SLO - set the Crunch Channel as a clean base for a dirt pedal to get old school Marshall type tones?

jdel77

Senior Member
Messages
10,852
Hey guys, recently got a SLO and the heavy channel has pretty much redefined what a high gain amp should sound like for me. Unbelievable for metal/heavy alternative rock stuff that the band does.

Anyhoo, those of you who own one know there is one HELL of a volume jump between the Clean/Crunch toggle settings on the Clean channel.
In fact, as good as the Crunch side is (and it's pretty incredible), I'm thinking of setting that Crunch side as my Clean, Presence and Treble nice and high to get a jangly, sparkly and full clean sound happening with little gain.
Which leaves me with the high gain side for the heavy stuff.

Sooooo, should I:

a) Get an overdrive pedal to do my mid gain Malcolm Young type thing on the Crunch channel, which I will set clean (prefer it to the stock 'Clean' channel on the SLO and the shared EQ works better with it like this).

or

b) Set the Crunch as my mid gain Crunch (duh) and simply roll back my volume knob on the guitar to clean it up - better dyamics like this?

or

C) Set the Crunch as Clean, set the high gain channel as my Crunch as goose that heavy channel with a booster to get into my heavy stuff? (Honestly can't see this happening - the heavy channel at full tilt is GODLY.

What have you found works best with the SLO?
If using a drive pedal on top of the Crunch channel set clean, what drive pedal would get me into that awesome mid gain Malcolm Young sound, that works well with the SLO?
Bear in mind there is NOTHING I would change about the heavy side of this amp. It's so good it's scary.

Cheers and apologies for the long post!
Jesse.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,664
First, congrats on buying a killer amp!
The crunch side is pretty similar in gain structure to a JCM800. Seems most folks set it for mild crunch, roll back for cleans and use pedals for different amounts or types of dirt.
Most people could get by just using that one setting on the amp and pedals for everything.
Some of the best overdrives I've had for goosing an amp on the edge of breakup are the Timmy, Barber Gain Changer (or 1/2 Gainer for two different od settings), and Analogman Prince of Tone. The Timmy is just a great pedal for all kinds of things.
The Boss SD-1, Proco Rat and Ibanez Tube Screamer are standards for this, but I like the other pedals better.
Have fun!!!
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,705
Use one of these to clean up your crunch chan for clean. Not only does give you a exact preset amount of cut to get to clean it also gives you option of applying a eq to your clean sound to keep it sparkly and present, some vol knobs on guitars kind of rob you of that when you roll them down. HBE Detox eq is basically same thing.

mad_professor_underdrive_3.jpg
 

rstites

Member
Messages
1,686
The obvious answer is that you should try both and decide which works for you!

My answer is that generally I prefer the crunch setting on the SLO clean, for a couple of reasons. First, I just think it sounds better on that setting. The crunch is pretty nice. I've always wanted to try setting it up with some EL34s to see how Marshall-like it sounds on that setting with those. It's not there as is....more of a similar feel than a similar tone, if that makes sense. The clean on the SLO is just a clean. It's a bit sterile. It's one of those cleans that needs a little chorus/reverb or similar to liven it up, so I just don't see the point of using it unless there's a really good reason.

The other reason I recommend this is that the shared EQ of the SLO really doesn't work too well between a pristine clean and the overdrive channel, while it works pretty well between crunch and overdrive.

Finally, if you want to use anything in the loop - don't unless you absolutely have to - the crunch and overdrive volume levels will balance a little better. They still won't be that great, but the massive change in the overdrive and clean is really a pain to deal with IMO. The loop is one of those things you have to be determined to work with in the SLO if you need anything in it.

I've had my SLO forever. It's my only 100W amp left, but I never get to play it anymore as I haven't played any venue large enough to handle it since the 90's.....but I can't let it go. This thread has me itching to fire it up, so thanks!
 

rstites

Member
Messages
1,686
Additionally, I'll note that the crunch cleans up very nicely. I actually prefer a crunchy channel with a little hair on it when I roll off the guitar volume to a straight up clean most of the time. If I wanted a real clean, I'd probably have to pick up an old Fender or even just an old JC120 or something.
 

stark

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,599
The clean switch is just a resistor on the crunch channel to pull the level way down. If you need perfectly clean go with that. I usually run the crunch channel around 6 and turn the guitar down and play light for cleaner stuff. The crunch channel with pedals for higher gain stuff is fatter than the lead channel. They attenuate a ton of bass from the lead channel so you get more articulation at super high gain settings. Crunch channel with pedals is basically like a 2204 Marshall. I run the crunch and lead channels within a number or two of each other on both the gain and master. No issues with the loop this way.
 

jdel77

Senior Member
Messages
10,852
Great responses, thanks!
I've tried my Timmy with the Crunch channel set clean/very light crunch and it's pretty damn cool!
I'd also like to try a Menatone JTM45 in a box just to have it as another flavour of dirt.
The Crunch channel LOVES fuzz - currently using my old faithful BYOC MKII Tonebender but might try my old Big Box Lunar Module Deluxe just for something else.
The SLO is a monster - so good!
 

amoodymule

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,221
I am aware the HR50 is not a SLO, but I do run my gain at lowest settings and I use the Barber 1/2 Gainer for the mild crunch and higher gain staging. Then if not enough for the song needs, the Timmy adds what I need, usually...
 

VHS analog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,269
One more suggestion: Set each channel to where it sounds best (Malcolm crunch, and high gain metal), then put a high quality volume pedal in the FX loop. Two useful sounds that you can have at any volume level, and controllable in real time.
 
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rstites

Member
Messages
1,686
Is there anything specific to look for in a volume pedal for the loop vs. one used in front?
 

rstites

Member
Messages
1,686
Thanks. I should have known that. I think an active volume pedal should work too.

However, back to the OP's question..... I spent a couple of hours on my SLO this morning, strictly on the Normal channel. I've always set it either on Clean or to Crunch with medium gain. Today, I set the gain all the way to 10/11 on the Crunch channel and then played a half-dozen different guitars through it. It sounded glorious. I can easily do a metal rhythm on this channel. With medium output pickups, it definitely felt more hard rock and less metal, which was fine as that's my background.

However, then I grabbed a Jackson with some EMGs in it and slammed the front end with those. The clarity and output of those into the Crunch channel got me right into a very nice, articulate but heavy rhythm sound. It could do palm muted chugs on that guitar with plenty of gain and yet excellent clarity. Also, there was plenty of low end. In fact, the Clean channel has more low end than the OD channel which makes this set up perfect.

The kicker: I can roll the guitar volume right off for plenty of articulation for light arpeggios and such. It'd handle them live just fine. I'd probably plug a strat into an old Fender to record them, but don't do enough of that to bother with live.

I've owned this thing for 15 years and can't recall ever really trying this. It's a real winner. It always seemed like it was all the OD channel and the Clean was an afterthought...but that's not the case. (I'm excited, but feeling a bit stupid here really.)

Final note: while I could do metal rhythms on that channel, please be aware that I've generally run far less gain than a lot of people for heavy sounds. IMO too many metal players dial up way too much gain, when what they really need is some volume and a lot less gain. It's about acoustic feedback.

While I'm raving here: the crunch created a beautiful perfect feedback for me that just sat there for seconds on end without going out of control. I only had the Master on 3 so it'd go all wonky if I had it cranked up a bit, but still it was nice there.
 




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