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Thread: HXDA 50 to a 30?

  1. #1
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    Cool HXDA 50 to a 30?

    Alright everyone so tell me if I'm crazy. I emailed Matt at PRS and asked about having my HXDA 50 head made into a 30 which he said they could do for around $300. The reason I'm thinking of doing this is to have the ability to make it a more giggable club amp than where it is right now, allowing me to open it up a bit. Even David Grissom mentioned it was too much amp for what he does at the Saxon Pub in Austin. I won't be playing places bigger than that maybe for years, and I have a 35 watt Category 5 amp that I've used on large outdoor stages opening for Molly Hatchet and ELO (The Orchestra now). It was plenty of amp for those stages. I'm no longer playing in a large band. My new job may have landed me in Austin but it looks like club jams is where I'm headed for some time to come. I would also be installing a fat switch to smooth out the top end a little and make it better for suited for home playing as well. So what do you think?
    It's like that Brett Favre Youtube skit, What Should I Do? If you haven't seen it before check it out you'll laugh I guarantee it.

  2. #2
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    If this mod will preserve the amp's character and bring it down to a more manageable volume level, then that seems like a solid investment. But will is really be a switchable feature or are you sacrificing the original amp? This is something I've not only researched but considered for my Super Dallas.

    If the new DG amps are any indicator, smaller wattage rating doesn't necessarily mean noticeably lower volume. The demos at EXP 2013 proved, to me, that the DG 50 sounded more like his previous signature sound with less of a 'cutting' tonal character and negligible volume difference. That was a stinkin' loud 30W amp. Honestly, to get it where I need it, a 20W version would make more sense, and that would be a completely different amp design (probably 6V6/EL84s).
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  3. #3
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    That's a very good point. I need to ask Matt w/ PRS about that. Your take on Grissom's DG amps is interesting. I was wondering how they would sound. I've always found El84's to bite more w/ hasn't been a tone I enjoyed although that only includes a handful of amps I've played that had them. I've always gravitated towards the Super Dallas and HXDA big tube warmth. I don't think this is a switchable feature on the wattage drop. I imagined it would probably sacrifice the original amp but hoped it would be almost identical to it.

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    That's an interesting idea. I may consider this myself.

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    Interesting..... I've always considered the MV on the HX/DA to be pretty darn good. Yeah...I'm all for opening up the MV and getting all of that power stage goodness, but I've been pretty happy with the HX/DA (and the MDT for that matter) with the master volume dialed back to club level.

    It'd be really interesting though to side-by-side a 30W modded HX/DA with a 50W version dialed back to the same level as the 30 wide open. On the one hand of course, you're getting more power section from the 30, but there just seems to me to be a depth with the higher power amps even when dialed back.

    I'll be following with interest if you end up getting the mod done...

  6. #6
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aristotle View Post
    ...On the one hand of course, you're getting more power section from the 30, but there just seems to me to be a depth with the higher power amps even when dialed back.
    +1
    In the 30w VS. 50w game I typically think the difference is in bottom end and not volume. I know I'm not low volume, but I don't disintegrate the front table's ears like a Marshall DSL40 yet I kick 'em in the chest with impact. The Marshall can't do that and that's a nice trade off. And I'm all about kicking a Marshall's a$$.
    Last edited by Boogie; 12-06-2013 at 07:32 PM.
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

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    I appreciate the responses. It's a hard decision. Once you make the mod it's done. Anyone here own the 30 watt version and have a tone report?

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    I saw Paul last month in Rock Hill, SC and he was playing through a 30 watt HXDA and it sounded great. The regional PRS sales rep was there and I asked him about the differences. He said they are similar but the 30 watt version breaks up a little sooner and he prefers the 30 watt version. I haven't played through a 30 watt HXDA or heard them side by side though.

  9. #9
    In terms of volume, a 50% power reduction reduces the volume of an amplifier by 3 db. In your case, going from 50 to 30 will reduce the volume less than 3 db.

    Therefore, the primary justification for the mod you're thinking about has to be more about the character change that will come by reducing headroom, along with any change in the amp's tone resulting from the different topology, than about the reduction in ultimate volume.

    This is similar to what I experienced with several Two-Rocks that were switchable from 50 down to 30 watts or so; it was more than a volume change, the nature of the amp's fundamental tone changed a little when the amp was switched to the different topology, too. In the case of the TRs, I often went weeks at a time running the amp at the lower power just because I liked the basic tone, and not to keep the volume down! You might like the change - or not.

    I'd advise this: if you're loving the tone of the amp as-is, you might be better off going with the master volume on the amp and trying tricks like facing the speaker cab away from the audience and miking it, and/or using less efficient speakers, trying a plexiglass shield, etc., than making a change. If, however, you want a slightly different tone, and prefer that earlier breakup, then by all means have them mod the amp.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    I have the 30 watt 1x12 combo....don't fool yourself....it's loud as all hell....this is coming from a guy that prefers 50 and 100 watters.

    it kicks serious butt...but to really get the goods it needs to be cranked....at those ear splitting volumes...not much difference...will make you just as deaf as a 50 watt amp.


    but boy is it fun!!!

    BTW....my amp has plenty of bite....ask some of the boys....if your not careful it will bite your head off....the 30 watt combo can get ridiculously bright. In HXDA.... (It can be dialed out though)
    Last edited by Dirty Bob; 12-06-2013 at 10:31 PM.
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  11. #11
    Strangely enough, I think my 50 Watt HXDA is not unreasonably loud. I like its master volume a lot.

    My last loud amp was a Mesa Mark V. In fact, despite its master volume and switchable power levels, it needed to be louder than the HXDA to sound good. It tended to sound a little fizzy unless it was shaking my room, even at half power. At ten watts, the only channel I thought was truly appealing was the clean channel.

    Not that I minded shaking the room when necessary.

    Then again, a 30 Watt AC30 is one heck of a loud amp to my ears! So I really think a whole lot depends on the nature of the circuit, the kinds of speakers used, the way people use it, etc. An AC30 really needs to be cranked to get the goods.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
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  12. #12
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Bob View Post
    I have the 30 watt 1x12 combo....don't fool yourself....it's loud as all hell....to really get the goods it needs to be cranked....at those ear splitting volumes...not much difference...will make you just as deaf as a 50 watt amp.
    As a living survivor of Bob's beautiful 30w HXDA (believe me, it's gorgeous!) it is very much a Plexi with the ability to impair eardrums.
    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Then again, a 30 Watt AC30 is one heck of a loud amp to my ears! So I really think a whole lot depends on the nature of the circuit, the kinds of speakers used, the way people use it, etc. An AC30 really needs to be cranked to get the goods.
    And this is why I balance my rig against our other guitarist's gear. The Super Dallas has bloodlines from multiple makers but has the character focused in the lower-mid range. It too doesn't give up the goods until master is around 2:00 but it's a comfortable loud. Makes my pants rumble.
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  13. #13
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    There's not much perceived volume difference between 30 and 50 watts, especially if you aren't pushing into power tube saturation. It might be worth experimenting with some form of attenuation first. I good attenuator is going to run hat same $300+, but at least it's easily reversible (and re-sellable!).

    Les, I hear you on the Mark V. I totally loved my IV, but 1) it sounded best LOUD, and 2) it was heaviest damn 1x12 on the planet! I sold mine and bought another THD BiValve. Even running 6v6s, pushing maybe 25 watts the THD is still a super loud amp. My Lonestar sounds pretty good on the 10 watt setting, though it does lose the balls it has on 50 or 100 watts.

  14. #14
    Shoegazing Member Serious Poo's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of attenuators, particularly THD Hot Plates. They maintain the overall tone of the amp while allowing you to keep your amp unmodified. I gigged with a non-master volume Dr Z Route 66 head for around 8 years with nothing more than the head, an OD pedal, a Hotplate and a 2x12, and never had a problem dialing in my sound at different volume levels. Hope that helps.
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  15. #15
    Junior Member Texas_minor_blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    If this mod will preserve the amp's character and bring it down to a more manageable volume level, then that seems like a solid investment. But will is really be a switchable feature or are you sacrificing the original amp? This is something I've not only researched but considered for my Super Dallas.

    If the new DG amps are any indicator, smaller wattage rating doesn't necessarily mean noticeably lower volume. The demos at EXP 2013 proved, to me, that the DG 50 sounded more like his previous signature sound with less of a 'cutting' tonal character and negligible volume difference. That was a stinkin' loud 30W amp. Honestly, to get it where I need it, a 20W version would make more sense, and that would be a completely different amp design (probably 6V6/EL84s).
    +1 this!
    It was my same reasoning when I picked up my 20 watt 2 channel H
    I played the 20 and the 50 and there is a big difference in tone. 20 watts is perfect for playing small / medium clubs.
    2008 DGT Cherry Sunburst
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