two rock review (custom, opal, and onyx content)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by zoooombiex, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

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    so i'm currently doing a little shootout of an opal and a K&M custom to see which i'm going to keep and which gets sold. i thought i'd post my thoughts in case they can help anyone else looking at a two rock.

    Custom: 100 watts, running at 50 (pulled 2 tubes, 1/2 impedence at amp end)
    Opal: 50 watts
    Tubes: both using Philips 7581A
    Cab: 100 watt fane alnico, wired series for 16 ohm.

    Disclaimer: the following is all subjective and anyone is welcome to disagree :)

    Clean Channel: the custom wins this pretty clearly. very clear and glassy - almost fendery without the reverb. this is the first amp i've ever liked without any kind of reverb or delay - the cleans are that rich and complex. in comparison, the opal's cleans are still good - and can be dialed in to get pretty close to the custom. but i find the opal to be much more middy by nature - requiring more highs and less mids to match the custom. a little darker and not as glassy. although the opal can be dialed in to get close to the custom, doing this also affects the overdrive channel - which then ends up being a bit brighter and thinner than i'd prefer. i'm aware that there are some internal trimmers for the opal's drive channel that may be able to compensate for this, but i haven't had a chance to open it up yet. i'll certainly post a follow-up if/when i get a chance to check this out.

    Drive Channel: the opal wins, but not as clearly as the custom won the clean channel. don't get me wrong, before i got the opal the custom was blowing me away with its smooth drive (and still does, for that matter). but the opal is just a little different in a pleasant way - its tone is almost lighter and richer at the same time. it's definitely more responsive to playing strenth and will chime away with light playing. i know people always describe this amp as "fast" - but i don't really know what they mean by that. however, after playing the opal i would agree that "fast" is a good word. picture two amps - one where you have push the sound through the amp to the speaker with the force of your playing; and picture another where your sound glides effortlessly from the guitar to the speaker like it's skating on ice. that's how the opal feels - like you're guitar is directly connected to the speaker. the amp's not in front of you getting in the way, it's right beside you moving in stride. (i hope this isn't too foofy sounding, but it's an interesting phenomenon that is hard to describe with words...).

    Reverb: opal has it built in, but i think i prefer to keep it WAY down - almost off. custom sounds great with a little reverb pedal in the effects loop.

    Conclusion: i'm stuck with both amps. i want the custom's clean and the opal's drive. Enter the onyx - will this amp solve my dillemma? i've heard it's supposed to have the best cleans of all the two rocks (most fendery, anyway). how does its drive channel hold up in comparison? to the custom & opal?

    thanks!
    ~chris
     
  2. joel

    joel Member

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    I've got an opal, and I pretty much agree with your description. Although I like to have the reverb at 1/3 to1/2. I thought the reverb improved when I put a Tele 12AX7 in the reverb hole. The clean channel is a tad flat, but the lead channel is great. I haven't owned the others, but the Customs I've heard did seem to have a cooler clean channel, but less exciting lead. The CR I tried was a bit too soft... The Onyx I heard had a more Marshally lead channel. I don't know if it was that particular amp, but it wasn't doing the smooth flame-thrower thing that I like about my Opal. Just to muddy the mix, an emerald-pro I tried once had very nice cleans and super-smooth lead. That was the amp that made me want a TwoRock.
     
  3. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Joel,

    If the Onyx that you played/heard, was the one at my shop, that amp has Chinese tubes in it.

    And you, my brother, know a thing or two about tubing these amps!

    Mike
     
  4. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

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    oh yeah, i forgot about the emeralds...

    tag - i know you compliment the e.pro's cleans a lot - what do you think of its lead compared to an opal or custom?
     
  5. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Oddly enough, I thought the exact opposite. I liked the Opal's cleans better and the Custom's over drive better. I ultimately decided on a custo, but I have to save that the Opal is a great amo. I also liked the Jade quite a bit. I would certainly consider one in the future.

    cmn
     
  6. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Sell both and get a low gain Emerald Pro. It has better cleans than the Custom, (bigger, less compressed, less middy) and better overdrive than the Opal. (Smoother, thicker, and not as raspy) To me, it is still the best channel switcher I have ever played or heard. The cleans are much more open than the Opals, and the reverb is WAY better. You also get NOS tubes, and a series\ paralell loop. You get the dwell switch in the back so you can go from Robben Ford smooth, to a more Marshally grind, and also the internal trimmers. Ultrasound still has them in stock, with the original (pre topaz) transformers. VERY, VERY good! Can you tell I still love the amp after 4 years? :)
     
  7. fenderbender4

    fenderbender4 Gold Supporting Member

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    To be honest I played the Onyx and was really close to buying it. I didn't because the sale ended and the next one I could buy jumped in price $1500. I AB'd it with the Opal and I liked the Onyx's cleans a lot better. I also played a Blackface (Not sure what year) Twin Reverb amp. I liked the Onyx's cleans better. I am not sure what people exactly mean by "glassy" or "dark" but I know what I like and the Onyx's cleans seemed to a full spectrum clean, each frequency seemed to be equalized perfectly at all the knobs at 12 o'clock, so you could tweak it more to your specifics. I have tried a Dr. Z Route 66, Blackface, Soldano Lucky 13, Orange Rockoverb, Bogner Shiva, Fuchs ODS 100, Hiwatt D504, O'brien, and Blackface. The Onyx had the best clean IMO. I have never played a Custom, so I can't compare. I hope that helped somewhat. I've only played for 4 years, but I do know a good amp when I hear one. Just take this with a grain of salt.
     
  8. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    Tag, I've been meaning to ask you what do you think the difference between the Emerald 50 and the Emerald Pro is?

    I doubt that I'll get rid of my Emerald 50, it's an awesome amp. But I remember reading about you raving on the pro so much, that I thought that I'd ask.

    Yossi


    PS, I hope that this doesnt hi-jack your thread zooom;)
     
  9. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    The Emerald 50 and Emerald Pro are very different sounding amps. The Emerald Pro was specifically designed to nail Robben Fords tone. The Emerald was a lot "rougher" sounding to me in overdrive, and not as open in the cleans. You really need both. :)
     
  10. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Tag,

    What Emerald do they have at Ultrasound. I thougt that the drive channel was way more aggresive / pronounced on the top end. i only had a few minutes with it. but it left a really sharp impression. I really feel like the Custom's drive is much warmer.

    cmn
     
  11. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    They have several Emerald pros and Topaz. Both high and low gain. What room did you play it in? I do not know if they have and Emeralds anymore. They had a used one at GC last year.
    If the drive vchannel was aggresive, it does not sound like you played an Emerald Pro, but an Emerald. The Emerald Pro is the smoothest amp I have ever played. WAY smoother than a Custom, which is almost dead nuts on with genes old C.Cross Dumble. The E.Pro was dead on with Genes Tan Dumble.
     
  12. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

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    thanks tag! that actually does sound pretty nice & i'll definitely look into one. ... must find money tree ... or a printing press might do the trick :)

    out of curiousity, how different are the high and low gain e.pros? also, how do you tell the difference when buying? (is it labeled, or do you have to give the s/n to joe?)
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    There were only 10 low gainers made, and all went to Ultrasound. If they were not bought from Ultra, they are not low gainers. I do not even think Joe knows which #s were hi and low gain. The high gain ones can be converted to low, and vice versa very easily. The Lower gain model sound way better to my ear. I had bough mine, then a wekk or two later, Ultra got in a brand new batch of E.Pros. On the box, written in magic marker were "Low gain" on some"High gain" on others. Gene said he would give me full credit on mine ( :) Thanks Gene! ) if I wanted a Hi Gain model. I A\Bd them, and but liked mine much more. The low gain was much smoother, while still having plenty of gain. The higher gain would be better for a metal head, but you lose so much tone imo.
    I cant BELIEVE they still have some of these, brand new in a box!
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>Enter the onyx - will this amp solve my dillemma? i've heard it's supposed to have the best cleans of all the two rocks (most fendery, anyway). how does its drive channel hold up in comparison? to the custom & opal?<<

    Procos has owned all three, he would be a good person to ask; and I've owned the Onyx and Onyx Sig models. We had a tone fest at my studio with Chuck's Onyx, Opal, and my Onyx Sig through TR cabs with TR and other Emi speakers.

    I also regularly play my Onyx through a Mesa 112 3/4 back speaker with a Mesa Black Shadow 90, when I want a single 12.

    Chuck's Opal was the amp that made me want a TR in the first place. I like the cleans on the Onyx better, and the cleans on the Onyx sig even better than the reg. Onyx.

    As to the lead channel, they're really all great sounding, if a bit different. It is true that the Onyx can take you into high gain territory, but it's also good with less gain, and it's very touch sensitive. To be honest, after Chuck and I compared the gain channels on the Opal and the Onyx, yeah, there was a difference, but it wasn't huge. A bit of fiddling with the controls on either amp could take you into the other amp's territory.

    A really nice/useful thing about the Onyx is that you have two separate EQs, one for each channel.

    I like a bright clean channel, but I prefer a warmer, more rolled-off treble on the lead channel. I also like a bit of "hair" on my cleans, so I set the gain different from the gain channel. I also use more reverb on my clean channel. It's nice to have separate controls for each. Finally, the boost control works differently, and I think is slightly cooler, on the Onyx.

    Finally, I don't think you can go wrong with ANY TR, they're really all good.
     
  15. saxophonist56

    saxophonist56 Supporting Member

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    per two rockthe only difference is like a resistor or two?
     
  16. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Z, ya got the impedance thing bacKwards, pullin' two tubes doubles it....
     
  17. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    I spoke with Joe this week-2 parts(and I quote "hardly worth the difference").
     
  18. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Take it a step further...sell both and get a Fuchs TDS. It has an independent clean channel with a full complement of EQ and tone switches...and then you also get a crunch channel....and then the classic D-style overdrives which, IMO, sound better than any Two-Rock I've heard. The latest stuff coming out of the Fuchs shop has topped anything I've heard coming out of Two-Rock these days...fuller, smoother, richer...much more flexible.
     
  19. saxophonist56

    saxophonist56 Supporting Member

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    oh my!... rather bold :rotflmao
     
  20. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    Les are you the only Onyx Sig owner in existence?? I've never seen or heard of another.
     

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