NAD: VHT D-50 Dumble Clone

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Ess Eff, Mar 31, 2020.

  1. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Well imminent NAD.
    Just ordered the new VHT D-50 and it should be here by the end of the week.
    The price is incredibly cheap for a hand-wired, eyelet board amp, and for a change cheaper here in Oz than the US, by a long way $600 USD ($850 USD in the US).
    Early reviews are very positive and all the specs seem great. Yes, it is made in China but that doesn't bother me in the slightest.
    Some pics...
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    D50_Front+WEB.png
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    lCoLT0D.jpg
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hope it sounds good!
    We batted these around on here a while back but nobody had seen one yet, just the announcement.
    Let us know how it sounds!
     
  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    So, which dumble is it a clone of?
     
  4. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Haha.... here we go.....

    Yes, I shudda said 'D' style amp, for those pedants around here.

    I'm really not pretending it is.
    .
     
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  5. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Not takin the bait, eh? :twisted:
     
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  6. stevemc

    stevemc Tele-Holic

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    hope you like it,congrats
     
  7. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Well, I picked up my VHT D-fifty yesterday and after a few hours playing it, I knew it would be a keeper.

    Today I got stuck into some tweaking and aesthetic mods.

    As is my usual modus operandi, I opened it up and went thru it to see what needed to be tweaked.

    For those that don’t know, this VHT is a hand wired, eyelet board in the style of a Dumble ODS amp. Designed in the US but built in China at an incredibly cheap price. This is my fav kind of product – great design and performance, with quality where it counts but some shortcomings where it doesn’t matter to me.

    This amp perfectly fits that description. Nicely laid out, very well soldered, good looking components, and a plywood cab that is solid and well designed.

    But, there are a number of small finish details that are a bit crappy. This stuff never bothers me in the slightest because I luv to tinker and having stuff to fix n tweak suits me fine.

    First up, I knew from research that the wiring in the footswitch was done wrong at the factory and needed one wire moved to a different lug. Easy done.

    Then, I never liked the look of the front grill cloth so I knocked up a new front panel that was more to my liking.

    While I had it open I noticed a rather odd thing. The power transformer was lifted up off the chassis with multiple nuts under the mounting bolts. That was not such a big issue, except that one side had 3 nuts and the other had 4. Therefore the transformer was tilted. Anyway, I took out a couple of the nuts, and all good now. Nothing more than my OCD wanting everything looking right.

    Interestingly, a nice touch for tweakers is the bias adjustment control. There are 3 test points on the top of the chassis, and a pot for adjusting. I haven’t played with it yet, other than to mark its current position for future ref.

    Another owner suggested that the handle was attached with screws rather than bolts. Def not the case – big bolts and T nuts, although the handle does seem pretty cheap n nasty. Easily replaced if necessary.

    I also swapped out the small rubber feet for some nice big fat ones. Just my OCD.

    Now my only problem is, what to do with all my other amps? This D-fifty is so incredibly versatile I think it is going to replace most of them.

    Sound

    The 3 tone switches work really well to change the character of the amp and make it very versatile. You can add/remove brightness, warmth, mids, clarity, punch, and go from country, to jazz to rock and thick OD.

    The EQ knobs are a lot more subtle but still useful, and you get a Presence control along with the usual Treble, Mid and Bass.

    The OD is a little more challenging to get right with 3 knobs to tweak along with a Vol and Master Vol. The function of these controls makes sense but I usually prefer very simple setups so it’s a bit of a learning curve to get just right.

    This amp is actually single channel but it has a switchable OD stage and uses an OD level control to keep the volumes in sync.

    The versatility would make this amp great for studio work or playing in multiple bands with different styles. It doesn't seem to be a particularly loud 50 Watts either.

    I’m running it thru a Marshall 2 x 12 vertical cab, with a Creamback and V30, and it sounds great. Creambacks seem to be the popular choice for Dumble style clones, and V30s frowned upon. So I think I've got it just right
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  8. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    Nice! I have a special 6 head that works great in the bedroom. I have Wang mini 5 and an orange micro terror--it blows those away. The wang has a great clean sound but it gets ice picky and is sometimes just contrary.

    I put my vht through a g12h30 open back. I put a jj 5751 in it and, strangely, the 6v6 was already a jj.

    I'm waiting on my new amp to get here today. Hopefully, I'll be selling all these. Lol
     
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  9. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Very :cool: Enjoy it.
     
  10. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the review. Interesting you made a grill cloth swap right away, I thought I'd do the same after seeing them. The black matches a black your black cabinet,but makes the head look real boxy.

    I've had VHT a special 6 combo for 4 or 5 yrs. Simple but great amp for what it is. Is this your first VHT or ?

    You didn't mention tube types/brands it shipped with. Did it come with the no name, Chinese (Ruby?) tubes? You may already be planning a 12AX7 swap. That may get you a better sounding overdrive, depending what you put in there. Also, a little more volume depending. I assume that amp can use different types of power tubes also?

    Last, I think VHT could cleanup if they came out with a 'Marshall' model. I have no data on this, but I think they are gaining a decent reputation. I guess we'll see how they do with the 'D' amp in the meantime.
     
    Ess Eff likes this.
  11. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    I've been playing mine for a few weeks and love it as well... definitely a keeper. Did yours come with JJ power tubes? I replaced my PI tube with a Sovtek 12AX7LPS, then shortly after replaced the other two 12AX7's with them as well. I can't say I heard much of a difference replacing the JJ's with them but supposedly JJs are a bit darker. I have messed around with different cab/speaker combinations and think that I have finally settled on an open-back 2x12 with Celestion alnico blues. It opened up the top end more to my taste. I did like closed-back V30's with this amp as well and saw somewhere Robben Ford uses them with his Dumble.
     
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  12. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Yes, my first VHT but I have been looking at their other models for a long time. Only I have plenty of small amps. When I saw this one I just jumped at it. As I mentioned, I like their philosophy of US designs but Chinese manufacture.

    I think the boxy look is just the pics/lighting. The White piping really stands out in the pics but not so much in reality. I thought the same when I was looking at the pics but it looks great in reality. The beige grill cloth it comes with is pretty horrible - looks like hessian bag material.

    It came with Ruby power tubes and I did swap out the V1 pre-amp tube with a JJ 12ax7, but I haven't had a chance to test it yet.

    The pre-amp tubes are Chinese, which are fine if you need to brighten up your amp. My cab is quite bright already so I thought I'd try the JJ but it actually sounded pretty nice even with the original 12ax7 so I might put it back if there's no substantial difference.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  13. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    I've not read Robben Ford uses V30s, he used (uses) G12-65.
    The thread below has some pretty detailed info Is never seen b4 doing a search today.
    http://www.online-discussion.com/RobbenFord/viewtopic.php?t=3176
     
  14. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, I just swapped out the V1 tube for a JJ but haven't tested it yet.

    I'm really keen on building a 4x12 cab but need to find the right speakers at a good price. I've built a few cabs now and they are coming out very professional looking. I can get a full size demo 4x12 really cheap, with greenbacks but I want to build something a bit different, like a compact 4x12.
    .
     
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  15. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ok, I checked out a couple videos about the D Fifty...

    I’ve never really cared for the “Dumble” type tones I’ve heard. I don’t think they sound bad or anything, it’s just that if I’m gonna use a heavy and outdated piece of technology, it’s most likely gonna say “Marshall” on it. That’s always where I’ve gotten my best sounds from tube amps.

    However... the vids I saw if this sound really, really good. Nothing like what I’ve heard before from “D” type amps. I like what I’m hearing a LOT.

    I’ve said for a couple years now that I’m *most likely* not going back to tube amps. They just don’t offer me anything I don’t already have except for excessive weight, expense, and maintenance. But if they decide make this D Fifty amp as a 1x12 combo I’ll definitely test drive one.
     
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  16. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    VHT had a killer reputation LONG before now. Like, decades before. I had a VHT tweed bassman clone in the 90’s that was outrageously good. So good, it made me actually think I liked tweed bassmans, and left me confused as to why all the fenders I tried sounded so lame to me after owning it.

    Back then they were boutique amps, hand made one at a time, and very expensive. I would say that if anything, their reputation took a huge hit in the last fifteen years as all their production got affordable for everybody and moved overseas.

    Back in the 90’s one of *the* top rack rigs was a GSP2101 Preamp paired with a VHT tube power amp.

    They used to be really high end amplifiers. Maybe this D Fifty will mark a return toward their former build quality, even if it’s still affordable and overseas.
     
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  17. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    @Ess Eff best of luck.
    Next step of course is a D-Lator active effects loop.
    Then an EVM 12-L in a Thiele cab. Then two Thiele cabs.

    https://ampgarage.com/forum/ is your friend.

    Enjoy!
     
  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I would be interested in combo as well. Maybe they will release one around the time that people could actually do something with them again . . .
     
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  19. scout2112

    scout2112 Tele-Holic

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    Guess I was thinking of Sonny Landreth and his Dumble, not Ford's

    Must have been when VHT was still owned by Freyette. What was the name of that VHT amp? I'd be interested in that. I've been looking for a deal on VHT's hand-wired Marshall clone, the "Standard 18" (the Classic 18 is different, PCB board circuits) but they're as rare as hen's teeth.
     
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  20. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No goop?
     
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