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View Full Version : Yet Another HX/DA Love-In



LSchefman
09-05-2012, 09:21 AM
OK, I know, I've already written enough about this HX/DA amp, and you're tired of hearing about it. I don't blame you for skipping this thread, especially if the threads with amp eye candy are more fun to look at.

All I'm going to do here is write about what a tremendous instrument this amp is. PRS, Doug and team got this thing so completely right, that I am literally floored by how it sounds, and how it feels every single time I plug in.

The background for me is that I've been on the planet a long time, started guitar stuff in the late 60s, and have had a lot of great amps over the years. I know what an original hand-wired classic blackface Fender sounds like, because I bought mine new back in the day, and played plenty of them. Same with lots of other great classic amps. And several of the better new boutique amps as well. I love amps. They're hugely important, certainly every bit as important as the guitar. It always amazes me when I see someone with a great guitar and a mediocre amp. I mean, WTF?

So, this HX/DA...

I started keeping a notebook of amp settings for the amp. I always do that until a new amp becomes so instinctive that I no longer need the notebook. Well, you don't need a notebook with this amp. Set the dials to any position, the amp sounds good. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that this amp can make any guitar sound good! Want a little more midrange growl? Easy. Turn the midrange knob. It is going to sound good, just dial it in. Getting a harsh sound with a particular guitar or speaker cab? No worries. Turn the treble down and lower the presence a little. There's not a sweet spot, it sounds good wherever you put the control, just dial it in. There's really nothing that I want out of an amp that this one can't do.

But what gets me more than anything else is the sensitivity and the feel. It's the most "controllable from the guitar" amp I've ever played! Want a little crunch on a note? You can pluck the string just the right amount and get it without touching a knob or hitting a footswitch. Want more headroom? No problem. Dial it in.

And the quality of the tone is so good that I have been dreaming about it. Literally! Come on, I love this thing! It's like suddenly discovering that you can sing. That you have a voice that's really, truly, your own voice, you're not trying to sound like anyone else.

As I said, I've had some wonderful amps over the years. And I've been enthusiastic about them for good reason. But I feel like Columbus discovering America with this amp.

LSchefman
09-05-2012, 09:47 AM
And now I'm going to do the unthinkable and respond to my own post because I forgot to mention something.

This amp has a beautiful tone. And when it starts to break up when you're playing a note, you can hear each overtone so clearly that it sounds almost like you're playing a note and several harmonics at the same time. The breakup is almost buttery in texture.

The HX/DA is the poster child for why so many classic guitar recordings sounded so good, and why certain amps set a standard for electric guitar tone that still exists today. I think it rewards a player who understands what to do with it. Granted, that doesn't come naturally to everyone, and if all you're planning to do is crank the gain and play with as much distortion as possible, well, ok, it will do that, but you're missing out on the true magic of an amp like this. ;)

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
09-05-2012, 09:50 AM
And now I'm going to do the unthinkable and respond to my own post because I forgot to mention something.

Just be careful. If you do it too much, you'll go blind. :D

LSchefman
09-05-2012, 09:51 AM
-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ;21058']Just be careful. If you do it too much, you'll go blind. :D

I'll just do it until I need glasses. :)

MA Pete
09-05-2012, 10:39 AM
Les:

Hey man, you are giving me bad GAS for an HXDA! ;)

I am really enjoying having multiple amps and exploring the differences and the sweet spots. I am learning more and more how to get the sounds I want with dialing in the knobs, and using clean boost and OD in front of the amp.

For me the Sewell is the one trick pony for the low volume great gain tone thing, the two amps I really explore for tone are the MDT and the Blistertone, both great amps!

I am going to get a chance also to check out my 2 Channel H soon as well, will report back on how I like that. The latest and greatest version of that amp seems to be getting rave reviews from everyone.

An HXDA is penciled in on the wishlist as well! :D

I have pretty much found my nirvana in guitars, still have some more stuff going on there (including a pending NGD this week!), but for me more focus these days is going towards the quest for tone on the other side of the cable...

Fun times, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

-Pete

aduayer
09-05-2012, 01:29 PM
"I love amps. They're hugely important, certainly every bit as important as the guitar. It always amazes me when I see someone with a great guitar and a mediocre amp. I mean, WTF?"
I totally agree with you. I know when we are young and with no experience we want a good guitar, any amp and the ultimate pedalboard. It took me sometime that if you have The Guitar and The Amp the effects are just effects, and most of the time, you don't even use them. The sound is there.
I am looking forward to try out those HXDA, Blistertone and MDT amps.

LSchefman
09-05-2012, 02:06 PM
Les:

Hey man, you are giving me bad GAS for an HXDA! ;)

I am really enjoying having multiple amps and exploring the differences and the sweet spots. I am learning more and more how to get the sounds I want with dialing in the knobs, and using clean boost and OD in front of the amp.

For me the Sewell is the one trick pony for the low volume great gain tone thing, the two amps I really explore for tone are the MDT and the Blistertone, both great amps!

I am going to get a chance also to check out my 2 Channel H soon as well, will report back on how I like that. The latest and greatest version of that amp seems to be getting rave reviews from everyone.

An HXDA is penciled in on the wishlist as well! :D

I have pretty much found my nirvana in guitars, still have some more stuff going on there (including a pending NGD this week!), but for me more focus these days is going towards the quest for tone on the other side of the cable...

Fun times, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

-Pete

Pete, since you've had an HX/DA and a Sewell, what are the differences, in your experience?


"I love amps. They're hugely important, certainly every bit as important as the guitar. It always amazes me when I see someone with a great guitar and a mediocre amp. I mean, WTF?"
I totally agree with you. I know when we are young and with no experience we want a good guitar, any amp and the ultimate pedalboard. It took me sometime that if you have The Guitar and The Amp the effects are just effects, and most of the time, you don't even use them. The sound is there.
I am looking forward to try out those HXDA, Blistertone and MDT amps.

I've only tried the HX/DA out of the three at this point. I do think it's awesome. In fact, so much so that I don't want to try one of the others because I might like it, and my studio needs stuff that's every bit as crucial as amps!! LOL!

MA Pete
09-05-2012, 08:48 PM
Pete, since you've had an HX/DA and a Sewell, what are the differences, in your experience?

I love the Sewell. Best "home" amp ever for me. Has incredible gain tones at low volumes. Sounds great cranked up as well. But is somewhat of a one-trick pony in that regard. For versatility at gig volumes (or perhaps for you for recording) I would pick the MDT or the Blistertone instead, more versatile. For that one trick it does VERY well, it is a keeper for me.


I've only tried the HX/DA out of the three at this point. I do think it's awesome. In fact, so much so that I don't want to try one of the others because I might like it, and my studio needs stuff that's every bit as crucial as amps!! LOL!

Ha! If you are in Chicago sometime and want to try the others, just let me know! ;)

LSchefman
09-05-2012, 09:07 PM
I love the Sewell. Best "home" amp ever for me. Has incredible gain tones at low volumes. Sounds great cranked up as well. But is somewhat of a one-trick pony in that regard. For versatility at gig volumes (or perhaps for you for recording) I would pick the MDT or the Blistertone instead, more versatile. For that one trick it does VERY well, it is a keeper for me.



Ha! If you are in Chicago sometime and want to try the others, just let me know! ;)

Ha! Be careful what you offer, I get to Chicago pretty often!

LSchefman
09-06-2012, 09:32 AM
It's funny, never in a million years have I ever considered myself a guy who'd play a Plexi style amp. All I've ever spent my hard-earned dough on are amps based on Fender or Vox style circuits going back to the 60s.

I don't know how it happened, but I feel really at home with the amp. It's like the heavens parted and a voice called out from the firmament, "This is your amp!"

The voice also says, "Took you long enough to find it, ya big doofus!"

Serious Poo
09-08-2012, 03:05 PM
Love these amps! They cover all of the Marshall-type sounds I could ever want. Mine has an effects loop, so I can run a delay after the preamp section like God intended. Oh, had to get the paisley covering, too. ;-)

MA Pete
09-08-2012, 03:19 PM
Ha! Be careful what you offer, I get to Chicago pretty often!

Just don't forget your HXDA! :D

Serious Poo
09-08-2012, 03:52 PM
Oh, and because TTIWWP's...

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/6371/studiobackline.jpg

:D

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 12:32 AM
Poo, I'm digging your wall o' amps! Got your D tones covered with the Fuchs, M tones covered with the paisley head (and by the way, I love the black faceplate with it even more than the wooden ones), and a Jazz Chorus to make things even more fun!

I've always thought a Jazz Chorus would be fun to have around, but I've never owned one.

What's the wooden amp?

docbennett
09-09-2012, 08:40 AM
Les...you may not realize this.....and you are probably not seeing it from other's perspective...but you are as "guilty" with regard to your comments about the 'blinged out fancy maple amp faceplates" as you accused Mark (Em7) about being with his "reviews" of the Mesa series. If some of us happen to love the fancy-schmancy maple covers....do you realize that in almost all of your posts you continually make a comment as to how the black faceplate is "cooler, less pimped out, more appropriate to brig to a gig, less likely to be mocked by producers and others at the recording studio....." I could go on an on.

You have made your point. If we happen to like the fancy maple tops...do you have to remind us every single time how "un-cool" they are and crap on our enthusiasm?

Just my 2 cents, and maybe I'm too irritable early on a Sunday morning. :(

(And nothing personal Les....the Destroyer still loves you, man) ;)

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 10:30 AM
Les...you may not realize this.....and you are probably not seeing it from other's perspective...but you are as "guilty" with regard to your comments about the 'blinged out fancy maple amp faceplates" as you accused Mark (Em7) about being with his "reviews" of the Mesa series. If some of us happen to love the fancy-schmancy maple covers....do you realize that in almost all of your posts you continually make a comment as to how the black faceplate is "cooler, less pimped out, more appropriate to brig to a gig, less likely to be mocked by producers and others at the recording studio....." I could go on an on.

You have made your point. If we happen to like the fancy maple tops...do you have to remind us every single time how "un-cool" they are and crap on our enthusiasm?

Just my 2 cents, and maybe I'm too irritable early on a Sunday morning. :(

(And nothing personal Les....the Destroyer still loves you, man) ;)

WTF, Destroyer, I have a maple faceplate on the amp I got, and posted a couple of pics here of it! So obviously it's not a deal-breaker for me.

What I was trying to do was compliment Poo on his amp.

But I'm glad you felt comfortable enough with me to point this out. I'm not about making people feel badly. In the end if it makes people feel crummy, it's wrong. Thanks, and I won't do it again.

docbennett
09-09-2012, 10:54 AM
WTF, Destroyer, I have a maple faceplate on the amp I got, and posted a couple of pics here of it! So obviously it's not a deal-breaker for me.

What I was trying to do was compliment Poo on his amp.

But I'm glad you felt comfortable enough with me to point this out. I'm not about making people feel badly. In the end if it makes people feel crummy, it's wrong. Thanks, and I won't do it again.

Les....I'm just a sensitive little biatch. When you poked fun at the pink PRS I went down into the basement and cried myself to sleep.

I'm just getting over it now...but it's taking a lot of Prozak, Zoloft, Paxil, Oxycontin and Percocet. :p

Serious Poo
09-09-2012, 11:17 AM
Poo, I'm digging your wall o' amps! Got your D tones covered with the Fuchs, M tones covered with the paisley head (and by the way, I love the black faceplate with it even more than the wooden ones), and a Jazz Chorus to make things even more fun!

I've always thought a Jazz Chorus would be fun to have around, but I've never owned one.

What's the wooden amp?Thanks Les! It's a Louis Swingking, made by Lou Rosano with a 100+ year old pine cab by Bob Burt. My nephew and I stumbled upon it used at a music store in Santa Cruz, we both played the heck out of it and fell in love. It sounds & feels old, like a 50's tweed Fender Twin, only with jumpered gain stages like an early Boogie.

http://www.vintageguitar.com/3331/sweet-swingin-royalty/

Also not pictured on the amp wall are a Vox AC30, a 65Amps London, and a Rivera-era Fender Princeton Reverb II. So as you might say I've got my F and V tones covered as well. :D

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 12:19 PM
Les....I'm just a sensitive little biatch. When you poked fun at the pink PRS I went down into the basement and cried myself to sleep.

I'm just getting over it now...but it's taking a lot of Prozak, Zoloft, Paxil, Oxycontin and Percocet. :p

I think the Bonni Pink is very cool and very collectible! Didn't mean to cross the line with my humor. Apologies.

I'm probably the one who needs the meds? :)


Thanks Les! It's a Louis Swingking, made by Lou Rosano with a 100+ year old pine cab by Bob Burt. My nephew and I stumbled upon it used at a music store in Santa Cruz, we both played the heck out of it and fell in love. It sounds & feels old, like a 50's tweed Fender Twin, only with jumpered gain stages like an early Boogie.

http://www.vintageguitar.com/3331/sweet-swingin-royalty/

Also not pictured on the amp wall are a Vox AC30, a 65Amps London, and a Rivera-era Fender Princeton Reverb II. So as you might say I've got my F and V tones covered as well. :D

You have them covered indeed!

One of my best friends (and competitors!) in the ad music business has a 65 London permanently mic'd up in his studio, and says he's getting the best recorded guitar tones he's ever gotten. He's a heck of a good producer, one of those pros who really knows his stuff. I always respect his opinion.

docbennett
09-09-2012, 01:04 PM
I'm probably the one who needs the meds? :)

On their way.....plain USPS "next day priority" box, contents marked "supplies" with a Log Canoe Circle return address. :eek:

:D:D

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 02:24 PM
Bennett, if it makes you feel any better, a week or so ago, a few guys at TGP were dissing the paisley amps in a thread, and I responded to that by pointing out that paisley is a high-end tradition for PRS, and that paisley in general on amps (and even guitars like Teles) is a classic thing that got started in the 60s with the mod style and was also picked up during the psychedelic era. So I've actually come to the defense of the fancy amps.

As I point this out I'm listening to pro football on the radio, and my Ford F-150 ad just came on. Woo!

docbennett
09-09-2012, 02:35 PM
OK...I feel better for three things now....1) your first paragraph and its content therein...2) your commercial on the radio....How freakin' exciting for you. Congratulations!!....and 3) You called me by my real name.

A Trifecta. :) Gonna run out and buy a lottery ticket!! :D

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 02:43 PM
OK...I feel better for three things now....1) your first paragraph and its content therein...2) your commercial on the radio....How freakin' exciting for you. Congratulations!!....and 3) You called me by my real name.

A Trifecta. :) Gonna run out and buy a lottery ticket!! :D

The commercials have been running all over TV on sporting events this past week. I didn't expect to hear radio versions. So far there have been three versions today alone!

Boogie
09-09-2012, 07:15 PM
Les, have you spent much time swapping out cabs and/or speakers? Are you using the PRS 2x12 closed back w/ V30s? I don't recall.

LSchefman
09-09-2012, 09:47 PM
Les, have you spent much time swapping out cabs and/or speakers? Are you using the PRS 2x12 closed back w/ V30s? I don't recall.

I haven't spent any time trying out cabs or speakers. I've been using a recent closed-back Mesa Recto 2 x 12 cab with V-30s for an ongoing ad campaign; it sounds very good with the amp, and is easy to get a good general-purpose recorded tone with. Also, the rig works with a lot of the "usual suspect" mics I tend to favor to record guitar amps.

At some point down the road, I'll be able to spend some time experimenting. I'd love to try a PRS cab with it, and am curious about the 4 x 10 especially. But for now...I'm good.

LSchefman
09-11-2012, 12:19 PM
And...yet another HXDA post!

So last night I was practicing, and as I am wont to do, I decided to play around with a little TC Nova delay pedal I had lying around. I couldn't resist going for a clean, dark jazzy tone, neck pickup on the SC58, with volume around 6-7, tone around 5-7, with just the slightest touch of breakup if I rolled the volume knob higher.

Everything was completely controllable from the guitar, except of course the pedal. If I wanted a little more treble, I could goose the knob, if I wanted a touch of breakup, hit the volume control on the guitar.

Between the amp and the guitar, I got some unbelievably gorgeous tones! This is with an SC-58, a Mesa Recto cab with V-30s, and a Plexi style amp that can do some pretty gainy stuff!! And no FX loop, no channel switching, just this great amp with everything in front.

I just gotta say this: For those who say, "Well, I need an X amp for my clean tones, and a Y amp for my middle gain tones, and a Z amp for the higher gain stuff," I call BS. Sure, it's nice to have choices, and we all love our amps. But if you can't get a huge variety out of something like an HXDA, you just aren't trying. What versatility!