I'm saving for an SMS or good silverface at the moment - I have a mac+JBL but no good preamp (yet) - just running one JB: though a HRDx - definitely a lot closer than stock but still need the right preamp to "nail it" . The amp part was easier to get - now as I'm saving I'm looking at twins, bandmasters and the like (and will have to mod them) and how that compares to spending a bit more for the SMS and getting "what I want" delivered without hassle...
I got amy Mc2100 for relatively cheap (less than QSC PLX 1202)- and if you just use the one channel its 210W. And as far as loudness goes with amps it's a factor of ten to double the loudness - 5w is half as loud as a 50w - and 500w is twice as loud as that. I'm no expert but I do know some experts who have been very happy with the 2100. So does the extra wattage of the 2300 (and$) add the needed tone - like hippie guy said, "it's debatable". But this is the place for splitting hairs, and I'm not above being "corrected" in fact "I know just enough to get me into trouble but not enough to get me out" (same with how much spanish I know)).
So if the 2100 is missing more than wattage (or cool blue meters) from the 2300 for Jer's tone please correct the above and enlighten me (I welcome it - I've learned so much from this board and that is one of the reasons I still check in daily). And if there are any "correctors" out there that want to tell me why my HDRx isn't a good preamp I'm glad to hear it. I tried it and was less than impressed with the results. - Don't need to know (gonna get a proper preamp eventually) but like I said I know it doesn't work well but don't know the specifics why (other than it's not a modded twin).
If you look at these links and write down the specs there are a small collection of SS mac's that have exact same specs as the 2300. 2100 is the next best thing . Tone is not a factor in an amp. It's clarity and frequency range etc. Having bigger output power transformers may actually be a down fall as far as budget and spacing and their A/B ratings. My2100 recently recapped hooked to 2 120's if I wanted to I could shatter glass in my house. Don't forget the Dead were not just power junkies. Their main priority was power and class A sound combined. There's even a littleMC50 I believe has the same specs. Unless youre planning on filling up 3 Rivers anytime soon I wouldn't be concerned about slight differences in 60 or 100 watts. Also I don't pushing like my JBL cones too hard so staying safety below their rated limit is cool especially if you open up all the windows and go on a volume rage and fill the neighbourhood with Jer. Check the specs http://www.roger-russell.com/amplif1.htm
I would caution only not to overlook that there is a difference between measured volume (db or sound pressure level) and perceived volume. This has to do with factors such as frequency response and perception, pyschoacoustical factors, idiosyncratic reactions to changes in headroom/clarity of the sound, etc. (e.g., Google "Fletcher-Munson curves"). So whereas doubling wattage may indeed produce less of a db increase than many would predict, this doesn't necessarily mean doing so wouldn't sound disproportionately louder to you or me, personally, given our perceptions/preferences. My favorite reference point of the changes in tone (as opposed to volume) from a doubling in wattage is to compare how Dickie Betts sounds relative to Duane Allman on Live at the Fillmore.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
I think that's what my guitarist uses and it's pretty nice. Definitely gets loud enough and tremendously loud in bridged mode. I've never really been a Carvin fan per se, but I'm sold on this one. He replaced his Twin with the SMS Classic and the Carvin and reduced the load in weight and improved his tone immensely.
I've been very happy running my SMS CTP through a Mesa 50/50. Nice 6L6 power, simple, sturdy. The two channels are nicely versatile for different stage sizes... simply change how loud you run each of the channels as needed. Not to hard to find a used one under $500.
I'm actually looking to try something different in the power amp area this summer... the Rocktron is a pretty good sounding amp, but I noticed when I was playing with some friends at a party a few weeks ago that the sound is too thin sounding. Here's the video:
I wasn't all that happy with my playing in it... pretty sloppy (we didn't have a chance to sound check and this was right at the beginning of the set, maybe the 3rd song, so I was still settling in). It hasn't even been two years yet since I switched from bass to guitar, so be gentle. Rig I'm using now is a USA Hamer Artist with split Super 2s -> effects (all "true bypass", Dist +, Big Muff, Earth Drive, Q-tron, Phase 100, but none active here) -> SMS JG mod w/ PRPs -> Rocktron amp -> Eminence Commonwealth 12. I'm confident in the top-notch quality of all those components except for the power amp.
Anyway... I want a ballsier sound. Anyone have any ideas? The Mesa 50/50's been on my mind... I'd go for a mac but there really aren't any good electronics repair places around where I live and I'm reluctant to buy old electronic equipment because of that.
Just a quick thought to WTRB^... You went from bass to electric gtr.. I would imagine you still play bass and are very accustomed to thick,fat, bass tone.. Very different from the forward sounding, bright, cut through the mix Jer tone.. It's this vast different type of tone that you're hearing and not liking.. Don't be afraid to shape your EQ to what YOU like. Just my observation...
I actually stopped playing bass entirely when I picked up the guitar. Just threw myself into it headfirst right from the start.
Yeah, you're right about shaping the EQ. There's just a sort of shining clarity and warmth at the same time I feel the tone is lacking... It's kind of hard to explain. It could also just be that someone took the video with their phone. Thanks for the thought, I'll start playing around more with EQ.
Some cell phones can do pretty well with video, but none of them record audio worth a hoot. The whole recording sounds thin. I would not use it as an example of your tone. A better recording would sound completely different and I'm sure you know that.
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