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  1. #1
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default Anyone who has a 5150 I or Combo....

    I have been told by numerous people, and I figured out from examining the schematics myself, that the 5150 is a "preamp oriented amp." I've also been told that "you shouldn't push the power tubes since they aren't contributing to the tone anyway." I'm not saying those people are wrong, or that the 5150 isn't a preamp oriented amp -- because it is -- but I wasn't satisfied with the tone from either of my 5150 combos, so I started experimenting with its tone and hit the jackpot. I did this by cranking the amp's post knobs right up to 6 and leaving them there, regardless of what else I messed with.

    Keep in mind, I run my guitar straight into the amp -- NO PEDALS WHATSOEVER, except the occasional use of a wah. I also have an attenuator (Weber Mass Lite), so I can crank my amps without killing small children and animals... but in the past I've had the usual problem of the buzz saw crappy 5150 tone -- and in my #1 5150, I run JJ 12AX7's and turn it up to about post 3.5 to compensate. It has a much richer and fuller tone (usually) but today I was using my backup 5150. It has absolutely NO mods, and I am even running the stock horrible chinese power tubes in it. Heck, this amp even has the crappy harsh sounding Electro Harmonics preamp tubes in it that I pulled out of my #1 amp! But I set the thing to post 6 and then started tweaking the eq etc. My lead tone that was ok before turned into a rippin' lead channel that is so much like EVH's tone on the balance tour it is unbelievable. Having the thing cranked up, I was able to actually ADD a little pre-gain, and ADD some presence that just made the thing sound harsher before, but now it comes out much smoother and clean.

    So, before you all go and sell your 5150's because they just won't sound like you want them to, this might be something to try. I have heard that EVH ran his at post 6-7 at all times, and so maybe the power-amp stage is playing more of a role in his live sound with the 5150 after all...

  2. #2
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 08:24 PM
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    Default

    If I run my post at 6-7, I will blow the rest of the band out of the water. I have to run it at 3-4 at the most.
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  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! Rick S's Avatar
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    06.23.17 @ 09:49 PM
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    Default

    post volume between 4 to 5 is the sweet spot for my 5150 head too.

    when we play live i usually keep it at 3 to 3.5 or the soundman starts shitting kittens.
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  4. #4
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    07.04.16 @ 08:03 PM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick S View Post
    post volume between 4 to 5 is the sweet spot for my 5150 head too.

    when we play live i usually keep it at 3 to 3.5 or the soundman starts shitting kittens.
    The sound guys usually look freaked when I play that first soundcheck chord, and I'm usually only at about 3 or 4 on stage also.

    I push the post-gain harder in the studio.

  5. #5
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 08:24 PM
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    Default

    Exactly. I'm also competing with the Mesa Boogie of my singer, so I can't run it that hot live.
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  6. #6
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default

    Honestly, I would strongly recommend you all try a Weber Mass Lite (100 Watt version for the combo, 200 watt for the head). The 100 watt model is only $160 bucks from Eurotubes, and if it ever has problems (mine was slightly damaged in shipping (thanks UPS, once again)) send it to Weber and he'll take care of it.

    You really do not lose amp tone with the Weber attenuators, since they use an actual speaker motor as the load, rather than just masive solid state resistors like in a hot plate. And, it has a hi and low attenuation control, so you can shape the tone using that if you feel like some of it is being lost in attenuation.

    I too have gotten some of the funniest looks ever from people out front when I hit my first warm up chord with the post on 3 but with that attenuator, I can leave the post on 6 in the 'hot spot' and adjust the attenuator as 'master master volume' control. I can literally go from jamming in a bedroom with another guy who has a 5 watt Valve Junior, all the way up to a small venue volume, and then right up to hitting the bypass switch on the attenuator! I'll do some clips sometime soon playing thru my setup with the amp on 3 and then with it on 6 -- there is a MASSIVE difference.

  7. #7
    5150
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    04.02.10 @ 06:19 PM
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    the 5150's are sweet. i have a block letter and have had a combo. they were not designed to run below 5. i had a email conversation with james brown who designed it with ed and he said he never saw ed play it below 5. thats why it dosent sound the greatest at low volumes because ed said he didnt care what it sounded like at those volumes. it does have a certain fizz to it at lower volumes but once you turn up the post it goes away. james said ed liked that fizz. alos if i do play at lower volumes i just drop the treble or presence a tad and take some of the fizz out. plus you cant really push the pre past 6 -6.5 until you crank it up or it get fizzy. i will dig up our conversation.

  8. #8
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 08:24 PM
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    Default

    Here are my normal settings...

    Pre-Gain: 5.5
    Low: 10
    Mid: 4
    Treble 5
    Post: Usually all I can do is 3-4
    Presence: 6.5
    Resonance 6

    I guess I get a decent sound with my BBE cleaning up the signal.
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  9. #9
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    04.30.16 @ 03:52 PM
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    Default

    Good advice mjr.

    I used to own a 5150 when I was cutting my teeth on guitar. I loved the gain for rhythm but hated it for lead. Thus, I rarely played above 2 or 3.

    It's so unfortunate that the optimal settings on so many amps are outside of the range of playability.

    Maybe that's why lower wattage amps are taking off.
    Last edited by mk5; 07.25.08 at 06:09 AM.
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  10. #10
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    04.02.15 @ 07:26 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mk5 View Post
    Good advice mjr.

    I used to own a 5150 when I was cutting my teeth on guitar. I loved the gain for rhythm but hated it for lead. Thus, I rarely played above 2 or 3.

    It's so unfortunate that the optimal settings on so many amps are outside of the range of playability.

    Maybe that's why lower wattage amps are taking off.
    i would agree with that.
    i think ANY tube amp is only at its best when being pushed, i don't care if its a pre-amp orientated amp or what ever....the power tubes are an integral part of any tube amps sound.....anyone ever tried playing an old slp quietly?...they sound like shit but you crank that baby and it sounds like god n budda getting it one with a bottle of lube!
    same with the 5150, its just a basic fact of a tube amp.
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  11. #11
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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    I'm sure the amp sounds great with the post-gain set to "6" but I'm gonna guess most of us here aren't playing arenas.

    My settings are (by memory) ...
    Pre-Gain = 3
    Low = 10
    Mid = 5
    High = 5
    Post-Gain = Usually between 3-4

    I've found keeping my pre-gain down to a minimum gives me more of a "crunch" tone.
    Anything higher normally just results in "fizz" and feedback on my amp.
    Also, keeping the pre-gain down allows me to roll back off my volume to obtain a cleaner tone when needed.

    As for "resonance" and "presence" ...
    I use these controls to help shape my sound based on the rooms I play.
    Different rooms offer different acoustics so these controls vary accordingly.

    The 5150 is limited in alot of ways, but I've been pretty happy with mine for the most part.

  12. #12
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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    I'm sure the amp sounds great with the post-gain set to "6" but I'm gonna guess most of us here aren't playing arenas.

    My settings are (by memory) ...
    Pre-Gain = 3
    Low = 10
    Mid = 5
    High = 5
    Post-Gain = Usually between 3-4

    I've found keeping my pre-gain down to a minimum gives me more of a "crunch" tone.
    Anything higher normally just results in "fizz" and feedback on my amp.
    Also, keeping the pre-gain down allows me to roll back off my volume to obtain a cleaner tone when needed.

    As for "resonance" and "presence" ...
    I use these controls to help shape my sound based on the rooms I play.
    Different rooms offer different acoustics so these controls vary accordingly.

    The 5150 is limited in alot of ways, but I've been pretty happy with mine for the most part.
    Just got home and checked my settings ...
    My memory served me pretty well with the exception of my pre-gain setting which never goes above 2.

    It may be the pickups I use, I dunno ... but turning the pre-gain above "2" usually sounds like mush on my amp.

  13. #13
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Default

    I've been re-examining the 5150's schematics to try to figure out exactly why turning the amp up to 6-7 seems to clean up the amp and actually DECREASE the fizzy tone -- even without also rolling back the presence or gain. In fact, I turned UP my presence and treble after putting the post up to 6 -- and it got crisper sounding, so I wanted to figure out why...

    Upon looking at the schematics, and upon comparing them to an old Non-MV Superlead's, it looks to me like at post ~6, the 5150 is effectively making the singnal flow thru the amp about equivalent to the power section of a superlead. In other words, having the post NOT at full, some of the highs and fizzy sounds are being bled to ground, and the smooth tone of the Superlead's power section (using EL34's) seems to be similar to the 5150's. I think the extra preamp oriented distortion in the 5150, and the 'cascaded gain stages' design is making up for the 6L6's lack of distortion (compared to the EL34's in the Superlead). All of this seems to be perfectly balanced, to emulate the kind of feel of a dimed Superlead -- which is what I figure Ed was going for.

    There is also a tricky negative feedback loop circuit coming off the 5150's OT, and I wonder if that was also designed specifically to make the amp's mix of negative feedback and signal optimal (for what Ed wants) with the post on 6. The actual cleaning up of the amp at one particular post volume point would make sense if that kind of 'design to one optimum point' was used.

    Now the hardest question; were the design geniuses at Peavey, or at Soldano...

  14. #14
    Banned! The Dude's Avatar
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    11.09.08 @ 08:18 AM
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    Well, I guess I'm not crazy and my ears are a little bit better than I thought. Damn I thought I was going nutty, or tubes were bad. Haven't used my 5150 in a while. Good God it sounded like so much treble I couldn't stand it.

    Good to see others think the Highs are out of the world on this amp and others are setting the lows at ten to compensate.

    LOL, maybe I have decent ears after all. I need to learn to trust myself when it comes to that.

    If it sounds good it is good. A statement to live by.

  15. #15
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.17.17 @ 08:24 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Now the hardest question; were the design geniuses at Peavey, or at Soldano...
    If it were Soldano, it would sound good.
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