Soldano SLO-100 sending me schizo. Please help.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by greengriff, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    Brand new SLO arrived yesterday. I've wanted one for a long time, so I took the afternoon off work and got stuck in. The tones I can get are everything I thought they would be, so why is the amp stressing me out?

    The amp was bought to be used live, not recorded, so some versatility is a must. I currently have a JVM410, which is very versatile. I'm not bothered by having JVM levels of versatility in the SLO, but I must be able to get a good clean and good dirty sound at the very least. Ideally I'd like a volume boost for solos too.

    Contrary to what I've read, you can get a pretty good clean out of the SLO, albeit with a bit of background noise (crunch and bright switches engaged, master cranked, bass cranked, mids about 4, gain low, treble and presence set to taste). The problem is that with these EQ settings the amp sounds rubbish when you click over to the dirty channel.

    Conversely, setting the overdrive channel how I like it results in a clean sound that is uninspiring to put it mildly.

    With the clean set how I like it I can actually get some very good dirty tones using pedals, but that completely defeats the object of buying the SLO to me. I might as well stick with my Plexi, which has a nice warm clean sound and takes pedals better than any amp I've ever come across.

    The SLO was a dream amp for me, and delivers a ripping aggressive distortion that is simply amazing, but it was nearly FOUR TIMES the price (here in the UK) of my JVM. I'm not feeling that it was good value right now and I'm close to boxing it back up and returning it, which would make me very sad indeed.

    So, TGPers, have any of you trodden down this particular path before? What did you do?

    Please don't suggest alternative amps. The only alternative I'd considered was a Cornford MK50h Mark 2, which trumps the SLO in features and sounds very sweet for cleaner/bluesier stuff, but from what I can gather has a loose, uncontrolled bass response (which I cannot tolerate) and is also not as aggressive as the SLO.
     
  2. Giga

    Giga Member

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    Try the crunch-mode on the clean channel with a low gain setting with maybe a rolled back guitar volume.

    Good luck !

    Giga
     
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  3. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    Yep, that's about the best compromise I've come up with so far. I'm still nowhere near convinced that's an acceptable compromise on a £3000 amp though.

    I guess we've been spoiled recently by what amps can do and it's showing up the age of the SLO design. With separate EQ's for each channel and a footswitchable extra master the SLO would be unstoppable.
     
  4. SReynolds

    SReynolds Supporting Member

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    On the lead channel try bringing the gain down 3-3.5 and volume up. Thats where that amp shines IMHO. Needs some volume though.
     
  5. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    Actually when I turned the master up I was able to get a pretty vicious but superbly clear tone on the overdrive channel with the gain set between 2-3!!! I loved it, but everything else about the amp I'm not in love with so much, hence this thread :-(
     
  6. gtrs

    gtrs Supporting Member

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    I can't think of a single person who bought a SLO for clean tones......
    Personally, I use mine for OD only. If I need a crystal clear, warm, fat clean tone I'll bring along a 2nd amp for that. Otherwise I just roll the volume knob on my guitar. Its not a KILLER clean tone but......
    The crunch selection on the "clean" channel is just as amazing sounding as the Lead channel, I use it as a dirty rhythm sound.

    What settings are you using and with what speakers/cabinet???
     
  7. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    I bought it for the distortion tone, which is phenomenal, but I guess I'm getting a bit of buyer's remorse over what I actually got for my money :)

    Cab wise I have 2 cabs which I can use for everything I do - a Marshall 425a (G12c 'Jimi Hendrix' greenbacks) and a Blackstar Artisan 412, which is an oversized cab with Vintage 30s. My Marshalls work brilliantly with both these cabs, but I'm leaning towards the Artisan cab for the Soldano.

    For (a pretty good) clean with humbuckers I am cranking the master and the bass, gain low, mids 4, treble 6, presence 6.

    For crunch, gain 7, bright switch on, EQs and presence about half way up. Master set to taste (but 2 or above works best, below 1 sounds terrible - I've no idea how youtubers are getting good tones at bedroom level for their videos).

    For overdrive, gain on about 2.5, all other settings same as crunch.

    Thanks!



    For overdrive
     
  8. Randy

    Randy Member

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    I know everyone says the SLO loop sucks tone, but I found it is pretty good with a high quality rack unit. If you were to run a programable EQ in the loop, you could have it tweak your clean channel tone when you switch channels. The TC Electronics EQ's are great for this. The G-Major also has a decent 3 band parametric EQ built in, plus it will switch your amp channels at the same time with 1 button.
     
  9. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    I have a strat with kinmans, and a decent pedal, but I'm not keen on buying an amp for £3000 to use a pedal for the overdrive. I think you're on the mark with the idea of accepting the SLO as a dirt machine only. That's unfortunate, but unless anyone comes up with a better idea I think that's pretty much the reality of it :-(.
     
  10. kaseri

    kaseri Member

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    Why not just run some kind of eq pedal before the amp. When the you're in the OD channel keep the eq pedal off and when you are using the normal channel in clean mode hit your eq pedal.

    That's what I would do.
     
  11. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    I do have a strat, but I hardly use it. I mainly use my Wolfgang, which is what I'm dialling in all the tones with. As I say, I'm more than happy with the tones I'm getting individually, it's getting a balance between them that's not working out.
     
  12. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    Good idea. Great idea actually, presuming it works??? Have you tried it or are you just suggesting it as an option?
     
  13. kaseri

    kaseri Member

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    There is no reason why it shouldn't work. If I were doing it I'd just be sure the eq pedal is true bypass.
     
  14. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I am not really sure, on mine I set it for what I love in OD, and the clean seems to take care of itself. Mine has no mods on it...just straight SLO-100.

    Either mine is different, we're going after different sounds, or you have a more discerning ear than I have...or your amp is slightly different.

    I've used both strat and LP and am totally happy with the results and actively use both channels.

    Sometimes I crank the amp, and turn down at the guitar vol, this gives me room to maneuver and up it again at guitar if I want.

    I did notice one thing that might be at play here or worth trying.
    When I got mine (bought used) I was kind of in heaven but like you..not totally as I thought. But I tried changing out the first (input) preamp tube, actually tried other preamp tubes as well, but the first one seemed to be the biggest game-changer.

    I went through about 6 or 7 preamp tubes, and out of those two sounded so much better (clean and OD) to me...between the two that were best, one of them was head and shoulders above the other...clearly the best of the best, but it was also slightly microphonic.

    After going back and forth I decided the tone was so much better, I chose it, and it is still in there.

    IF I were you, and had longed after one so long, and paid so much, I definitely would invest in a bunch of preamp tubes, and test them in there. I found a huge difference...some of them just deadened the sound...

    Also, kinda like you, this amp DOES drive me crazy...mainly because even though it is only a slight difference, I can't bring myself to use the effects loop even though I do want some verb and delay...just the little loss of tone..I can't bring myself to lose.
     
  15. joolzriff

    joolzriff Member

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    m8,,,,dont get bummed out on the 1st day n all..... you need to sit w/ that amp.....tried working w/ different speakers? i hated mine through V30s but greenbacks and emi's rock....
    try turning the amp up a notch also to let it wake up.....get rid of the 5881's yet? try some jj6l6's.....
    best amp ive ever owned and ive been a marshall guy a wizard guy a mesa guy a bogner guy....

    if it helps i set mine to almost noon on all the dials and just take every thing back or forward a little bit...backing treble off a touch and presence ... last gig i played i had to back the bass off 11 oclock..
    also try the overdrive level on OD channel at 3 and work up a bit...dosnt need to be hammered flat out...it seems to thicken the more its bought up..
    also greenbacks make it possible to turn the VOL up cos of their low sensitivity an thats nice w./ the slo
     
  16. MRscratch

    MRscratch Member

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    if you have to ask sell it. we cant MAKE you love the SLO. i learned that lesson the hard way a long time ago.
     
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  17. greengriff

    greengriff Member

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    Thanks for all the detailed replies guys. Please don't misunderstand me - I LOVE the beastly tones I'm getting. I don't feel any need to try different cabs, valves or anything yet, and hopefully I won't in the future either. I bought this amp to END my GAS (if that's possible lol), and I'm floored by the face ripping OD and lovely crunch tones I can get. My issue stems solely from getting a nice clean sound for live use without having to run up to the amp and start twiddling knobs!

    In summary I can get clean, crunch and OD tones I'm happy with, just not at the same time. If the amp did not have a shared EQ, it would be everything I ever wanted.
     
  18. kaseri

    kaseri Member

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    As I said, an eq pedal will likely solve your problem. No reason to over think this one.
     
  19. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Also as I said, (not that I disagree with you) trying different preamp tubes in V1 position is also a VERY smart thing to do.

    I think maybe I am going to stop here, the OP is mentioning "not wanting to change valves" etc. but I don't get it. If I understand, the amp was bought used? So no idea how long the tubes have been in, etc. I'm not talking about retubing, and you don't have to mess with biasing with preamp, they don't even cost much and can be bought in music stores (or get the experts online to pick out a few)...which is what I did (music store)...

    All you do is pick up a few, turn the amp off (after opening just to gain access...it's 4 screws) change out the one tube for the other, power up, play for a while, power down, go to the next one..

    Even if the same manufacturer, same type there will be noticeable difference, and even if you only bought three...almost sure one would stick out as being better than the other two.

    I won't mention it more, but it's smart on many level to try this. Worst case, if they all sounded the same (they won't) then you have some backup tubes to put in the gig-bag, just in case.
     
  20. Laplacian

    Laplacian Member

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    Do you use any type of "50's Wiring Scheme" or Treble Cap/resistor Bypass on your volume controls, to keep your base guitar tone even when rolling down the volume on your guitar?

    You should be able to roll your volumes down to 2-3 with no appreciable tone change to your guitar.

    If not, Do that first before making any decisions. Parts cost next to nothing, and there's plenty of info if you search for it on this site and on the internet. Takes just a few minutes with a soldering iron and any guitar shop tech should be able to knock it out in less than 5.


    Try these SLO settings:

    Normal Gain: 6-8 (set to crunch and bright switch off)
    Overdrive Gain: 7
    Bass: 5
    Middle: 4
    Treble: 4
    Normal Master and Overdrive Master: Keep the OD Master at 1 number lower than the Normal Master. So if you have Normal at 6, put the OD at 5.
    Presence: 5-7

    Use your Green back cab IMO.

    I use either strats with high output pickups (8K DC resistance on Neck and 13.5K DC resistance on Bridge) or HB guitars with lower output pickups (Neck at around 7.5K DC resist and Bridge at 8.5K DC resist)

    With the "50's wiring" or treble bleed circuits on all my guitars, I can roll down my guitar volume using the Normal channel and get very nice "Hiwatt-ish" chimey cleans, better than would be thought, and roll up into a nice Dirt, not hi gain, but a useful dirt sound.

    The OD channel can span from classic rock lead with the guitar volume down and my tone backed off halfway on the Bridge pickup all the way up to full thumping OD, even with the Strat.

    Everything is better with the Master Volumes between 6-8, below that will sound a little sterile and lose Bass (no matter what you do with the Bass tone control). (This is why people have the "Depth Mod", to counter the loss of bass at low master volume settings) I'd rather run it high and use low efficiency speakers or 1 click on an attenuator if necessary. SLO has it's very own voice and it's a good one, even with the stock tubes.

    Try this out, if it still doesn't work for you, then it's probably not the right amp for you.
     

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