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Old 2007-02-10, 20:39
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Thumbs up Rocktron Piranha review / rant

All right, so i got tired of my Engl 530. The 530 is by all means a great preamp - but it sounds pretty thin and lacks a bit of low mids and bass for my tastes, plus i felt there could be a tad more gain in it. The sound was crystal clear and tight as a mother fucker though, but the distortion was a little too buzzy-metallic-chainsaw like for me, and it's wasn't real punchy and lively at 16th note palm mute runs, rather flat, boring and lifeless. I thought the leads were pretty fucking amazing though, if you've ever heard Necrophagist, it pretty much sums the preamp up - crappy rhythm tones, insanely good lead. Clean was all right, never distorted (?), but felt thin and just not full enough.

So i lived thinking i had this kickass preamp when i one day found out about the Rocktron Piranha. Yes, it is manufactured by a company known to press shit, but in the old days, they kicked ass. Made in the USA, very well regulated heaters, solid power supply with a torodial transformer, sensible board layout etc. Quality straight through - there are some minor shortcomings like cheap opamps but i doubt you'll hear that they are cheap when your guitar signal is being distorted to hell by the tubes. Easy setting of parameters - these are regular potmeters like you're used to and the setting you're adjusting is displayed in realtime on the display(s). The built in noise gate is VERY good - they based the ISP decimator on this circuit, if that tells you anything. Gobs and gobs of gain - I had it on dist channel 1 with gain maxed and thought the gain was pretty much enough, a tad bit more than the 530, but hey - press it one more time and there's even more saturated mayhem, it's so much fucking gain you won't believe it. Yes, it does exceed usability - but there's no problem since the pot's aren't too sensitive to adjustments so if you really want the sound of 57 metal zones chained together into a 5150 with full gain on you can have it (this statement may be exaggerated).

Now, some VERY BASIC character of the channels - There's so much tweakability in this thing you can make each channel sound like something completely different, but each control on noon and the mid freq. pot on anything (doesn't matter with a flat EQ) it's something like this:

Clean: Well, reminds me a lot of a Marshall superlead - on low gain, before distortion the clean tone is very warm, full and sparkly - and if you tweak it you can have every amp in the world. Higher distortion rages from AC/DC on to VERY authentic Black Sabbath tones if that tells you anything - round, chunky bottom end (not so tight). Also does a very convincing AC30 tone if you turn the mid pot up to "2" and the mid freq. to to around 400 or so. Iron Maiden tone deluxe. Very dynamic - you can go from super clean with finger picking to raging Iron Maiden when picking hard with a pick. No compression, very organic. Took me 15 minutes (pretty long) to dial in a Twin Reverb tone - my sister's BF tried this setting today and he just couldn't stop playing, he was almost in tears that's how good that clean is. The volume on the clean channel might fuck up though since you need to run the gain so low the volume will suffer, that's a bitch.

Distortion: Haven't used this one too much, but the gain, tightness, punchyness, response etc. is on level with say a JCM800 or 900, and as i said, you can tweak it to become anything with the mid freq. band.

Distortion w/Flashing light: High gain mayhem - Gain goes to higher than I've ever heard on record, basic tone with everything neutral is somewhat like a tightened recto, but holds it's own. Tight character in the bass which can be untightened a bit by going ape shit with the bass and setting the mids to 250hz. and setting mids at 5 or so. This is what every modeling amp wants to be, you can dial in a bass/mid/treble setting you like and then sweep the mid freq. pot around to create anything from the shit-thin tone from the first Darkthrone record to the super ultra bassy tight tone on Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten. I have failed to find a tone that this thing cannot come VERY close to - and most tones it can NAIL, believe me. There's just NO limitation in this thing as far as tone shaping goes, so i guess if it can't nail something it's either your poweramp, cab, or pickups. Clarity is very good with gain and scoop on insane levels - if you go past extremely insane levels (i usually go to about insane to maniac) it drops some, but what the hell, nobody uses that much gain. Harmonics are top notch and it's SO FUCKING PUNCHY! Even palm muted open strings just fucking punch you in the chest, not like that dry boring shit the Engl had. Notes jump out of this thing and the sustain is KILLER, but the noise reduction can kill it so you have to be careful and adjust it carefully. It's so lively and fun to play it's fucking unbelieveable..

The only thing i can think of that's negative is that it has so much tweaking possibility you can go mad. It's midi capable, can you can control mostly everything via CC too so this thing also has somewhat of a wah effect - boost the mids, and map the mid freq. pot to an expression pedal on your board and wah away. Also, one more con, the volume issue with super-clean tone. Maybe it's just me, but it is sort of annoying, maybe it could be tweaked out.

And some guys might not like this - but it's a hybrid amp. The signal is amplified very high, but clean, by solidstate stuff then run to the tubes for distortion. Could've fooled me for sure, it sounds way more tube than the 530 i had..

Will be more ranting.. just my GF is pissed since i promised I'd watch a movie with her but instead I'm sitting here typing..
 
Old 2007-02-10, 23:05
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Cool to hear that! Just one question man, does the Engl 620 sound just as thin as the 530 or does it have more balls than said?
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(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-11, 06:56
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Also, what else are you running the Piranha through?
 
Old 2007-02-11, 08:33
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Soeru: No idea. It might be that it just didn't like my pickups / power amp / cab too, you really have to try it yourself and see.

The piranha goes through a Carvin Tube 100 w/ JJ KT77's.
.. And a 2x12 ported cab with G12T-75's (these are probably going to be replaced sometime soon..)

Will be clips

Um.. i need a song or riff that's tuned in E.. Thing is, last time i bought strings i bought 010's since i THOUGHT they would do good tuned to D, since i was used to 011's and i had a crapload of them i had always played them but they were a little hard, esp. the lighter strings, lol my fingers would be nearly bleeding.. But what the hell, they were too sloppy for heavy riffage, but okay for soloing.. trus rod was fine.. i should start buying those composite sets GHS sells or something.. So now i have to be in E since i don't have anything but 010's..

Last edited by Jopop : 2007-02-11 at 09:02.
 
Old 2007-02-11, 10:17
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How about Sodom - Nuclear Winter. \m/
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Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane

(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-11, 10:31
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I just tuned down to D and did a full adjustment, it's pretty decent but still a little sluggish, feel it lacks some "punch" :P

Anyway, do you think Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom would be a good bet? There's Elixir 010 on it now, and the top three are a little loose, i like a really tight feel on those. It doesn't buzz or rattle unless i really hit them, but i don't like the loose feel..
 
Old 2007-02-11, 12:24
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Nah those Ernie Balls are pretty lame, they sound great the first week or two, then they turn to mush.

My favorites for D are Dean Markleys 52-11's, you don't get any better than that. Tight as hell, bright and they last long. Comes with both an unwound and wound G string too.
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Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane

(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-11, 14:03
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But i want a looser feel on the more trebly ones :/ And which ones do you mean, Dean Markley has like 754 different types?

Edit, uhm, would Nickel Steel Electric Guitar Strings Light Top Heavy Bottom 2504B - 10 13 17 30 42 52 be any good? Or do you mean the blue steels which don't come in an heavy bottom light top package ><

Last edited by Jopop : 2007-02-11 at 14:05.
 
Old 2007-02-11, 15:31
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If you can find them, DR 10-50's are my favorite "skinny top heavy bottom" set. I use them on my PRS, perfect feel. D'Addario 10-52's are great aswell.
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buy a stick of graphite (art stores) and rub it into your nut
 
Old 2007-02-11, 15:37
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Kickass, i will be getting those 10-52's then i guess.
 
Old 2007-02-11, 16:56
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DR strings are fucking shit, they sound good in the beginning but they break fucking fast (I have some cheap Vinci strings currently 009-048 and I've tuned them to fucking A and they never break, been using them for over a month now).

I can't recommend anything though as I've only tried DR, D'addario, Vinci and Ernie's Balls, I had some Ernie's Balls somthing to-054 lasted for 2-3 months, and problaby would even longer if I didn't change them. They start ringing in some weeks though but they sound really good even when they're old. Might be my pickups though that can't pickup any difference though as well.
I also tried to break them on purpose, nearly impossible, I sat for 5-15 minutes and picked as hard as I could, tuned as high as I could be bothered, held the guitar by the strings, and lots more bullshit, because I was going to try DR one last time, which of course broke within the week.
 
Old 2007-02-11, 17:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virus
DR strings are fucking shit, they sound good in the beginning but they break fucking fast (I have some cheap Vinci strings currently 009-048 and I've tuned them to fucking A and they never break, been using them for over a month now).

I can't recommend anything though as I've only tried DR, D'addario, Vinci and Ernie's Balls, I had some Ernie's Balls somthing to-054 lasted for 2-3 months, and problaby would even longer if I didn't change them. They start ringing in some weeks though but they sound really good even when they're old. Might be my pickups though that can't pickup any difference though as well.
I also tried to break them on purpose, nearly impossible, I sat for 5-15 minutes and picked as hard as I could, tuned as high as I could be bothered, held the guitar by the strings, and lots more bullshit, because I was going to try DR one last time, which of course broke within the week.


I'm using DRs and they most definately do not break fast. I've probably have had the same strings on my Charvel for probably 6 months. I'm way over due for a string change. I must say i enjoy DR 11s quite much.
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Old 2007-02-11, 17:12
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i've been using d'addario 10-52's for... a long time... since august maybe? I havent switched them yet, and theyre still pretty bright. My fav part about high gauge d'addarios is they just dont rust. My friend plays EB's and his high strings rust out in a month, and mine stay shiny and smooth for 6
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In the US "fanny" is a word used to describe the ass or butt. Here in the UK "fanny" is a lady garden (vagina)
I was very bemused as a youngster watching the Golden Girls when Blanche said she was going to "spank her fanny" I had visions of a geriatric vertical bacon sandwich red and bruised from being disciplined!!!
 
Old 2007-02-11, 17:24
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D'Addarios are very bright though to begin with, so when they're worn out they sorta sound like new Ernie Balls i think - Not that i could ever hear the difference when it's distorted to hell and back again, but on clean sounds I can hear it - I judt don't know what i prefer the most, the D'Addarios are more like an acoustic guitar, and the Ernie Ball does that classic jazzy ring
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Old 2007-02-11, 18:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmfreak
I'm using DRs and they most definately do not break fast. I've probably have had the same strings on my Charvel for probably 6 months. I'm way over due for a string change. I must say i enjoy DR 11s quite much.

Word, I've never broken any DR strings. Just once or twice but it was a wound string(low E and A) because the string block insert on the bridge was too tight.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane

(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-11, 21:10
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Yea Virus I dont know what you are on about with the DR's, ive never broken one in my life. DR's at times can be inconsistent since they are handmade, but I put up with that because they seem to sound and feel the best.
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Originally Posted by the_bleeding
buy a stick of graphite (art stores) and rub it into your nut
 
Old 2007-02-12, 12:55
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Where the hell do i get DR's for cheap?

NVM i found out. Do i want the High-Beams or the Tite-Fit?
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Old 2007-02-12, 14:47
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Umm neither. Get the regular DR's, the one with the steel-looking thing on the outside. Ie:

http://www.bcorde.com/images/b_280625_image2.jpg

The last time I bought strings was here:
http://stringsandbeyond.com/

Such a kickass site I'm never gonna buy strings anywhere else. I bought a shitload of strings and picks a few months ago, and even shipped here to the Canary Islands it was still over twice as cheaper as buying strings in a store. A fuckin D'addario 10.5-49 set costs 7 euros here, that's 10 american dollars. Pffft.
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Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane

(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-12, 17:10
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That's Dean Markely? Not DR?

Yes i know stringsandbeyond, hehe Do they have any picks with a really sharp tip like a Jazz III but with a better grip and maybe a little bigger?

BTW, a pack of D'Addario XL115 is SIXTEEN DOLLARS here. Insane..
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Old 2007-02-12, 17:22
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Oh lol. I dunno check their site they probably have those picks. I bought some Jazz III's(red ones, 1.38mm?) together with my Framus cab and Palmer PDI-09(finally decided to keep the Fireball), can't wait to get it.

Been curious to play those pics. I hope I get those "better grip" ones.

Jesus fuckin christ that's expensive for a pack o strings.

And get Dean Markley's man they're sick, I've had DM's on my charvel for months too, they still sound and play great, no change in string tension. Apparently the break in just right, and never go out of tune after the first week.
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(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-12, 17:26
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Hmm, the red ones are slippery
Well i still have SOME left, like four or so, but the tip fades away after a few days do..
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Old 2007-02-12, 18:56
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BTW Direct recording on this thing is pretty much incredible, sounds like a real beefy 4x12.. Only thing, i hate my god damn pickups, they're stock ones from a cheapass Dean, sitting in an all-mahogany set-neck guitar.. >< mud heaven..

Anyways i did a clip.. crappy one, doesn't do it justice, plus i have been playing for 4 hours straight in this damn computer chair and it's killing me, lol i don't "dig in" on the PM's and stuff.. Guitar -> Pre -> Mixer -> computer

All EQ's on mixer are flat, no post-eq.

Tell me if the link doesn't work, the server crashed so I'm not sure.. wth..

http://85.165.134.107/~jo/spirit%20crusher.mp3

I used a little trick on this one: scoop out shitloads of mids and raise the mid freq. to like double where you'd usually have it (i set it to 1.1K, usually it'd be no more than 600) and it sounds like fucking thunder. Growly, aggressive, clear as a fuckload. I run mids at -12, max scoop is -15 - this kills out all that nasty shitty fizz you don't really want, unless you play tr00 black metal or slipknot or country. Stills cuts like a fucking 50 horsepower chainsaw due to all the low mids still present in the sound. It could do with some external EQ to kill the stuff in the very low mids you don't really want that can mud stuff up, but it's not too bad if you boost your treble.
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Last edited by Jopop : 2007-02-12 at 20:37.
 
Old 2007-02-12, 20:34
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link works... sounds good... sounds a bit SS to me though... and the pm's arent veyr punchy. I have a feeling its because you dont have a mic though.
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In the US "fanny" is a word used to describe the ass or butt. Here in the UK "fanny" is a lady garden (vagina)
I was very bemused as a youngster watching the Golden Girls when Blanche said she was going to "spank her fanny" I had visions of a geriatric vertical bacon sandwich red and bruised from being disciplined!!!
 
Old 2007-02-12, 20:37
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No, it's because I was tired as shit and didn't do it properly.. ;-)

Edit: Hmm you're right they are pretty shitty. It's really punchy with a poweramp + cab though, the power amp adds a lot of punch i guess.

Plus, as i said, my strings are sloppy as shit. When they were tuned to E they were way punchier - probably because I'm used to tight strings so with sloppy ones my PM'ing is WAY off.

And, that preset isn't well tested yet, i just tuned the mid freq. a notch higher, bass down ten notches because there's was just too much on my "regular" preset with my power amp + cab I guess with through adjustment it can be made pretty good.

I don't have speakers now because i sold them, new ones on the way though

Next week - Getting new speakers.
End of month - new pickups (i have crapbuckers now), new tubes, i expect it to kick ass.
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Last edited by Jopop : 2007-02-12 at 20:53.
 
Old 2007-02-12, 20:57
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The punch is just pure SPL, which is somewhat lost in direct recording. Ill take a listen when I get home, curious as to hear what this pre sounds like.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bleeding
buy a stick of graphite (art stores) and rub it into your nut
 
Old 2007-02-12, 21:15
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Wait till i change the strings to something tighter, i feel my playing is somewhat sloppy due to the lack of response in the strings. And when my speakers arrive.. hoho.

And the comment on solidstate sound - yes, it sounds a bit like that. The thing is - i promise - when you play this thing you just KNOW it's tube. The tone doesn't start to compress much until you reach gain at levels i play at or above (and even then it's way less than other high-gain tube amps) - and it can still do a very nice bluesy overdrive by turning your volume pot down to 50% and picking lightly. My clean channel also goes into hard rock distortion by hammering the strings - but with moderate picking (i prefer .60 dunlop ultex standards for this) it's just in that sweet spot just a slight tad into distortion where the highs really sing and it just gives you goosebumps down your back and you can't stop playing. Finger pick and it's ultra-clean, like a solidstate
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Last edited by Jopop : 2007-02-12 at 21:33.
 
Old 2007-02-12, 22:15
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Yeah too fizzy. Was that recorded direct? If so, you need to get yourself a cab-sim DI box man.
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Originally Posted by far_beyond_sane

(Did you know In Flames had a 2005 album called "Come Clarity"? How prophetic. I think they're trying to tell us all their sperm are dead.)
 
Old 2007-02-12, 22:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soeru
Yeah too fizzy. Was that recorded direct? If so, you need to get yourself a cab-sim DI box man.

I never record direct, but i sent my speakers away earlier today, lol.

Fizzy? I dont' get that?

Edit: Oh nevermind. Tried on my headphones instead of the stupid 2.1 PC speakers - fizzy, yes..
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Old 2007-02-14, 12:09
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Well i just figured something out - I have been running the mid freq. on 1.1k and above all the time which is a pretty stupid thing to do i guess.

I have analyzed various "tone stacks" from popular amplifiers - I.E. the 5150, the Dual Rectifier, the Mesa Mark series, the Engl powerball, and even this forum's beloved blue voodo - guess what.. the "mid point" reaches it's absolute highest at around 1.1k (this is with treble at 7%, which is practically as low as you'd ever go) and the treble dimed with (which brings the "mid point" down as low as possible) it's never below 300hz. So me recording this stuff with mid point on 1.3k or whatever with treble on 10 will sound like ass for the most part, i guess. I adjusted it down to 450 now and the tone is addictive and way better, it's more of a joy to play and there's a bit more clarity and no "solidstate"-ness.. and Preamp->mixer-monitors has "punch" i guess. I need to tweak it of course but i couldn't put my guitar down and I'm tired sooo.. I actually don't want a new set of tubes in the dist. channel now.. fist time i felt i don't have to change anything, hehe. Gonna try some NOS GE 5751 in the clean channel to tone the gain down a bit and give a smoother, celarer, brighter tone, it's supposed to kick ass for cleans and at 20 it's a bargain, they last at least twice as long as current production (which is half the price)..
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