THD Univalve Suitability????

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by M@tt C, Sep 3, 2004.


  1. M@tt C

    M@tt C Supporting Member

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    I'm in a cover band hitting everything from Stone Temple Pilots to Cream, with stops all along the classic rock to modern rock way. My current amp is a Mesa F-50 with an Avatar 2 x 12 closed back cab with V30's, and I'm realizing the voicing of the amp isn't what I'm looking for....a little too dark, and a bit "fizzy" on the top end.

    I've heard the clips of the Uni on the THD website, and it sounds like it can do the medium/ high gain (but not "metal" type gain, which is fine) really well, and the thought of being able to fine tune it to my sonic tastes is intriguing....as is the price point.

    The questions.....for playing small gigs (bars, backyard parties, etc) would the Uni have enough wattage to keep up? Would the cab I have be a good match? Other suggestions amp wise? (trying to stay under 1k) Should I keep my amp and just live with what I've got?

    Help!
     
  2. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    I would go with the BiValve. It is much more flexible and has more headroom for gigs. Plus, if you want you can run it on only one power tube, which gives you about 90% of the sound of the Univalve.
     
  3. boomchickaboom

    boomchickaboom Member

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    i've played plenty of gigs with mine....i've used everything from a 6k6 to a 6550 or 6ca7 power wise and it has worked just fine....

    i even played an outdoor gig with it recently...i ran it into a really nice sounding '76 marshall 4x12...12ay7, 12ax7, 6ca7...no hotplate...lo voltage, higher gain input....volume on 3 (seriously) and it was plenty loud enough to hear on stage...

    [​IMG]

    but, i've also had times were it wasn't quite loud enough....

    i love mine..and if you know you'll always have a good pa and sound guy supporting you i think you could use it anywhere....if you have to rely on just the amp and not the pa for volume it might not be quite enough.....

    i'd think the bivalve or flexi would be loud enough for any club gig you need to do without the guitar in the pa....

    d
     
  4. therealting

    therealting Member

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    The two main things with the UV are the fact that it is single-channel (no channel switching), and that at 15w it is not as loud as some other amps (although through a 4x12 it is certainly not quiet). Some people are also bothered by the lack of an FX loop. If you can live with those limitations, it is an absolutely smoking amp for the money.

    The BiValve is a different animal to some extent, and the Flexi is completely different.

    Check out http://www.univalve.net for LOTS of detailed info on THD amps.
     
  5. Steve W.

    Steve W. Member

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    Another way to use the Uni is as a tone generator/preamp with the built in dummy load into another amp. You can run it into the front of a clean amp like a pedal, into the effects return like a preamp, or even into a solid state power amp. Dial in your tone on the Univalve and use the other amp to get whatever volume you want. You can also add post power amp effects this way. I've used the first two options into both a Fender Concert and a Rivera Knucklehead 55 with great results.
     
  6. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    I think a lot depends on the speaker, too, and how much clean headroom you want from it. I have done blues gigs on it with an EL34 and a Celestion Blue. It was incredible! The blue is VERY efficient and downright loud. I've done gigs with a 2X12 V30/G12H30 cab with equally great results. The big question is this: how loud is your drummer?
     
  7. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Not a UV owner but I do have some band experience with a single-ended amp (Peters 3CP1). I used in in a two-guitar band with a hard-hitting drummer with no problem at all. I didn't have much in the way of clean headroom but rolling off some volume on the in-between pickup settings on my PRS gave passable cleans. If you can live with so-so cleans, it's quite possible to use a 15W tube amp outside one's basement.
     
  8. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    For the music you play and given your current rig, I'm predicting an unhappy camper if you choose the Uni.

    Having owned and sold a Uni, let me second the suggestion to go with a BiValve instead. (Sure, some people will tell you can "manage" with just 15 watts but is "managing" really your goal here?!)
     
  9. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Nothing about the Univalve here, but many people are always recommending these 15 watt amps for that type of music in bands.. .I say NO WAY and very much agree with Jon's last sentence... If you decide there's a way , try it and decide yourself but don't listen to all these people who think 15 watts is loud enough and full enough and ballsy enough to play STP in a band.... It is probably if your next gig is at the Radisson , but if it's a backyard or a bar where people go to hear STP/Cream type stuff no way. Of course if you're the type of band who mics every instrument and likes a really low stage volume, the volume will be there , but the fullness??

    ERIC
     
  10. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    I owned a UV for about a year. The band I was in when I owned my UV played fourteen originals, and covers by SRV, The Vaughan Brothers, The Allman Brothers, Clapton, Jeff Beck, Led Zep, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Dr. John, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, John Hiatt, U2, Creed, the Wallflowers, BB King, Johnny Lang, The Ventures, and a few other artists I can't remember.

    I used the UV to gig with a few times, mostly mic'd. However, I can also tell you that, with a KT66 or EL34 power tube, that amp was easily loud enough for most gigs.....and that was in a band with two guitarists and a keyboard player. I never cranked it up on stage - it was too loud, and made the stage mix very unbalanced.

    The UV also really sparkled in the studio.........especially through an early Marshall 4x12 loaded with Blackbacks.

    A Bivalve may be a better way to go, depending upon your volume requirements. You may want to check with Ed DeGenaro for his opinion as well. If you are definitely focused on buying any of the THD amps, Ed is wonderful to speak with, and a customer service guru.
     
  11. Shemp

    Shemp Member

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    You won't get much headroom from a Uni. In a band concept it might not cut as much as it will fill and add texture.

    Great amp, wonderful for recording and messing around the house, but at a couple of jams I've been to, it loses definition pretty quickly when others are playing 40 and 50 watt amps.
     
  12. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    I've owned both the UniValve and the BiValve and they were very different amps for all of their similarities. I also had a Flexi in my care for a short while (different animal altogether). The Uni and Bi were voiced very differently. The UniValve was a bright amp with a bit of a scoop in the mids and an upper-mid emphasis. The BiValve had a thick midrange and was darker sounding than the UniValve. Given the vast number of possible tube configurations with either amp some of these characteristics can be minimized or emphasized - these were simply my observations using similar tube configurations in a side-by-side comparison. A BiValve running (2) 12AX7's and (1) EL34 does not sound like a UniValve with the same tube compliment save for a particular upper-mid character shared between all of the current THD models (again, to my ears). I used an Avatar 2x12 sealed with the V30/G12H30 combination amongst other cabs

    I did not find the UniValve to have enough clean headroom for me in a live or band rehearsal setting. It definitely had enough volume but I could never get it to clean up enough for my taste and still maintain sufficient volume or preserve the tone and definition that I enjoyed from this amp. With the right tube compliment and speaker(s)/enclosure(s) I suspect that this could have been remedied to some degree but the closer I got to sufficient clean headroom the further I moved from the tone that I wanted from this amp. If you have any need to clean things up a bit the UniValve may not be the right amp for the job. It's well inside your stated budget and will produce great tones for the music style you mentioned but will likely just barely cut it volume wise.

    The BiValve definitely provided sufficient clean headroom for me. I also preferred the thicker, darker tones over the brighter UniValve. I found it easy to dial in a great tone and go from clean to mean with just the guitar's volume control. I found the BiValve to be more flexible than the UniValve in this way. The BiValve had a tone all its own. Tube changes served to help shape or sculpt this particular tone whereas tube changes in the UniValve had a more dramatic impact on the character of the amp. Changing the tubes in each of these amp was fun for different reasons for me. The BiValve was a tad smoother to my ears than the UniValve but certainly had enough grind for STP type sounds. Given the style(s) of music described in your post the BiValve would definitely be a better choice over the UniValve. These can be had for under $1K if you look (bought mine new for under that).

    The Flexi is a killer amp - great Marshall tones+ and stellar cleans. It's a loud amp and, unless you find a ridiculous deal, it's outside of your preferred budget.

    I currently own two 1x12 combo amps (a Rivera Jake at 55watts and a modded Marshall JCM800 at 50watts). I much prefer the abundant clean headroom afforded by these amps and have since sold the THD amps. I didn't sell them because I didn't like them but rather because they weren't getting used - the Rivera and Marshall get all the playtime.

    Best of luck!
     
  13. don't_go_on_me

    don't_go_on_me Member

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    Is it true that you can run the Uni through a Crate Powerblock and increase the volume through that (therefore louder cleans)?
     
  14. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Wow, a 2.5 year bump. Must be a record.

    You can take the line out of a Univalve and plug it into anything. Why you'd want to run a $900 tube amp through a $70 SS amp is beyond me.
     
  15. don't_go_on_me

    don't_go_on_me Member

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    I ran a search on the Uni and found this thread and I figured I'd add onto it rather than make a new post (therefore avoiding the "use the search button" response)

    So what would you suggest then? I'm kind of a noob when it comes to this stuff so helpful suggestions would be appreciated. Would it affect the tone a lot? Would the volume increase substantially if I needed it too? The reason I'm curious about it is that at the moment I don't need a lot of headroom since I'm not playing in a live situation; however I would like an amp that's flexible enough to keep up with a band if necessary.

    I know I could spend an extra 300 and get a bivalve but that's more money than I'd like to spend at the moment (so in the future if $70 quick fix will get it done without affecting the tone then why not?)
     
  16. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Despite the marketing, I found the Univalve to be about the least flexible amp out there. Not at all suited to gigging. Basically you dial it in to one sound and that's what you get. There's no appreciable clean headroom. You can dial in a good distorted sound, but you're pretty much stuck with it. No effects loop, no reverb, no channel switching or drive boost. It's one of the last amps I'd want on stage with me. I know a lot of people like it, but I found it to be a novelty item with no real practical purpose.

    Generally when gigging, you'll use the PA and monitors to adjust instrument volumes, so you'd mic the amp then feed some back into your monitors if you needed to hear it better. Lack of clean headroom is only one of its many showstoppers for me.
     
  17. vinney57

    vinney57 Member

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    I have a Univalve and have gigged with it extensively... I would NOT recommend it however. The lack of headroom can be a limitation and it did take me about six months of tweaking before I got it to where I was comfortable. It is also a very unforgiving amp; which is not neccesarily a bad thing, my technique has improved since using it, but it can be a shock at first. I would SERIOUSLY recommend one of the many fine and cheap 2 x el34 or 6L6 50watt combos available out there first.
     

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