Thread: Possible amp trade advice

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  1. #1
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    Default Possible amp trade advice

    Should I trade my 5150iii for a framus dragon?
    I'm considering it.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    Which one do you like best?
  3. #3
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    Yea, I should use my opinion. That's just crazy enough to work.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I have no experience with the dragon, and am just not quite in love with the high gain on the evh. I could live with it, sure, but it just sort of lacks a sort of "up front ness" and note clarity that I'd like to see. People see to like the dragon, but the two of us are so far away that we'd have to meet to trade, and neither one would be able to test amps.
    I'm a fan of cheese!
  5. #5
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    And I don't want to trade down in value either, so there's that. I can always just trade the dragon away later, provided I can find someone else that wants it. The name recognition on the evh is high though, so there's some value in that.
    I'm a fan of cheese!
  6. #6
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    It will probably tell you shit but maybe you can get a ballpark feeling out of it. Not a Dragon but a Cobra, though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I say trade the 5150 for a decent usable guitar amp (which a 5150 is not)
  8. #8
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    Info on the Dragon seems really hard to come by. The Framus site is rather less than informative.

    The thing sure does have a lotta knobs, though. I tend to be a bit suspicious of amps with that many knobs, but that's probably just me. Seems to me that that degree of complexity is looking for trouble in the long run unless it's VERY well made, and even then it seems to me that the controls could be simpler....

    I've never seen one in person, ever. I'd say that you should try it and see what you think.

    What kind of music do you want it for?
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  9. #9
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    Default Possible amp trade advice

    I really just want it for the heavy channel. (Which as I read, is quite nice and heavy with an overdrive)
    I have other amps that do "clean" or "rock" well. Mostly I want the hi-gain.
    I've done a bunch of reading on various forums, and people seem to like it well enough, and it would probably be fine, just wanted to know if anyone here had run into one.
    I'm a fan of cheese!
  10. #10
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I really just want it for the heavy channel. (Which as I read, is quite nice and heavy with an overdrive)
    I have other amps that do "clean" or "rock" well. Mostly I want the hi-gain.
    I've done a bunch of reading on various forums, and people seem to like it well enough, and it would probably be fine, just wanted to know if anyone here had run into one.
    I haven't (as I said before) so take this with an appropriate measure of salt, but what bothers me most about amps like this with too many knobs and multi-channel switching is this: what technology does it use for the channel/gain/whatever switching and what quality are the parts involved? I generally don't like fully electronic switching very much in a guitar amp. Conversely, relay switching is only good when high quality relays are used (and the relays are not subjected to excessive heat).

    Also some "channel switching" amps don't actually have totally separate channels and just switch different sets of components and controls in aqnd out on the same set of tubes. This requires more relays than having the channels totally independant and more relays + a higher chance of potential problems.

    Somewhat associated with this the the question of serviceability - how easy is it to work on? What type of construction? The more complexity, the harder to service in nearly all cases. And amps that use PC board construction are usually MUCH harder to service than amps with eyelet ore turret board point-to-point.

    I'd be real curious to see the schematic, but didn't find one with a quick search. May look more later.

    My personal POV is that if you have other amps for other types on sounds and if you don't need channel switching versatility for gigging I'd be more inclined to look for an amp optimized to do that one thing you need (high gain tones) and not much else. My (somewhat conservative, old fart) take on things is that a really good one-trick pony will outperform and outlast an all-things-to-all-men Swiss Army Knife amp pretty much every time.

    On the third hand, if you really like the amp.....?
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  11. #11
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I am late - I know... Click on it and will either rickroll you or fulfil your dreams.
    Attached Thumbnails Dragon_V5.pdf  

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I found the schematic for the dragon 5 - is that the one? Gotta run right now - going to Merle Haggard tonight.,.. Will look at it when I get back.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #13
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    The thing sure does have a lotta knobs, though. I tend to be a bit suspicious of amps with that many knobs, but that's probably just me. Seems to me that that degree of complexity is looking for trouble in the long run unless it's VERY well made, and even then it seems to me that the controls could be simpler....
    I've never heard of this amp before, and I thought maybe you were exaggerating, because I looked at my dual rectifier and counted 13 knobs on the front. Then I saw what I assume to be the amp you're talking about, and I counted 22. That does seem like a lot.
  14. #14
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    I've never heard of this amp before, and I thought maybe you were exaggerating, because I looked at my dual rectifier and counted 13 knobs on the front. Then I saw what I assume to be the amp you're talking about, and I counted 22. That does seem like a lot.
    Unfortunately it gets worse. I've had time to look over the schematics a fair bit, as well as some chassis photos I found online and found out some interesting things.

    First, It does use separate tubes for each channel. That would be a good thing, except for the way it's implemented, which I'll get to in a minute.

    The amp is PC card based, and uses a number individual cards, which might be good unless the connectors on the cables between the cards start coming loose, which connectors designed for computer applications tend to do. That can cause various problems ranging from noise to weird intermittent behavior. The power tubes do not appear to be mounted on PC boards (good) (although the basic circuitry associated with the tubes is PC mounted), but the preamp tubes are, which is bad, as PC boards do not like being heated up by hot vacuum tubes, plus inserting and removing tubes puts stress on the socket connections that tends to eventually break the solder joints to the cards. Unfortunately there's probably no way to design an amp of this complexity that does not use PC boards (you'll see why in a moment) but tube sockets should be mounted directly on the boards if it's at all possible to avoid it.

    So far we've discussed flaws that are really no worse that those found in, e.g. Fender's rather cheesy Hot Rod Deville and similar amps that are built with an eye to economical mass production at the expense of long term reliability. But it doesn't stop there.

    In a previous post I mentioned relay switching. In a typical analog (note the word "analog" creeping in here) channel switching amp this is either accomplished by mechanical relays or by FET switching (the cheap way), in which the (foot)switches turn on and off DC control voltages that turn FETs in the circuit on and off to switch the channels (and effects, if any.)

    BUT in our shiny new cybernetic modern world there's a third way......

    DIGITALLY CONTROLLED SWITCHING.

    The circuit boards in the "tube amplifier" are riddled with quantities (and I do mean quantities) of little 8 pin DIP chips which are digitally controlled switches. (possibly digitally controlled optical switches, I haven't looked them up yet.)

    THE DAMN THING HAS A COMPUTER IN IT!!!!

    A dead giveaway visible to all on the back panel is the presence of a pair of MIDI jacks. In addition to the normal controls and footswitches we're all familiar with (we think we're familiar, anyway), this thing can be run by a MIDI controller or computer. EVERYTHING IN THIS AMP IS CONTROLLED BY AN AT89C51 8 BIT MICROCONTROLLER that incorporates 4K of flash ROM, programmed at the factory. Nothing in this thing's channel switching circuitry - which involves switching a whole lot of things on the boards is actually controlled directly by either the footswitch or the front panel switches.

    Computer circuitry is not known for durability under conditions of heat and vibration. (Digital circuitry also doesn't like to be exposed to high voltages, such as those found in tube amplifiers. Yes, the voltages shouldn't be able to get into the digital circuitry if the amp is operating normally. But what if something shorts? I've seen lots of PC based guitar amps with holes burned in the boards with traces melted together when some part happens to short, and not just tube amps, either. Normally you just cut out the burned part and reconstruct the bad traces with wire, but that's because most analog parts are fairly robust and don't go "POOT" when they're overvoltaged for a nanosecond, unlike most digital stuff.

    This amp MIGHT might run for years, but it also might not and if the controller starts screwing up who knows what it might do? Essentially, if the computer or its associated digital control circuitry goes down, the amp is probably toast. This amp is not likely to be a guitar amp that's still working well for decades after it was built with only an occasional tube change and bias touch-up, as we are generally accustomed our guitar amps to be. No, this amp is probably destined to become landfill in 5 or 10 years, or whenever its digital control circuitry goes tits-up.

    Framus discontinued this line of amps some time ago. Who knows how long replacement factory programmed AT89C51 chips might be available? And the off the shelf chip from an electronics store won't work without the factory programming.

    As you might surmise from this information, the chances that most guitar amp service facilities will be able to service this amp beyond routine tube changes is probably nil, at least outside Germany.

    In my humble (?) opinion, digital control circuitry does not belong in tube guitar amps (where conditions can be rather rough in the course of typical use) and guitar amps that contain onboard digital control aren't really of professional quality, regardless of cost. Professional guitar amps need to be easily serviceable with readily available parts.


    Now if you're comfortable with a amp that contains these "features", by all means, go for it. Me, I'd RUN (not walk) for the nearest exit.
  15. #15
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    Giraffe,

    Checking - you've experimented some and tried a balanced bias (meaning hotter instead of the Pee-vee standard of frigid) for the 5150?
  16. #16
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    John E: that's good info, thank you.
    Johndou: no, I have not.
    What do you suggest for the bias?
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    John E: that's good info, thank you.
    Johndou: no, I have not.
    What do you suggest for the bias?
    He suggests that you either get the equipment for re-biasing or turning it in for someone else to do it.
  18. #18
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    Unfortunately it gets worse. I've had time to look over the schematics a fair bit, as well as some chassis photos I found online and found out some interesting things.

    ...

    Now if you're comfortable with a amp that contains these "features", by all means, go for it. Me, I'd RUN (not walk) for the nearest exit.
    Wow, yeah I'd have to agree with you here, that doesn't seem the least bit appealing to me. Thanks for the info, even though it's far more than I ever needed to know about that particular amp.

    I really just want it for the heavy channel. (Which as I read, is quite nice and heavy with an overdrive)
    I have other amps that do "clean" or "rock" well. Mostly I want the hi-gain.
    I've done a bunch of reading on various forums, and people seem to like it well enough, and it would probably be fine, just wanted to know if anyone here had run into one.
    I know there are lots of boutique amp makers out there these days, and I don't know most of them, but even though it's kind of predictable and generic, Mesa does the high gain thing pretty well while still retaining some 'elegance' in the tone. I also like the Orange amps I've tried, but I usually end up wanting a distortion pedal in front of those.

    When I played in a band that needed the high gain sound, Mesa was pretty much the 'holy grail' if you wanted the distortion from the amp. And because of that, both us and lots of the the bands we played with used them. I'm not saying that's the best way to go, just another thing to consider.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: Possible amp trade advice

    He suggests that you either get the equipment for re-biasing or turning it in for someone else to do it.
    Yea, all I asked for were numbers, so if I bring it to the local amp guy, when he says "factory is this" I can say, "but please do this".
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  20. #20
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    Default Possible amp trade advice

    Wow, yeah I'd have to agree with you here, that doesn't seem the least bit appealing to me. Thanks for the info, even though it's far more than I ever needed to know about that particular amp.



    I know there are lots of boutique amp makers out there these days, and I don't know most of them, but even though it's kind of predictable and generic, Mesa does the high gain thing pretty well while still retaining some 'elegance' in the tone. I also like the Orange amps I've tried, but I usually end up wanting a distortion pedal in front of those.

    When I played in a band that needed the high gain sound, Mesa was pretty much the 'holy grail' if you wanted the distortion from the amp. And because of that, both us and lots of the the bands we played with used them. I'm not saying that's the best way to go, just another thing to consider.
    I've never had a very good relationship with mesas, for what ever reason. For sure I've heard them sound good, dam good, but it seems more the exception then the rule. Tried a ton of their amps over the years, just seeing them in the studio, and the only one I ever personally really liked was the lone star.
    Surely someone will tell me I'm crazy/doing it wrong. Probably they are right.
    I *think* an orange is what I want, maybe like a th100. Though it's not really "high-gain" I've heard them sound pretty bad ass.
    I'm a fan of cheese!

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