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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    07.14.10 @ 09:31 AM
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    Was Eddie still using his old variac in 1984? Does anyone know how to get a similar tone to Ed's 1984 tone (effects, amp setting)? He was still using the same old Marshall wasn't he?

  2. #2
    XTC man! homeunit's Avatar
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    09.05.15 @ 12:20 PM
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    Yup, I'm pretty sure Ed was using the old Marshall in 84.

    As far as I understand, all a variac does is regulate voltage. Ed used to pump a ton of voltage through the gain stage tubes and get that great tone. Only problem is, your retubing nightly [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

    When Soldano came along, they tried to address the problem by adding some extra tubes to the gain stage of the amp. Then the 5150 did it, then Mesa boogie and so on.

    IMHO Mesa-Boogie was the only one who got it right. The amps architecture and design allows you choice how hot you want to run those tubes and which tubes to run, thus giving you a variac+ type of control over your signal strength.

    I'm not an amp mechanic so some of my details may be wrong, but I think the general idea is right.

  3. #3
    Good Enough
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Actually, Ed used to lie in those interviews. He didn't crank the voltage UP--he turned it DOWN (which he later admitted to).

    Turning the voltage down (to about 89 volts) made the amp work harder to pull more current, which gave a much more compressed and distorted sound. Turning the voltage UP would actually produce a CLEANER sound, since the current draw would be reduced. You can test this with a battery powered overdrive/distortion pedal. First, try an alkaline battery-they hold their voltage for a longer period of time, and die rather suddenly. Then get an old LeClanche cell, which are those batteries we used in the 70's and early 80's before alkalines caught on. These batteries lose voltage over their ENTIRE discharge cycle, and the lower that voltage goes, the more distortion you will get. (A lot of it has to do with impedance across the battery, but I don't want to get into that)

    Anyway, lower voltage=more distortion.
    Don't bark at me...<b>I</b> didn't name ya.

  4. #4
    Good Enough
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Absolutely right young man. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] He lowered the voltage to make the amp draw more current and push the tubes into distortion by overamping, and therefore cooking them.
    Today's amps likr the mesa, marshall, 5150, etc., don't work the same way. They add an extra gain stage which adds a step or more of gain, but the voltage to the amp remains stable, and right around where it should be. It's a completely different principal than using a variac even though the results can sound similar. These amps simply add more gain to the preamp without affecting the power amp current wise. The internal cicuitry isn't forced to change it's current draw in the output section, which is what Ed's amp had to do.

  5. #5
    XTC man! homeunit's Avatar
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    09.05.15 @ 12:20 PM
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    Well there you go [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Just goes to show how much I know [img]smilies/redface.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    I hear that Cabo sun will do that to you. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

 

 

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