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Tone King Meteor II, initial impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by riffmeister, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Got a used TK Meteor II in recently, the 4x6V6 40 watt 1x12 combo version. I've noodled in the basement with it for a couple of sessions, the fit with the band will be determined later this week. Guitar was a s/s/h Strat type Suhr.

    Lots of features........1/2 power switch, three position bright switch (off and two bright settings), bright/dark switch which affects the poweramp section, 3 knob reverb mix/dwell/tone, speed/intensity tremolo.

    The amp has two channels: vol/tone/mid-bite drive channel with reverb, vol/treb/mid/bass clean channel with reverb and tremolo. No Master volume.

    Initial impressions:

    The clean channel is great......the sound with just the 1x12 is huge! Quite a bit of flexibility with full EQ and bright switches. I found myself liking the amp best with the 3-position bright switch in the "off" setting and the bright/dark poweramp switch in the "dark" position. I might add that the effect of these switches is subtle. With mids up, treble down, bass in between, the amp sounds very full and lush. Push up the treble and the top end gets very chimy and crisp. The low end is big and tight. Adding a TIM to the signal path produces a VERY satisfying overdriven sound that cleans up nicely with the guitar's volume control. With the amp in 1/2 power mode, the clean channel with volume at noon sounds very good and will break up in a very pleasing way when the strings are hit hard. In sum, the clean channel sounds GREAT noodling by myself in the basement. I am looking forward to using it with the band.

    The drive channel is very aggressive and LOUD! The key to getting a good sound on this channel is having the volume turned up (noon or higher). At lower volume settings, the bottom end drops down. The drive channel gets its overdriven sound NOT from the preamp, but from the poweramp, which is why it must be turned up to very loud levels. In the 1/2 power mode, the volume does drop a bit, but it is still LOUD! Very sexy, swampy drive tones can be had from this channel, and things clean up considerably from the guitar's volume control.

    I think this amp will be difficult to use as a channel switcher. The better way to think of the amp is it is two single channel amps in one.......choose which one you want to use, and then set it up accordingly.

    I like the dual output transformer design of the amp. What this means is that in 1/2 power mode it is using a smaller OT, one which fits the character of a lower wattage amp.

    Also, the reverb is very nice. Usually I'm not much of a 'reverb guy', but this one is designed very well and can be set to provide just a little extra "air" around the notes without interfering with the fundamental.

    In sum, me likey. I look forward to band practice later this week!!
     
  2. procos

    procos Supporting Member

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    Glad you likey Riff. That one is a keeper.:BEER

    Chuck
     
  3. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Chuck. I hope to be moving some air with it very soon! :)
     
  4. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree, riff. The clean channel is one of the best clean sounds I've ever heard. The lead channel is a totally different beast. The only way to really use it as a channel switcher is to be in a very loud band and/or have an attenuator for the lead channel. I'm doing fine with a Crunchbox in front of the clean. The reverb is incredible. Mine's the 1 12 and is a keeper.

    jon
     
  5. slotools

    slotools Member

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    I gotta chime in here- love my Meteor II- reverb and trem are tops-
    this amp gets that singing, clean, Les Paul neck tone that just floats my boat.
    plays nice with pedals too. I have had a parade of top amps this year and this amp will stay here. Speaker break in has only made it sound sweeter.

    I keep it on the 40 watt setting-and do not have much need for the tweed lead channel .
     
  6. gtrguy17

    gtrguy17 Member

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    I'm glad to hear about another satisfied Toneking owner!
    BTW, the 1/2 power switch doesn't do anything when on the clean channel - it only takes effect with the lead channel.

    Enjoy!
     
  7. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    From the manual (and this applies to my 740, Meteor 2)

    "Models 730 and 740 have a half-power switch which reduces the output power by effectively “switching off” two of the four output tubes. Unlike previous Tone King models, this switch is effective on both the Rhythm and Lead channels."

    jon
     
  8. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Riff, how does this amp compare to the Comet 20 (?) that you demo'ed (and very well, i might add) at the NYCTF acouple of years back. Besides the obvious differences in power, how does the tone compare?
     
  9. gtrguy17

    gtrguy17 Member

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    Bluesdoc-
    My bad. I have a Meteor I and I hadn't realized that they changed it on the II model.

    Paul
     
  10. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Great amp. I had Mark put a bass boost on the lead channel of mine so I could use it as a second "tweed clean" channel to use with pedals. If you don't mind 2 stomps, it excels when used this way. I had a Zendrive and a couple Landgraff's that really sang through the tweed channel when set dead clean.
     
  11. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a Meteor II, 2x12". I asked Mark Bartel to change the 1/2 power toggle switch to a footswitch, so I could switch to 1/2 power on the Tweed side for solo playing. I put the channel switch right next to the 1/2 power footswitch on the pedalboard, and I can cover both buttons with one footstep.

    That allows me to switch to 1/2 power on the fly when soloing.

    GREAT AMP! I had an amazing weekend playing my '56 Esquire through it two weeks back. Talk about Vintage Tone, and it was like having an old BF Pro and an old Tweed Vibrolux together in the same box for 3 nights - WOW!

    The Tweed side is a little loud for the Country band I play with, but for a bar sized blues band it's fine. I owned both the Comet 40B and the Meteor II. The Comet too was a GREAT amp, but I chose to keep the Meteor II and sold the Comet - tough choice.

    Enjoy, Dana O.
     
  12. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Dana, I thought that when you went to half power, you needed to also switch to 4 ohms. ??

    jon
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I owned an early Imperial (2x6V6) for about a year. It had a more pronounced mid-scooped sound to the clean channel (and no mid control) compared to the Meteor II. Overall, I find the clean channel on the Meteor II to be quite a bit more versatile. Also, the reverb on the Meteor II is miles more versatile than the Imperial. The reverb on the Meteor II is actually quite remarkable......there is a completely separate circuit for the reverb which includes a 6V6 driver. So it's alot like having an external tube driven reverb unit, only it's built into the amp! I'm not done experimenting yet, so my opinion may change, but so far, I find the lead channel on the Meteor II to be a little harder to dial in than the Imperial (even when the Meteor is being used in 1/2 power mode).
     
  14. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    yes, and interestingly it turns off an adjacent pair, like this:

    1-2-3-4 (full power)
    1-2-X-X (half power)

    this is different than how one would pull tubes in your typical 4-power-tube amp:

    1-X-X-4 or
    X-2-3-X

    And also, on the Meteor, the two tubes that stay on in 1/2 power mode are the ones closest to the cooling fan. That Mark Bartel, he thinks of everything! :)
     
  15. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    There is nothing that can be done to a Continental or Imperial to upgrade their reverb to be anywhere near a Meteor I or II, however, you can add a mids control that allows you to up the mids on the clean channel significantly. I know because Mark - a scholar and gentleman - did it for me. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a Tone King Meteor II head/212 cab.
    Both very lightweight...the other guitar player in our fusion band gasped with delight when he picked up the head/cab. He could not believe that a tone machine as nice as the TK would weigh a fraction of anything he owned. It is one of my main rigs for either the rock or fusion band.
    Cleans with headroom are where I start with my tone, and with the Meteor II, I'm covered.
    S.
    j
     
  17. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Steve, do you use the lead channel? And have you tried 34s or 6L6s?

    jon
     
  18. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Jon,
    I dont use the lead channel much at all. I have a boost/od pedal combination that works so well that I just dont have a need for it right now. The boost is the Klon (I've used the Germ and FatBoost, and they work well too). The od is the Barber LTD. GREAT od matchup for that smooth lead tone I love.
    Goose it a little with the boost for over the rhythm crunch level soloing, and you're off and running.
    I've never tried any but the 6v6's the amp came with. I'm very happy with my clean tone at the moment.
    S.
    j
     
  19. KLB

    KLB Member

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    You can run a pair of 5881/6L6 in the #3 and #4 sockets. On half power you get 6V6. On full power you get 6V6/5881. Try it!

    This doesn't exceed the filament current capacity because an EL-34 (which it can use a pair of) requires 1.5 amps, where a 6V6 (.45a) and 5881 (.9a) only use 1.35a together.

    By the way, I bought Lou V's custom MII and sold my first generatoin MII.

    The 1x12 extension cab is sweet with many amps.

    - Ken
     
  20. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay, I used this amp with the band tonight, set on 1/2 power, volume at noon, s/s/h Strat type guitar, chorus/wah/OD pedals.

    Um.........this is probably THE FINEST clean amp I have ever played!!! It has a big, fat, rich sound (esp for a 1x12......eee gads!!) with just the right amount of upper mid presesnce and top end sparkle. Using the vol & tone controls on my guitar, I could cut through the mix in an ear-friendly way, or lay back in the mix with a great rhythm sound. Full up on the volume and hitting the strings hard gave a nice mild, smooth crunch tone with just the right amount of compression, or I could really dig into lead tones after engaging a TIM od pedal. Also, as much as I am not a 'reverb guy', I must admit that the reverb on this amp sounds very nice.......hard to explain, but it is not at all overpowering or harsh, it sounds like it is off in the distance which enables the fundamental tones of the guitar to stand out in front where they should be. I think I was right on the edge of running out of volume.....so it is nice to know that I have the option of using the amp in full power mode for larger venues. I think that dual OT design is absolutely BRILLIANT (pass the Guiness) and is what gives the amp such a great tonality and feel used in the 1/2 power mode.

    Wow.......I am VERY impressed with the sound and feel of this amp!! It is without a doubt the best amp I've ever used with this band (vocals/keys/bass/drums/guitar blues-pop-rock band).
     

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