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  • Quote Originally Posted by dramey
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    I don't know about the other 2 models, but the 59 is the heaviest guitar I have ever owned. It really my only gripe.




    Interesting. The 59 I played would have tipped the scales as among the lighter Les Pauls I ever played.

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    • OK, I've owned my -69 for a little over a month now. Long story short, I am quite happy that I bought it.



      It has fulfilled my intent of getting a large chunk of my life back, in terms of time. Each gig used to require transporting, setting up, tuning, cleaning, and putting away about a half-dozen guitars. Now I take the -69, and a spare in case of string breakage (which I have yet to need). Saves me about half-hour each gig in setup and teardown, and triples my free time on breaks between sets from five to fifteen minutes, due to not having to tune a bunch of instruments. And noticeably reduces 'dead air' between tunes that used to be where a guitar change occurred. And reduces the potential for theft or damage of my other guitars - some of which I consider irreplaceable.



      An unanticipated side effect: One of the venues we play has a severe EMI issue - such that single-coils are barely tolerable even when using an EHX Hum Debugger (in itself quite a marvelous invention). Strats, Teles, P-90s, all have a problem. But here is the thing that is not immediately obvious: using the modeled single coils in the Variax, all this hum and buzz immediately disappears. I assume that is because the analog source is the piezos, which are immune to EMI. Hooray!



      An area I would like to see Line 6 address: When switching the 'pickup selector' switch, the output seems to instantly drop a good 6dB or so, compared to the instant before the switch occurs. Hitting a new note restores the volume. It is almost as if the attack of the subsequent note is required to trigger an internal calibration of the analog level or some such. As I do a lot of playing as the only guitar player / melodic-harmonic instrument in a cover trio, I frequently need to switch tones a quarter or eighth note before another section of a song. Having all the harmonic content seeming disappear for that interval is quite jarring.



      Anyone else experience this?

      Comment








      • Quote Originally Posted by jbreher
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        An unanticipated side effect: One of the venues we play has a severe EMI issue - such that single-coils are barely tolerable even when using an EHX Hum Debugger (in itself quite a marvelous invention). Strats, Teles, P-90s, all have a problem. But here is the thing that is not immediately obvious: using the modeled single coils in the Variax, all this hum and buzz immediately disappears. I assume that is because the analog source is the piezos, which are immune to EMI. Hooray!




        Excellent point! Yes, piezos do not pick up hum. They can't.








        An area I would like to see Line 6 address: When switching the 'pickup selector' switch, the output seems to instantly drop a good 6dB or so, compared to the instant before the switch occurs. Hitting a new note restores the volume. It is almost as if the attack of the subsequent note is required to trigger an internal calibration of the analog level or some such. As I do a lot of playing as the only guitar player / melodic-harmonic instrument in a cover trio, I frequently need to switch tones a quarter or eighth note before another section of a song. Having all the harmonic content seeming disappear for that interval is quite jarring.



        Anyone else experience this?



        No, and just to make sure, I plugged the JTV-59 into the DT25, turned the volume up full, but didn't play any notes so all I heard was the residual hiss (FYI the DT25 is a remarkably quiet amp). I flicked the pickup switch on the Spank and Lester settings...no issues. Then I thought maybe it was a question of loading more complex models, so I tried the same thing on the Reso bank--again no problem.



        What sounds are using, what are you feeding into, and is your battery fully charged?
        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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        • Time for the DT25. Again, let me emphasize the floor is still open for Variax questions and comments, but I'd like to turn my attention to the DT25. After the photo tour, you'll hear some recorded examples that should make it pretty clear why I like this amp so much.



          Here's the front of the cab. As far as I can tell the grille cloth is not removable, but it may just be that I was reluctant to pry at it out of concern for causing damage. Behind the grille is a Celestion G12H-90 8-ohm, 12" speaker (designed in UK, made in China).







          Let's take a look at the back; here's the left side of the rear panel.







          The IEC line cord connector is to the far left. Note that these amps are not global; they're either 120 or 240V. However, I noticed that there's a label telling you what type of fuse to use depending on whether the amp is in a 120V or 240V environment. What this implies to me is that the transformer may be tapped so it can be configured for one or the other voltage, however, I haven't taken the amp apart to verify whether this is true of not. Maybe someone from Line 6 could chime in and let us know. Or maybe I'll just grab a screwdriver...



          To the right is a "low power" mode switch. This lets you get your tone at lower levels, which is something I suspect I'll need to try out if I'm recording audio examples late at night!



          Further right, we hit the I/O - MIDI in and out for accepting footswitches and such, and then the infamous L6 Link which I'm itching to try out - the idea of having digital control between the HD 500 and DT25 is interesting to say the least. If you want a homework assignment, you can download a copy of the DT25 manual and a separate document on L6 Link connectivity.



          Next is a footswitch jack. You can use a single-button footswitch to switch between the A and B channels or a dual-button type to do channel switching with one and reverb on/off with the other.



          The effects loop is between the preamp and power amp, but unlike many effects loops, although you can plug into the send to take a parallel output this disconnects the signal from the power amp. You can, however, feed a signal into the power amp by plugging into the Return jack.



          Here's the right side of the rear panel.







          There's a cabinet emulated direct out (I think Line 6 knows a thing or two about cabinet emulation) with a ground lift switch. As to speaker outputs, there are three options (A = 4-ohm output, B = 8-ohm output, and C = 16-ohm output). The A output accepts a 4-ohm speaker or two 8-ohm speakers, B accepts an 8-ohm speaker or two 16-ohm speakers, and C accepts a single 16-ohm. You can't use more than one output at a time, and you must turn on the amp with a speaker connected to prevent potential damage to the output stage.



          The amp comes with a convenient "cheat sheet" with some representative settings.







          As much as I just like to dive in, I tried these out. They all sound fine, but what's really interesting is when you start changing modes and topologies...the sounds change dramatically, as you'll hear in the audio examples.



          And finally, here's where the rubber meets the road: the two channels of controls.







          One thing that's not obvious from the photo is that the knob labels (bass, treble, etc.) are illuminated - you can play in the dark and still adjust the controls. There's the input on the left and channel A/B switch; the two channels are identical with Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Reverb, and Volume. There's also a Master volume that affects both channels.



          But the real action here are the three toggle switches. Two make relatively subtle, but nonetheless useful, variations. The Triode/Pentode switch gives a more "raw" sound in the Triode position (or a smoother, bigger sound in the Pentode position, depending on your outlook), while the Class AB/Class A switch chooses the two operational modes where you trade off tone (Class A, 10W with cathode biasing) for efficiency (Class AB. 25W with fixed bias).



          The enigmatic I - II - III - IV Voicing switch has the most impact by far, and this is a large part of what allows the DT25 to have so many convincing amp characters. I'm going to do something I hate to do, which is cut and paste from the manual, but the Line 6 explanation is very clear and gets the point across.



          [The Voicing] switch switch determines the flavor of the currently selected channel’s preamp and tone stack, as well as the Negative Feedback Loop topology (NFL). NFL has a big impact on tonal characteristics and the overall “feel” of the amp. Flip the switch up or down to toggle through settings I through IV. With a single switch your tone can go from clean to mean. Each voicing is distinct:



          I – Puts the NFL in its tightest setting while configuring the Channel Control’s behavior reminiscent of the great American “Blackface” amps of the 60s.

          II – Sets the NFL topology to be a little looser than I while the Channel Control settings are capable of dialing in echoes of classic British amps.

          III – This is the Zero Negative Feedback Loop setting which produces a very “open” or “dynamic” feeling amp. In this setting, the Channel Controls are configured for versatility with a distinct “chime-y” quality.

          IV – Setting IV brings the NFL back in and adds a low frequency resonance that pairs quite well with high gain voicing applied to the Channel Controls.



          Now that you have a basic idea of the "lay of the land" with the amp, let's get into some audio. As I don't have a Royer ribbon mic here for recording amps (which would pretty much be my first choice), I'll use a good ol' Shure SM58 dynamic mic. I'll use the JTV-59 magnetic pickups as much as possible so we have a consistent standard of comparison, with occasional departures into the modeled guitars because the pairing of particular guitar sounds with particular amps (e.g., Les Paul and Marshall, Rickenbacker and AC-30) produce some really cool sounds.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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          • Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
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            No, and just to make sure, I plugged the JTV-59 into the DT25, turned the volume up full, but didn't play any notes so all I heard was the residual hiss (FYI the DT25 is a remarkably quiet amp). I flicked the pickup switch on the Spank and Lester settings...no issues.



            What sounds are using, what are you feeding into, and is your battery fully charged?




            See attachment. I am using the Spank model, but they all seem to exhibit this. Starting at the bridge position, I am hitting a chord, holding for two beats, moving the pu selector to the next position, holding for two beats, striking the chord, hold, next position.... one position at a time all the way from bridge to neck, then back again.



            You can clearly hear that there is a distinct drop in level upon flicking the switch. The next strike of the chord seems to be back to the earlier volume. Opening the file in an editor really drives it home, however. You can distinctly see the huge drop in volume.







            ETA: This file was created direct into my tc KonnektLive. The same issue occurs with my regular live rig of guitar -> Samson Airline Wireless -> Boss GT-5 -> mid-'70's Fender silverface Princeton Reverb (slightly hopped up).



            Battery chargemeter currently shows 3 of 4 LEDs lit. I'd say it should be good. Same problem with topped off battery, IIRC. I've not run it down to near-depletion.

            Comment








            • Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
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              ...check for updates, no matter how old a piece of gear is!!




              Wishful thinking for my Arp Avatar.

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              • Quote Originally Posted by jbreher
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                See attachment. I am using the Spank model, but they all seem to exhibit this. Starting at the bridge position, I am hitting a chord, holding for two beats, moving the pu selector to the next position, holding for two beats, striking the chord, hold, next position.... one position at a time all the way from bridge to neck, then back again.




                The audio example was very helpful. First of all, remember that the levels among pickups aren't matched - they model the original output levels, so some settings will definitely be softer than others. However, that's not the whole story.



                I tried to replicate your results, and found that some models act as you describe, but others don't. For example, the Lester actually gets louder when you go from position 3 to position 5. The Special, Semi, and Jazzbox models also acted as they should. The R-Billy, T-Model, and Spank were somewhat like you described, however the model that REALLY exhibited this effect was Chime. That seemed to show exactly what you're talking about, and to a greater degree than the other models.



                Now, try this. Select Chime with the model knob, hit a chord, then rotate the model knob into the Semi position. The level doesn't change to any significant degree. Hit a chord while in Semi, then rotate the model knob into the Chime position. The level drops dramatically. Try the same thing rotating from Chime to R-Billy (sound persists), then R-Billy to Chime (sound drops off).



                Try the model rotation experiment I just described, then try flicking the pickup selector with the Chime and Lester models, and let me know if you hear what I hear. I suspect this may have to do with flushing parameter changes before the next sound is loaded, but that's something Line 6 would need to answer.



                This is not the kind of thing I would notice normally, as over the years I've gotten into the habit of switching any pickups on any guitar during a pause to eliminate any possibility of clicks, especially given that I often run into boxes with high gain that would tend to accentuate any clicks.
                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                • Quote Originally Posted by Bookumdano2
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                  Wishful thinking for my Arp Avatar.




                  Ouch. I heard that at the time Arp went out of business, they had so many unsold or returned Avatars the boxes were stacked up in the bathrooms.
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                  • I'm pretty sure I'm going to pull the trigger on the DT25 this week. I'd love to play one before committing, but I'm probably going to have to get one mail order as no one seems to stock them in NC .

                    Comment








                    • Quote Originally Posted by dramey
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                      I'm pretty sure I'm going to pull the trigger on the DT25 this week. I'd love to play one before committing, but I'm probably going to have to get one mail order as no one seems to stock them in NC .




                      I'm recording the first of the audio examples tonight, so you might want to wait a few hours.



                      I did setup for the recording last night and had my daughter help me. To quote her: "That sounds really good."
                      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                      • Post anything you learn as far as micing the cab goes. I've always recorded through the Vetta and then reamped the signal, or ran it through guitar rig. I will probably do the same with the DT25 but as it's a tube amp, I am going to want to learn how to mic it too.

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                        • In the cheat sheet that comes with amp and gives some suggested "quick start"-type settings, there's a line that says "Unlimited Tonal Possibilities!" Well, that kind of marketing is uncomfortably close to "Limited only by your imagination!" (I have a pretty good imagination). But I have to say this is a truly versatile amp, and after a few hours I started to think that "unlimited tonal possibilities" may be a spec rather than a marketing term.



                          If you just plug into the amp and dial up a sound, you'd probably think it sounded good. And it does, although any one sound only hints at the possibilities.



                          If you do the math with the available switch combinations, there are 16 basic sounds. But start tweaking the knobs, and the options really start multiplying. As a result, I will post around 10,000 audio examples.



                          Kidding!! But I will be recording quite a few.



                          The Recording Setup



                          I'm using an SM58 mic pointing on-axis at the speaker cone, about 5" away from the grille cloth - a very typical, unspectacular setup that gives a pretty neutral idea of the sound. The guitar is (natch!) the JTV-59 Variax, and (so far) I used only the middle position of the passive humbuckers - none of the guitar models. Nor am I using the POD HD500 or any plug-ins; what you hear is what the mic hears. I also let the string decay naturally so you could hear the smooth nature of how it fades, although with a couple examples, I couldn't resist letting the guitar go into some feedback...



                          The Examples



                          The initial examples concentrate on the Voicing Switch options, as these make a huge difference in the sound. Please check out post #199 for a description of what these four switches do.



                          I dialed in each of the four cheat sheet preset control settings, then recorded each preset with four variations, corresponding to changing the voicing switch. No other parameters were changed. I kept the pentode/triode switch on pentode, and the AB / A switch on class A.



                          One aspect I found very interesting was how some voicing switch positions just "clicked" with certain control settings. For example, I didn't particularly care for Voicing Switch position I with crunchy/overdriven sounds, but it sounded wonderful with the Classic Clean knob settings - open, bright, and sparkly. Also, the Chime settings with Voicing Switch position I sounded rich and full - another 100% winner.



                          This is not to say the distorted settings couldn't sound good with Voicing Switch position I; some control tweaks, a little processing, and you can get useful sounds. However, some of the other Voicing Switch positions work as naturally with overdriven sounds as position I does with clean sounds, and I'd probably prefer those. Or maybe not...there are a lot of options.



                          There are four riffs in each of the following audio examples. The first is played with the British Crunch control settings, the second with the Classic American Clean settings, the third with the Class A Chime settings, and the fourth with the Modern High-Gain settings. I chose these because obviously Line 6 considered them representative patches, and I wanted a consistent reference. It was a temptation to tweak the settings, but I resisted



                          The four examples play these through the four different Voicing Switch positions (each example features one Voicing Switch position).



                          Listen to the Voicing I example. Using the British Crunch settings with Voicing Switch position 1 has a tight sound, but I find the distortion harsh although it does have a sort of "little vintage amp" quality. The next example uses the Classic Clean setting - I love this one as well as the next one, which uses the Chime settings. The High Gain settings seem quite harsh.



                          Remember the ones that didn't sound all that great, because they come alive in other switch positions.



                          Now listen to the Voicing II example. With the example using Voicing Switch position 2, British Crunch sounds wonderful in a brash, 60s band kind of way. I really like Classic Clean too; it's a little less aggressive, but fills out a rhythm guitar track very nicely. Chime rounds out the sound, again giving a more "full" effect. Finally, High Gain isn't at its best with Position 2, but could be tamed quite easily with a little processing.



                          Next we'll have examples with Voicing Switch positions 3 and 4.
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                          • Craig



                            I notice no buzz from that JTV-59. My -69 has the usual "strat-like" buzz on all selector positions, save #4. Not an issue for me, as I rarely use the Variax Mags, but I suppose a small advantage of the -59. Are the Bridge and Neck selects also as quiet?



                            The DT-25 also seems to be devoid of hiss, which my rigs have, especially through the POD 500, unless you set it up right. I'm using a heavily modified Blues Jr. III, and a stereo rig comprising two Mesa 5:25 Expresses, which are notoriously hissy. This DT-25 is impressive from that standpoint, might make a great studio rig.



                            Thanks for doing this - this is compelling reading!

                            Comment


                            • Thanks for all this work Craig....before it is all over, this might turn out to be a pretty scary review....3 different pieces all with a million options, all integrated....I hope they bought you a boat or something.



                              I outlined a few questions about the dt25 in post #96, but I do have a quickie question that is appropriate to your current stage in the review...



                              ...small cab mids. Lots of small combos suffer from small cab mids that just overcolor the tone(s) of the amp....sometimes it can be tweaked out, but sometimes it is just a characteristic of....you know...small cabs. Small combos suffer quite often from this which sometimes can be remedied by a head/cab config.



                              Your clips (keep em coming!) are great, but it is hard to tell. Sometimes you just gotta be in the room with the amp.



                              So what's your take?
                              "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work" - Gustave Flaubert

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                              • Quote Originally Posted by LarryLion
                                View Post

                                Craig



                                I notice no buzz from that JTV-59. My -69 has the usual "strat-like" buzz on all selector positions, save #4. Not an issue for me, as I rarely use the Variax Mags, but I suppose a small advantage of the -59. Are the Bridge and Neck selects also as quiet?




                                Those sounds were from the middle position, so both pickups were in play. Of course they're not "buzzless," but their performance is what you would expect from good humbuckers.








                                The DT-25 also seems to be devoid of hiss, which my rigs have, especially through the POD 500, unless you set it up right. I'm using a heavily modified Blues Jr. III, and a stereo rig comprising two Mesa 5:25 Expresses, which are notoriously hissy. This DT-25 is impressive from that standpoint, might make a great studio rig.



                                I was quite taken aback by the lack of hiss, although of course you do get some at high gains, especially with the Variax models (which as expected contribute more hiss than the mag pickups, but conversely, pick up no hum or noise).



                                No amp is hissless, and you can make the DT25 hiss if you try hard enough, but it's one of the quietest amps I've used...and it doesn't sound like they're using any "tricks" (e.g., a non-defeatable noise gate or something like that). I would definitely recommend it for recording, and for studios that want to have a "one size fits all" backline amp.
                                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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