Hiwatt nirvana at humane volume

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by PieterK, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Okay, I was listening to "Live at Leeds" again at lunch, so I'm just going to go ahead and ask the question of the amp gurus, clumsy as it is:

    What is a currently available amp and speaker cabinet combination that would get me in the vicinity of a correct, original Reeves/Joyce era 4 input DR-103 sound at a volume that won't kill small animals?

    ...

    Background and details, if it helps:

    That Townshend/Leeds sound is one of a couple or three holy grail sounds for me. I've wanted it for years. Can't find it. Or haven't looked in the right place.

    I have it on authority that simply buying anything with EL34s isn't necessarily the solution either, as lower wattages and output volume will affect those tubes differently than 100 watts turned up to 10. It has also been suggested that for lower wattage use, EL84s would be better. But I don't care what it's made with so much as what it sounds like with my guitars and the correct speakers/cab.

    But I want that sound: hi-fi, chiming, brilliant, ringing, fast, stiff, high headroom, similar breakup, BIG.

    The sound doesn't have to be a carbon copy--and that's unattainable even if I were to buy an original DR-103, as I'll never have the opportunity to turn it up.

    But it needs to evoke that feeling, at a sane volume. It also needs to be hand-made, of the highest quality, and preferably US made.

    Guitars I would feed it would include an SG with P90s (yes, I really, really love that sound), a Strat, Jaguar, Tele (when I get it!) all pure single coils, several different Gibson ES guitars, some with low-output P90s and some with PAFs...those are the main ones.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Meshgearfox

    Meshgearfox Tele-Meister

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    I guess you could look into the Hi Tone amps. maybe a CP50 with the VVR option.

    A cranked up low wattage amp might sound "good". it might record well. it might give you countless hours of playing euphoria. But it will still sound like a cranked up low wattage amp.

    There is no substitute for volume.

    You could ease up on the U.S., hand built, top quality requirements a bit and put the money you save towards a few bales of Rock-wool, framing lumber and some drywall. the best tonal enhancement i ever made was turning my garage into a studio (in the loosest possible definition) so that the sounds i could get from my gear were no longer limited by volume considerations.
     
  3. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Check out gilmourish.com He's spent some time trying to nail David Gilmour's sound (which also includes a hiwatt), and he's compared other amps. A low cost one he liked was the Laney cub12, I seem to remember.
     
  4. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Yeah...sadly--in this case--I know.

    I keep thinking about that: a 4x12 loaded with the right Fanes, driven hard. There's no substitute really. You need to physically move air, preferably with one of those cabinets, with a sealed back.

    The truth is, I have a studio in my house. A semi-isolated one at that, and I can play loud, and I've recorded bands and albums at my house. But my ears can't take much of that volume anymore.

    I suppose, like the holy grail itself, such things are unattainable for me.

    Still, I'm curious to see what, if anything, might get me in the ballpark.

    Thanks AJ too for the gilmourish lead. I've been there before. Will revisit.
     
  5. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    Check out J.D. Simo's Vintage blog or Rig Rundown, he plays a dimed 100w Plexi and has some interesting things to saw about how he manages to pull it off.
     
  6. Lowbassnotes

    Lowbassnotes Friend of Leo's

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    Reeves, Hi-Tone,Trinity amps, those are the ones I hear are good. Supposedly Reeves has a good master volume model, never played one but I hear they are good.

    From what I've read Hi-Tone would be my choice. His cabinets look fantastic too.
     
  7. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Ian, cool blog! I like his enthusiasm.

    His thoughts on handling a Plexi at full volume are good. He thinks a bit like a mixer/recording engineer. Smart stuff!

    I dunno...once I have everything else I think I want, I may just go this route for the hell of it: buy the DR-103 with a 4x12 with Fanes, and just....rock.

    Until then, more modest Fender style amps are or will do it for me just fine.

    ...although I would really like a Twin one day too. Don't need. Want.
     
  8. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I've had my eye on those too. It might be the way to go, at least to avoid the potential issues of an actual vintage amp.
     
  9. Lowbassnotes

    Lowbassnotes Friend of Leo's

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    Don't forget Townshend recorded a lot of stuff with a Fender Bassman.
     
  10. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    His amp of choice for just about every recording starting in the early 70s, I think, was a fender bandmaster with 3x10" speakers. And his guitar of choice was a Gretsch!
     
  11. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Earlier on mostly. From "Who's Next" forward his recording was done mostly with a Bandmaster and a Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar. A fuzz pedal or volume pedal might have been in there too, but that was his whole setup in the studio.

    I will admit to being enough of a fanboy that that too has often had me wondering if I should just buy a Bandmaster and call it a day. :D

    This whole Hiwatt desire is sort of an offshoot though. It's not what I would be using as a main amp.

    That's a whole other question, down probably to something along the lines of a Twin (BF or twin; if twin, low or hi), Bandmaster, Super Reverb, Deluxe, etc. This question to be explored at a later date! :eek:
     
  12. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    Ha! AJ you just beat me to it!
     
  13. blind illusion

    blind illusion Tele-Meister

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    I hear live at leeds is a univox super fuzz pedal, or at least it was used, dunno if it was on all the time. Its a pretty gnarly fuzz, with some octave up features, albeit not as strong as an octavia's octave effect. It isnt to be confused with the companion fuzz, that was used by the jesus and mary chain though. they have similar model numbers.
     
  14. macdog

    macdog Tele-Holic

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    First stop, your P90 equipped guitar, preferably an SG or even an SG Junior. That'll get you a lot of the way.
     
  15. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

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    There's some chinese made Hiwatts around now, never tried one.
    Seen them in 20 watt heads and combos.
    Wonder if that will get you in the ballpark ?
     
  16. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    I think it's on MOST of the time, as far as I can hear, and he often had it on the drum riser, not at his feet. He's said he only used it maxxed out to make a load of noise for crescendos and such but I hear subtler fuzz tones all over [email protected]
     
  17. Rich_S

    Rich_S Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Here's the website for whoever presently owns the Hiwatt name:

    http://www.hiwatt.com/index.php/products/little-rigs

    They sell 20-watt mini rigs in Pete, Dave, and Jimmy flavors. They look good, I don't know how they sound. I'd love to try one, but Potsdam's music store count is now "almost one", to quote Monty Python.

    If you're of a DIY bent, there's a Lowatt project at AX84.com. It's a 2xEL84 amp with all of Hiwatt's super-special front end and EQ. I remember thinking the sound clips sounded very Who-ish, but it's been many years.

    Just for laughs, here's a picture of my "bedroom rig" circa 1980.

    [​IMG]

    Really.
     
  18. PieterK

    PieterK Tele-Meister

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    You sir do rock!
     
  19. shovelrider

    shovelrider Tele-Afflicted

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  20. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    A super reverb will give that big bold crunchy rythm tone with a Gibson / P90.

    Not as loud (but not bedroom level either)
     
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