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VTypeV4

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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. IMG_20200329_213446 by VTypeV4, on Flickr IMG_20200329_214141 by VTypeV4, on Flickr IMG_20200329_213733 by VTypeV4, on Flickr Thought I'd try some arty shots.. Musically, the little setup works superbly. 😀
  2. SynkHomeCVD1920 by VTypeV4, on Flickr Despite all of the Covid-19 madness, I'm doing my best to keep the music going by taking half of the setup from the currently closed Rigger Venue. As can be seen, my 'Dual Unity' 02R is in service. It's nearly 9 years since I started this thread and six years or more since I purchased my first 02R. Despite all the time and as we head into April 2020, I'm still very happy with them. 😀
  3. Cheers, man! 😀 Nice to see they used the first part of my Trace V4 review as their description - do you think I'd get a discount? The old Fender is a bit 'looser' the way the power stage drives the speakers plus the natural compression is a bit more ever present. The Trace feels a bit more 'scooped' with all the controls set at noon but even with them adjusted to taste, it's always a little more 'hollow' sounding than the Fender.. I think I suggested in my review of the V4 that the Trace was still a 'modern' sounding amplifier and made comparisons to that of the Swedish EBS products - very much a classic modern classic if that makes sense?
  4. I'd forgotten that, ha! - Clive button ones have 'clive button' on them too..
  5. Evening, folks.. The two boards look similar but they're easily identifiable by a few bits.. The main heat sinks on the bi-polar bear are separate but it's a single bigger one on the CB, also the main caps are physically larger and the gizmo mentioned above is a transistor that has something to do with controlling the fan - has its own heat sink. As I recall, they're a direct drop in replacement - I did my own on the 4808 years ago. I never had any bother with it (although I had some bad joints on the pre-amp board) and it had plenty of power too..
  6. Overview: Developed during the mid '70s as an evolution of the former 'Super Bassman' and later 'Bassman 100' models, the Bassman 135 was released in 1977 and looked outwardly similar to it's predecessors albeit with a few revisions. The new model claimed more power with less distortion thanks to an ultra-linear output configuration plus extended tonal variations thanks to a new mid control on the 'bass' channel. Allied to the high powered 4-valve 135, a smaller, two-valve, lesser featured model appeared around the same time named the 'Bassman 70'. All models shared the late '60s 'silverface' cosmetics which had a silver control panel, blue printed writing and black skirted knobs. Sometime later, the 70 model was dropped but the 135 continued in production until 1983. There were a few cosmetic variations of the 135 over the years with the early eighties models being modeled on the mid '60s 'blackface' amplifiers. As for the cabinets, there were various models in the 'Bassman' range from compact 2x12" through to very cumbersome 4x12" with a few 1x15" and a couple of 2x15" enclosures. The enclosure discussed here will be the larger 2x15". It is a ported enclosure of 'average' double-fifteen size loaded with JBL 140 series speakers. They are vertically aligned unlike the smaller 2x15 which was usually supplied with the 50 and 70 watt amplifiers where the drivers are diagonally configured. The smaller cab doesn't give the flattest low end response as the box volume is very low whereas the larger cab is much better suited to the T/S spec of the JBL drivers. Most of the cabs of the time were loaded with 'Fender Special Design' drivers which were re-branded Eminence, Oxford, Jensen and Utah although the JBL units were available as a factory upgrade. Matching 135 grill by VTypeV4, on Flickr Features: The front panel is a simple affair with two channels labelled 'Bass' and 'Normal' - each have the same control set comprising of a volume, treble, middle and bass controls and two quarter inch jack inputs. The only difference in channels is a switch on with a 'deep' option for the bass channel and a 'bright' for the normal. On the far right, there's a master volume control and a 'jewel' style indicator lamp. On the rear, it's almost as simple starting with a voltage selector on the left, mains fuse and the mains / standby switches towards the centre of the panel. Next, there's two jack sockets for speaker connection although their labeling isn't quite as straightforward as earlier Fender designs which were just a parallel pair. There's a 'main' speaker connector and an 'ext speaker' both suggesting a minimum 4 ohm load. As I understand it, the 'main' one is a 4 ohm tap, the 'ext' an 8 ohm tap but when the two are used together, the switching jacks put the the connection in series so a single 4 ohm load, a single 8 ohm load or dual 4 ohm loads are correctly matched and even mis-matched 4 and 8 ohm loads are almost matched - it's all a bit complicated but the idea is a good one. The final jack socket is an unbalanced line out which is tapped from the output transformer - very handy for connection to a larger system or for recording - something I've used many times. Lastly, there's two recessed trim pots for setting of the output stage 'tube matching' and 'hum balance'.. The former sets the bias balance between the two pairs of output valves so they all pull the same - it becomes more handy if the valves are mis-matched although it's a nice feature to keep all four inline with each other. The latter of the two adjust the centre operating point of the heater circuit to keep hum to a minimum. 135 number ten by VTypeV4, on Flickr Sound quality: It's a classic Fender - say no more! The amp has a very much has a 'baked in' character with the tone controls merely being variations on a theme. To put it simply, it rather apologetically, sounds how it sounds. Whether it gets used with the Fender cab or any other of the cabs I have, it's vintage character shines through and rather unsurprisingly, it works best with traditional Fender basses too - my Squier Jazz works great. As to exactly what that vintage character is, it's pretty difficult to put into words until you put the sound into a mix at which point words like 'warm', 'fat' and 'it just fits' always seem come about. I do give it a helping hand to get a bit more of 'me' out of the rig by using it with a Yamaha NE-1 and a Boss LMB-3 although most agree, it sounds more like a vintage Fender with them rather than without. I should also mention that I 'jump' the channels together using both in parallel taking tonal benefits from both and generally making the whole thing sound a bit 'fatter' overall. I have used the rig for both live shows and recording sessions and for the most part, it's excelled. I sometimes feel I want to dial some extreme lows out but this is only ever at very high levels when using it live and suppose this compromise is part of it's vintage charm. Also using it live, the claimed 135 watts only go so far (even with the reasonably efficient JBL drivers) so sometimes the cleanliness at volume can be marginal with a noisy stage but having said that, I've never felt like I was under-powered either but as ever - YMMV. Where the rig truly shines is in the studio. I have the recording output connected to a DI box so between this and putting an SM57 on the cab, it's a great sound pretty much every time. When recording at my studio, for most genres, it's my go-to amp - pretty much everyone that has ever plugged into it has admired it's charms. With reference to the cab, the JBL drivers compliment the amp nicely and help to add a degree of 'thickness' to the sound. 140s don't have the efficiency or super bright edge of the famous 130s but they do have a solid low mid character and have much greater displacement capability which I believe add to the warm characteristic of the cab. Unlike a lot of vintage speakers of the time, the JBLs don't tend to fart or bottom out - they retain their composure at all volume levels and even by today's standards are still be considered to be a decent speaker. As a final note, the 135 doesn't outright 'drive' like other amps of similar vintage. Compared to earlier Fender amplifiers of the late fifties and sixties, the Marshall, Hiwatt, Ampeg, Vox ect, the Fender is very clean most of the way through it's volume range only breaking up right at the end of it's volume capability. Even the pre-amp stages of each channel can't really be pushed into overdrive until they're pretty much all the way up and even then, the breakup is harsh and not particularly pleasant sounding. The design engineer, Ed Jahns must have wanted clean and warm with minimal distortion hence the ultra-linear topology even if the claimed 135 watts RMS might have been a little optimistic. 803 Fender 135 b by VTypeV4, on Flickr Build quality and reliability: It's very good overall - I don't feel there's much to complain about. According to the serial number, my amp was built in 1981 so considering it's the best part of 40 years old and still firing on all cylinders, Fender must have done something right in the old Fullerton factory. The tolex / upholstery are well finished, the hardware including the handle still look original, the chassis is thick steel, all components look over-spec - especially the Schumacher mains and output transformers. Even the cloth and metal Fender badge on the front are still original. It has had some replacement caps before I had it plus I treated to new valves a couple of years back - JJ 6L6, ECC803 (long plate '83) and an ECC81. It has never missed a beat, popped a fuse or had any wobbly moments - truly rock solid. Buss bass by VTypeV4, on Flickr Bad bits: Not many other than the usual observations and compromises regarding 'vintage' equipment. To me, these include the fact that it's reasonably heavy (~20 Kg), the weight distribution is poor with the transformers being mounted at one end and centrally. The amp always 'dives' when it's picked up by the central handle. Also, it's not ridiculously loud compared to modern gear so it shouldn't be expected to compete like-for-like with something like an Orange Terror Bass 500 for example. I would expect the modern Bassman 100T and Ashdown CTM100 (about the closest current gear I can think of) will probably out perform the old 135 in terms of power and usable volume although their character is likely different. Lastly, being old it might require a little more maintenance down the road but having said that, I only changed the valves on principle - I still have two of the original US made Fender branded 6L6s . It's an oldie but a goodie! Bassman studio by VTypeV4, on Flickr Conclusion: It might not be for everyone but personally, I'm still very pleased with it 3 years on. It's limited with regards to what it will do and as I said previously, it's character is part and parcel of it. If you're used to valve amplifiers then this might be something slightly different (it's very different to my Trace Elliot V4 which is apparently based on Fender circuit) and if you've only ever plugged into modern SS amps, just try one as you might be surprised. New jj 6L6s 1217 by VTypeV4, on Flickr
  7. I paid £300 for my 135 a few years back.. It was in good shape generally and had a once over from a tech before I had it. I replaced the mis-matched output valves with JJ 6L6s plus I later replaced the pre-amp ones too.. I know I got a good deal for mine but consider the potential work needed on your prospective 100. They're pretty tough old things and generally easy to fix if there is an issue.. 😀
  8. +1 for Celestion and their 'Dr Decibel'.. I've found them very helpful in the past.
  9. 1502DT is the usual 'bass guitar' BW - they often crop up cheap on here.. The specs are a bit JBL 140-ish if I remember correctly.. Hope you solve the flapping.
  10. I've had my Streamer LX5 (5 string, bolt neck with twin jazz pickups) for nearly 20 years - still love it to this very day. They're distinctive with plenty of note definition so are particularly good at keeping you something like present in the mix both live and in the studio.. Love 'em..
  11. Keep us posted on that comparison.. I love my 135..
  12. Yamaha digital family by VTypeV4, on Flickr Yamaha digital family by VTypeV4, on Flickr Just a quick snap of small, medium and large.. The DM will go down to the studio tomorrow and hopefully be in service by the evening; the 02R (dual unity) will stay here at home and the 01V will likely go to the school to as it's small and handy..
  13. Hey Mike.. The Cluny was cool - he'd got it set up lovely especially the parallel vocal group with a TL Audio 5021 inserted. The other outboard was equally impressive with Drawmer 441s on the 'normal' channels and DBX 160s on the vocals, XTA Eq units on L/R & wedges plus Lexicon FX units - best analogue setup I've ever used. The RCF boxes were nicely setup with plenty of horsepower on tap although the room would benefit from a little treatment. As for the DM, it's very impressive to say the least. I've only used it on an acoustic night (3 channels - it'll do 96!) but it'll go into service at the studio hopefully later this week (I'm waiting on some Y splits) as there's a live album waiting to be mixed. It's like an 02R but on mega steroids with a gazillion more options, channels, routing facilities and fx - like I said, very impressive - can't wait to get this album started on it! 😀
  14. These were a true 'classic' - always loved the absolute brawn them - especially the black / steel grille versions.. Not entirely sure what they're worth these days but I'd expect to pay upwards of £500 as suggested above. Also suggested above is reference to the cabs - the 4x10 actually sound good but both are heavy and probably worth ~£100 each at best - probably less..
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