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Merton

Ashdown OriginAL valve preamp/DI

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Posted (edited)

Seems there’s not a lot of info on these online,  nor are there any decent demos showing what it can do. Well, I plan with this thread to change the first of these points. There’s a demo as well but it’s debatable if it’s “decent”.

So... what is it?

A preamp/DI with 5-band EQ, a switchable valve drive circuit plus aux in and headphone out sockets. There’s a parallel output which offers a completely unaffected signal too, which I use to send a signal to a tuner and hence keep the tuner out of my main signal path.

Two foot switches control (left to right) the valve drive circuit and essentially an on/off for the main and DI outputs. This makes the parallel socket for my tuner make sense - hit “Showtime“ to mute the main outputs and just check tuning and then hit it again when you’re ready to make noises for everyone.

The clean 5-band preamp is superb and the valve drive circuit offers a huge range of tonal possibilities too, especially in conjunction with the input gain level. Use the “Drive Level” control to balance the clean and driven sounds in volume level, or use the valve as a boost, and you’re good to go.

There aren’t (m)any demos of this online so I set about using today‘s glorious sunshine and heat to hole myself up inside a roasting room and make a video, partly for the benefit of @Painy who doesn’t really want to watch this to get more GAS. Some sloppy playing in places but hopefully it gives a good indication of the capabilities.

 

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Edited by Merton
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It's really cool to finally hear a decent demo. I've really got to get me one of these now - it sounds awesome! 

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Thanks for your post! I wanted to make a demo too... But my camera broke so I haven't been able to do it. 

In my case, I used to have a Tone Hammer, which is an awesome preamp, but the OriginAL is just too good. I'm in love with mine.

The headphones input is noisy, but it's something I don't use/need so I don't really care about that.

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It would be great to have your demo too when you are able to! I'm going to do another one tomorrow to show it as a preamp in front of the Little Bastard head :)

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I LOVE the soft valve sound of the Eq and Valve in, Shape in settings. 

Nothing wrong with all the other sounds but that one in particular is fantastic. 

Thanks for taking the time to do this and for sharing. 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, stewblack said:

I LOVE the soft valve sound of the Eq and Valve in, Shape in settings. 

Nothing wrong with all the other sounds but that one in particular is fantastic. 

Thanks for taking the time to do this and for sharing. 

Cheers! That's my go-to setting as well. I'll be honest, when I first got the pedal I was a bit disappointed as I wanted it to do that but felt it was much to OTT - to the extend I started considering valve swapping. I believe it was @javi_bassist who suggested playing with the input gain and it really is the key to getting almost anything from super clean through to horrendous filth. Now it's become such an important part of my board that both my Darkglass Vintage Ultra and SansAmp BDDI are both destined for the FS forum.

Edited by Merton
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56 minutes ago, Merton said:

Cheers! That's my go-to setting as well. I'll be honest, when I first got the pedal I was a bit disappointed as I wanted it to do that but felt it was much to OTT - to the extend I started considering valve swapping. I believe it was @javi_bassist who suggested playing with the input gain and it really is the key to getting almost anything from super clean through to horrendous filth. Now it's become such an important part of my board that both my Darkglass Vintage Ultra and SansAmp BDDI are both destined for the FS forum.

Yes, I thought the same about the valve drive. Until I found out that the input gain really affected the valve drive. 

It is a really awesome unit for sure.

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2 hours ago, stewblack said:

I LOVE the soft valve sound of the Eq and Valve in, Shape in settings

This is so under rated. I never used the shape on my ABM as I found it too boomy, but after experimenting on the OriginAL its now on on the ABM too. Just cutting back on the bass a bit and adding a few high mids brings out a lovely sound. 

Swapping out the valve is going to be tough though. It's in its own little metal prison!

Oh and they exist in gold too. 

 

 

20200810_080523.jpg

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8 hours ago, javi_bassist said:

The headphones input is noisy, but it's something I don't use/need so I don't really care about that.

I asked Dave Green about this when I paid a visit.  It was my fault for using quality headphones.. :)

 

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1 hour ago, Muppet said:

I asked Dave Green about this when I paid a visit.  It was my fault for using quality headphones.. :)

 

Schoolboy error 🤦🏼‍♂️ 

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1 hour ago, Muppet said:

I asked Dave Green about this when I paid a visit.  It was my fault for using quality headphones.. :)

 

hahaha, well, I use their OV1 Meters

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Is it based off the ABM preamp? I really like my EVO IV and could be persuaded to change out my Sansamp for fly dates (assuming there are any more again...). Shame they left the compressor off - I know it's not the most well regarded comp but if you set up the input staging right it's nice to have in a pinch.

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12 minutes ago, borntohang said:

Is it based off the ABM preamp? I really like my EVO IV and could be persuaded to change out my Sansamp for fly dates (assuming there are any more again...). Shame they left the compressor off - I know it's not the most well regarded comp but if you set up the input staging right it's nice to have in a pinch.

I think it's more based on the RM series. The EQ of the ABM goes down to 40Hz and the OriginAL 100Hz. However, you get really close IMO. 

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1 hour ago, javi_bassist said:

I think it's more based on the RM series. The EQ of the ABM goes down to 40Hz and the OriginAL 100Hz. However, you get really close IMO. 

Yep - I think the RM and OrginAL (both this pedal and the head) share the same 5-band EQ. The ABM is a bit different. Personally find the bass control on this to work better for me I think, the one on the ABM is super low!

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4 minutes ago, Merton said:

Yep - I think the RM and OrginAL (both this pedal and the head) share the same 5-band EQ. The ABM is a bit different. Personally find the bass control on this to work better for me I think, the one on the ABM is super low!

I never boost the bass control on my ABM as I find it to be too low (more useful as a cut control in boomy rooms - as you would the red graphic slider on a Trace GP12 preamp) instead I tend to use the preshape to give it more depth and then compensate for the scoop by boosting the mids. 

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3 minutes ago, Painy said:

I never boost the bass control on my ABM as I find it to be too low (more useful as a cut control in boomy rooms - as you would the red graphic slider on a Trace GP12 preamp) instead I tend to use the preshape to give it more depth and then compensate for the scoop by boosting the mids. 

Yep - I use the bass as a cut only control on my ABM too, it never goes past 12 o'clock! 

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I used to use the 100Hz slider on my ABM600 for the low end so that I was adjusting the same frequencies as on my RM500. 
 

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I'm very tempted by these as front end to my Retroglide 800.  Has anyone tamed theirs by swapping the valve to a 5751 or is there something better available?

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34 minutes ago, obbm said:

I'm very tempted by these as front end to my Retroglide 800.  Has anyone tamed theirs by swapping the valve to a 5751 or is there something better available?

I tried to swap to a 12AT7 but it’s a bugger to get at the valve and I’m stinky poo at that sort of thing so didn’t pursue it 🤣 Can see using a lower gain calve would lead to some lovely results though :) 

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22 minutes ago, Merton said:

I tried to swap to a 12AT7 but it’s a bugger to get at the valve and I’m stinky poo at that sort of thing so didn’t pursue it 🤣 Can see using a lower gain calve would lead to some lovely results though :) 

Sounds like a bit of a challenge.  Just need to find one at a decent price now.

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How does it handle active and passive basses? I've had a go with lesser pedals that were great for passive basses but unusable for active. 

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On 11/08/2020 at 14:33, Painy said:

I never boost the bass control on my ABM as I find it to be too low (more useful as a cut control in boomy rooms - as you would the red graphic slider on a Trace GP12 preamp) instead I tend to use the preshape to give it more depth and then compensate for the scoop by boosting the mids. 

Exactly how I use the ABM bass too. It is great for that. Below it, the ABMs all have a steep HPF, so it works very well at attenuating rather than boosting the low-lows.

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2 hours ago, uk_lefty said:

How does it handle active and passive basses? I've had a go with lesser pedals that were great for passive basses but unusable for active. 

Very well. I was playing with my active Finn 5 through it just the other day and it sounded glorious. As with the other comments it’s about setting the input gain and valve drive to suit the bass, so you may find tweaking is required if you are swapping between basses

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