Monday, 30 September 2013

Evil Robot EVR-C30....and finally....Up-Dated....

Sorry to everyone that's moaned....it's been ages since my last post....I had wanted to do some vids for this post before I posted it....Summer and doin stuff...you know how it is....I will add the vids as soon as I get round to doing them....Honest....


So I've had my Evil Robot EVR-C30 for a bit now...I still don't like the footswitch (F/S)....I know it's meant to look retro like the amp it's self....but it's nasty and way to big to fit on my pedal board and in my view not up to gigging and that is after all what this amp is all about....Your first tube amp for your first band swaray....The amp itself is built as good as anything with the vinyl covering applied expertly....No flaky seems coming unstuck....The chunky handle is a nice touch....I really....really like the black stove enamel paint on the chassis....very classy....It would have been nice if the front name plate was the same black stove enamel....but I guess the matt black finish looks better on stage.... 


Apart from the F/S the only cost saving measure I can see is the metal back plate that caries the ohm selector switch and F/S input....it's a flat plate that is secured from the back and would have looked so much better if they had kept the one from the prototype amp....it looks a bit ugly....oh and the 3 pin power cable input is under the back cover sandwiched between the transformers making it nearly impossible to plug back in without removing the back cover....Why not a hard-wired power cable....it would have been better and saved a few penny’s....


It's a class A amp so it gets hot and the tiny fan in the back helps to cool things down....but could be better....One of the first things I did was make up a box to channel cool air more directly over the tubes....very easy to do and works 100 times better....


The speaker in the C30 is specially designed to sound like the very worn in speaker in Phil X's Magnatone Tonemaster that the Evil Robot's are all based on....Apparently the speaker in Phil's amp could fail at any moment and John Kasha went to great lengths to match the tone of this nearly dead speaker.... The amp has a speaker out so that it can be used with a extension cabinet and act as a head unit....


The Vibrato and Loop is one or the other....not both....the Vibrato is very nice....but I'm going to ignore it as I use the tube buffered loop constantly for my delays and reverb....The loop seems to be very transparent and does what its supposed to do perfectly....

The High and Low inputs are awesome and I have been using them more than switching between the A and B channels....If they could be switched via the footswitch together with the channels the amp would be as near to perfect as you could ask for....


The 3-Way Tone Switch together with the Tone Control is again all you need if your playing live with a band....The C30's tone is very in your face and up front sounding....In the Bright position you get a small volume boost that adds some grit which is nice....things never get spiky or harsh....But for home use I have to admit I would prefer a 3 band “bass, middle, treble” EQ.... Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the EQ is the Evil Robot's achilles' heel....but because the C30 will work with so many different tubes and is therefor capable of so many different tones it does scream out for a 3 way tone control....I use a modded Boss GE-7 in the loop that let me tweak the tone....nothing stupidly boosted....just shaped more to my liking....

The Loudness A and B works by adding an extra tube into the channel....giving you a nice kick between the two channels....This works really well together with the High and Low inputs....giving you the same tone but one is hotter than the other....It's all you need and never leaves you wanting more....

I have to admit when I first played through the amp I said to myself....”OMG....THIS IS SHIT....” It sounded raw and not the amazing sounding tone machine that I was expecting....I put this down to the very nasty looking tubes that the amp came with....I changed the 6V6's for 6L6's then for EL34's and was again very unimpressed....but when I changed the pre amp tubes for 12AU7's the C30 came alive for me....

If I was Fretted Americana, I would ship the amps without tubes....then leave it up to the dealers to show how the amp can sound with different tubes....or at least ship the amps with AU7's instead of AX7's....

When I bought the C30 I knew I wanted it to have EL34's for a British rock tone....I was completely off....I have now gone for 6L6's and ended up with THE best Fender amp....Fender has “never” made....With 6L6's it's tone is unmistakeably a US Pete Townsend rock tone and together with the 12AU7's you get a very passable John Mayer Strat tone using the Low input....with EL34's your in British Jimi Page rock amp territory....I was lucky that I have a large box of old tubes that I could play around with....If your just starting out it could get very expensive to find the tone your happiest with....or you could never find your tone and sell the amp before you find out just how good the C30 is....

When you first get the amp....it's in Phil X mode....it's loud, brash and awesome....Then you plug into it....and your not loud, brash and awesome....you are in-fact a worst guitarist than even YOU thought you were....Loaded with AU7's instead of AX7's....the amp becomes more forgiving of the less talented....it still gets dirty as you crank the gain and takes boost pedals beautifully....But I do think that 70% of people who try the amp would prefer the “calmed the fuck down” 12AU7 version.

******************************

The tubes I'm now using in my Evil Robot are....

V1 - 12AU7
V2 - 12AX7

These are the Channel Tubes....V1 drives Loudness B....V2 then gets added to V1 to drive the Loudness A into giving more gain....

V3 - 12AU7

This is the tube that the Vibrato runs through....A big Thank You goes out to Guillaume Clapeau for this next bit....The Vibrato doesn't work with a 12AX7....it needs a 12AU7....I don't use the Vibrato so have to admit to mising that....I do recall first getting the amp with just one 12AU7 and I assumed it was from the loop after I had messed with the tubes....I usually note things like that down for future reference....Again....Thanks to Guillaume for getting in touch and querying this....I had it down as a 12AX7....Never Trust the Internet....

V4 - 12AU7

This is the tube for the FX Loop....If you use the Loop you need to watch the volumes of any Delay and Reverb pedals you use as these need to be set up to not effect the amps volume....Too Low and you will reduce the amps overall volume....Too High and you will drive the Phase Inverter tube giving you more power tube break up but also more compression when the amp gets loud....You need to keep the loop at unity gain....

V5 - 12AX7

This is the Phase Inverter tube....This tube drives your Power Amp Tubes and is responsible for your Power Amp Distortion....If you want to know more about Phase Inverters read this article....HERE....over at Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting . com....

My Power Tubes are 6L6's for a more US tone....

V1 and V2 are both Tung-Sol's....All other tubes are JJ's....

******************************



Because of the amp's up front tone....being able to scoop the mids with a 3 band EQ would maybe tame the feeling of nowhere to hide when your playing the amp....”I could be talking crap”....but in Phil X mode the amp was too much for my heavy handed....sloppy playing “style”....The in your face nature of the C30....over time will be a good thing as I'm going to have to become a better player....


I'm not saying that the Evil Robot is the best amp in the world....If your about to buy a Marshall because you want to sound like Angus Young or a Fender because you want that Fender twang....then the Evil Robot is not for you....But the tones you can get with the C30 are some of the best rock guitar tones ever....and that alone makes the C30 worth the asking price....But you also get an amp that sounds and feels like an expensive hand wired tube amp....and I wasn't expecting that from what is after all a cheap circuit board amp....Even at quiet bedroom levels it never looses the dynamics’s and feeling of a loud tube amp....Your playing jumps out of this amp....You have sustain in your fingers and you find out that you are in-fact a better player than you thought you were.... and in the process that puts a big smile on your face....


As yet I have not had a chance to play the C30 properly LIVE....but as it is set up now....this is without a doubt the best sounding amp I have ever owned....It's a ballsy sounding amp that managers to stay sounding ballsy as you drop the volume....”I have never played so quietly and yet still been happy with my tone”....It has the feel and dynamics’s of a hand wired amp three times it's price....The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a good amp but it ain't a Evil Robot....the 65 Deluxe Reverb is a better amp and again it ain't no Evil Robot....


Fender....Marshall....Blackstar....ETC....are all going to have to drop their prices or redesign some of their amps because the Evil Robot EVR-C30....has no right being this good....But it is....k.j.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Premier Guitar....October Issue Out Now....

Could it really be that time of the month again....


....er yes....

October Issue Here....Back Issues Here....k.j.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Robbie McIntosh....Turn up for the Books....

My Hero "Robbie McIntosh" has just put up his new CD for your purchasing consideration....


First heard him when his was in The Pretenders....he was the reason I bought my first guitar....a Fender Contemporary Telecaster....


He has just been touring with John Mayer....


He play's a very nice Jackson Ampworks Rig....


He is a fantastic bluesy player....and does some mean slide....


 
If I had the money I'd have a Jackson Ampworks Amp in a heart beat....

You can hear and buy his new CD from Bandcamp.com
Jackson Ampworks has some great Robbie photos here....and here....Their Youtube Channel is here....

"I bought his CD....it was awesome....it was a Turn up for the Books"....k.j.

Update....19/09/2013



This would make my "Coolest Thing I've got in the Post" list if I had one....Number One....k.j.



Sunday, 1 September 2013

Problem With George L's Cables....

I had a problem with some of my George L's cables awhile back....the nickle plating had began to come away from some of the solderless plugs....


I sent them off an email....

"Hi George L, I have just been moving my main pedalboard around trying to find a noisy cable that had started up and found that the nickel plating has started to come off some of your .155 plugs, I’ve found 6 so far. I don’t know how long I’ve had them but I’m getting worried, I must have 30 or so plugs on my main board and 40 on my other 2 smaller boards. Your Plugs are meant to be the best and as so are not cheap, you don’t expect them to only last a couple of years. 6 plugs, that’s £60 that I’m going to have to bin and I’m going to have to look inside all my pedals and clean any bits out. My fingers are cut to ribbons the bits coming off are like razorblades. I’m not happy. I’ve put some photos for you on my photobucket page so you can see for yourselfs. Don’t worry nobody looks at my page, as soon as you have seen them I’ll take them down, I’m not an idiot trying it on, but I’m not happy."


They replied....

"I am sorry that you are having problems with the plating. After some normal wear and tear it is possible for the plating to come off. My suggestion would be to use the brass plugs. We do have a lifetime warranty on the plugs. Please let me know where you purchased them. I will try to do whatever I can to make you happy. Thanks, Sandy"

And then....

"I forwarded your  last email to Moonphase and David would like to discuss this with you to help resolve the matter. Could you please give me a phone number where he can contact you? He requested that I ask you for the number. Looking forward to hearing from you. Sandy"


Here in the UK George L's are distributed by Moonphase Limited and David Cartwright (of Moonphase) was only too happy to swop the damaged plugs for new ones....

So this morning I'm making up a new board and swopping pedals and guess what....the nickle coating is coming off some more of the plugs....George L's web site now say's nothing about a Lifetime Guarantee and Moonphase now states...."a 2-year guarantee covering defects".

The thing is....Pedalboard plugs never get the same amount of "ABUSE" as regular guitar cables and I have cables that are easily 15 "or more" years old....have been plugged in and out hundreds if not thousands of times and I have never had a problem like this before.... ....the nickle has not worn away to nothing....its flaked off and is now lurking inside some off my pedals....AWESOME....has this been a bad batch or happening too many times to keep the lifetime warranty....I would have thought a lifetime is a minimum of 10 years for a cable plug...and then to come loose and fall apart....not to have to nickle peel off....

LAVA Cables looks like my next purchase....I don't know why I ever took up the guitar....nothing is ever cheap....k.j.

"I think I should have got a motorbike....or an addiction to tattoos like some of my other friends...."

p.s....Going through all my plugs....I have 4 more that have started to shed their plating....that makes 10 in all....that makes me think they all must be from the same batch and most likely to be the starter kit I bought first....Looking through old photos I got my first George L's the summer of 2008 and first had the shedding in 2010....Question is do I buy a Lava Kit "I need 14 plugs for my mini board"....then suck it up and buy a few more GL's when my GigRig G2 turns up and hope I don't get anymore shedding....It does makes sense to keep using the GL's....Grudgingly.... k.j.