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 Post subject: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 1:44 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 12:24 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Hi All,

It's been a good while since the Amps section of our site got some love, so it's time to post my updated noise maker. I've been trading a few things here and there, and finally managed to join the big iron brotherhood. It's perhaps medium-iron, as it doesn't weigh a ton :D

I now have a lightly-used Peavey VB-2, and it's teamed up with a Mesa 2x12. I did have an old Ampeg BXT410, but it was a little farty on occasion when driven by the Peavey, and weighed the same as an aircraft carrier. The Peavey and Mesa make a great pair (hat-tip to Basshappi for convincing me to go to 12's). I am a very happy camper!


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Peavey and Mesa 2 compact.jpg
Peavey and Mesa 2 compact.jpg [ 184.04 KiB | Viewed 2625 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 4:01 pm 
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Joined: March 14th, 2008, 10:57 am
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nice rig indeed. About how much does each piece weigh?


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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: December 4th, 2014, 8:07 pm 
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Nice Rig, congrats! I'm lovin' my VB-2 through my 2x15 Genz-Benz cab

The VB-2 is about 55 lbs. The two strap handles on top are quite beefy and make moving it easy. I need to get a cover for mine because it will be seeing much gig time.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: December 5th, 2014, 12:00 am 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 12:24 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Thanks guys!

The manual for the Peavey tells me it's 54lb, so that's totally in-line with Basshappi's observation. I totally agree that the handles on top make it easier to shift, as you can extend your arms and carry it easily without killing your back, and it's easy to lift up. The Mesa cab is built like a tank, but it's lighter than my old Ampeg BXT410. The Ampeg for reference weighed 122 lb, and it was a 4x10. Had to sell it before it killed me with those pop-out handles. The Mesa has built-in comfortable handles, great castors, and is listed as 78 lb.

Cheers,
Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 12:27 am 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 12:24 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Hi all,

Just wanted to say I am still really enjoying my VB-2. After playing through it for a few months, I came to the conclusion that while it was sounding great, it was sounding like a good solid state amp - missing the tube warmth that I was looking for. Also, the overdrive channel was very ugly even with the gain backed way off. So, in the spirit of tinkering, I wanted to play with tube selection... let the rolling commence. I picked up this amp used, with these tubes installed:

>2x JJ 12AX7's
>1x Ruby 12AT7
>6x Ruby EL34BHT

After some poking around on the web, I found a few threads on Talk(nice)Bass [hat-tip to Andy Irvine for that description], where the amp designer, Bobby, stated that the Ruby power tubes listed above were ideal for this amp. Given that I didn't have the kind of cash needed for power-tube experimentation, I took him at his word and left them well alone. The others were fair game, however.

Now is a good time to mention that it's helpful to have someone with skinny wrists for this job, as it's a bit tricky to get around the transformer and the power tubes to get to the 12AX7s - it can be done however, without having to dismantle the chassis. First step was to try alternate 12AX7's. I tried both Mullard and Tung-Sol reissues in both spots. The original JJ's were quiet, with very little break-up even when pushed hard. Swapping for the Tung-Sol's and the Mullards did give the capability to add some break-up when the gain was pegged, but they both sounded "flat" and lifeless. So back in went the JJ's.After a bit more homework, I read that the humble 12AT7 can have a profound effect on the amp overall. I plonked in a JJ 12AT7 and voila, the overdrive channel became useable. :D ....

The excitement was short-lived, however, as although if did indicate that the Ruby 12AT7 was as much use as a chocolate tea-cup, the JJ was not the answer, as it severely muted the highs on the regular channel.... so off again to the interwebs. I was lucky to find a guy locally who repairs organs....I know this seems like an odd statement, but bear with me. Now the old organs always used good quality low-noise tubes, so it's a good place to go NOS tube-hunting, without having to deal with Ebay. I also learned that you can get 12AT7's for much less than 12AX7s.

Anyway, long story short, I added an RCA 12AT7 from my organ guy, and two Sylvania 12AX7's from vacuumtubes.net (because I couldn't afford the RCA 12AX7s I really wanted, and they got a good write-up). The RCA 12AT7 has made the overdrive channel useable as a second channel - if you back off the gain it sounds exactly like the main channel, and if you tweak the gain, you can get just the right amount of hair (the main channel stays clean all the way up - I decided I liked it that way in the end).

I had a lot of good email exchanges and discussions with Brent Jesse ( http://audiotubes.com/) and the folks at vacuumtubes.net (http://www.vacuumtubes.net/), and I learnt something along the way :D

YMMV of course, but I found the NOS tubes to be much more to my taste than the current crop of reissues. Sure you can get very bogged-down in chasing the holy-grail, but I managed to get some halfway decent 12AX7's for a good price, and score a great deal on 12AT7's from an unlikely source (also note that Ham radio gatherings also bring out the tube folks, or so I've heard).

Cheers :)


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Vb-2 rolling.jpg
Vb-2 rolling.jpg [ 38.98 KiB | Viewed 2359 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 9:27 am 
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Tube rolling is always fun endeavor if you have the time, money, and inclination.

I have a Clark Beaufort (Fender 5E3 clone). I went through about 10 NOS pre tubes and a few pairs of Power tubes before I found a truly magical combination. Fortunately, I didn't have to spend a huge dollar amount on the NOS tubes to get me where I am today. But that was about 6 years ago, and prices have gotten ridonculous since then.

If you get the chance, keep on rolling those tubes until you hit your tone goal. It's easy enough to resell them for pretty much what you paid for them in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 9:44 am 
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Joined: April 6th, 2010, 12:24 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon
If you get the chance, keep on rolling those tubes until you hit your tone goal. It's easy enough to resell them for pretty much what you paid for them in the first place.[/quote]

.....just when I decided that it was "ok" right now......you enabler, you! :lol: Thanks mate!

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 9:53 am 
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NoXX wrote:
.....just when I decided that it was "ok" right now......you enabler, you! :lol: Thanks mate!


Hellaya, that's what we're all here for isn't it? lol

Seriously tho, do lots of research before you bust open your wallet. As you probably know, you can get two of the same tubes from the same production batch and they can sound night and day to each other. Ah ... the joys of no-quality-control from the 50's and 60's.

And again as u prob already know, there are several not-so-reputable dealers out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 12:27 pm 
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Very cool Noxx, glad you're still rockin' the VB-2!

I am still loving mine but like you I found the dirt channel to be too much especially since I have the main channel dialed in for the right amount of grit that I like. I find the dirt channel to be too harsh and spikey. Of course when I want dirt I have several flavors on my pedal board so I use that instead.

What has really started to peak my curiosity lately is giving this a run through an 810 cab. There is nothing wrong with my 2x15 and I have had it cranked up pretty good. But I'm wondering if the 'focus' of 810 might bring out the tonal nuances a bit more, especially in regards to my FX pedals.

So, I will be aquiring an Ampeg fridge before too long. I notice they are readily available for reasonable $$ and I've always wanted one anyway. Plus I know that I will be adding an Ampeg amp to the stable at some point (I haven't decided exactly which one yet, though I am really leaning towards a V4B) so it will be the logical compliment to that rig.

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 Post subject: Re: Big Iron... NAD for Noxx
PostPosted: April 17th, 2015, 3:48 pm 
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Basshappi wrote:
Very cool Noxx, glad you're still rockin' the VB-2!

I am still loving mine but like you I found the dirt channel to be too much especially since I have the main channel dialed in for the right amount of grit that I like. I find the dirt channel to be too harsh and spikey. Of course when I want dirt I have several flavors on my pedal board so I use that instead.

What has really started to peak my curiosity lately is giving this a run through an 810 cab. There is nothing wrong with my 2x15 and I have had it cranked up pretty good. But I'm wondering if the 'focus' of 810 might bring out the tonal nuances a bit more, especially in regards to my FX pedals.

So, I will be aquiring an Ampeg fridge before too long. I notice they are readily available for reasonable $$ and I've always wanted one anyway. Plus I know that I will be adding an Ampeg amp to the stable at some point (I haven't decided exactly which one yet, though I am really leaning towards a V4B) so it will be the logical compliment to that rig.


Good thoughts! Funny you should mention the V4-B. My local store just got one in, and I played in last week through a 4x10. Awesomeness on a stick!! I loved the tone -it made the poorly set up Ibanez GSR lefty that I think every GC is made to carry sound great! I'd get one in a heartbeat if I had the funds.

Cheers,
Dave

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