Peters Amplification: Halo & Gryphon Review

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by firejack018, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. firejack018

    firejack018 SS.org Regular

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    Before I get started, I just wanted to clarify a few things:

    1. I compiled this review a while ago, but I never got around to adding it in this review forum database.

    2. I've had the amp for around 2 years now, and my feelings have not changed. It's the perfect amp for my needs.

    3. I scored the features as a 4 because my Peters amp is a 50 watt model with shared EQ (all Peters amps now come standard in 100 watts and have independant EQ's for each channel, so this lower score for features does not apply to the current Peters lineup).

    4. The clips in the review have no studio magic or Post EQ.
    The only thing tweaked is the drum and guitar levels in the mix.
    What you hear is the amp itself.

    And now for the review...






    INTRO:

    First off, I must say that James Peters customer service is above and beyond most competitors in the field.
    I have emailed him many times since buying my amp and 9 times out of 10, he answers within a day.
    He also contacted me by phone (I'm in Australia) to assist me with my amp choice.

    I was looking for a simple yet versatile high-gain amp that didn't compromise on the clean channel.
    Some important features I was looking for were an FX loop for my pedals, an external bias point for easy biasing and the capability to accommodate many different types of power tubes.






    LAYOUT:

    Front Panel
    [​IMG]
    The front panel layout is very simple and straightforward.
    On the left are the Power Amp controls, in the middle are the Preamp EQ controls and on the right are the Volume And Gain controls.
    The design is free of clutter, making it very easy to tweak in haste.



    Rear Panel
    [​IMG]
    The rear panel features all the usual suspects, but also has Bias Adjust test points and the Output Configuration section.

    The Bias Adjust test points enable quick, simple, user-friendly tube changes.
    No need to have to drag the amp off to a technician for a tube change.
    Bias drift is also easy to keep in check.
    And EL34, 6L6GC, KT77, 6CA7, 5881, KT66, 6550, KT88 and JJ 6V6 power tube types can all be used in Peters amps without any modifications.
    Just pop them in, bias them up and you're done.
    Incredible!

    The Output Configuration section features a Full/Low Power Switch.
    This switch changes the amps response from spongier sounding to more bold and aggressive sounding.
    Listen to the rhythm guitar tones in the clips below.
    The rhythm guitars in both clips were done with the exact same guitar, pickup, front panel settings and clean boost settings
    (I photograph and file all my recording settings :cool:).
    The only variable in these two clips was the Full/Low Power Switch.

    Low Power: spongy and less aggressive
    http://www.netmusicians.org/files/72-The Ancient Ones MP3.mp3

    Full Power: bold and more aggressive
    http://www.netmusicians.org/files/94-March Of The Zombies_Drums Louder_mp3.mp3

    It's only subtle, but there's definitely a difference.






    CONTROLS:

    Power Amp
    [​IMG]
    The Power Amp section features a Damping control, a Depth control and a Presence control.
    These are extremely powerful tone shaping controls.
    I find myself using these controls more than the EQ section to shape my tones.

    These controls are also extremely effective for getting awesome tones at whisper-quiet volume levels. Seriously!
    It took me a while to work it out, but once you get to know the controls, it's a piece-of-cake.

    The Damping control takes the amp from varying degrees of laid-back sounding, right up to extremely pissed-off sounding.

    The Depth control adds warmth and richness to the overall sound.
    I love using this control to shape my clean tones.

    The Presence control can make the amp sound smooth or sharp.
    Also adds some nice bite at higher settings.
    The last 1/3 of its sweep has a more dramatic effect on the brightness of the amp.
    If you like very bright tones, then this control will get you there.
    Care must be taken to avoid ice-picky sounds with some setups (this is very very high on the dial for my setup).



    Preamp EQ
    [​IMG]
    Initially I found myself leaving the Preamp EQ controls at noon as the amp still sounded great in these positions.
    Also, I was mainly using the Power Amp controls to get my tones.
    As time progressed and I got to know how the controls interacted together, I started using the Preamp EQ controls in conjunction with the Power Amp controls for very precise tweaking of my tones.

    The Low control is more of a percussive bass control.
    It adds punch and attack to the lowend.
    It works well with the Depth control to tweak the overall low-end sound.

    The Mid control can add some nice body and snarl to the overall sound, but it never gets harsh or nasal sounding.

    The High control can smooth out or open up the top-end.
    It can be set very high without getting ice-picky.
    It's hard to explain, but it seems to have an effect on a different treble region to the Presence control.
    The Presence control sort of overlaps the High control.



    Volume And Gain Controls
    [​IMG]
    These controls also play a large part in the overall tone of the amp.

    Master 2 is the overdrive channel's master volume control.
    The blank boost switch above this control changes the overdrive channel's character.
    It adds saturation and midrange and has a looser feel.

    Master 1 is the clean channel's master volume control.
    The chillie boost switch above this control adds grit to the clean channel.

    Volume 2 is the overdrive channel's gain control.
    The chillie boost switch above this control changes the overdrive channel's character.
    It adds saturation & boldness and gives the amp a tighter feel.

    Volume 1 is the clean channel's gain control.
    The moon and sun switch above this control is the clean channel's bright switch.






    CLEAN CHANNEL TONES:

    James Peters' clean channel is my favorite clean, period.
    It's certainly no one trick pony.
    It can be crystal clean with lots of headroom or it can get raunchy with the boost switch engaged and the gain turned up.
    Interacts very well with all my pedals.

    The following song demonstrates quite a few different shades of the clean channel.
    SoundClick artist: firejack018 - page with MP3 music downloads

    There's 4 different clean parts.
    (0:00 - 2:19) Shimmery cleans with some warmth.
    (4:42 - 5:20) Jangly with an almost acoustic guitar sound.
    (7:20 - 8:13) Sparkly with a crystalline tone.
    (9:47 - 10:49) Warm with more body and my Boost DLA's flutter effect on top.






    OVERDRIVE CHANNEL TONES:

    The Gryphon channel is a monster with many sides to its personality.
    It really lets your playing style and the guitar's tone shine through.
    If you want heavy tone, play heavy with a suitable guitar and the Gryphon will reward you.
    How and what you play will have a big influence on the way the Gryphon sounds.

    The overdrive has an open, organic character without too much compression.
    http://www.netmusicians.org/files/96-Gryphon_Friends_Reverb On Drums.mp3

    For rhythm tones it has a meaty, throaty sound with a nice growl.
    It also has great dynamics when rolling back the guitar's volume.
    http://www.netmusicians.org/files/91-Blackwater Park_Drum Mix Final_V30 Impulses_MP3

    It can get plenty heavy, yet it maintains a sweet singing tone when playing lead runs or single notes.
    http://www.netmusicians.org/files/21-Zombies Go To Funland_mp3.mp3





    Thanks for reading. :)
    If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to help.

    Cheers.
     
  2. kmanick

    kmanick Contributor

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    Nice thorough review Gavin.
    You 've got this thing sounding really good.
    I'd love to check one out in person, your clips all sound great!
    One of the things I relaly like about this amp is that (to me anywasy) it has it's own tonal character.
    It really doesn't sound like a variation of another amp, it stands on it's own.
    the Brunetti is another amps that does this as well.
     
  3. Ultraworld

    Ultraworld Luthier A Holic

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    I own a 5w High Gain Peter's head. It sounds amazing. He switched to 50w/100w heads. I'm sure they sound great
     
  4. firejack018

    firejack018 SS.org Regular

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    Thanks guys.
    I'll never get tired of my Gryphon. :hbang:
     
  5. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    I'm considering getting a single-channel Gryphon to replace my Roadster. If you see this - what guitar did you use for the leads? I realize a lot of the tone will be in your technique, but it would be great to know :D
     

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