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About VTypeV4

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    Audio Specialist
  • Birthday 03/01/1983

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    North Staffordshire

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  1. As suggested above, the 250 / 280w Trace amps of the '90s aren't actually particularly bulky or heavy - 12 / 13kg.. Obviously the Elf takes compact and light to a new level by comparison but the older amps are still pretty manageable - especially compared to valve amplifiers. Personally, I'd opt for an SMC if you were looking at the 7-band range as I found the compressor to be far more useful than the EQ balance or second pre-shape of the SM - personally at least. The other thing to consider is there's lots of scope and control on the older amps between the graphic EQ / pre-shape for finding the sweet spot as opposed to the rather traditional 3-band rotary dials of the newer model. The other thing to consider is longevity vs cost. The Elf is new, full of clever but likely irreparable technology and despite being around for a few year or two now, will they still be going in 10 years time? Many of the older amps are at least 20 years old now (SM / SMX appeared in '92) but are still going like the day they came out of the factory plus, if they do fail, most decent techs can put them straight with little trouble. You'll likely get hold of a '300' SM / SMC for less than £200 and if you play the slightly longer game, less than £150 - a bargain when you consider how much these things were when new - twice or three times the cost of a new Elf and that was 20 years ago. Reading this back, it would seem like I have a dislike for and that I have little faith in the Elf but I don't, I just feel it's a very different product today with a different character than those from the heyday of Trace Elliot in 1980s / 90s.
  2. Since the world went bananas back in March, I've used the old Bassman rig a lot. As per many of my posts on here, I still love it's vintage charm, warm sound and soft delivery - it's a truly great rig. By contrast, the SMX rig is something from what feels to be a different planet altogether - it's tight, defined and flexible with an unmistakable punch. I'd also forgotten just how much power these big MOSFET output stages seem to have! Suffice to say, I'm a happy camper. 😀
  3. The 400 / 600 were pretty weighty - I'd estimate ~22 kilos. The more compact 250 / 300w heads were far more manageable in that 12 / 13kg as suggested. As for the light cabs thing, if I was still doing 3 or four shows per week then absolutely, yes but I haven't done that for years.. I've seen there's more than a few on here using exactly as described with a couple of Barefaced (or similar) and their Trace head - I expect it works great. The lightest things I've got are a pair of SWR Goliath Jr III (of which are notably lighter and more compact than their TE counterparts) - I'm only 20 years behind the curve! The Trace cabs will likely become a permanent feature at my studio which is no bad thing, really as they still sound fine. Thanks, it really is - having owned all one one point or another (300, 400 and 600), I'd say these are the jewel in the crown of the SMX series..
  4. Smx 1020 by VTypeV4, on Flickr Smx 1020 by VTypeV4, on Flickr
  5. Smx 1020 by VTypeV4, on Flickr Smx 1020 by VTypeV4, on Flickr This week I grabbed true bargain from the wonders of eBay.. Here we have a 400SMX, an 1153 & 2103H - classic Trace gear from the late '90s which still kicks a$$ more than 20 years later! I'll take it all to rehearsal later and see how it goes. I'd forgotten how good these things are despite weighing 10T..
  6. I bought a cheap Cecilio Soprano about 12 months ago from a friend - he'd previously had it serviced and re-padded.. Progress is a little 'glacial' but I'm very happy with it..
  7. Trace Elliot AH400SMX - bags of power, lots of EQ options and looked as cool as a cool thing..
  8. A few years back, I had an Ashton BV300 and that was pretty good - I'd probably still have it if I'd not got my Trace back.. Review here:
  9. My experience of valve swaps is somewhat varied. What I've found is that the same valve in a different circuit responds very differently. I swapped the cheap Chinese ECC83s out of my Fender Bassman a few years back and replaced them with long-plate JJ ECC803 types. There was a difference - they were definitely a bit bigger / fatter sounding adding a thickness but it wasn't a night and day contrast - maybe 10% at best which I found a little surprising.. By contrast, I put a set into my home built 60w 'Beavis' head (Marshall circuit - Linear L50 components) and that absolutely loved them! They made it sound bigger, bolder, brighter, cleaner and really added a new chapter to it's sound. I've no experience of the LB30 / CTM30 amplifier so can't comment on that but it sounds like it might be a great platform for a little experimentation..
  10. Yup, still using them exclusively - for bass at least.. DSC01673 by VTypeV4, on Flickr 135 number ten by VTypeV4, on Flickr Beavis nearly by VTypeV4, on Flickr I don't do many gigs these days but all definitely have their place at the studio..
  11. Risky Roch by VTypeV4, on Flickr Agree completely about the SWR cabs..
  12. Nice one, glad both your SMX and Hexa are back on form! 😀
  13. Given the pedigree of a Hexa (so very cool!), any valve(s) that's within spec will sound great. 😀 I've done lots of tube rolling over the years and I've found their individual characteristics vary rather more by the circuit they're in than the individual valves. So, my 60w head 'Beavis' has had all sorts of pre and power tubes in over the years and is usually my reference for testing. It's based on '60s / '70s Marshall circuit and generally brings out the 'character' of various valves very well. My little Laney VC30 is also great for this - wierdly, it sounds best (IMO) with the cheap small plate Sovtek valves in. The Fender 135 on the other hand still shows the character of the tube(s) but the effect is far less pronounced - possibly due to the lower gain of the Fender design. Your Trace is probably somewhere between the two - mine is. Bit of food for thought but like I said, when it's running correctly, you have a killer amp irrespective of what brand / version of valves are in it. 😀
  14. Personally, I don't think any amp is irrelevant or obsolete, just horses for courses..
  15. When a valve amp 'hums' it's sometimes a failing component or the bias is set a bit on the hot side. If your tech has been through the amp and you trust him, then it's probably fine - it might have been something as simple as a noisy mains supply. My current V4 and previous Twin Valve weren't noisy, nor was the V6 I borrowed but if your Hexa has the earth lift switches, it might be worth a flick - this was handy on the TV but the V4 doesn't have one. As for the '3rd' valve, I don't see one on the diagram and I'm pretty sure my Twin only had two also - think someone might be fibbing with their valve kits. I can't comment on the Mesa tubes but most are re-branded Sovtek / Reflektor which is no bad thing but I feel there's little point paying a premium for what's essentially a standard valve with a fancy badge. The gain stages in all the Trace amps are low to moderate at best so whilst additional shielding won't do any harm, you're better spending your pennies on a better grade of valve. When I feel the V-Type is due, I'll gladly do a JJ re-valve although it's working fine atm.
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