Epiphone Valve Junior Head revisited

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Epiphone Valve Junior Head revisited

Postby sweetness » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:57 pm

I bought one of these $99 heads a couple of months ago, and am really enjoying it. Haven't played out with it yet, but I would have no problems doing so if I could mike it, since it's pretty loud but probably not loud enough.

Here's a question -- before I bought this, I was using a SS Peavey amp and got the Boss Blues Driver BD-2 pedal with the Keeley mod. I wanted to get that nice overdriven bluesy sound, which the pedal got. Now that I've got the VJH, I'm getting that sound without the pedal. And I actually think the pedal makes it sound worse! Has anyone else had this experience? I'm seriously thinking of selling the pedal.

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Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:21 am

The application for an overdrive pedal to the VJ is if you want distortion at low volume. If the amp's cranked you don't need that on the front end.
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Postby sweetness » Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:47 am

ricochet wrote:The application for an overdrive pedal to the VJ is if you want distortion at low volume. If the amp's cranked you don't need that on the front end.


That makes sense. The amp has such little headroom that it's pretty easy to get distortion at low volumes. Though I guess "low volume" is in the ears of the beholder....

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Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:23 pm

Yep. If I turn my VJ combo halfway up (which is full volume, the rest being more and more preamp distortion), I see my wife yelling at me to turn it down, but can't hear her. A former cheerleader, she still puts out pretty good volume herself.

The VJ isn't low on headroom, it's just all crowded into the first part of the pot knob travel. It's just a design decision they made to allow it to heavily overdrive the second stage of the 12AX7 to accommodate the tastes of modern guitarists accustomed to more gain than the players of the '50s who used amps of very similar design to play clean. You can still do that, too, just keep the knob down. Past 12:00 o' clock, it's no longer a volume knob, it's an overdrive knob.
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Postby sweetness » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:40 pm

Interesting! The other thing I do is control the overdrive with the volume knob on my guitar -- put the volume knob on the amp at about 2:00 and the guitar volume around 5 or 6. Then when I want more distortion/volume, I just crank my volume.

BTW, Ricochet, I got an EQ pedal which I'm experimenting with (the Behringer one). I'm thinking that the amp will still need more oomph live, and maybe the boost on the EQ might be a way to accomplish that. I could always mic the amp. And another idea was to get the Behringer GI100 DI box, which has a 4X12 amp simulation, and then go direct into the PA with that.

Any ideas?

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Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:54 pm

The only thing you can do to make more "oomph" with any kind of pedal is to make it distort more. Can't make it louder. I think it'll distort plenty by itself. Whether you need to mic it live depends on whether you're playing with a bunch of loud players who won't turn down.
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Postby sweetness » Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:56 am

Wouldn't the boost on the EQ give it more volume?

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ps - I'm pretty new at a lot of the effects, so I really appreciate any answers.
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Postby grady » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:18 am

Yes, More Volume but, more Distortion as well.

I've played many gigs with a 5 watt Fender Champ without any problems at all.

All amps are equal when they have a SM57 in front of the speaker.

The "I need more Volume/Watts Thing" is a bunch of Bullcrap.

I could play a gig with Metallica using my Fender Pro Jr as long as it was miked and I had a good level in the Monitor mix.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:25 am

sweetness wrote:Wouldn't the boost on the EQ give it more volume?
No, it won't. The preamp of the VJ is already capable of driving the power tube as hard as it can. When you start to hear crunch from the VJ, the second stage of the 12AX7 has maxed out its voltage output and can drive the EL84 no harder. As previously discussed, the first stage of the 12AX7 puts out WAY more voltage than it takes to max out the second stage, and turning the knob on up just makes it clip off more and more of the waveform. Pushing the front end with an overdrive just makes this cllipping start in the first stage. You get more distortion at lower volume, but it's impossible to increase the peak level. It might sound a bit louder with more distortion, as there are more high-frequency harmonics in it.

But you've lost all dynamics when you do that. You're limited to one volume level, which is WFO.
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Postby sweetness » Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:43 am

Grady, thanks for the input. So tell me how best to mic the amp. Where exactly do you place the mic? Where is the best place to run the mic to? How do you ensure that you're far enough out in the mix? Questions from a gear newbie.

Ricochet, thanks to you, too. I can hear that the EQ just cranks the distortion with the boost, which I don't find necessary with this outfit. However, I still like playing with the pedal given the tonal control of the amp (as in, none). I'm experimenting with varying the one basic tone I get with that amp. And yes, my guitar does have tone knobs, but they don't seem to give me enough variety.

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Postby grady » Fri Jul 07, 2006 5:03 am

I mic my Amp slightly "off Axis" with a SM57 about 2 inches away from the Grill.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:34 pm

There's usually a "sweet spot" about 1/2-2/3 of the way out from the dust cap to the edge of the speaker cone, for close miking.
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Postby ricochet » Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:35 pm

Hey, you might want to take a look at the discussion threads on: http://valvjunior.com/

There's been a lot of good buzz about a cheap distortion pedal called "The Tubulator."
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Postby sweetness » Fri Jul 07, 2006 5:50 pm

Hey Ricochet,

What cab/speakers are you driving with the VJH? I've got a 10" Peavey in an open back.

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Postby ricochet » Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:16 pm

I don't have a VJ head. I have a combo. I'm about to build a custom head, and I'm just slapping together cabs out of speakers I've got lying around.
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