bluesbreaker
    Marshall Shredmaster
    Marshall Guvnor
    Marshall Drivemaster
    ProCo whiteface Rat

    FUZZ
    FuzzFace Ge clone
    RambleFX TwinBender
    Vox ToneBender MKIII clone (i cloned a spectacular sounding original that i owned for a while)
    Octavio

    MODULATION
    Uni Vibe (God Vibe by Jun Dog God)
    FoxRox TZF Flanger
    EH Electric Mistress
    MXR Flanger
    Chase Bliss Spectre
    A/DA Flanger
    A/DA PBF Flanger
    Boss CE-1
    EH Small Clone
    Boss DC-2
    MXR Phase 90
    Neo Mini Vent

    DELAY
    Binson Echorec T7E
    Echoplex EP3
    Roland Space Echo
    EH Memory Man
    Strymon Volante

    REVERB
    Surfy Bear Spring Reverb
    Logidy EPSI
    Catalinbread Talisman

    Drop me a message or post here if you would like to participate, know someone who would like to participate or have some ideas how this could be done and if you'd be interested in this sort of comparison.

    And finally here is a pic of the amps (except the Supro) and old delays for some inspiration:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
    chumbucket, Prince, Plainman and 8 others like this.
  2. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    25,569
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Wow, that is a SPECIAL collection of amps! I'd probably skip the pedals for the first iteration-just record a loop (or several of them quieter and louder for overdrive considerations), crank the amps and see what happens!
     
  3. WillLane

    WillLane Member

    Messages:
    1,704
    Joined:
    May 11, 2015
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Great idea! I don't keep most my gear at home otherwise I would send you some stuff today. It may also be important to record a large variety of riffs and play styles not just through blues and rock; big, blooming chords for the cleans of AC30's and SR, power chords for the JTM and OR120, etc. A large variety of material to show case how a variety of genres/play styles sound through each amp.
     
    13stitches likes this.
  4. tinkercity

    tinkercity Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,050
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    This sounds amazing! Looking forward to hearing and seeing the results!
     
    13stitches likes this.
  5. SexHaver420

    SexHaver420 Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2016
    Play the OR 120 with 4 tubes on 10 or scared.
     
    De Batz likes this.
  6. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Yes, that is a good consideration about it all being a bit much with pedals. I thought I would not go crazy about the pedal part and initially keep it to a few. But let's see how it goes. After all it depends a lot on you people: what you would like to see/hear in the first place? Just the amps first and maybe later setups with various pedals?

    WillLane, much appreciated that you are willing to participate! I totally agree - i would really like this to portray the various tonal landscapes that these amps can create within the context of different genres and playing styles. This includes also pick vs finger picking, etc. And another interesting and huge factor is simply... different players. And if you can find the time to do something along the lines what you just described, it would be a great addition.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    25,569
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Do you have the equipment to get a "good sound" for recording? There isn't a night and day difference between high end camera mics and real mic/preamp setups, but it's still audible...
     
  8. De Batz

    De Batz Member

    Messages:
    2,399
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Mine sounds like Brian Blessed after a couple of glasses of wine. It's not a sound I could imagine using with a band unless I was the only guitarist...

    I'd be interested to know how it stacks up against the Hiwatt for punch and volume, though. I have a feeling that mine could be tweaked for more headroom with relevant preamp tubes; it currently has a couple of Mullards which sound fantastic but it's fully overdriven with humbuckers by 1/3 on the gain dial.
     
    13stitches likes this.
  9. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Good point! Actually it was a consideration due to the power handling of the cabinets which i use - the vintage Marshall cab takes only roughly 100w and the OR120 will dish out probably something along the lines of 150w or more when cranked. The OR120 is not much less massive in the OR80 mode, but it is honestly nowhere near as scary as the Hiwatt (a freight-train of a sound) and also not as punchy as the JTM 45/100. It has a smoother beginning of the note (less attack) and is voiced quite a bit lower, so not nearly as bright. As almost all of the amps here are 30-50w amps (the JTM 45/100 being an exception, but actually being only roughly 70-80w) it might also be more comparable to the others.

    I can tell right off the bat that my experience with mine is very similar to what you describe. The OR starts to smoothly overdrive very soon (that's the preamp as far as i know). To me it sounds like it is nicely compressed in the preamp while very dynamic in the power amp. It is voiced deeper than any other amp i know, it sounds massive and thick, it takes pedals quite well, but tends to give them its own character - overdrive pedals start to sound very similar through this amp. But the Hiwatt is definitely WAY brighter, SEEMS louder (have not checked it with a DB meter) and even the 50W DR504 is punchier. I have acquired some tolerance towards loud amps, but the Hiwatt is still the one that i am a bit scared of. DR103 must be the one which brings last few DB's to get tinnitus.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
    De Batz likes this.
  10. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    I do have some decent mics - 2x SE R1 ribbon mics, Sure SM57, Rode NT-2 condenser and a decent audio interface (Roland Quad Capture). But actually i plan on using the reactive load line out signal to capture the direct sound of the amp and apply high quality (96kHz / 500ms) IR of a cabinet (probably something by Ownhammer - these do sound best to my ears, very balanced, not as scratchy and thin as many others). That's for two reasons: getting a sound that is equally well balanced is extremely difficult with the real mics, but doable. The issue is, when the mike stand will move even half a centimeter, i will not ever be able to get the same exact sound again, because it makes a big difference in tone, as you surely know. Therefore the IR approach lets me revisit any of the amps or setups, add further clips or maybe even amps and never bother about the cabinet/mic side of things being a variable.
     
    De Batz likes this.
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    25,569
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    A vintage Orange is the only big iron amp I know of that stayed with a cathodyne phase inverter. That accounts for the compression and smooth overdrive-in the preamp, yes, but mostly in the PI. The power section is raging-bigger iron than a 100w Marshall, although not quite up to Hiwatt standards. So the Orange will crunch and roar, while the Hiwatt just gives you back what you feed it. And yes, the Hiwatt flat out will be louder than the Orange, although neither is very tolerable for long. I have a Sound City (sorta vaguely designed from Hiwatt) PS200 with 4 KT88s into a 212 Sunn cab with JBL D130f speakers, that will bury either one. It literally hurts, even with 20 dB ear plugs in, and stuff starts falling off shelves all over the basement. The iron in that amp is the biggest I've ever seen Partridge transformers.

    I hear you about using IRs and being able to reproduce things. You need one of those motorized mic mounts that'll put your mic back in the same place, every time! It'd be interesting, though, to hear how an IR of a quad of Fanes with a Hiwatt or Orange vs and actual 412 sounds in the room....
     
    De Batz and 13stitches like this.
  12. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Yeah, i literally can't imagine what these 4x KT88 amps do to buildings, humans and animals. It hurts to imagine what the 400w Hiwatts do :D Even a DR504 gets picture frames off tables and does other small redecorations in your house.

    I actually am digging into the topic of creating my own IR's - exactly from the same interest you mentioned. But we all know that the room sound is something different than either - miked recordings or IR's. A good example is the aforementioned OR80/OR120. In the room it's overdrive characteristics give it a big, smooth, bold sound that, while overdriven, kinda sounds clean and "together" at the same time. When you try to record that, you either get a too boomy version of the room sound or a very much more overdriven-sounding and congested close-miked sound. So, to capture that, a multi mic setup would be needed, which might yield best results, but again, might not be repeatable.
     
  13. De Batz

    De Batz Member

    Messages:
    2,399
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    I've done a bit of recording just recently with all of my amps, using a Koch Loadbox for convenience. The OR120 definitely gives a different sound compared to the modern MV amps (a Heartbreaker and a Cornford), and it's a great addition to my tonal palette which nothing else provides. It wouldn't be my first choice for a lone amp, as I've said, but as an additional flavour, it's great.
    Oddly, it sounds best in the room with a low-output Strat, perhaps the extra brightness balancing out the fierce lower end. But with some judicious EQing at the amp, it stands right out in a track, whatever guitar I've used.
     
    13stitches likes this.
  14. Echoplexi

    Echoplexi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,768
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    Plymouth, MA
    If you end up creating your own IRs, I’m begging you to make one of the Hiwatt 4x12 with your 504. I play a 504 and when I can’t use my cab I use a Suhr Reactive Load IR for studio recording. There isn’t a high quality IR on the market I know of of a real vintage Hiwatt 412 with real vintage Fanes. Please lol.
     
    maestro007 likes this.
  15. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Couldn't agree more - after the vintage Orange amps being associated with sludge and doom metal, I was VERY surprised to find out that the OR is one of my favorite semi-clean strat tone amps (prefer it to Marshall and Fender for that). It is big bold and smooth, easy to get some Hendrix-like strat tones despite the totally different amp. I think a part of the magic is that it handles bass so well, doesn't mush out or get fizzy.
     
  16. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    My cab has one Vintage 30 currently in the mix (that is how i bought it) - i'm looking for an original fane to replace the V30. Might not be a big deal with close-miking, but not the best premise, if you want an authentic 4x12 cab sound. Doesn't Ownhammer have a Hiwatt 4x12?
     
    maestro007 likes this.
  17. Echoplexi

    Echoplexi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,768
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    Plymouth, MA
    The only thing I see from them has a late 70s Fane in a Marshall (I think) 1x12 cab. That’s in some package deal with other cab/speakers

    There’s another guy who has a Hiwatt cab IR, but it has two random Eminence speakers mixed in with later Fanes.

    Those are the only options I know of available.

    edit: Redwirez seems to have one that looks good, I have no experience with that company though. Hopefully it’s nice
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  18. 13stitches

    13stitches Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Here is a short sound check of the proposed setup with the AC30. I am floored every time by the overdrive character of this classic clean amp :)
    Signal chain is Yamaha SA-1000 -> Vertex boost (on about 10db) -> AC30 Top Boost Channel -> Suhr Reactive Load -> Audio Interface -> IR (single IR of a 1x12 cab and a Celestion G65 speaker and M160 mic, no room sims, compressors or other effects. It is a 500ms IR though, so it definitely brings in some of the room sound).
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    Rendbontó, maestro007 and Echoplexi like this.
  19. guff

    guff Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    Location:
    cellar dweller
    Sticking a vertex boost in front of '63 AC30 Top Boost is some fine trolling, but how about a clip where we can hear how much better the integrated boost sounds?
     
  20. maestro007

    maestro007 Member

    Messages:
    666
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    Collingswood, NJ
    Hey...Ahoy my Isolated guitar brother. I am the same. Yeah this isolation Im taking every advantage of. The only time Im really wasting is like here or on fb but Ive been playing 14 hours a day since the pandemic and the practice really warmed me up and reaving.. Im three times the guitarist I was there months ago or Ive gone insane...Probably the latter lol!!!!. Does that make any sense or simply not possible and Im loosing my mind? lol. Either can be true.

    Im writing in my home studio and jamming and Im not doing anything else but sleep, shower and eat....Am I forgetting anything?? He he.

    Nice collection of vintage amps!!!!! no boutique which could make it really cool side by side comparison. ...but the real deal against newer whatever.. I have questions first.. Can we just forget this DI and have you run it through your amp? Id prefer to compare amps....Like what your using (very very nice) and what I have which would make great comparisons on multiple levels. I also don't want to play without an amp when recording. I want to feel what Im doing.


    1. So could we compare the gain to my OR15 against your 120?
    2. Or my Supro BlackMagick up against your Supro?
    3. Can we please compare your Vox to my Bad Cat Hot Cat 30? Id be using a Strat with EMG SAs so you could say you have the avandage because people here tend to think highly of passive pups and hate EMGs here for some reason.. OR I could use LP but rather go with a Strat?


    Here is my pedal board. I don't use anything else. Id say lets not use the pedal boards either.

    I also agree....Can we just do no FX? You have a much better board than me anyway and wouldn't really be a good comparison to anything except your own amps..

    Also...instead of you making something from a DI input.....why don't we compare our amps. Ill play something really simple and you can repeat it or vice versa. We have to record out at a specific DB (like -12) and use something basic we both have like a sm57 or whatever. I don't have a Suhr box..Like to get a UAD but not in the top of my list.

    OD
    - BE-OD 50 (origin not the new one but like to get the new one)
    - Tubescreamer TS808
    - Fulltone OCD (don't use much anymore so might go)
    - Blues driver
    - MXR Sugar drive
    - Vertex Boost

    But if you need to know Pedals Im very picky:
    1. Ok 535Q whah and I also have 95Q
    2. Phase 90 script
    3. Stereo Electric Mistress Flange/chorus hybrid
    4. DD7 delay

    Maybe later you can show me your fuzz boxes. I am so picky. Seems like Germanium types are the only type I can jove with and haven't picked one yet. I have a lot...Just sitting around lol.

    IF not...then Im gonna pass bro.. I am not good enough to play without really hearing myself when Im playing I don't think. Id want all the nuances to use while playing a specific amp. We all approach an amp differently do we not? So that makes sense plus Id be really curious as me of your amps are very similar or worthy of a true comparison! Not a competition. Just fun. Just amp comparisons! Id like to compare the to my own for good reasons.

    You have great taste by the way! Peace!

    Let me know and Ill log back on tomorrow or later tonight. If not its ok. ID really like to compare amp tones. You have some sweet amps made during great periods. I have newer of some boutiques that were modeled after what you have etc. I do it your way...Im just gonna get jealous of your amp collection anyway! LMAO!

    Enjoy your free time. I call it "the great Pause." So trying to make solid use of it.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice