When Gear Acquisition Syndrome is fuel for the fire
After my last post on using the Torpedo Cab and the Nady TD-1 in conjunction with the POD HD500X, I thought I’d talk a little bit more about the configuration I’m currently using and then A/B the approaches for you.
The TD might stand for “Terrible Design”
I had done a substantial amount of research for a BIAS review for Guitar-Muse that may or may not be see the light of day and in researching all aspects of the tube pre-amp, rediscovered the 12AU7.
This tube is a direct replacement for a 12AXA7 but has some different tonal characteristics and offers less gain. On a recent trip to Drome Sound, I found a NOS Groove Tubes 12AU7 for $10 and decided to swap it out in my Nady TD-1. The TD-1 is a cool pedal in terms of tone, and a terrible housing design as replacing the tube requires completely dismantling the casing.
As a first step, you’ll need 3 tools to do this.
On my first dismantling attempt, I realized that I didn’t have a star shaped driver to undo the sides of the casing. It seemed cruel for Nady to not simply use philips head screws but a quick trip to Radio Shack got me the driver I needed (with some other attachments) and soon I had this.
You’ll also notice that you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to extract the tube. The photo above shows the replaced GT in the socket.
The A/B Rig
First off. I had a strange experience with my hybrid solution at the last gig I played. Soundcheck went fine and then live when I switched to my lead patch the volume dropped by 70% or more. I had to full crank my QSC K-8 (which I’ve never had to turn past 10 o’clock [the off position starts at 6 o’clock]) to be heard. I assumed it was a cable or a bad connection but checking the cables after the gig, they were all fine. Line 6 just released a new Firmware update to deal with volume drops with that occurred when switching patches with specific configurations and I guess mine was one of them as it seems to be working now.
I started the process this weekend of porting all of my patches from the HD-500 over to the 500-X (and trying to recreate some of my POD Farm patches there as well) and thought I’d give you an A/B example of the dual rig.
In contrast, here’s my current configuration. The tube screamer is gone and replaced by the TD-1.
So this means that I have 2 extra things plugged in with my POD. Which is way more of a pain than simply using the POD direct. But does it make a difference?
Well the tones are completely different but here’s the A/B. I’m just improvising some D major patterns over a D5 chord.
Recorded the TD/Torpedo is more saturated, but the biggest difference is live. When played through my QSC, the second tone has substantially increased presence in the room. I don’t know how to describe it but seems to jump out more from the speaker. There’s also a little hiss from the pedal, but I can live with it in a live context.
Wait there’s a third option?
Having said all of that I took advantage of a recent cancelled rehearsal I showed up to to put my Positive Grid Jam Up App through the paces. I can work with it at home but it’s a different context to put it through an amp on a stage in a large hall and see what happens and I have to say – I was pretty blown away.
I’m going to be doing live accompaniment for a production of The Exonerated at the BuckMoon Arts Festival in July and currently it looks like I’ll just be bringing my iphone, a laptop for some synths and looping and a powered speaker. It doesn’t have the flexibility that the POD set up does, but for situations where I just need a decent clean/dirty tone – it gets the job done and then some.
More tone reports as the summer progresses – but hopefully this is useful to some of you.
As always, thanks for reading!