This may get me banned from TGP...

GuitarArt1980

Member
Messages
1,208
AC15HW1x + No MV + Hotcake > AC15HW1x + MV + amp gain only

After extensive testing, I've concluded that a Vox AC15HW1x set with master volume bypassed and with a Hotcake is more detailed and more dynamic and less harsh than when the amp's master volume is engaged and gain is up.

I don't know if this should be attributed to the amp just sounding better all around with the master disengaged, and/or to the Hotcake (or clone in my case) being such a great pedal, especially for this amp.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. I'm sure you all will agree with me 100% :)
 

ksandvik

Member
Messages
6,328
I think that master volumes don't work with Vox-style circuits in general. The hot-running EL84s are critical to the sound and feel.
That's also been my experience with each and every EL84 based tube amp I have played or owned.
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
5,966
I don't mind the master on the Vox, its a good one. The tones are more better without the master for sure, but when you need to drop the level some its great. The tones are not destroyed in my mind. I prefer the no master setup, but its still pretty bold in volume even with the master engaged. Of course I have the Soul Food on almost all the time, which does make for a pretty loud rig quickly.

I guess my comment is this, most amps sound best as non-master. Its not really practical most times, so it is included and its defeatable. Its the best of both worlds. Vox for the win.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,214
My Mesa TA-15 has a master defeat on the Vox side. It sounds pretty good using the master volume, but it sounds amazing (but really, really loud) with the MV defeated - absolutely captures the Vox thing.

The Fender/Marshall/Vox side sounds really good and very Fender-like with the master volume working - you can crank the master (i.e., defeat it) and it sounds good, too, but not the same difference in tone, which leads me to believe the difference has more to do with the Vox circuit than with the power tubes.
 

geek-mo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,789
AC15HW1x + No MV + Hotcake > AC15HW1x + MV + amp gain only

After extensive testing, I've concluded that a Vox AC15HW1x set with master volume bypassed and with a Hotcake is more detailed and more dynamic and less harsh than when the amp's master volume is engaged and gain is up.

I don't know if this should be attributed to the amp just sounding better all around with the master disengaged, and/or to the Hotcake (or clone in my case) being such a great pedal, especially for this amp.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. I'm sure you all will agree with me 100% :)
100% right on the money! Vox amps sound better when the MV is out of the circuit.
 

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
I think that master volumes don't work with Vox-style circuits in general. The hot-running EL84s are critical to the sound and feel.
except that it sounds like he's not running the power section hot in either situation, if i'm understanding what he's saying. so it's really a comparison of the Hotcake vs hot preamp tubes, and the Hotcake wins for him.
 

rmconner80

Cantankerous Luddite
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,104
Every amp sounds better turned up past what is typically practical :)
 

GuitarArt1980

Member
Messages
1,208
except that it sounds like he's not running the power section hot in either situation, if i'm understanding what he's saying. so it's really a comparison of the Hotcake vs hot preamp tubes, and the Hotcake wins for him.
True. I guess I was just surprised that the amp's own preamp gain wasn't the hands-down winner when compared to the Hotcake, considering the OD tone is what most people love about these HW Voxes. (I know it's a different animal when you're able to crank the amp with MV defeated but it's not often I can do that). Perhaps I'll pick up an attenuator and see how that compares, though the last one I had didn't properly retain the amp's feel IMO.

I got the idea to make this comparison when I played a Wampler Ace Thirty (Vox emulation pedal) at a local shop and loved it. I almost bought it but I just couldn't justify buying a pedal that is supposed to emulation an amp I already owned. I may have to rethink this now.
 

freaksho

Member
Messages
3,998
True. I guess I was just surprised that the amp's own preamp gain wasn't the hands-down winner when compared to the Hotcake, considering the OD tone is what most people love about these HW Voxes. (I know it's a different animal when you're able to crank the amp with MV defeated but it's not often I can do that). Perhaps I'll pick up an attenuator and see how that compares, though the last one I had didn't properly retain the amp's feel IMO.

I got the idea to make this comparison when I played a Wampler Ace Thirty (Vox emulation pedal) at a local shop and loved it. I almost bought it but I just couldn't justify buying a pedal that is supposed to emulation an amp I already owned. I may have to rethink this now.
no shame in loving a great OD pedal, and the Hotcake certainly is that. unless an amp is voiced/designed specifically for preamp dirt (which i really doubt your AC is), then i'm not surprised a well designed pedal sounds better.

also really depends on the sound you're after obviously. have you ever had a chance to really crank your amp into saturation? i can imagine a cranked AC is not the kind of dirt some would want, even if the clean sound is.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,343
The "master volume" knob everyone's referring to isn't actually a volume knob. It's actually a handicap knob, like in golf. It was originally called the "Skill Level Mastery" knob, which often got shortened to just "Master". Basically, you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (or 1-11 if it's a Marshall) with 1 being complete novice and 10 being expert. Then it handicaps the amp for you. So if your skill level is around 2, the amps complicated circuitry will blend in your bad notes with the rest of band's sound to help cover up your mistakes. But if you're skill level is around 9, then every nuance will be on display for the audience.

Just another fun fact that I didn't know was true until I made it up!
 




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