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HD500x + Spider Valve 112

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So I have been running my HD500x with an Alto 212 powered speaker. I have come up with some pretty "okay" tones but it's been a bit of a battle for me to get patches I really like. Yesterday on a whim I picked up a cheap hardly used Spider Valve MKI (the tube amp not the spider). Im playing around with it and it's pretty fun despite its limitations. Anyway, I decide to run my HD500x through the power amp. Holy cow! What a huge difference. Everything sounds more realistic and full than with the Alto. Dang, I guess I'm not cut out for FRFR speakers! Just thought I'd post my experience. If you need me I'll be starting over on building patches, lol. Cheers!

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I had a similar setup and foolishly traded my Spider Valve away. They just seem to sound so good together. I got what at the time was a great offer for the Spider Valve but in hindsight I never should have broken the pair up.

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There is something to say about a tube power amp and the life/dynamics it creates. The FRFR speakers are great but they must be EQ'd as there is no cab to help.

 

Spider Valves will hopefully make a comeback one day.

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I've been trying reallllly hard to get away from my PODHD to Tube Amp setup but I just haven't got the tones I want using FRFR yet.  The tube amp just makes it come alive.  A friend of mine has an AXEFX and he says the same thing too.  Once you put them into a tube amp they sound better.

 

I keep trying though.  Sure would be a ton more convenient to go FRFR.

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I'm starting to feel like luggin this 112 around is better than spending an entire afternoon trying to make a tone sound right through my Alto. I suck at using all the EQs and trying to cut highs and lows and pinpointing bad frequencies on everything. I just want to set up a simple chain and play and sound good. I think this may be the ticket for me.

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This thread brings back some memories.

I have a MK1 and MK2 112s that I have used with my HD Bean. Those amps work great with the POD IMO. One of the best features is the analog presence control. Just about perfect for a little room EQ...I moved on to using DT amps with my HD Bean, but I still have the SVs. Love those amps. One of the main reasons that I use a guitar amp with the bean is that it gives a built-in spare...

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The tubes in the SV were original from 2008 so today I put in new Mesa 5881s and 12AX7s. Un-flipping-believable. I now truly see how good the HD500x modeling is. Amps and effects just sound and feel real now. My hat is off to all the FRFR guys making it work, but my Alto 212 is going on Craig's list tomorrow!

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Wow, that is exactly how I have been running mine since 2008..Mesa 5881s and Mesa SPAX7s. If you think it sounds good now, try an EV12L in it. I use a Madison Minstrel that's pretty close to that vibe of less color from the cone. That's more personal taste thing. I can't stand V30s for myself.

 

I did a whole bunch of mods on mine and it still one of my favorite tone amps...even with Spider models (SVPre mod)...It's old now and I only record with it now as the main DSP boards are no longer made. The power amp can likely work forever as it is a great design.

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I just got a MKI head in, yep the dsp section is dropping out but the power section is stable, so hopefully having a tech resolder flow the board will find a bad joint. But yes that f-er is LOUD and tasty.

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while he is in there, you might consider doing a bias mod and put some test points and trims on the back panel. I did that to my SV112 as it is a real pain to take the amp apart to check adjust bias. The other issue is that the pcb bias pots are pretty cheap and have a very low g-shock rating which makes them drift under vibration. This is more of an issue in the combo than the head, but it was surprising to me after I did the mod...The amp sounded much better at loud volume than it did stock...I got my points and trim pots from Weber for about $12 or so...

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while he is in there, you might consider doing a bias mod and put some test points and trims on the back panel. I did that to my SV112 as it is a real pain to take the amp apart to check adjust bias. The other issue is that the pcb bias pots are pretty cheap and have a very low g-shock rating which makes them drift under vibration. This is more of an issue in the combo than the head, but it was surprising to me after I did the mod...The amp sounded much better at loud volume than it did stock...I got my points and trim pots from Weber for about $12 or so...

 

Thanks Space I'll put that on the list.

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What output mode are you using to the amp?

 

For a SV 2x12 (head now) I was running Studio Direct which did sound good. Closed back 1x12 btw.

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while he is in there, you might consider doing a bias mod and put some test points and trims on the back panel. I did that to my SV112 as it is a real pain to take the amp apart to check adjust bias. The other issue is that the pcb bias pots are pretty cheap and have a very low g-shock rating which makes them drift under vibration. This is more of an issue in the combo than the head, but it was surprising to me after I did the mod...The amp sounded much better at loud volume than it did stock...I got my points and trim pots from Weber for about $12 or so...

Space, you running studio/direct as well?

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no sir, I run combo stack. However, my 112 is modified a bit and supports a 212 cab. I have an NL4 mounted on the back to run a 212 cab...All speakers are 8 ohms in parallel for around a 2.6 ohm load. Next to the NL4, I have a 100 watt rated matching transformer that doubles the impedance with no loss. So the amp is seeing around a 5.2 ohm load....I run on the 4 ohm tap. The speakers are Madison Minstrels. What I found is that the 312 pyramid with an open back combo and closed back 212 renders the live cab models quite well for me.

 

I also have an SVMK2 112 with a 212 cab also....However, it is loaded with 16 ohm Madison Symphony speakers....The load is the same...It's pretty brutal when I run both rigs stereo...

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Interesting. Are you guys running the full amp/cab models or just the pre with no cab?

 

no sir, I run combo stack. However, my 112 is modified a bit and supports a 212 cab. I have an NL4 mounted on the back to run a 212 cab...All speakers are 8 ohms in parallel for around a 2.6 ohm load. Next to the NL4, I have a 100 watt rated matching transformer that doubles the impedance with no loss. So the amp is seeing around a 5.2 ohm load....I run on the 4 ohm tap. The speakers are Madison Minstrels. What I found is that the 312 pyramid with an open back combo and closed back 212 renders the live cab models quite well for me.

 

I also have an SVMK2 112 with a 212 cab also....However, it is loaded with 16 ohm Madison Symphony speakers....The load is the same...It's pretty brutal when I run both rigs stereo...

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for the SV, I use the PRE models with cabs. However, this loads a lighter version of the cab models with less attenuation than the full models have. Running any combo or stack mode kills the mic model.

 

I only use a few cab models as I am not one of those "simulation nerds"...Not a bad thing...just not my cup of tea...We called them Live cabs at one time, but basically these are tuned for the DT50....The ones I use work great with the SV and the cab setup I have...

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FWIW I hear the other output modes (combo, etc) come into their own at the higher volumes. For lack of a better term it seems then the cab starts to have its voice.

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FWIW I hear the other output modes (combo, etc) come into their own at the higher volumes. For lack of a better term it seems then the cab starts to have its voice.

That's what I'm reading as well. Currently I'm just using it in the house at lower volumes. I'll have some time over the weekend to play around with the output modes and the PRE models. I had always used my XT Live direct into the house when I was playing for our church. Micing an amp would be new for me. When you mic an amp, what amp volume level are you using? I guess what I'm getting at is if I need to develop different patches for home and live playing in a church setting.

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That's what I'm reading as well. Currently I'm just using it in the house at lower volumes. I'll have some time over the weekend to play around with the output modes and the PRE models. I had always used my XT Live direct into the house when I was playing for our church. Micing an amp would be new for me. When you mic an amp, what amp volume level are you using? I guess what I'm getting at is if I need to develop different patches for home and live playing in a church setting.

 

Generally I use a Tech21 PE60 (60w 1x12 on an amp stand) and its usually mic'd. I run the volume high enough for good stage monitoring (with the PA stage volume too) and let the soundman handle the load for everyone else. So it doesn't need to be at 11. :)

 

Thankfully I can drag everything down in the basement and (with the wife's blessings of course) raise the volume fairly high for eq'ing (and usually gain reduction - higher vol = less need for gain for me). I try and record a bit from the far side of the basement with a mp3 playing. That usually gets me in the ballpark prior to band practice.

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Okay so you always keep the output mode in studio direct and just make eq/gain adjustments at a higher volume for playing live? Are you using the full or pre models? Thanks for the tips!

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Studio Direct and yep EQ changes with volume: https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/fletcher-munson-curve/

 

I use the full models as that amp is SS and fairly neutral. That said some of the pre only may just shine through the Valve but your testing will show what you like. Be aware of ear fatigue too. Take breaks and walk away from the tweaking as after a while your ears become used to or tired and it gets hard to judge the tones.

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So I had a little time to toggle through the PRE models and experiment with the "combo power amp" output setting a little. One thing I noticed is that some of the PRE models lack the gain/distortion of of the full. I could crank the gain all the way up on the 75 and the Plexi and it was only lightly distorting. The cleans sounded cleaner, the studio direct had a little more grit in the cleans. The combo power amp setting sounded more authentic than the studio direct in some cases but the studio direct had richer distortions (at reasonable volume) in others. I think I just need to pick a lane and work up some new patches.

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The Park is one of my favorite models because I find it to be quite true to the orignal in terms of the gain potential. It's much like an old plexi in that they are not high gain amplifiers. The killer overdrive you get from a Park or Plexi comes from cranking the power section and/or putting a clean screamer on the front. Your conclusion that the FULL Park model works a little better is the same I drew. The Park PRE can also be driven quite nicely with a screamer. Hit the PRE model with a lot of clean level. No right or wrong here. The SV power section is very clean and a bit harder to breakup without killing your ears or an attenuator.

 

BTW, if you want to hear just how wonderfully clean, precise and dynamic that SV power section is, I would suggest try plugging your guitar directly into the power amp in on the back. The power amp has a 12AX7 buffer tube that drives the 12AX7 inverter, so it is basically a preamp with no tonestack...it is mind blowing how good that sounds... 

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Thanks space, I think I am going to run it in the combo power amp output setting and work up some new patches. Thanks for the tips on the park and plexi, I will play around with those and try boosting them with the screamer. Would certainly love to hear about other pre model configurations/settings you've had good luck with using the SV...or anyone else's experiences for that matter.

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If you have the model packs, I love the Soldanos, 5150 and JC120...The Ampeg SVT is pretty darn nice to have too....

 

Oh yes...and beware of InputZ on your input settings...If you have that set to AUTO, you can get some tonesucking going on depending on what you have first in the chain....If you are not aware of it, AUTO is the default setting and I have seen it drive folks crazy when they did not know about it.

 

The Weeper (wah) is a pretty good example of what is happening here...basically, it will drop the input impedance on the guitar input to 300 ohms and the highend drops...However, you can tweak the InputZ per patch and use it to get you highend in the ballpark before eqing the amp tonestack. I generally leave most patches at 1M or 3M...but I have got patch for my strat where I run the impedance down to tame the brightness a bit...

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and be sure to switch input 2 to something other than same. I fooled around a bit with the V Plexi and you can get some really nice tones if you drive it with a TS. Try the TS volume near max but almost no gain.

 

Here is the master list:

 

http://line6.com/support/page/kb/_/pod/pod-hd/all-hd-amp-models-in-order-including-hd-model-r732

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Thanks guys! I do have all the model packs. I love the JC120 and have a nice clean patch for that one. I also use a tube drive on it and it sounds great. I'm looking forward to messing around with the Soldanos. I really wanted to love it because of the 3 different models but wasn't able to get a compelling tone with the FRFR setup. The one that really came alive with the SV was the blackface deluxe. It sounded ok before but became shockingly better.

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I've been enjoying this setup a lot. Was fooling around and got a great tone with the DrZ, boost comp, and colordrive pedal. Good stuff!

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Trying my HD500 through my DSL401 effect loop today.So far its pretty good and great for gigging.4 EL84s so it cant get too loud.At least this amp doesnt.

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Nice, yeah I'm really happy I bought that spider valve. It made a huge difference for me. I've been playing around with cabs vs no cab and I'm finding I like the cab in most situations.

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