Considering a Ceriatone Plexi 51

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by What?, May 10, 2020.

  1. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    That is still very much a thing today. If you get into reading about and watching things on engineers and producers there are all sorts of unconventional surprises and tricks that they have used over the years. On the small amp thing, some of them have alot of character, and studios collect them for those different characters and colors. Also, in a smaller room that sounds good a big amp can easily overpower the room and create mud, boominess, pinginess, and other issues, where a small amp might have a good output to fit the room's acoustics or might not bleed severely into other miked instruments.
     
  2. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    I gave the fuzzes a try today for getting closer to that Page sound. I didn't get anything really worth posting.

    If you watch some of the live stuff, you'll see him using the middle position on his les paul for the main motif and switching to the bridge just before hitting the A chord. Sometimes he stays on the bridge the whole time though. But I'm positive that he is using a Tone Bender or similar pedal in his live sound. He uses it in a somewhat subtle way though, definitely not cranking up the gain. You can hear it bloom on the notes and chords in the live stuff.
     
  3. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the honeymoon is over? Today I'm banging out some punk rock rhythms with the treble channel hovering around 6-7, bass channel around 2-3, and the sound is pretty grainy and rough, even with the bright cap switched out. Eq controls, negative feedback, channels mixing, nothing really changes it. I have a couple of old Mullard preamps tubes on order, so maybe that will help to smooth it out some. I'd like to find some more articulation (that probably sounds counter to banging out punk rock tunes), less roughness/graininess, and maybe a little more beef in the low end.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
  4. Buzzard

    Buzzard Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. I’d ask Nik before spending anything.
     
  5. 2203xman

    2203xman Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely try some tubes other than the JJ's.I struggled with the bass on my 1987x.Rarely would I use any of the normal channel.My bass knob was usually on 2 or less and I changed that 330 by pass cap too for this same reason.I ram tungsol el34b's in it and a 100uf bright cap.She finally came around to sounding tight and much more focused.
     
  6. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    I'll see what some tube swapping does and go from there. Sound is a funny thing though, where the ears seem to change somewhat from day to day.
     
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  7. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Did alot of playing on this amp today. Inbetween I was listening to various Marshall sound clips. This thing is pretty bang on to a 1987x. I know that Ceriatone doesn't have many audio clips up for their amps, so maybe that is helpful to someone. Just go listen to some 1987x sound clips and you'll have a very good idea of what it sounds like. But keep in mind which speakers are being used. Any comments I have made here about the sound on the Plexi 51 (good and bad), I have heard the same things in recordings of 1987x's. Essentially, with the Ceriatone you get a better built running chassis but a cheaper made cab, a good effects loop, good PPIMV, and the various switching options. I think most of the switching options don't amount to much though. The bright cap switch is very useuful, as is the shared/split cathode switch. The rest I could probably live without, but admittedly I still don't know alot about the context's in which to use them yet. I haven't gotten that far into reading about the various switching values for different years of amps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  8. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

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    I emailed Scott at Guitarampsusa and told him I was looking for an 80s hard rock and hair metal amp that could do Plexi, JCM and hot rodded versions of each. He recommended the Plexi51
     
  9. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    When I talked to Scott he didn't seem to know alot about Marshall style amps. Nik definitely did though. I'm not really into 80's hair metal, so I don't know the various guitar tones, but I would think you would want something with an extra gain stage for that. A Chupacabra or similar seems like it would be a better fit. I would hit up ampeq. He has a Chupacabra and probably knows it well by now. I would email Nik too. He has been quick to respond whenever I had any questions for him, and his recommendation for a Plexi 51 for what I wanted was bang on. But if you're listening to demos of 1987x's and hearing what you want, the Plexi 51 would give you the same thing. It's very classic sounding and can go from dark and woody to bright and brash, which I think is a good fit for blues, classic rock, and more bright and hairy 70's punk rock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  10. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

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    Actually I asked Nic the same thing only I told him I was a bedroom player and he recommended the SOY
     
  11. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    The Yeti and Chupacabra sound to be close cousins with different voicings. Both are hotrodded Marshall style amps (extra gain stage and so forth). From what I have heard, the Son of Yeti is going to have a little more manageable volume but a little less beefy than it's big brother, similar to how the Marshall Studio Vintage sounds like a smaller plexi. And yea, I think the Yeti is a little more classic voiced, where the Chupacabra is more modern. A 20 watter with a PPIMV would probably make for a really good home amp and smaller gig amp. You could add the PPIMV later if you wanted it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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  12. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    I have come to the conclusion that trying to push the Plexi 51 into higher gain territory is a no-go. It is very much a mid gain amp and shines from edge of breakup clean to mid gain.

    And while at times I like the brightness of the 1000pF bright cap setting (with high and presence controls adjusted accordingly), I think one of the switching options should be something more like a 500pF, where the current switching options are none(Middle), 100pF(Right), or 1000pF (Left). I don't like the Middle position (no bright cap), and I will probably do some changing here. It would make more sense to me to go with something like 100 pF (Left), 500pF (Middle), 1000 pF(Right), so that left to right is warmer to brighter. Maybe even lowering the 1000pF.

    I did lots of playing today with the switches for Char, V2A, V1B. These switches along with eq do help in going from tighter to looser. I had been running the Mid control at full, but I'm liking it turned down considerably, bass at 0, treble just below half. The bass control could really use a change to have a more useful range. After not too far up on the bass control, it doesn't seem to really add in any more useful bass to the end sound, just making the overall sound looser.

    I also read a post last night by Alan from Carol Ann Amps where he talked about using lower cathode bypass and coupling caps to help tighten up bass spec plexi style amps. https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...ess-bass-from-my-marshall-1986-clone.1636122/ This seems like something that I should tinker with in the future. I'm quoting it here in case it disappears at some point:

     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  13. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Just an fyi on the buffered effects loop. I hit up Nik to find out if it can handle line level effects and if it is the same as the Metro zero loss loop as some people have said. He said it is an older version of the Metro loop, instrument level only. And I just got around the other day to actually using the loop. It seems fine to me. As I said before, just inserting a patch cable brings the level up just a bit, and along with that comes a bit of noise. If it were an option on this amp, I probably would have opted for the passive loop and then installed a Metro zero loss loop later, just because it has switchable levels for instrument level and line level effects.
     
  14. 2203xman

    2203xman Well-Known Member

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    I am impressed with how fast Nik responds .And he he is quite chatty.I wonder when he has time to build.Anyway thanks,I am waiting patiently for mine.I have a .01 uf cap that may replace my 330 bypass cap,and will soon order some TAD el34's,along with a rec tube.I still haven't told the wife,so a little time is needed for me to gently break the news.
     
  15. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Yea, Nik is definitely open to discussion, which I much appreciate. What I gathered from one email about my amp is that he has a builder. So it sounds like he takes care of the business end of things. Sounds like the long wait time might be in your favor.
     
  16. iwuk78

    iwuk78 Member

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    There are a few builders there as I understand. Here's a vid, pretty cool.

     
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  17. Buzzard

    Buzzard Well-Known Member

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    So how are you liking the amp now? It had sounded like there was some disappointment.
     
  18. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Nah, I'm really not disappointed with it. It's a cool amp, but a bit vanilla at the moment. There are definitely some pros and cons with it, but anything that I don't like about it is either superficial or minor and can be changed. And it's still going to take a while yet to really feel the thing out. I'm still going forth and back on this and that with it. It can definitely rock and roll as is, and I still think a 1987 is probably a good platform amp that could be taken in a number of directions according to what a person wants more specifically. I did shoot my mouth off though saying that it's on par with my old Super Reverb. As is, it is not. They are very different amps of course, but the old Super has some vintage juju going for it that the Ceriatone doesn't. That may just be an age thing, where this component and that one has drifted. And the super has a better set of tubes and the alnico CTS speakers going for it, and that beautiful tube spring reverb and tremolo. But maybe in the main, the Ceriatone is not a vintage amp. At this point I think it is much a matter of finding a nice set of tubes and speakers for the Ceriatone. My old 412MS cab can rock out, but it probably is a bit lacking in the character department for that vintage sort of character thing. And the Ceriatone still has the JJ's that came in it from end to end. I just got a couple of old Mullard preamp tubes to try in it, and maybe that will bring something to the table. And I am again aiming to try some different speakers. But I'm thinking that the G12C's and 425A cab might be the wrong direction to go. If those speakers are tilted toward more treble and shy on bass, I'm probably not going to like them with this amp. It's hard to say with so few recordings available of them and written opinions being pretty polarized. And what I have heard of the greenback reissue, I'm not a huge fan. At least not enough to switch from what I have now. My initial hunch was to try some Webers with this amp, and I may still do that. I have been impressed with the sound of every Weber I have tried. Not as in, it's ok, but as in, it sounds really good, even if it's character wasn't quite my personal thing. Maybe I got caught up here with so much discussion of 'Celestion'. But there are even fewer recordings out there of the Webers that I am interested in than the G12C's.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020
  19. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    Just pulled the back off this amp today. Tubes that came in the Pexi 51 (as they are labeled):

    V1: JJ ECC83S, Ruby 12AX7ACZ HG
    V2: TAD 7025/12AX7 High Grade (maybe someone here can help me identify the manufacturer)
    V3: JJ ECC83S, Ruby 12AX7ACZ HG
    V4/V5: JJ E34L, Apex matching, Current: 28, Transconductance: 7100
    Rectifier: JJ GZ34S, TAD 5AR4CZ

    Just tried a couple of old RCA labeled Mullards in V1, obtained from a very reputable dealer recommended by many people at a very popular forum. One is badly microphonic with blued pins. One had a bad hum. Guess I'll be sending those back. Bummer.

    Funny thing. The first one I tried ended up being the microphonic one with blued pins. Before I took notice of the defects, it sounded really good though. I rocked out for a while and enjoyed the hell out of it. Then I thought I better put the JJ back in to see if is placebo. The JJ sounded the same. Back in with the Mullard and changing amp settings, which is when I noticed the microphonics. Tapping it with a guitar pick sent it into continuous light oscillation. Back in with the JJ. Sounded fine. Back and forth a handful more times. Same result.

    I had left the amp at a lower gain setting the day before than I have been typically running (think ZZ top La Grange lower gain level) for trying some pedals up front, with the bass channel up higher than the treble channel. Before getting into monkeying with the sound of the old Mullard tubes, I just rolled down the bass channel lower for some tonal balance. Sounded great. Both at low gain settings, around 2-3 on the dials. But I'm pretty positive that I fooled myself.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020
  20. malice95

    malice95 Active Member

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    Sigh, still got another 6 weeks or so togo on my Plexi51 order per Nik. Says he has a queue of 200 amps to build. I decided to break down and custom order a Dookie Modded 1959 amp from him as well. Should pair nicely with the Plexi51. Of course I wont see the 1959 amp until January. I tried to get him to slip it into the schedule with my other amp but he wouldn't do it. I suppose that's a good thing as that means others aren't cutting in front of me.
     

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