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> Sansamp Gt2 First Impressions
Hardtail
post Jan 20 2011, 04:01 AM
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I got the GT2 in the mail today and got to fiddle with it for about 2 hours.

The first thing I noticed... the hiss. I thought it was my lines (I don't use a noise suppressor) but when I plugged straight in it was still hissing. It isn't terrible... it's about the same as any tube amp I have owned. But I noticed it since my previous solid state setup was hiss free. This shows how much the circuitry is mimicking tube signal profiles.

The sound is amazing. I dialed in a Fender Clean setting with the volume at 75% and the drive backed down to 25% and was shocked at how closely it resembled a Fender Tweed Amp... the exact sound I was looking for.

The other settings and increased gain produced very usable, pleasant sounding distortions. I wanted to use it more like a Clean Fender Amp with the Power Tubes cranked up for some warmth and it definitely delivers.

It improved the sound of my Rick Franklin Super Overdrive SD-1 pedal a lot but not enough for me to keep it in the chain. The remaining issue i have with the modded SD-1 is that it is not responsive to attack. It will distort any sound no matter how soft. The Keeley Blues Driver on the other hand can go from warm cleans to crunchy based on pick attack alone. The Keeley BD2 sounded great through the GT2 as I expected it to. I am picking up a Keeley Distortion DS-1 tomorrow and I am hoping to replace the Rick Franklin SD-1 with it as my main rock/metal distortion pedal. The BD2 is dialed down so low on the gain that running it along with the DS-1 should provide smooth saturation.

Issues to be resolved:

1) EQ - Currently the only thing I have to run the GT2 through is my Fender Studio 85. I've never had a problem with nor desired more control over my EQ than what my amp gave me. But with the GT2 and the Studio 85 I feel like the EQ's are stacking signal boosts on top of eachother. Depending on the style I am playing I end up with my treble strings sounding very shrill or my bass strings sounded very "woofy". I backed the Low and High down on my amp EQ a bit and that seemed to help a little. I'll need to spend more time with that. Is it time for me to get an EQ Pedal? I'd rather not since I won't be using the Studio 85 for performing and instead be going straight into a mixing board where they will EQ my sound for me.

2) HEADPHONES - I read somewhere that you can plug headphones into the OUT on the GT2 for nighttime practice and to dial in your sounds before going to the live venue. However, when I plugged in the sound was too quiet to hear well and it was only coming out of the left ear piece. If anyone has done this with the GT2 please throw me some tips smile.gif


I have an aside question: What is your experience with Bridge vs Neck Humbuckers. I've always felt like if I EQ to the Neck then the Bridge ends up being too shrill and if I EQ to the Bridge then the Neck ends up being too low and muddy. I did try playing the Neck with the EQ's set with the High higher than I normally play and when switching to the Bridge I backed the Tone knob down to allow the guitar to add in the bass on it's own. It gave me two settings that I could quickly and conveniently switch between but neither is exactly the sound or response I am used to. In my hunt for tone I keep feeling like I am running into EQ issues... however, every time I've ever played live these problems seem to go away. Is it literally an issue with the size room I am in or something?

Hardtail


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Beginner's Amp & Guitar Gear Guide
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emirb
post Jan 20 2011, 09:58 AM
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Just a quick one: I love GT2! I made couple of clones and it's one of my main distortions. Thing is that I also noticed the hiss with the original schematics but I modded mine so that hiss is barely noticeable now. Different opamps and somewhat different filtering and that's it. But I think that for settings where gain <75% one can live with it, but over that.. it's a bit of pain. About the headphones, well, I don't think that the stock design can drive headphone speakers but it could be built in with a simple pre-amp stage and a separate output for headphones, don't know if it's feasible with the stock enclosure though.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 21 2011, 01:06 AM
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I love their preamp pedal for bass. Great brand. Thanks for all the details about the pedal. Regarding headphones, if the pedal doesn't have designated headphones out you can't use the regular one. Impedance won't match and you need the headphones preamp to make the sound heard properly. Hmmmm, EQ depends from room to room and you have to set it differently every time. Though if you feel you are generally lacking control over EQ, maybe its time to get a new pedal/rack effect?


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Hardtail
post Jan 21 2011, 05:09 AM
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I played around with my new Keeley Modded DS-1 Distortion pedal and it sounds WAY better than the Rick Franklin Super Overdrive. It barely scoops the mids and sounds killer at various attacks and settings. The Volume knob is WAY sensitive though so don't bump it once you got it where you want! hehe

As far as the GT2... I was hoping to run it through a PA system tonight but I didn't get the chance. I got to put in another hour on it and I still really like it. I feel like I am fighting my guitar these days more than my pedals. I think I expect too much out of the guitar... because whenever I played with others or in a band it always sounds just fine... but in my studio I find some tiny itty bitty thing I don't like and try to tweak it and end up redoing the entire setup every time... I think I need to focus less on the little nuances of my sound and focus on the overall tone and the songs I am trying to play. Anyone else lose hours trying to chase some tiny little aspect of their sound until getting totally frustrated? hehe

Hardtail

This post has been edited by Hardtail: Jan 21 2011, 05:10 AM


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Beginner's Amp & Guitar Gear Guide
My Keeley Blues Driver BD-2 Review
My Line6 Flextone II Review

Guitars: Martin D-16RGT with B-Band UST & '99 Fender "Big Apple" Hardtail HH Strat
Amps: Fender Blues Junior Special Edition & Fender Studio 85 (Simultaneous... yummy)
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Hardtail
post Jan 22 2011, 05:36 AM
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Just a quick update. I think I've finally dialed in the tone i've been looking for. I basically run Clean, Unclean, and Thick, and flip from bridge to neck humbuckers to give me about 6 different tones I can dial in on-the-fly... which is more than enough for my tastes and style.

My favorite amp sound has always been the Fender Tweeds. So I finally cracked open the GT2 manual and dialed in what they said is the Fender Bassman settings. I backed down the Low boost a bit and the gain a bit and I finally got the tone I was looking for. My Fender Strat produces big "Woofy" tones if not tamed (thanks to the Seymor Duncan's Pearly Gates Plus) but I've now got it all tweaked so I can focus on actually playing lol.

My final review of the GT2. Amazing! When I turn it off, my Fender Studio 85 sounds hollow and flat like a Studio Monitor (which it turns out is a good thing for the GT2. I can't believe I thought I had decent tones before the GT2. This one little pedal has basically replaced the need for a Tube Amp and Cabinet... and I can go directly to a PA without losing the tone! If you are a Marshall or Mesa-Boogie guy I would definitely test it out before buying as the "Hiss" increases substantially on those amp settings. It's about the same amount I recall getting from my Marshall TSL 100 but it's been many many years since I've owned that so I might be wrong.

After a couple more weeks I might write up a formal review of the GT2.

Hardtail


--------------------

Beginner's Amp & Guitar Gear Guide
My Keeley Blues Driver BD-2 Review
My Line6 Flextone II Review

Guitars: Martin D-16RGT with B-Band UST & '99 Fender "Big Apple" Hardtail HH Strat
Amps: Fender Blues Junior Special Edition & Fender Studio 85 (Simultaneous... yummy)
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