meteor II owners, questions ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mattmccloskey, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    I have always loved mark bartels amps, and the meteor II has me gassing. 2 quick questions:
    How loud does the 2nd channel get before you get some singing gain going? I had a comet 40a and it came on pretty loud pretty quick. In 20 watt setting I could get enough drive at gig settings, with the mid bite up. How is the taper on the new meteor, in terms of gain available, volume, and how gradual it works?
    2nd, have any of you tried a boost pedal or dirt box into the lead side. For example, setting the lead side to an either darker pushed sound and kicking a pedal for overdrive, or setting it crunchy and using a boost?
    In other words, how do you get your various shades of clean to dirt at different volume levels?
    thanks!
     
  2. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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  3. KLB

    KLB Member

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    The lead channel hits the power tubes much harder at a given volume setting compared to the rhythm channel. It gets loud almost immediately as turned up. It has significantly more mids. It will SING -- but you must get loud to do that. With the bite control at zero or one, you can get a bolder version of the rhythm channel. From 2 and and above, the bite control makes the gain go up and adds upper mids. Very nice with a neck pickup.

    The Meteor II lead channel is not as gainy as the Slant 6V lead channel, but it has more punch and dynamics.

    For shades of OD, I use a Zendrive, TIM and Stephenson Stage Hog into the rhythm channel, set to 4-6. The Zendrive and TIM alone would probably do the trick, but the Hog adds a pushed tube amp character at whatever volume needed.

    I rarely use the lead channel, at least at this point. I prefer OD pedals because the volume is more controllable.

    As for pedals with the Lead channel, it would take two footswitch presses to use a pedal with the Lead channel, and another two to switch back to the rhythm channel.
     
  4. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Matt, Dana Olsen here - sorry, the cooling fan went out in my laptop and it's still under warranty ... took a week and a half to get it fixed.

    So, Meteor II and Comet 40B are the Tone Kings I own. My Meteor II breaks up on the left side way faster than my Comet, regardless of the position of the mid-bite knob.

    With the Comet, I use the Menatone Blue Collar as a boost (unless I can, well, turn it up!) I find that with the Meteor II, the Blue Collar sounds a little harsh, but the Fulldrive II sounds GREAT through it.

    So: Comet 40B + Blue Collar, Meteor II + Fulldrive II

    With either amp, for me, they're a little on the loud side for a small club/ wedding type of gig. The left side, with no master volume, on either Comet or Meteor, has a very natural taper, to my ears. Get's louder as you turn it (the volume) up. Both are not so much like a tweed amp ( you know, it gets volume first, that after it starts to saturate, it doesn't get louder, just gainier) well, maybe like a tweed Bassman. As you turn mine up, either of 'em, they get louder as well as gainier. The Meteor is less loud than the Comet at 3 1/2 volume, say 4 on mid-bite - some good, singing neck p/u sound - especially w/ humbuckers!

    I make the amp sound less loud by turning the Tone down to maybe 3-4 in a wedding or very small club. ( as you turn the mid-bite up, it shelves the Bass up to avoid 'farting out', but it adds treble as well as mid, and some gain too. It can get pretty bright w/ the treble at 7 and mid-bite up over say 4 ... you gotta "ride" the treble when using more mid-bite. If your drummer plays hard, you can turn the tone up to 'un-bury' your sound in the mix by adding a little bright. The opposite is true too - you can pull yourself back in the mix by turning the Tone knob down a bit.

    I love the Meteor when I can turn it up to 4-5 and use full power - what a sound.

    Two things: Wit the Comet, you can pre-set the Clean side for full power ( 40w) and the Gain side for 1/2 power (20w) It's dual mono - 2x20w power amps side by side, each has it's own xformer and speaker. This gives you full power on clean, and when you switch to Gain, it's half power - really cool and convenient.

    The Meteor II does NOT do this. You have to select either 1/2 or full power on BOTH channels. I got Mark to pu the full/half power switch on a footpedal, but you have to hit 2 footpedals to get that effect on the Meteor II - channel switch, AND half power. I have the footswitches aligned on the pedalboard so I can hit both buttons at once ( Thank You Mark Robinson)

    Hope this helps

    Dana
     
  5. KLB

    KLB Member

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    Dana, all excellent points, and thanks for the comparison. I've not played any other TK amps. The custom full/half footswitch is nifty, and putting the buttons close together makes sense.

    Just an idea, if the full/half switch is just a SPST, you could install a 3PDT in the Stock Lead/Rhythm + Tremolo footswitch, then put a jack on the side to plug in the cable to the custom Full/Half function jack on the amp. The extra SPDT on the Lead/Rhythm could be used to switch the Full/Half at the same time as switching to Lead. The downside is you can't have full power and lead. There are ways around that, but you get the idea.

    The most fun I've had with the lead channel was when I had some TAD 6L6-WGC installed and biased hot. I had the volume up to 6, and it was mighty and righteous!

    The custom Eminence 60w hemp cone speaker (TK1891) Mark uses is a fine match for the Meteor II. It is very efficient and sounds RIGHT.

    Something to experiment with...

    I recently installed a Celestion Heritage G12M20 (96db 1w/1m.) in the combo for half power use. It isn't as efficient as the TK1891 speaker and lets me turn up the amp more without it being so loud. Others I have spoken with think it shouldn' have any trouble handling 20 cranked watts, but I haven't turned it way up yet. This is the same speaker in the new Marshall 1974X 18w combo, and folks crank those to 10 -- so it should handle the TK Meteor II output.

    Do you ever use 6L6 or EL34? You can mix those, too, and biasing the 6L6 hotter than the EL34 will give nice results. Have you experimented with biasing one pair (say the 1+2 half power pair) of 6V6 really hot and other (3+4) normal?

    I never feel the need to use the brite switch on the power section, and the Rhythm channel brite switch usually stays off, unless I'm playing an LP type guitar. Not having those switches on top doesn't make much practical difference for me. Anyway, I think OD pedals sound better into amps without brite caps on the volume. Still, the way I would have done this function is to put the brite cap value (33pf or 66pf) on a 2 way switch underneath and have a pull function on the Volume to add the brite cap.
     
  6. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    thanks for all the info guys. that is a bummer about the half power function! I always thought that it was one of the coolest features on the comet, being able to have 40 watts of clean and 20 watts for leads with one switch. I wonder why he left that off the new amp?
    perhaps he could change it as a custom tweak if requested. it might lose the ability to go half power in the clean channel, but that is a worthwhile trade off to me.
     
  7. jcshirke

    jcshirke Silver Supporting Member

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    Dana,

    Would you mind sharing your FD2 settings that you use with your Meteor II? Are you running it through the clean channel or lead?

    I'm looking for the perfect fat, warm blues pedal to use with my Meteor II. I'm not sure if I should be trying to match pedals to fit with the clean/rhythm channel, or whether I should be trying to use them with the lead channel. My gut tells me to try mild ODs and boosts with the lead channel, and to use the higher gain stuff with the clean channel.

    I've done a fair amount of experimenting on my own, but I'd love to hear from other Meteor II users to see what you've stumbled upon.

    Also, it seems like no matter what I do my low E and A strings sound a bit farty and grainy when pushed into OD land. Anyone else notice this?

    Thanks

    Jeff
     
  8. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Matt.......still in the hunt for that perfect channel switcher?

    How is the Slant 6V.....you have a new one with all the tweaks, right?
     
  9. KLB

    KLB Member

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    How loud are you playing when this occurs? (What channel and what volume/settings, with what type of guitar, and what pedal, if any?)

    The TK Meteor II has a LOT of bass on the clean channel. I often have the bass control around 4, especially in smaller rooms or when the amp is very near a wall/corner.

    You can try biasing the 6V6 tubes at 30ma or less, which will increase headroom. Perhaps one or more tubes are weak? Alternately, a pair of EL34, TAD 6L6WGC or other 6L6 may give you the headroom and bass response you seek.

    Also, the pickups on your guitar may need adjusting, lowering the bass side down a bit.

    Graininess can be from having either the power amp brite switch or the rhythm channel brite switch engaged. The Lead channel mid-bite control can make the amp sound rough if turned up too high, depending on the volume level and guitar used.
     
  10. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    I still have the slant 6v combo with the reverb on both channels and the footswitchable boost.
    It is actually the 2nd version of the overdrive circuit, but the power section has the current mods from carr.
    I really like the slant, it has a great clean and smooth overdrive, plenty of volume, and the features are just right.
    That said, I still sometimes feel it lacks something when I A/B with my aiken invader. The invader sounds much 'bigger' with more low end and more punch. When I play overdriven on the invader and then switch to the Carr, the carr sounds smaller and more compressed, with less depth.
    But the invader does have a slightly bigger cab for one thing, and is obviously not a switcher, so it does its own thing real well.
    What I would like ideally is something that has the features of the carr (or similar) but the bolder overdrive and presence of the aiken. So I am still enjoying the slant but on the look out for something that bridges the gap between the 2 amps.
    I would grab a meteor 2 in a heartbeat but I still fear the 2nd channel just won't get enough gain unless it is too loud for many applications. I don't need super high gain at bedroom levels, but would like to have some singing sustain at less than cranked club gig levels!
     
  11. deeval

    deeval Supporting Member

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    With my Meteor II I use a Muzzle Antenuator,and that works wonders for being able to get the Goods from the lead channel,
    also my RC boost sounds great with the COT 50 in front,I love the
    Meteor II much better then my OLD Comet 40B
    I also have a Slant 6 and It also is a great amp,but I am selling it if anyone is interested email me I will send Pics.

    :D
     
  12. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    But if you use an attenuator it will also lower the clean channel, which defeats the purpose of a channel switching amp. I don't know why mark didn't keep the half power setting assigned to the drive channel. This seemed like such a sellable feature, anyone know what his reasoning was?
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I think you are probably right......I had a 2x6V6 Imperial 1x12 and the gain channel had to be quite loud to get the good stuff happening.

    Have you ever tried playing the Aiken thru the Carr speaker/cab and vice versa? If it really is a speaker/cab issue, then you could have someone like Jeff Swanson build you a custom cab for the Slant 6V.
     
  14. jcshirke

    jcshirke Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm hearing it in both channels (vol. 5 or 6 on clean, vol. 2 or 3 on lead). I'm thinking it could be a bad tube. Either that or there's a problem with my main Strat (that's the guitar I was using, although I did try a LP too, and I still heard some graininess). Notes on the low E and A strings have a bit of an underlying "clang" to them, kind of harsh and metallic sounding. My neck may need to be tweaked.

    I'm going to have to experiment more on Friday, when I return from Thanksgiving. I'll check back then. Thanks for your help.

    Jef
     
  15. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Matt, I emailed Mark on this and his reply was that he always thought it was a useful feature, but that he got so many requests to make the power switch affect both channels that he changed it.

    You might email Mark to see if he can mod a new Meteor to do this - he has been *very* accomodating in doing some mods I requested on my eagerly awaited 1x12.
     
  16. KLB

    KLB Member

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    The TK Meteor II, like previous 4x6V6 models, uses TWO output transformers wired in parallel, one for each 6V6 pair. It would be cool if Mark could make the amp optionally switch to half power when the lead channel is selected, and use only one of the output transformers. This way the saturation would increase more like a 20w amp. I believe the speaker impedence will still need to be set to half the load for a correct match. This could be done, via relay.

    Lou, what mods are you having done to your 1x12?

    Cheers,
    Ken
     
  17. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Ken, I started with a 1x12, upgraded to a head/2x12 cab, found that too loud for my uses (though 3d and spacious) and ended up ordering another 1x12 combo with some slight tweaks:

    1. 3 position Bass switch for the lead channel that goes from stock to about 10% more bass, then 20% more bass. Its not done yet, so it might end up being a pot. I use the lead channel with the mid-bite off for clean tweed tones quite a bit, but I was wanting just a touch more bass.

    2. Slightly different cosmetics, blonde tolex, stock grill, cream knobs, brown handle. I'm a sucker for blondes! :)
     
  18. chumley

    chumley Member

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    I have tried a 12AY7 in place of the 12AX7 in the V1 position of the Meteor II. This tube affects the first stage of gain on the rythmn channel and the first and third stages on the lead channel, resulting in similar volume levels at similar knob settings on both channels. It doesn't seem to change the sound much on the clean channel, unless you have it cranked, while the lead channel is more like a real tweed amp. Less gain available, but still enough to sing, especially when the mid bite is raised a bit. With the 12AX7 in V1, and the lead channel engaged, a pedal added in front seems to be too much. I've also decided I prefer 6L6 tubes to 6V6, although that eliminates the possibility of using the half power setting. Using SED tubes. My Meteor is a blonde 1-12 with oxblood grill cloth. Love it. Mark is a great guy to work with.

    chumley
     
  19. jcshirke

    jcshirke Silver Supporting Member

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    Meteor II Owners,

    I posted a few days ago that my amp didn't sound all that great all of a sudden. The bass notes especially sounded clangy, harsh, and had a bit of a metallic undertone. I now think that overall the amp just doesn't sound as I know it should. The problem seems pervasive, no matter what (or where) I play on the guitar.

    Someone else suggested that I might have a bad tube. That's what I'm thinking, too. But I have a few questions, if anyone can help. I sent the following email to Mark, so I'm sure he'll get back with me, but I also wondered if any of you could give me your own advice. Anyway, here goes:

    ----------------
    The last couple days I've noticed that my Meteor II just doesn't quite sound right. I hear a harsh, cold, metallic clanging noise especially on the lower strings of my Strat. It's almost like there's an ugly undertone to everything I play. It gets worse with any OD pedals engaged--so much so that certain notes don't even ring out clearly. It's like it's a blend of different noises or something.

    I'm thinking I must have a bad tube. The question is, how do I start to trouble shoot to see which one(s) might be at fault? Do you think it's probably a preamp tube? If so, should I start with V1 and then go from there? Or is there any possibility it's one of the power tubes? They all seem to glow pretty much the same color. None of them look excessively bright. They all have a soft blue glow at the bottom of the tube and moderate orange in the middle.

    It looks like all of the preamp tubes are shielded. Is there any trick to getting those shield on or off? Is it fairly easy to swap those preamp tubes in and out, because it looks like I might not be able to get a good look at what I'm doing. And, of course, I don't want to go putting my hand anywhere it shouldn't be! :)

    Thanks for your advice.

    Jeff
     
  20. chumley

    chumley Member

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    Is the noise present in both half and full power modes? Seems to me if it occurs with both settings, that pretty much eliminates the set of power tubes that are shut off in half power. Switch the pairs of tubes to eliminate the other set of tubes that are used in half power mode. Problem present with reverb on and off? That should give you a clue. The preamp tube shields have to be twisted about a quarter turn before pulling them off. They are a bit stiff on my amp, but will come off easily enough if you are careful. I'm sure Mark will have an answer for you. I'm pretty much what the old time TV repairmen called a "tube jerker", some logic, no real expertise.

    chumley
     

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