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MoJ

DHA VT2 Dual Bass "Cryo" Review

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[attachment=620:VT2_2.jpg]

My review of a DHA VT2. Apologies for the quality of the pic. I used my phone as it was more a case of remembering settings as Ive finally got 'the sound' that Im after :huh: (11/6/07)
If you're new to these,then a brief decription.
This is a bass specific twin valve,twin 'channel' pedal enabling the user to get a variety of overdrive and distortion sounds,with options to change the sound within that remit via some diodes and a colour control which adds slight compression,and also to 'tone' switches.One for treble(bright) and one for bass(fat).Also,for those with differing outputs on basses there is an input volume control too.

1st things 1st,its true what peole who have dealt with Dave Hall say,in that he is a 1st class man.Always ready to answer any questions(well,anything relating to his pedals thats for sure..)and really does know his onions!

After many months(and we're talking an age here)of indecision and financial inadequacy,I got round to ordering a pedal from Dave.

Id seen these things up Ebay before I knew about Bassworld,and even from then Dave was willing to help guide me into the right choice,but it was fom a post in Basstalk that I finally plumped for the VT2 Dual and stuck it on my credit card.
I have a Yamaha bass Magicstomp,and though I have(finally) managed to tweak a great overdrive from that,I can never quite balance the level of it right,and having to go through so many sub-menus is a nightmare.Added to that I get bored easily if I cant find a sound easily.So,I wanted something that I could replace the overdrive side of it and make things easier.The patch I use on it is based on a tube preamp,which added to my reasoning in getting a DHA pedal.

What I have is number 0361 in black,with silver righting and the cryogenically frozen valves you may have heard of.
1st got to try in a lesson I was giving as it came in the morning before work,so thought Id do a "creative tools" lesson!Basically "can I try my pedal out while we're here,Ive been waiting soooo long for it"...
I couldnt quite contain myself upon opening it,and my initial thoughts on this,before Id even plugged anything was that this thing is solid.I mean,its the size of a brick(which I dont worry about as I dont have a pedal board)and Im fairly certainly you could kill someone with it(in fact I think I could take out the 1st 5 rows at a gig with this thing sonically).Because its in black too it just looked even more solid.Dont get me wrong,the paint jobs Dave does as standard are fine,but all my pedals are black and I just wanted one in black.
On top of it looking solid,I should add that it IS solid.The control [kitchen hob]s all firmly fixed to the case,and there is no wobble and they turn smoothly,but with resistance so there is no overshooting the mark or chance of moving something with a slip of the foot.
Robust :)

So,onto the sound.Even through my pupils tiny 10 watt amp,this thing sounded wild!Everything up on max on 1+2 and if you're not playing anything the feedback is just unbelievable.Even when you are playing,nothing became indestinguishable unlike some overdive/distortions Ive tried.
Backing off the gain I could start to here the sound I was after,and could only imagine what this thing was going to sound like through my set-up.

Fast forward a few days(if only for the sake of [i]trying[/i] to keep this short!)and Id been messing with through my computer speakers via the headphone out on my Magicstomp.Knowing that the speakers arent the best thing for an accurate sound its all I have at home as my rig stays at the bands rehearsal space,but the speakers allowed me to hear the top end of the sound which is what Im most interested in.I like having fairly transparent overdrive,in that I like hearing some of the sound of my strings through it,at whatever setting I have it too,from just 'grit' to full on Timmy C outrageous.Playing a Ric 4003,I like the chimey(some may say clangy) sound I get with steel roundwounds,and the overdrive just helps accentuate this and sits around that area too.As one of the guitarists in my band said during a recording session of my Yamaha pedal,it gave it a more metal sound.Yes,we do play metal but Im sure he meant as in you could hear the metal strings.Make sense?No?Good!

Sadly,with the cryo valves I wasnt quite getting the grind I wanted.It was defintiley fat though!
Armed with the fact that valves are replacable and will alter the tone,fast forward to yesterday,the 2 valves Id ordered to try out had arived.A JJ Tesla ECC83s and a standard(non-cryo)Electro Harmonix 12AX7(which is what Dave fits in all his pedals as standard I believe).
Now I know nothing about electronics other than as a kid I used to take a lot of toys(even an old computer at one point)apart.I may not have got round to putting them together but Im used to seeing PCBs and wiring at least.When I got inside the VT2 this thing is tidy.No unneccessary wiring and its pretty jammed packed too.
Also,its worth noting that these pedals arent just essentailly 2 VT1's,they are 2 VT1's.The PCB even said on each one VT1 MK3.
The two valves were swapped about,trying them in both positions and with the original cryo's too.
Ive now arrived,if only with the JJ ECC83s,at the tone Im looking for,which is the transparency,so thats now happliy residing in postion one.I may just get another to go in 2,but Im stilll going to try out a few more,especially the Mullards I hear Brycebites rave on about :huh:

The pedal is now fully tested through my rig and a band setting,as I promised Dave I would wait to do this until that had happend so I could get a propwer opinion.
I have to say that the time its taken me to get one of these,Im not dissapointed.Its still not quite what I wanted and couldve expected,but in all honesty(as I think some other reviews have said)its exacley what I needed.
On all settings this thing has a full sound across the range,and even brought me through the mix that little bit more.Only for the very quiet bits did turn the pedal off,and had channel 1 set for just a bit of grit and to bring out that 'chime/clang'.Going a little up from there brings you into more crunch area,which is what I have channel 2 set for,and I cant wait to get another valve in that position to try.
There is no loss in bottom end what-so-ever either,and the overdrive you get isnt harsh or brittle,but a nice soft kind of sound.
For those looking to get a warmer sound,then I would suggest looking at changing valves around to match the sound you want.Ive found its not that hard and some valves really arent expensive either.Ive found some Mullards on Ebay going for less than a fiver!

I should add a couple of things at this point.
Firstly,I personally havent had the need to use the silicon or germanium settings yet.Nor the colour either.The valves on their own do more than enough :huh:
Secondly,there was initially a significant rise in volume going from 1 to 1+2 which Id spoken to Dave about and is quite natural,and I guess is to be expected with a rise in gain.Dave suggested yo control that with a higher gain setting a using my bass's volume.However having changed the valves,I dont get it to the same degree.Still there,but barely noticable.It may all change with changing the 2nd valve,but I guess thats half the fun of valves!
My only gripe(and its a very small one)is that maybe I shouldve have gotten the custom version to have the EQ section,but now that Ill be leaving it on for the most part of my playing,I can just adjust the EQ on my head instead.

Sorry for the long-winded review.I can only hope that with some of the background you have a more informed opinion/decision.
For any doubters,basically this pedal will do any sound you like.Just swap out the valves,its easy enough.And if you dont require the extra grunt of a 2nd valve,as I said above,these things are 2 VT1's put in the same box so you'll get the same sound from any of Dave's pedals,I guess including the Fatguts.

Right,I should leave it there as no doubt you'll all have fallen asleep or dies of boredom.
Andy
PS,I am in no way affiliated with Dave or DHA.
Il try get some pics up over the weekend if I can....

Edited for spelling :huh:

Edited by MoJ

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Excellent review my friend! You've got me interested in swapping valves in my VT2 now! I was surprised when you said your pupil's 10 watt amp with everything maxed. My 300 watt amp clips like a madman when i maxed everything, not to mention nearly deafens me!

Good call on Dave being a nice guy too, makes the pedal seem even better when the customer service is top notch!

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[quote name='umcoo' post='2141' date='May 19 2007, 11:30 AM']Excellent review my friend! You've got me interested in swapping valves in my VT2 now! I was surprised when you said your pupil's 10 watt amp with everything maxed. My 300 watt amp clips like a madman when i maxed everything, not to mention nearly deafens me!

Good call on Dave being a nice guy too, makes the pedal seem even better when the customer service is top notch![/quote]

Glad you liked it :)
Even better you got all the way through it,if only for my cr*ppy spelling!Really bad but Im blaming it on my cold and I havent got the energy to go back through it and change it all.
Its thanks to Brycebite's [url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=42"]Preamp Valve Comparison[/url] list that I had some vague idea of what valves may suit the sound I wanted.So thaks to Brycey :huh:
It really is easy to do,especially if someone like me can do it.And its worth it just to se what other sound are available.
One bit of advice though,which was given to me(Bryce again I think)is to not touch the valve directly as the oil in you skin can shorten the valve life.I just used kitchen paper towel to grab hold of them.
Worth noting that although Watford Valves arent cheap,they do have some good descriptions of the valves,as in some places do Hot Rox.
Worth checking Ebay for valves too.
As for maxing things out,its fun but I doubt Ill ever need to.Just nice to have the option though and if anything,coupled with a compressor after it my Trace head didnt clip once.Even without a compressor the VT2 actually seemed to even out my playing.Awesome!
Thanks for your comments umcoo!
Andy

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Ok,quick update.
after speaking to Dave via email(the man knows no bounds where customer support is concerned!)I now realise that it was the EH valve in position 1 I liked all along.
Still,not gonna stop me from trying out different valves.I still want to see if I can refine position 2 a little more.
Andy

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Hey MoJ. Just wondering what settings you have your DHA set to? I have boost on full, gain 1 just over 9oclock, gain 2 about 4 oclock and 2>1 about half 8. Lets me have nice clean valve tone then a really warm fuzz when i kick in the 2nd channel.

Cheers

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[quote name='umcoo' post='7757' date='May 27 2007, 07:16 PM']Hey MoJ. Just wondering what settings you have your DHA set to? I have boost on full, gain 1 just over 9oclock, gain 2 about 4 oclock and 2>1 about half 8. Lets me have nice clean valve tone then a really warm fuzz when i kick in the 2nd channel.

Cheers[/quote]

Right,well after palying with valves again last night,the settings Ive got it on now are based on having the cryo valves back in(just something Dave said that got me thinking).

The only switches I have on are the Fat switch(not sure its doing much and Dave said it works better on guitar but its called
Fat,why wouldnt you want in on??)and the treble switch,which just pulls my original tone through the overdrive.The extra 'fuzz' that creates I just EQ out on my head.I dont turn this thing off now!
I/p pad incindently is set all the way on.Gain 1 is around 1:30,and this varies up to about 2/2:30 depending on how much grit I want.Anywhere around there allows me to get a really nice transparent 'grit'.
Gain 2 isnt too dissimalr to yours and thats around half 4.Dave's labeled mine 1>2,and thats about 10 o'clock.Its about as much OD as I can get really before that grinding edge of my tone gets lost.Not that anything above that doesnt sound good,I just dont think I need anything more.
All thats then matched to my 'clean' level when bypassed.

I have to say,if you like what I can only describe as a glassy tone,then try the cryo's [b]umcoo[/b].Especially if you like the standard EH valves Dave's put in yours.I say its galssy,because its like my normal clean tone and very transparent,but with a bit of extra shine too it.

Ill see if I can try out your settings if I have time before my gig tonight.
Thanks [b]umcoo[/b].
Oh,and thanks [b]Finnbass[/b] for your comments :)
Andy

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[quote name='MoJ' post='7981' date='May 28 2007, 10:34 AM']Right,well after palying with valves again last night,the settings Ive got it on now are based on having the cryo valves back in(just something Dave said that got me thinking).

The only switches I have on are the Fat switch(not sure its doing much and Dave said it works better on guitar but its called
Fat,why wouldnt you want in on??)and the treble switch,which just pulls my original tone through the overdrive.The extra 'fuzz' that creates I just EQ out on my head.I dont turn this thing off now!
I/p pad incindently is set all the way on.Gain 1 is around 1:30,and this varies up to about 2/2:30 depending on how much grit I want.Anywhere around there allows me to get a really nice transparent 'grit'.
Gain 2 isnt too dissimalr to yours and thats around half 4.Dave's labeled mine 1>2,and thats about 10 o'clock.Its about as much OD as I can get really before that grinding edge of my tone gets lost.Not that anything above that doesnt sound good,I just dont think I need anything more.
All thats then matched to my 'clean' level when bypassed.

I have to say,if you like what I can only describe as a glassy tone,then try the cryo's [b]umcoo[/b].Especially if you like the standard EH valves Dave's put in yours.I say its galssy,because its like my normal clean tone and very transparent,but with a bit of extra shine too it.

Ill see if I can try out your settings if I have time before my gig tonight.
Thanks [b]umcoo[/b].
Oh,and thanks [b]Finnbass[/b] for your comments :)
Andy[/quote]

Hi all,

I am glad you guys are all talking to each other about your settings and I find it very useful too.

On the 2>1 or 1>2 thing - I changed the signal path on the latest pedals so that channel 1 is always first in the chain and drives channel 2 when in 1+2 mode. It used to be channel 2 drove channel 1. You will still be able to get the same tones but your settings may be not the same.

The treble boost or bright switch adds a 500pF cap across the level pot this is an old Fender trick on their amps. It only has an effect when the level is not on full and removes the muddy tone on lower level settings. Many guitar players add mod this to their guitar's volume control for the same reason.

The fat switch adds a tad more gain and increases the bass response, if your bass EQ is set high then you won't hear it so well. It's great on guitar.

BTW, get your band's guitar players to try them as the bass versions work great for guitar as well.

Dave

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[quote name='nedsbeds' post='7999' date='May 28 2007, 11:10 AM']We still need some pics of the finish..![/quote]

Ah...yes...urm...actually,I dont have any batteries for my camera at the moment and I wouldnt want to do it on my phone,as that just wouldnt do it justice.
Will see what I can do this week.

[quote name='DHA' post='8000' date='May 28 2007, 11:11 AM']Hi all,

I am glad you guys are all talking to each other about your settings and I find it very useful too.

On the 2>1 or 1>2 thing - I changed the signal path on the latest pedals so that channel 1 is always first in the chain and drives channel 2 when in 1+2 mode. It used to be channel 2 drove channel 1. You will still be able to get the same tones but your settings may be not the same.

The treble boost or bright switch adds a 500pF cap across the level pot this is an old Fender trick on their amps. It only has an effect when the level is not on full and removes the muddy tone on lower level settings. Many guitar players add mod this to their guitar's volume control for the same reason.

The fat switch adds a tad more gain and increases the bass response, if your bass EQ is set high then you won't hear it so well. It's great on guitar.

BTW, get your band's guitar players to try them as the bass versions work great for guitar as well.

Dave[/quote]

Thanks Dave.
See,this is a great example of Dave's service he offers.No BS and enjoys seeing users of his product get more out by knowing more about it themselves.

I do find the treble boost really useful.Does make the overdrive a bit fizzy but I EQ that out on my head now that I dont turn the pedal off.The cap you use seems to me to be just in the right part of the spectrum and as you say Dave,it stops things getting too muddy.

As for the guitarists using it,well,they'll have to get it from my cold dead hands 1st!But,I had thought about getting them to try it and see what they thought.Being as we all tune to B the bass version may be more appropriate for them and they both use tube amps too so they that could be interesting.

Andy

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[quote name='presoulnation' post='10008' date='May 31 2007, 04:48 PM']Good informative review that is. Any chance of sound clips?[/quote]

Hey there Presoulnation.
Thanks.Glad people arent bored to tears by it :)
Well,Ive yet to get round to photoing it yet let alone sound clips.Not even sure how I would get them posted up here.The other main problem is I only have Audacity which in itself isnt a problem,but I dont have the required plugins to convert files to wav or mp3.
Looks like thats my Sunday gone!Nah,no problems.Ill see what I can do as I think people desrve to hear what these pedals sound like.
Andy

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Ok, a pic finally added.
As Ive edited the original post to say, apologies for the quality. It was done on my phone and Ive done my best to 'tidy' it up but the pic was more a case of having a reference for the setiings now Ive sorted out my tone on my amp, so I had to adjust the levels and gain appropriately.
Ill do my best to get some sound up when I can.
Thanks
Andy

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Thanks for the review (yes, I read all of it)! So, if I understand correctly the 2 channel configuration works like on the Fulltone Bassdrive? That is, if you push the second button it won't do anything unless the first button is pushed in as well? Any comparison between the Bassdrive and this one? Oh, and +1 for soundclips. You can host them at www.putfile.com .

Edited by Dragonlord

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Dave has recently added some sound clips on his website [url="http://www.davehallamps.co.uk/Sound.html"]DHA Sound Clips[/url]

Pete.

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Yep, already heard those, but it's always nice to have more samples to get a better idea of what a pedal can do, plus I don't think the one heard on Dave's site has cryo tubes.

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Hi MoJ,

I've been looking at the DHA pedals for a while but since i can't try them out anywhere am quite reluctant to just go for it. I am looking to get that really aggressive but very transparent driven tone that dirk lance gets on some of his work on incubus (Out from under, have you ever, under me umbrella)

I know he got his sound from essentially bending a big muff with his dry sound, Do you think that one of daves pedals would be able to pull this off? And if so can it be done in the channel 1 section or does it need more drive than that? As i could always get a vt1 mark 3 if you can get that sound in channel 1.

Here are some links to the songs if you don't have them yourself;
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5HM1OHnruU"]Out From Under[/url]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhv9FrTrt-g"]Have You Ever[/url]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5n9vfEumbw"]Under My Umbrella[/url]

Cheers

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