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PostPosted: Sat, May 23, 2020 10:45pm 
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With all the great things going on with reactive loads and reamping at very low home volumes I am doing a lot of experimenting with various loads and power amps...i have some questions about the power amp setup in this use case (ie loading an amp head down and then feeding that line level signal to effects and reamping in stereo - all while being able to have very low overall volume at home):

- In considering tube vs SS, if you are using the power amp at very low levels is it actually worse using a tube amp? Would it be duller and stiffer if you cant get the volume up some / im not talking breakup levels, obviously, because that is coming from the loaded amp but do you still need the tube power amp ‘working’ decently to get optimal dynamics and feel?

- in terms of different tube types in the power amp, is having identical tubes in the power amp and the loaded down amp too much of a good thing (ie not ‘neutral’ as it otherwise could/should be to retain the original amp tone)?

- what is tube maintenance like when using a tube power amp but at lower home volume levels? I would think the tube life is pretty good?

- like most things in the gear world, i would think there are no ‘rules’ - but curious if for this type of stuff you adhere to certain broad principles or is it purely whatever combination of stuff sounds and feels good you just roll with?


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PostPosted: Sun, May 24, 2020 1:36am 
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I feel I’m using the best of both worlds. I use an HH V800 and a Mesa Strategy 400. The HH is more neutral sounding. The Strategy 400 has depth mode so it sounds massive. I event had any issues with tubes for the strategy. For reference, I don’t play super loud, mostly a bit louder than a TV.

The one big thing I do is mixing both wet and dry signal into my “wet” cabinets.


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PostPosted: Sun, May 24, 2020 6:11am 
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Ive used a Carvin and a Fryette PS-2. I used the Carvin with a Kemper and the PS-2 with an HX Stomp and a couple preamps(tube and SS). I used them at low volumes and didnt find either stiff. Actually I felt like the Carvin actually added warmth and let my tone.. i dunno "breathe" with the Kemper.

I dont think you would have to change tubes all that often but thats dependent on the tube and luck of the draw I guess but you should be good at least 2 years imho.

I think 6L6's would be the way to go not to color the tone too much but honestly I used EL34's with the Carvin and it wasnt a huge difference to the profiles of non el34 amps.

Check out KSR's PA50 and PA25. They have two options- one for tubes and another that is supposed to be a "hi-fi" type power amp that was designed for modelers/plugins/etc. Plus it has a NFB control that will give you more range than just a presence and resonance control(it has those too).
I dont think they will be shipping until June/July though.

Fryette PS-2 was really useful and I miss mine. That maybe something else to check out if you want more functionality other than a plain jane power amp.

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PostPosted: Sun, May 24, 2020 10:32am 
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psychodave wrote:
I feel I’m using the best of both worlds. I use an HH V800 and a Mesa Strategy 400. The HH is more neutral sounding. The Strategy 400 has depth mode so it sounds massive. I event had any issues with tubes for the strategy. For reference, I don’t play super loud, mostly a bit louder than a TV.

The one big thing I do is mixing both wet and dry signal into my “wet” cabinets.

:thumbsup:

I have had the Strategy 400, which Dave sold me a few yrs ago...and now I have the HH M900 which is basically the V800 with 2 less in/outs. If you want an exact reproduction of your slaved amp, the HH is the way to go. It sounds massive, has great feel and you cannot tell the difference between the slaved tone and the tone running directly from the main 'host' amp.

The Strategy is huge and thick, but does have the 6L6 coloring to it...which if you use a Marshall may not be what you want. Obviously it blends in with any 6L6 amp well. Other power amps that have great reputations are VHT stuff(2150 etc), Rivera Hammer, and many more I've not played...

I found my HH for less than 300 shipped, they pop up from time to time and there are smaller wattage versions that sound just as good. The HH stuff was/still is the power amp of choice for many big names back in the day, and EVH still uses his today..or at least on his last tour.

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PostPosted: Sun, May 24, 2020 10:53am 
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hey guys appreciate it!

I'm on the lookout for an HH, so that may ultimately be where end up...

im curious about using a tube power amp in the meantime - do you try to use a power amp with the same tube type as the slaved amp? Different tubes so you don't overly emphasize the original tube type characteristic - or, is it more you can pretty much dial the slaved amp eq differently so you can use a variety of power amp tubes and still sound 'authentic'?


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PostPosted: Sun, May 24, 2020 12:37pm 
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journeyman73 wrote:
hey guys appreciate it!

I'm on the lookout for an HH, so that may ultimately be where end up...

im curious about using a tube power amp in the meantime - do you try to use a power amp with the same tube type as the slaved amp? Different tubes so you don't overly emphasize the original tube type characteristic - or, is it more you can pretty much dial the slaved amp eq differently so you can use a variety of power amp tubes and still sound 'authentic'?

I thought the Strategy sounded great even with a Marshall...kinda like mixing EL34 with 6L6. I would just try to start off with a quality power amp to begin with, like the previous mentioned options.
One thing to add is, the Rivera Hammer I believe can use multiple tube options? The TBR series could, and the Hammer is based on that power section. I think Rivera still has one or more NOS Hammer power amps in stock...and they may come with GE 6550s too.

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KRG 2C+ Coliseum 1X15 Combo w/EV, Road Case
1982 JCM 800 2204 Monomyth Black Sun Mod
1993 Mesa Triple Rectifier Rev F
HH M900
Roland SDE 3000 X2
79 1960A w/65s
74 1960A w/GBs
Mesa Standard V30 cab
Mesa Halfback 4x12 w/EV/C90s
Peavey Butcher Cab w/K85s
2009 Charvel USA Candy Plum SoCal
1984 Charvel San Dimas
1985 Ibanez Destroyer


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PostPosted: Mon, May 25, 2020 10:52am 
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journeyman73 wrote:
hey guys appreciate it!

I'm on the lookout for an HH, so that may ultimately be where end up...

im curious about using a tube power amp in the meantime - do you try to use a power amp with the same tube type as the slaved amp? Different tubes so you don't overly emphasize the original tube type characteristic - or, is it more you can pretty much dial the slaved amp eq differently so you can use a variety of power amp tubes and still sound 'authentic'?


Using a tube poweramp is counter productive in this case IMHO, you want a poweramp as flat as possible to just amplify the signal as close as it's possible, like a Matrix Gt1000.
On the volume level you are going to use it, it does not matter what type of tubes you are running in the poweramp, on such low volume levels tubes don't sound that good IMHO.
Besides, the cabs need some volume too, I'd rather advise to use some kind of speaker simulation and run it into an FRFR cab or an active FRFR cab.


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