question of headroom

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ironlung40
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question of headroom

Post by ironlung40 » Sun May 21, 2017 12:43 am

Hello All,

I may be loosing my hearing or my tastes are just changing a bit, but I am wanting more headroom all the time.

My main amp is an OR120 pix/text. I have had master volumes on it and had it off as well. I dig the amp stock without the master volume but over time find myself wanting more headroom. It begins to crunch too early for me, at about 10 to 11 on the dial. I run humbuckers with an SG or P90's with an SG.

I have thought about MATAMP GT120, wonder if it sounds similar without enough extra headroom to notice and make it worth it.

I have thought about finding an OR120 Slave head.

I have thought about Hiwatts but think they may be too hi-fi for the sound I crave.

I have thought about a Sunn Model T. I dig their tone from some youtube clips I have heard, but do they have more headroom than a stock OR120?


Any ideas?
Sincerely,
Ironlung40
OR120 Pix
Tiny Terror HW
Rocker 30 combo
Gibson SG 61'--Gibson RD Standard--Gibson SG Special 67'
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fiveightandten
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Re: question of headroom

Post by fiveightandten » Sun May 21, 2017 5:25 pm

Well, the OR-120, by nature is an amp for overdrive. It doesn't have a lot of clean headroom, for the power level. That being said, you must be playing at pretty impressive volume levels if it doesn't have enough headroom for you. It's a LOUD amp.

Speakers:What speakers are you using? If you're not running it with V30's, or something with a similar efficiency (100 dB), then that's something that would make a noticeable improvement in the perceived headroom of the amp. That would be the first place I'd look.

Settings: If the FAC knob is to the left, you'll have less headroom. If you're plugging into the high gain input, you'll have less headroom.

Bias: Bias can also have a have an affect on headroom, especially with that amp, as can tube type and brand.

Circuit:And lastly, depending on what year it is, the later amps break up earlier than the early 70's circuits did. It's not a huge difference, but coupled with other changes, that could make a difference.

Hiwatts have absolutely stupid amounts of headroom. They really need be working to overdrive. The EQ is extremely powerful on Hiwatts. It's not a normal FMV tone circuit. With everything at 12:00, they can sound somewhat hi-fi. But if you crank the mids up and back off the treble, they get pretty raunchy sounding when overdriven. Nothing has the overdrive texture of an OR-120. But a Hiwatt can get be dialed in to sound in a similar vein. They're great amps, and if you want headroom out of a tube amp with British overdrive, that's where I'd be looking.

You can hear a Hiwatt up against an OR-80 here. They're dialed in pretty clean, but it'll give you an idea of the Hiwatt overdrive character:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=424Hv4dg3Yw

This clip doesn't sound particularly good (phone mic and attenuator), but this will give you an idea of how dirty a Hiwatt an get: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqdtgoa_2xk
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a.hun
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Re: question of headroom

Post by a.hun » Mon May 22, 2017 9:24 pm

ironlung40 wrote:
Sun May 21, 2017 12:43 am
I have thought about Hiwatts but think they may be too hi-fi for the sound I crave.

Any ideas?
Don't ever go thinking that Hiwatts sound 'sterile'. Their cleans are just gloriously rich and though I love big Fender cleans for me the Hiwatt tops the list. And as Nick said their EQ is very useable and effective. You can get all sorts of different wonderful sounds from them.

Headroom needed? Way to go - seriously! ;)


Andy.
aNDyH. :wink:

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In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find!

ironlung40
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Re: question of headroom

Post by ironlung40 » Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 pm

Thanks for the input.

and I knew Andy would say Hiwatt!!! didn't expect 5810 to also say it.

If anyone knows a thing about the model T as well, please chime in.

As for speakers: I have been running it through G12H30's in an orange 40th anniv. cabinet. I can get mine to crunch up at around 10:00 on the dial....If I go much higher and dig in it really starts to get overdriven. I have a v30 cabinet as well, but I much prefer the G12H30's. They are a lot smoother and bloom better to my ears with the OR120. I have ran both cabinets together and while it sounds great ( a good combination) , I feel that the 8ohm setting on the amp changes the feel a bit and I just don't prefer it.

Settings: I usually keep the FAC at 2 to 3 clicks from the left, but prefer 2 clicks or I guess that would be on the 3rd setting, and I have learned to roll the treble back as higher treble leads to more overdrive as well. I keep the lows at about 1 o'clock and the HF between 11 and 2 o'clock depending on what I am doing

Bias: Not sure, but I bet I set it at approximately 35 to 37 mv, maybe need to lower that a bit as I have heard these do o.k. with a "colder" bias?

Circuit: I have 2...pix/text and a pix only....the pix only is definitely cleaner but not by a landslide

It currently has EL34's in it from JJ. I have been thinking about E34L or 6AC7's...to try. Would 12at7's sound o.k. in the preamp? If so, what brand would be decent for those?


Thanks for the videos. That Hiwatt does sound good. I never doubted the tone they have, as I have heard some great stuff out of them.
Sincerely,
Ironlung40
OR120 Pix
Tiny Terror HW
Rocker 30 combo
Gibson SG 61'--Gibson RD Standard--Gibson SG Special 67'
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a.hun
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Re: question of headroom

Post by a.hun » Tue May 30, 2017 10:16 am

ironlung40 wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 pm
...I knew Andy would say Hiwatt!!! didn't expect 5810 to also say it.

...Thanks for the videos. That Hiwatt does sound good. I never doubted the tone they have, as I have heard some great stuff out of them.
Well, of course I'd say Hiwatt. I've been a fan since first trying one in the early '80s, and many other amps later that hasn't changed. Nothing else like them. But Nick (5/8&10) is definitely in on the secret too. He actually BUILT a 50W clone you know... 8)

Big difference between hearing the tones on YouTube and experiencing them for yourself. Hiwatts always had the reputation of being both cleaner and louder than the Plexi Marshalls. A lot of that is down to not just sheer power but also tonality and well sorted gain and power supply specs. Some amps just sound loud for their wattage. What gets me with the Hiwatt is that it sounds so solid and full yet sweet, but not only at high volumes. At any given volume whatever you put through it (bass, guitar, keys, whatever) just sounds 'bigger' than I can manage with any of my other amps. I use it a lot at living room volumes too!

Maybe you'll get to try a nicely sorted one one day through your G12-H cab and find yourself going 'Duh - well Andy (and Nick) did say...!' :wink:


Andy.
aNDyH. :wink:

Ever tried to outstare a mirror?

In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find!

pedecamp
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Re: question of headroom

Post by pedecamp » Tue May 30, 2017 3:30 pm

ironlung40 wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 pm
Thanks for the input.

and I knew Andy would say Hiwatt!!! didn't expect 5810 to also say it.

If anyone knows a thing about the model T as well, please chime in.

As for speakers: I have been running it through G12H30's in an orange 40th anniv. cabinet. I can get mine to crunch up at around 10:00 on the dial....If I go much higher and dig in it really starts to get overdriven. I have a v30 cabinet as well, but I much prefer the G12H30's. They are a lot smoother and bloom better to my ears with the OR120. I have ran both cabinets together and while it sounds great ( a good combination) , I feel that the 8ohm setting on the amp changes the feel a bit and I just don't prefer it.

Settings: I usually keep the FAC at 2 to 3 clicks from the left, but prefer 2 clicks or I guess that would be on the 3rd setting, and I have learned to roll the treble back as higher treble leads to more overdrive as well. I keep the lows at about 1 o'clock and the HF between 11 and 2 o'clock depending on what I am doing

Bias: Not sure, but I bet I set it at approximately 35 to 37 mv, maybe need to lower that a bit as I have heard these do o.k. with a "colder" bias?

Circuit: I have 2...pix/text and a pix only....the pix only is definitely cleaner but not by a landslide

It currently has EL34's in it from JJ. I have been thinking about E34L or 6AC7's...to try. Would 12at7's sound o.k. in the preamp? If so, what brand would be decent for those?


Thanks for the videos. That Hiwatt does sound good. I never doubted the tone they have, as I have heard some great stuff out of them.
Talk to your tube supplier and see what they recommend to replace some of your 12AX7's or all of them with a lower gain tube. Here's the factor: 12AX7=100%, 5751=70%, 12AT7=60%, 12AY7=45%, 12AV7=41%, 12AU7=19%. Read up on these tubes and see what their characteristics are tonally and how they will help your situation.
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Les Paul Lover
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Re: question of headroom

Post by Les Paul Lover » Tue May 30, 2017 7:31 pm

pedecamp wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 3:30 pm
ironlung40 wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 pm
Thanks for the input.

and I knew Andy would say Hiwatt!!! didn't expect 5810 to also say it.

If anyone knows a thing about the model T as well, please chime in.

As for speakers: I have been running it through G12H30's in an orange 40th anniv. cabinet. I can get mine to crunch up at around 10:00 on the dial....If I go much higher and dig in it really starts to get overdriven. I have a v30 cabinet as well, but I much prefer the G12H30's. They are a lot smoother and bloom better to my ears with the OR120. I have ran both cabinets together and while it sounds great ( a good combination) , I feel that the 8ohm setting on the amp changes the feel a bit and I just don't prefer it.

Settings: I usually keep the FAC at 2 to 3 clicks from the left, but prefer 2 clicks or I guess that would be on the 3rd setting, and I have learned to roll the treble back as higher treble leads to more overdrive as well. I keep the lows at about 1 o'clock and the HF between 11 and 2 o'clock depending on what I am doing

Bias: Not sure, but I bet I set it at approximately 35 to 37 mv, maybe need to lower that a bit as I have heard these do o.k. with a "colder" bias?

Circuit: I have 2...pix/text and a pix only....the pix only is definitely cleaner but not by a landslide

It currently has EL34's in it from JJ. I have been thinking about E34L or 6AC7's...to try. Would 12at7's sound o.k. in the preamp? If so, what brand would be decent for those?


Thanks for the videos. That Hiwatt does sound good. I never doubted the tone they have, as I have heard some great stuff out of them.
Talk to your tube supplier and see what they recommend to replace some of your 12AX7's or all of them with a lower gain tube. Here's the factor: 12AX7=100%, 5751=70%, 12AT7=60%, 12AY7=45%, 12AV7=41%, 12AU7=19%. Read up on these tubes and see what their characteristics are tonally and how they will help your situation.
They won't help his situation. They will simply lower the overall output of the amp. Instead of turning up to 11 o'clock for it to get dirty, he might have to turn it up to 1 o'clock. But the volume level will be very much the same.
Ant

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Jondog
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Re: question of headroom

Post by Jondog » Wed May 31, 2017 12:08 am

Could always try simple mods
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Wendigo
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Re: question of headroom

Post by Wendigo » Wed May 31, 2017 12:42 am

What about reducing your input signal? Seems easy to me. Just get some small box that can reduce the gain between you and the amp.

pedecamp
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Re: question of headroom

Post by pedecamp » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:47 am

Les Paul Lover wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 7:31 pm
pedecamp wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 3:30 pm
ironlung40 wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 pm
Thanks for the input.

and I knew Andy would say Hiwatt!!! didn't expect 5810 to also say it.

If anyone knows a thing about the model T as well, please chime in.

As for speakers: I have been running it through G12H30's in an orange 40th anniv. cabinet. I can get mine to crunch up at around 10:00 on the dial....If I go much higher and dig in it really starts to get overdriven. I have a v30 cabinet as well, but I much prefer the G12H30's. They are a lot smoother and bloom better to my ears with the OR120. I have ran both cabinets together and while it sounds great ( a good combination) , I feel that the 8ohm setting on the amp changes the feel a bit and I just don't prefer it.

Settings: I usually keep the FAC at 2 to 3 clicks from the left, but prefer 2 clicks or I guess that would be on the 3rd setting, and I have learned to roll the treble back as higher treble leads to more overdrive as well. I keep the lows at about 1 o'clock and the HF between 11 and 2 o'clock depending on what I am doing

Bias: Not sure, but I bet I set it at approximately 35 to 37 mv, maybe need to lower that a bit as I have heard these do o.k. with a "colder" bias?

Circuit: I have 2...pix/text and a pix only....the pix only is definitely cleaner but not by a landslide

It currently has EL34's in it from JJ. I have been thinking about E34L or 6AC7's...to try. Would 12at7's sound o.k. in the preamp? If so, what brand would be decent for those?


Thanks for the videos. That Hiwatt does sound good. I never doubted the tone they have, as I have heard some great stuff out of them.
Talk to your tube supplier and see what they recommend to replace some of your 12AX7's or all of them with a lower gain tube. Here's the factor: 12AX7=100%, 5751=70%, 12AT7=60%, 12AY7=45%, 12AV7=41%, 12AU7=19%. Read up on these tubes and see what their characteristics are tonally and how they will help your situation.
They won't help his situation. They will simply lower the overall output of the amp. Instead of turning up to 11 o'clock for it to get dirty, he might have to turn it up to 1 o'clock. But the volume level will be very much the same.
Have you tried it? I have not but I know some people that have and said it works. I think its worth a shot, its not expensive to try, the key is getting the right tube in the right position, I suspect a tube supplier might have a clue.
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Re: question of headroom

Post by Boy_Narf » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:54 pm

Try a bass amp!
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ironlung40
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Re: question of headroom

Post by ironlung40 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:37 pm

So let's see:

try new tubes....I can do that for sure

get a hiwatt....not so easy, but maybe one day

lower input signal....Love my SG's, so the only option is humbucker model or my junior with p90's, which helps a bit but still not what I want completely. not sure about other options to do this.

bass amp........I already go for amps that historically can pull double duty as guitar amps or bass amps. Are you saying SS bass amps, or an big tube head like an AD200? That probably would sound great for guitar actually. I played one in a store once and thought it would.

Thanks for the input guys, really.

I think my answer may really be in a completely different amp.
Sincerely,
Ironlung40
OR120 Pix
Tiny Terror HW
Rocker 30 combo
Gibson SG 61'--Gibson RD Standard--Gibson SG Special 67'
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Boy_Narf
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Re: question of headroom

Post by Boy_Narf » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:10 pm

ironlung40 wrote:
Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:37 pm
bass amp........I already go for amps that historically can pull double duty as guitar amps or bass amps. Are you saying SS bass amps, or an big tube head like an AD200? That probably would sound great for guitar actually. I played one in a store once and thought it would.
I was looking for a sterile hi-fi clean, so I settled on a SS bass rig (only 250 rms). My guitars almost sound like an acoustic going through it. Super chimey and cuts through perfectly. Exactly what I was looking for. Really depends on the tone you are going for though. I would think the AD200 would sound wicked on guitar though.

The different amp realisation is a tough one, that's for sure. Especially if you dropped a bunch of cash on it. I spent the past two years trying to find a portable tube rig that has unlimited clean headroom. Just doesn't exist. TBH, what I need doesn't exist in the guitar amp world. I even tried the modelling/FRFR cabinet route with no luck.

If you end up getting something mental like an 800 watt bass head and need a bass cab to go with it, I would highly recommend a cab with an adjustable tweeter. I couldn't get enough presence through just the 10's in my cab. Without blending in the tweeter the tone was just horrible.

Good luck!
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