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Sovtek Mig-60 Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Fartrider, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. Fartrider

    Fartrider Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 23, 2011
    For those who are wondering what these small amps are like.
    They do NOT sound like a Marshall 2204, but the the circuit is very similar. Hi-Lo inputs 3 12ax7's and 2 el34's, 4, 8, 16 ohm jacks on mine and a line out jack that sounds ****.
    Controls are: Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble, Master and Preamp.

    The preamp is very very hot. Too hot actually which makes the sound a bit mushy through the high input and makes the amp sound out of control at times. When the pre is dimed it sounds like a big muff fuzz.
    Whats nice though is that it was an easy fix to lower the gain some, I changed the value of the cathode resistor on v1.2 and the distortion is now more defined and the overall feeling is more "stable".
    The amp is really pretty easy to work on.

    This, like all tube amps sounds best when the master is turned up to between 12 and 3 o clock. Very nice distortion sound with alot of detail. Sounds fuller than a marshall, a bit fuzzier if that makes sense?
    But at the same time it has a dryer response with not as much sag. More like a Hiwatt in that way.

    I love this amp for distortion sounds and used it in my hc/punk band as well as more slow heavy metal/stoner doom stuff. Its perfect for that, it "holds up" but for anything fast and with low tuning it would sound too muddy.

    The clean sound is not that bad either, very soft, warm sound.

    Reliability? As good as any tube amp except for maybe Hiwatts and Traynors I would say. Have had a couple of tubes gone bad but thats normal, they can go any time and a failure says more about the quallity of that single tube than anything else.

    I love this little amp and the fact that the cabinet is smaller than standard size is very nice when you are in a touring band. This and my home built 2x12 cabinet together with my p90 Edwards LP special is all I need for basic heavy rocknroll.
    [​IMG]
     
    treedroppings likes this.
  2. Alvis

    Alvis Member

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    I had one of those and I remember it to be about as you described. My biggest gripe ,from what I can recall, is the taper of the pots was basically ON or OFF...particularly the gain pot . I kinda regret never trying to tune this amp up to some satisfaction . I have 4 variants of 2204 so it didn't matter
    The MiG 50 is more to my liking , I have 3 of those
     
  3. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    I had one. I liked it. I had some problems with it early on but got those straightened out. I would play it pretty clean into a 2x12 with a Danelectro U2RI as a rhythm guitarist. I liked that sound. Sometimes I wish I still had it, though the number of electric guitar gigs I'm currently playing don't warrant the number of amps I have already.
     
  4. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Member

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    The major difference between these and a 2204 is that the tone stack is plate fed, not cathode fed, IIRC. At least that's the way the 50H and 100 are.

    I think the first tube has a dc heater supply, maybe, also?
     
    treedroppings likes this.
  5. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    Looking at the schematic, the preamp is DC (both v1 and v2).

    PI and power tubes are AC.
     
  6. flcmcya

    flcmcya Silver Supporting Member

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    LAF! I remember that. :eeks
     
  7. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    SF Bay Area
    Nice review, OP. I have one that I've owned since the early 90's. I'm probably the second owner; the MIG-60 was my first amp head. Like the OP said, in stock form the High input has so much gain on tap that once you start to turn it up it quickly becomes unusable, or at least was unusable to me. But the Lo input is a gem and can make a convincing plexi-flavored channel.

    Here's the schematic:

    [​IMG]

    Notice how the High input get's half of V1 to itself. I got good results by putting a more colored sounding tube in V2, and a 5751 in V1 -- I found that tamed the wooliness and fizziness.

    About two years ago, as a 50th birthday present to myself, I sent mine off to L.A. amp tech Angelo Marruzzi for his set of MIG-60 mods, which at the time was ~$400 and a new set of power tubes. I cannot recommend his services strongly enough -- he has a really good approach to fixing the issues with this circuit and also addresses the inconsistencies of the left-over Soviet-era electronic components, which have a wiiiiide range of tolerances. Angelo's mods clean up the power supply and make the amp much closer to a dual JCM800/JMP, depending on your input choice. Affordable too, considering all that he did.

    Here's a nice write up someone else did of Angelo's MIG-60 mods:

    http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/forum/ForSale/acapella-79/1913084-

    Very happy with this amp now, and don't see myself ever parting with it, but it is a very loud amp and it's hard to find opportunities to really crank it. :D

    Oh, and one more interesting thing that Angelo shared with me: these amps run the power tubes at very high plate voltages -- around 570VDC, IIRC. Angelo recommends using older brown base Tesla EL34s for MIG-60's as their plates have better welds and seem to withstand the high current better than many other tubes. :dude
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  8. MrHaroldA

    MrHaroldA Member

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    Nov 26, 2014
    Cool review, Fartrider! Tnx!

    I recognize a lot of my MIG60 in your story, especially the slightly over-the-top gain on the high channel.

    Do you remember what value you settled on? My MIG60 will get a choke and new filtercaps soon, and I'd like to tame the high input a little ... or shall I go with the 5751 in V1 as redeyedjim did?


    Anyway, I hope the choke and new caps will give the amp a little more "kick", and the mumbling on higher gain settings is just a little annoying. Other than that: I love this amp. It's great to get such a great tone on an amp everybody thinks sucks balls. I like that ;)
     
  9. Fartrider

    Fartrider Member

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    wow redeyedjim that sounds like alot of improvements, that would have been a fun thing to do if I wasn't in europe, but I'm sure I can find a competent technician over here too.
    I have just started to learn about tube amps and I have to say it's a nice feeling when you start feeling like you understand how everything is put together and not just sitting scratching your head.

    mr harold, I didn't have many resistors in the right range but I had a couple of 2.7k. I changed the cathode resistor on v1.2 to 2.7k and left the 1.1k on v1.1. I tried changing that one too but doing so I felt like I lost alot of mojo..
    I would buy a bunch of resistors in the range of 1.9 to 3.1k or something and see what fits best. Its resistors R3 and R9 in the schematic, for some reason both the cathode resistors on v1 is called R3.
    If you know how to solder (dont need to be an expert for this) then I would try these mods first, alot cheaper than buying a new tube!

    a choke and new caps sounds like a great way to give life to a dull amp! what do you have to do to install a choke instead of the resistor?

    Cheers everybody, good to hear there's more people enjoying this fun machine!
     
  10. MrHaroldA

    MrHaroldA Member

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    I'm in Europe too, the Netherlands to be exact.

    Well, that's basically it ;)

    The caps are more work, you'd have to mount axial caps inside the amp instead of the obsolete can caps. I found a couple of F&T screw cap cans, but they have a screw diameter of 18mm, which is way more than the Soviet caps have so you'd have to drill out the chassis for them.
     
  11. Fartrider

    Fartrider Member

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    Cool, will you post the results here when the work is done? Would be nice to hear your opinion on what it did to the sound. Would be great to see a pic of the capacitor re-work too! Mine still has the original caps since 94 so I should get new ones too.
     
  12. MrHaroldA

    MrHaroldA Member

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    Nov 26, 2014
    Here are the quick wins:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The three 100+80uF's (parallel: 180uF) still need to be replaced. On later schematics this is lowered to 100+30uF (130uF). The plan is to install one 100+100uF can cap, one 33+33uF can cap and the rest axial inside the amp.
     
  13. Fartrider

    Fartrider Member

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    Looks nice!
    I remembered wrong, the cathode resistor mod its the first one on the high input I changed to 2.7k, the rest is stock. I tried to change them as well but didn't like it, not enough "hair".
     
  14. MrHaroldA

    MrHaroldA Member

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    Is that R3 (1k1) in this schematic?

    http://dl.sait.nl/sovtek_mig60_audio_pa_1995_sch.pdf


    Edit: ah, just spotted the duplicate R3. Is it a shared cathode? Never checked it.
     
  15. treedroppings

    treedroppings Member

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    San Jose, CA
    I had a Mig 60 in 2008. I basically got my money back when I sold it (500 vs 450 shipped from ebay) It was good but it had the E34Ls for more headroom and bass! It was a little harsh so I put GE tubes in the preamp and it really improved the tone. Nice sound with a BOSS Turbo Overdrive! Very loud with my twin cabinet with a Fane and a Celestion, but I have a Mesa Mark I now so I can get the same sound...
     

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