Jump to content
Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

THD: Is it worth it?


Ol Boy Rivers

Recommended Posts

Howdy yall, Ol'boy here. Another random string, We'll see what I get. THD, Build by the great Mr.Marshall himself. A handmade True american Boutique tube amp that most everyone says owns. A tubeswappers dream, A tone freaks fantasy, This baby is SAID To have it all. ( All those tubes would probally make me nuts, BUT we all know how a tonetweak is when it comes with tubes. ) Is it really worth the pricetag? The cheapest amp they put out is the univalve running at around 950, And the most expensive being the Flexi-50, Running at around 1800. Between them is the BiValve. Is it really worth the price though? Is the tone that great? ( With the right tubes, Of course ) Is the amp really Boutique?
Never trouble trouble till' trouble troubles you.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 36
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Everyone knows I am going to go sick about it. I love my bivalve. I got mine used for $950 I think. It is noticably the best amp I have ever owned, but thats just me. I haven't had a bunch of incredible boutique amps. It really always sounds good. Sounds huge in the mix with a band, and I hear it works excellent with an OD pedal. When I say huge with a band, I mean it is like its own entity. Doesn't even need to be SUPER loud and you can still hear it. Tons of complexity too--nice with feedback.

 

The Flexi is supposed to be amazing too, but it doesn't have the built in attenuater.

 

Also my Bivalve is plenty loud.

 

The only draw back to the Bivalve is the fx loop is kind of sensitive, but I haven't experimented that much or with high end fx.

 

Another great thing about it is you can clean up your tone nicely with your guitar volume. Very dynamic sounding distortion. Actually one of the most dynamic amps I have played through.

 

Again, alot of it too is taste and tubes. I lost my fav preamp tube (or misplaced it). They are all different. Personal taste, hard to say whats better or worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you've never played a boutique amp before, the THD will blow you away.

 

You should understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and THD is at the low end of the spectrum of boutique amps. There are better choices.

 

I'm a guy who believes that if you want a 57 Chevy, BUY A 57 CHEVY!!!!!

 

So if you want a particular vintage amp sound, go buy that amp. Be happy.

 

To that end I had a wall of amps in my studio. All vintage Fenders, Ampegs, Marshalls, Vox, Silvertone, etc.

 

I wanted a particular sound... vintage, but my own at the same time. I bought a UniValve. It gives me exactly that sound, with a little help on tube selection from Miles. So I never change the tubes... don't need to do so,, I've got -my- sound.

 

I sold off the wall of amps, don't need them anymore.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and I should say that I never understood what people were taslking about when they mentioned 'touch sensitive'.... seemed like a load of crap to me. Not after playing a boutique amp... or at least, the THD UniValve. Now I 'get it'.

 

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

If you've never played a boutique amp before, the THD will blow you away.

 

You should understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and THD is at the low end of the spectrum of boutique amps. There are better choices.

 

I'm a guy who believes that if you want a 57 Chevy, BUY A 57 CHEVY!!!!!

 

So if you want a particular vintage amp sound, go buy that amp. Be happy.

 

To that end I had a wall of amps in my studio. All vintage Fenders, Ampegs, Marshalls, Vox, Silvertone, etc.

 

I wanted a particular sound... vintage, but my own at the same time. I bought a UniValve. It gives me exactly that sound, with a little help on tube selection from Miles. So I never change the tubes... don't need to do so,, I've got -my- sound.

 

I sold off the wall of amps, don't need them anymore.

 

Bill

You sold off ALL of the "wall"? Wow!! From a confirmed Amp-a-holic, I'd say that's pretty amazing. I'll have to find a THD to test drive............Oh boy....I'm in trouble again!!

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Guitarzan:

me, my Lp into a Univalve with a 2x12 closed back cab loaded with celestion v30's.

that would float my boat. :D

I use the stock THD 2x12 cab, which is a combo open-closed back design that seems to me to offer the best of both.

 

Oh, mone is black, because I didn't know that they offered a purple paisley cabinet. Had I known, I'd have bought the paisley, no doubt.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there are a million amp choices out there.

 

Hard to say whats better or worse when you get into boutique amps. I have tried some very expensive boutique amps that didn't do it for me. I have played through a Peavey Classic 30 that I loved. I mean it is all personal preference. I love my THD, I bet there are other amps I would like equally or more. I have heard great things about Rivera. Dr. Z makes some nice stuff. The guy who I bought my amp from was buying a Dr. Z maz jr. He said the Bivalve was too loud for him, and that though he could get a similar tone he wanted the simplicity of the Maz jr and its 18 watts, or whatever its rated at. He was also into OD pedals and stuff. One of my buddies has a Fender Tonemaster. He only uses the clean sound on it. Sounds pretty killer. He uses a Robert Keeley modified Super Overdrive pedal for distortion. It sounds good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Allan Holdsworth and David Gilmour have both been seen with Univalves, so you guys are in good company.

 

I tried a Univalve and couldn't get the tone I was after, perhaps with different valves it could have worked for me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mdrs:

Hey Bill....have you ever put your Univalve thru any other speaker cabs? Any comments on how it sounded thru other cabs would be cool.

 

Thanks!

No, as I was quite thrilled with the sound, size, and weight of the stock THD cab. I always liked the thunk of a Marshall sealed box, and the open sound of a Fender combo. This gives a little of both. The back of the cab has a slot in it, allowing some air flow. The other cabs that I had probably would have sounded good, too, but I never got around to trying them out.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fabian:

I tried a Univalve and couldn't get the tone I was after, perhaps with different valves it could have worked for me?

Had I not paid attention to a number of threads on the subject, I would not have been happy with the purchase either. I did not like the sound of the stock tubes.

 

Fortunately, I understood going in that I wanted a number of tubes handy to try. I knew what sound I wanted and was able to articulate that to Miles, and he gave me some tube suggestions, so I wasn't swamped with too many choices. You really have to know what you want. The amp is incredibly versitle -within a narrow range- once you have picked your tube combo. And, depending upon the tubes that you choose, the amp can sound like just about anything.

 

There are only three tubes in the amp. You have to understand from the start that the amp is designed for you to make tube choices to get 'your' sound... there are not 4,000 knobs and switches. This is what I was after.

 

I also picked up a Groove Tubes adapter so that I could use the smaller format tubes in the amp. A friend of mine is a road manager for a band using a lot of Mesa gear, and he gave me a few Mesa tubes to try (basically, Mesa supplies hard versions of the Groove Tube product lines for their amps). I bought a few from Groove Tubes, and I got a couple of vintage tubes from the electrical designer for Korby Audio.

 

I ended up happy with a combo of Groove Tube and Mesa tubes, though Miles tells me that there are even sweeter sounds to be had from some NOS vintage tube choices.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by mdrs:

You sold off ALL of the "wall"? Wow!! From a confirmed Amp-a-holic, I'd say that's pretty amazing. I'll have to find a THD to test drive............Oh boy....I'm in trouble again!!
Yeah, I still have the 65 Vox Cambridge Reverb, just because I restored it (so it is not all original... new grille and piping, and some new corners and feet...) and the speaker needs reconed; I kept the Reverend Goblin, and a mid-1940s Silvertone, and a Roland Cube. Oh, and a very old Bogen tube PA amp. The Reverend is portable, the Vox will go when I get the speaker fixed, the Cube sits under the keyboard, and nobody seemed to want the Silvertone. But all the really cool old stuff is gone.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly I mostly take the Goblin out to local clubs. I just don't care enough to drag the THD. Since the Goblin provides enough gain for me in all of the litle clubs in Pittsburgh, and the PA provides anything that it might be lacking, I'm fine. I mean after all, how many guys are using PODs direct, with monitoring from the PA? Quite a few. Frankly, I'm less concernbed with the perfect tone when playing clubs, since the ambient noise in clubs alone blurs most distictions for most people.

 

As I have pointed out before, any study of actual volume/gain level differences between 20 and 100 watts shows that there is not such a perceivable loudness difference. Additional wattage is handy as headroom, if you are going for clean amp sounds. Most of us are not.

 

The THD UniValve may not provide enough gain for those who need a lot. Miles suggested that there are quite a few people who use the UniValve as a preamp, feeding a heftier power amp from the line out. I don't know, I've never done it or seen it. But I am more than willing to take Mile's word for it.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great info Bill. Thanks!

 

Are there any guidlines or source info about different tube choices and their sonic consequences for the univalve? Do you still have a link to the info Myles gave you??

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee, I think the Uni would probably be loud enough but you would have to choose the right tubes. Like KT88's.

 

Personally for a live amp, the Bivalve is probably a better choice. 30 watts class A is loud with the right tubes. Right now I have 6l6s in it and it isn't THAT loud. I mean loud enough to gig, but you throw some higher output tubes in it gets super loud.

 

It is plenty loud enough too. I would love to hear mine through a quality 4/12. I can only imagine how killer it would be with its screaming complexity!

 

As for not having enough gain, I can't really understand how it couldn't have enough. I mean keep in mind you can use a super high output 12ax7 that will deliver alot of distortion. Pedals are an option too if you want to go that route.

 

I use a 12AT7 cuz I want more of a powertubey sound to my distortion. 12AX7 are harsher and have more sizzle, but I prefer roundness and warmth. Then you can always use the Attitude knob which runs the tubes hotter giving it more sizzle in the high end.

 

As I stated before, because this amp doesn't have a presence control (no negative feedback loop) it is supposed to have a bigger harmonic spectrum. Dunno what that means but I DID read that recently at the THD site. Something about how putting a negative feedback loop in an amp cuts that in half. But of course I don't know why or how that is..

 

The biggest thing I realize about the Bivalve is how REAL it feels. You get teh feeling like you have at your disposal legendary guitar tones like the people who you worshipped growing up. Like there is no BS in it. No fake preamp buzz unless you want that.

 

When I got mine it had el34's in it. I seemed to be able to get Gibbons and VH type sounds from it (it has more distortion if you want that)

 

Tubes I would like to try

 

Kt88's

Kt66's

6V6

NOS preamp tubes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ellwood:

... I think the loudness factor is only revelant to what the player hears from his amp on stage,... Sometimes a amp is just not loud enough on stage with all the other instruments banging away behind you.

Yes.

 

I just don't happen to think that the way to solve the problem is to make myself louder.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee I know you love your Marshall, but if you ever want to borrow my rig to play around with tubes and tones, feel free. I really don't play electric at all anymore. I will go back to it again, but my electric needs to be refretted BAD. I live in an apartment building and I don't want to drive anyone nutz or I would bring my amp home. I have a guitar port but after playing through my amp I can't feel satisfied with anything less.

 

I know your Marshall is more versatile probably in a live context unless you used 2 amps or just used your Klon for a booster. I really like those Marshalls. In the end there comes a certain level with amps where really your hands are going to decide what it sounds like. I mean I could play through my Peavey Classic in a good studio and get a killer tone out of it. Sure the THD would probably sound more of what I want, but I think the goal is to be constant enough as a player where it doesn't matter what you are playing through--but of course you know that..

 

Everyone has heard that interview with Eddie where he talks about Nugent playing through his old rig. How it still didn't sound like Eddie.

 

But I also won't discount the impact a great tone can have on the player to go for it more and have more fun. Thats how I feel with my Bivalve. Like I have more tonally to work with. Like if I turned it to 10 and stood close to my cab and got feedback from it, and turned at a bunch of different angles, the feedback would be constantly changing. Whereas with my Peavey it wouldn't be changing like that. It would have a more limited scope.

 

More organic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

Originally posted by ellwood:

... I think the loudness factor is only revelant to what the player hears from his amp on stage,... Sometimes a amp is just not loud enough on stage with all the other instruments banging away behind you.

Yes.

 

I just don't happen to think that the way to solve the problem is to make myself louder.

 

Bill

Right, I was trying to think of ways to be heard on stage without monitoring the instruments? maybe one would be to move your amp closer to you? another way would be to make the band be play with less over all volume? or have the drummer play with lighter sticks, or partically mute his kit? part of the problem is with a smaller amp that cannot always be directly behind you, say on a large stage, moving around the stage puts you in null spots.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ellwood:

... I was trying to think of ways to be heard on stage without monitoring the instruments? maybe one would be to move your amp closer to you? another way would be to make the band be play with less over all volume? or have the drummer play with lighter sticks, or partically mute his kit? ...
Okay, this goes against everything that everyone loves, but ask youreself WHY the band needs to play at 125dB on stage? How did the levels get so bloddy loud? What is gained, and what is lost by playing at a less stunning level, and letting the PA do the work?

 

Remember now, that I have been aroudn since the 60s and I saw a lot of this stuff grow first-hand.

 

 

Does anyone play any better or hear any better once the level goes beyond the point of natural ear compression? No. In fact as the body seeks to proteck itself and starts to shut down the minds response to what it is hearing, we do not hear as well, frequencies become muffled, and the desire to turn up even louder still then come into play.

 

Do we need to be louder to reach the audience? No that is what the PA is for.

 

Do we need to be louder to overcome the volume level of any acoustical instruments? No. Drummers play loud to hear themselves over the amps.

 

So the answer does not come from any one member, nor from anyone accusing anyone else of being too loud. EVERYONE is too loud.

 

Do we need to run a 100 watt Terbo Crumpus amp flat out to get the same sound that our favorite player gets with his in the local 20,000 seat arena? No. Tone is not only a function of volume.

 

Carpel tunnel, long term permanent hearing loss, that hung over feeling after gigs, ringing in the ears... who really NEEDS that? Carting all this huge gear around for club band wages... what???? Like punching yourself with a hammer... "Dude, why are you doing that?" "Because it feels so good when I stop."

 

No thanks. I have protected my hearing for far too long to lose it playing in a club.

 

Oh, and when everyone is playing at a sensible level, there are no 'nulls' on stage. There are places where you might not be able to hear yourself so well, but the typical club stage is so small....

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Bluesape:

Does this mean ya got your Tele jonesin' sorted out? :D

Nah, it's still there, but I am wrestling it to a standstill. The Mac Mini I just bought is gonna have to hold me till after Christmas. Maybe then, I'll finsd the one I want. Right now, though, I keep hearing folks playing Teles, and getting amazing tones... :eek:

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...