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Thread: HXDA - 30 watt vs 50 watt

  1. #1
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    HXDA - 30 watt vs 50 watt

    Anyone here who can comment on the 30 watt version vs the 50 watt? I've heard tons of clips of the 50, but none of the 30watt.

    I'm intrigued by the 30w 1x12 combo, primarily because of the 1x12. I don't think they make a 50w 1x12 combo, and I don't want a 4x10.

    Anyone with a clip, or with experience side-by side?

    Also, what did they do to drop the power? Transformer change, lower voltage, triode mode, etc

    Finally, one last question: Is the Master Volume the same MV that would typically have been put in old plexi, or is there something different about this one? Does it work well?

  2. #2
    I can tell you that the master volume on the 50 watt amps is fantastic.

    i haven't played a 30, however.
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  3. #3
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Calling Dirty Bob!! His 30w HXDA combo is the first I thought of.
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tosca's Avatar
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    I have the 30 watt combo and love it. I have not played a 50 watt version, but the sound samples I have heard of them seem similar (if not identical). The comments 50 watt owners (like Les) make seem to apply to my amp as well. I even found my "sweet spot" with this amp to be almost exactly the same settings Les had posted about his. This amp covers the "middle zone" extremely well, from edge of breakup through all flavors of crunch and into classic rock lead territory. Not exceptional at pristine cleans, needs a boost/distortion pedal to get into the "metal zone". Works well with every overdrive I've thrown at it (many). Very responsive to guitar volume and tone pot changes. I find it to be a perfect match for the 408 pickups, together a super versatile combination. The crunch sounds I get from it with my RW neck SC245 w 59/09's are the best I' ever achieved from an amp at or below 50 watts (only surpassed by my Soldano Slo-100).
    It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    As far as PRS amps go currently I have a 30 Watt 1X12 HXDA with a V30, a 50 Watt Recording Amp Head run through a Mesa 2X12 Recto Cab with V30's, and a 50 Watt Paul's Amp Head run through another Mesa 2X12 Recto Cab with V30's on casters. These are all amps based off of the 25th Anniversary platform...which in turn was based on one of Eric Johnson's 60's Marshall's. The HXDA is the amp I primarily use with my band...however I view all of them as relatively interchangeable...meaning I can achieve my sound on any of them....there are nuances to each of them but a lot of it is hard for me to describe without sounding like I'm tripping...it translates more to feel and how I adapt to each one rather than something that is easily explainable...I have summed them up before like the following...HXDA is Derek Trucks current ABB sound....Paul's amp is Warren Haynes....Recording Amp is Band of Gypsies...hell all of them are Band of Gypsies.... I believe they got to the 30 watt level by lowering the plate voltage...I may have posted about this at some point...my memory is a bit foggy though now.... This allows Doug to continue to use el34's...all of these amps have cinemag transformers and run el34's. There are several different approaches to MV's on plexi's...I am not an expert on the various types so I will leave this to someone else...I will say that it is effective however the amp really comes to life with the master set above 55-60ish%...I used to say 70ish but that was before I realized that the Master knob can be turned up to "11"...

    The combo kicks ass...easy to transport and sounds like a beast...with the v30 and open backed combo ( and I love v30's) my initial impression was it sounded like a very very bright amp...I believe it was the new speaker because it has mellowed quite a bit since I've been using it. All three amps eq up differently to achieve the same tones...could be attributable to the different cab set ups. please realize a 30 watt marshall is LOUD....tone and response is amazing...these PRS amps IMHO are the finest amps made...I consider them essential instruments and in a live situation I don't think you can find a vintage marshall based amp that can beat them. The last few times I have seen the Allman's both Derek and Warren's tones were the best I have ever heard them... Derek was running his HXDA each time and Warren was running some combination of a Super Dallas and 25th or I believe one night I saw them it was a Super Dallas and a Texaplex.

    Hope this helps.


    upon further reflection part of my explanation may seriously have to do with the following...the lower plate voltage of 30 watt combo with the open backed combo is a bit looser =Trucks...the HXDA goes from super bass to super lead very religiously....with the recto cab the Paul's amp is tighter a bit clearer (less bass?) to my ears = Haynes...on the Recording amp, similar to the 25th the B+rail(high voltage supply) is tweaked for a "bouncy" bloom in the notes=Band of Gypsies.
    Last edited by Dirty Bob; 05-15-2014 at 10:33 AM.
    -Bob

  6. #6
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    go ahead, feed my GAS for an HXDA and a 408....
    Last edited by rugerpc; 05-15-2014 at 09:26 PM. Reason: Only took me 10 hours to spot the typo
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  7. #7
    I think the HXDA sounds great with the 408s, too.

    But I haven't found a guitar it doesn't like. So no worries, Ruger, your current stable will run fine with one!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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    Thanks for the feedback. Getting close.

    BTW - Is the HXDA a complete replica of the old plexi amps, or is it designed to sound LIKE an old plexi? i.e., other than the MV, is the circuit 100% the same as Marshall Super Bass / Lead, or is it it's own this?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Dirty Bob's Avatar
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    HXDA takes you pretty much from Duane Allman's super bass circuit through Hendrix Plexi....caveat being that the amp employs a transformer based on Eric Johnson's Marshall (Cinemag).
    -Bob

  10. #10
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    From what I read Paul and Doug saying in interviews. They used the designs of those two amps as starting points, but they added changes to the circuits and components. They wanted to get the tone right, not just duplicate the circuits and hope for success.

  11. #11
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    I'm looking hard at this same amp - the 30W 1x12. The alternate that I am considering is the Mesa King Snake (a reissue of the original Boogie that Santana made famous). That has the variable power and a few other nice tweeks. I really want a single channel that gives me the smooth to crunch rock sound. Marshalls and early Mesas had that. Its neck and neck at the moment. BTW, the audible difference between 30W and 90W is only about 20%, so they both can be loud

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by runr53 View Post
    I really want a single channel that gives me the smooth to crunch rock sound.
    I have the 50 watt HXDA, and I can say with complete confidence that it IS the smooth to crunch rock sound - and much more. It's an amp that sounds great just about anywhere you set it up.

    The Mesa is a great amp - I happen to be a fan of Mesa amps - but the HXDA is in a different league entirely.

    First, just in terms of the most basic things, the HXDA is dead quiet at idle, unlike the Mesa, and unlike the early Marshalls. This very low noise floor means that notes don't have to overcome the usual "amp noise." Every detail of the plucked note jumps out, and the tail end of a note is not obscured by fading into noise, either. I believe this is often overlooked, but is one hallmark of a great amp design. It's especially wonderful for recording. If there's hum or buzz, it's coming from your pickups or your pedals or somewhere else in the system. It won't be the amp.

    Whether this is the result of the HXDA's very careful hand-wiring or not, I can't say. But it is nice.

    Second, there is a huge variety of tone on tap. The "HXDA gain" and the bass gain can be combined in infinite ways. The amp can be switched not just into HX or DA mode, the switches can be combined to your heart's content. I like mine mostly in DA/DA/HX, but with certain guitars, or for certain projects, I change it up as needed.

    Third, it's a terrific pedal platform. If you like to use pedals to shape tone, get other sounds, etc., this is a wonderful amp.

    Fourth, and most important, there are buttery tones. The harmonics in overdrive are rich and yet the sound is detailed. You hear your guitar, and you also hear the amp - this is hard to describe and probably harder to accomplish with most amps, but it's that holy grail thing where the guitar shines through AND the amp shines through, no matter how you dial it in.

    As good as the Mesa is, there isn't that transparency.

    Finally, the clean tones are magnificent. If you set your guitar volume to 5 or below, the amp cleans up to shimmery, clear tones, and you can use the guitar volume (or the amp of course) to get as much or as little grit as you want. This is an amp that's designed to work with the guitar's controls, though, so be aware of that. If you're a guy who simply dimes the guitar, you won't get the most out of the amp.

    So as much as I appreciate the coolness of the Mesa in many ways, the HXDA is a more interesting and more beautiful amp to play through - for me, YMMV and the usual disclaimers apply.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 05-17-2014 at 11:43 AM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

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