Helix....

Jan. 6th, 2016 05:34 pm
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
And since I have gotten it, I've been doing an awful lot of playing. :)

I can get my Marshall JCM800 50wt single-channel-no-reverb head and my c.1968 model 1968 4x12" cab sound to about 99% of the real thing, even through my stupid powered monitors. Through the Dickinson 2 x 12" combo, well, it sounds pretty damn amazing.

Update

Nov. 27th, 2015 05:51 pm
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Last night I went out with chaps from a band I was in at the turn of the millennium.

I'd met Paddy, the drummer, on the tube a few months ago, and we exchanged phone numbers. So I met him and Phil, the pianist/singer, in a pub in Battersea.

We all have partners and children now. Nannies and school fees are things with which we are all familiar.

But more importantly, everyone was itching to make music.

So...

Anyway, I'm still waiting on my Line 6 Helix. GuitarGuitar in Epsom have had my deposit since October. I rang them today and they prevaricated. Not impressed really.

TPA

Jun. 27th, 2011 01:37 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Last week was, for me, the end of an era.

I took my Marshall Halfstack and my 'Blackface' Twin home from Tin Pan Alley Studios.

Steve has been bought out of his tiny remaining share of TPA Studios and is now looking for a long-term engineering position somewhere in his locale. For more than a decade he was Mr TPA, or at least, Mr TPA Studios. He took his eye off the ball and the business went under as his marriage broke down, but who in such a position wouldn't? Some lesser person than him who didn't care as much about his marriage, probably. Oh well. Still there was a time when he owned a bit of the collective Rock 'n' Roll history of London, and a place where The Stones, The Kinks, Jimi, The Who, and countless others recorded or rehearsed.

Anyway I also brought home my old-fashioned pedalboard, which appears to be malfunctioning. If I go back to playing in any serious way I suppose I shall have to replace it.

Rehearsal tomorrow night. I shall have to reacquaint myself with the instrument.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
After lunch I went to John Dickinson's open day. I left young Henry with SWMBO and wended my way to Crystal Palace to see some of John's new amplifiers.

Blimey. Very impressive. He had a couple of highly polished combos which even Madame would allow in our front room: they're that pretty. They are also pretty pricey, coming in at around £4K. They do sound extraordinarily good though.

I doubt that I could justify buying another Dickinson amp so soon after the last one, so Madame shall not find herself with a new piece of drawing room furniture.
I also tried his point-to-point hand-wired tube pre-amp/overdrive pedal. Amazing, but again at £500 they ought to be. I'm considering buying one despite the fact that I'm hardly playing much at all. Depends if SWMBO will frown overmuch at such frivolous expenditure when we have other obvious expenses which rather take precendence.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So I've been 'getting stuck into' the Pod X3 Live.

The features, configurability, and versatility of the unit are phenomenal, and it is just about possible to get a reasonable sound with much programming and using the X3's 'Dual Tone' feature which puts your original guitar signal through two separate amplifier models and indeed two completely separate signal paths, before linking them both to a single output.

In comparison to my old Digitech GNX3 the amp models sound more accurate, but in some strange way (at least to this subjective analyser) less usable: because although slightly more accurate, they still aren't the real thing and they don't flatter my playing in the way the GNX3 modelling does.

The 'Dual Tone' feature is pretty cool, though the architecture of the output routing means that the blend of tones when outputted into a single amp makes it sound not entirely coherent, inasmuch as one can certainly detect both components of the tone produced. The Gear Box editing on the computer is very cool too.

Sometimes it seems that I can also detect anomalous digital audio artefacts buried in the sounds.

The X3 Live does show up the limitations of my old GNX3, but as of now, neither satisfies. I may just have to go the whole hog and buy the Axe Fx Ultra and dump both the others on ebay. We shall see.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Well, the Line6 Pod X3 live landed yesterday....and you know what: I can't get it to sound quite as I want it to yet. The programming isn't quite as intuitive as the GNX3 and reminds me of the old Yamaha DX7 synth in its architecture. This isn't a problem as I can vaguely remember getting around DX7 programming all those years ago: but it does presage a period of getting to know how all the parameters interact. This will mean I shall not take it out on gigs until I've got it programmed to my satisfaction, and also until I'm completely familiar with it in terms of system architecture etc. There are a few online resources that I have subscribed to: it pays to forage on the knowledge of those who have gone before.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Today I went to Jon Dickinson's workshop in Crystal Palace to get my No3 Strat that he was fettling, my fixed 'Blues Deluxe' and a custom built Dickinson 45Wt 2x12 combo made in the chassis of an old Selmer type vertically stacked 2x12. The Celestion 12's have been reconed, and the amp itself is hand-wired with no PCB's (printed circuit boards). I might get around to taking photographs, but I've never sorted web-hosting for that sort of thing....so maybe not.

It has 2 inputs (1 guitar, 1 line), 2 switches, 1 green light to show it's working and ONE volume knob.

No bass, mid, or treble; no presence; no master volume; no anything else. It sounds amazing straight through: big, brash, and with real 'weight' and a certain amount of 'thud'. Putting the Digitech GNX3 into the line input and the amp is just awesome....and how often have any of you known me to use that word? The Marshall emulations sound like a good Marshall (and almost as good as mine); the various Fender models sound extraordinarily close to the real thing. This could also be because I've tweaked the programs over the years to suit my ears and understanding of the actual sounds being emulated.

The Line6 Pod X3 live arrives tomorrow. If it is any better than the GNX3 I may have found my perfect rig: and not just for the function band. Of course I won't sell my Marshall half-stack or my 'Blackface Twin', but even so it is phenomenal that a combination of digital modelling and old-fashioned valves and point-to-point wiring can fool these ears: I must be getting old and decrepit. Either that or finally we can has nice things at a reasonably affordable price (for a given value of 'affordable' obviously).

Dickinson Amps cost a heap of money for the main aluminium-bodied range: which I didn't audition as I only really approve of shiny in the bedroom. A few big names use 'em and rightly so. Apparently some chap called Matt Bellamy who is in some pop group or other swears by them: and I can now agree that the amps Jon Dickinson makes sound really very good indeed. Now to road-test the beast for reliability: I shall report back as and when.

It looks like we may have a dep for the function band. [livejournal.com profile] felephant was kind enough to offer, but he's in St Andrews, which is quite a step from Wimbledon, where the gig is.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Bl**dy f******g 'blackface twin' has gone down too. Obviously, I have offended the god of amplifiers (I would never blaspheme my Marshall, however), and needs must make restitution. The engineer/priest I use is a chap called John Kelly, who works out of Islington, but getting to him is a bit difficult at present with all the stuff to do at home. Will try to find time tomorrow. 3 hour round trip avoiding congestion charge, 2 1/2 hrs if I pay the charge. £8 for half an hour's driving saved - have to think about it. J.K. charges £40 per hour and is worth every penny - and furthermore, I trust him with my babies, which is difficult to do. But the congestion charge irritates me, even though I know it is, objectively speaking, a good thing.

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