Synergy modular thread

chrishurley

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674
Not sure if this is the best place to ask this.

After using the Axe FX 2 for a few years I have basically decided that the amp tones I like are the BE-100, Bogner Ecstasy, and Dirty Shirly, .

I know from years of fist fighting Mesa Boogie amps that I simply do not like the tonal coloration of 6L6 tubes. I am, as you would say, an EL34 guy, and the prospect of running a pre-amp designed for EL34 (BE100) into 6L6 tubes seems like a recipe for disappointment.
Dunno, need advice.
I think a lot of people come around to the physical BE through the gateway Axe-FX version. I certainly did.

This subject comes up a lot- personally, I think it is way overblown. I think that you might really prefer an EL34 amp over a 6L6 amp but I don't really think it is the tube type themselves. I don't know which Mesa amps or what all you've done to fight them but usually the preamp topology is a lot different than a typical EL34 amp, so I would expect the result would be a lot different.

If I'm not mistaken, Dave Friedman has said in various videos that you can get the same sounds on an EL34 or 6L6 tube in the same amp just by adjusting the amp. I think I pretty much believe him, even though I don't want to believe him. I think the BE has EL34s because people really want it to have EL34's, not because Dave thinks they need to be there.

Dirty Shirley is 5881s, not EL34s. That's very similar to a 6L6 but its got very little else in common with the Boogie. Dirty Shirley is an early-Marshall kind of amp. Its not like a Fender at all. If you like that amp, maybe there is hope for you on non-EL34 setups. I think Cliff @ Fractal has also recently commented about the differences in power tube tone being more about the rest of the circuit than about the tubes themselves.

The modules will sound "different" in different poweramps. Whether a particular one will work for you is unknowable without trying it. I think they are better with a tube poweramp, despite being servicable without them. If you still have your Fractal, you have a million options inside it for that particular project.

The speaker cabinet should be the biggest factor by miles and miles. I've played Marshally modules through my Syn-30 (6L6) as well as Voxy type modules and a Fendery module. I don't know if they sound exactly like the real amps- probably not. They sound great though.

YMMV.

If they really needed to have an EL34 head and a 6L6 head for these to work well, I think Egnater, Randall and now Synergy would have done that. The modules generally work pretty well despite sharing a common poweramp.
 
Last edited:

mnemonic

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246
Steve Fryette has also had a lot to say about what we think are ‘tube tones’ are more about how the rest of the amp is designed.

i think he and Dave spoke about it on the ToneTalk episode he was on.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
Steve Fryette has also had a lot to say about what we think are ‘tube tones’ are more about how the rest of the amp is designed.

i think he and Dave spoke about it on the ToneTalk episode he was on.
That's probably where I heard it.

And I believe it... even though I want to believe it is the tube itself.

The EL84 for example- its fragile sounding.. harsh... lousy for anything but an AC30, right? Except that its not true. For example, people love the Friedman EL84 amps and they have none of those problems. Friedman had a video showing how the EL84 versions of his amps sounded basically the same within their volume limits. Its the amp design, not the tube.

Egnater has those amps where you can vary between 6v6 and EL84- people generally comment that there is much less difference than they expected. Some difference, sure. There is "some" difference between brands or even copies of the same type of tube.
 

Incufan7

Member
Messages
312
I think a lot of people come around to the physical BE through the gateway Axe-FX version. I certainly did.

This subject comes up a lot- personally, I think it is way overblown. I think that you might really prefer an EL34 amp over a 6L6 amp but I don't really think it is the tube type themselves. I don't know which Mesa amps or what all you've done to fight them but usually the preamp topology is a lot different than a typical EL34 amp, so I would expect the result would be a lot different.

If I'm not mistaken, Dave Friedman has said in various videos that you can get the same sounds on an EL34 or 6L6 tube in the same amp just by adjusting the amp. I think I pretty much believe him, even though I don't want to believe him. I think the BE has EL34s because people really want it to have EL34's, not because Dave thinks they need to be there.

Dirty Shirley is 5881s, not EL34s. That's very similar to a 6L6 but its got very little else in common with the Boogie. Dirty Shirley is an early-Marshall kind of amp. Its not like a Fender at all. If you like that amp, maybe there is hope for you on non-EL34 setups. I think Cliff @ Fractal has also recently commented about the differences in power tube tone being more about the rest of the circuit than about the tubes themselves.

The modules will sound "different" in different poweramps. Whether a particular one will work for you is unknowable without trying it. I think they are better with a tube poweramp, despite being servicable without them. If you still have your Fractal, you have a million options inside it for that particular project.

The speaker cabinet should be the biggest factor by miles and miles. I've played Marshally modules through my Syn-30 (6L6) as well as Voxy type modules and a Fendery module. I don't know if they sound exactly like the real amps- probably not. They sound great though.

YMMV.

If they really needed to have an EL34 head and a 6L6 head for these to work well, I think Egnater, Randall and now Synergy would have done that. The modules generally work pretty well despite sharing a common poweramp.
Thanks for the comment. I guess my only other question is, does anyone have experience with the syn 50 head? Or is the 5050 power amp just better since it is Fryette designed?
 

RMosack

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5,830
Egnater has those amps where you can vary between 6v6 and EL84- people generally comment that there is much less difference than they expected. Some difference, sure. There is "some" difference between brands or even copies of the same type of tube.
I built a Trinity 18 watt head. It's the sIIIv6 version. So it has a switch in back to toggle between a pair of EL84s and a pair of 6V6s. I fully expected a massive tonal difference between the two types of tubes. After all, I went through the bother of building the darn thing with that option.

Other than a clear volume difference, there was very little difference at all. The circuit was originally designed to work with EL84 tubes. So the component values in that section weren't optimized for the voltage that a 6V6 wants to see. The EL84 setting ran more hotter (proper, really). The 6V6 tubes were starved. Once I made a simple mod in the back to bring a resistor in and out of the circuit with the tube selector switch, the volumes were equalized. And at that point, you almost can't hear much of a difference.
 

Serious Poo

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Thanks for the comment. I guess my only other question is, does anyone have experience with the syn 50 head? Or is the 5050 power amp just better since it is Fryette designed?
FWIW... I had an awful experience with the Synergy 5050 power amp and returned it. I also have a Fryette power station and love it. Go figure.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
Thanks for the comment. I guess my only other question is, does anyone have experience with the syn 50 head? Or is the 5050 power amp just better since it is Fryette designed?
I have the Syn-30 which Bruce Egnater designed. I believe Friedman and maybe others had input on it. I think the Syn-50 is also Egnater-designed.

The Synergy heads are made in the USA by Boutique Amp Distribution which also makes Soldano, Friedman and some others. I'm not sure about the 5050 but I suspect it is as well.

Its unfortunate that you can't really check these out at a local store easily. You just have to find a retailer with a good return policy.
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
6,378
I have a Syn-1 inbound and was wondering what people think of the Engl modules?

I'm considering for my first module the Engl Powerball though I'm curious about the Engl Savage (the 'real' Savage seems like a beast). I'd 100% go for the Uberschall but it's out of stock and I doubt it'll be in for a while to come (I'll likely get that when available - Shaun Tubb's clip seemed unusually scooped though which isn't like the Uber I played loud).

The Deliverence and SLO are interesting too (the SLO is out of stock naturally) but I'm looking for modern high gain at least to start. I don't want muddy or sterile or thin if I can help it so if the Powerball is thin etc please let me know. I like the clean ch option and full dual EQs.

I'll be directly running into a 100w Ceriatone Yeti and a Mesa ROV25 run as poweramps (no 4CM).

If it works as planned I'll probably end up with the Morgan, BB/BE, Ecstasy, SLO, Deliverence, Uber, Powerball/Savage down the track.

I nearly bought into the MTS system years ago and think the Synergy gear could be the ticket for me personally (had enough of modellers). If the moons align, a couple of Syn-2s in the future and I'll get a custom 2RU poweramp made (or I'll make one myself as a project with toroidal transformers) and maybe end up a pretty happy camper.
 

Serious Poo

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Sean Tubbs is a good country / roots player, but modern high gain is clearly not something he’s comfortable with so take his demos of high gain modules with as much salt as your diet allows. Look instead to videos by Rabea, Ola, TONE WARS or John Browne for what those modules actually sound like in a modern metal context.

Another way to put it is the Savage sounds like classic Mesa Boogie Mark series to me while the Powerball sounds very Eurometal (e.g., Dream Theater “Pull Me Under” versus Amaranthe “Drop Dead Cynical”). Both are great preamps but voiced very differently. They compliment each other quite well, IMHO. The Uber is voiced more Eurometal to my ears but with an extended low end and absolutely sick levels of gain on tap.

Hope that helps.
 

gtr37

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6,347
Sean Tubbs is a good country / roots player, but modern high gain is clearly not something he’s comfortable with so take his demos of high gain modules with as much salt as your diet allows. Look instead to videos by Rabea, Ola, TONE WARS or John Browne for what those modules actually sound like in a modern metal context.

Another way to put it is the Savage sounds like classic Mesa Boogie Mark series to me while the Powerball sounds very Eurometal (e.g., Dream Theater “Pull Me Under” versus Amaranthe “Drop Dead Cynical”). Both are great preamps but voiced very differently. They compliment each other quite well, IMHO. The Uber is voiced more Eurometal to my ears but with an extended low end and absolutely sick levels of gain on tap.

Hope that helps.
I just can’t believe someone mentioned Amaranthe
So the Uber or Powerball is more THAT sound .?.
 

ned911

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Messages
590
I'd have to look and fire up the rig. I've actually been swamped at work since Covid hit and haven't had much time for guitar playing lately. I'm also going to rewire the righ using a Switchblade :)

@ned911 , I highlighted one line item in red in your post above. I'm curious about that connection.

Is the slave SYN-2's front panel volume knob in play because you are sending the output signal from the slave to the master SYN-2 via the LEFT/MONO MAIN OUT? If you had instead used the TO AMP FX RETURN on the slave, would everything else have otherwise worked, but the front panel volume wouldn't be in play?

Basically, taking the lower lead of that green cable on the slave (Lower) SYN-2, and moving it diagonal, down and to the right one spot?
 

Kelly

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3,445
Thanks for the comment. I guess my only other question is, does anyone have experience with the syn 50 head? Or is the 5050 power amp just better since it is Fryette designed?
The 5050 was voiced for the guys at synergy. Fryette sells a similar amp, the lxii, which is voiced to their own specs.
 

RMosack

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5,830
I'd have to look and fire up the rig. I've actually been swamped at work since Covid hit and haven't had much time for guitar playing lately. I'm also going to rewire the righ using a Switchblade :)
I went ahead and tried it last night. It works as I thought.
 

Serious Poo

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I just can’t believe someone mentioned Amaranthe
So the Uber or Powerball is more THAT sound .?.
Yep. IMHO Uber is more Epica / Delain, Powerball is more Amaranthe / Sabaton. Both are great choices, just depends on what you’re looking for.
 

Axe-Man

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6,378
IRL the Uber I played wasn’t quite as mid scooped like a Recto in modern mode. Shaun looked like he dialled in the mids in his vid but it still had that terrible Metallica level scoop :confused:; maybe there is a switch for mids on the module (I haven’t looked that closely)? Rabea’s vid sounded good and he seemed to like it.

I think it’ll be a buy and hope purchase with COVID. I’m not sure the Savage is too dark but I read that the Powerball IRL was a bit lighter in the bass (maybe it simply doesn’t need a boost so you end up with the same level of bottom end as there is no cutting like a Recto etc?).

I’ve watched all the usual guys but sometimes they use an OX etc like Henning which I really don’t like the sound of for high gain. Tone Wars gets some solid tones but the vids take ages to wade through and there usually is no A/B/C cut as they’re live vids. Also the level of gain verges on the extreme with pushed gain and the Misha’s drive pedal on top.

Which is a long of saying that I value some feedback from TGP especially from owners that can directly compare them without a marketing agenda in the background. :cool::)
 

Scratch17

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Messages
133
I want to explore routing two Syn-2s with a looper. I have a Voodoo Lab GCX looper and an RJM Mastermind GT-10 MIDI foot controller.

Has anyone ever tried using two Syn-2 units in separate loops on a foot switchable looper?

I'd like to connect a Syn-2 in the GCX's loop 1, a second in loop 2 and the FX send and return of the combo amp or head in a third loop.

Then I'd set up presets on the GT-10 to switch between the two Syn-2s. Would the loop I select insert the Syn-2 in that loop, bypassing the amp's internal preamp? And if both loops were bypassed, would the internal preamp be active, just like putting a single Syn-2 into the amp's FX loop?

Other routing paths:

If that basic use case worked, I'd also set up a preset to route either Syn-2 into the other Syn-2, providing a serial preamp into preamp signal path.

Or a stereo path to route either Syn-2 module to two or more amp FX loops. For this routing path, and some more exotic routing paths, I'd be using a Flock Audio Patch. The Patch is a programmable analog looper with a 32 x 32 matrix. My use case is for the studio only.

The Flock Patch can mult any signal and send it to any of its output paths. So for example I could have multiple power amp FX returns fed by one or more preamp.

This will allow me to explore many Syn-2 modules mated to multiple amp types with different circuit combination and tubes.

For example, I could use a Syn-2 loaded with the T/DLX module and a B Man module in a loop. I'd route the Syn-2 into the FX return of a Mesa California Tweed. That puts the T/DLX preamp feeding 5 different power amp circuits each delivering 1 of 5 different power levels through 6V6 power tubes.

Add a Mesa 5:25 Express + preamp section in a loop and I can route it to the power amp section of the Cali Tweed. Or put the FX return of the 5:25 power amp in a loop and I can use the Cali Tweed's preamp with the three circuits/power levels with EL84 tubes on the Express +. Or a few Syn-2s with multiple modules.

I am envisioning four tube amps for my studio; a Cali Tweed (6V6), a Mesa Express 5:25+ (EL-84), a Koch "The Greg" (EL-34) and my '68 Bandmaster (AB763 preamp, 6L6 tubes, fitted with a Metropoulos Zero Loss serial FX loop). Now add two Syn-2s and 4 or 5 modules and the combinations quickly multiply. Yet you stay entirely in the analog realm, so my clients who care about a pure analog path get a huge palette of sounds.
 

RMosack

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5,830
I want to explore routing two Syn-2s with a looper. I have a Voodoo Lab GCX looper and an RJM Mastermind GT-10 MIDI foot controller.

Has anyone ever tried using two Syn-2 units in separate loops on a foot switchable looper?

I'd like to connect a Syn-2 in the GCX's loop 1, a second in loop 2 and the FX send and return of the combo amp or head in a third loop.

Then I'd set up presets on the GT-10 to switch between the two Syn-2s. Would the loop I select insert the Syn-2 in that loop, bypassing the amp's internal preamp? And if both loops were bypassed, would the internal preamp be active, just like putting a single Syn-2 into the amp's FX loop?...
I know there was more in your post, but I'll take a stab at this part.

It makes sense that you could put them in separate loops, as long as the switcher can handle the preamp signal. And I would guess that it can. So that part seems solid.

I'm not exactly sure how your particular loop switcher or MIDI device works. But given your example of using putting the devices into loops, your switcher would need to do two things, not one, when you try to call up a SYN-2 channel (for sake of argument, think of each SYN-2 as having four channels):
1) Your switcher would need to select the loop holding that SYN-2
2) Your switcher would need to send a MIDI command to tell the SYN-2 what you like. It sort of has six possible "channels": four Synergy module channels, one bypass, and one mute.
I guess the only really benefit I can see for this type of setup is that, by using loops, you can totally bypass the other SYN-2 and the amp's preamp when they aren't selected, so you wouldn't have to bother with any MIDI commands to do anything to those inactive loops. They would simply be out of the loop. But with a regular amp preamp and two SYN-2 units, you are burning up three loops on your switcher.

I'm not 100% sure what other benefit there is in doing it this way. I think you have two other options.

First, if you like the idea of being able to separate the amp's preamp in a loop away from Synergy stuff, why not put both SYN-2 units in the same loop? You have to send MIDI commands to select the SYN-2 channels anyway. So you are stuck with some MIDI hassle. May as well put them in the same loop together and use MIDI to select among their eight total channels. One MIDI command has to put one in bypass. Another MIDI command has to tell the other one which channel is active. In this way, you are only using two loops on your switcher, and you aren't messing with any of the weird "add channels to your amp" wiring. [That I have to deal with right now!]

The second other option is just doing the "add channels to your amp" thing like I'm doing and @ned911 described above. You have to send MIDI commands anyway. So just have the MIDI tell both SYN-2 units what to do in your amp's loop. You can stick the whole shebang into one loop on your switcher, or you don't have to mess around with wasting any loops at all.

If/when I dive back into the horrible (to me) world of MIDI, I'll likely do that second option. I have two SYN-2 units working with my Mesa Mark V right now. Based on advice here and the Synergy forum, I saw how to wire it. So I have eight Synergy channels available on top of my amp's three. I could not have remotely imagined 11 amp channels back in 1983, when simply having a boost channel on my Super Champ seemed so high tech, LOL.

I think the one other factor that has me slow playing MIDI is the fact that the Mark V doesn't have MIDI capabilities. It has its own foot switch. But no MIDI. As much as I like the amp - and I waited a decade to buy one! - I have this thought of dumping it and just doing the SYN5050 or Fryette power amp thing. But that means going to a separate cab. I admit that I am very enamored right now of having 11 channels in a simple 1x12 combo that offers 10, 45 or 90 watt output power! But, in moments of complete insanity, replacing it with another amp that does have MIDI has crossed my mind. Just how much are those Revv Generators?...
 

Powderfinger

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11,389
Hey, what do we know about the Cab simulation in the direct out on a Syn-1 or Syn-2? i.e. what IR's do they use? Are they their own IRs or third party? Any way to load your own? Anybody use another device to load their own IRs? How do you do that? Thanks.
 

Monkeyboy23

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916
Hey, what do we know about the Cab simulation in the direct out on a Syn-1 or Syn-2? i.e. what IR's do they use? Are they their own IRs or third party? Any way to load your own? Anybody use another device to load their own IRs? How do you do that? Thanks.
It's an analog cab sim designed by Friedman. You can shut it off if you'd rather use your own.

I'll leave it to people who like IR to answer the rest.
 




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