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The Dean Markley CD Series Club

Discussion in 'Amp Owners Clubs' started by Mr Perch, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    I listened to your video and I think your already dialing in some pretty tasty sounds. I bought a CD60 when they came out and played it in a country/rock band for 5 or 6 years. They are very versatile, kind of a Swiss Army knife of amps approach. I like to engage the voicing(bass) and bright switch with p90 guitars in the drive channel and engage the mid switch with my Strat or Tele. For some reason the clean channel is voiced darker than the drive channel but if you have pedals for your dirt sounds running them through the clean channel gives a punchier sound that I think cuts through the mix better. When I do this I usually disengage the bright switch and turn up the treble. It pays to experiment with the bright,treble or presence controls. For certain sounds and guitars I usually prefer more of one but almost never all three.

    Since you are getting more volume than you want you might try experimenting with lower value preamp tubes. I have been using a 5751 or 6072(12 AY7) in V1 and have tried a few different power amp tubes (nothing too expensive). I did get some JAN 6l6wgb when they were still fairly reasonable and I like those for power tubes.

    Believe it or not I have never had this amp serviced. I'm going to do that soon as I'm starting to use it more for jamming with friends.
     
  2. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    That's an interesting proposal for the preamp tubes. I was unaware that such a thing were possible. I'm happy with the gigging tones I get now, but I can't help but wonder what it would sound like if I were to engage the power tubes a bit more.

    On the gig I play a variety of genres, from straight ahead jazz to 1960s soul to some Hendrix, so I need a variety of tones. I use only my Tele, and it has Bill&Becky pickups which are very bright, so the formula I am using (which is what I used for the video) is voicing (bass) boost on, mid boost on, bright switch off, and tone controls at 5 (bass) 5 (mid) and 7 (treble). I roll off the treble knob on the guitar for the bridge pickup and crank it for the other 2 selector switch positions, except for my jazz tone, where I roll it off some on the neck pickup. I don't use any pedals except for occasionally a univibe, which I like a lot -- I don't hear many players using them, so hopefully it makes my sound somewhat distinctive.
     
  3. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    Online retailer Thetubestore has a chart on its home page showing the difference in power levels of various tubes that will fit a 12ax7 socket. I've only tried 5751 and 6072s. When I replaced all three preamp tubes with lower gain tubes the amp sounded a bit neutered to my ears so I settled on just a 6072 in v1 (tube furthest to the right looking from the back). This seems to brighten up the clean channel in relationship to the drive channel. I did my experimenting some years back when it was a bit cheaper to get old tubes but there are still lots of good 12ax7s to be pulled from organs and old stereos if you keep an eye out for them.

    Overall I've always thought my CD60 was voiced a bit darker then most Fender amps but like you I never feel the need for the bright switch with a tele. My only tele right now is an Esquire and it has a nice fat sound with tone settings similar to what you use although I have my bass turned down to about 3 and mid and treble a bit higher usually.

    I think if you try turning the master up and pre volumes down you'll have more clean head room. Years ago when I was playing this amp out I had to keep up with a Peavey Session 400 and some Peavey bass amp that was well over 100 watts. Yea, it was kind of silly. I rarely used pedals back then but I've got a bunch now that I'm just playing for fun.

    I think your amp sounds very similar to mine on that video and you really nailed the "Red House" tone especially considering it was with a tele. I'm glad DM is producing this amp again.
     
  4. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm playing in a trio, so I need my guitar tone to sound big. That's why I use a fair amount of bass and gain -- I've always liked the Carlos Santana sound, although for most of what I do I wouldn't go for quite as much dirt. But the Markley amps have that same giant tube overdrive tone.
     
  5. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    During most of my professional life I have had an itch to upgrade to some more sophisticated gear, in search of the ultimate tone. It is an odd feeling to no longer have that itch. With this amp, I feel I have arrived at the promised land. I am getting lots of compliments on my tone at gigs, usually taking the form of "Is that a 1950s vintage Fender DeLuxe that you're using?" or something along those lines.
     
  6. EdMan57

    EdMan57 Tele-Meister

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    I agree,Mr Perch.It's hard for me to describe the tones of my CD30 to others that have not heard such.The overdrive tones are more cutting and rude than my Mesa/Boogie MKIIC+,yet more polished and articulate than my buddy's Marshall JCM800.The clean mode sits firmly in the Fender blackface era camp,though the reverb is not as lush as the with the classic Fender amps.Anyways one slices it,Dean Markley CD Series amps are overlooked and underrated gems.


    Ed
     
  7. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    As far as I know the only way to make the amp quieter is to have less power going through the output tubes. Under those circumstances the power tubes will add less to the tone, so normally one would want the preamp tubes to contribute more of the distortion (tube tone), rather than less. And that would suggest using higher gain preamp tubes, not lower gain ones. :confused:

    I am happy to be proved wrong by anyone who has demonstrated otherwise.

    Mr. Perch, there are a couple of designs out there for little electronic doodads that go into your amp and lower the B+ voltage to the output tubes according to your tastes. That lets you drive the output stage harder without raising the sound level. One of those devices is known as a VVR, and you can find more information from the designer here:
    http://www.hallamplification.com/main.html?src=/#2,2

    Another very interesting approach is laid out in Merlin Blencowe's book on designing tube preamps (the 2nd edition). It involves dialing down the current in the phase-inverter stage, and what this does is cause the PI to start overdriving and generating a tone similar to overdriven power tubes, but this can be made to happen at much lower volume, so you can get something that sounds much like output tube distortion without also inviting deafness and tinnitus.

    If a VVR is suitable for your amp, any decent amp tech would be able to install one of those kits for you. The other approach - changing the tail current in the PI - would require an amp tech who really knew what he/she was doing.

    -Gnobuddy
     
  8. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had a change of heart about that -- I am so happy with my present tone, that I am going to operate on the "ain't broke, don't fix" premise.

    While you're here, Gnobuddy, may I ask you a technical question? I am finding that every 6 months or so, I develop problems with the drive channel, and those problems may be easily fixed by cleaning the sockets of the preamp tubes. I follow the instructions I saw on the useful Eurotubes site, where they advise you to remove the tube, spray contact cleaner on the prongs, and then work it in and out of the socket a few times. It brings fast relief and doesn't cost a penny. I'm going to start doing it every 4 months ago as a form of amp hygiene. But, here are my questions:

    1. What causes them to need cleaning?

    2. Why don't I have this problem with the power tubes?
     
  9. Gnobuddy

    Gnobuddy Friend of Leo's

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    Whenever I've encountered switches, relays, or sockets that regularly corroded and needed to be cleaned, the problem was poor choice of materials used in the device.

    In other words, all metals corrode to some degree, but softer and cheaper materials like brass will corrode much faster than harder and/or more expensive materials like platinum, palladium, or silver. Really good quality switches and sockets are often plated or tipped with one of those expensive metals that hardly corrodes at all, and those tend to operate reliably for years on end.

    So my guess is that the metal contacts in the preamp sockets used in your amp are made of cheaper metal that corrodes rapidly. Presumably the power tube sockets are of better quality, since you're not having problems with those.

    Depending on the way your amp is constructed, replacing those sockets with better quality ones may be challenging for a tech. For instance, if they're soldered into a double-sided printed circuit board, as they are in the Super Champ XD, removing and replacing them without damaging the circuit board is a delicate and frustrating process. Perhaps a case for another similar pithy bit of folk wisdom - "If it's only half broke, leave it alone, don't make it more broke"?

    To be fair, there are other possible explanations - for instance, someone spilt some salt water onto all the preamp tube sockets at some point in the past, causing accelerated corrosion. But I think it's fair to say that this is an unlikely explanation.

    -Gnobuddy
     
  10. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    The decrease in volume when subbing a lower gain preamp tube is not dramatic but was/is very noticeable in my cd 60. Probably would not be my first choice solution if decreasing volume was my goal. I mentioned it because it partially solved the problem of the drive channel apparently being voiced with more treble then the clean channel on my amp. With a 6072 in v1 the clean channels mid and low frequencies were attenuated bringing the eq closer to the drive channel. Mr Perch didn't mention this as an issue with his cd 30 and he seems more than satisfied with it so probably not relevant.

    It had been many years since I first experimented with this so the other day I got out the rest of my 6072s and gave a listen as I subbed none then 1,2 and all three for the 12ax7s. Definitely decreased the volume of the amp but as I mentioned previously, more then one 6072 and the amp becomes kind of gutless.

    There is a lot of info online about tube swapping in amps. In my limited experience the differences are subtle but I definitely established some preferences for my two amps.
     
  11. r3n3

    r3n3 TDPRI Member

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    Can I join the club?

    I found this guy sitting in the back of a pawnshop the other day. I got a great deal on it, walked out with it for $130. This is the original 80s model. I took the pack panels off in one of the pictures below so that you can see the reverb tank.

    Unfortunately, it's previous owner decided it would be a good idea to paint it maroon??? They actually did a pretty good job with the paint, but I would prefer it to be original (obviously), and the color is pretty ugly. Anyway, I think I might repaint it, There are some unpainted spots under the back tube guard. Maybe I can get a paint store to match it and I can get this thing looking like it should. But, I haven't made up my mind just yet.

    It didn't come with the footswitch, so for now its stuck on the clean channel (more on this later). Forgetting the paint and footswitch issues, it sounds amazing!! The clean channel is awesome. The lows are powerful, and the highs are nice and sparkly. And since this has a spring tank instead of digital reverb like the reissues, I'm not sure how they compare, but the reverb is beautiful and lush.

    I prefer to play with some good breakup (not anything like metal, but still pretty thick), so I decided to crank 'er up and push those power tubes. On the clean channel (the only one I have access to at the moment) I put the volume on about 8 and the master full on and got some great breakup. The lows are tight the highs are smooth not grating like a lot of other amps can get when they are pushed hard. And unlike what Mr Perch has reported, it didn't get too terribly loud, although, I was playing it in a sound insulated room. But, I have a Peavey Classic 50 that is much louder than this thing. That's not to say that it's a quite amp by any means, it's just not unbearably loud (my roommate has a drumset in the same room, and when the amp is cranked it is about as loud as the drumset).

    Okay, now about the footswitch. Any ideas where I might be able to get one to fit this thing? My hunch is that I will not be able to find one, and in that case I've come up with a plan. I thought that I might replace the weird connector in there now with a standard 1/4in port and make my own footswitch. But, there are a few things holding me back. For one, I can't seem to find a schematic for the footswich, but I could probably figure that out. The main problem is that, I opened the amp up to take a look around and saw that the wires coming from the footswitch connector have been removed, so I don't know where they should tie-in, and I'm not experienced enough to track them down in the schematics. Is it possible that you might be able to tell me where they go, Gnobuddy? Or could somebody take a picture of the leads coming from the footswitch connector? Any help would be appreciated, I'm dying to hear this thing's lead channel.

    Oh, I almost forgot, the last picture is the power board. The burnt spot is where the wires coming from the power transformer used to connect. Someone has since soldered them directly to the resistors. I'm not really worried about it, the repair job looks good and it works fine; just interesting.

    Anyway sorry for the long post (it actually happens to be my first). I just wanted to share my find with y'all, and to join the club.
     

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  12. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    We need more members. Which model is that? I can't make it out in the photos.
     
  13. r3n3

    r3n3 TDPRI Member

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    Sorry, ment to include that. It's a CD-60.
     
  14. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    The reissue series has some modifications, such as digital reverb, and perhaps what I think of as the higher-than-rated-wattage quality is one of those mods. I had a CD-60 reissue as a loaner for a few weeks, and I swear, with the master volume at 2, it was in the face-melting range. I don't take my CD-30 past 2 on gigs (I set the clean channel gain at 7 for blues break-up.)
     
  15. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    Hey r3n3,
    Here is another thread that has info about your amp:http://www.tdpri.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-293594.html

    I think you may need a good amp tech to sort your no foot switch issue. The one that came with it has three switches for effects loop, reverb, channel. If the wiring is gone in the chassis your pretty much starting over. There used to be a schematic for the cd 120 on the DM web site but it wouldn't open last time I tried. Google DM cd 60, seems like others have posted about getting these amps without the foot switch.

    Hope you can get it fixed, it's a great amp.
     
  16. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    Has anyone had the opportunity to compare the 1980s versions with the re-issues?
     
  17. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    Not in person. I've listened to the recording you posted and I think Premier Guitar ran a video of the cd 60 reissue a few years back which I thought sounded a lot like my amp. Based on recordings I think they are pretty close.

    I would guess if you lined up 3 or 4 old ones for a listen you might notice some differences between those as well.
     
  18. r3n3

    r3n3 TDPRI Member

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    So, updates...

    After spending a lot of time with the schematic, I decided to open her up again and see what progress I could make. I was actually able to see where the leads for the footswith were left on the board (they had been cut not unsoldered). Unfortunately, I was not able to find the leads for the effects loop, but that's okay because I wasn't planning on using it anyway. So, I was able to drill out a hole and mount a 1/4" stereo jack to the bottom of the chassis and wire everything up. I built a foot switch because it was cheaper than buying one, and because I wanted to be sure that the switching matched up with the way that I wired the jack.

    Now that I'm able to hear both channels on this amp, I have truly fallen in love with it. I'd put it up against any fancy (expensive) boutique amp! The only negative thing I'm able to say about it is that the bass seems to be a little weak on the OD channel, but engaging the voicing switch seems to take care of that.

    TLDR; got both channels working and I love this amp!
     
  19. Mr Perch

    Mr Perch Tele-Afflicted

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    I always keep the voicing (bass boost) on, as well as the mid boost (supposedly the voicing switch doesn't affect the clean channel, but I am convinced that it does.) My Tele has Bill&Becky pickups which are quite bright-sounding, so I leave the high boost off. But those boost switches really fatten up the tone, without any mud or tinniness. If I turn the dirt knob ("drive") up to "7" and run both pickups, I'm in Santana-land. But mainly I keep it on 5 for a lovely bad-ass blues tone. Or I run the clean channel with the gain on "7" for an excellent Fender break-up.
     
  20. dblues

    dblues Tele-Afflicted

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    Glad your enjoying the amp. Mine has survived ten years of gigging, two daughters and their teenage friends singing and playing through it and one cat using it for a bathroom!

    Do you see anything on the schematic that could be changed to brighten up the clean channel? I also keep the voicing engaged but I've always wished there was more high end on that clean channel.
     
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