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Is my Speakeasy Classic Clone pre-amp working right?


David Loving

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I have a Speakeasy Classic Clone pre-amp that I got to jack up my voce v5 sound. It seemed to make the signal hotter and more 'pronounced.' I sold the v5 and have gone on to an xk3, and the pre-amp does not seem to add anything to the sound. The xk3 can stand alone, strong signal and all. I'm thinking that maybe the pre-amp doesn't work right. I never got the orange light on the panel to light up no matter how hard I drive the pre-amp. The gain does not seem to add any overdrive, just more volume. I've asked Speakeasy for an opinion, but thought I'd ask the experts here. Any ideas? Thanks in advance...
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Well first I like to start by saying I'm far from an expert on these tube thingies. I have the SE stereo rack with classic/howler option which I originally bought for my CX-3. There is a certain amount of hype and a certain amount of truth to these tube preamps IMO. The CX-3 into a SE out to ref monitors is a waste although others will say it mellows out the "shrill" tone of the CX-3 (btw everyone on the clonewheel site loves to use/mimic this term) and gives the CX-3 a clearer tone. Why do I think this is a waste? The effect is very subtle and the distortion that the SE produces is after the rotary (Leslie)sim in the CX3 and it just sounds like crap doing it this way. The distortion goes in an out with the amplitude variation of the leslie sim(yuck).

 

I'm not sure if your running the XK-3 this way or if there is an insert before the rotary sim on the XK-3. On the other hand when I bought my Les 147 the SE became very useful. For one thing it provided a way to interface the CX-3 to the Leslie, something the XK-3 should do with out additional gear I believe. The SE also allows for some good tone modification but... the SE needs a real hot signal - something the CX-3 does not do well producing by itself. There is a "Barker" mod that will help the SE but if you run the organ into another preamp/mixer first you shouldn't need this. So maybe in your case the V5 produces a hotter signal then the XK-3 and so you can hear a much more pronounced effect thru the SE. Since the XK-3 alreday has tubes I dont think based on what I read over at Clonewheel that a SE or any other tube preamp is needed. My SE does not have a lamp thats glows brighter with a stronger signal BTW and am surprised that your's does this but maybe that's beacuse I have and LED for the classic/howler on/off status.

 

A while back I would run my CX3 into my Mackie 8 bus and then take the channel direct outs over to the SE and out to the 147. I still had to crank the Mackie preamp pretty high to get a good signal into the SE but I could get some pretty good tones this way.

 

These days I use Native Instruments B4 controlled by the CX-3 (which works great) and rarely even use the internal sounds of the CX3 which makes it a real expensdive controller. B4 run through my RME 9652 and out to an RME AD-8DS into the Mackie is almost too hot a signal forthe Mackie. I have to remember to crank down the tube amp volume control in B4 and turn off the drive and rotor controls. But this is where I think the SE works great and I can really dial in the tube effects of the SE and Leslie. Its hard to know which one is doing what but I keep the gain on the Leslie pretty low and gets some great but not overbearing distortion out of the combo. And its loud!

 

That's all I have to say for now.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I think it's the signal strength. I ran the xk3 and the pre-amp both flat out for a couple of hours yesterday and finally got it to work. Actually I like the overdrive effect I got. Kind of sneaks up on me. I just never ran it hard enough; once again, "pilot error."
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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The effects loop on the XK-3 is before volume control, neither the volume knob nor the pedal will change the volume of the signal going out the effects send. I ran the signal from the effects send through my reverb unit and into an amp, and neither control changed the volume. So you might not have to crank the XK-3 up all the way.

 

If you want a different tone/overdrive from the XK-3, try different tubes in it.

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The signal chain is:

 

Upper and lower manuals through the Vibrato/Chorus (Percussion and Pedals bypass it).

 

Upper, lower and percussion through the Tube Amp/Overdrive (pedals bypass it).

 

All out to effects loop or not.

 

All into Equilizer.

 

All into digital Leslie except signal to 11 Pin Leslie output which bypasses.

 

All into Reverb. Out to 1/4" outputs and Leslie 11 Pin output.

 

The L/Mono output is in stereo with the 11 Pin Leslie output because when the PanDelay reverb is used the sound bounces back and forth between them.

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My signal chain is:

 

Nord Electro, no sim output -> Speakeasy Vintage Preamp Classic -> Motion-Sound KBR-M.

 

I find that when I'm using the Motion-Sound at fairly low volumes, the Speakeasy makes only a subtle difference in my tone. But, when I'm driving it hard, it's absolutely huge -- sounds way way better.

 

That's just one man's opinion though.

 

I do vastly prefer the overdriven tone to any overdrive similation I've tried, including that built into the Nord. And that holds true even at low volumes.

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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