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  1. #1
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    Hi,

    for as much as I may know about guitars is as much as I don't know about sound rigs, anyway I was looking at a supposed very early EVH set up
    and basically it showed a variac running the inlet power to the amp then out of the amp head went to a Dummy Load box, could someone explain what a dummy load box is and how it works and where do I get one ??
    also the variac, (I know what that is) what gets me is he had his own 5150 made why isn't there a 90 volt power transformer in it? is there a reason he abandon that?

    Rol.

  2. #2
    XTC man! homeunit's Avatar
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    09.05.15 @ 12:20 PM
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    I used to know the answer but it's completely gone from me, Tribb, or LarryJ would know better than me.
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  3. #3
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    02.28.12 @ 01:53 PM
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    A dummy load box is simply a box that puts an impedance load on the amp. It simulates a speaker being attached and cranked. Essentially, it allows you to max the power on the amp and play that sound through a speaker and not have to crank it to get the sound you want.
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  4. #4
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    Originally posted by joedog:
    A dummy load box is simply a box that puts an impedance load on the amp. It simulates a speaker being attached and cranked. Essentially, it allows you to max the power on the amp and play that sound through a speaker and not have to crank it to get the sound you want.
    ok so bare with me here, you crank your amp head
    then run it into a dummy load box, this is the same thing as a Palmer speaker simulator??
    it dumps the power coming from the head back to line level but sustains the tone generated by having your amp head at full blast ??
    hence being able to put stomp boxes after the speaker simulator, then you use another power amp
    to your cabinets to adjust to whatever volume you want, am I close here??
    and thanks for the responces.
    Rol.

  5. #5
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Yea, it allowed him to take it right up to maximum output and then reduce the output back to a line level signal when it came out, even going into his effects this way. The signal going into the effects would be that of a marshall driving tits up full throttle, but at a line level signal. Sustain is incredible, but it's really hard on the amp, and can do some serious damage to the output transformer, and turn tubes to lava. That's why they eliminated the variac and went to cascading preamp sections.
    But it does allow you to take the signal to a clean power amp to boost it again.
    A dummy load resistor is not the same as a speaker simulator cause speaker simulators use filters as well as other components, which would affect your tone. A dummy load resistor is just a big variable resistor about 1 1/2" thick and about 9" long that is mounted to a plank of wood or something like that. It can be used in tandem with your speaker. I made one years ago and still have it, although I don't use it anymore.

  6. #6
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    Originally posted by tribb:
    Yea, it allowed him to take it right up to maximum output and then reduce the output back to a line level signal when it came out, even going into his effects this way. The signal going into the effects would be that of a marshall driving tits up full throttle, but at a line level signal. Sustain is incredible, but it's really hard on the amp, and can do some serious damage to the output transformer, and turn tubes to lava. That's why they eliminated the variac and went to cascading preamp sections.
    But it does allow you to take the signal to a clean power amp to boost it again.
    A dummy load resistor is not the same as a speaker simulator cause speaker simulators use filters as well as other components, which would affect your tone. A dummy load resistor is just a big variable resistor about 1 1/2" thick and about 9" long that is mounted to a plank of wood or something like that. It can be used in tandem with your speaker. I made one years ago and still have it, although I don't use it anymore.
    wanna sell it or give me the diagram to make one??
    or where can I get one?
    thansk
    Rol.

  7. #7
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 07:17 AM
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    Rols, just buy a Marshall Power Brake. It will do what you want it to do as far as the dummy load is concerned. I wouldn't dick with a variac unless you have a shit-pile of money to spend on tubes and output transformers.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Nobozos is right. "DON'T" use a variac.
    A marshall power break will still colour your tone a bit, but not much. I found them to be even better than the THD hotplate for transparency, and cheaper to buy.
    Get someone to put an extra gain stage in the preamp section so your preamp signal is hotter to begin with, then add the dummy load and try it that way. When a gain stage is added there's some modification need to the wiring as well so make sure it's someone experienced at modding marshalls.
    What ever you use, when you run a dummy load of any kind you're gonna go through tubes much faster cause your always playing it wide open, and there is more of a strain on your transformer, so you'll shorten it's life as well, but not to the extent a variac would do.
    Any advice I could give you would be to stay away from those.

  9. #9
    Eruption
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    12.12.17 @ 08:13 AM
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    Hey Tribb.

    I like the THD better than the Marshall. And really, the variac is not going to screw with the life of your output tranny as long as you use it to LOWER the volts to about 89 or 90. If you crank it up and push 120 into the head, then you'll have LOADS of problems (no pun intended).
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  10. #10
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Jape Man, when you lower the voltage to the amp, the amp runs cooler and there's a quieter, but mushier sound to it.
    In the early days Ed used a light dimmer switch to drop the voltage cause his marshall was so friggin loud that even turning it to the wall made no difference. He always wanted to run it full and tried to come up with ideas like the light dimmer to drop the voltage, making it somewhat quiter. Unfortunately it also distorted his sound more, something he didn't like.
    His idea then was the variac, which is a great big sucker of a unit that sat on the floor and "raised" the power to the amp. He didn't use the variac to lower the power. He raised it to about 140 volts. This gave him the clean high gain sound that you hear on the first album. It also blew his tubes like popcorn.
    After the first album he lowered the voltage on the variac and his sound became more distorted again.
    I've seen experiments to just raise the voltage to the preamp section of a marshall, but that doesn't seem to make any difference at all.
    A properly modded marshall will emulate a variac driven head, but without the high voltages involved because all the gain stages are within the preamp only so you don't have to raise the voltage. There's also some wiring mods that have to be done. If you increase the gain stage by just adding a tube, you'll get more gain, but it'll be buzzier and dirtier. In truth it doesn't really sound like a variac at 140 volts, but it can get fairly close if done right.
    Once I get my head up over 6 and turn back the 2nd gain stage it screams without being too distorted. Pickups make a difference too.
    All marshalls have different internal voltages, and some are naturally high giving you a brighter, hotter sound. Early marshall heads had pretty inneficcient transformers giving a wide variety of voltages. That's one reason no two marshalls sound exactly alike, but they all have that natural distortion once the power transformers kick in.

    [ April 05, 2002 at 03:27 PM: Message edited by: tribb ]</p>

  11. #11
    Sinner's Swing! Rick S's Avatar
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    06.23.17 @ 09:49 PM
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    tribb you always get my mouth watering thinkin bout those modded marshalls ...what marshall models work well with those mods? the jcm 800 and jmp models from the 70 s? im sorry to rehash shit but i love hearing about this stuff.
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Rick, the 70's marshalls work the best, but the 800's are good too.
    In my situation it really doesn't matter cause there are no more mods being done anymore by this particular tech., and it doesn't look like there will be in the forseable future.
    Although he'll work on those that he's already done, he won't be doing anymore new mods.
    Homeunit got my 2nd modded head. He might sell you his if you ask nice.

    [ April 05, 2002 at 03:35 PM: Message edited by: tribb ]</p>

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing! Rick S's Avatar
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    06.23.17 @ 09:49 PM
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    yeeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhh riiiiiiiiiighht
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  14. #14
    Eruption rolsguitars's Avatar
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    01.22.09 @ 09:08 AM
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    Originally posted by tribb:
    He didn't use the variac to lower the power. He raised it to about 140 volts. .
    I'm gonna have to disagree with ya here, he has said in several interviews that he *lowered* the voltage to 90 volts not raised it, and one of his freinds who diagramed the early set up varified this in an interview at amptone.com, the link is in the eddies tone post.

  15. #15
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    I know what Ed said, but I've read an interview where he did say he raised the power as well, although he experimented and did have it down too. I've also seen what happens when you play with amp voltage up and down. I've had this argument in the past with my tech. cause I always believed that Ed always kept the voltage at around 90, and he finally got tired of it and told me that no matter what Ed says he did, after he took a half hour to explain what a moron I was for believing it, he showed me, and I was convinced.
    My tech used a seperate transformer instead of a variac and tapped it so it was putting out about 130 volts, and then he dropped the voltage to about 90 by tapping it at 100 and using a load resistor, and at 90 it was mushy sounding, and a noticable loss of highs, but it saturated faster, and sounded warmer. Big and ballsy is the best way I could describe it, but definately not the sound of the first album. Also, the tubes had very little glow to them. When the voltage went up to around 125-130, it got really bright and almost clean with lots of attack, and the tubes were glowing like light bulbs. The change in sound was dramatic, and once the voltage got up there it was "the" sound of Ed's first album. Lots of highs and a noticable drop in bass. He used a stock 50 watt head through 4x12 greenbacks and it was cranked. The power tubes he used were fairly old to begin with, but after about 40 minutes they were toast, and the amp noticably lost power after that.
    The guitar was an exact replica of Ed's first black and white strat, right down to the brass nut.
    You can believe I'm bullshitting about this, and I can't prove otherwise cause I don't know you. If I was in your shoes I'd think I was full of shit too, but if you knew my tech you'd understand. He knows marshall circuitry like he was born to it, as well as being a master guitar builder. All he's done is build guitars and mod marshalls for around 25 years, and he doesn't mod anymore cause he's happy just building. This guy knows his stuff and doesn't take anything at face value till he's tried it for himself. I couldn't argue once I saw it for myself, no matter what I read.
    I honestly don't mean to offend anyone, but I believe without a doubt that for the first album, and around the time he recorded it, Ed was using the variac to raise his voltage rather than lower it.

    [ April 05, 2002 at 09:37 PM: Message edited by: tribb ]</p>

 

 

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