Matchless HC30 or Divided by 13???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Myron Stratis, May 31, 2005.


  1. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    So it has to be in head format. What I have in mind is a chimey cleanish-crunchy tone. I already have an opinion on this: My good friend Tedwoods, which I completely trust, owns a '93 Matchless DC30 and a Divided by 13. What he says is "go for the Divided" What do you believe? Which amp records and performs better in a band context? Which Divided by 13 model do you prefer?
     
  2. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Myron, how important are these to you:

    - very sparkly cleans (lots of top-end compexlity)
    - wide, less-defined freq focus vs. more focused harmonically towards low-mids
    - big solid low-end

    And what kind of guitar (pickups) do you want to play through this most of the time?
     
  3. celestion101

    celestion101 Silver Supporting Member

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    My FTR 37 with matching 2x12 cab is a 6V6 chime monster that loves pedals. I own a lot of amps and this one shines. I play alt-country (Americana), Rock, and straight country, and it works great. Just as good for blues and harder rock. Truly a working players dream. Now I also love my Matchless amps. It just depends on your taste and the sound you want.:dude
     
  4. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    Hey Leon!

    Thanks for the reply my friend! I really don't know! :) I have very little experience with these amps, I just feel that I need that jungly, open tone that they can offer. What do you prefer between those two? Which one takes pedals better?
     
  5. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    So how would you compare them tone-wise? Which one is tighter and more complex sounding? Have you tried recording with both of these?
     
  6. tedwoods

    tedwoods Member

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    Hey Myron,

    So I guess that means I'm exposed...!(just kidding)

    Ted
     
  7. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    Yes you are! :D Nah, you know how much I trust you, I would like to hav a couple more opinions... I must admit that the FTR 37 looks sooooo sweet...:) Yesterday I had a talk with Fredric and I called him with the usual I-don't-know-what-I-want behavior. He immediately suggested the FTR 37, his best selling amp. What a great guy! :)
     
  8. RichSZ

    RichSZ Member

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    Having owned a Matchless Chieftain, and currently owning the FTR 37, and will be owning an RSA 31 in about (I think 2 more months...hurry Fred!!), I'm going to give the edge to the FTR 37, until I get a chance to really play the RSA.

    I really loved the Chieftains cleans. They were big, bold, and deep, but I could never get past the flubbiness (looseness?) of the Chieftain when it started to push into overdrive. I still think the Chieftain's cleans are the best I've heard, but the FTR 37 is such a complete amp. It does everything I want it to do, and does it so well.

    The way I use my FTR 37 is with an R9 w/ Fralin PAF clones on the Reverb channel and a Bad Monkey as a boost (Gain on the BM is set to 0). I also have the mid boost knob pulled out on the amp. Amp is currently being used in half-power mode. Another cool thing I like about the reverb channel is when the reverb is totally off you get a very veyr small bit of reverb coming through at louder volumes. Just enough for some character.

    I guess what I'm saying is another vote for the FTR 37.

    -Rich
     
  9. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay Myron, then let me help:

    1 - very sparkly cleans (lots of top-end compexlity)
    2 - wide, less-defined freq focus vs. more focused harmonically towards low-mids
    3 - big solid low-end

    The more 1 is important to you, the more you're likely to enjoy an HC-30 a bit more. The more you want a more focused sound with a big, tight, low-end and solid low-mids the more likely you'll be happier with a Divided by 13.

    C-30's sound is very sparkly and gorgeous, rich, lush. But they don't hold up as well under higher gain situations. I think they take OD and boost type pedal really well though.

    The Divided by 13s (certainly the FTR37) has WAY more low-end. It's big, tight and ballsy. But they're still very warm sounding. The 'teeth' of the '37s distortion are fine, small and even when compared to "classic '70s Marshall distortion". The /13s generally don't have the top end complexity of the Matchless amps.

    But of the /13s I think the RSA 31 and RSA 23 have the most complex top-end. The RSA 23 is also the most 'Marshall-like'. This is the amp for anyone who wants the /13 refinements and responsiveness with a kind of Marshall-like OD sound/aggressiveness.

    Just my 2 cents...or more like a buck...heheh.
     
  10. Moods

    Moods Supporting Member

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    "Chimey, cleanish-crunchy tone" basically defines a Matchless at it's best IMO. If you are looking to get drive by pushing the amp hard all by itself (which doesn't appear to be the case) a Matchless can be less defined and flubby in the bass. With a good OD pedal or tube screamer they are plenty tight and sound fantastic in just about any situation.

    The FTR is great amp... nothing negative there IMO. It's not going to have the top end complexity of a C30. However it will definitely rock the C30 in to the ground without a pedals.

    I've never played a FTR in a band context. I bet it kills. I've done the majority of the rock/pop gigs I have played over the last ten years with a C30 in one form or another. The C30 is without a doubt one of the most flexible and great sounding amps in a live situation. In the studio, using a couple of different pedals, you could do a whole CD with a C30.

    Both are great amps and I don't think you could go wrong with either. I would give Matchless the knod based on your brief criteria.

    Good luck!

    <M
     
  11. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    Let me throw another one in the mix: TopHat King Royale. 4xEL84 that takes the AC30 thing and sends it in new directions.

    The Matchless DC30 (HC30 is the head version) is benchmark chime tone, and I love mine. It has two channels, and the clean chime is the first one. The gain channel has enormous grunt and power. The voicing is trademark Matchless: clear and chimey and a bit of steel. The sound has this amazing 3-D swirl into the mismatched 2x12 Matchless speakers (or cab).

    The King Royale also has two channels. Ch 1 is the chime thing, standard AC30. Ch2 is the TB circuit. But the genius here is that you can flip small switches to boost Ch2 for a lead, or else give it a Brilliant voicing. You can flip another switch and clean up either Ch 1 or Ch2. With an A/B/Y pedal, it's truly a two-channel amp, as is the Matchless.

    Can't comment on the Div-13 ... but their rep is terrific!

    Kiwi
     
  12. guitarcrazy2004

    guitarcrazy2004 Member

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    13-all the way :) fred is super to deal with!!!!!:D
     
  13. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! I am DEFINITELY confused! :) I can understand that the HC30 and the FTR 37 are very different amps, I just don't know what I need more...
     
  14. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    So here my last question: Into normal gigging levels (not too loud) which amp will be tighter if driven by OD pedals for rhythm? (Maxon SD9, Roger Mayer Voodoo1, can you say Mike???:D )
     
  15. hansoloist

    hansoloist Supporting Member

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    Myron, the /13 is definitely going to have a bigger and tighter bottom. That said, the ODs might sound pretty tight through a Matchless that isn't being pushed too hard.

    My suggestion--buy used. You will easily be able to sell either amp for what you paid.

    If this still isn't enough info for you, I'd seriously consider consulting the Oracle at Delphi.;)

    peace
    -jeff
     
  16. Myron Stratis

    Myron Stratis Supporting Member

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    Hey Jeff! :D Even Delphi could not give an answer to this situation! :D Used Matchless in Europe??? The "bootique" market in Europe simply does not exist...:(

    This is not a win-loose thing, I can understand that every amp has it's character I just don't know what I want!!!! Right now I am thinking about the Matchless' Voxy character and shiny presence. I already own Marshall-type amps so i think I would go for the HC30... But what about the FTR37's sweetness and bigness??? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!:D
     
  17. hansoloist

    hansoloist Supporting Member

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    Hrmmmm. If you want Voxy top end complexity AND big, full low end, you might want to check out the /13 RSA 31. From what I've heard it has that lovely Voxy top end with that signature /13 bottom.

    peace
    -jeff
     
  18. no1yuno

    no1yuno Supporting Member

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    I've had an FTR37 for quite awhile (maybe 2 years?) and love it.
    I was recently at Fred's shop and got to play the RSA 23 and the 31. After about 4 notes on the 31 I had a huge smile on my face.
    I've been playing for about 30 years and have heard just about everything. I've done a lot of session and live work. I've tried some Matchless amps in the studio. I told Fred I would definitely be ordering a 31..... and I did! You can't go wrong with that amp.
     
  19. RichSZ

    RichSZ Member

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    I spoke with Fred today to check on my RSA31 and he mentioned he thinks this amp will catch on and give the 37 a run for it's money as far as being popular.

    Cool to hear that!

    -Rich
     
  20. Distortion

    Distortion Member

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    I have a FTR 37 and also a 92 Matchless HC30. They are both great amps, but if I had to let one of them go it would be the Matchless. There is just something special about the 37..
    But I have to say the RSA 31 looks like an amp I just might have to try.. :D
     

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