Matchless SC30 Sampson era

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Seegs, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    I am currently working on a trade deal for a Sampson era SC30 combo...

    I had a 96 DC30 back in the day which I bought in 97 that I liked a lot until I had to move it...I sold it because as much as I liked it I also missed blackface cleans...now that I have my BF cleans covered I can afford to have the Matchless as a change of pace or backup amp...

    My memory is a bit foggy but what am I in for as far as tones and amount of headroom available? How does it take pedals and what are you using for dirt?

    I remember my DC30 being as loud as a 100watt Marshall 1/2 stack but what about the 1x 12" combo?

    Have you switched out the stock Celestion V30 for anything different? If so what and how many watts would I need so that I don't blow it?

    I love headroom and alnico speakers but remember this being a bright amp so a Celestion Gold might be overkill in this amp...any other ideas for speakers? Something like the ceramics from WGS like the Green Beret or 50watt Invader might be nice as they knock down the volume somewhat...
     
  2. Veritas

    Veritas Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't like Alnicos with Matchless amps. They seem to emphasize frequencies that are already prominent. The stock ceramic Celestions sound great with the C30 line.
     
  3. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    I'm a Gold lover and use em with Fender amps...I can see your point but I'm not a big fan of V30s...

    Maybe a greenback style speaker might be more to my liking...
     
  4. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    I like the Matchless H30 in my 2002 SC30. I cut some tracks for a record using a DC30 and I like the SC30 better. At identical settings: it's more reasonable (less unreasonable?) in volume and you get more speaker texture from the SC30, which to me is a big part of the sound / feel.

    I get more headroom than I could ever need on the 12AX7 channel in HI power mode.

    I've had good luck with most dirt pedals I've tried, as long as you are hitting the amp with a good amount of volume boost (rangemaster clones, Gaspedals Carb, Fulltone Soulbender fuzz, Matchless Hotbox, Timmy, Lovepedal Amp11.) Less good with 'amp in a box' pedals (Box of Rock, Distortron, Animal).

    My experience with Matchless amps is that they sound great with Gibsons, and sound absolutely dag blasted amazing with Fenders. :) They are good for cleans / edge of breakup / crunch. Sound great getting gainier with pedals, but for more overdriven sounds they don't really do the focus / tightness of something like a Divided by 13 amp - Matchless is voiced a bit cleaner than that; they do break up for sure but that sweet spot on a Matchless is less overdriven than for example the sweet spot of D13 or a Marshall.
     
  5. hacinador

    hacinador Member

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    The Celestion Gold is maybe the worst speaker I have ever tried with my "Matchless voiced" amp. I love Vintage 30, I like G12H and G12M. Matchless are made for ceramic magnet speakers and I have found there the right magic happens with V30 :)
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Had an SC30 a while back, great amp on it's own but such a PITA with pedals. People who say these amps are pedal whores are on crack cocaine. That being said boosters work well, as do tone bender fuzzes.

    I have a Vox AC15 Heritage and it's really what a Matchless SC30 is, except 15 watts. I'm looking into a high gained pedal and am going to give the bearfoot model H a try.

    Regarding speakers, when I owned the SC30 I thought it sounded great with a Eminence GB128 as it mellowed the highs a touch. I also tried these and didn't really like any of them - Anniversary, Gold, and possibly a Vintage 30. The Vintage 30 is good but made the amp too much of a rock thing from what I can piece together.

    It's been a few years since I've owned it and they are great, I like the Vox I just got for the same reason and it cost me a lot less money. I would have bought a Matchless I just didn't want to dish out this much for a second amp. Good luck with yours.
     
  7. guitback

    guitback Member

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    I had an HC 30 (head only) version in '94/'95. That was one loud amp. My take is that although it certainly has headroom, it isn't the same as the Fenders I was so used to. My take is that since there is no negative feedback, there is always some "extra frosting" going on, even at low levels. The sound is for some folks -simply too rich (especially with high end overtones). That is the Vox DNA in there. For lack of a better way to put it...it never completely calms down like a Fender when you lower the volume. In that sense you can never achieve quite the same delicate or intimate thing you can with a Fender amp. Then again, Fenders will never punch through in the same manner as a Vox/Matchless! I think of a Matchless (or Vox) as a bit like something that is "full spectrum" in that you are not getting as much comb-filtering effect as you do with other amps. Again...it is quite rich in its flavor, and sometimes too much for some folks. But hey...I'm a person who pours pure cream on his cereal...I like it unadulterated! I think that is part of the reason a 30 watt amp like a Vox or Matchless can keep up with much higher wattage amps. They are simply unadulterated and really punch through.

    Regarding speakers, I had one of the first Celestion Blue Reissues and loved it, but of course I was never playing it loud because of its wattage rating. I know that many love the V-30 in that amp. I simply have never gotten along with that speaker (but not for lack of trying!)...even with a Matchless. Oddly, I ended up using a Kendrick Blackframe speaker with the Matchless. With that speaker I didn't use the "Cut" knob as much.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  8. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    I plugged in my 8 ohm 1X 10" and 2X 10" Celestion gold cabs and I must say I did not hate the tone..in fact I loved it...

    Here's what I noticed...as long as you are playing at lower volumes the Golds sound great to me...nice and chimey and sparkly and very bouncy and lively...they give the amp more bounce and springiness and more dimension to the tone...it's a very 3D and harmonically rich tone...the rolled off tones are incredibly chimey and very pleasing to me...crank it and all bets are off..the Gold doesn't hold together as well as the V30...it gets loose and farty and raspy...so you have to pick the right speaker for your needs and use it within its strengths...

    My 1990 Rat sounds amazing through this amp with my OX4 loaded 2009 R8 Les Paul and my Underwood tele with Klein Nocasters has never sounded this good...

    Those who said it sounds great with a LP but incredible with a tele hit the nail right on the head...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. nolenuttt

    nolenuttt Gold Supporting Member

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    My two cents-Don't mess with the stock speaker in the SC30-They really knew what they were doing when they matched the amp and speaker-I've tried more than 10 different speakers, alnico and ceramic, and none sound as good to my ears-All subjective, of course....Great amps, but I think they're a bit fussy with OD pedals-I really like mine with just a good old Tubescreamer-
     
  10. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    First off, congrats on the score! Great amp in great hands here.

    Interesting about the Gold. Wonder if, like mentioned, it accentuates certain frequencies as with its power rating you would think it would hold together a bit better.
     
  11. Texas Jake

    Texas Jake Member

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    Nice score indeed. I bought an identical SC30 back in '94 and still have it. I gigged with mine for years while in a country band and I totally agree with the comments above. A Tele and a Matchless is an amazing combo. I found both the 12AX7 and EF86 channels took pedals well but certain overdrives worked better than others. In general, I preferred TS type pedals but also found the AMP11 works really well as does a Timmy. It's OK with a KLON and I've found not very good with high gain or fuzz type pedals. YMMV.

    After 20 years, mine was starting to sound a little tired so I sent it off to Phil last year for an overhaul. I also had him put the chassis in a head and bought one of their 2x12 cabs with the mismatched Celestians. The tone is just stunning. I very much agree with the descriptors above... loud, punchy, clean (but not Fender type clean), complex, and just plain musical. I never, ever had a problem cutting through a mix...regardless of stage/venue size, style of music, or number of players/ stage volume. And I used it in the 15 watt mode most of the time!
     
  12. boyce89976

    boyce89976 Supporting Member

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    Guiness Lad, I respect you from your contributions to this forum, but I have to whole-heartedly disagree with you on using pedals into a C-30 model Matchless. Perhaps you weren't using the right pedals, or your combination of amp and pedal settings didn't work? I've found that for me, the JHS Morning Glory is pure bliss at any setting (this is a blues breaker circuit). I've also had great success with several 808-type variants (JHS, Wampler to name a couple).

    My current setup is a Morning Glory (bright switch engaged, drive just past edge of breakup) into a JHS Double Barrel (MG side gain set to 1-2 o'clock and bright switch disengaged, TS-808 side gain set to 1-2 o'clock with the TS808 side first in the chain). I can get everything from Mayer to Warren Dimartini (or close to it) with my Tele.

    Seegs - congrats on the amp!
     
  13. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Looks like my old SC-30. These are great amps, on the heavy side @ around 75, but if you can deal with the weight are very rewarding. I used many pedals with mine and had no trouble with any. It came to me with a blown speaker so I ordered a Matchless Celestion from Phil.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  14. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a 1x12 Matchless King Cobra and the G12H30 speaker in there is a perfect match.
     
  15. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    FANE AXA12 100w (TAD in Germany has them) and less efficient, IME .

    The new Celestion Cream Alnico is rated @ 90w, reportedly has thicker
    highs than the Golds and is supposed to be more like a Blue than the Gold
    turned out to be( I like the Golds, BTW..) tone-wise ,
     
  16. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    I have been running my HC30 through a 4x12 with V30s and it sounds great. I used to have a Matchless ESD as well, and will likely get another one at some point. I remember that cab could put out a ridiculous amount of bass for a 212.

    I agree with the folks who have said the C30 has headroom, but that it is different than Fender style headroom; it's a bit of an adjustment if you're used to a high wattage AB rig. The cleans are excellent, but they have a certain richness and harmonic aspect to them... You get the root note but there's lots of overtones going on at the same time. It's not that the amp sounds dirty, but it's not a loud clean fundamental like you would get out of a twin etc. Awesome sound though - I've bought and sold a few high end amps and have no plans to part with this one any time soon.
     
  17. Staggerlee

    Staggerlee Member

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    What folks should know about Matchless amps is that the preamp tubes are ran pretty hot and it has no negative feedback, so the sound is very crisp and edgy. Don't be afraid to dial the tone or treble below noon in order to tame it. It just how these amps work. A dark, thick sounding pedal like a Jetter Gold is a great match.
     
  18. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Apparently my stock speaker is an M Celestion modified for Matchless...tis amp just sounds great but the golds do some nice things as well in certain applicaitions...

    Mine is currently experiencing some thermal issues where after about 45 minutes the volume drops and the tone gets thin and raspy and then it may fade in and out between that and normal tone...

    It was supposedly serviced awhile back and my trading partner was unaware of it as he didn't use it much for his current theater gigs...he is willing to void the deal and give me my amp back but I want to keep this amp and have the problem fixed...

    Hopefully it is a bad or cold solder joint...a bad tube/socket or a partially fried resistor or cap of some sort...something minor I hope!!

    I sent Phil at Matchless an email yesterday and am awaiting some troubleshooting ideas before cracking it open...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  19. Texas Jake

    Texas Jake Member

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    Phil did a complete overhaul on mine at a completely reasonable price and I honestly think it came back sounding better than when it was new. He'll get you squared away and those amps are definitely worth it.

    Mine was doing a similar thing and also had some scratchy pots. I first tried a retube but still had issues. Phil replaced some caps, pots, fixed a loose ground and put some NOS GE tubes in it. Now it sounds incredible.
     
  20. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Sounds great and good to know but unfortunately I'm in Germany so I will have to do the work myself or take it somewhere...too heavy to ship...

    I'd love to have Phil do the work :D
     

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