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Thread: Let's Say You Have The Perfect Amp

  1. #1

    Let's Say You Have The Perfect Amp

    Do you then get a backup of it just in case?

    Same question for guitar.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I have only had exact duplicates of guitars and amps once in my life for touring reasons, the only good thing about it was by having them it assured that I never needed to use them. I kept hauling them around, and as long as they were in pairs they would never give me any trouble, leave one at home or in the truck.....

  3. #3
    And what if you have the perfect amp, and it is stolen or is irreversibly damaged, and the manufacturer isn't making it any more?

    I'd kind of like to have a backup in a bank vault!

  4. #4
    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    I feel that by the time I needed the backup, my sense of perfect may well have changed.
    So I don't get duplicates.

  5. #5
    DEEPER STRIATIONS markie's Avatar
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    "The One".......................... Does it truly exist, or just a figment of our imagination
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by markie View Post
    "The One".......................... Does it truly exist, or just a figment of our imagination
    Probably a little of both!

    I really have two "perfect amp" needs. One is for personal self-expression, the other is for something I can get a lot of use out of in connection with my ad music work. They aren't always the same thing. I'm not sure they always can be.

    And as Veinbuster says, our own ideas about perfect change. So I've always tended toward versatility, two channel amps for the past 20 years, etc.

    The HXDA is definitely a self-expression amp for me, but so far it's proving pretty darn versatile. I'm growing very attached to it.

    So much so that I just sent one of my favorite session players to the PRS website to check out the video demo of the amp! He's been a Two-Rock player of late (I turned him on to those amps, and I'm sure he'll keep his TR regardless), but has a Marshall that he's not using much and feels kind of meh about it. I think he'll like what he hears from the HXDA.

    Sometimes "the one" is actually, you know, "the two."
    Last edited by LSchefman; 10-01-2012 at 01:48 PM.

  7. #7
    408 Sig Club President Twinfan's Avatar
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    I tend to duplicate guitars, if they're my main gigging axe, but not amps. I just get a backup I'd be happy to use, or a spare set of valves.

  8. #8
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Good question. If I were making my living from the gear, then my IT systems experience echoes your concerns...what if it dies? If the cost of duplication is less than the lost revenue and downtime, then don't think twice and buy it. It's a wise insurance policy (and makes you really look pro if something fails in the middle of a job. That can guarantee a call-back.).

    For us weekend warriors, it doesn't seem too reasonable to duplicate our gear, but even playing 30-40 gigs a year is a business commitment. If I couldn't play because of failed gear I'd be replaced in a heartbeat. Of course, it pays to buy reliable, professional equipment to begin with.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    Good question. If I were making my living from the gear, then my IT systems experience echoes your concerns...what if it dies? If the cost of duplication is less than the lost revenue and downtime, then don't think twice and buy it. It's a wise insurance policy (and makes you really look pro if something fails in the middle of a job. That can guarantee a call-back.).

    For us weekend warriors, it doesn't seem too reasonable to duplicate our gear, but even playing 30-40 gigs a year is a business commitment. If I couldn't play because of failed gear I'd be replaced in a heartbeat. Of course, it pays to buy reliable, professional equipment to begin with.
    Agreed. Most recording equipment, and even monitors, can easily and quickly be replaced if something fails. And frankly, my sound isn't going to change very much if I can't replace, say, a particular mic. I use the "tried and tested" standard and readily available mics anyway for the most part.

    However, one's sound is going to change a lot if a take has to be touched up with an overdub from a different amp!

  10. #10
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    Not sure i'd duplicate equipment unless I was in a pro situation or had a lot of money. Even then i'd maybe only duplicate the amp. Guitars... i'd be happy to have a few Strats, different PRS's, etc... I just don't feel the need to have the exact same guitar with the same pups, etc. Amp wise, i'd want at least one identical backup on stage with me every night and perhaps identical rigs dotted across the world. Anyhoo... That's dream world, back to reality...

    I love my Laney Lionheart. My only worry would be it getting stolen in a break in. It seems unlikely they would (Famous last words!!!) compared to other items in the house. Right now it would be easy enough to replace it. If they stopped manufacturing them and they rarely came up used then it could be a different story.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegarveyblues View Post
    Not sure i'd duplicate equipment unless I was in a pro situation or had a lot of money. Even then i'd maybe only duplicate the amp. Guitars... i'd be happy to have a few Strats, different PRS's, etc... I just don't feel the need to have the exact same guitar with the same pups, etc. Amp wise, i'd want at least one identical backup on stage with me every night and perhaps identical rigs dotted across the world. Anyhoo... That's dream world, back to reality...

    I love my Laney Lionheart. My only worry would be it getting stolen in a break in. It seems unlikely they would (Famous last words!!!) compared to other items in the house. Right now it would be easy enough to replace it. If they stopped manufacturing them and they rarely came up used then it could be a different story.
    I've never had duplicates before, even of guitars, either. Never felt the need.

    I am starting to feel the need re: this amp. It's probably stupid, and will probably pass.

  12. #12
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    For anyone who has contemplated buying a 2nd HXDA amp as a "backup" I would make the following recommendation...if you're going to go that far (and, the HXDA has become easily the favorite of my 5 PRS CAD's) you might want to contact Doug Sewall....my HXDA is the proto that has all the standard features plus, what he calls "the kitchen sink mod". The way that is explained is there is a toggle in the back that allows you to switch from parallel to series circuitry. Doug explains that you get the option of "plexi vs JCM"...or, in his own words:

    "The series/parallel switch on back takes the two channels normally running parallel with each other (additive gain) and places them in series (multiplicative gain). It would be (circuit wise) similar to going from a plexi topology to a JCM 800 topology."

    All I can say is that it easily doubles the number of tonal options. By toggling between parallel and series, the tones are totally different. One is a much higher gain...one is a lot cleaner. I can go from virtually clean tones (keep both gain levels at about 7 O'Clock...just above minimum) and bring up the master volume (in "plexi mode) to incredible hi-gain, "infinite sustain", and great tone...in "JCM mode"...all at bedroom volume...just by toggling back and forth.

    In any event..if you are going to the expense of duplicating an amp that you love...it might make sense to have the duplicate be able to do everything the original can....and more.

    Just my 3 cents as a very satisfied customer of the HXDA "Kitchen Sink" amp.

  13. #13
    I know you love that amp, Bennett, and that mod is certainly a great option for a higher gain player!

    But what I love about the amp is the way it sounds at what you'd probably consider relatively low gain settings. Here's how I set mine up with my guitars for recording some rock stuff this morning for an ad project where the client wants a sound somewhere between alt rock and power pop punk:

    First switch to the left on DA, and the second two switches on HX. HX gain around 12 o'clock; bass gain just a touch above off; treble around 11 o'clock; mids and bass around 1-2 o'clock; presence around 10:30 o'clock, volume about 12 o'clock. Bridge pickup on SC58, with tone at 7, volume rolled down so there's bite, but it's not too trebly. Recording with a Royer 122 ribbon mic tilted at a vertical angle of maybe 10-15 degrees, six inches off the speaker cone. The Royer brings out some of the low end, and smooths out the high end.

    Sounds like *not* a lot of gain, right? But here's my technique for getting a big guitar sound:

    Layer a few passes, and it will sound huge, and plenty gainy. Often, the less gain, the bigger the sound when a rhythm part is layered. On one of the passes I'll turn the bass down more and turn up the treble, just to balance things out.

    In any case, this is about as high gain as I usually work, unless I'm using a germanium old-style fuzz, which produces a distinctly different flavor of gain that I do like and often use (and probably most players would use it differently). Going to the JCM800 sound isn't for me, it's too buzz-saw in the midrange for my own taste. I'd probably choose a different amp for very high gain, something like a Mesa, which is a bit more scooped in the midrange.

    Gotta remember, ad clients don't want what they call "screaming guitar solos" for the most part, there has to be room in the mix for the voiceover or dialog, which is midrange information. So basically the final mix gets scooped there anyway. A guitar solo is all midrange and most will interfere with the VO.

    So at this point, I think I'd probably not get use out of the kitchen sink mod. One good thing is that with a spare amp (if I got one) I could always send the other one in for the mod if down the road I felt the need. But after 20 years in the biz...I think the stock amp is plenty.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 10-03-2012 at 09:17 AM.

  14. #14
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    Were it me (and in my case, it is me!) I wouldn't back it up with the same thing. I know you were on the fence regarding the MDT early on, but I think that it's the perfect complement to the HXDA. If I recall, you were concerned with clean headroom, and initially, I was of the opinion that the MDT really didn't go very clean at reasonable gig volumes. That's just because I just didn't fiddle much with the Bright switch. Set in the "normal" configuration, master dimed, volume on 10 o'clock, it's clean heaven, with beaucoup de volume. Hit the bright switch in the configuration, and it goes from great clean to JTM45 crunch (which makes me wish that the bright switch could be foot switchable.).

    It'll sound crazy, but I've settled on a gig configuration with the MDT set as the clean machine, and the HX/DA set as the dirty amp, both switched through a Radial Headbone into a single cab. Works fantastic...


  15. #15
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristotle View Post

    Tell the truth, you are just running that little SS Marshall in the background through the PA just like KISS, right?

  16. #16
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    That "little Marshall" is actually a 100W JCM900 combo with a quad of EL34s at the output and 3 12AX7s at the preamp. These are sometimes maligned, but for 80s hair band music, it's fantastic!
    Last edited by aristotle; 10-05-2012 at 11:23 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I know, I'm just playin', it's just residual jealousy from MA-Pete"s Glaicer Blue Ted!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by aristotle View Post
    Were it me (and in my case, it is me!) I wouldn't back it up with the same thing. I know you were on the fence regarding the MDT early on, but I think that it's the perfect complement to the HXDA. If I recall, you were concerned with clean headroom, and initially, I was of the opinion that the MDT really didn't go very clean at reasonable gig volumes. That's just because I just didn't fiddle much with the Bright switch. Set in the "normal" configuration, master dimed, volume on 10 o'clock, it's clean heaven, with beaucoup de volume. Hit the bright switch in the configuration, and it goes from great clean to JTM45 crunch (which makes me wish that the bright switch could be foot switchable.).

    It'll sound crazy, but I've settled on a gig configuration with the MDT set as the clean machine, and the HX/DA set as the dirty amp, both switched through a Radial Headbone into a single cab. Works fantastic...

    Aristotle, gotta say that usually I'm about plain-looking amps, but that rig truly takes my breath away! The guitar has to sound amazing with the amps. I'm finding the SC58 a great combination with the HXDA.

    I do like your thinking on this issue; I had a tough time deciding between the MDT and the HXDA.

  19. #19
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    Hi Les,

    Here's a (very sloppy) comparison of the HX/DA and MDT set very clean. Master dimed, volume around 10 o'clock, which is actually quite loud. The MDT had the "bright" switch set to normal (otherwise it breaks up at a lower volume...) and the HX/DA was set with two out of three on the D/A mode (forget which was which) with the lead channel around 10 o'clock and just a shosh of bass volume. EQ's set so that they had a pretty similar clean tone. For my tastes, clean or dirty, neither really has a clear advantage. The HX/DA gives you more alternatives though, so that in and of itself is an advantage I guess. If you're gigging the amp (and from what I've read of you posts, you're mainly recording with these, so maybe doesn't apply to you...) and you set the amp relatively clean, I think that the MDT takes pedals better (again for my tastes at least...)

    Anyway, in the clip, the first section has a couple of riffs with pedals switched out (one on the bridge pickup and one on the neck). The next is with a Wampler Pinnacle set for (to me) a modern gain tone that's a bit scooped, and the third is with a Fulltone OCD set with a bit of crunch. Bottom line for me is that there isn't a clear winner, without pedals, the HX/DA has more options, and with pedals, the MDT has more options. Both are fantastic in my opinion. Used an R5 (hotmod with wraptail and burstbuckers...) for this one. SC58 is also very tastey through these as well...

    Both heads were switched through a Radial Headbone into the PRS 2x12 with V30s. You can hear the clicking when I switch between heads because I used two mics to record this. The first was at the cab, and the second was around 20' away. Unfortunately I placed the mic on a small stand on the floor right next to the remote control footswitch for the headbone, hence the clicks. It makes it obvious at least when I'm switching heads I guess...



    Last edited by aristotle; 10-07-2012 at 09:00 PM.

  20. #20
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Could you replace the amp with income from 2 projects? Do you do more than 5 projects a year? Would you lose the opportunity for a call-back if your amp failed?

    If you answered yes to these, buy a duplicate and rest easier at night. Your concern is valid, IMO

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