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Half Power Switch Mod, Orange Amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by LKNJ, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. LKNJ

    LKNJ Tele-Meister

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    Let me start off by saying that I know nothing about amp mods. The closest I ever came to modding one was replacing a speaker.

    Anyway, with that being said, I have an Orange Rockerverb 50 Mkii combo. It's an amazing amp, except for the fact that it's way too loud for just about every setting. In fact, you cannot get a good clean tone out of it unless you're willing to shatter the windows in your house. It's in the house and at gigs where I am mic'd up.

    Anyway, I know the Mkiii's have a half power switch. I wonder whether it's possible to install such a switch in this amp so that I don't have to trade up to the new model. I don't plan on doing it myself - I would take it to a tech. But, before I do, I want to make sure it's a good idea. Has anyone successfully (or otherwise) attempted this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    I can't speak about whether you can or can't, but I'll tell you that I don't care for either of the Dual Terror's power reduction features (two power tubes or half power).

    Amp seems compressed and it seems to accentuate the wrong things. I much prefer it at full power.
     
  3. LKNJ

    LKNJ Tele-Meister

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    hmmm, that doesn't bode well.
     
  4. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Half power = -3dB volume. Very small change in volume.

    Add to that fact it's a two tube amp, meaning you will need to pentode/triode, which isn't exactly 'half power' and it changes the TONE more than the VOLUME, IMO. Triode operation gives mushier softer type of sound IMO.

    You're probably better off adjusting the master volume, using less efficient speakers, or using some sort of isolation screen to reduce volume. Of course an attenuator is also an obvious answer.
     
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  5. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Afflicted

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    As I've gone through just about every orange amp, including the mkii and mkIII, the half power switch does very little. The "attenuator" on the mkIII is great. More of a master volume than a true attenuator but does an absolutely great job. I love it on my thunderverb as well. But for your mkii I'd look for something else. I found the volume on my mkii very good, even at reasonable volumes.
     
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  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was going to say use an attenuator or else explore some different O/D pedals. I find that I can get a very, very good tone that sounds almost exactly like the amp cranked if I use a well-matched O/D pedal
    into that very same amp at a lower volume. When I say "almost exactly" I mean that I'm happy, not just the audience. It can never be quite as good because let's face it, it just sounds different when
    it is loud enough to peel paint and make your pants flutter. The same sound at lower volume is perceived as different. As an example, when I had a vintage JCM800 I thought it sounded terrific at lower volumes
    using an OD3 or OCD to goose it. The JCM800 did have a master volume circuit, but in general I didn't like to back off too much on the MV because it would kind of throttle the sound too much. I could cut a lot with
    the MV, but not too much, then hit it with the OD3 or OCD set to mild O/D and whoa Nellie.
     
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  7. LKNJ

    LKNJ Tele-Meister

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    thanks, guys. Actually, my problem is with getting a good clean tone. The distorted/overdriven stuff works just fine at lower volumes, believe it or not. The clean channel does not have a mater volume (just a volume knob, plus eq). So, if you set it to 2 it sounds very thin and almost nasal. If you nudge it up closer to 3, you get a very nice pristine clean, but really loud. Like I said, only an issue at home or when I have to be mic'd up.

    Any chance this could be a tube issue?
     
  8. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you are having trouble dialing in the right volume level between 2 and 3 (for a great clean sound) have you tried dialing it up to 3 and then backing off on your guitar volume knob?
    Or you could use something like a GE-7 at the end of your pedalboard and use it to cut volume level rather than boost it.

    An attenuator would likely accomplish the same thing but it is quite possible you can reduce your input volume to the amp via guitar or pedal adjustments, allowing you to turn the
    amp into its sweet spot for clean tones without being too loud.

    Another possibility would be to have an amp tech replace your clean channel volume pot with something with a different taper so that you get finer adjustment ability in the key zone between
    2 and 3 but I suspect you still would find that you just need to get into a certain loudness level of the amp to find the sweet spot no matter what.

    Others have mentioned using a less efficient speaker-- that might get you into the sweet zone while cutting your volume significantly. You could look at the Eminence Reignmaker--
    it is a British voiced speaker but it has a knob on the back that lets you dial it back, and apparently it works really well. After reading the attached review I'm tempted to try one myself....


    https://www.guitarplayer.com/techni...d-reignmaker-flux-density-modulation-speakers
     
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  9. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Afflicted

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    Ah, I skipped that. Yeah I can see the clean channel being a bit sucky at low volumes. I did love the master volume of the mkIII for that reason. Not sure what you could do except an attenuator, or maybe an eq or a mild drive to push the preamp a bit on that channel.
     
  10. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It could be a tube thing or it could be something like the speaker that’s the problem. You should be able to get a good clean tone at low volumes. It’s getting the outputs to saturate at low volumes that’s the problem.

    I’ve got a half power switch on my Tiny Terror Clone and at low volumes, it makes very little difference. It’s still pretty darn loud.

    For a super clean but rich tone, I turn up the amp volume and the gain as well but have my guitar volume almost shut completely off. Then I just nudge the guitar volume a little to get the right volume. It provides really nice cleans and lots of sustain.
     
  11. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    Wellsir I've got a Mark III and it is a fine-sounding & flexible amp. I like the way it responds better in half-power but it's not a huge volume drop, just makes it feel looser and saggier. But the attenuator (or master volume, or whatever) makes it easy to dial in a great tone at almost any volume level.

    Another interesting amp in the Orange family is the TH-30. 30 watts switchable to 15 to 7 1/2. Makes the clean channel completely usable, though to my ear the R50 Mark III sounds better on both cleans and edge-of-dirt. It's hilarious how much gain these amps have that I'll never ever use.
     
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  12. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd have to look at a schematic but..
    That sounds like it could potentially be a 'bright cap' on the volume, and I've often run into this issue at very low settings with them. Basically, there's a cap that allows high frequencies to bypass the volume control. This is often done to help combat Fletcher Munsen effect, and keep the amp from sounding muddy at low volumes. The lower you turn the volume, the more highs are bypassed, and depending on the cap value, this can sometimes cause really thin anemic tones at very low settings. Often people clip these 'bright caps' in certain amp circuits this can offer a quick 'mod' to fix that issue.

    I'll see if I can google up that amp's schematic quick.

    Edit: Looks like C36, a 100pF cap, could be the culprit. You can have someone who's experienced with tube amps clip or desolder that cap and see if it fixes your issue.
     
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  13. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    THats an interesting idea and ties in with the reason why I can get such a nice clean low volume tone by cranking the amp and attenuating the guitar. In the case of the Tiny Terror, it has the same 100pf cap but that control is the gain stage and the master volume is at the outputs. Same idea though and same capacitor.

    Great tip, if that’s all it takes.
     
  14. Spaceboy

    Spaceboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I use to dime a 50w Rockerverb just to be heard in a band, lol. Honestly the half power switches or Orange amps don’t do much to the volume, they remove headroom and add compression and slightly more overdrive. The lack of versatility in the clean channel is ultimately why I sold that amp.
     
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