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Metropoulos Metroplex owners - your thoughts so far?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by DM426, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. DM426

    DM426 Member

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    There's been a fair amount of discussion on the Metroplex here, but very little from people who actually own one. So Metroplex owners, what are your thoughts so far?

    Note: This is serial number 009, so I don't imagine there are too many people who have direct experience with this amp just yet. But perhaps Metroplex owners can add to this once a few more of them ship.

    Mine just arrived yesterday so I've only had an opportunity to noodle around with it for a few hours, and there's quite a few things I haven't even messed with yet. I haven't tried the loop, the 50 watt mode, or the variac mode yet. Bear in mind these are just a few quick initial impressions out of the box, so take them for what they're worth.

    To date, the Germino Lead55LV is my go-to amp because it's the amp that comes closest to the sound in my head and it's easy to use and consistent. Even though it's often kind of apples to oranges, I use the Lead55LV as a benchmark of sorts when discussing other amps. I play (or attempt to play) a lot of AC/DC, and I've found the Lead55LV to be the best overall amp I've tried in that capacity.

    If you've heard early AC/DC and the classic rock sound of the '70's, then in truth you already pretty much know all you need to know about the Lead55LV, as that's what it does. So how does the Metroplex compare?

    First, the Metroplex is not a "four hole" design like the plexi amps most people are familiar with. It has a plexi channel and a higher gain channel. It's kind of like a plexi had a baby with a JCM 800. Sort of.

    The plexi channel sounds pretty much like what you would expect -- it's pure Marshall and it's a very good version of a plexi. Before it arrived, I was uncertain whether the higher gain channel would be just like the plexi channel but with more gain, or more like the Friedman Brown Eye HBE channel. Having only played with it a little, I would say it does sound just a little different to my ear than the plexi channel, but only just a little bit. Perhaps a bit more modern? I'll have to play with it some more before I can say. It certainly does have more gain, but it doesn't sound like a BE100 at all to my ear. It sounds like a plexi on steroids.

    I'm a big fan of the overall tone of the Germino Lead55LV, and I'm used to how it feels and responds, and it took me a minute to adjust to the Metroplex. One thing I would say is that there are, perhaps, a few more sounds in the Metroplex than in the Lead55LV. It seems to me there is quite a bit more flavor from one end of the spectrum to the other when you twist the tone knobs from 1 to 10. As one would expect with a 100 watt amp, the Metroplex is significantly punchier and lead notes have a really in-your-face quality that I felt immediately.

    I would also say the Metroplex cleans up better than the Lead55LV. If I had one complaint with my Lead55LV, it's that when you back off the guitar volume it can sometimes sound just a tad muddy, if that makes any sense. The Friedman amps I've played were really excellent at cleaning up with the volume backed off, and so far I would say the Metroplex does that as well. Definitely a better clean sound than the Lead55LV, but one would expect that from a 100 watt amp.

    Currently, I have the amp sitting on my Germinio 4x12 loaded with greenbacks, and that seems to work well with it.

    I always use my Lead55LV with a Rivera Rockcrusher attenuator, otherwise it tends to peel the paint right off the walls. I had expected the Metroplex to be even more difficult to tame, so as soon as I unboxed it I just set it on the cab and hooked it up the same way the Germino was hooked up (with the Rockcrusher). Interestingly enough, I've found the Metroplex seems to be a bit easier to tame volume-wise. Unlike some plexi designs, the Metroplex does have gain knobs, so you can set the volume low and the gain high if you want more gain at a reasonable volume. I haven't yet tried that. So far, I've only used it turned up pretty loud and then used to attenuator to just knock it back a bit. And using it like that, it sounded really good even at modest volumes. Better yet, it does seem to retain that crisp, punchy character even with the volume down. I will experiment with it without the attenuator and see what kind of low volume sound it produces.

    If you're into the Marshall sound, I can't imagine too many people who wouldn't dig this amp. It does the higher gain thing, but it also does that old school plexi thing as well as my Germino does. But it does cost quite a bit more, so there's that.

    Will it completely replace my Lead55LV? I don't know. It very well might, but it's too early to say.

    Again, none of this is scientific, just a few initial impressions after a short bit of noodling. And yes, for those interested, I was using it with the black Bartlett Retrospec.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
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  2. DM426

    DM426 Member

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    Oh, one more thing. As you can see from the picture, this amp head is huge. If you're looking for something that does Marshall in a small, portable configuration...this ain't it.
     
  3. DamianL

    DamianL Member

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    Oh man...

    With the Bartlett Retrospec too....

    That right there....is the all day chronic.
     
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  4. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the review. I'm definitely interested in your impressions of lower volumes using the Master.

    That said, I'd be much more interested in a smaller, 50 watt version of this amp.
     
  5. effectsman

    effectsman Supporting Member

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    Yeah I don't get this either from amp builders. I know the classic amps that these are based on are 26" and 30" wide, but I don't want that when I'm trying to fit it on the backseat of my car along with other gear. As compact as possible is my mantra.

    Would love to see George do a 50W version (in a small 20-22" head please!)
     
  6. tritone 6

    tritone 6 Silver Supporting Member

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    I would love to hear more about this amp.
     
  7. velvetgeorge

    velvetgeorge Member

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    Thanks for the objective review, I hope you will love your amp!

    Now that I am happy with the "formula" I came up with for this amp I can start to consider applying it to smaller amps. But, it won't be soon. Possibly something to show this Fall.


    George
     
  8. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    Freak in awesome, I want one sooooooooo bad.
    The proto at the oct show was like...audio Viagra.
     
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  9. greatmutah

    greatmutah Member

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    I'm ordering mine this week. I'm very excited to be getting one of these amps. I played a prototype back in January at George's while picking up some speakers. I was immediately blown away. One of the cool things I've noticed about this amp is even with the extra gain it still remains very dynamic. Even engaging the boost I noticed very minimal additional compression. Sound and playing wise I'll be definitely going the higher gain route as I'm playing in an 80s hair metal tribute thing right now. Also speaker cab wise will be interesting as I want to try it first with my newer 1960 cab that I have with G12 65s and T75s in an X pattern. So it's going to be a different speaker voicing but I do have some g12m25s waiting for a cab. In all honestly I'd like to get a basket weave front cab for those speakers. But that's for later down the road.

    At any rate I'm super excited to be getting one and will gladly report back my findings once I've gotten some serious time in with it.
     
  10. DM426

    DM426 Member

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    As promised, I did take the attenuator off of it to see how it would react using just the volume and gain.

    Understand, I'm really picky when it comes to this sort of thing because tube amps just tend to lose it when used at low volumes. That's why I use an attenuator, because I've had quite good results using an attenuator to tame Germino amps while still maintaining that biting, vintage crunch I love.

    I have to say, I wasn't planning to spend much time testing the Metroplex without the attenuator because I was fairly confident the results would be similar to the experience I had with the master volume on the back on my Germino Lead55LV. To me, that doesn't work nearly as well as the attenuator and just seems to choke the amp to death.

    As it turns out, I ended up sitting there noodling around this morning for well over an hour with the Metroplex unhooked from the attenuator and I must admit, I'm rather shocked at good it sounds. In fact, the Metroplex may be one of the best sounding amps I've ever tried at low volumes. It doesn't sound choked or neutered at lower volumes at all, which to me is really surprising for a big amp like this. I've tried some other 100 watt amps that definitely sounded good, but all of them had something that kind of ruined it for me. Some sounded good only at gig volumes. Others went from inaudible at 1 to ear splitting at 1.2, thus making them tedious to deal with and generally unmanageable unless you're on a stage.

    Based on the limited time I've had playing it, George may have finally cracked the code Marshall fans have long been looking for: An amp that convincingly produces those killer, cranked plexi tones at ALL volumes. Bear in mind this Metroplex is hooked up to a Germino 4/12 with greenbacks, and I had it down to apartment volumes and it still sounded awesome.

    Right now, I would say the only thing this amp seems to have going against it is the size and the cost. But if you can fit it into your budget, it really does appear to do everything well. Seriously.

    I suspect George is going to be selling quite a few of these.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
  11. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

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    I had one at my place to demo and have to say "gushingly" that it is the best Marshall plexi style amp I have ever played.
    It's one of those ... Go down to a place that has 10 real plexis and this is the best of the bunch experiences.
    The master works really well, tone from plexi to van halen 1 and ZZ fandango live side are all in there.
    Loop works great, variac is an always on feature for me, and the mid control is magic.

    Me want
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
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  12. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    mike, based on your experience with all of them - if i try the Metro-Plex, am i going to feel like i need to move some of the Friedmans?
     
  13. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

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    I am selling off lots of stuff to get one if that tells ya anything.
     
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  14. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    Different.

    The freidman is more modern sounding to me.
    The metroplex is mroe vintage high gain. More than a 12XXX series but it still sounds and 'feels' vintage.

    Maybe. Maybe not. I could make a case for both, quite different really.
     
  15. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    mmmm....thats what im thinking...the PT may need to go.

    phil x is also more modern than this (even though more raw and vintage like in the friedman universe)?

    Lance - have you tried one of greg's 12,000? was the MP dead nuts to this, with the boost, mod, etc. off?
     
  16. stratpaulguy86

    stratpaulguy86 Member

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    I'm 90% sure this'll be my next amp. The Metroplex seems like it's the dream Marshall that Marshall never built (right at least).
     
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  17. dwk302

    dwk302 Member

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    Im seriously considering one. My only concern is how well the master works but it seems like it does a decent job. I don't gig so I need something that'll sound good at home volume.

    How do the cleans sound?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  18. velvetgeorge

    velvetgeorge Member

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    Thanks for the reviews! I'm very happy that you love the tones! I obsessed over this design and voicing for a whole year. The master volume alone I tried every type and way to wire the circuit I could imagine. I tried every brand of pot for those too.

    I think you'll find about the first 1/3 of the MV rotation covers bedroom, home and small gig levels. Switch from 100w to 50w mode and you take away an extra 3db. Flip to variac mode and you take away another 3-4db. This can get the amp very low. But, it still feels and sounds like an amp! At very low settings I like to bump up the presence and bass just a touch, to give it some cranked response.

    George
     
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  19. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    george, are you still digging this amp with those pre-rola 55hz H's?

    been able to try with vintage 30's?
     
  20. velvetgeorge

    velvetgeorge Member

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    Yep, love it with those H's. Creamback H too. And ASW KTS-60...outstanding!

    Haven't tried Vintage 30's yet.

    george
     

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