Top Hat SD Headroom

H

hemlock

I love my Top Hat SD but I am beginning to think that I really really need a bit more headroom. The SD has almost exactly the tone I am searching for, but after A/B-ing it with a 57 Twin that my buddy is trying out, I find that there are some songs that I really need a louder clean tone on. My Pitbull 45 was just about perfect as far as clean headroom, but I like the tone of the SD so much more for my playing. I've tried both inputs, Ax7, AT7, AY7. I haven't tried swapping speakers yet. It has a Celset Vintage 30 and a stock Top Hat speaker.

Anyone who has played both, could you comment on the comparing clean tone/headroom between the Top Hat SD and the following- ( I know some are switchers)

TH Ambassador 50
TH Emplexador 50
Aiken Sabre
Fargen Bordeaux 6L6
Fuchs ODS 50
Bruno Cowtipper 45
Sewell Wampus Cat 50 (maybe a 35)
Flexi 50

Any other ideas will be appreciated.
 
Messages
728
If you love your Tophat tone, IMO the only other amps in it's
league tonewise are the Brunos. The Cowtipper 45 would be your best bet. The Emplexador (which I have 2 of) is amazing
but is tonally a completely different beast. The Ambassador 50
would be logical but that sound is not Brian's forte, and he will tell
you that. For a big beautiful 6L6 tone, the Cowtipper 45 is the
one to beat. (I own 7 Tophats)
 

cr8z4life

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,768
I happen to love the Ambassador myself.....but it is a different camp than the super.....when you are using all the power it has a nice breakup where the ambassador is all about clean headroom...... are you looking for more clean headroom or just for the super to cut through more??
 
H

hemlock

I'm looking for more headroom. The Super cuts through fine but breaks up a bit early for some of the stuff we are doing. There are some songs where I need a fairly loud "Sex Machine" type clean.
 

cr8z4life

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,768
It sounds like you might like the ambassador....tight strong fender type cleans...huge sounding actually....and loves pedals for the dirty stuff.. I have a friend playing in a 10 piece band who plays through an ambassador 50 combo..... great gigging amp
 

riffmeister

Member
Messages
16,615
If you want to retain the TopHat sound, you might want to look into the 35W or 50W Ambassador. I had a 50W Ambassador for a while, and with the right tubes & speakers, it is indeed possible to get a sound similar to the Super Deluxe, but with more headroom. The 35W Ambassador has quite a bit more headroom than the SD, too. The SD intentionally uses smallish power & OT trannies so that it will crunch a bit. The trannies on the 50W and 35W Ambassadors are quite a bit larger and will deliver more clean headroom.

cr8z4life has a 35W Ambassador for sale, btw.....
 
Messages
728
The Super is running 6L6s and that is a very big part of it's
vibe and charm. I don't think you will be happy moving to the
small bottle 6V6's that are in the Ambassador 35. I would try
an Ambassador 50 or the Cowtipper 45. I think your jaw will
hit the floor when you hear either of these. They are both very
pedal friendly also. Try to demo them both if possible.
 

illinimax

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,594
Just a silly question, but are you running the SD with the rectifier in the hard mode? Also, have you tried different output tubes? I have a set of Philips 7581 tubes that sound great in my SD with quite a bit more headroom that the stock 6L6s.
 
H

hemlock

I've tried the rectifier in normal and soft modes. I have GE 6L6Cs in it now. I'll try some higher headroom tubes.
 

riffmeister

Member
Messages
16,615
Originally posted by ROKY
I think that might be the way to go --Phillips 7581s, and maybe
go back to the 12ay7 in V1
yup, that's about the best you can do. but remember, the amp uses smaller trannies so that it will crunch.....it was designed for that. the trannies are the limiting factor with this amp. the Ambassador is the next step up in the TH line for more headroom.
 
H

hemlock

And I absolutely love the crunch from the amp. I would just like for it to show up a couple of notches later. I may have to bite the bullet and go with an A/B rig with a different amp for cleans. I really liked the small size and convenience of just schlepping one Pitbull 112 around, though. Thanks for the help, guys.
 

rawkguitarist

Member
Messages
11,116
How do you set your controls? Especially Volume and Master... Also do you have it set to "Fat", remember this is a full frequency gain boost.

I gig with a Club Royale set clean, and get a surprising amount of clean head room for a fairly low wattage amp. But I run the preamp Volume about 10-11 o’clock. Also, I found I got the loudest clean tone by going into the high input too. I know I'm going against conventional wisdom, but it works for me!

When set properly, these Club series amps get get a good clean tone.
 

riffmeister

Member
Messages
16,615
Originally posted by hemlock
And I absolutely love the crunch from the amp. I would just like for it to show up a couple of notches later. I may have to bite the bullet and go with an A/B rig with a different amp for cleans. I really liked the small size and convenience of just schlepping one Pitbull 112 around, though. Thanks for the help, guys.
You really might want to look into the 35W Ambassador. Bigger trannies = more clean headroom. Has a MV so the crunch can be dialed in for different levels, including higher volume levels than the SD.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,555
I'm sure the tube swapping is the best you can do for more clean headroom but I wonder if some less vintage style speakers would also make a difference.
It probably isn't as significant in your 2x12 but I've been experimenting with my CR 1x12. I was surprised now much cleaner my amp was at the same setting when I hooked it up to the Mesa Black Shadow 90w in my Maverick.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,555
Originally posted by ROKY
Yup, I did a tube AND speaker change with my TopHat Embassy
My Embassy is 35w(4 6V6s) but is in head form .

Eminence Tonkers got me more headroom and bass response, to
where I could get a noticeable amount of extra headroom.

The Tonkers still have the midrange to bring out the raucous goods
in overdrive but they definitely gave me some more headroom
and shifted the character(voice) of the amp in some cool directions

The nice thing about having the head format is being able to plug
into whatever speaker cab I want, although changing speakers
is no big deal .

Those GE 6L6s are famous for their breakup at higher volumes.
That's cool.
I love the way the G12h-30 in the Club Deluxe warm up my Tele and ASAT but I'm beginning to think I prefer the 90w Black Shadow with my PRS Singlecut.
 
H

hemlock

Originally posted by ROKY
Yup, I did a tube AND speaker change with my TopHat Embassy
My Embassy is 35w(4 6V6s) but is in head form .

Eminence Tonkers got me more headroom and bass response, to
where I could get a noticeable amount of extra headroom.

The Tonkers still have the midrange to bring out the raucous goods
in overdrive but they definitely gave me some more headroom
and shifted the character(voice) of the amp in some cool directions

The nice thing about having the head format is being able to plug
into whatever speaker cab I want, although changing speakers
is no big deal .

Those GE 6L6s are famous for their breakup at higher volumes.
The amp does indeed sound spectacular when cranked. I have some JJ6L6GCs ordered and I will try some 7581s as well a probably the Tonkers and Wizards. The amp is so chimey and swirly with the P90s in the Reverend that a little more midrange and/or a bit more bass could be a little better.

I talked to Eurotubes today and found out that the GE 6L6s are only 22 watts output so maybe the tube change alone will get me that extra few decibels of clean that I am looking for.
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,231
Originally posted by hemlock
The amp does indeed sound spectacular when cranked. I have some JJ6L6GCs ordered and I will try some 7581s as well a probably the Tonkers and Wizards. The amp is so chimey and swirly with the P90s in the Reverend that a little more midrange and/or a bit more bass could be a little better.

I talked to Eurotubes today and found out that the GE 6L6s are only 22 watts output so maybe the tube change alone will get me that extra few decibels of clean that I am looking for.
Yeah the tubes alone may get you what you're looking for.
Every little component is a compromise; a gain or a loss depending
on how you look at it and your goal, tonally.

I went with JJ 6V6s in my Embassy along with their GZ34 because
I wanted to stiffen things up a little and add get a bit more
headroom.. it worked !

I always have the luxury of going the other direction, which is
great. I bought my Tonkers from a forum member.
Didn't like them right away as it did a fairly radical shift in how the
amp responded(this from V-30s, then Red Fangs with that amp)

In a [very]short time I saw(heard) a lot of their merits .
And, again, I can always plug into something else,speaker-wise,
depending on the requirements of the gig.

The TopHats are really flexible .
 
H

hemlock

So I tried the JJ 6L6s this evening and I did get a touch more headroom but I don't like the overdrive characteristics of the JJs nearly as much as the GEs. GEs are back in now. Next is the speaker experimentation and maybe some 7581s.
 

riffmeister

Member
Messages
16,615
Originally posted by hemlock
So I tried the JJ 6L6s this evening and I did get a touch more headroom but I don't like the overdrive characteristics of the JJs nearly as much as the GEs. GEs are back in now. Next is the speaker experimentation and maybe some 7581s.
The V30 & G12H in your amp are efficient speakers, I don't think you'll do much better than that. And while the 7581's are generally a higher headroom 6L6, I don't think they will do that much because I believe it is the smaller trannies that are the limiting factor for the clean headroom in this amp.

You should try a 35W Ambassador sometime........bigger trannies will give you more headroom and bandwidth, and the amp has a similar (but not identical) "TopHat Sound". :)
 
Messages
728
You need to leave the Super as is and add a new weapon to your
arsenal. If you want comparable or better quality, you should
try the Ambassador 50 or Bruno Cowtipper 45. You will not be
dissapointed. Anything else would be a step down IMO.

Good Luck.
 




Top