VHT Sig:X

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Spaced Out Ace, May 8, 2010.

  1. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    I had spent months looking and saving for a head to replace my old Peavey Rockmaster head. The search had taken me all through America [figuratively, not literally] searching for my tone. Seattle, Petaluma, some crummy hillbilly town in Kentucky, a few small time towns in the East Coast, Tempe [fuck the heat], and my last stop before home was Burbank. I almost went with that fun, rambuncous group in Petaluma, but when I landed in Burbank, I found a lovely amp called the "Sig:X" awaiting me. I like the versatility it provides, as well as it's ultra-defined distortions, beautiful mid gain tones, and top of the class cleans from a high gain amp design.

    First off, the cleans. Like all three channels on the Sig:X, it features a 3 way switch that determines the feel and overall tone of the clean channel. You can further manipulate the tone by switching the boost on [I don't though; I prefer an SD-1 in front], adjust the midrange from "open" to "fat", and switch the wattage from 100 to 40. With a good fuzz and wah in front, you'll feel as if you've traveled back to 1969. With a good boost or OD in front, you can cop some enjoyable blues and classic rock tones. I'm sure you could also get a decent Edge tone by putting a delay in the FX loop. Even jazz, funk, clean tones for metal song intros... you can really get anything your clean tone desires wish.

    Second, the rhythm channel. I've been kinda going back and forth this channel as to whether or not I like/love it. It's nice and tight for stuff like metalcore or any other genre that requires a tight, thick bright distortion, but not everything requires that, so I use an SD-1 as a boost to make the channel sing a bit more. I'm sure the Djentleman would at least enjoy test driving this channel, even if they didn't necessarily like the amp as a whole or think it was "their tone". The Gain I/II controls, More/Less switch and Scoop/Wood switch make both distortion channels VERY versatile tonally, but not so much so that you'll have trouble dialing it in. Gain I adjusts the general tonal emphasis, from crisp to thick, and Gain II adds more saturation, but not the kind that Mesa or most other high gain designs use. The More/Less switch reminds me a lot of the difference between a stock 80s JCM800, and a hotrod modded JCM800 to allow for an additional gain stage. I'm not saying the tone is the same, but the gain structure difference is similar if that makes sense. And the Scoop/Wood switch allows the amp to either emphasize the guitar wood, giving the tone more teeth to my ears as well as being a bit louder, or scoop the wood tone, making the tone more death metal approved. I really like how this amps gain structure allow chords that normally wouldn't work too well with most amps sound better. For instance, root-third chords sound much better whereas most amps make them sound really thin and out of tune almost. While this amp is not ENTIRELY exempt from this, it allows you to utilize some chords that normally would sound awful under high gain. By the way, this channel is *kind of* British tonally, but with Fryette's own special flavor going on inside. For this reason, I use this channel for metalcore/similar styles, articulate technical stuff, punk rhythms and similar stuff. Also, the channels names are a bit misleading... I use this channel for alternate picked and stucatto kinda leads, stuff that needs more bite.

    Lastly, the lead channel. It's great for shred, particularly legato phrasing. I also like using it for classic rock, thrash metal, and other things that require a bit bigger sound. I've never done it, but I'm guessing one could get this channel into kind of "Recto" sorta territory if they dialed it in like that and possibly moreso if they swapped a JJ into the V1 slot. Of the two gain channels, this one is more low mid emphasised, but not muddy at all and slightly less tight to allow for variety in rhythm tones, and allow the single notes to sing more when playing leads. And like said before, the SD-1 works quite well on the amp.

    While I compared the gain channels to British and American tone structures, supposedly the rhythm and lead channels are respectively similar, but not exactly like Fryette's Deliverance and Pittbull models gain tones. Also, I've yet to try this amp with my rack EQ or my Korg AX3000 as I don't really know how to set it up. I'm a noob with the FX loop and don't want to mess anything up. The SD-1 is quite nifty as it allows the rhythm channel to sing a bit more and the lead channel to tighten up a bit, as well as give the clean channel a little bit of low gain sparkle. Oh, and as for CS, Fryette always answer my emails within 1-2 days and they have a support person on the forums.. pretty awesome.

    Overall, I'm very happy with this amp and I've found the tones in my head. I like how the amp provides frequencies you'll need in the real music world, and not a bunch of bass drowning low end or cymbal burying high end. When I started this search, I was after a 6505+, but decided to see what my other options were as the 6505+ is kinda generic now because everyone uses it. I was almost going to get a Mark V, and was slightly worried if the Sig:X could outdo the Mark's lead channel, and I'm glad it does. It was worth the 9 month search, and if not for Zimbloth's wonderful service, I would not have the amp. He was awesome to deal with, and talked to me for 45min on the phone when I ordered it. Thanks, Zim!

    BTW, I am using this amp with Ltd FX260, H500, and H1001 guitars loaded with Duncan Distortion/Jazz as well as Ampeg V412 and Randall Lynch Box 412 cabinets with Eminence Governor x Man o War and Super V speakers respectively. Hope everyone enjoyed the read. Leave comments or questions if anyone has any.
     
  2. LoyK

    LoyK SS.org Regular

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    Hey, do you use 40 or 100 watt mode in the distortion channels? Because I think that the 40 watt mode sounds better and I´m using 40 watt mode only=) Still loud as hell, because the amp cuts through the band without any problems:) If you haven´t tried it yet, I would recommend you to check the 40 watt mode out!
    Pretty much awesome amp, I don´t want anything else since I got mine (with D212 Cab) =)
     
  3. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    Nope, I haven't messed with 40w mode yet.

    Here are my personal settings if anyones interested [0-10]...

    Clean [boost off, open, bloom, 100w] *Depending on what I'm playing, I mess w/ the voicing switch*
    Volume - preference
    Treble - 7
    Middle - 3
    Bass - 6
    Presence - 7
    Depth - 6

    Rhythm [boost on, wood, burn, more, 100w]
    Gain I - 7
    Gain II - 5
    Volume - preference
    Treble - 6
    Middle - 2.5
    Bass - 7
    Depth - 7

    Lead [boost on, wood, blow, more, 100w]
    Gain I - 6
    Gain II - 6
    Volume - preference
    Treble - 7
    Middle - 3.5
    Bass - 6
    Presence - 5-6

    SD-1
    Volume - 5
    Tone - 3
    Gain - 0
     
  4. signalgrey

    signalgrey Ambiente Savante

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    awesome i really really want one.
     
  5. Darkened

    Darkened SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for writting down settings, I will try them on when I will get this beast.
     
  6. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    @Darkened -- Those settings are old, and I use different settings now. I boost with a ZW Overdrive, and set the rhythm channel to 6.5 on Gain I and 3-4 on Gain II. Treble and Mid-range is at 4 and the low end is at 6.5 Depth is at 7 and presence is at 6.

    The lead channel is set to 6 on Gain I and 4 on Gain II. Treble is at 3-3.5, Mid-range is at 5.5-6ish, and low end is at 6.
     
  7. Carvinkook

    Carvinkook SS.org Regular

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    Glad to hear the high praise! You pretty much desribe just what I was thinking and comparing this amp with.. awesome review,!
     
  8. Elosoguapo

    Elosoguapo SS.org Regular

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    Accurate review for sure. I really like these. Maybe not as much as the pitbulls, but these are definitely worthy heads.
     

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