Studio Vintage master volume mods?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by ledvedder, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. ledvedder

    ledvedder Active Member

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    Are there any master volume mods available for the Studio Vintage? I'm really loving the demos I'm hearing from this amp, but it's just too loud for my needs. It would be awesome if a master volume mod was available for it. I'd most likely play it to where I'd get a great early VH tone, but in order to get there, the amp just needs to be turned up wat too loud for me.
     
  2. Trelwheen

    Trelwheen Certified B.S. Launcher Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    .
     
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  3. ledvedder

    ledvedder Active Member

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    I'm talking about the SV20.
     
  4. SlyStrat

    SlyStrat Well-Known Member

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    Use a good OD pedal or sell it.
    The SV is the best amp I've played.
     
  5. Trelwheen

    Trelwheen Certified B.S. Launcher Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Yep I noticed that after I put on my glasses.

    Reply fixed

    :headbanger:
     
  6. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Well-Known Member

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    I heard some NMV players use a volume pedal or an OD (drive and tone on zero) plugged in the fx loop and use it as a "MV"... I haven't tried it myself though
     
  7. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Youre gonna need an attenuator to get EVH tones at reasonable volume plugging straight in without any OD pedals with an SV20. I dont know that anyone has modded these amps, schematics are not available as far as I know.
     
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  8. ledvedder

    ledvedder Active Member

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    That's why I'm asking if anyone has had luck with a ppimv mod.
     
  9. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    I dont know that anyone has modded these amps being that the schematics are not available.
     
  10. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    If early VH is your goal, you want to crank the amp. You would need a good attenuator, not adding a master volume. If master volume tone & feel is your thing, get the SC20. My 2 cents
     
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  11. tce63

    tce63 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    If you get a Weber Mini Mass 50 you donĀ“t need to modify your amp, works just great,

    Cheers :cheers:
     
  12. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    The MV on the SC is the mod you want.

    If you want a low volume friendly Studio don't overlook the 2525H Mini Jubilee. EVH would still sound like EVH on one anyway.
     
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  13. ledvedder

    ledvedder Active Member

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    Just to be clear, I'm not looking to sound like EVH. His tone, specifically on VH2, is just the best way I can describe the type of tone that I like.
     
  14. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^^^^ Some wise words right there, my friend! ^^^^^^^

    Let's see here, the main goal is to sound like you are playing through a 50 or 100 watt head cranking into a 4x12 cabinet or even a stack of them, at actual volume levels that are acceptable in the real world. A "master volume" of any sort or even an IR is not the best and/or sonically invisible way to achieve this. Most folks steer clear of "attenuators" because they've been led to believe/assume that they simply suck tone, character, dynamic response, etc, ad nauseum! Poorly implemented versions (early and cheaper iterations) of attenuation certainly support this theory. It is simply not the case with well designed and produced units. It is an unfortunate fact that as perceived volume goes down, so does the actual "movement of air" by the speaker(s) and inevitably, the perceived feel and sound of the sound often suffer as a result. Some attenuators do a really good job of compensating for this phenomenon, as well as making sure the amp responds the same way when attenuated (reactive loading) as when driving straight into a non-attenuated speaker.

    Let's first clarify what an actual "attenuator" does and differentiate it with "so-called" attenuators that are actually "re-amplifiers" which actually work quite well, but are generally much more costly!

    A> An "attenuator" as we know them goes between the amp and the speaker and "sheds/sloughs off" some of the electrical energy going to that speaker by "dissipating" that energy as heat through a resistor network of some sort. These are considered "passive" as they require no power supply, other than electrical energy of the amp feeding them.
    1> In the simplest units, it can be just a resistor or couple/few, which the amp's output "sees" as a brick wall of constant, steady and same resistance. These tend to dampen the tone (especially highs and lows) and reduce the responsive and "reactive" feel of the amp, more and more as the attenuation increases and the volume goes down.
    a> On the other hand, a speaker's resistance/impedance fluctuates widely at different frequencies and amplitudes. This provides the amp with a "reactive and dynamic load" which is part of what gives an amp rig it's "feel" and repsonsiveness.​
    2> As units get better, they become more complicated and through many different methods, attempt to make up for and/or change that "brick wall" that the amp "sees" and often strive to compensate for tonal losses from purely resistive attenuation. Some are more successful at this than others.
    a> Some brands (such as Weber and others) incorporate a speaker motor, in addition to the resisitance, in an attempt to provide some "reactance" to the amp's output. They often also design in some sort of capacitor network, often switchable (like in the Weber units), to allow some of those lost highs and lows to "bypass" the circuit and still come through, to some extent. While these units can work "OKAY" there tend to be only a couple/few sweet spots throughout the turn of their dial. In between those "sweet spots" the tone and/or feel can be a bit lackluster, at best. FWIW, a "speaker motor" is simply a speaker's magnet and voice coil without having a cone to make sound.
    b> Other designs incorporate varying combinations of series and parallel resistors and choke/inductor coils to allow an amp to drive a similarly reactive load as when directly driving a speaker. These tend to get more pricey as the quality of construction and sound retention go up. The Scumback units, Rock Crushers and some others are well rated. Its been my experience, however, that any attenuator with a continuously variable knob, tends to have sweet and not so sweet spots throughout the sweep of that knob!
    c> Having tried nearly every style and brand of "passive" attenuators since their commercial introduction in the '70s, I must say that the most transparent and best sounding/responding "bang for the buck" units you could own are the designs from our own @JohnH in this lengthy thread:
    https://www.marshallforum.com/threads/simple-attenuators-design-and-testing.98285/
    This design however does require you to build it yourself, although it only requires light duty tool/fabrication and reasonable soldering skills. Or find a friend who is adept at such. While his design is in -3.15db steps, instead of being continuously variable, those steps are small enough to easily work with. By being in "steps" it allows each setting to have an optimized ratio of parallel and series resistance, combined with reactive inductance. The components for building one of these can be very reasonbly priced! Best of the best, in my book!​
    B> Now, on to "re-amplifying" with units such as the BadCat Unleash, Fryette Power Station, UA OX, etc. It should be noted here that the act of putting a mic or DI on any amp, even a small one or a 100 watt amp into speaker in an isolation box and then putting it through the PA or into a channel of a recording rig is a form of "re-amplification!" It should also be remembered that most PA and studio monitor systems are powered by solid state amplifiers that do a very good job of accurately reproducing what goes into them, as long as they are not driven into "horrid" solid state distortion!
    1> These units provide varying degress of a resistive and reactive "dummy load" to the amplifier's output, through various, proprietary combinations of methods.
    2> These types of units do not use the power/electrical energy of the amp to drive the speaker. They instead derive a line level or instrument level signal from the initial amp's output to feed the input of another (usually solid state) amplifier, which is then used to drive the speaker. This second amps volume level is almost always continously variable.
    3> The potential down side of this arrangement is that there is no direct interaction between the initial tube amp and the speaker. This is usually compensated for by increasingly elaborate circuit networks in the "dummy load" section and then at that "line level" input to the amp that drives the speaker. As this technology has evolved, many manufacturers have added bells and whistles, such as EQ sections, IR and other line level and even USB outputs. This, along with time very consuming research & development have escalated prices dramatically, as evidenced by units like the UA OX which as earlier mentioned, is not really an "attenuator" at all, even though they call it such:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...reactive-amp-attenuator-with-speaker-modeling
    4> Many of these units can be quite good and some folks (myself included) have even built their own setups to do the same thing, but I personally still prefer the feel of a good passive, reactive unit like the one designed by @JohnH to any form of "re-amplifier" system.
    With all that said, a really great attenuator can be the best and most liberating piece of gear you'll ever own, but most cheap ones suck! It can allow you to crank almost any amp into it's "sweet spot" and tame it down to a sensibly usable volume, without a stomp box (unless that's what your aiming for) or other elaborate means! The choice of attenuating or re-amping is certainly up the user, but I still prefer a good, passive/reactive attenuator over any re-amper and certainly over any Master Volume I've ever encountered!

    As Usual, Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beerholder! :naughty:
    Gene
     
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  15. Gene Ballzz

    Gene Ballzz Well-Known Member

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    @Biff Maloy & @ledvedder , a unit like the JHS Little Black Box https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LittleBAB--jhs-little-black-amp-box-passive-amp-attenuator or a volume pedal in the effects loop of the SV20 will operate the same as the Master Volume (same part of the circuit) on the SC20, although once turned down takes away all power amp overdrive and only allows you to overdrive the preamp section. Not a bad compromise, but a really GOOD attenuator works much better!
    Just My $.02 & Probably Worth Much Less!
    Gene
     
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  16. aberry9475

    aberry9475 Member

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    Honestly if it doesn't give you what you want, sell it and get something else. There's plenty of amps in the sea.

    Just coming from someone who's gone down the rabbit hole. Back in the day, people modded Marshalls out of necessity. Nowadays we have more choices, with killer tones, and without the need for cranking. For me I've found attenuators, even the best, all color the sound and change feel a bit. I guess I've just settled on the conclusion that the right amp, with the right sound at the right volume, is just plain better than trying to force it with a different, less suited amp and attenuator. YMMV.

    The volume pedal is a trick worth trying though. If you even want, buy a pot, 2 jacks, and a little Hammond box and solder it up for $10. Cheap. Presto, now the modding itch is scratched and the resale value isn't damaged.
     
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  17. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

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    I'd be willing to bet. Ed's tone was as much in his hands, as his gear. So maybe it's you.
    :shock:
     
  18. ray101!

    ray101! New Member

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    I bought a JHS little black amp box (basically a volume knob) and put in the effects loop of my SV20H and it works pretty damn good. It still not exactly the same as having it cranked but it's pretty close.
     
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  19. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    A bullet that misses it's target can be said to be "pretty close" :)
     
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