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Unread 11-17-2011, 11:15 PM   #1
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NGD x 9 (I saved them up)

A few weeks ago I made a conscious choice to stop spending so much time on music forums, and to spend more time actually working on my album that's now taken me over a year to record (and it's still only ~30% done). I realized I was just spending way too much time looking at gear & talking about gear, when I could be getting this thing done, which I've wanted to do for some time. So far that decision has proven very fruitful - I've already finished the drum tracks for another song, which typically have been taking me 1-2 months each.

I'm not saying I slowed down my gear acquisitions I just haven't been talking about them as much. But today I hit a breaking point, and had to post about one item in particular, but figured I'd include the others while I'm at it. Once I'm done, that's it - I won't be posting again (at least with any regularity) until after the album is done.

So, on to the part you all came in here for anyway - the pic:



Counter-clockwise, starting at the top left:
Marshall 2100 JCM900 SL-X
Yamaha T50 (Soldano modded)
Mesa Recto Pre
Peavey 5150 212
Weber Mass 200
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP

Not pictured here - a Soldano X88R, a Soldano SP77, and an ENGL E570.

There's no way I'm writing a full review for each of the items here... I'd take up the whole first page with one post. Just a quick snippet on each (save the one).

The SL-X is every bit as ballsy and 'bloomy' as I remember them being. I used to work at a music shop, and we had an SL-X in there for a while that I loved playing. Compared with the regular Dual Reverb JCM900s, the SL-X has a ton more gain, and a little fuller lower-midrange. Depending on your guitar / pickups, it may actually have enough gain and front-end responsiveness for metal without a boost, but (as with all Marshalls) it sounds best with a boost (IMO). My favorite Marshall I've played, hands-down.

The Recto pre is my 3rd (or 4th? I forget). All have sounded consistently awesome, and it actually sounds incredible through the 5150's poweramp. It gives the top end a little different flavor than you'd typically get from an integrated Recto's poweramp. Sounds like a Recto, 'nuf said.

I've totally lost count of how many 5150s I've owned. If I had to guess, I'd say this is my 6th 5150 combo. It is without question the best sounding of the bunch, though, likely because I acquired it in-between everything else coming in, and since it was the only amp around for a couple days, I ended up throwing all my best tubes in it (power & pre). It has a combination of Mullard, ARS, Tung Sol, Mesa SPAX, and GT pre tubes w/ a fresh set of Eurotubes-selected JJ power tubes. I think this captured it pretty well - this is just guitar - amp, no boost:

20111116 - Oni 8 - 5150 by TheMammonMachine on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

You're also hearing the Weber in this clip. This is my second Weber, the other was the 50. I was definitely maxing that one out, and after reading more about how most amps can actually spike above their listed output (a 120-watt amp can actually spike at 150-160w, or something like that), it made sense why I was hearing this. So I figured, just get the 200w Weber, and I should be covered for just about whatever I come across. So far it's worked like a charm, and the treble compensation is a nice fine-tuning knob to tweak direct amp tones for use with IRs.

The Saffire has been a game-changer for me in terms of my mixes. I absolutely love the VRM application. It's obviously no substitute for real monitors, but it's still so much better than typical headphone mixing, and being as how 95% of my playing / recording happens after the little one goes to bed, headphones are a must. I totally recommend this interface to anyone that's headphone-bound, even if you already have a larger interface you're working with and would only be using it for the VRM.

The E570 I've reviewed & posted many clips of before... still an awesome pre, one of the best out there really. Same with the SP77, I've posted plenty about those.

The X88R has been a real treat to get to try out. It's tone is pretty phenomenal, and it's crazy how good it sounds for modern metal, considering it's 20+ years old. I already wrote a lot about it over in the FS thread, but I'll say again, it's the only rack pre I've heard that has that hi-fi, '3-D' sort of projection that I've otherwise only heard from integrated, very high-end heads, like the Uberschall & VH4.

If you've been paying attention, that brings me to my last item, which is the one that convinced me to come spend 20+ minutes posting here. The T-series (T50, T50C, T100, T100C) were all designed by Mike Soldano, and produced by Yamaha USA (they're made in GA). The stock circuit is very nearly identical to the SLO (I was told this by Bill @ Soldano), with slightly different transformers & choke, and it has a built-in spring reverb, too, which the SLO doesn't. If you closed your eyes and played it next to some other 'real' Soldanos, I dare say you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It has the signature Soldano tonal qualities as all the Soldanos I've played, including (but not limited to) infinite sustain, an incredible, buttery, unique sounding midrange, and tone controls that, despite having a very wide range of influence, cannot make the amp sound bad.

I actually had the 100w combo version of the Yamaha T-series just a little while ago, and in true Soldano fashion, it had one of the best recorded tones I've tracked with (Soldanos sit in a mix like no other amps I've played). I didn't like its astronomical weight though, and didn't need to be taking up that much space if I wasn't going to be using the speaker in it, anyway. So I've had my eye out for one of the rack heads since.

Then I came across this - a T50 head, modded by Mike Soldano to SLO specs. He also permanently attached a real Soldano logo to it while it was there. The only differences are slightly different (though just as good, also as per Bill) transformers, 50w (vs 100w), and again, the reverb. So basically, a rackmount SLO with good spring reverb that pushes the tubes harder at realistic volumes. I love it. I haven't had a chance to track anything with it yet, but in the room, I haven't heard an amp I liked better. It has everything I look for in an amp - great dynamics, clear harmonics, even tone across the Oni's range, a ton of gain that remains useful all the way up, 'bouncy' responsiveness while still remaining super tight, and a crisp, dry top end without losing any body or richness in the mids. I don't know that I'd change anything about it if I could. It has a very unique tone that doesn't sound like anything else... if I had to describe it, I'd say just imagine combining all the best aspects of an Uberschall, SL-X, 5150, Rectifier, and Invader, and that might get you in the right ballpark.

For how awesome of an amp this is, they sell for a really great price. I definitely recommend picking one up if you come across one.

So, that's my novel. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you have any questions on any of this stuff.

I'm off to play the T50 some more, then start researching basses & bass gear.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 11:19 PM   #2
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I guess you had to figure out what you were selling before posting a NGD for them.



Great read as usual. You're one of the few guys I trust when I read your opinions on amps. Not because we have the same taste, but quite the opposite.

Also, is there a Soldano rack unit you haven't owned yet? I'm not talking type either, but the actual units!

Let me know if you need any bass gear advice. I think I've owned more Ampegs than you've owned Peaveys.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 11:25 PM   #3
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Unread 11-18-2011, 12:01 AM   #4
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awesome.. I was looking into those T50's (the yamaha ones) for awhile. It seemed like a great combination of size, price and tonal qualities.. Maybe i'll look into them again soon, now that I'll have money to actually buy gear.

As far as bass gear goes man.. Look no further than Carvin for everything =]
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Unread 11-18-2011, 12:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
I guess you had to figure out what you were selling before posting a NGD for them.
Hahaha, I actually thought about posting the NGD in the FS section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
Also, is there a Soldano rack unit you haven't owned yet? I'm not talking type either, but the actual units!
I won't hide that I'm a huge Soldano fanatic, ever since I bought my first one (an Avenger) back in 2004. I even had an employee-only Soldano watch at one point, which I (stupidly, in hindsight) sold to help fund my Oni.

I haven't had the SLO-100R, X99, or SM-100R yet. I've sort of felt like I should keep both my kidneys, though, might need those at some point. I've talked to someone with both the X99 and X88R, and he recommended getting the X88R of the two, so I'm comfortable having just owned one. He said he liked the X88R a little better, as it was a little more aggressive, but that the X99 had the very cool & useful MIDI feature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
Let me know if you need any bass gear advice. I think I've owned more Ampegs than you've owned Peaveys.
I'm pretty set on my choice of basses already (one of the mid-high SR 5 or 6 strings), but I'd definitely take recommendations on a good bass pre. I used to use the Hartke Bass Attack, and liked that a lot, but I admit to not having kept current on my knowledge of bass gear since leaving the store. I know Eden makes one now, too, which seems pretty cool.
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Unread 11-18-2011, 12:35 AM   #6
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I loved my MXR M-80. It could sound so nasty and sat well in the mix. It was a breath of fresh air compared to all the "raging SVT" emulators.

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Unread 11-18-2011, 04:22 AM   #7
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i'll just say epic

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Unread 11-18-2011, 07:58 AM   #8
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Unread 11-18-2011, 08:08 AM   #9
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I have become undeniably jelly but that's an awesome haul of really excellent gear - Particularly liking the SL-X and T50

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Unread 11-18-2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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I'd love to give that Yamaha-dano a spin! Epic haul as usual Tom, also glad to hear you're getting that recording moving, I know I'd buy one of your albums in a heartbeat!

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Unread 11-18-2011, 12:24 PM   #11
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I'm feeling that on the subject of spending more time on forums than on music, sadly this is where i shall remain until i have my custom is finished, i have studio monitors, and i have an Axe FX 2 in my possession, god damnit this saving and being a new dad.

so the forum is where i shall be in the mean time drooling over yours and others gear

nice collection mate

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Unread 11-19-2011, 10:45 PM   #12
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So, just to back up the descriptions -


The SL-X:
20111119 - Oni 8 - JCM900 SL-X by TheMammonMachine on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

This thing has a sweet spot a mile wide, it was really easy to dial in, and get exactly what I was looking for from it. I wouldn't call it versatile, but it's good at what it does. While you're one the soundcloud page, if it interests you, you can compare this with the JCM900 Dual Reverb clip. I'm pretty sure I used the same IRs for both, so it's a reasonably accurate comparison.


The T-50:
20111119 - Oni 8 - Yamaha T50 by TheMammonMachine on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

This is actually the 3rd take I did with the T-50. I think I figured out a good way to describe it, tonally. When talking about most amps' tones, I feel a lot of them are defined by the spikes and holes in their tonal ranges (among other aspects, like their gain structure and responsiveness); for example, Rectos have a bit of a gap in their upper mids, and somewhat pronounced low mids and high highs, Uberschalls have an enormous midrange hump that extends well into the low mids (though their presence knob plays into this a lot), and so on. I would say that the T-50, by comparison, is very even across it's tonal spectrum, no real holes or spikes, which would explain why it can be made to fit into a mix very easily. With the tone controls @ noon, it has comfortably rounded off ultra highs and ultra lows, and then it's more or less even across the board. It's tone knobs have a very wide range of influence, especially the mid knob, so you can go from singing Bogner mids to super scooped, crushing Recto-ish tones (though way tighter than any Recto) just by turning the mid knob, and it does both and everything in-between beautifully. That's why this is my 3rd take; I wasn't sure which to post, they all sounded good, but totally different.
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Unread 11-20-2011, 05:11 AM   #13
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Those Webers are really nice units

I've got a rackmounted Mass Lite and it works extremely well! Then again, it's all nice stuff you've got there, gratz!
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Unread 11-20-2011, 09:31 AM   #14
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It's killing me to not buy that X88R
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Unread 11-20-2011, 01:03 PM   #15
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If it makes it any easier, it's already gone, just haven't updated the FS post. Recto pre is about to hit the FS board, though.
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Unread 11-20-2011, 01:11 PM   #16
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Good, I've no interest in the recto stuff.

One of these years I'll just buy an SLO and be done with amps.
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Unread 11-20-2011, 01:25 PM   #17
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Unread 11-20-2011, 02:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Good, I've no interest in the recto stuff.

One of these years I'll just buy an SLO and be done with amps.
Save yourself some money & just get a Yamaha T instead
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Unread 11-21-2011, 10:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sepultorture View Post
I'm feeling that on the subject of spending more time on forums than on music, sadly this is where i shall remain until i have my custom is finished, i have studio monitors, and i have an Axe FX 2 in my possession, god damnit this saving and being a new dad.

so the forum is where i shall be in the mean time drooling over yours and others gear

nice collection mate
Ditto mate. Took me forever just to buy your used PAF. Haha.
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