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Award-Session Blues Baby

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Ted Witton, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    Tony I can't speak for the DV Mark or the Katana, having yet to try these. Despite modern manufacturing techniques, I am convinced one needs to try individual amps for some time before committing. I tested a Blues Cube Stage in a retailer's booth and was underwhelmed. It seemed relatively flimsy (compared with a Cube GX) at the time and the sound did not greatly impress me - definitely solid state thin. But I suspect that was perhaps just a one off. Certainly no match for the BluesBaby which I already had. The BluesBaby is a great amp. Likewise the BC Hot which I have also subsequently bought. I have no idea why I preferred the BB Hot to the more powerful Stage but it struck me as more substantial in build quality and testing under the same conditions sounded great. Perhaps my ears were having an off day with the Stage! The BB offers superb Brit grit whereas the BC Hot seems much more "Fendery" as one might expect. If anything lets down the Award-Session amps it is perhaps the cosmetic finish - they always look a little homespun but that is a very minor issue, especially if you are buying just the amp chassis.
     
  2. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    Finland
    That's an interesting comparison. Thanks!
    It sort of confirms what I've been hearing on Youtube. I was calling what I heard from BB "bolder" than the BC sounds. Of course, both do have tone controls and other possibilities for shaping the sound and response.

    I could easily try a BC or two in local shops. Little chance of that with BB.
     
  3. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    Best to get best of both worlds ! the BB chassis is around £200 and easy to fit in a Blues Jnr cab or similar. I suspect BB and Cube Hot would run very well as a pair and that would overcome the main shortcoming of directionality with small cabs when gigging. Alternatively, they both have line outs if you are averse to micing up.
     
  4. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    71
    Apr 16, 2007
    North Bushey, England.
    Back to the BB45... I understand that certain speakers, such as the Classic Lead 80, won't fit in the 45-watt version of the BluesBaby. Presumably this is because of lack of clearance between a chassis component and the larger speaker magnet. Now in the BJr cabinet of which the BB's is a direct copy, the speaker is offset in the baffle. Would it not be possible to reverse the baffle to have the speaker offset the other way, or even to mount it centrally? The CL80, with its greater efficiency, would be my preferred option, or even the similarly-configured G12K-100, which I have and love in another amp.
     
  5. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    71
    Apr 16, 2007
    North Bushey, England.
    Problem with the BB is that, unlike the Roland's, the line out is not speaker-emulated or frequency-compensated. It's designed to feed the signal into the power stage of another guitar amp, so slaving it directly into the PA wouldn't work well, due to all the high frequencies that the internal speaker(s) would filter out naturally. Stewart's aware of this and recommends straightforward miking up if necessary.
     
  6. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    Finland
    BB chassis is a rectangular box - so moving the speaker sideways would not affect clearance.

    There's separate speaker emulator boxes, I think, but that would mean cost and more separate items to keep organized.
     
  7. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    71
    Apr 16, 2007
    North Bushey, England.
    In that case I wonder what the difference is between the BB22 and BB45 chassis. Seemingly only the power supply must be different; the output transistors are the same, only driven a bit harder to realise the additional power. Maybe the BB45 "box" is a bit deeper to accommodate a larger transformer, or maybe there's a bigger heat sink – I don't know; just guessing. In the last resort I could always e-mail Stewart and ask him... :D
     
  8. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    Finland
    The boxes are a little different. Not by much but, apparently just enough. The numbers are somewhere on the Award Session BB page....
     
    Tony474 likes this.
  9. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    Tony, too many years ago I had a silverface Princeton Reverb, which was a lovely amp but I deemed it not quite gig worthy and used to play it through its internal speaker whilst slaving the preamp signal from the low level input direct to the PA. Knew now't about speaker emulation in those days, but it worked. In accordance with Stewart, I have yet to meet a sound engineer who didn't prefer mic'ing up but that creates still more variables!
     
  10. coolrene

    coolrene TDPRI Member

    18
    Mar 31, 2010
    Paris/France
    Hi,
    I have just purchased a pre-owned BB22. As I did not like the tone range of the Vtype speaker (too straight/cold for my ears) I shall try 3 speakers for a test: a Celestion G12L-40, a Jensen C12N and a Harma/Tayden G12 classic ruby.
    What do you personnally use now ? Still satisfied after these 4 years ? Cheers
     
  11. hs0504

    hs0504 TDPRI Member

    33
    Mar 24, 2011
    Holland
    I have a Eminence Lil Texas in it. Sounds great.
     
    coolrene likes this.
  12. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    Iwas using a very old 22w Celestion Greenback, but moved to an Eminence Legend 1258 Blues which gave good results. Subsequently I have sold the amp to a friend to fund a Blues Cube Hot, but I still use the amp when rehearsing with him. The BCH is a great amp but not necessarily better than the BluesBaby.The BCH sports an emulated line out which is useful to me and my old BluesBaby was an early version which had no line out. Current models do have one but not speaker emulated.
     
    coolrene likes this.
  13. coolrene

    coolrene TDPRI Member

    18
    Mar 31, 2010
    Paris/France
    Thanks. At the moment, I use a 15R Pathfinder on a 2x12, that gives tremendous results. I will compare it to the BB 22 in a few days. Cheers
     
  14. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    The Pathfinders are superb for what they are and many posts attest to that. I suspect Korg/Vox dropped the line because they were surprised by the demand and felt they had underpriced it (from their viewpoint) to the detriment of their more expensive offerings.
    Not all of us can be bothered with hauling around an AC30 any more, and in its period of production, the Pathfinder was the closest you could get in compact size and on a tight budget.
    The Blues Baby is Stewart Ward's successful attempt to engineer a solid state recreation of the Blues Junior with a bit more flexibility. Some may feel that at its price point, it seems slightly homespun (or more kindly,perhaps boutique?) compared with for instance, the more recent BCH. Others may well feel that at a price only slightly less than Fender's ubiquitous original, what is the point - would a Fender hold its value better. Nevertheless, it is a great little amp.
     
  15. coolrene

    coolrene TDPRI Member

    18
    Mar 31, 2010
    Paris/France
    Hi Ted,
    I have started to experience a bit with the BB22: so far, here is my opinion
    Very light (although a bit more than the Pathfinder)
    Well thought and crafted circuit
    The Blackface/Plexi toggle switch does not seem as effective as the presence one
    One needs an "open" speaker rather than a darker one to benefit from the tone palette
    It needs to be pushed to give its best results (contrarily to the Pathfinder that sings even at low volume). I am compensating with a volume pedal using the volume pot on the guitar all the way
    So far, overall a nice little amp but not at the level of the Pathfinder which remains unequaled in terms of tone IMO
    I suppose you are right and VOX must have withdrawn it in order not to harm their classic AC range.
    Haven't tried the Blues Cube yet…
    Cheers!
     
  16. Ted Witton

    Ted Witton Tele-Meister

    Age:
    73
    148
    Dec 30, 2006
    Norwich, UK
    I grew up during the UK beat boom when US amps were still difficult to come by in UK, and Vox ruled the roost amongst its British competitors. Maybe familiarity breeds contempt, but I was never totally sold on the Vox sound and could not wait to get my first Fender. I guess it is a bit like the Fender v Gibson situation with guitars.

    Bear in mind that the BB was designed as a SS emulation of the Blues Junior and if you love the Vox chime, it may not be the answer. Then again, the Vox sound means many things to different people: Hank Marvin/The Shadows, the Beatles, Rory Gallagher, Brian May,The Edge, to name just a few, all created their own very identifiable personal sounds with Vox.

    I now have a few Fender, Roland/Boss and Peavey amps and the only Vox is my Pathfinder 15R which I picked up before it acquired its cult status. I find it more than adequate whenever my occasional Vox desires surface, and whilst I have never used it other than at rehearsals there are plenty who are happy with the line out or micing up on stage.

    Quite likely I am a useless judge because I still find a Peavey Bandit 65 the best bang for buck in my arsenal, but if I was asked to play in an old bluesy style, I would be more than happy with the Blues Baby!
     
  17. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    71
    Apr 16, 2007
    North Bushey, England.
    It's a bit frustrating for me: I still have no idea what a Pathfinder 15R sounds like. On the strength of TDPRI verbiage I actually bought one once on eBay, but when I went to collect it locally it didn't work. The seller was very nice about it and even gave me some strings and a couple of leads for my trouble, but I've still never ever heard one of these amps in operation.

    I keep feeling I ought to buy a BluesBaby, but even Stewart himself, knowing my styles of playing, reckons I'm better off with the RetroToned Sessionette I own and love.
     
  18. coolrene

    coolrene TDPRI Member

    18
    Mar 31, 2010
    Paris/France
    Thank you Ted and Tony for your answers. I've heard much about the Peavey Bandit and the Sessionette series. I guess these still have to be tried. I'll keep the BB as an alternative: it is quite efficient for a BJ substitute, with less problems ;-)
    Cheers guys
     
    Tony474 likes this.
  19. Little Jay

    Little Jay Tele-Meister

    389
    Jul 20, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Here’s my BB22 used at a concert some weeks ago. I have a Jensen NEO 12-100 in it (homemade cab, solid pine - the cheapest from the hardware store):

     
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