Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #114002  by FBlades95
 Wed May 16, 2012 11:22 am
So I'm doing my first "rack" rig, with an SMS and a SS power amp. I have a few questions regarding these two items..

What are the different sets of mods on the SMS? What controls are on the rear panel?

I was thinking of going with the QSC 1202, is that the closest we can get to a 2 space rack MC2300? Is there other options?

please help! :)
 #114007  by paulkogut
 Wed May 16, 2012 11:59 am
There's a output level/pad knob on the back of the preamp. I put mine to 'high noon' as recommended by the manual, and haven't given it much thought since. If the signal seems too hot for your particular power amp (I go into the effects return of a Walter Woods), you can tame it.

As far as mods, Brad built me his 'jazz' version, which I understand is somewhere in the middle of the standard 'steel guitar' version and the full set of 'Jerry mods'.The process was more of me explaining to him about my playing situations and preferences, and sending him some of my records, rather than requesting a specific component or mod. I've seen him do some interesting stuff like adding a secondary dry (no reverb) out for cats that like to record that way, too. I would say let him know your style and goals and he'll craft the pre to best reflect them.

 #114009  by redeyedjim
 Wed May 16, 2012 12:50 pm
Echoing what PK said -- you should have a dialog with Brad when you order yours, and tell him the sound you are after and how faithfully you want to emulate Garcia's tone. He can build you a version that is 100% Jerry, but that will also limit the range of the SMS a bit, so you may want something that will give you more than just that tone. Here are his suggestions for mine, quoted verbatim:
I have a few thoughts on the preamp. Unless you're going for the authentic Garcia tone only replication, there is a variant on the preamp that I think sounds easily as good and is actually more versatile in general. It'll definitely get you a killer Jerry tone with the knobs set right, but it will also give you a lot more universal usage.

I'd recommend this version for you, and if you order please remind me of these details in an email.

Takman Carbon-Film plate resistors
Silmic II (silk/hemp) cathode bypass capacitors
.047/.03 Tone-stack

This is pretty much my personal favorite setup for the preamp. It's very sweet and warm and the tone-stack voicing will cover all ranges and not lock you into just the Jerry-only setting as much.
I am very, very happy with this setup, and I love the warmth the above components give me. Your mileage may vary, as they say, but the above is working well for me.
 #114012  by redeyedjim
 Wed May 16, 2012 1:07 pm
Currently I'm using both a McIntosh MC50 and a Mesa 50/50 (switched via a Radial ToneBone HeadBone TS amp switcher). Both are great - the MC50 has all the clear sound and awesome tone of the larger McIntosh amps, just in a much smaller, more portable/affordable package. The 50/50 is also clean, but being a tube amp it dirties up more authentically than the MC50. It's also a lot louder than the MC50.


This is currently running into a SSP 1X12 cab with an E120. It's a very versatile setup. I'm the sort of person who loves tweaking knobs and this give me a lot of tonal options.

Prior to the above amps I used a MosValve MV-962, which wasn't as warm as the Mac or as tube-y as the 50/50. Still a good amp, just not as good (to my ears) as the above.