Minor TopHat Club amp mod for dirt pedal compatibility...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by meterman, May 7, 2005.

  1. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Hey guys, this came up a while back, thought I'd update, just FYI....people have had issues with compatibility of certain OD/distortion pedals with their TopHat Club amps (Royale, Deluxe, Super Deluxe), here is what Brian G. had to say about it on the TopHat forum:

    "I think most of you are talking about the sonic effect that happens with pedals, due to a bypass cap on the (pre)volume pot -- basically a fulltime bright switch. It diminshes effect, the higher the knob is set and exagerates when set low. When ramrodding the amp with gain from a pedal -- it really wants to bypass around the resistance of the volume pot, when using a bypass cap there. When only pushed with it's own natural gain, it doesn't do it. But, ramrod it and it does. Different amps with different bypass cap values (or none), will accentuate different parts of the spectrum somewhere in the mid to upper end. This cap can be simply snipped off to remove this effect. Especially, if you tend to use pedals into the amp. I put one on there to make the amp correct by itself, though I'm aware of this issue. In the near future, I'll make the "bright" switchable.
    Brian Gerhard"

    I removed that cap from my Super Deluxe and now it sounds alot better with my Dyna Red, excellent in fact, fat and warm with no fizz, and I didn't really notice any change in the clean tone at all. You may lose a bit of high end if you run the pre-volume low (I don't) but it's subtle and could easily be compensated for with the EQ. Super easy and reversible, of course be careful with the voltage in the filter caps, if you're not sure don't try it...highly recommended if you run the amp cleanish and use pedals for dirt! Apparently it's not an issue on the larger Ambassador and Emplexador amps, my Emplex loves pedals....
     
  2. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    I have had my CR since the end of '98 and I have had alot of time to experiment with pedals. I go into the low input and turn the push/pull bright switch off. I can even use my Analogman Silver mod Maxon OD-9 into the amp with stellar effect. Still, the best way is to plug straight into the amp and DIME IT!!! M.E.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Yeah I think that's what Brian intended for it too...sounds incredible that way but my pedals are like my security blanket! Plus I like alot of different drive sounds for variety on top of an edge of dirt base tone.....sweet amp & guitar BTW!!
     
  4. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    I've found that with both volumes set at 12 O'clock, just about
    any pedal sounds godlike through a TopHat, although that may
    be a bit loud for home use. (It's even better with the master at
    1:00 and the volume at 12:00)
     
  5. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Cliff, yeah I try to run mine with both volumes around 1:00, that's where they really start to open up and breathe. Even at that level I had a problem with my Dyna Red distortion pedal being kinda fizzy and buzzy. After doing the cap mod it sounds alot better which is cool b/c it's by far my favorite distortion pedal!
     
  6. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    Meterman,

    Could you let me know exactly how the mod is done? I'd love
    to give it a try.
     
  7. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Or just lift one end of the cap in case you decide to reverse the mod.

    BTW, for me regarding my TH amps (Club Deluxe, Club Royale, Super Deluxe), Billy Joel said it best: "I like you just the way you are."
     
  8. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    WERD!

    I have had my CR for 5 years or so, input 2 is where it is at.
    It just seems to capture more wood in the guiatr, and you can crank it up a bit more.
     
  9. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    michael.e, what a killer freakin rig!

    Don't want to highjack the thread, but riff you might know something about this. Another one of my TopHat buds told me that Brian is back at the helm at TopHat. Is this true?

    Just heard this morning.
     
  10. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    Brian and Joan are running TopHat and have resolved all the
    business issues. They are alive and well in NC, waiting for their
    new home to be ready for occupancy. Brian is getting his shop
    together and he will be up and running in a few weeks. He's
    accepting orders and has a few amps in stock, but I don't
    recall which amps they were.

    Brian is at the helm and is going to have a few suprises for us
    in the near future.
     
  11. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Cliff!
    Cant you run the amp with the volumes around 12-1, and just turn the volume down on the OD box itself for lower volumes, or does that still sound bad?
     
  12. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    Tag,

    I've found that it works best with the pedal either matching the
    volume of the amp or pushing a bit louder. The best way to get
    the pedal and amp sound at a lower volume would be to use
    an attenuator.

    I've found this to also be a good formula for the Brunos, although
    his more blackface type amps will take a pedal at any volume.
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Cliff! :) Understand!
     
  14. meterman

    meterman Member

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    Cliff, yeah these guys have said it, there is a small disc cap across two of the lugs on the Pre-Volume pot, I just lifted one leg to try it and could easily solder it back on if needed. Just be careful to discharge the filter caps in the amp first, I'm sure you know this but it has to be said.....

    Just to clarify, I'm not saying everyone should run out and do this. But if you've had a problem with a favorite OD or distortion pedal not quite jiving with your TopHat the way you'd like this may be the solution. Brian's amps sound incredible right out of the gate and there are plenty of pedals that worked with mine before the mod, TIM, Mosferatu, PE Germ, COT50, all my fuzzes, etc. My Dyna Red was giving me problems, it's a high gain pedal with alot of top end to begin with which is why I think the bright cap came into play. Happily it sounds much better now, which is cool cuz the DR just does it for me!

    ME, hmmm, input 2, never tried it! :eek: Actually I did once at a very low volume band practice with a humbucker guitar, sounded very good. But in general I go to the #1 input, I guess based on the Fenders I've always played before now....
     
  15. TREV FLINT

    TREV FLINT Member

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    bumping this old thread with a question..

    Is Brian still puting a cap on the volume pot or is this now switchable with the "bright,norm,fat" switch?

    I have a Super Deluxe MK II and was wondering if it has this cap.

    Thanks kindly
     
  16. sonicmessiah

    sonicmessiah Member

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    i want to know this also.
     
  17. Secret Ingredient

    Secret Ingredient Member

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    Try the tophat facebook page. Brian is on their regularly.
     

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