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Just gigged with my '65 DRRI, but having second thoughts

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by errikwong, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    Hey Strat-talkers!

    So I just did a gig with my top 40s band on Friday night, brought along the following setup:

    1. Warmoth/MJT Strat build (Lil' 59 neck humbucker, Pure Vintage '59 middle, LIl' 59 Bridge humbucker)
    2. Pedalboard (as shown in image)
    3. '65 DRRI with Eminence Texas Heat speaker, I plug into the "Normal" channel, which has been modified to share reverb and tremolo with the "Bright" channel. Bass at 5, Treble at 4, Volume at 4.

    AA4B537B-3220-4AFC-8809-7446D48678FB.jpg

    So as you can see from the set-up, I was standing to the left of the main "stage" area, with the amp angled upwards towards my head / the rest of the band.

    So I've always thought the DRRI would be the perfect pedal platform, and in many regards, especially at home, it fulfills this role exceptionally well. However, during the gig, I felt like the amp sounded somewhat harsh, especially in the top end. Also the mid-range felt somewhat hollow, but not scooped since I set up the EQ pretty much flat.

    Here's my question: what's wrong with my set-up? This is a top 40s band, covering everything from funk to pop and classic rock. I get the multiple sounds from the pedal board, and I always try to set my sound up such that it does not come across as harsh, but somehow the top end of the DRRI can come across as unpleasant.

    In my mind, I am thinking maybe I could change the speaker. If you share a similar prognosis, could you guys recommend a speaker that could fit this application a lot better?

    Thanks!
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  2. The Strat Dude

    The Strat Dude Dental Floss farmer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Swap the speaker to a C-rex they sound great loud and will mellow out that top end and add a touch of mids
     
  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana
    Was it mic’d?
    That makes a big difference.

    A good soundman can and will EQ it to where it will sound good, may just sound funky to you on stage. if it’s micd.. I’d turn it down closer to at-Home volumes and let the soundman do the work, and you can have it sound like you do at home.
     
  4. little_wing142

    little_wing142 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 24, 2010
    Piscataway, NJ
    It could be the room, sometimes the room bounces sound a certain way and sound hollow. That happens to my amps sometimes, I play a HR deluxe and a Fuchs BJ mk2. Also sometime I find that pointing the amp towards me is the worst sounds set up for me bc it’s blasting me with a bunch of top end. I keep on the ground pointing to my legs to round the sound.
     
  5. circles

    circles Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Man you ain't got no control over the environment you play in, that is a huge variable.
     
  6. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    push the volume up, way up, and back the guitar's volume pot off.
    problem solved.
     
  7. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    I did have a C-rex in this amp a while back, swapped it for the Texas heat because the C-rex was stifling the top-end somewhat. Might see if it works for the next gig, because I still have the speaker, but in a 1X12 cab.
     
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  8. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    The main area is very small and rather shallow but wide; pub maxes out at maybe 100-120 people, so to mic it up would kind of be overkill? That said, could be worth giving it a try.
     
    bhr17 and abnormaltoy like this.
  9. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    Sometimes I wonder if I should invest in an amp stand. But it's one more thing to bring along :(

    I agree that the environment plays a huge role in the resultant sound. The ceiling for this pub is quite low as well, and once the main area starts filling up with bodies, the sound reflections change. The room sounds lively though, great for a small band like the one I play in, but factually more suited to cosy acoustic gigs.
     
    circles likes this.
  10. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    I would agree if I was working a master volume amp that had a healthy amount of gain to ride with the volume knob. However, given the breadth of genres I have to cover with this band, I have to stick to pedals. Truthfully only a few pedals on my board react well, or react in a suitable manner to the volume knob.
     
  11. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    That's a shame because the Deluxe Reverb i am most familiar with is most responsive when pushed a bit. I find it very open and full sounding when running full out, or nearly so, while managing volume at the guitar.

    I'm not certain that this amp is suited to the blend of augmentation you've shown in the photo (sheer number of pedals you've got running into that thing is...impressive). Perhaps something with an effects loop would be more to your liking.

    I've found that I achieve the greatest sensitivity and tonal character out of mine when I drive it as suggested above...however I don't use pedals and the amp is an older version.

    I suppose that some experimentation with tubes could help. There are a number of substitutions in the preamp and pi sections that can deliver some very significant control features to the amp's dynamic range. And I believe, but am not certain, that the reissues can support 6L6s substituted in place of the 6V6s. That too can have a radical affect. As can the tubes themselves; some brands suck.

    You might also be able to introduce a degree of control by changing the volume pot in your guitar...from audio taper to linear - or vice versa.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    errikwong likes this.
  12. No457 Snowy

    No457 Snowy Strat-Talk Member

    41
    Sep 16, 2012
    Australia
    Try just rolling the Volume knob on the guitar back a tiny bit, usually rolling from 10 just back to 9 as your base setting and you can hear that hard to dial out harsh high end drop away without losing much gain at all, with that as your base tone then dial in your pedals. Also try the same with the guitar tone knobs. Was the Crex speaker broken in? Is the Texas Heat speaker broken in? All those things can contribute but running every knob on a Strat at 10 can really set up this problem right from the guitar.
     
    errikwong likes this.
  13. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    Yup, I appreciate that different people utilise different routes to get the tone in their head, and kudos for taking the path less trodden in this day and age!

    The funny thing about pedals is that while the board seems large (this is my "B" board btw... my "A" board actually has an effects loop switcher) all I'm doing is running 2-3 pedals at any given time; I have a tuner, SP comp (always on) and a Bluesbreaker clone going into the a Boss LS-2 that helps me alternate between "lighter" drive pedals (Lovepedals Brownface and Blackface Deluxe) and the "heavier" drive pedals (Lovepedal Purple Plexi, Friedman Dirty Shirley). All that goes into a Keeley Katana and Boss DD7.

    Yeah I was considering moving to JJ tubes (because they're cheaper and readily available) but reckon a speaker swap would have a bigger impact on the overall tone.
     
  14. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

    Age:
    30
    180
    Mar 11, 2018
    Singapore
    Yes both C Rex and Texas Heat have been broken in, no reason why they shouldn't be.

    I do have a 4 ohm Weber 12A150 (50 watt) lying around as well. Would be interesting to see how that works with the DRRI.
     
  15. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 8, 2014
    Minnesota USA
    `
    I'm not saying this is your problem, but I had the Texas Heat in one of my amps and had to crank the treble and dial back the bass in order to get a good top end sound, but that seemed to also accentuate the mids too much.

    I ended up switching to a brighter speaker (Jensen Mod) and was able to back off the treble and boost the bass, which balanced things out much better and nudged the amp into its sweet spot afaic.

    I only mention this as an example of how you might need to "think backwards" when it comes to choosing speakers, but I'm sure you also know that speaker swapping can be a fruitless and expensive venture, so I hesitate to recommend going that route until you've exhausted all the simpler, much cheaper routes suggested earlier.

    The first thing I'd try is bypassing all your effects. The reason I say this is that I have a Boss pedal with a buffer (The TU-2 Tuner) and I definitely hear a bump in the higher frequencies with it.

    I've also discovered that your guitar cord can make a huge difference since a poorly designed one can cause capacitance loading which may also force you to set the amp or effects up in a way that can potentially emphasize the harsher frequencies. I went with "Armor Gold" cables and can attest to hearing a significant improvement to my overall tone.

    Trying different guitars can be useful, since certain guitars work better with certain amps.

    I also agree that setting this particular amp's volume up while riding the guitar's volume can also be effective if done right.

    Unfortunately it's very difficult to tell exactly what is happening without playing your specific setup or observing your technique, so most of these tips are "shots in the dark" at best.

    Hope you figure it out and...

    Good Luck!


    `
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  16. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    maybe its just me, but with Fender amps, one of the things that gets lowered as the amps master is increased is the treble.

    I used a BD for years as my main amp, and I was playing mainly metal at the time. I had that amp set up as a mid range assault. The treble and presence didnt make it above 2, the mids were almost cranked, probably around 9 - 11 depending on the room. and the lows were hovering at around 6 so it wouldnt fart out. boosted the front end with a clean boost, and lined into a 4X12. it worked very well.

    home settings the treble and presence were around 6 on the dial with the master just a shade above audible.

    I think the DRRI is a great amp, and they can sound great. just have to tame the highs when you bring up the volume.
     
    Silverstrat69 and errikwong like this.
  17. shovelmike

    shovelmike Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 26, 2013
    Missouri
    How did the audience respond? You may have sounded much better than what you perceived.
     
  18. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 8, 2014
    Minnesota USA
    `
    That is a very good point, although I'd still argue that the performer has to be comfortable with their sound in order to get the best performance.

    But, if it does sound good to the audience, it may be as simple as pointing the amp in a slightly different direction as @little_wing142 pointed out too...


    `
     
  19. rolandson

    rolandson Most Honored Senior Member

    While I happen to prefer JJs (quality and consistency of their manufacturing) I was actually referring to preamp tube value substitutions...

    This will explain it, though I caution, because my experience is limited to my amp, that these substitutions are effective in the Fender AB763 circuit; I know nothing of the effect these might have in later productions.

    http://fenderguru.com/amps/deluxe-reverb/

    Scroll down and you'll find discussion of tube substitutions that might be of interest and could remedy your issue.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  20. Teddy Watkins

    Teddy Watkins Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2009
    Florida
    If the problem turns out not to be isolated, maybe try running both together and see if they balance each other out.

    I am also a fan of miking the amp but not really messing with the PA EQ too much. Definitely check what you hear on stage with what the crowd hears. Not all issues translate out. "Hollow" mids is kind of the blackface thing, isn't it.