#1
Hey all,

To start I'll give some background/specifics. I've been playing through a Peavey VYPYR VIP1 that I converted to a head, going in to an Avatar oversized 212 with V30's. I just bought a Peavey 3120, loaded with 6L6's.

Spent a good part of yesterday experimenting with the amp. I just could not get it to sound how I wanted. Lots of EQ tweaking, adjusting the master/channel volumes, etc. I thought the clean channel sounded pretty good, but I couldn't get a good heavy tone out of it. Sounds odd considering that this is a high gain amp. It sounded fizz fizz fizzy, and just doesn't have any balls, for lack of a better term.

I'm thinking that I'm just not cranking it up enough to get the real character of the amp to come out. I know tube amps usually sound best when played loud, so at one point I cranked it up enough where it was uncomfortable to be in the same room, and voila, the fizz started to go away and the amp started to come alive.

I'm not a "bedroom" volume player, however I'm just wondering if maybe a 120 watt tube head isn't for what I do.

Thoughts, opinions, similar experiences? Let me have it.
#2
Maybe. I have never played through a 3120 but if you are still using the Avatar cab, try rolling off the tone on your guitar a bit and see if it regains it's balls at lower volumes. Sometimes that is all it takes. Amps are just tools and there is always a learning curve to find the sweet spot.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#3
If I'm not mistaken the 3120 has an active EQ? It could take quite a while to dial those in.

What models were you using on the VIP?
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#4
Quote by dementiacaptain
If I'm not mistaken the 3120 has an active EQ? It could take quite a while to dial those in.

What models were you using on the VIP?


not active on that one.

chances are you are using to much gain which will result in fizz. since that head is no longer in production i'll assume you bought it used so perhaps it needs fresh tubes. don't assume that whatever settings you were using before will be the same on a different amp. I'd play around more prhaps back off on the treble (or presence ) and check the dampening switch try different settings with that as well.
#5
120 watts of tube power amp isn't meant to sound good to one person in a room. 120 watts is meant to sound good to an auditorium, or cranked in an iso cab in a studio.

Even 20 watts cranked is too loud for most people. That's why "home use" tube amps nowadays have power settings all the way down to fractions of a watt. If you want a good distorted tone you want to hit the power section hard, and then you bring in the preamp gain. You can't do that with 120 watts of headroom in a garage. All your gain is gonna come from the preamp, and that's known to sound more artificial.
Last edited by Seref at Sep 5, 2016,
#6
Quote by Seref
120 watts of tube power amp isn't meant to sound good to one person in a room. 120 watts is meant to sound good to an auditorium, or cranked in an iso cab in a studio.

Even 20 watts cranked is too loud for most people. That's why "home use" tube amps nowadays have power settings all the way down to fractions of a watt. If you want a good distorted tone you want to hit the power section hard, and then you bring in the preamp gain. You can't do that with 120 watts of headroom in a garage. All your gain is gonna come from the preamp, and that's known to sound more artificial.


that amp is designed to use preamp gain. you would have to crank it brutally loud to get any power amp distortion. more a matter of learning how to set the gain and tone controls at lower volumes. as your amp gets louder it changes the harmonic structure of the tone some so you have to adjust accordingly.
#7
Quote by Seref
120 watts of tube power amp isn't meant to sound good to one person in a room. 120 watts is meant to sound good to an auditorium, or cranked in an iso cab in a studio.

Even 20 watts cranked is too loud for most people. That's why "home use" tube amps nowadays have power settings all the way down to fractions of a watt. If you want a good distorted tone you want to hit the power section hard, and then you bring in the preamp gain. You can't do that with 120 watts of headroom in a garage. All your gain is gonna come from the preamp, and that's known to sound more artificial.

This post is full of misinformation.

A 120W amp is not designed to only sound good in an auditorium. It can sound good no matter where you use the amp if its a good-sounding amp.

The reason smaller amps are popular these days is because of reduced cost, more portability and clever marketing. Smaller amps do not sound better at lower volumes. Conversely, they sound worse at higher volumes because their lower power means they're incapable of reproducing bass frequencies when the volume is turned up.

There are many, many amps that have a lot of power that achieve their tone through overdriving the preamp. Not the power amp. The vast majority of modern high gain amps achieve their distortion this way. Stating it sounds 'artificial' to achieve distortion that way sounds like classic internet wizz-dumb. I wouldn't be surprised that the people who make that comment think that amps like the 6505 and the duel recto are the greatest sounding amps ever. When they themselves get most of their gain from the very method they think sounds so artificial - the preamp.
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#8
dementiacaptain

Yes, active EQ. Seems like it sounded best with the treble just under 4, mids at 4, bass at 6, gain at 3. That is for metal rhythm tone.

I've been using the XXX model on my Vypyr, which is basically what a 3120 with 6L6's should sound like, from what I understand. The head is loaded with Genalex 12AX7s and Sovtek 6L6 tubes. Somebody asked, and yes, it was purchased used.
#9
Well, its hard to say what is causing the fizz without being there but here are some things that might help:
- Reduce the gain on the amp, and if you have a Overdrive set its gain to (more or less) 0, Volume to max, tone to taste and put it in front of the Amp. If you don't have an Overdrive I would recommend getting one, even a cheap Tubescreamer Clone like the Joyo Vintage Overdrive or the Bad Monkey would work well.
- Tubes: If you got the Amp new or used, it probably has cheap/shitty tubes in it and would benefit from an upgrade. If you (understandably) don't want to do a full retube right away, you can just get a JJ 12AX7, a 12AT7, and a 5751 and try them in V1 and the phase inverter (V4)

Both of these options will cost you less than 50$ and will still be usefull if you get an other amp down the road.
#10
Quote by KAS1981
dementiacaptain

Yes, active EQ. Seems like it sounded best with the treble just under 4, mids at 4, bass at 6, gain at 3. That is for metal rhythm tone.

I've been using the XXX model on my Vypyr, which is basically what a 3120 with 6L6's should sound like, from what I understand. The head is loaded with Genalex 12AX7s and Sovtek 6L6 tubes. Somebody asked, and yes, it was purchased used.


ok listing for amp doesn't mention active tone controls. in that case 1-5 are standard settings and 6-10 you hit active so keep that in mind. a model is just that a model and they tend to be idealized so don't expect the real thing to sound exactly the same. one or more of your preamp tubes may be wearing out which can cause some fizz. I use an Ultra and it took me a while to figure it all out for the best tone options. have some patience and take your time and I think in the end you'll be happy.

oh and agree with above poster get yourself an overdrive. I use tubescreamer based ones myself and they really help.
#11
I had an Ultra Plus at one time, the forefather of the XXX and 3120. I found I had to try some pretty extreme settings to get sounds that I was satisfied with.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
#12
They 3120 has active eq controls on the gain channels. I have a XXX - same amp, different cosmetics.

Couple pointers.

1. Crunch channel is where this amp lives. The Ultra channel has a lot of 'boom' to it, which if that's your thing, go for it.
2. Gentle with the knobs. Set them at 12 (o'clock regarding the EQ) and adjust with small tweaks from there. When you turn one knob, you're essentially adjusting all the knobs. If you boost the highs, the mids and lows will shift. If you boost the mids, the lows and highs will shift. Dialing in an active eq is not the same as dialing in a passive eq. Patience and gentle tweaks.
3. Gain doesn't need to be cranked. These amps have stupid amounts of gain on tap. Anything over 12 o'clock is overkill.
4. If you don't have anything running in the loop, make sure you have the knobs on cranked up on full. Believe it or not, those knobs for the send and return actually make a small difference in how your amp sounds... even if you don't have anything running in the loop.

5. If all else fails, a lot of folks much prefer the 3120/XXX amps running EL34 tubes. Makes a difference.
6. JJ tubes in the preamp section wake up these amps.
7. Play with the resonance switch, I'm sure you already have.

I understand why these amps get so much hate, they make you work for a decent tone. My XXX more than keeps up with my 6505 as I have it dialed in. There is a bit more rawness in the 6505, but with some gentle tweaks, you should be able to get that 3120 hitting just as hard before too long.
Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio, Gibson SG Special, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Pro Jet, Carvin C350, Epiphone ES-339 P90, Epiphone ES-335 Pro. Peavey 6505, Sovtek MIG-100, Vox AC30, Peavey XXX.
#13
Sometimes people have a hard time when transitioning from solid state/emulation to a tube amp. They're used to a lot more saturation and compression at lower volumes, which a tube amp doesn't necessarily get until it's fairly loud.

Even though modern high gain amps get most of their tonality from the preamp, the speakers really don't start kicking until they're being pushed, which is part of the tonal equation too. This is probably what you felt, as the volume goes up V30s round out and get more punchy.
#14
I have 2 XXX's and i have owned many amps. The XXX /3120 is by far the easiest amp to dial in i have ever owned. It is not meant for rock but metal and thrash but if gained back alot it can pass.
My dual rec and mark v are faaaar harder to get dialed in but all if them do very well with a mxr 10 band in the loop. The XXX loves either kt77's or 6ca7's and jj preamp tubes. I always run the power section hard on this amp while dialing back gain to get a good solid grind/crunch. The active eq is truely a blessing. I can dial in my tine very quickly with or without the mxr eq. The mxr provides even nore boost to the preamp side so thats why i keep it in.
Always make sure the tight/mid/loose switch ia set to loose and keep the fx loop on even in nothings looped. This amp does well with v30's or better yet g12k-85's if you can find them.
#15
I don't know much about preamps, power amps, etc, but what I do know is that I also own a tube head (egnator renegade) that has an extremely weak overdrive channel (barely does hard rock), but excellent cleans, but when I use a distortion pedal on the clean channel (I have the EH metal muff and the Boss Metal Core), it sounds absolutely awesome, even with the volume low, and I am quickly able to get those meaty, or as you like to put it, "balls" tones. I pretty much never use the overdrive channel on my amp, but I also have an Ibenez TS-9 tube screamer (overdrive pedal, as oppose to distortion pedal) which makes the overdrive channel have a little more power (TS- 9 also works well on top of my distortion pedal too, as long as I don't crank everything on 12!). So if you don't mind dishing out about $100 bucks, maybe try that. I've never played on your exact amp, but if it's considered a high gain amp, then maybe a tube screamer would be good enough on top of the gain channel on your amp, and give you that extra kick that you need, without having to cranking it. If you can, go to guitar center or whatever store you like, and see if you can test some pedals out on your amp, MAYBE you will like it. But be warned, a lot of people religiously hate on distortion pedals. I think it depends on what amp you have, that's why you should test it out! I could be completely wrong, I'm just going by what my set up is. Good luck!
Last edited by RoboRobot at Sep 5, 2016,
#16
At this point I think I might try different preamp tubes. I've read of more than a few folks putting a low gain tube in the first position. Right now it has Genalex ECC83's in it.
#17
Quote by jgebhardt
keep the fx loop on even in nothings looped.


Could you elaborate?
#18
KAS1981keep the fx loop on. Even if you have nothing plugged in the loop. Make sure you adjyst the send and receive up but doesnt have to be all the way up.