Strange Design Forums

Gear Heads => Amps => Topic started by: Buffered on August 12, 2015, 01:21:46 PM



Title: Tube preamps?
Post by: Buffered on August 12, 2015, 01:21:46 PM
Hey all,

Finally got my Fryette Power Station back in May, and it's a killer reamper/reactive load/attenuator/tube power amp.

I'm planning a move out to CO next year, and deliberating on backup rigs when I need a break from other deliberations.

In a perfect world, I'd bring my Express 5:25+ with a Steamboat 100 and use the Fryette to reamp for higher volume - but what if that goes down on a gig? If I had a tube preamp I could keep in a small rack with the Power Station, I could be good to go again in less than two minutes (providing the issue isn't with the PS or speaker) Therefore, this seems like a logical solution to me, but I still have to pick the right preamp to pair with the 6L6 power amp.

I'm really into Jerry tones, so the FYD and SMS are on my list - but what about overdrive or late-night recording options? Ideally, I'd grab an Effectrode Blackbird and call it a day but those are pretty rare right now (made in the UK)

Are there any other tube preamps you'd guys like to turn me on to? What're your experiences with this setup? I may bring another 1x12, but the point of this setup route is to avoid hauling two separate amps to a gig, and the fact I'm probably moving in a small SUV (space is a premium)


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Heady Jam Fan on August 13, 2015, 11:56:59 AM
I have a Tech 21 Blonde as a backup. Its alright - doesn't quite nail my tone and doesn't have the feel and response of tubes, but its durable and cheap and works in a sinch. The benefit is that it has a speaker simulator in case your speaker blows, you want to practice into headphones, or going direct (live or for recording). Otherwise, with other preamp options, you either need to run through a guitar speaker or some sort of speaker simulator. However, the idea your discussing is kinda similar to Garcia running through a Twin-esque preamp into the solidstate Macintosh power amp. I've never played one of those, so who knows how the Power Station compares.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Walker done done on December 15, 2015, 12:17:44 PM
I just ordered a SMS preamp, should be here today actually.  I opted for the regular (not the JG version).  Not sure which one Trey has.  Is he even still using that thing?  So many gear changes since FTW, I can't keep track anymore.

Speaking of which, I really need to get Scott to update the gear page.  Maybe keep what's there, and then do a "2015" version.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Buffered on December 15, 2015, 03:54:10 PM
I just ordered a SMS preamp, should be here today actually.  I opted for the regular (not the JG version).  Not sure which one Trey has.  Is he even still using that thing?  So many gear changes since FTW, I can't keep track anymore.

Speaking of which, I really need to get Scott to update the gear page.  Maybe keep what's there, and then do a "2015" version.

I'm really considering pulling the trigger on one of those, especially since it's on sale right now on his site. $625 ain't cheap though. I'd run it with my Power Station for a portable amp. I'm planning a move to Denver in early 2016, and a 3U rack space with a pedalboard and a guitar will take up less space than my Mesa Express 5:50+ in my Chevy Trax. I love that amp though.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: tsbot on December 15, 2015, 04:27:43 PM
How does this whole pre amp - power amp setup work?  What is the signal chain and components from guitar to speaker cab?  I've never really understood them.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: seriesnuns on December 15, 2015, 04:44:56 PM
How does this whole pre amp - power amp setup work?  What is the signal chain and components from guitar to speaker cab?  I've never really understood them.


Most amps are all in one. Like the Mark iii  Guitar -> Mesa Mark iii preamp -> Mark iii power amp tubes -> Speaker

In between the pre amp and the power amp tubes is where the effect loop resides. Most of your tone is made in the pre amp section. (For Mesa's)

When you have a pre amp and power amp setup you can mix and match. Like Trey when he was doing the CAE3+ into the groove tubes 75 power section amp.  I think he also ran a SMS into his mark power section for a show or soundcheck?

You can also run a pre amp like a SMS into the return side of a mark iii and use the SMS pre amp and the mark iii power amp. Or vice versa run the Mark iii preamp from the effects send into another power amp section.

I have a question for guys running the pre amp and power amp. Do you have a box in the middle for a effects loop?



Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Buffered on December 16, 2015, 10:07:40 AM
You can get a box, like the dumbleators or a GLab ALA. I think Ceriatone makes a Kleinulator which is a solid state dumbleator. For the Fryette, it has a dedicated loop. I would think you can just run your effects between the preamp and power amp since they're just line level, but you may run into tone suck.

Let me know what you think of the SMS, thinking of pulling the trigger sooner rather than later.. Is this replacing your Mark III or a backup rig? My goal is to use the SMS/Powerstation in a rack unit, but I'm not sure if ill need a conditioner or not.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Walker done done on December 17, 2015, 02:05:33 PM
You can get a box, like the dumbleators or a GLab ALA. I think Ceriatone makes a Kleinulator which is a solid state dumbleator. For the Fryette, it has a dedicated loop. I would think you can just run your effects between the preamp and power amp since they're just line level, but you may run into tone suck.

Let me know what you think of the SMS, thinking of pulling the trigger sooner rather than later.. Is this replacing your Mark III or a backup rig? My goal is to use the SMS/Powerstation in a rack unit, but I'm not sure if ill need a conditioner or not.

I am using the SMS like mentioned above.  The SMS will be the preamp, MKIII will be used for the power amp.  Guitar > pedal board > SMS > MKIII effects return. 

Only played through it (alone) for a half hour last night but was impressed so far.  Super clean tones, and more flexibility than the MKIII's preamp.  Like my tone and sound got a facelift or something.  Still the same tone, just much more sparkly and clear.  I don't think you'd be disappointed, and could always resell it for close to what you pay for it.  Plus, it's just money....you'll make more of it!

I went with the Classic SMS over the Jerry modded version.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Buffered on December 17, 2015, 02:51:08 PM
Interesting, I'm definitely going to grab one then. Thanks! Does it sound the same regardless of what your MKIII is at? May be a silly question, my b.

A little fun fact, the 2009 Phish show at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis Trey actually used an SMS for the whole show. Sarno brought the unit by, as he lives in STL. I think the date of the show is 6/16/2009.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Buffered on December 17, 2015, 03:29:00 PM
Welp, just pulled the trigger on it!


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Walker done done on December 17, 2015, 04:16:34 PM
Interesting, I'm definitely going to grab one then. Thanks! Does it sound the same regardless of what your MKIII is at? May be a silly question, my b.

A little fun fact, the 2009 Phish show at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis Trey actually used an SMS for the whole show. Sarno brought the unit by, as he lives in STL. I think the date of the show is 6/16/2009.

Yeah I heard about that when it happened.  I didn't dig the tone that show either, funny enough.  Hopefully I like mine once I've really settled in!

So the deal with the SMS is it bypasses your MKIII preamp and just uses the power amp section.  You plug into your guitar, run through your effects chain, then go from your effects chain into the input on the front on the SMS (instead of into your MKIII - you no longer use that input at all).  Then the output on the back of the SMS goes into the effects return on the back of the MKIII.  This bypasses the MKIII preamp and renders every control (sans the master volume on the front & presence knob on the back) on the MKIII useless.  If you do use the EQ, that will still work.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Jkendrick on December 17, 2015, 07:45:35 PM
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/12/17/d061687615b43a945a08dc7d364d3d09.jpg)

My wedding date. This is our wedding registry entry from a buddy who I've been seeing shows with since 1990.


Title: Re: Tube preamps?
Post by: Poster on January 04, 2019, 11:26:34 AM
its really the heel of the SMS that makes it the wrong circuit, but also the tone stack. My buddy Mike Wald will set you right - if your actually stilling using this thing. FYI a 1u rack plus power, plus cases is not lighter than a twin. Your just splitting the weight into three trips. Cool but without the mods, its more like a Deluxe reverb with a flubby heel. Sorry not sorry, now you know. If you want to learn how to modify it yourself with 10 dollars in parts, I'm happy to help. I've modded many of Dan's racks, and Dan is a friend, albiet a hot headed one. Cheers