Top Hat, Dr Z or Tone King?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by B Vance, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Looking at these three amps:

    Top Hat Club Royale (2x12 combo)

    Tone King Meteor 730B (30 watt 2x12 with 6V6s)

    Dr. Z Maz Jr (2x12 combo)

    Anyone who can comment on any of the three please feel free. Comparisons between the three would be especially helpful in this case.

    Thanks.
     
  2. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Any help at all would be much appreciated. Thanks guys.
     
  3. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    I dont know about the Top Hat...but the Tone King or the Z will get you some beautiful clean tones in a Fender kind of style, and both are pedal sluts of the highest order.

    S.
    j
     
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I've owned TopHat Club Royale 2x12 and 1x12, Dr Z Maz Jr non-reverb 2x12, Tone King Imperial 1x12 (2x6V6). The Tone King is pure Fender (BF on the clean channel, tweed on 'roids on the gain channel), the Dr Z is like a cross between BF Fender and Vox, The TopHat is like a cross between Vox and Marshall.

    I still own the TopHat because it fits my style and gives up the goods at volume levels I need.
     
  5. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    What is your style? I play in church. At home I mostly play blues/blues rock with a touch of country thrown in on the side. I have a 65 reissue Deluxe Reverb and I love it. What I really want is another voicing for my setup on stage. Another dimension to my sound. From your post I would guess that you suggest the Top Hat?
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I play in a guitar/bass/drums/keys/vocals blues-pop-rock band and I use either the Club Royale or another TopHat, the Super Deluxe (2x6L6 30W), dependiong on venue size. I also use the CR at open mike blues jams (usually two guitars, bass, drums, harmonica, vocals).

    The CR has much nicer (smoother) breakup than a Deluxe Reverb, in my experience, and it has a different voicing (British vs American).
     
  7. Laroosco!

    Laroosco! Member

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    The Club Royale is a great amp and sounds amazing but it is not pedal friendly.

    My favorite is the Dr Z, but if you're in love with the BF sound then the Tone King kicks serious ass.
     
  8. NB_Terry

    NB_Terry Member

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    It's true that the Club Royale doesn't seem to like alot of pedals.

    I have had good luck with the Fulldrive 2 in Comp Cut mode.

    The hotcake is also quite good, and the Tophat Xpressor.
     
  9. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    I'm not doubting that you have had an unsatisfactory combination with pedals and a Club Royale but a lot of folks are using a variety of pedals with a CR and are happy with the results. I've heard that the old conventional wisdom was that the Top Hats weren't pedal friendly but there have been a few design changes over the years that have made them more compatible. That's not to say everyone will love every pedal with them but it just isn't true that you can't use pedals with a Top Hat.
     
  10. Laroosco!

    Laroosco! Member

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    I'm glad you don't doubt me

    Of course you can use pedals with a Top Hat club, but they don't sound nearly as good as through some other amps.:D

    The higher wattage Top Hats are a different story. I loved my King Royale

    They are supposed to work great with Mosfet OD's.


    As I said, great amps, but not for me.
     
  11. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I like the CR because for my application, it just plain doesn't need pedals...........great clean to crunch tones all from the guitar's volume control. The CR has a bit of compression to it as well, which is great for moderate volume stuff......you can wail on the amp w/o taking off the heads of people in the front row, but it can run out of gas for louder stuff. Enter the Super Deluxe.......it picks up where the CR leaves off.....it is a bit cleaner & leaner, it takes OD pedals very well, and sounds really great cranked up.

    The Tone King has a built in gain channel, so I never really used pedals with it. The Maz 18, like every Dr Z I've owned, took pedals very well, but I wasn't entirely happy with it's voicing (a "taste" thing).
     
  12. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    I think a lot of the problems people have with the Top Hat CR is that they crank the snot out of it and use input 1.
    Once you hit the ceiling there is no where to go. This amp (by design) does not have a lot of headroom to begin with, so it is easy to turn it to mush.

    I have a TON of experience with my CR, it is not the most pedal friendly amp out there but it will work. My solution is simple, use input 2 and don't crank the amp past 2 o'clock, works for me with a LP. I use an OD, dist, wah, vibe all with no problems. You may have to tweak the pedals to suit the amp but that is mandatory with any amp, and also depends on how loud you have it.

    I have yet to hear an amp that takes to pedals better then my Route 66, totally different design, tubes, animal.

    I can't speak to the Tone King, I have heard one once and it was gorgeous in a very blackface knd of way.
     
  13. JES1680

    JES1680 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a CR and have played the Maz quite a bit. I prefer the CR. Voxy / Marshall and very tight. Yeah it doesn't handle pedals as well as my RT66, but nothing does.
    The CR does blues breakup to crunch very very well. It's one of the best amps for blues rock amps I've ever played when pushed. Oddley enough, when I need more distortion with the CR, the Bad Monkey sounds better than any other pedal I've tried.
     
  14. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    Doesn't like pedals, that is not good news. I typically use an HAO Rumble MOD, Frantone Hep Cat Reissue, Original Keeley Modded Legendary Tones Time Machine Boost a Visual Sounds H20 and a Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive. A combination of the pedals is used to acheive my tone with either my Tele, Strat or Les Paul.

    Would you describe the tone as a Marshall type or a Vox type?
     
  15. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I'm not Calgary Terry (hehehehe......I bought a Club Deluxe from him a couple of years ago, still use it and love it!), but here's the chain I use with my Club Royale and Super Deluxe:

    s/s/h Suhr Classic (Strat) -> Vis Sound H2O -> Voodoo Labs Analog Chorus (set for a Leslie sound) -> Dunlop 535Q Wah -> Fulldrive2 -> amp

    I usually use less drive on the Fulldrive with the CR because the amp sounds damn good on it's own. In fact, minimalist pedal setup with the CR is usually just Vis Sound H2O -> 535Q wah, and use vol control on guitar to go between clean and dirty.

    The CR's tones are very much in the Vox-meets-Marshall camp. The Super Deluxe is more of a Vox-meets-Tweed Fender type of sound.
     
  16. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Well my suggestion would be to NOT lock into this when you are going with a new amp. As Riff pointed out the amp sounds really good on it's own so minimum pedal input may be required.

    Can you play one anywhere nearby?

    Get one used if you can, heck I think there is one in the emporium now.

    The Top Hat is a great gig amp, records great and is very reliable. It is also easy and cheap to re-tube, no biasing needed, and that means no trip to the amp tech.
    Try some NOS GE EL-84's with it, they are very nice.
     
  17. B Vance

    B Vance Member

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    It sounds to me like the CR would sound killer with my American Tele. I like a bright sound, but I find that my Fender DRRI is just too bright and I like to change between my Strat and Tele between songs. A more British-tuned amp may be just the ticket. As for the not taking pedals well thing, I am not against using the amps overdrive if it sounds great. The only problem is that at volume levels below 4 you are pretty limited with what you can do. That's one reason why I use so many different pedals with my DRRI. I can get all of the OD tones I want between them and my volume nobs on my guitars. Also, right now my Gibson Les Paul is set up high for slide and I have found that nothing sounds better with slide than an amps natural overdrive. I am looking forward to giving all three of these a go when I am in Nashville later this month.

    All of your suggestions have been much appreciated. More suggestions/comments are welcome, including other suggestions.

    Thanks again.
     
  18. softhackle

    softhackle Supporting Member

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    B Vance, I own a TH Club Royale 1 x 12 built in 2004 with the deeper cabinet. I play in church as well where I have to keep the volume low. I use a FD2 in comp cut mode with good results. I also use a Catalinbread SCP as a clean boost which works well. I also use a Mosferatu for higher gain tones on the CR. And to really go crazy I use a Prunes & Custard coupled with a Frantone Peachfuzz for some fat, crazy harmonic fuzz. All these pedals work well with my CR in my opinion. The two OD pedals that I've used with the CR that I didn't really like was the Keeley modded BD-2 and the Hotcake.
     
  19. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    As long as there are couple guys in this thread that have experience using pedals with the TH Club Series and other amps, I have a couple questions. It might not apply to me as much because I'm using the Club Deluxe which is darker than the Club Royale and I only use a couple pedals and I use them sparingly.

    What is it that you haven't liked with pedals and a CR? Does it get to "soft" and mushy sounding or does it get kind of harsh and fizzy? What about the Dr.Zs that make them more compatible to pedals?

    With my CD, the only thing I've noticed is that I didn't like the Marshall Bluesbreaker II or the Boss Blues Driver when the "soft" rectifier switch was on, it was mushy sounding. Otherwise, I've actually liked those 2 rather inexpensive pedals with this amp. I run both the master and volume about 2/3 on the amp and it breaks up nicely, is touch sensitive, and gets a nice creamy but still articulate lead tone with the BBII. I'm mostly using a Tele or an ASAT with this set up. The only other pedal I use is I add a little delay right at the amp for clean neck pickup lead tone for faux-jazz sounds.

    Any additional input on pedals with these amps would be greatly appreciated for my own future reference.

    thanks,

    jj
     
  20. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

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    Well, I've got a Tone King Comet and compared it to the Maz38 when I was shopping (no tophat opinions) and found the TK far warmer and resonant whereas the Maz38 was a bit bright and biting for my taste. However, I'd say the TK tweed channel gets alot more bite and could approach the Maz38 (though still a different animal) while the blackface channel is my standby.

    I'm sure the Meteor is great too.
     

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