Having recently moved back to Adelaide(mid 2018), I’ve reconnected with a lot of old friends and fellow musicians. One such person is Andrew Neale. Andrew is a valve amplifier builder and repairer who I’ve known for over 10 years. We first met when I was looking for someone to service a Marshall JTM45 and we’ve kept in touch over the years.
Recently, Andrew presented me with an amplifier to sample. The amp features a custom Baxandall tone stack Andrew has developed. I’m not an amp technician so I can’t tell you exactly how this works except to say, it’s amazingly simple and sounds fantastic.
Tone Stack Info…
The tone stack Andrew has developed is housed and accessed from a four way variable rotary switch. In addition to standard master bass and treble controls, the rotary switch reconfigures the voicing of the amplifier into four distinct modes, as follows:
I should point out that this is not a channel switching amplifier. Rather, it’s an elegant single channel design that in conjunction with the four way rotary switch, offers incredible tonal versatility.
The prototype amplifier from Neale Amplification uses a custom four way rotary switch that reconfigures the voicing of the amplifier, depending on where it is set…
Other features of the prototype amp include the following:
Hand-wired all valve preamp and power amp
40 watt 6L6GT power amp, cathode bias, valve rectified(GZ34)
Master bass and treble EQ controls
Master volume control
Hi and lo inputs
Dwell and mix controls for valve powered reverb circuit
Hand-built solid pine cabinet with dove-tail joints
Cabinet design features two front panels that act as a convenient guitar stand
Present configuration is loaded with a re-coned 15” JBL speaker
Future build would use the Weber 15” California speaker
The prototype Neale amplifier features a hand-built solid pine cabinet and is loaded with a 15” JBL speaker. And look at those valves! All that glowing vintage goodness…
Recording Setup Notes
The prototype Neale amplifier features a re-coned 15" JBL(a great speaker BTW) however, this is not nearly as common as other makes and models of guitar speakers. To keep the samples more accessible and in keeping with“what most guitar players know,” I unplugged this and ran the amp into a closed back Traynor 1X12 with a Celestion Vintage 30. The cabinet was close miked with an Audio Technica AT2035 large diaphragm condenser microphone. From here, the signal runs into a Yamaha MG12XU mixing desk and audio interface. I recorded on my Apple iMac using AVID Pro Tools 12(2018.7) with 24 bit and 48kHz settings.
The amplifier had the reverb turned to zero and the master bass and treble controls were set in the middle, i.e. twelve o’clock. I used the“hi” input. These settings were identical for all recorded samples. The volume wasn’t cranked either-- it was simply loud enough to record with in the same room.
Lastly, each respective demo uses only one guitar. I do not use time or pitch correction when recording and this was no exception. There is no editing on the guitar parts, i.e. each track is a single take. If I made a mistake(which I did occasionally) I simply deleted the take and went again from the start of the piece.
The Traynor 1X12 Vintage 30 loaded cabinet is nested beside the Neale prototype…
The Yamaha MG12XU has the excellent D-PRE preamps that utilise an inverted Darlington circuit. There was no EQ boosts or cuts on the signal path, nor any compression or FX…
Another view of the AT2035 large diaphragm condenser microphone. The mic position was not changed or altered for each sound sample — set and forget baby 😀