NAD: Synergy Amps

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Stuff, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    It's true that I didn't notice the fan noise in the shop when I demoed the amp.

    I don't think the fan's faulty. I think it's more that my place here is just really quiet. It's quite different to a noisy shop, where there's other people coming and going, battling to be the loudest so that they can slaughter Sweet Child :dude:
     
  2. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    I've been playing with the green channel on the T-DLX module this morning. I don't have much experience at all with Tweed-style circuits, and it'll probably really show through in this post :)

    Even fully dimed, the T-DLX green channel doesn't break up a tonne. There's quite a bit of crackle too, which isn't to my taste. Back things off a bit, and it gets very chicken-pickin' very quickly. Not my thing at all, but nice to know that the sound is there if I ever have need of it.

    Switch to a Tele, and it sounds much happier. All of a sudden the bottom end isn't drowned out, and there's some nice chime on the top end. Even through a Creamback, it's got that Fender clean tone that I've been looking for. I'm looking forward to getting an A-Type or a C12K after payday to get even closer to that.

    To my ears, it's a good amp not a special amp. It doesn't have that immediate 'wow' factor that the Metro Plex had for me. To try and put that in context, I've heard plenty of real Fenders in the shop that sounded far worse. I've also heard one or two that did sound special, and this isn't quite on a par with my memory of those. I've got a lot to learn about how to dial it in. Probably need to dial in the power amp better too. And the speaker change is definitely needed. For my (limited) clean needs, it's more than good enough, and it also has that advantage of not taking up much space in here :)

    This one was a real struggle to profile with the Kemper, compared to the Metro Plex. When making a profile, you can adjust EQ on the signal from the amp into the profiler. The bass and mid input EQ controls interact with each other over quite a wide overlap. The T-DLX's fullness and body lands right in that zone where they fight each other the most. Lots of adjusting both, make a profile, and then round and round the profiling cycle making more adjustments to get close. Sigh.

    It's cool having those input EQ controls, so that you've got creative control over what the Kemper profile becomes. It just wastes a lot of time having to use them just to trick the Kemper into producing a profile that matches the input signal in the first place. Sometimes, it just takes too long, and ear fatigue kicks in, bringing a necessary stop to the whole thing :(
     
  3. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Did you try setting it up with the Master volume turned all the way up? IF Synergy designed the module similar to how most companies "copy" the Fender circuit, to get the reaction/response the same as the original, you'd need to open the master all the way and just use the gain as the sole volume control.

    Looking at Synergy's page, it appears that the "T" is short for "Twin" - which in that case, it'll never break-up in a pleasing way. If you're looking for more drive, maybe try the "Dlx" channel? That appears to be based on the Blackface "Deluxe". When messing with that, remember those old Fenders don't have a master, and the Deluxe never had a midrange control - Fender used 6.8K fixed resistor for the mid-frequency. I have found on a lot of Deluxe-type circuits that include a midrange control, setting that control between noon and 2 o'clock gets it close to a "real" Deluxe.

    Just offering up some suggestions, good luck!!
     
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  4. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Thanks! With the volume fully open, and everything else set between 12 and 2 to taste, my Tele's sounding pretty good through the green channel :)

    It is. The red channel is why I bought this module. I'm just saving it for when things are a little less hectic here :)

    That's really good to know.

    It's much appreciated, and really helpful. I don't have a lot of experience at all with Fender-style circuits, and it certainly shows :)
     
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  5. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Cool! Glad to be of some help. I started on Fenders before having enough money to get "cooler" hi-gain amps (mid 80s were a great time to buy old amps - I got a white Bassman with the presence knob for $125). But, being a kid who played thrash, Fender amps just didn't do it (not without TWO drive pedals maxed out!!). Oh, what I'd do for a time machine, lol....

    When I got into modeling (POD), one of the things I struggled with was the "extra" controls available on certain amps that maybe only had volume, bass, treble. WHY did they model a gain, a mid, a master??? Later on I found resources that offered up what I shared, tried it, and BOOM - it was closer.

    At any rate, enjoy!! Those look to be nice improvements over the MTS stuff (which was REALLY cool).
     
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  6. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    This little bleeder is the real reason I started hunting for a new amp last year. I've always loved the tones other folks have gotten out of it. Could never get anywhere near those sounds myself. I've had two of them so far, and after giving up on the 2nd one in frustration, I vowed that I'd try it through a different amp before moving it on ... just in case ...

    This evening, ran it straight into the T-DLX module ... and now it's dark outside and I'm hungry. Yeah, I'm happy to state that the T-DLX module takes pedals well :)
     
  7. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Whilst you're going back and picking up some amps, grab me a burst while you're there ...? :cheers2:

    Growing up over here, it was all Marshalls or older bespoke stuff. I can't remember playing through any kind of Fender amp at all back then. I've been living out of suitcases a lot for the past couple of decades, and ended up going digital just for the portability. Getting too old for that, and I'm getting too old to keep saying "that'll do for now" with my amps. Synergy's system has given me the kind of amp I want in a form factor that fits in my little home studio.

    So far I am, thanks! It's been really helpful having folks like yourself chip in questions and advice. Now I just need a long weekend to get these properly racked and wired in, and the other modules to turn up on a delivery truck ... :)
     
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  8. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    After watching this review of the real Morgan AC20 amp, I've decided to order the Morgan AC module for the Synergy Amps system. Should arrive early next week once the bad weather clears.



    Towards the end of the video, he points out that (in his opinion) the Morgan AC20 takes pedals very well. That's what swung it for me. Looking forward to pairing it with the T-DLX module :)

    Off to research what kind of speaker I should be pairing it with ...
     
  9. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    VERY nice!!! I have found over the last couple of years that a nice AC-style amp will do AMAZING things. While I will always love Fender amps, the Vox-type tones fit my expression better these days.

    Those Mad Professor pedals are great. I had a Simble for a while, and it completely changed my approach to playing smooth jazz.
     
  10. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    AC tones are a completely new adventure for me. Never had one of my own before (Vox NightTrain doesn't count - it's nothing like an AC30), and I can't remember ever playing through one in a store. My local store owner is a complete AC30 nut. I've already been down there to talk speakers with him :)

    Very nice. Sounds like you didn't keep the Simble?
     
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  11. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Nah. I had reached a point where my studio looked like a nicely stocked boutique music store. I went nuts for a few years buying vintage and high-end gear. I had received a healthy inheritance when I was 17. It was untouchable for years in a trust. At a point in my mid 30s I started spending interest. Then right as I was about to hit 40, I dipped into some of the trust itself. Went MAD with buying gear. Eventually I reached a point where I saw it was stupid, and my "new" wife (it has been 7 years) - while OVERLY supportive of me having whatever I wanted, thought I should narrow it down. So, I did.....

    I sold a healthy Fender tweed/blackface collection along with a TON of other really nice bits of gear - pedals, guitars, amps, cabs, etc. I ended up getting a Line 6 Helix and a bunch of really nice PRS guitars and called it day. I still have a couple amps and cabs, but they sit in storage. This ALWAYS creates an argument - and that is not my purpose - but the modelling has reached a point where bouncing between my real amps and the models resulted in very little difference in feel and overall tone. Having had a nice chunk of the same amps that usually get modelled - the Fenders, Voxes, Marshall, Boogie....along with a Matchless at one point - I was pretty familiar via first hand usage to get the models to sound how they "should" and how I wanted them to be.

    Keeping it on topic, I even had an MTS rig for a while. The Jaded Faith modules were killer. I had mine set up with the 20 watt Randall combo. I was planning to get the head that held the three modules, but it never came to fruition. After this thread, I was looking at used MTS stuff, and it has dropped enough that if I ever felt the need I could do it again without killing the wallet - but, live and in the studio I have been MORE than pleased with the Helix rig for the last two years. It really killed all my amp GAS.
     
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  12. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Modelling has come a long way in recent years. When I think back to where it came from in the mid 90's when I first got into it ... *shudders*

    Since I profiled the Metro Plex module, I don't think I've used the real module more than a couple of times. The profile came out pretty close. I'll use the real module if we want that sound on any demo tracks. But for practice or just noodling during the day, I'm happy with the profile - and happy to be saving on power tubes and my energy bill a bit :)

    I've never been a straight-into-the-amp kind of guy, and that's where the differences show up on the gear that I've got to hand. There's an interactivity all the way through the circuit from pickups to speaker, especially with pedals in the mix. Maybe I just need to grab a Helix or AxeFX at some point to get a modelling unit that nails that aspect ...

    That's useful to know. I'll have to have a look and see if there's any MTS modules going around these parts. Could be a good way to expand my options until Synergy release some more variety in their range. Half the current modules are some take on a Marshall-style sound. I'd like a bit more variety than that :)
     
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  13. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    I had the power amp cranked at the weekend - purely for testing purposes, you understand - and the fan went into overtime. I don't think the fan's defective. I think they're just old school folks for whom this kind of thing isn't a problem.

    On the plus side, it never once showed any signs of overheating, and it did settle down after a couple of hours. Now, if only the ringing in my ears would stop ... :jam:
     
  14. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    It's here. Morgan AC module arrived at lunch time. I also snagged the Synergy 800 (JCM 800) too. Just waiting to finish work (and for them to warm up - they've spent the last 4 nights stuck in a warehouse thanks to all the snow and ice) and then I can make sure they made it here in one piece :)
     
  15. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    WHAT? :lol:
     
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  16. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Had about half an hour with the 800 module this evening. This thing cleans up really well - far better than the Metro Plex did for me. (The Metro Plex module is so awesome that I don't care :D ) I've got the house to myself tomorrow night, and I'm already looking forward to pairing it with the T-DLX to try some pedals through them both together.

    Something I didn't know until I read the included paperwork - the 800 module is a Dave Friedman design, even though it's actually Synergy branded.

    Had the Morgan AC module in long enough to make sure it wasn't DOA. Probably not going to get any more time with it until the weekend now. It's a completely new sound for me, and it's going to take a bit of time for me to get my head around it.
     
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  17. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Sweet. I will be SHOCKED if you don't love the Morgan module once you get the hang of it. It took me forever to understand the ins-n-outs of an AC style amp, but now it's pretty much my "go to" platform for most things - including classic metal.
     
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  18. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Classic metal? That I have got to hear :)

    It's going to be a month or two before I've got everything I need to really dig into the Morgan AC module, I expect. I've got one speaker cab on its way - should be here today or tomorrow - to drop an A-Type in for the T-DLX. Then it's a matter of waiting for the right 2nd hand cab to appear at the right price, before dropping an Alnico Blue into that.

    At that point, I'll have the holy trinity of vintage amp tones covered:
    • T-DLX with an A-Type speaker
    • Metro Plex with the G12M, and the 800 with a V30
    • Morgan AC with an Alnico Blue
    and I'll be able to run any two of those for blended tones, and have at least 1 amp that will satisfy even the most awkward of pedals. I'm also interested to hear what the Kemper makes of these blended tones.

    Freely admit - it's nuts to do this with real valves, and totally overkill for a hobbyist like me. Throw in a decent 2x12 and 4x12, and it'd be a great setup for a small professional studio over here.

    It'd be impossible for me to attempt this with the original amps - on cost, on weight, and on physical space. Digital modelling would be the only other option that I know of.

    Whatever your taste - analogue or digital - I think it's wonderful that we've all got options today either way.
     
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  19. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Classic metal with an AC!!! Granted, it's a model - but I did build this basic tone with a real rig first just to see if it'd work. Here are the details:

    MXR Dyna Comp -> OCD -> AC15 -> EVM12L + Marshall 1960

    The clip is from my band's EP. https://soundcloud.com/mdenman/last-crusade-4-12-17
     
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  20. Stuff

    Stuff Senior Member

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    Finally had a completely free evening to sit down and focus on running my pedal board through the Synergy setup. I went with the 800 module. To my ears, the cleans aren't that far away from the Blackstar HT-100's clean channel. I thought that all I'd have to do would be to swap the cables over, and job done.

    Not so fast.

    It's currently looking like the Synergy units don't have a lot of input headroom - at least compared to what I'm used to. I'm not talking about the preamp modules themselves, but the SYN-1 enclosure and its tube-driven input circuit. I had to really dial back the signal from the pedals from where I run them with the HT-100. If I went much above unity volume, there was noticeable signal clipping, and not the kind anyone would want to listen to.

    It took me most of the evening to track this down. (It didn't help that I spent quite a bit of time just jamming through the 800 module ... ah, the sound of my youth, how I've missed you :D ) It'll be the weekend now before I can sit down and experiment with different input levels and different modules to get a clearer picture. Hopefully it's just me getting used to a different setup. After all, for all its other faults, the HT-100 is an absolute headroom monster of an amp when it comes to pedals.
     

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