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  1. #1

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    I currently playing a Polytone V and it is the perfect sound for me – warm, rounded and full. My guitar has a something thin sound (D’Angelico/Vestax) and the Polytone brings out all of the nice jazz tones without a hint of harshness. I want to keep the Polytone but not sure how long it will last so looking for a 2nd amp for backup and my home studio.

    I have gone though several different amps and am frustrated as they all sound great in the store and at home but on a gig it is a different story. The Henriksen Jazzamp 110 was OK but too boxy sounding and too dark for my taste) Tried a different speaker (Rajun Cajun) and it was not warn enough. I had a Mesa Boogie 525 Express and it was nice for some jazz and funk but could not get a really warm tone. I had an Acoustic Image and Razer’s Edge speaker a long time ago and it was close but I thought it lacked “liveliness.” Probably I’ll be up another Polytone but I’d appreciate any suggestions!

    Thanks
    Bill

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  3. #2

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    A lot of these Jazz amps to me aren't worth the price. A good Roland Cube 60 works like a charm and costs next to nothing.

    They're not quite as punchy as the poly but 80% there and very usable in most situations.

    Failing that, get a Two Rock 6l6 Studio Pro.

    Better than the poly ;-)


    What amp has the closest sound to a Polytone?-roland-cube-60-jpg

  4. #3

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    Mambo is close to the older ones (and better imo).

    The Cube 60 sounds nothing like a Polytone.

  5. #4

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    Yes. A polytone has a baxandall eq (flat frequency and active eq) and roland cube simulates a jc-120 which simulates a fender eq (mid scooped and passive eq). A polytone uses a bass speaker usually, no idea what kind of speaker the Rolands use.

    Two 12 speaker tube amps can also sound very different - if the speakers and preamp are different.

    More important than that, I played both extensively and they sound VERY different. I would not call the Cubes warm, but that's me.

    The Mambos are very close indeed - even better imo.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    The Cube 60 sounds nothing like a Polytone.
    I sold my Cube 60 less than a month after I bought a Henriksen JazzAmp 112. Absolutely no comparison.

    I now also have a Henriksen JazzAmp 110. I somewhat agree with bjazzy's assessment with the stock speaker and with a Ragin Cajun, but I like it with a ceramic paper-dome Weber California 10. Doesn't sound like a Polytone, though.

    Oh, and Bill: Welcome!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    Yes. A polytone has a baxandall eq (flat frequency and active eq) and roland cube simulates a jc-120 which simulates a fender eq (mid scooped and passive eq). A polytone uses a bass speaker usually, no idea what kind of speaker the Rolands use.

    Two 12 speaker tube amps can also sound very different - if the speakers and preamp are different.

    More important than that, I played both extensively and they sound VERY different. I would not call the Cubes warm, but that's me.

    The Mambos are very close indeed - even better imo.
    Well me and a friend had one at uni, his sounded nicer but it wast 'completely different'. Like I said A cube imo is about 75% of the way there. The rest is the punch that the polytone brings, noting more.

  8. #7

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    i bought 2 polytones recently. Both needed fixing after I used them for a couple of days. Both of them I assume had not been used for a while. After being fixed and serviced they have been working fine so far the last few months. I think you could afford 3-4 polytones for the price of a henriksen or mambo and even if one breaks repairs aren't too costly.
    Polytone is the sound I like more than acoustic image or henriksen. I am looking at getting a small tube amp like a deluxe reverb as well, a two rock would be nice but a little too pricey. I would like to try a mambo one day. IS that mambo head still for sale on here?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Karol
    I sold my Cube 60 less than a month after I bought a Henriksen JazzAmp 112. Absolutely no comparison.

    I now also have a Henriksen JazzAmp 110. I somewhat agree with bjazzy's assessment with the stock speaker and with a Ragin Cajun, but I like it with a ceramic paper-dome Weber California 10. Doesn't sound like a Polytone, though.

    Oh, and Bill: Welcome!
    The Henriksen has come things that remind me of a Polytone but the eq is too different. Still, much coler than a Cube 60.

    I agree these amps like new speakers. I have used EVs on Henriksen and Mambos with excellent results. A friend has a Polytone with a Jensen that's very good too.
    Last edited by jorgemg1984; 11-26-2014 at 08:00 PM.

  10. #9

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    If you have a Polytone MiniBrute V and it's going strong, it will probably keep going strong. I have several Polytones that have been going strong since the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these amps are pretty indestructible. Some of them...meh.

    IMO, the Evans amp comes the closest, among SS amps to getting the warm sound of the Polytone. Otherwise, I think that it is actually the Fender Twin Reverb that gets the nod. Unfortunately, the Twin Reverb is woo-heavy.

    Odd that a tube amp is the closest sound to a solid-state amp, but that's what my ears tell me.

  11. #10

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    I loved the Evans I played but also found it not very close to a Polytone.

    A twin reverb similar to a Polytone? Which twin do you have?

  12. #11

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    You have to know how to a Fender tone stack to get a flat response.

  13. #12

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    Well it's not magic... everything at zero. Tried that many times, never liked it much. And even there a Twin sounds quite different from a Poly... in my experience, of course.

  14. #13

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    Have you tried an Ibanez Wholetone 80?


    What amp has the closest sound to a Polytone?-ibanez-wt80-jpg

  15. #14

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    My Mambo will be finished this week so should get it sometime next week, I curious what the lollar CC will sound like through it.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    The Henriksen has come things that remind me of a Polytone but the eq is too different. Still, much coler than a Cube 60.

    I agree these amps like new speakers. I have used EVs on Henriksen and Mambos with excellent results. A friend has a Polytone with a Jensen that's very good too.

    Cooler than cube 60? What a thing to say! A cube 60 is like £60 used and is a great little amp, with very usable reverb.
    The Henriksen is a love or hate at about £300

    Perspective please!

  17. #16

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    Everything at zero isn't flat. The Fender tone stack is interactive. 0,0,0 actually passes no signal. The flat signal on a twin is ( bass, middle, treble) 0.5, 7, 0,5. I mention it because it isn't intuitive. There, it sounds like a warm, flat amp.

  18. #17

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    You're right, I meant 0-10-0. I will try those settings but I am still skeptic it will give the honky dark Polytone sound.

  19. #18

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    I have the WT.. too bright to sound like a Polytone. I think vintagelove described the sound perfectlt and it's such a specific sound it's hard other amps nail it.

  20. #19

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    I had a Cube 60 for a couple of years. It is a great little amp ... but only for the money. I sold my other amp - a Rivera R55-112 (a really great amp but too heavy for me to keep lugging) - to get the JazzAmp 112, thinking I'd keep the Cube 60 as my backup.

    I could get a vaguely similar tone to the JazzAmp with the Cube 60 on the JC120 and/or Twin models, but I noticed that after about 20 minutes with it I'd experience ear fatigue; not so with the Henriksen. I'm guessing there were sonic artifacts due to the digital processing that became annoying. So, I traded it in to a local music store towards some other stuff. They still have it years later; they say it's their demo amp, and they won't sell it. By the way, I liked the Brit Combo and the Tweed models the best.

    After that, I got a ZT Club as my #2 amp. Very loud for the size/weight/money, but somewhat lackluster sound in my opinion (and the handle kept coming off). So I sold that and bought a used JazzAmp110 from a friend. With the Weber California in it, I like it ... a lot. But I still like the JazzAmp112 with the stock Beta 12A better.

    By the way, I owned 2 Polytones back in the '70's: A Mini-Brute of some sort with a 10" speaker and no reverb, and a fullsize 60w 112 combo (can't recall the model number) with a JBL K-120 and a waffle foam grill. It had something called a, "Swinging Vibrato Phaser," built in and a horrible red distortion knob, too. Despite those useless extra knobs, I wouldn't mind having that one back.
    Last edited by Tom Karol; 11-27-2014 at 09:54 AM. Reason: Yes

  21. #20

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    Just messing with the Tone Stack Calculator fender emulation - bass on 2%, middle on 76% and treble on 0% is the closest to flat I got.

  22. #21

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    A diamond tolex 1x12 minibrute showed up at a local shop a couple of weeks ago & it came home with me! I gotta confess -- it sounds fantastic. Jazz tone in a box. I just hope it keeps working! and now I have to search for a reverb pedal . . .

  23. #22

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    Here is a video of the Dutchbopper comparing the Polytone Mini Brute IV, Henriksen Jazz amp 112 ER and the Mambo 10" wedge, a custom version of which I have on order. My Lollar CC arrived this morning I've installed it it in my AF151 with TI Bebop 13s it sounds great.


  24. #23

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    I've never had the opportunity to play a Polytone, did try an evans for a few minutes and thought it sounded great!

    I have a Roland Cube 80, pretty blah, I just haven't taken the time to put it on ebay. My other small solid state travel amp is the ZT Club, which is blah, unless you put an eq in the effects loop, then it is significantly better than the Roland and almost good enough for me not to pay attention to my tone. Better headroom than the Roland, as well (don't remember, but significantly more power) and lighter.

    My fave is still my Vintage Sound rebuilt Twin (black faced early 70's showman head) and my Allen Old Flame that I just split into a head and cab (1x12 EV SRO). But, with the qualification that I've never played a Henriksen or Poly, for small, inexpensive SS amps, I think the ZT with an EQ pedal is a great value.

  25. #24

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    Great video, just wanted to let people who are not familiar know that is a newer polytone than the ones I was referencing. I think it may have a mid control. One of my poly's has a mid control and definitely has a different sound than those without one. I think it was a "transitional circuit" (between the classic MB's and the sonic circuit), the amps that have the flat black leather tolex. I am going to open it up soon and check it out because I have never seen a schematic for that version. I am not sure it is even a baxandall eq.

    FWIW I would characterize the difference from the clip above as having

    flatter midrange
    darker

    In fact right before the minor run at the end (in the clip), he pays a nice fat dark chord. That is what everything sounds like with the older ones.

  26. #25
    Thanks for the ideas--I have played a Cube 40 and it does not do well with my guitar. I have never heard of the Two Rock amps before and I'll take a look!

  27. #26
    Thanks for mentioning Mambo - another jazz amp I have never heard of! I'll take a look and listen.
    Bill

  28. #27

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    I have a 70s Polytone with the baxandall tone knobs, an 80s with the same configuration and a 90s with bass, mid, treble. The 90s still sounds great...not like the sonic circuit stuff, but different than the early amps.

  29. #28

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    I like the video of the Dutchbopper's guitar with the three amps. I have that model Polytone, too. Great amp. My older Polytones are warmer sounding--I think all Polytone owners would likely agree. The old, diamond boltaflex wrapped ones with only two tone knobs are dark, warm sounding. There is also just the slightest bit of hair in the sound of the old ones, too--largely a function of the preamp ICs that were employed in the design. The op-amps used weren't the cleanest ones around...but they contribute to the overall tone of Polytone amps.

    I like the sound of the Henriksen with the 12 a lot. The Mambo with the 10 _really_ sounds good in that demo.

    I always thought that the Polytones that had the 10" speaker and the ones that had the 8" speaker were the very best in the MiniBrute line. (The Teeny Brute and the Baby Brute)

    At this point, though, I cannot help but to recommend that people buy silver face, hand-wired Twin Reverbs. They are priced at a point such that you expect to find them at the Goodwill store. Folks are so determined to only carry dinky amps that they have given up on the venerable old Twin Reverb. Well, it is virtually THE best sounding jazz amp of all time. They are nearly indestructible, and they are indefinitely repairable. At current prices everybody should have one. I had one in my basement for about ten years until about five years ago. Time to get another.

  30. #29

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    At 65 lbs, someone would have to pay me to take a Twin Reverb off their hands.

  31. #30

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    I own Polytones from 8 through 15...though my Baby Brute is disassembled on the bench currently. The Baby Brute is the best sounding amp.

  32. #31

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    What exactly do you prefer about it? I would think it would be too thin for my taste (or is it not because of the flat tone stack?), love the "thud" the 15 gives each note. Would love to hear one someday.

  33. #32

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    There is nothing thin about the tone of the Baby Brute. The 8 " speaker is very full range sounding. Lots of bass frequency. If anything it has slightly less treble (as does the 12 ) than the 15.

  34. #33

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    Polytones are a rarity in Australia and there are issues with the voltage on most models. You need an external step down transformer or you have to to have a tech rewire and add a new internal transformer for 230 volts. I only ever see them on local eBay listings every blue moon. Honestly there is nothing better sounding for any sort of clean tones than a Twin. The S/Fs are pretty amazing but you can pickup the red knobs two channel models from the early '90s for next to nothing too although they are pc board construction they're still a great buy. I wouldn't want to take one on public transport but if you have vehicle I can't see what the issue is with the weight. A lot of people today talk like they cant lift anything greater than 10 kilos. I like the Roland Cubes if I'm using the train or bus. The old ones from the '80s can be had for a song.
    Last edited by wildschwein; 11-27-2014 at 08:23 PM.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    There is nothing thin about the tone of the Baby Brute. The 8 " speaker is very full range sounding. Lots of bass frequency. If anything it has slightly less treble (as does the 12 ) than the 15.


    That is odd, my 12 inch poly has more treble than either of my 15 inch. Not sure what brand speaker is in yours, one of mine is stock and another has a weber speaker.

    I checked out a couple of videos of the little ones, they sounded mostly like I expected them to.

    Thanks for the reply.

  36. #35

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    Mine are stock. It is a matter of vintage. The early period 12s are somewhat darker than the later period 15s, to my ear.

  37. #36

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    Ok I am totally with you now. I agree.

    I can't seem to find a schematic for the newer models, I wonder if they are a true baxandall eq?.... When I open mine up to find out I will start a thread here.

  38. #37

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    I had a new Polytone MB3, and I prefer my old orange Cube60.

    The Cube eq is a Fender eq modded, but the buttons are more efficient for jazz, particulary the mid button.

    On an audio-electronic forum, it said the old Polytone are better than the new ones because of the OP-amp RC4739.
    This op is discontinued because it was considered bad. But, the defects are sometimes a good thing in an amp guitar.
    The old ones don't have integrated-circuits in the power amp section, too.

    If I need to buy a new amp, I'll go the mambo amp.
    It's lightweight, loud, with a good sound, and one can talk with the builder to have some custom things.
    I believe he's registered member on our forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone
    Mine are stock. It is a matter of vintage. The early period 12s are somewhat darker than the later period 15s, to my ear.
    Does the BabyBrute is loud enough to play in a quartet setting (dr, dbass, gtr, sax) ?

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by nado64


    Does the BabyBrute is loud enough to play in a quartet setting (dr, dbass, gtr, sax) ?
    No it is not. It sound nice at low volume and gets to much mid compression if you turn it up. The new Polytonea are way diffrent from the old. When they introduced the sonic surcuit and swithed componets the magic was gone.

    As to the question, what sound like a Polytone from the 70-80 ? The answer is, nothing does. More importantly , nothing responds to your guitar signal as a ploytone does. If you like it, then thats it !

    /H

  40. #39

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    Sound of The Current Model, Mini-brute ?


    My settings for '67 ES-175DN V8, T10, SEG-1040ML, Belden 9778(3m)
    1. Listen to the direct sounds at the front of the speaker units.
    2. Guitar ; Volume 8. Tone 10, Neck end Picking, Testing phrase and chords.
    3. Master (if has) ; Max
    4. Volume ; 2.2?3 (Minimum 1 type)
    (some types by GAIN, ex ; Peterson P-100G ? Gain 1?2, Polytone Mini brute ?Sonic Circuit Mode Gain 1?2)
    5. Bass ; Turn up to the moderate fat, not too much. ex ; '65 RITR 3, '74 SFTR 1(Min), JC-120 0, '66 BFVR 3.5
    6. Middle (if has) ; 6
    7. Treble ; A touch for coloring, ex ; Fender 1?2, JC-120 2

    Guitar:Gibson '67 ES-175DN V8 T10
    Strngs:Gibson SEG-1040ML
    Shield Cable:Belden 9778
    "Amps & Settings" Amps were tilted by legs or stand.Sound check point was flont of speaker(Mic set point)
    Fender '66 Vibrolux Reverb(Speakers Jensen C10NS):T2 B3.5
    Fender Twin Reveb 100W(Speakers:Rola): T1?2.5 M6?8 B1?2 Master Max(Equal to without master)
    Fender Twin Reverb '65 Reissue(Speakers: Eminence):T1 M6?8 B3
    Peterson P-100G-Mk?(Speaker:Eminence ME-10):Gain 1?3( Volume use) L/MIn M1/Min M2/-4 H/-2 Master/Max(Equal to without master)
    Polytone MIni-Brute?: Master/Max B/+1 M/+2 T/+1 Gain/2?4(Volume use) Contour/10?11( O'clocK) Program/edge Tone color switch/
    Center
    Peavey Envoy 110(speaker:Bule Marvel)(Ser.G0113936):Modern mode B3 M2 H0

    Important things: Balance for solo tone and backing tone.
    Like to guitar,not like to electric piano.

    (from #1051 "Good Sounds")
    Polytone Mini brute 2, Setting Test
    Mini-Brute2, Serial Number P-29428
    Inst : '67 ES175DN V8 T10, Belden 9778/1.5m(guitar?Sw-box), 2m(Sw-box?Amps),Amp Stand/Ultimate AMP-150
    Reference Amps ; '65 Twin reverb and '66 Vibrolux Reverb(C10NS),the two amps switched by footswitch in quickly for comparsion and close match.
    The both amps tilted and listen the front sound directly from about 1.5m distance posision.

    Setting : Master/Max(Normal Way for Master VR Type, Equal to Without Master VR.
    Tonal Color Switch/Normal(Center Posituon)
    Gain/3(Use to VR)
    Contour/9?11 O'Clock Position
    Program/Edge Position
    Treble/+1
    Mid/+2
    Bass/+1
    Results : Excelent Jazztone by use to "Sonic Circuit"

    Impression : 1E and 2B's traditional Polytone rounded tone by special Eminence.
    3G,4D and 5A's 5flet area tone is thin. Dynamics and rezonant are little less, then I try the Sonic Circuit and got the good sounds .

    Notice !!! : Side Handle Design !!! , Prevent for the reverb unit troubles,
    As well as keeping the "Upright" (in the car etc)

    The any good amps has good characteristecs, pull up the goodness and don't over demands.
    __________________


    Last edited by kawa; 11-28-2014 at 08:05 PM.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone

    At this point, though, I cannot help but to recommend that people buy silver face, hand-wired Twin Reverbs. They are priced at a point such that you expect to find them at the Goodwill store. Folks are so determined to only carry dinky amps that they have given up on the venerable old Twin Reverb. Well, it is virtually THE best sounding jazz amp of all time. They are nearly indestructible, and they are indefinitely repairable. At current prices everybody should have one. I had one in my basement for about ten years until about five years ago. Time to get another.
    Well virtually the best is of course subjective... without mods I am not a big fan of the stock blackface sound, not enough mids. Easy to mod though.

    And basements are perfect for Twins. If you gig, they're impossible to use.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    And basements are perfect for Twins. If you gig, they're impossible to use.
    C'mon Jorge, that's not quite true. I used a Twin once for a gig in 1982.

    In fairness, yes they are great amps, and can sound good for jazz if set correctly. Anthony Wilson sounded great with D Krall through one. What should happen is that venues should each buy a twin and bolt it to the floor...

    I agree with GT about the 80s diamond poly baby brute being the ( subjectively of course) 'best' sounding poly. It's counterintuitive maybe, but the 8" really does punch through the mix. And it's tiny. Great for duos etc. I like mine so much that when it finally got too tired I had Jon Shaw put a mambo power amp section in. Now it can hang with a quartet.

    I think GT is also right that the early RC4739 opamps add a sort of attractive 'warmth' ( probably slight distortion) to that particular circuit. They became obsolete because they were relatively noisy. I found nothing special about the later polys; got rid of them quite quickly.

    The closest thing I have found to the older polys are the modern mambo amp, which I'd say is much improved, far more portable and with more power.

  43. #42

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    Chris I meant impossible to carry... of course if a club has one they can sound excellent. But gigging with one - taking it out of the house to the car and from the car to the venue and then all over again at the end... It's pretty crazy! I never saw a guitar player entering a jazz club with a Twin under his arm

  44. #43

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    Of course I was joking Jorge - although actually, I did once carry a Super Reverb up a flight of stairs to an upstairs wine bar. And down again. We were young, and we were desperate to play anywhere that would let us. I remember the bass player had a huge Acoustic folded horn cab that took 2 people to even lift.

    I have a bit more sense now...

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildschwein
    Polytones are a rarity in Australia and there are issues with the voltage on most models. You need an external step down transformer or you have to to have a tech rewire and add a new internal transformer for 230 volts. I only ever see them on local eBay listings every blue moon. Honestly there is nothing better sounding for any sort of clean tones than a Twin. The S/Fs are pretty amazing but you can pickup the red knobs two channel models from the early '90s for next to nothing too although they are pc board construction they're still a great buy. I wouldn't want to take one on public transport but if you have vehicle I can't see what the issue is with the weight. A lot of people today talk like they cant lift anything greater than 10 kilos. I like the Roland Cubes if I'm using the train or bus. The old ones from the '80s can be had for a song.
    Well, if you're over 50 and have a bad back like me (herniating disc), hauling an 80 lbs amp up and down stairs is a no go. Most of us in the forum are over 50.

    I have a SF pre-master volume Pro Reverb, which is tone wise a better choice for jazz to my ears than a Twin which is just radically overpowered for jazz, with two JBLs and it weighs 80 pounds. I couldn't pick it up on a bet without hurting myself. When I was in my 30s I'd haul that amp in and out of 2nd floor apartments, carry it two blocks to the gig from my car, hauling it up or down stairs, etc., without a hint of a problem. in those days I worked in a produce warehouse and hauled 50 lbs sacks of onions and potatoes up and down stairs all day long. Now I spend weeks at a time in pain if I do something dumb. The joys of being an old fart!

  46. #45

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    Re: is the Baby Brute loud enough? The power amp is the same as that in the other MiniBrutes of the period. The difference, of course, is that the cabinet is only one cubic foot and the speaker is a high power 8" Eminence driver. At high volume the speaker does indeed compress. I prefer using the amp for club gigs in a trio or quartet setting--or, especially for solo guitar work. I vastly prefer the sound of this amp to the others when the volume is set at or about 4. There is no master volume on the old BabyBrute amps, of course. That's the way I like them, as it happens. I am old school and don't care for master volume knobs.

  47. #46

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    I was talking about jazz musicians since this a jazz forum... a Twin is overkill for home use and unpractical to carry to most jazz players I know. A great amp if a club has one (and if you can add some mids for my taste). I also have played hundreds (thousands?) of gigs in my life... some rockers do carry heavy amps. Not jazzers, in my experience

    Preventing injury yes, staying healthy is the key (and doing exercise is a big part of that, but there are many other factors like nutrition, breathing, etc...). If you already have your body highly damaged (as so many musicians have) you have to be very careful about any extra pressure you add. I run a lot but some strength exercises only worsen my problems. And I have seen specialists, of course.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildschwein
    Polytones are a rarity in Australia and there are issues with the voltage on most models. You need an external step down transformer or you have to to have a tech rewire and add a new internal transformer for 230 volts. I only ever see them on local eBay listings every blue moon. Honestly there is nothing better sounding for any sort of clean tones than a Twin. The S/Fs are pretty amazing but you can pickup the red knobs two channel models from the early '90s for next to nothing too although they are pc board construction they're still a great buy. I wouldn't want to take one on public transport but if you have vehicle I can't see what the issue is with the weight. A lot of people today talk like they cant lift anything greater than 10 kilos. I like the Roland Cubes if I'm using the train or bus. The old ones from the '80s can be had for a song.
    I'm in Melbourne and this year imported 2 Polytones from the States. A Mini Brute 15 and a Mini Brute 12.
    It's very easy to rewire the transformers on Polytone's. It is a matter of changing 2 wires on the transformer. Took my tech 20 minutes to do both. No step down tranny required.

    I just sold the 12 on Ebay for $800 AU.
    I might even sell the 15.

    I'm after a tweed type amp.
    I have a DRRI but it's not quite what I'm after.
    Oh I have a Mambo as well…..on EbayAU

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984
    Well virtually the best is of course subjective... without mods I am not a big fan of the stock blackface sound, not enough mids. Easy to mod though.

    And basements are perfect for Twins. If you gig, they're impossible to use.
    This is true if you approach the tone stack as something even vaguely approaching 5,5,5 equals flat. That setting actually has a -15 db notch in the frequency response centered at the 500 hz frequency. That is about half-way up the neck on the first string (high E)--mid-range. So, 5,5,5 produces a HUGE mid-range notch--an apparent lack of mids--that you correctly identify.

    OTOH, if you set the Twin Reverb tone stack at 0.5, 8,0.5 you get a truly flat frequency response with rich bass, abundant mids, and ample highs. This setting is so radical, however, that almost no one ever thinks to use it. Try it sometime. It gives the Fender Twin Reverb an Ampeg-like or Polytone-like frequency response, coupled with the Twin Reverb's sonic strengths. A silver face TR has maybe THE richest reverb in history. Its two speakers produce an amply dispersed roomful of rich tone. The headroom of clean sound is legendary, yet there is a tube-associated warmth in the sound that makes most solid-state amps sound clinical by comparison. Finally, the TR can be turned up to fill almost any size venue with great jazz sound.

    One more plug: the Twin Reverb sounds like an instrument of the gods when driven by an L5CES.

  50. #49

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    I will try it but I boost mids on polytones or ampegs so... I do like mids I tried a Fender once with a 22n cap and a 50k pot in the mids and it was much better than stock, for my taste.

    Anyway I like Twins and L5s but don't think of them as any sort of holy grails... I have other favorites

  51. #50

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    jorge,

    FWIW, my personal amps of choice are Polytones, a Gibson Lab Series L-5 (made by Bob Moog), and tweed Fender amps. The reason I play tweed amps, these days, after years and years of playing black and silver face Fenders, is that the tweed amps systematically have more mids. The Fender Deluxe (tweed), for example, is just full of mid-range. It sounds great when played with a jazzy archtop guitar.

    Still, it is possible, without much knob twisting, to get a warm, jazzy sound from any good black face or silver face Fender amp. You just have to remember that (1) the knobs are highly interactive, (2) they are _not_ a baxandall setup, and (3) "flat" settings (5,5 or 5,5,5) are going to give you the famous mid-range notch associated with the Fender sound. This can be dealt with. On a Deluxe Reverb, for example, just turn the bass to 0.5 and the treble to 0.5. There is a resistor that effectively sets the mid-range as if the mid-range knob were at about five or six. Just cracking the bass and treble knobs will give you a flat setting with lots of mids.