April 5, 2015 at 1:35 am #5087
So I’ve really got my amp running just about perfect. I’m using 2 Celestion gold g10s, 1 JJ 6L6, and an electroharmonix 12ax7. A pop suppressor is installed on the voice switch, and there’s very little to no hum. This amp sounds GREAT. I’ll post some videos once I’m a little further on the cosmetics.
That said, I’m looking to seek some options that would give this amp some more headroom. I thought a discussion on this matter might help others as well. Thing is, I play in a band, and in rehearsal I turn this thing up to about 10 out of 12 to keep up (live gigs are fine as the combo is mic’d). At 10, the amp sounds great but fairly overdriven–good cleans are hard to achieve. So what are some of the most effective options to clean this amp up a bit? I like to use pedals for overdrive/distortion. Here’s some options I’ve seen discussed for more volume/headroom:
Different tubes (5881, 6550, or maybe a kt88 might work?)
SS rectifier (I see Ted weber makes a few copper 5y3 replacements)
Let’s hear what you gear heads have tried and had success with.April 5, 2015 at 6:33 am #6062Action Figure StudiosParticipant
EP Booster by Xotic – great sounding pedal, small on the board, great tone!April 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm #6064RobinParticipant
Remember that the Two Stroke circuit is very much in the style of a Black Face Fender era design and was not designed to offer much clean headroom when turned up.
You could try changing out the pre-amp tube to another of the 12A_7 family with lower gain. A solid state rectifier is easy to try and give a little tighter bass and slightly more mids, it’s louder too. You can try the 5881 or KT-66, they won’t be much cleaner thought. Do not try to use a KT-88.
If you really want an amp with clean, sparking highs that’s great for pedals, build a Spitfire clone. EL84 power tubes offer clear, sparkling highs and although the Spitfire can get crunchy with the pre-amp volume dimed, with the pre-amp turned down a little and the master volume up, the amp is very clean (and loud). It’s a great amp for pedals and 15 watts is very gig-able.April 7, 2015 at 7:51 am #6067
Thanks Robin. I ordered the Eminence Red Fang 10 a couple days ago. We’ll see if that gives me a bit more headroom with a more sensitive speaker. I was also considering buying one of the weber ss rectifiers, as this would be a good backup for gigs anyways. Any suggestions on a 12AX7 replacement?
I’ll mess with it for a bit, but I realize maybe I’m just asking this amp to be something it isn’t. And that’s fine with me, because this thing is gonna sound incredible on my band’s next album.April 7, 2015 at 4:13 pm #6068RobinParticipant
I’ve tested a number of speakers in the Two Stroke but never the Red Fang 10, please report your impressions.
Here is a link to Bill Machrone’s 12A_ tube tests: http://home.comcast.net/~machrone/bjr/bjtubes.htm
Bill does very thorough testing and offers credible information.
Looks like the 12AY7 is his choice for more headroom.April 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm #6069
Thanks. I’ll let you know how it works out, especially in comparison to the G10 gold.April 11, 2015 at 2:34 am #6073
So far I’ve only tried the Red Fang between 0-5 on volume. I understand there’s gonna be a break in period, but somehow this thing already sounds far superior than 2 Gold G10s. 2 of the celestions sounded a little bit dark and over compressed. I feel like the Red Fang brought out JUST the right amount of brightness, and the G10 fills it in with this beautiful bassy bottom end and overall compression. When you flick the boost switch to the “Plexi” side of things it sounds like the best clean amp I’ve ever heard. Hands down. I may even order a second Red Fang, though I’m starting to think the 2 mixed together is what it needed.
I’ll report my findings later in the week when I crank it at a full band practice. Until then I’ll just continue to try and break it in.
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