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Matchless DC30 - Should I, or shouldn't I?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mild, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. mild

    mild Member

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    Oh goodness. I have been given a rare opportunity - first stab at a Matchless DC30 that a fine fellow wants to sell over here.

    These arn't exactly common place over here... whatsmore, I have rather yearned for the spec of a JMI-era Vox - my Rose Morris era AC30 gives me a more than substantial sound, and I AM happy with it... but I'm curious as to what this Matchless could give me in the sound department!

    So here's the skinny.
    Its a post-sampson era DC30, with the mis-matched speaker config. He is asking $4500NZD ($2800USD) for it. There is no shipping charge, as it is local, so that is somewhat of an attraction.

    Cosmetically speaking, it has been toured, and has taken a light spanking. Electrically, this thing is a tank, and would still be good for a few more drops on irritating 16 year old forum trolls.

    What pitfalls do I need to be careful of? What things should I be looking out for? And what am I signing myself up for here, if I go through with it?
     
  2. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Have you played it? Give it a good workout with a variety of guitars. Make sure you like the overdriven sound. The low end isn't the tightest when you really push the amp. Try lifting it a few times to see what you are in for. All that said, I've had one for ten years and it is a very fine amp.
     
  3. mild

    mild Member

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    Thanks e-z, sage advice. I've played it, but unfortunately not next to my AC30. So I'm trying to remain as objective as possible about it, and not rose-tint my memories... but it sounded flippin' cool, from what I remember. :)

    I've been heaving an 80's AC30 with no handles for the last 6 months. I'm getting pretty spry for a weedy guy... :D I carried this particular amp around the inside of a stadium for a conference that I was involved in.
    I ran a gear workshop, and we had a lot of fun. This amp charmed me then, and i've been enquiring ever since... its just... the time has come, and I'm so dead scared of dropping that much on an amp.

    I think i'm gonna do it. Pics to come!
     
  4. mild

    mild Member

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    Huzzah! Just got a call from the seller, and he is fine for me to try it, and borrow it while I make up my mind. He is happy to buy it back off me if I don't like it... haha.

    I don't think a deal of this sort gets any better. :D
     
  5. hw2nw

    hw2nw Member

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    As sad before, give it a good workout! Play it like you normally would, then take it up a few notches for a bit as well! If it's to your liking...get it. DC30s are awesome amps and you will be owning a new classic!
     
  6. Grant Ferstat

    Grant Ferstat Some guy in obscure bands in a far away place... Silver Supporting Member

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    Do it Jono L.

    To our USA based buddies that price probably doesn't seem like much of a bargain, but from a Southern Hemisphere perspective it's very fair and I doubt you'd ever not be able to recoup.

    Especially if you were prepared to ship it to Perth!
     
  7. TheAmpNerd

    TheAmpNerd Member

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    Pitfalls, they eat power tubes, so ensure you have 7189As,
    GEs or JJs seem to handle it well. Stock up on them too.

    Generally if it sounds good, low and when cranked, you'll be fine.
    You'll know when it is time for service, because it
    will either sound dull, or just keep moving into nasty distortion
    (meaning the outputs are starting to run away, turn red).

    Cone cry can be a problem, but if you are playing live
    it should be okay in the mix. Can be a problem when
    recording though and lower volumes. A used pre amp
    or power tube can also make these sound like they
    have a blown speaker, with ringing, rubbing etc.

    The number one imputs can also short to ground
    if they've been over tightened. These have been
    corrected in the later amps using the longer jack
    and a isulating washer in combination with a flat washer behind it.
    This ensures the isolation washer remains intact.
    This can also sound like some cone cry or distortion.

    Those are some of the more common things to be
    aware of with these amps.

    It almost sounds like a no lose situation, if the guy
    will buy it back, I'd say go for it, if you like it.

    Good luck let us know what you do.
     
  8. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    Go for it. JJ EL84s and NOS pre's and GZ34 really bring out the tone in these.
     
  9. datguytim

    datguytim Supporting Member

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    yup - try it & if you like it - grab it. A true modern classic that will retain it's value. I love Matchless amps!
     
  10. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    Since I assume you'll be headed off to pick up the DC 30 now ...:drool

    ... and you already know they weigh 86 lbs or 39kg or 6 stone ... :eek:

    ... then check out the following features:

    - Be aware there is a half-power switch on the back. Try it at 15w and again at 30w. (Not a lot of difference in volume.)

    - Run it with a decent A/B/Y pedal, and you can make it a footswitchable two-channel amp. Clean and gainy sides, as you will!

    - Listen for the magic 3-D chime and swirl from the mismatched speakers running at 4 ohms.

    - Dig the clean channel's Vox flavor. You could run reverb or chorus in that channel. Remember, each channel has its own effects loop (get a TRS jack, they are one-holers).

    - Dig the gain channel's thick grunt. Play with the five pre-set Tone settings. Play with the Hi or Low gain input to get your lead or crunchy sound. Try the gain channel with a delay pedal in its separate effects loop.

    - Try the Master volume, then give up. This amp needs to be run loud, with the Master turned off.

    I'll bet it will not be returned to the seller, is what I'm betting. Enjoy!

    The Other Kiwi
     
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Yup, I think you'll have fun! Not at all a Vox sound, but a good complement to a Vox.
     
  12. mild

    mild Member

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    Gentleman.

    It is with considerable pride that I announce this.

    I have been forced to amend my signature. :D:D:D
     
  13. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    JJ EL84s are "OK", but NOS Teslas kick major butt!:RoCkIn
     
  14. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

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    I love mine. Congrats!. For me, especially in a band situation, it's the best sounding amp I have.
     
  15. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    You must now follow all recommended testing procedures enumerated above, and then file a written report here.

    :)

    The Other Kiwi
     
  16. Soul Driver

    Soul Driver Member

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    Congratulations Jono L, great amps I wish I had one. If I had the Kiwi $$$$ to drop on one I would.

    I'm not a real Kiwi though just a British Immigrant! So where in NZ are you I'm in Wellington (this question goes for Kiwi as well).

    Cheers,

    Chris.
     
  17. Tone Shop Guitars

    Tone Shop Guitars Member

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    can't go wrong.
    it will slay your rose-morris era vox.
    tr
     
  18. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Congrats! I hope you love it.
     
  19. mild

    mild Member

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    Fellow Kiwi's! This is a great sight to see on this board. I hail from the City of Sails, Morningside specifically. (Yes, it is actually a place, and I'm not joking. :D) I have been playing for around 6 years now, and dirty old Ihug pays my weekly wage. How about yourselves?

    For the rest of you...

    ... and without further ado... gentleman, here she is:

    [​IMG]

    Mmmmm! Tasty! Here's some speakers and tubes pr0n...
    [​IMG]

    The matchless, and the gang... (warning: HOT photo...)

    [​IMG]

    Looks happy doesn't she? But enough with the innuendo... how does it (she?) sound?


    Man. This amp is TIGHT on the response, especially with the bottom end. I was super impressed with how good the clean is on it. Great sort of Vintage-y vibe... its not exactly on the money for a 60's vox, but damn if it isn't flippin' close enough for me. My tele already has a really good Vintage vibe to it, and this amp just brought it out beautifully.

    So, I put it side by side with my AC30 on saturday. Its BETTER than the AC, there is no doubt. It has better cleans, far more tonal variance and control, and a far better build quality. However, I know my AC in and out. I had my usual big sound dialled in really quickly, and set about trying to emulate it on the DC. Strangely enough, I couldn't quite nail the tone! I can get a different tone altogether, and its the voicing that is different. I gave up, and just had a good old thrash around on the DC, and it was super fun. I'll just have to have another crack at it some other time. I may actually post up some soundclips, to give you an idea of what I mean... my usual tone vs. the matchless. Maybe somebody could tell me what I need to do if I did... who knows. Either way, onward with the report...

    So I used it, Sunday morning, at church. It performed fine, and did its thing well. The half power switch enabled me to get a good sound fairly quickly. The relation between my pedals and the matchless is definitely different to my AC though, the whole thing sounded different with a band context. It didn't have to be pushed half as hard, was what I came to realise... I'm used to bombing my AC30 with my Hotcake and Compressor on, fulltime, and then overdriving on top of that for choruses. The Matchless just does its own thing, and sometimes it scares the hell out of me... haha. (Oh, and it sustains like crazy, and builds into feedback like nobodies business! I've never had an amp that does this... its wicked, but I have no idea how to control it! Moi a moi... :roll)

    So I'm still making up my mind whether I like it or not. I know that I am super impressed with the features of the Matchless... the thing is just severely pimped, and they really did think of everything. A quick read of the manual just about left me with a hard-on... haha. Oh, and the mismatched speakers were gold, for micing during the service! Sound guys were having fun...

    So, the verdict? I'm happy with the purchase. Its a fun amp, which I am definitely going to have some good times with, and keep for a long time. Its making me sell the Fender, as the Fender was my clean amp, but the cleans on the Matchless are just exquisite. As far as the drive is concerned, I like it, but at this stage its still lacking character - it seems to be taking away from the natural sound of the Tele, and just making a relatively generic overdriven sound - boooo.

    I don't distort heavily, simply a mediumly driven big sound for church... if I must subscribe to a reference, then think "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2. That's easily my favourite Tele vs. AC30 sound ever - especially live.

    I'll get round to some clips this week. My fingers hurt now, with the playing, and the typing... so, enough with the typing... :D
     
  20. Rusty G.

    Rusty G. Member

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    Jono. . .congrats on the DC30. I've got one and it's an amp I plan on keeping the rest of my life.

    I know that most people use the second channel for lead work (EF86 channel). . .I prefer the sound of the first channel. If you're using the master volume, crank channel one to about 3:00 o'clock. Now set the volume you're using to taste with the Master volume. Then, eq the amp to the guitar you're using and the sound you're chasing. Set your guitar's volume from between 4 to 8. For leads, crank your guitar's volume to 10.

    See if that isn't better for your tele. By the way, the DC30 LOVES single coil guitars, like tele's, strats, and especially. . .(drum roll). . .Rickenbackers.

    Also, try recording with it. I've yet to get a bad sound on disc with the DC30. It's got a mid range hump that makes it STAND OUT in a mix.

    Good luck with your new amp!
     

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