Top Hat Emplexador 50, quick review and clip

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by CrunchBoy, Mar 14, 2006.


  1. CrunchBoy

    CrunchBoy Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    This amp sounds very similar to the many Marshalls I've had. It definitely sounds like a plexi, but more "refined" than the reissues. It sounds alot like a 1959SLP I had in which I put a Mercury Mag output tranny and Zoso caps. So the Emplex is pretty smooth, not harsh, but still has that signature Marshall bite and crunch. Compared the the Marshall reissues I had which had post-phase inverter master volumes, the Emplex's vintage channel has less gain at low volumes. The modern channel has more, like my reissue with a little clean boost in front. The bass is always tight on this amp and the eq knobs allow you to get the classic Marshall tone plus you have more shaping ability. Namely, you can make it much darker than an old Marshall if you want. The master volume works very well, which is important for me since I live in an apartment. Like my Marshalls with the PPIMV, the Emplex is more than acceptable as a low volume practice amp. I did have the chance to get the master up to 1 o'clock, and that seems to be the point where it starts to saturate, and it's not painfully loud at that point, which can be a good thing. If I were marketing this amp, I'd have just one channel with a switchable gain boost, instead of having what's represented as two different voices. I think people might confuse this for two seperate channels. The amount of gain in the modern voice is tasteful for a plexi. I could see some wanting more for Metal. I crave just a hair more at low volumes, but I think when you crank it, it would be just right for the VH, Ratt, Dokken type stuff I'm into right now.

    So here's a little clip of the vintage channel first, then the modern. The master was set fairly low. the speaker is a G12M25.

    http://www.soundclick.com/util/downloadSong.cfm?ID=3638884
     
  2. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,479
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    crunchboy.....your review is right on.......matches exactly with my experience with this amp.
     
  3. trisonic

    trisonic Member

    Messages:
    13,163
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    NJ out of England
    I like that amp a lot.
    It's a toss up between that and the Maven Peal Ganesha.
    Btw I like the dark sound of very early Marshalls (Mick Taylor on Crusade). In the end the Ganesha won out because I preferred the mix of basic sounds from the two Volumes (Bright and Normal) with flexibility of switching the "Treble Boost" off or on for each Volume - I happen to like it with the Normal volume almost maxed, boost off, Bright volume just on with boost on (everything else set to approximate a JTM45 type sound and response). The other thing I preferred on the Ganesha were the Pre-amp boost and the Power - amp Boost (or Tight or Loose).

    I should stress that it was very close and both sound great at reasonable volume (NOT the dreaded Bedroom.....)

    Best, Pete.
     
  4. Zewango

    Zewango Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Very nice! Does The 80's sound great.
     
  5. trower

    trower Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Location:
    Calif. Bay Area
    Hey Crunchboy, can you tell me (if it's not to much trouble) the tubes (pre's and power)your running, also are you using any pedals for your clip?
    yours seems to be a little more gainy than mine...
     
  6. keith_t4e

    keith_t4e Member

    Messages:
    1,395
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    nc
    Tell me something, I have a JCM800 I use with a Fulltone OCD. I just about have what this great amp has to offer albeit a less expensive version of it. I, too, like the amp a lot. Single coils kill through it, Much beter than with my Marshall.
     
  7. sws1

    sws1 Member

    Messages:
    8,447
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Jersey Shore
    What pedal are you using with the amp for the parts with the harmonics?
     
  8. CrunchBoy

    CrunchBoy Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    To answer a few questions,

    I don't know what kind of tubes are in it. I'll check and report back later.
    I didn't use any pedals for that clip. The gain was maxed and I have a Duncan Custom Custom in my Strat, which is a real hot PAF type pup.
    I also wanted to say that the $1200 I paid for this used amp represents a great value. But I don't think $2350 for a new one is a great value. $1800 seems about right for a new one to me. For someone looking for these types of tones at a nice price, I'd recomend a used Marshall 1987X. Install a post-phase inverter master volume. Even if you decided to "upgrade" the power tranny and caps, you'd still only be into it for about $1200 or so. But this situation only exists because of the wealth of Marshall reissues available on the used market. The Emplex is a great amp, but I couldn't see spending $2350 for one. But then again, I don't care if it's PTP or not. I just care about the sound.
     
  9. Sharkey

    Sharkey Member

    Messages:
    472
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    N.C
    Sounds good on you Todd. I'm glad you like it. Its got two JJ's and a EH in V1 I think (little Foggy). I normally do a little tube swapping but I liked that tube combo in that amp.

    :dude Great chops there by the way
     
  10. jzguitar

    jzguitar Member

    Messages:
    246
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    YES!! Dokken and Ratt! I grew up on that and it will always have a special place in my heart. Great sounding amp - I've thought about getting a Plexi reissue and having it redone. Like you said - for about 1200 total you can have a sweet amp.
     
  11. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

    Messages:
    570
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    As obnoxious as it is to my local dealer(s), I have put in hours on those Emplex amps, but never bought one. I love them to death, but I need channel switching.

    Since I am old school, I set the amp to sound identicle to the Free sound ... just the right karang sound with a smooth breakup. Excellent amp at getting many, many flavors of Marshalls. Most folks go for the throat and crank the gain, but this amp sound sooo sweet with the gain down too. Lots of switches and knobs, and they dramatically change the sound and feel of the amp.

    Nice chops and sound Crunchboy ...
    Rock on :dude
     
  12. jimo

    jimo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Crunchboy, nice playing and cool clip, its a a really good example of the crunch versatility of the Emplex. When I got mine it had lower gain preamp tubes in it but after replacing them with some ARS 12ax7a's the thing just sounds great. And your right one of the most amazing things about the amp is how good it sounds at lower volumes but has the headroom for stage also.:dude
    -Jim
     
  13. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Location:
    In a white room
    Good review, crunch. For $1200 used, this one's a no-brainer for anyone seeking classic crunchtones. I opened up the chassis and the precision and orderliness of the wiring is a sight to behold.

    I was wondering where you had set the two switches on the front for the clip, and if you thought that got the gain up high enough for more-metal stuff.

    For onlookers, the Emplex has two switches on the front ... From Top Hat's Web site: ​


    We've recently added two switches to the front panel features.

    The first switch labeled "Normal-Boost" (replaces the pull-boost function on the earlier models) with the boost mode providing additional gain in the higher frequencies. This provides the '69-'72 era bright/crunchy response. (Remember the effect is diminished as the gain knob is turned up)The Normal mode allows the amp to be full and warm at lower gain knob settings.


    The second switch labeled "Treble-Fat" allows the player to choose between the gain structure of a fat JTM 45 (early/mid 60's) and a more treble-y JMP 50 (later 60's).

    Together with all these tonal options a player can really dial-in almost any classic "British Tone" from clean and bright to hot and overdriven.
     
  14. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,748
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Location:
    In a white room
    I just HAD to add this excerpt from a Harmony-Central review of the Emplex:

    ~~~~~~~snip~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Reliability: 10
    I opened up the amp to take a loook. i wish i could have posted a pic. its different than other amps because there wasent really a "board". More like tracks running parallel. Very clean work on the inside and seemed well built even though i only had it for a week.,
     
  15. CrunchBoy

    CrunchBoy Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    The switch to bring in the bright cap is not needed for me, as I run the preamp full up, in which case it's moot. But if you want that bright lower gain crunch, it's there. The fat/treble switch is cool and represents the difference between the earlier fatter/flatter Marshall preamp vs. the later, tighter, brighter, more cutting circuit. I like em both, but I don't think one has more gain than other.
     
  16. keith_t4e

    keith_t4e Member

    Messages:
    1,395
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    nc
    I'd have to say this amp is now an official contender for next and final amp for me. I have JCM800 2203x and a Soldano Avenger. The amps I'm considering are: Egnater Mod50, VHT Deliverance, Fuchs Supreme Overdrive 50 and Top Hat Emp. All 4 are amazing amp. The VHT is the lest expensive and not a bad amp at all. The less gain 3 tube stage is JCM like. The more gain 4 tubes is gain a plenty with a distinctive VHT sound. The Egnater can do it all. The DLX fender hot blues type tone is great. The gain mods are great too. I've never tried the Fuchs but from the clips I've heard it is one great tone. This leaves the Top Hat which sounds the most like what I'm used to and grew up with-------a good Marshall MV tone with an extra boost. Man what a hard decision.
     
  17. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

    Messages:
    570
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    I have an Egnater Mod 50 on order ... they are 6-8 weeks out on those. But you have to like the fact Egnater keeps coming up with new modules all the time. I am starting off with the Deluxe and SL2 modules, but I hope to replace the SL2 with a bit lower gain module in the future.

    Man, what a great time to play guitar! So many amps, so little time ..
     
  18. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

    Messages:
    570
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    One word ... Splawn ...
    http://www.splawnguitars.com/marshall_mods.htm

    Check out the sound clips. Fantastic sounding mods. Send him your JCM800, get back a 2 channel, solo boosted rock monster.
     
  19. meterman

    meterman Member

    Messages:
    7,193
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Location:
    ATL
    I love my Emplex, I've had a '97 script logo model for about a year now. Killer sounding amp and really surprisingly versatile, everything from clean, fat bluesy tones to screaming gain and it all sounds good. Excellent MV with a very smooth interaction with the Gain knob...I run mine through a closed back 2x12 with a G12H30 and Weber V30 clone and use mostly semi-hollow humbucker guitars. I had my first couple of gigs with it recently and got alot of compliments on my tone. Built very well too.

    BTW I still have a copy of that video clip from the NYC tone fest of Jacko playing someone's Emplex, that was what showed me what the amp could do and sold me on it.....
     
  20. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,479
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    Location:
    near Philly
    The amp sounds great in that clip. Jack is a phenomenal guitarist, too.
     

Share This Page