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  1. #1
    Romeo Delight MattyT5150's Avatar
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    03.30.17 @ 03:01 PM
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    Crate - BV120HR - Problem..

    I have a question related to my Red Voodoo amp head...

    I have owned this head for about 1.5 years now. I recently started using it full time. Ever since I bought this amp head, the clean channel has always been way louder than the distortion channel. For example, when playing live or practicing, I have my clean channel at 1.5 and my distortion at 6.5. This gives me proper difference in levels.

    My first question is, is it normal for the distortion channel to be cranked so much higher then the clean channel. I recently re-tubed it and I have the same level difference after as I did before. I have read some things online about other amps that have similar characteristics and depending on what you go from, I either have an amp problem or it's just how it's made.

    My second question is for any other owners of this amp... or anyone with knowledge of this amp...When my distortion channel is on, there is a fairly noticeable hiss that is associated with it. It stops the minute I change back to the clean channel.. Is that the norm with these amps?

    My band is starting to play more and more, and I want to figure out if I have a problem or a soon to be problem, or if these things are normal ..


    Thanks for any help or advice that can be thrown my way..

  2. #2
    Baluchitherium
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    its actually quite normal (both things)
    the hiss is the amount of preamp gain being amplified, you can use a noise gate to reduce this and the drop in volume when using the overdrive channel is a lot to do with the frequencies you are NOT hearing, try boosting your mids, altering your eq or running through an eq pedal and don't 'scoop' the mids if you want it to cut through a mix.
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  3. #3
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    The hiss on the lead channel and none or minimal amount on the clean channel IS normal on tube amps and is the result of the gain stages, and/or cascading in the circuit. It can be reduced by playing around with different brand tubes, but you will always have more hiss on the lead channel. As far as having less volume than the clean channel, that's a toughy, assuming your volume settings are as high as you say to make up the difference. Does it sound abnormally distorted in any way? By that I mean very abrasive, and not what you would normally associate with a typical tube distortion. This could be a capacitor problem if you've ruled out a bum tube. I had an older amp that had a cap fail, and on the lead channel I did lose volume, but it was accompanied by a sharp clipping and dying out of played notes, but it completely crapped out within hours of it starting. I took it in and they sourced it to a capacitor. I've heard Crate's are prone to caps failing for whatever reason. There's no reason it should be lower than the clean channel, unless you've got the pre and post gain set lower which you don't. Another possibility is something in the switching circuit of the amp.
    My Peavey for instance when using the foot switch sometimes took two or three clicks on the channel selector of the foot switch to get the lead channel to click over. It would just click, and the sound was just audible, then I'd click it again, and it came on full. Weird. It just ended up being some dust on the contacts inside.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    The hiss on the lead channel and none or minimal amount on the clean channel IS normal on tube amps and is the result of the gain stages, and/or cascading in the circuit. It can be reduced by playing around with different brand tubes, but you will always have more hiss on the lead channel. As far as having less volume than the clean channel, that's a toughy, assuming your volume settings are as high as you say to make up the difference. Does it sound abnormally distorted in any way? By that I mean very abrasive, and not what you would normally associate with a typical tube distortion. This could be a capacitor problem if you've ruled out a bum tube. I had an older amp that had a cap fail, and on the lead channel I did lose volume, but it was accompanied by a sharp clipping and dying out of played notes, but it completely crapped out within hours of it starting. I took it in and they sourced it to a capacitor. I've heard Crate's are prone to caps failing for whatever reason. There's no reason it should be lower than the clean channel, unless you've got the pre and post gain set lower which you don't. Another possibility is something in the switching circuit of the amp.
    My Peavey for instance when using the foot switch sometimes took two or three clicks on the channel selector of the foot switch to get the lead channel to click over. It would just click, and the sound was just audible, then I'd click it again, and it came on full. Weird. It just ended up being some dust on the contacts inside.
    2 really good points in here. Switching relays can do weird things causing one or both channels not to be fully 'on'. Also, I've heard the same thing about Crate amp caps going bad. I actually repaired one that had loose caps -- they had not gone bad, but they weren't soldered on very well... Since your clean channel is clearly working good and loud, if a cap went bad it sounds like it could be a preamp supply cap or maybe even a signal chain cap going bad causing a volume loss.

  5. #5
    Romeo Delight MattyT5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    Does it sound abnormally distorted in any way? By that I mean very abrasive, and not what you would normally associate with a typical tube distortion.
    The distortion sounds good, but I have noticed that after approximately an hour play playing a more powerful, raw sounding distortion comes out..

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyT5150 View Post
    The distortion sounds good, but I have noticed that after approximately an hour play playing a more powerful, raw sounding distortion comes out..
    That is a little odd. On a typical tube amp tubes usually are fully warmed inside of 10 to 15 minutes and produce full power. I'm not 100% sure if this amp has bias adjustment, or if it's a cold bias amp, but if it has bias trim pots, have you had the amp re biased after re tubing it? This could explain the length of time for your full distortion to come up late. (Note: A non adjustable cold bias is compensated for in the circuit design, and is mainly for the purpose of extending tube life. The 5150 for instance was designed when tube availability was becoming a concern due to the environmental and health concerns posed by tube manufacture in former Soviet plants. Many were being shut down because workers were coming down with mercury poisoning. This was also when amp manufacturers were turning to tube modelling as a viable alternative. Marshall with their Valvestate, Peavey also with Transtube)

    as for the volume, I'm not totally convinced the bias would also affect it, but I suppose it could if the voltages are way off.
    Maybe MRJ could chime in on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post

    as for the volume, I'm not totally convinced the bias would also affect it, but I suppose it could if the voltages are way off.
    Maybe MRJ could chime in on that.
    Bias DOES affect volume (and tone) a LOT, although it varies from amp to amp. The only thing is that with this amp, if the bias was the culprit in the volume loss, it would affect BOTH channels. The bias wouldn't just jump up and down when switching channels like that causing the extreme volume difference (there could be of course something epically wrong with the amp that would maybe cause that, but it doesn't sound like it).

    I bet you somewhere in the signal chain there is a cap that's going bad, or perhaps some of the preamp power supply caps that are going to the lead channel portion of the circuit are going bad. Hard to know from just talking about though.

  8. #8
    Romeo Delight MattyT5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    I'm not 100% sure if this amp has bias adjustment, or if it's a cold bias amp, but if it has bias trim pots, have you had the amp re biased after re tubing it? This could explain the length of time for your full distortion to come up late.

    I was wondering about re biasing. I read in the manual that whenever you change tubes that it is a good idea to get this done. I was wondering if this had something to do with the problems..

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    Bias DOES affect volume (and tone) a LOT, although it varies from amp to amp. The only thing is that with this amp, if the bias was the culprit in the volume loss, it would affect BOTH channels. The bias wouldn't just jump up and down when switching channels like that causing the extreme volume difference (there could be of course something epically wrong with the amp that would maybe cause that, but it doesn't sound like it).

    I bet you somewhere in the signal chain there is a cap that's going bad, or perhaps some of the preamp power supply caps that are going to the lead channel portion of the circuit are going bad. Hard to know from just talking about though.
    So lets say that its a cap problem.. How much would you think it would cost to get something like this fixed? Also, what is the standard rate for re biasing an amp?

    Thanks so much for the help! As you might be able to tell, my knowledge of an amp's internal parts is fairly limited! Thanks again..

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyT5150 View Post
    I was wondering about re biasing. I read in the manual that whenever you change tubes that it is a good idea to get this done. I was wondering if this had something to do with the problems..



    So lets say that its a cap problem.. How much would you think it would cost to get something like this fixed? Also, what is the standard rate for re biasing an amp?

    Thanks so much for the help! As you might be able to tell, my knowledge of an amp's internal parts is fairly limited! Thanks again..
    The guy I go to charges 50 buck for rebiasing, but this can vary plus or minus 10 bucks or so. He uses the method where the tubes are installed, he'll do an initial bias, then run the amp overnight to "burn in" as he calls it, then rebias. I've been real happy with him and his attention to detail. My amps have never sounded or performed better.
    As far as the caps, mine cost me around $115.00. and again around the 50 dollar mark for labour which was like an hour or something. Mine had the old style Daly electrolytic caps, so the exact type can be a little tougher to get to keep things original.
    I know the newer more readily available ones are considerably cheaper.
    Last edited by we die young; 01.11.11 at 03:01 PM.

 

 

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