My dream amp isn't pushing my buttons

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by cheeseman, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    So I finally went out and bought myself a brand spanking new 65 DRRI. I've been wanting one for ever. Imagine my disappointment when I finally get it home, plug in my Nashville B-Bender with Bardens, and it... leaves me cold.

    It's kind of harsh and hard. I was hoping to get that airy (I hate talking about tone...), open, sweet clean sound. It sort of does that, but it also doesn't. It feels overly compressed, kind of lifeless and boomy, and just not what I was expecting.

    I tried a few things. I stuck my Bad Cat Unleashed in it thinking maybe I had to push it harder. Same thing, just more compressed. I tried a Mini Mass. Yuck. I stuck a Hyper Gravity compressor the front of but it just became mush. I've tried a bunch of pedals and they sound awful - harsh and unpleasing. I played with PUP height, and it was a little better, but still not what I was expecting. I stuck a treble bleed in my tele; nope, that ain't it. I pulled the C10 cap out thinking it might help, but was unimpressed.

    Maybe it's too new and needs some speaker break in time. Maybe the speaker (Jensen CK-12) is the issue. Dunno.

    I'm stuck for words as to what I want to hear, but think clean Knopfler on his newer albums. Clean, open, airy, dynamic.

    What say you, fellow TDPRI'ers? Give it more time? Play it hard and see if it breaks in a bit? Play with tubes (stock Groove Tubes)? Try a different speaker? HELP!!!!
     
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  2. W.L.Weller

    W.L.Weller Tele-Holic

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    If the speaker only has a few hours on it, and you want to skip the break-in to decide if you're going to return it soon , try the amp through another speaker.

    Do you have any other amps or cabinets available to try?
     
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  3. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Speaker break-in can take some time, indeed. And make a huge difference.

    After three weeks or more of every-other-day playing on it for several hours, I was a day from giving up on my Vox AC15C1. Brittle, fritzy, thin, fizzy, frustrating. Decided to give it one last push, and played it LOUD with, mostly, my Gretsch baritone, for hours. Really abused it. Took a break, tried it one more time with a Tele--and dayam, was it lovely. Chimey, ringing, dimensional, touch-sensitive. It was amazing. My Excelsior Pro was similar. Its huge Eminence 1518 speaker took some steady thudding to break in, and then sounded great.

    Look up the many speaker break-in methods and advice threads on here. Give it some time. The only speaker I've used, out of the dozen or so I've had a lot of experience with in combos, or in cabs I've built myself, that was beautiful right out of the box is my WGS G12c/s. All the others needed time.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    DRRIs can be ‘cold’ biased at the factory. Having the bias adjusted can make A big difference.

    But as others have said the speaker needs some time to break in too.

    Mine sounds much better when cranked than it does at low volume.

    Cheers
     
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try to tweak it - treble too high = harsh. Treble and bass settings need to alter with volume.

    But yes - speaker breakin which takes a couple dozen hours , and bias settings are both the well trodden path.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
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  6. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    Sadly, no. I have several 16 ohm speakers, but no 8 ohms. I may recone one of my old dead speakers, but then I'll be back in the break in loop again. I'll see if I can borrow something and see if that's what I don't like about this amp...
     
  7. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    You may need some speaker break in period.

    On the other hand, a DRRI, like many amps, starts to sound pretty good at about 4 on the volume or gain knob, and gets better as you turn it up. That's why I don't own one. Don't need another amp that sounds great in that volume range.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I bought a Warehouse Reaper and it took a while (couple of months) to break in on my Blackstar. I was very bummed in the beginning by the sound. Now it sounds great.

    I know another tone killer can be tubes. You might want to swap'em if you've others on hand to see if it makes a difference.
     
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  9. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    What's a good bias point for this amp? I have a bias probe and savvy to fiddle with it, but hadn't really considered that. Thanks for that advice.
     
  10. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    Do you think that is a tube driving thing, or speaker break in? As I say, I tried a couple of attenuators but it didn't improve - in fact, it got worse. I may swap the 12ax7's from the Normal to Vibrato channels and see if that makes any difference. Thanks for the thoughts.
     
  11. arlum

    arlum Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    What amps have you played through that deliver the guitar voice you hear in your head when you're dreaming about your perfect amp tone? Does it sound pushed or clean? Is it on the edge of or just into breakup like a Deluxe Reverb or closer to a late '50s / early '60s Fender model with breakup occurring at a lower threshold? Speaker breakup, in my opinion, plays a much smaller role in vintage Fender tone than say ..... a Vox AC30, (36 to 38 watts), pushing a pair of 15 watt AlNiCo Blues. A Deluxe Reverb pushing 22 watts into a Jensen C12-K rated for up to 100 watts will probably not result in any speaker breakup at all. Breaking in the speaker always helps but I don't expect Jensens to change as much as other speaker types. The grit of a Deluxe Reverb has little to do with the speakers. In my opinion it's based more on internal magic that is then just brought out through the speakers. If you don't like it now I would return it.

    Did you choose this amp based on any particular recordings that really impressed you or from hearing it in live performances or was it more about the myth / legend certain amps carry with them? I've bought amps based on the latter and was seldom thrilled. I started checking out Matchless, Bad Cat and Bruno amplifiers when I realized that current production reissues of the AC30 sound absolutely nothing like the way I remember them sounding 50+ years ago. Other than the brand name and grill cloth they have nothing in common.
     
  12. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Cheeseman, you won't know what you've got until that speaker breaks in. It's going to mellow out after 20-30 hours for sure. For sure. By all means check the bias, but don't give up until that speaker is broken in.
     
  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Rig up a looper or radio to play music through the amp 24/7 at decent volume. Try again after 48 hours of continuous break-in.
     
  14. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    I worked on one a couple of years ago that was beat to hell. I did the regular stuff - caps, cleaning, bias. As soon as I plugged in, I was hooked. That amp, and I don't have the words, was open and airy. It was responsive to my fingers (I don't use a pick), balanced across the tonal spectrum, and... I don't know... 'airy'...? It was the clean, open feeling of it that stole my heart. I've been chasing that sound ever since and thought I would find it here. I have several other amps that are okay (AC10, '67 Twin Reverb, Champ, Peavey Blues 30, and a few low wattage amps I built), but nothing in my experience has even remotely approached that Deluxe. It was exactly what I was looking for, or it was once I played it!
     
  15. Crawldaddy

    Crawldaddy Tele-Holic

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    I only really started to enjoy my DRRI after I did the Robrob mods, cut the bright cap, and put in a Weber ceramic Amsterdam speaker. But I'm a weirdo, but that amp sounds immense with anything from a tele to a full hollowbody.
     
  16. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    Good advice. I usually play quite quietly, so maybe I'll open it up a bit and see if I can get that speaker moving a bit.
     
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  17. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    That's a great idea I never thought of. I'll do exactly that. Thank you.
     
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  18. steviemac

    steviemac TDPRI Member

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  19. steviemac

    steviemac TDPRI Member

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    Goodsell Valpreaux is my “Desert Island”....stunning amplifier...look no further...
     
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  20. cheeseman

    cheeseman Tele-Meister

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    I'm hesitant to do much board work on it until the warranty expires, but there are several things I would dearly love to try!
     
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