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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I could probably solve about 99% of my amp needs and wants with a nice Princeton but what would be the fun in that. So here's the latest twist in my endless journey...

It's a SansAmp Para Driver as the preamp going to a JHS reverb pedal which in turn goes to a Hotone Loudster power amp. All that fronts a small (and very funky) open back 1x12 cab. The whole thing has a very Silver Face/Black Face kind of sound but with a lot more control over the brightness and the mid range dip. I'll probably add a delay at some point (and it definitely needs to be organized in some fashion) but it's now basically functional and gives me something like a warmer version of an old Princeton that I can dial in for virtually unlimited amounts of clean headroom. (Now whether I can find anywhere to use this rig might be a different issue).

A few random comments:

Full points to Hotone for the Loudster. It's simple, very guitar specific, lots of power, drop dead quiet, no fan, and doesn't seem to color the sound at all. The amp only weighs 590 grams (about 1.4 lbs) but It runs off an external power supply which adds both to the weight, the size, and the inconvenience. On the other hand, I suspect it's why they are able to do 75 watts with no fan.

The cab is ridiculously funky and made from old barn boards. It's very small and light weight for a 1x12 cab. It's loaded with an Eminence Tonespotter, which I really like and it does the basic Fender thing really well.

The Para Diver is a conceptual marvel and I never would have thought of it if I hadn't read about it here. The midrange shift is remarkably powerful and basically re-voices the entire sound of the rig from a mid heavy, very solid state sound to a very scooped Fender Blackface sound. It's getting to be an old design and it's not quite as quiet as I'd like. I'll probably keep looking for something else to fill the preamp function but but for now, the ability to shape the tone so specifically without having to get into menus and submenus will probably keep me using it for quite a while.

The JHS Reverb is exactly as advertised: a clean traditional reverb pedal that gets a lot of different sounds (most of which I will never use) out a very simple control setup. I think I like it but I'm still messing with the controls a bit.

And finally, I had forgotten how much having all these components turns a rig like this into a game of Tetris, especially with everything being different sizes and layouts. I'm sure I'll figure out something but right now it feels like chaos and an invitation for the dog to misbehave.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jim, how do you like that compared to your Quilter US Block setup? I agree with Dave, the cab looks great.

Cheers,

Jeff
It's definitely not an apples to apples comparison. I have about double the investment in this rig than I do in the Quilter. The Quilter with it's tiny form factor and all-in-one format is also way more convenient. The upside of this rig are 1) a more powerful amp; 2) a more flexible reverb; 3) much more control over the tone profile, especially with the parametic sweep on the mid-range. This rig is can be just as bright and scooped as the Quilter if you want to cop that Fender vibe but just by rolling down the frequency of the midrange control. it can also get much warmer and darker. The Quilter simply can't go there.

Here's a REALLY quick and dirty sample of this rig.

https://soundcloud.com/user-291436872%2Frode-paradriverrig-05-13-2022-master
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was intrigued and looked into the Loudster. I was wondering way you didn't spring for the Mojo Attack that has amp models built in. Products - Hotone Audio
I already had the Para Driver. I originally bought it to pair with a different power amp but that amp didn't work out. I was actually going to sell the Para Driver but this Loudster came up used and I was able to get it for a reasonable price so I thought I'd give it a try. That being said, I'm not really attracted to either a Tweed or Rectifier amp model.
 

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I have a Para Driver as well as an AmpMan Classic, which makes for a comparison similar to the StompMan. I’m sure there’s overlap but they are more different than similar in my experience.

The AmpMan has more “life” on its own IMO but I actually like to run the Para Driver into the AmpMan when I want to give it jazzier tones. I’d be curious to do that with the StompMan in its power-amp-only mode.
 

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I could be totally wrong, but I'm betting that @Jim Soloway doesn't have too much inner crunch he needs to let soar these days.
I don't think you are wrong at all and having listened to his sultry work I cannot say it would be a step in the right direction either.... but you just never know :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Do you feel that the SansAmp in your current configuration really works for you (love the sound) or it's a certain level of comprimize?

Say what you really think.
As a front end on the amp, it's absolutely fantastic. No compromise at all. As a direct box or front end to a recording rig, I'm not pleased with the noise level and all of the level and tone shaping on/off toggles add even more noise. I don't hear that noise at all through my amp setup, so I'm viewing it as a front end on my live rig only (which is not really a problem because I'm happy with my Scuffham S-Gear VST for recording).
 
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