New Poweramp Day - Fryette 2/50/2

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by mnemonic, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I've been keen on getting a tube poweramp for my axe fx II for a while now, partly to see what I've been missing, as I haven't owned a tube amp in many years at this point, and partly because I've not been 100% on my axe fx through a solidstate poweramp. My current poweramp is a real cheap number though, so that may well be the reason.

    pics:

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    The guy I bought it from was also nice enough to give me a 6 space SKB rack case for free, to ship it in. Great news for me, as my rack is only 3 spaces, and it wouldn't have fit both the axe fx and 2/50/2.

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    first test, very happy with the sound. Please pay no mind to my tiny, pathetic pedalboard.

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    The photos are a bit splotchy as there is dust under the lens of my phones camera, and I don't know how to get it out. There aren't spots on my cab.

    On to the sound. I've had this since yesterday afternoon, and I've been playing around with it since, so take my review with a grain of salt, I'm still very much in the honeymoon phase, and only have a day's experience with it. Maybe I'll bump the thread in a month, if I remember.

    The previous owner had it serviced and retubed by Mike Hill in 2016 and it is tubed with Mike Hill Elite EL34's. Does anyone know anything about these? I googled Mike Hill and he seems like a big deal in the amp tech game here in the UK, but I don't know anything about the tubes he uses. I'm guessing he just rebrands whatever he likes, like what ruby, groove tubes, mesa, et al do.

    Overall, it sounds great. I wish I had a nice solidstate amp to compare it to, as I've been using the poweramp out of a really cheap 100 watt Kustom PA speaker to power my axe fx and cab, and it wasn't great. Not the fairest comparison, but I'll make it anyway. I also have the fx loop of my Marshall Valvestate but I don't really like using that poweramp, I thought the Kustom PA speaker's poweramp sounded better.

    Compared to the solidstate amp, the Fryette is a lot thicker on the bottom end and smoother/clearer on the top end. The closest settings to 'neutral,' basically where my patches sounded the same (ish) without needing to be tweaked was depth at 0, presence at around 8:00 or 9:00. However I changed my patches slightly so I've deviated from that a bit.

    My old poweramp cut bottom end, and also was very bright/fizzy on the top end, so it needed a boost to lows (either an EQ after the amp or a parallel speaker block turned down way low with a low-pass), and a low pass to cut off the fizzy high frequencies. The Fryette doesn't need either of those, as it brings some really chunky thick lows, and the high end is very clear.

    Overall, its just much more fun to play on. Palm mutes have more punch and overall the sound is more clear and present. Theres a depth the sound has, that my cheap solidstate poweramp did not have. Whether thats down to tubes vs. solidstate, or whether its just because I had a cheap solidstate amp, I don't know. However after watching Steve Fryette's 'Modeling Workshop' videos on youtube, I'm inclined to believe it has to do with the way solidstate works vs tube amps, as there are some inherent differences in the way they work, and the way they interact with the speakers.

    I also have to say something about the volume control. The taper is really good, and you can really fine-tune low volumes with it. Luckily I live alone in a well-insulated, detached house, so I can play as loud as i want, but its really nice to have a usable volume control that doesn't go from too quiet at 0.9 to head-blown-off-loud at 1.0. There is a 'level' button, which as I understand it, shaves 10db off the signal to make the volume knob more functional at low volumes, but I don't have it engaged, I don't think I need it.

    I'm using it on class A/B mode, voicing switch out. The voicing switch adds a bit of volume, and a ton of upper mids and high end. It basically turns any patch into an over-the-top djent machine. It would probably come in handy with a really dark preamp.

    Class A mode is also pretty cool. Hard to describe, the sounds is a bit louder, sweeter on the top end, more mids and 'squishiness' to the sound. I prefer A/B for metal. For light gain and cleans, Class A mode may be better, but I haven't got around to trying those kinds of sounds yet. Overall it changes the character a bit, and its a cool option. The fan speeds up when I turn it on, so I assume it must make things run hotter.

    :hbang:
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  2. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    You will never go back to SS unless you just want more compact and mobile solutions. The tone from a VHT/Fryette amp is top tier bar none. Get a nice stereo cab now, and some nice speakers, and don't look back. Try turning lo/hi speaker resonance to zero on the AxeFX, if you have not already, makes it act more like a real amp (preamp) with tube power anyway.
     
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  3. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I am tempted to replace the Jack on my cab with a stereo one and wire it in stereo, but I figure it would be a waste, what with the speakers being a couple inches apart.

    I did (very briefly) try it with poweramp sims off, and with poweramp sims on, but low and high res at 0, but I liked poweramp sims on more. I'm sure I could tweak it a bit to sound better, I just haven't got around to it yet.

    I was actually surprised when I first turned it on and it didn't immediately sound overdone with two poweramps. I am not playing it at gig volumes though, so maybe once I get to those levels, and the tubes are working harder, I'd need to turn off poweramp modeling.
     
  4. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    The 2/50/2 is pretty flat for a tube amp, well with the default 6L6s anyway, yours may be different. Hi/lo speaker res at zero is for when you keep power sims on.
     
  5. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Good review. I recently sold my Axe FX II and Matrix power amp. I had the full intention of getting an AX8 and using it with my tube amp(s), but ended up just sticking with my FX8...for now. If I go back to the amp modeling in the future, I'll definitely keep the Fryette on my radar.
     
  6. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    EL34 is the default tube for the 2/50/2, actually. The older ones had a bias switch on them so you could use either EL34's or 6L6's, but he removed it at some point. I think there's a thing on his website about it. Something to do with amp transformers being designed for a specific tube type and how they don't run optimally with different tube types.

    I messed around with poweramp models off for a bit, I was disappointed at first until I remembered I had Presence and Depth at almost 0 on the poweramp. With the recto preamp, it sounds pretty good with Depth on 10 and the voicing switch in. More mids and a different feel from a standard recto, but in the ballpark. Overall pretty cool given how radically different the modern mode recto poweramp is from a 2/50/2. I still prefer low presence/depth and poweramp models on though.

    Next I need to experiment on an amp that doesn't get as much flavor from the poweramp as the recto does. Ideally something EL34-based like a marshall or modded marshall model.
     
  7. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Doesn't the Diezel VH4 use KT77s? Those are basically (or very similar to) EL34s, right?
     
  8. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I think KT77's are in the 'EL34 family,' it seems to be a popular tube to use in place of EL34's.

    That's one I kinda want to try in one side of the poweramp at some point down the road.
     
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  9. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    KT77 are direct swap for EL34, they basically just have larger plates and bottles.

    If you want even more color from the power amp, try swapping it for a Mesa. Even the old 50/50 is glorious Mark series flavor. But the 2/50/2 is a better amp for modeling different amps without sacrificing tube response.
     
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  10. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    50/50 was also one I was on the lookout for, but the 2/50/2 came up first.

    I was also considering the 2:100 but at that point I may as well get a dual or triple recto and run the axe fx through the loop, at least I'd also have a full recto, not like I use stereo anyway.

    I may do that later on down the road anyway.
     
  11. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    The 2:100 is a freaking MONSTER!!!

    In every conceivable way, it is a beast. Cramming that much into a 2U is insane. When you figure out, it's TWO 100w tube amps, it almost scary.

    Don't dismiss stereo just because you are using separate cabs, stereo FX really improve the depth of cleans or ambient tones.
     
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  12. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I have really thought about the Freyette Power Station 2, but the stereo thing is one thing that holds me off. I am not a huge stereo person, but recently started using my Matrix GT1000FX with two 212 cabs I have, and it fills the room pretty good, even at low volumes. It is nice to have that option. I do have a Triple Recto, and will use the power amp section sometimes. The issue is the EQ is WAY different, so it typically sounds like a$$, unless I tweak it to death. If I do, then it sounds like a$$ through my other gear. Also, it kind of makes every tone feel and sound like a Recto. Plus, I find it annoying to run a $2500 processor into a $1000 amp, to sound like the same $1000 amp, lol.
     
  13. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I am curious how it would compare to a better SS poweramp, as you said. I know that I can get my Matrix GT1000FX to sound just about the same as my Recto on the orange channel. (More "regular" poweramp sound than the red channel). However, using the red mode the poweramp has a little more punch and depth than the Matrix. It seems like the major difference in a tube power amp is definitely in that low end punch. The tubes just interact much better with the speaker.
     
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  14. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I guess not all tube poweramps have that low end punch a triple recto has either.

    I do wish I could compare against a good solidstate amp, or even against a recto to see how close (or far off) I am.

    All I know is I definately get a lot more low end punch than with the solidstate PA poweramp or my Valvestate poweramp, and it's more than just more low end, as it does have kind of a punchy feel to it, rather than blind bass.

    I guess you want the LXII, if it ever comes out.

    I guess a Powerstation 2 could double as a way to get your triple recto moving a bit at lower volumes. But if you're into stereo, it does start to look like a compromise. How are you placing your 2x12's? Opposite sides of the room?

    Edit- the 2/90/2 I think is supposed to be more hifi and punchy sounding, but I figured the 2/50/2 would be high enough wattage for what I'm doing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  15. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    On the Recto Mesa recommends you use the orange channel when using it as a poweramp, because it is a more "normal" poweramp model. The red mode removes the negative feedback, which is what creates the massive low end, fizzy highs, and scooped mids. Using it on orange is more what you would expect out of a plain tube poweramp. The red mode is more like..... if you used a poweramp with the depth and presence controls cranked.

    Yeah, SS poweramps are not the same either. I have an ART SLA-2 also, that I used before I got the Matrix. It sounds OK, but the bass was definitely more compressed. It is not that it had less low end, but it just didn't jump out of the speaker in the same way the Matrix does.

    I just recently started messing with stereo, so it is not a huge thing. I do notice though that it seems to make the sound fuller, without needing more bass. I have the cabs about 7 feet apart on one wall. Kind of angled in towards each other a bit, so if you sit between them, they are pointed at you... sorta. Not as direct as how you place studio monitors though. When I use my actual Recto, or Katana head, I only use one of the cabs.

    Yeah, I have considered the PS for that reason.... good poweramp for modelers, and also good attenuator for tubes. Seems very useful.
     

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