Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #112324  by Deadlock
 Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:35 pm
Do any of you "Bobbys" use an Ashly SC-50? If so, how do you have it set up?
 #114563  by Deadlock
 Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:50 am
Maybe I should try a different angle here. I have recently added an Ashly SC-50 to my bobby rig. I have been running it in the effects loop of my Mesa Studio-Pre before my delay (AD-202). From everything I have read this seems like a decent approximation of Bobby's late 70's/early 80's signal path. My question to the forum here is: How does/did Bob use compression?
In reading the Ashly manual it seems like the unit can be set up in one of three ways:

prevention of clipping or excessive peak (short attack 1ms, med release .5, ratio 10 and adjust output to desired max)

loudness enhancement (gentle compression ratio approx. 3, 10ms attack, .1sec release, with enough gain to cause about 6db of gain reduction)

added sustain (Ratio 5, attack 20ms, and a release time .1sec, adjusting the gain to the desired length of sustain)

I am currently splitting the difference between "loudness enhancement" and "added sustain" with settings: ratio 4, attack 15, release .1, with enough gain to push the gain reduction to -6+ and adjusting to output to unity. So far I am fairly happy with the overall "chime" the unit adds to my tone as well as the evenness it gives to my single note lines in relation to full chords.

I haven't had that much experience with compression in the past. So, my setup is based on some trial and error and my best educated guess. If anyone out there has a better grasp of this unit, compression in general, or how Bobby incorporates it into his tone, I would very much appreciate your insight.

 #114564  by strumminsix
 Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:35 pm
Never used that before nor do I recall Bobby using something like that in the 70s, but can't say for sure. But he does use an Avalon nowadays.

When you think of compressing and peak limiting they all are similar, yet different.

Both with squash your signal for more uniformity. The limiter does it be enacting a ceiling. I find this more musical.
 #115746  by Deadlock
 Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:28 am
I think he favored these units in the early 80's. Here is a post I found on this forum:

This is taken from Dozin's post at"

According to John Cutler, design engineer for the Grateful Dead, the signal from Bob's Ibanez goes into an IVP preamp. On that particular preamp there are two effects loops available; one is after the preamp and before the equalization, and the other is post-equalization and before the master gain. Cutler has built a switching system that uses a logic-controlled relay to insert or delete what-ever effect is not in the signal path when not in use; it's hardwired bypassed.

In the first loop Bob uses a Furman reverb and Ibanez UE-400 that contains a compressor, a chorus, a flanger and a distortion box. In the second loop he uses an Ashley Compressor and an Ibanez AD-230 delay and flanger unit. Bob also uses a Cutler-built custom pedal that remotely controls the electronics on the rack and is a combination phase and wah-wah. He can have it either phasing,wahing, or a mix of the two. When he move the pedal from back to forward, both the wah and phaser go up in tone. Most phasers use an oscillator that sweeps back and forth, but this replaces the oscillator with a footpedal. The rack also contains a Furman parametric equalizer that he primarily used when doing both electric and acoustic sets on the same night. He plugs his Ovation into the Furman.

Weir's 1000-watts-per-channel power amp is no longer available. It was called Godzilla and was made by Great American Sound (GAS amp) which has since folded. Cutler reports that they only made about 20 or 30 of them as prototypes and never went into production. He plays through eight 10" Gauss speakers in a Hard Trucker's cabinet. Although, Bob's speaker configuration changed all the time.
 #138147  by Deadhead85
 Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:07 am
I just picked one up last night, looking forward to receiving it and trying it out! Hoping to be able to get rid of my noisy Comp pedal!
 #138309  by JDB30
 Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:54 am
So, anyone got any good "Bobby" settings on the SC-50 to share? My blueface arrived yesterday (purchased from original owner and was used in his studio---100% all original parts). I had been using an Ashly CLX-52 (newer model stereo compressor) and got pretty close. How are you guys setting your SC-50's?
 #138313  by Dozin
 Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:39 pm
I believe Rob Eaton asked Bob about compression and he said Weir never used it. He only used the limiter.
 #138337  by Deadhead85
 Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:05 am
Bobby used the SC-50 but he didn't use it as a compressor. If you set the gain to 0, it becomes a limiter....start there. Mine is arriving tomorrow.
 #138577  by JDB30
 Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:06 pm
Did you get anything useful yet?