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  1. #1
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    08.06.08 @ 04:31 AM
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    Peavey 5150 - getting rid of buzz saw tone

    There have been a lot of posts about the Peavey 5150 tone being buzzy and lacking the tone we heard on "For unlawful carnal knowledge" and "Balance" (regardless of the use of various effects). Yesterday evening I did an experiment and I thought I'd share my findings with you.

    I've always wondered why EVH directed his amp signal into the Palmer Speaker Emulator and then into his effects rack and then to the power amp & speakers. This seems to be what he's always done since like "5150" album. Since I've been less than happy with my 5150 combo amp tone, I decided to see if I could emulate that using what I had at my disposal.

    Here's the setup:
    Guitar --> Amp Input --> Effects Loop Send --> Behringer UltraG --> XLR output of UltraG --> ART Tube MP Studio XLR input --> high impedance out of ART TUBE MP Studio --> Alesis NanoVerb effects processor --> 5150 Effects Return.

    The interesting thing about this setup is that the Alesis NanoVerb is now the master volume due to its INPUT and OUTPUT level controls. I can place the 5150 master volume on "7", where it should be. Since the master volume on the 5150 is before the effects send jack, this has no effect on the levels the power tubes "see". If you tweak the levels on the effects loop, that's what the power tubes will see.

    The Art Tube MP Studio, in this case, is only a glorified direct box (600ohm - 10k ohm) for impedance matching and I get the added benefit of more level control on that box as well. I'm considering trying a passive direct box in place of it.

    The Behringer UltraG however is the real magic box here. It stinks as an actual "speaker emulator" that one might feed into a mixing console for recording because it suffers from tonal issues (it simply isn't that GREAT for direct Input recording - I personally never liked it). However, what it excels at in this case is taming that high end buzz sound in the 5150 tone. it rolls that off perfectly and the combo speakers actually sound like they should - warm tone. This works best for me because I can set the volume for bedroom levels or playing live and its very consistant - always sounds warm & full and as the volume increases I get the inherent high end presence with a little nicer bite to it.

    I know a lot of this is subjective because we're talking about TONE, but I believe its worth the experimentation. Many people who use effects on the loop say they get great tone. personally, I think that's where the most improvement can be made ... buffer the effects loop somehow. I guess I just like what the UltraG did for the tone in the loop (better than any EQ I tried to date).

    Hopefully this will help some of you who own a 5150 / 5150 combo (6505 as well).

    Good Luck

  2. #2
    Hot For Teacher 5150canuck's Avatar
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    12.20.12 @ 04:19 AM
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    Great reading and thanks for the post, I have a 5150 combo as well and re tubed it last fall but still find it harsh...Please pm me as I want to talk to you more about your set up...Thanks
    [/SIGPIC]See Ya Derek !....5150canuck

  3. #3
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    12.11.17 @ 05:18 PM
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    Interesting setup. I'm doing something similar with my 5150 head. Different equipment of course, but I'm running a TC Electronics G sharp in the loop (a baby version of the G major and much cheaper) along with a graphic EQ. The G sharp also acts as the master volume, so I run my post lead up around 5 and control the volume with the G sharp and the EQ. In the past I've also run a Pod xt in the loop for EQ and effects only with some good results, but the G sharp sounds much better than the xt. I've also backed off on the presence almost completely, I don't have my treble more than half way up, and my mids are pretty low too. I don't really notice any buzz or chainsaw type sounds that a lot of people describe with the 5150's. I think it's pretty capable of getting that type of sound, but with some tweaking it isn't that hard to get rid of. I've had my amp for a while now though and maybe I'm just finally getting comfortable with it...or maybe I have bad ears. I think the amps sounds great. I'm also running it on 1 power tube, so essentially I have a 30 watt amp and I'm able to get bedroom volumes no problem. The 5150 is a great amp, just not very versatile.

  4. #4
    Eruption Brand X's Avatar
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    06.07.13 @ 02:32 PM
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    I play live at least twice a week around the UK....I use an Ultra G (well, two if them) going straight into our desk from an old Boss GT5. The sound is awesome - truly one of the best tones I have ever had. I used to use 5150's Marshall, Hughes and Kettner, Boogie - but now I use no amps at all, just feed into desk, pan either side and plenty of guitar in the monitor.

    I agree with the guy previously though - to record it truly sucks, but live it is awesome!
    Ed: Actually, the last record I bought was by a band called Brand X
    Al: I make my living by viciously attacking something
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  5. #5
    Eruption guitar08man's Avatar
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    07.20.14 @ 01:40 AM
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    have you tried it in a band setting yet? I imagine the treble roll off of a speaker simulator would BURY you in the mix.

    just my two cents though... I always thought my 5150 head was great for what it was.

  6. #6
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 03:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitar08man View Post
    have you tried it in a band setting yet? I imagine the treble roll off of a speaker simulator would BURY you in the mix.

    just my two cents though... I always thought my 5150 head was great for what it was.
    Ya know, you are right on the money. I had my amp set just the way I always thought it sounded good when I was practicing at my house. I gigged that way for over a year, then I got a wireless. During a gig, I went out front in the crowd, and was horrified by what I was hearing. My rig sounded like shit. It was all muffled and buried in the mix. During the break, I asked my sound guy what was wrong with my sound tonight. He said that's the way I always sound, and that it was the way he thought I wanted it to sound. I told him to come up during the next set, and adjust my amp so it sounded good out front. After about 4 songs of him coming up and adjusting my amp, I ventured back out front. The rig sounded awesome. Out front it sounded the way it sounded at my house. I was happy, and finished out the night. I made a note of all my settings and went home. None of the settings were remotely where I had them set originally, but I knew it sounded great at the gig. I plugged in at home to practice, and I couldn't bear to listen to it. It was aweful. It was like nails on a chalkboard bad.

    It was then that I realized that what sounds good when you're jammin' with the CD player in your basement, doesn't always work live, and vice-versa.
    "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.

  7. #7
    Romeo Delight
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    12.08.17 @ 06:54 PM
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    Default Ultra-G

    Quote Originally Posted by Brand X View Post
    I play live at least twice a week around the UK....I use an Ultra G (well, two if them) going straight into our desk from an old Boss GT5. The sound is awesome - truly one of the best tones I have ever had. I used to use 5150's Marshall, Hughes and Kettner, Boogie - but now I use no amps at all, just feed into desk, pan either side and plenty of guitar in the monitor.

    I agree with the guy previously though - to record it truly sucks, but live it is awesome!
    i also use 2 Ultra-G DI's from my effects pedals directly into the mixer for live music. i use the speaker emulation. my guitar amps are only there for me to monitor with. when i adjust my guitar amps, it has no affect on the house sound, which is great for keeping the mix consistent without having to tweak it all night.

    you got to go out front and listen to the mains and adjust the channel EQ or it won't sound right. once i got the EQ set, my sound is almost as good as an SM57 on an expense stack. for $35, these DIs do a great job.

    i had recommend these DIs to someone on this board a few months ago, but i the feedback i got was very anti-anything-beringer. i have owned these for 4 years, gig with them 2 weekends a month, and have had zero problems with them. in fact, i thought one of them had crapped out a while back, i bought another, and come to find out it was a loose solder joint on a stereo effects pedal. so now i have a spare.

  8. #8
    Eruption mk5's Avatar
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    04.30.16 @ 03:52 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post

    It was then that I realized that what sounds good when you're jammin' with the CD player in your basement, doesn't always work live, and vice-versa.
    Amen, bro! Isn't it amazing? Just like the first time you hear yourself playing in a recording.

    I always lost the buzz in my 5150 by turning down the gain and turning up the post-gain.
    How open-minded do I have to be before my brains start spilling out?

  9. #9
    Romeo Delight
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    10.07.13 @ 11:58 AM
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    Looks like your doing a lot of experimenting there HipCat5, at what volume on the amp are you working from?
    I've always been of the opinion that an amps true tone and performance starts from half way and onwards in it's volume, therefore bringing in the characteristics of the speaker cab, movement of air, cone vibration etc.

    The buzz you talk about is something I've found with a lot of amps at low volume, usually cause by the pre amp section doing most of the work, if you can get a nice balance of pre and power sections mosts amps move out of the buzz into a nice distortion (coupled with a bit of cone distortion).

    You quoted the Fuck and Balance albums as reference, but I think most of the fuck album was done with Ed's '89 slo amp and the Balance album had quite a few amps used, think he also used his early marshall as well.

    I'm pretty certain that Ed does his studio recording stock, miked cab to desk, the Palmer route is something he's used for live performance only. IMO the tonal changes to Ed's sound on each album has been influenced in the studio mix and production.
    If you ever get a chance to pick up some audio bootlegs say one from each tour that VH did, then you'd be surprised how little Ed's tone changed over the years, compared to the albums. Imo, the first 5 albums, live, tone pretty much the same, '86 to '88 same, '91 to '93 same, '95 was slightly different tone, '98 way different tone, umm '04, I'd rather forget that imo

    To sum up, I think it's a difficult thing to capture the sound of a studio album, even Ed himself doesn't quite emulate the exact sound live, come to think of it most bands don't, probably Rush maybe, but they were always perfectionists

    Just my observations.

  10. #10
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    08.06.08 @ 04:31 AM
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    Its been great to see the responses to my original post. Last night I again took some time to experiment and while I might agree with what some people are saying about making sure the amp can "cut through the mix" when playing live, one must first understand the EQ of the UltraG before making any assumptions.

    My tests have been at every volume level (from bedroom levels to fully cranked up all knobs to 11) and its really surprising how it sounds with the cabinet sim on the UltraG engadged and removed. When its on, the cab sim honestly just tames that buzz and adds a little thickness to the sound ... its not this deep "4x12" sound everyone thinks its supposed to be. [That's one of the reasons I don't like the UltraG as a straight cabinet Simulator from the amp to the mixing console ... it DOES NOT sound like a 4x12 used that way.] But when I put it in the effects loop of the amp, it removed the harshness. The only trick with the UltraG is that, without modifying it, the output is an XLR 600ohm, so you need to bring that back to 10k ohm impedance somehow (which is why I used my Studio preamp).

    At bedroom levels, I must admit, its a tad muddy and I'd like to say that the tone of the system as a whole when miked with an SM57 is like that of Ed's 2004 tour tone (a little midrange heavy without a lot of thickness). But if I turned the levels up to even moderate (something that still won't wake my children from deep sleep), and miked that with an SM57, it sounded like the "Humans Being" tone (something I was impressed with; I know some didn't like that tone).

    All in all, I don't blame *anyone* for taking this info and simply passing it off. Tone is really subjective and my ears aren't the same as anyone elses. However, I've been over that amp's schematics trying to figure out many ways to modify the tone stack, replace the output transformers, re-tube, ... anything ... to get rid of that buzzy overtone and frankly I wasn't going to experiment with my *baby*. That's when I decided to go back to the diagrams of Ed's live rig and figure out how to do it that way. it seems to work for me.

    Good Luck everyone

  11. #11
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    08.06.08 @ 04:31 AM
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    Default Quick followup ...

    If anyone has any technical information on mods for the Peavey 5150 as far as tonal changes (like changing out tone stack resistors or using snubber caps on the plate resistors to tame the gain, etc,etc) please PM me or post the info in this thread. I know a lot of the "big name" mod guys do transformer swaps, adjustable bias mods, and even retubing the amp, but I'm not 100% sold on all that considering there's still two camps that emerge when its all said & done ... some say the amp with mods sounds GREAT, others say it makes no difference. i've done the retube - I can't be sold on that even with JJ tubes (Which I used).

    Someone posted in this thread something about the Soldano SLO100 and I agree that that is where I want to start comparing the two amps. Its been said that the 5150 is the "poor mans SLO" and from the schematic of my combo, its almost a dead on copy however I think Soldano took better care with his builds than Peavey does.

    Anyways, if anyone has some hard data on resistor / capacitor mods for the circuit, please let me know. I'd love to run those through some software and see once how it might work out.

  12. #12
    Baluchitherium
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    04.02.15 @ 07:26 AM
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    i was reading somewhere that quite a few guys are changing the 6l6's for el35's (with obvious re-bias) due to the 34's breakup being at lower levels than the 6l6's, although im not familiar with this, anyone else heard of/have this mod?

    i also read (as ive posted before) the benchmark for the peavey 5150 was a soldano slo100 preamp being run directly into the power section of ed's old marshall...i think the whole story is in peaveys monitor magazine issue 1, ive searched for it but cant find it anywhere so if someone has it a scan would be cool.
    Last edited by tommywho5150; 02.01.08 at 12:16 PM.
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  13. #13
    Eruption mk5's Avatar
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    04.30.16 @ 03:52 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by HipCat5 View Post

    Someone posted in this thread something about the Soldano SLO100 and I agree that that is where I want to start comparing the two amps. Its been said that the 5150 is the "poor mans SLO" and from the schematic of my combo, its almost a dead on copy however I think Soldano took better care with his builds than Peavey does.
    The secret to the Soldano SLO sound is the DeYoung hifi transformers. No other soldano sounds just like it. That's why all the other Soldanos are less money and are advertised as "exact same circuitry of the legendary SLO." Not the same transformers, though!

    Unfortunately, DeYoung won't sell them to you; I tried to get one for a Fender Prosonic pet project and they only sell to Soldano.

    If you have never heard an SLO, please go play one. I think everything you are trying to accomplish is everything that amp already is. Only bad part is that they are $$$$.

    Good luck in your quest.
    How open-minded do I have to be before my brains start spilling out?

  14. #14
    Little Dreamer
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    02.03.08 @ 08:38 PM
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    Default 5150 w/ EL34s

    I have a Peavey 5150 Mk I that I recently added an adjustable bias to. Now, I've got JJ-electronic pre-amp tubes and groove tubes El34's for power tubes.

    After rebiasing, I put in 4 EL34s and am running them at ~ 20w, totalling 80w output. I've always prefered the sound of EL34s, but from a strictly objective perspective, the sound is far superior to the original sound.

    First thing I noticed with the 5150 stock bias, is that it was running at 7w per tube. That is 7w x 4 6L6GC for a total of 28w. Brrrrrr! I never understood this because 6L6GCs, at maximum output, can put out 30w each. Of course, it's not recommended, but still I'm not sure why they designed it so cold! My guess is they want the amp to last as long as possible, so they have less customer issues or complaints to deal with.

    I would recommend rebiasing and installing 2 or 4 EL34s. It is incredibly easy to accomplish (takes about an hour) and you'll definately get a warmer, crisper, fuller and far less sizzly sound at a much lower volume. This is because of two things: As most people know, EL34s saturate and break-up quicker than 6L6s, AND you'll be pushing the power tubes a lot harder (at a lower volume) thus getting that lovely power tube distortion, instead of just preamp distortion with a little bit (if any) of power tube distortion. On the dark side of things, your power tubes will die much faster, depending on how hot you set your bias, of course.

    Honestly, you really can't go wrong with putting in an adjustable bias, since you can just set it back if you don't like the new way it sounds.

  15. #15
    On Fire Rebel67's Avatar
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    10.17.09 @ 10:00 PM
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    I had a 5150, but also found it too generic and buzzy. And on some days it would change it's sound (unpredictable). The Soldano SLO is an amzing amp!
    I went to see RATT a few years back. After the show I got to hang out with Warren DiMartini for a while. (great down to earth guy!) He told me that his SLO amps are stock. (No Mods-Think "Lay It Down")
    Also, about 2 weeks ago, I had some time to kill before lessons, so I ran into Guitar Center. While I was there I tried the Peavey Jsr amp. This thing has MAJOR TONE!!
    I was blown away by the sound. I would recommend anyone to try it out for yourself. (warm with nice bite)

 

 

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