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Medium Gain Dirt Recommendation for AC15 Style Amp

sw532121

Member
Messages
134
I’m looking for a dirt box recommendation, please. I play vintage output single coils (Telecaster & Les Paul Junior) into an AC15(ish) style amp (Top Hat Club Royale). I run the amp with a bit of hair on everything. For lower gain I use a Timmy or Tim, and for all types of boosting, I use a Durham Electronics Sex Drive. I am very happy with both of these pedals, and the various levels of gain that I am able to obtain. As you are aware, both of these pedals fall into the “transparent” camp. However, I run both the pedals and the amp for a grittier sound (think biting and aggressive upper midrange).

What I am looking for is a pedal for medium to medium-high gain crunchy rhythm and single note work. Characteristics that I’d like from the pedal are:

  • Hard clipped sound (definitely not looking for smooth soft clipped tones)
  • Slight midrange boost (either inherently in the circuit or via a mid control)
  • No bass boost
  • Not a fuzz
I’m definitely not looking for a TS-style. I don’t like them with Voxy amps. The closest I have found so far is an OCD, but I didn’t like the overwhelming flubby bass boost (without any way to control it). I also liked the Compact Direct Drive, but it got too smooth for my taste at higher gain levels. I tried a Klon as well, but, with the gain set high enough to get into medium gain territory, the pedal was boosting too much midrange for the already midrange heavy Club Royale.

What am I looking for? Thanks in advance!
 

pedalparty

Member
Messages
1,407
I use a earthquaker devices talons for just this. I started a thread on it a month or two ago. Its called Voxish amp owners unite or something like that. There is probably some help in there for ya. I reviewed all the pedals Ive tried witht the vox in the thread
 

fusionid

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,036
I actually like clean boosters with AC15s style amps. My favorite to date is the soul food (perhaps less midrange per reports than a klon though I have not tried them side by side).

I am also looking forward to trying the speakeasy from mojo hand. Perhaps for what you are looking for a freq Q from fulltone? never tried it though but I hear it is midrange pleasure town.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,734
I'd really suggest a Bearfoot Emerald Green Distortion Machine . It has plenty of gain, a strong mid presence (though not a hump) , and plenty of texture in the breakup. Plus, it was designed to work with EL84s.

Hotcake is a good call, too.
 

sw532121

Member
Messages
134
Cliche, but I like a hotcake.
The Hotcake is definitely on the radar. I've always heard that it does wonders with a Voxy amp.

I use a earthquaker devices talons for just this. I started a thread on it a month or two ago. Its called Voxish amp owners unite or something like that. There is probably some help in there for ya. I reviewed all the pedals Ive tried witht the vox in the thread
I had never heard of the Talons. Thanks for the recommendation. It definitely looks interesting. I especially like the EQ options...

I'd really suggest a Bearfoot Emerald Green Distortion Machine . It has plenty of gain, a strong mid presence (though not a hump) , and plenty of texture in the breakup. Plus, it was designed to work with EL84s
I'd never really thought about using a "Vox in a box" pedal before, but I like the idea. Maybe I should look at Catalinbread's CB30 or Galileo too. Some demos that I listened to made the low end seem too full, and others didn't. What was your experience? I definitely do not want a boost in the lows. I also liked the sound of the Model G. Has anyone had used it with an AC15?
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,734
I'd never really thought about using a "Vox in a box" pedal before, but I like the idea. Maybe I should look at Catalinbread's CB30 or Galileo too. Some demos that I listened to made the low end seem too full, and others didn't. What was your experience? I definitely do not want a boost in the lows. I also liked the sound of the Model G. Has anyone had used it with an AC15?
I think the EGDM was originally developed to work WITH a Komet (if I'm not mistaken, though, Bjorn tuned it on an old AC10), and so it works great to give a non-Voxy amp some Vox flavor or to blend with a Vox preamp & give more drive. In fact, since it has a lot of drive available, I've used it with a cooking AC30 by turning the Drive down low (off) and cranking the output. Works great this way, too.

The VOICE knob adjusts the character of the mids & lows... Turned all the way to the left, it can give you some "thump" in the lows, but starting around 9:00 it's more neutral (though full) and as your turn the knob up from there you actually start to lose a little low end & the mids & highs transform, too. Kind of meant to emulate an AC30 "losing it's s$&t" as it's cranked... OT saturation, Alnico speaker compression, etc.

The VOICE pot combined with the High Cut available from the TREBLE knob let you dial in the lows & highs, but to me the mids always shine through strong.

I own a Model G too and it's great with a Vox as well, though it has less presence in the mids... More open mids, quite flexible in its ability to dial in / out the low end, and a subtle yet fairly effective "C" knob which gives some treble variety. Great box.
 

Meriphew

Member
Messages
7,992
You might try a Rat/Rat variation type pedal. I use a Walrus Iron Horse into my AC30 and my Morgan AC20 Dlx. Works well.
 

earwax

Member
Messages
5,689
You might try a Rat/Rat variation type pedal. I use a Walrus Iron Horse into my AC30 and my Morgan AC20 Dlx. Works well.
I don't use an iron horse but I have a VFE Alpha Dog I swap out with an OCD that's usually on my board. It doesn't have the low end the OCD does.
 

TheGuildedAge

Senior Member
Messages
13,060
I don't think my Rat works as well for crunchy chords and stuff, I mostly use it for lead. You can dial back the gain of course and mess with the filter, but to me the hotcake is a little better for crunch while the Rat is better for smooth saturation. It sounds a little thing to me too, at lower gain.
 

RSRD

Member
Messages
4,972
-EGDM
- SYOD2
-bogner Blue

All very amp like in feel and tone with a crispness that cuts. I don't like fuzzy and muddy distortion.
 

sw532121

Member
Messages
134
First and foremost, thank you for all of the suggestions! Please keep them coming!

SYOD1? Mid control, gainy, non TS, non fuzz, great amplike feel
I originally thought this might be the ticket as well. I got one, and I found it to be a bit bright with the Club Royale. I was able to compensate with the amp's cut knob, but what I didn't get along with was the midrange frequencies of the "M" knob. It seemed to be focused on lower mids that either got muddy when turned up, or thinned the amp out in a way that I didn't like. I really wanted to like this, but it just didn't work with my rig.

-EGDM
- SYOD2
-bogner Blue

All very amp like in feel and tone with a crispness that cuts. I don't like fuzzy and muddy distortion.
I've read some about the EQ differences between the SYOD1 & 2. Have you compared the SYOD2 with the SYOD1?

I was also interested in the Blue, but I heard about all of the complaints about the huge jump in volume with the boost side. I tried one out, and definitely understood the complaints. However, I did really like the OD side, but that's a pretty expensive option!

You might try a Rat/Rat variation type pedal. I use a Walrus Iron Horse into my AC30 and my Morgan AC20 Dlx. Works well.
I was thinking about a Rat as well. My only complaints with Rats in the past has been the lack of EQ options. I know that there are a ton of "improved" Rats out there now. I'll check out the Iron Horse. Any other Rat style pedals you'd recommend?

Barber Gain Changer... You can thank me later.
I know that you're a big fan of this pedal, FenderBigot. All I'll say is that I've owned it 4 times, and while I desperately wanted it to work, it did not (for the specific application that I needed it to fill). This is what ultimately led me to try the Compact Direct Drive.

I don't use an iron horse but I have a VFE Alpha Dog I swap out with an OCD that's usually on my board. It doesn't have the low end the OCD does.
Never heard of the Alpha Dog, but it looks cool. I'll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

Kingsley Jouster for your exquisitely discerning tastes, sir.
I guess I should take a look at the Kingsley stuff again, but in the past I always put their pedals in the softer clipped smooth range. Am I mistaken?
 

Prince

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,945
I have exactly the same question. I need a low/medium gain pedal to replace my MXR Classic OD. The TS hump just isn't right for Voxs. I need something that will give me a good low/med gain sound on its down and used to boost a Rat.
 

sw532121

Member
Messages
134
I have exactly the same question. I need a low/medium gain pedal to replace my MXR Classic OD. The TS hump just isn't right for Voxs. I need something that will give me a good low/med gain sound on its down and used to boost a Rat.
I'm very happy with my current boost and low gain tones. With a Voxy amp, I think anything in the "transparent" camp is a good solution (Timmy, Gain Changer, etc.). This way you're simply getting "more of your amp" without altering the current tone. After all, we did buy a Vox style amp for a reason, right? Where I am struggling is trying to get the medium to medium-high gain tones that I'm looking for. I want to retain (and slightly accentuate) the bite and "gritty" nature of the amp (upper midrange). However, I do not want to increase bass or have a TS style mid hump. IMO, TS mid humped pedals make Voxes sound "nasally". And most importantly, I do not want to smooth out the tone. I'm definitely not looking for Dumble style gain. I definitely respect guys like E. Johnson, R. Ford, etc., but that's just not my thing.

What I'd like to find is a pedal with the same fundamental tone as a Tim/Timmy, but with more gain and a slight push in upper midrange. I'm going to try out several of the suggestions that have been offered here as many of them look promising!

Did the Direct Drive do it for you? That would have been my suggestion.
The Compact Direct Drive definitely had the correct range of mid boost, however its tone was too soft clipped, smooth, and compressed at higher gain.
 
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