For making the jcm mod usable with a footswitch, I think wiring it to a stereo 1/4" jack and running it out to a DPDT footswitch would work fine. In fact, that may be the next thing I do whenever I open up the amp again.
I originally thought it wouldn't be possible to institute both the JCM and Mesa mods and be able to switch between them... I might wanna do that instead of just the Mesa.
Definitely do both while you have the amp open. If you play mainly metal, you may not use the JCM much, but it is nice to have to get some good crunch tones. It essentially makes the VK a 3 channel amp when you have both. You can never have too much versatility.
I wouldnt look into modding a pedal you don't even own yet, especially if you're looking to use it as an OD/clean boost. Using it as a boost, you're not going to hear much of a difference between a stock and modded TS.
IMO, if you're only using an amp to run a distortion pedal through the clean channel, then there's no use owning the amp. Look at the VK thread and the VK wiki. All the tips are there. The VK will not be a metal beast(if thats what youre looking for) without opening up the amp and doing some work. Tubes, speakers, eq, od will make it better than it is, but it won't re-voice the amp into something else.
Ok that sounds a little newb, but what is V1? V2? V3? Positions?
Preamp tube positions. V1 is by the input jacks and is responsible for much of the clean channel's tone. V2 is next to it. Much of the distorted tone comes from it. V3 is beside the larger power tubes. It is the phase inverter.
There is a guy on the peavey forum that has a Windsor head. He had the same problem as yours! His fix was a NOS RCA 5751 in PI or V3. The NOS 5751s can be found reasonible price too! He pulled his from a microphone preamp he had! Doug H is what he is known on there!
I've always liked a 12AT7 over an AX7 in the VK's PI. Seems like the amp likes it better too. Seems a little less harsh and clearer. Here's a good read on the subject, two posts down:
Also how do I prevent my tone from getting brighter the louder the amp gets? I find that to be a bit of a problem... Or aside from preventing it getting brighter, how can I make it less harsh at higher volumes? Turning down treble sometimes doesn't help as it can get too harsh even with treble at 0.
You looking for a "play with the knobs" answer, or an "open up the amp and start changing stuff" answer?
I think the VK would be ok for you. It has great cleans, the distortion is ok, better with new preamp tubes and is a great platform for modding. You can do 80's thrash with it, for heavier, more modern stuff, it's not the best choice. You'd be looking at 40 bucks for new power tubes and 40-50 bucks for new preamp tubes, roughly. They don't need to all be changed at once. As long as you're not tossing them out of the back of a van, they hold up well to being handled.
Jason, I'm pretty surprised you hadn't done the Mesa mod yet. Well now I know I need to get on that some time, even more than before...
Just how better is it for heavy stuff? I'm looking to play stuff like Metallica, but also shred like Paul Gilbert, and even some sludgey stuff like High on Fire/Sleep.
I hadn't done it because I didn't think I had a need for it. I already had a good hard rock tone, which is what I wanted. I actually went ahead and did it just to have an excuse to tool around with the amp some more.
It seems to have re-voiced the amp slightly. It's a little tighter and more articulate and slightly brighter. Dropped D palm mutes are ridiculous. I'm waiting on an order from mouser to get here. There's still a few more circuit mods I want to do.
Not that I know of. dudey5691 was the last one to have access, I think.
I wanted to add the instructions for the bias test jacks. I've had a few people ask about it lately.
I've cracked open the amp to do a few things to it. I wanted to try a few of Iyla-v's old mods. I had already done the JCM mod and just did the Mesa mod, as well as a few other things. The Mesa mod is a beast. Definitely a noticeable improvement for heavy music. One of these days I'm going to have to try and A/B with a stock VK. I'd really like to hear the difference first hand.
Ok, editing the OP for the sake of reducing the Marshall flaming.
I'm looking for an amp that has some of the tonal characteristics of a JCM800 or JTM45. Either way is good; I enjoy both tones. Budget is under $500, and I won't think twice about buying used. Actually, I WANT to buy used.
Peavey VTM 60 or VTM 120. Easily had for $300 or less. Does the JCM800 sound really well and is a great, vintage Peavey amp.
Super Distortions go well in semis. I'd also look at a Screamin' Demon. It's become one of my favorite pickups. Just the right output(about 10-11k IIRC), very clear, very articulate, very versatile. The name would imply that it's strictly for metal, but I've found it to be a great all around pickup.
Idk what the hell I'm using, I left it up at the church, but it was used with the old B-52 cabinet for years, it looks like a custom built from the 70's, but it's tough as nails. It works as a speaker cable, but wont work as a instrument cable.
So are speaker cables and stereo cables the same thing? Because if they are then I'm guessing the footswitch I'm using is a POS.
No, speaker cables are usually mono. I'd hop down to radio shack and pick up a stereo cable. I think that will solve your problem.
I don't think the Classic 30 is going to have the type of gain you're looking for. I wouldn't recommend Valveking if you don't have the means to mod it. Bugera seems to make some decent high gain budget amps. Have you looked at them?