Blackstar A30 re-valve or service?

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relic245relic245 Frets: 430
I've recently picked up an A30 combo and it just doesn't sound quite like my old head did.

There is a harshness or spikyness in the upper mids and top end. Don't know how to describe it really, maybe artifacts. It's quite ice picky, I know they are a little bright but it's way more than I remember.
 
Don't know if it's relevant, one of the speakers has been swapped for a greenback clone (warehouse green beret to match the db of the v30). I would have thought that would smooth it out a little if anything. I have the original v30 if that could be what I'm hearing. 

It definitely doesn't have as much gain as my old one by quite a long way. They are not high gain amps but with my tele it doesn't go further than a light crunch. 

Took it to rehearsal last night and it didn't feel as loud either. It was loud enough but i remember my old one as being frighteningly loud, this was just quite loud. 

A couple of minor things. The main volume on channel 2 is completely off until 9 oclock, it's just a very weird taper. 
The bright/vintage switch doesn't make much difference to the sound, not as much as I remember. 

Volume on channel 1 seems to be developing an all or nothing spot, it's whisper quiet and then the slightest movement and it's deafening. More like a switch than a pot. It doesn't do it all the time which makes me think it may be failing. 

I swapped out the preamp valves from another amp. It helped a bit with the artifacts problem but not 100%

So based on that would you A - revalve or B take it for a service. 

I probably can't afford both right now so wondering which one might be the best approach. 

Sorry for the essay!
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Comments

  • Get it to Blackstar HQ and they’ll sort it for you and it’ll be a pretty reasonable rate too. They’ll only replace any failing valves too, no point going through a whole re-valve if they’re working fine.

    I have the A30 head and aside from the issues you’re having with the taper of the pots you’ve pretty much described how it sounds!

    Great amps but hardly any gain on mine too and they are bright, I run the treble at 9 o’clock and that’s with a 2x12 with Greenbacks.
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 9868
    Memory is a strange thing... and memory of sound is even stranger.

    But for the record, yes, there is quite a lot of top end to the A30 - they also "beam", ie they are very directional. If you stand off axis the sound changes massively. The tapers on the controls aren't quite as linear as you'd get on some amps too - this is true - but there should be some change, so sounds like the pot may be on the way out. 

    Drop Blackstar a line if you want it serviced or there are authorised third party service centres around the country if you aren't local to Northampton.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 1125
    One or two chassis suffered from 'parasitic oscillation' whereby a certain setting, not max, of certain pots would lead to strange sounds and a 'latchup'. Usually fixed with a lead dress but I found an UNOFFICIAL mod that always sorted obstinate cases. I suspect that amp has been buggered about with.

    Dave.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    edited July 14
    The very first thing I would do is put the original speaker back in. While I haven't tried the WGS Greenback copy, I have tried a 'Veteran 30', which is their copy of a V30... and it's hands-down the worst 12" speaker I have ever heard. Yes, worse even than the notorious Celestion Rocket 50/G12E-50! - it had a really nasty, harsh whiny tone to it... just awful.

    I'm not the biggest fan of V30s in all amps, but if the one you have is as bad as the one I tried then the V30 can't possibly be worse and may fix the problem. It may also restore the volume, no matter what the supposed spec of the WGS speaker - and if it's a Greenback copy it should be 3dB less anyway - V30s are *really* loud, even for a 100dB rating.

    Lack of gain is more likely a preamp valve issue, but I would start with the speaker.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • relic245relic245 Frets: 430
    Thanks for the replies. 

    I will start with the speaker.  Agree with the comments about V30's but from past experience they work pretty well in the artisans so makes sense. 

    After that it sounds like it will get a trip to Northampton. It's not close but I think it would give me peace of mind to know that the manufacturer has given it the once over. 

    It could be that it's not 'quite' how I remembered my old one and now maybe looking for things that are not quite right. @impmann ; is so right that memory is a very strange thing. 
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 1125
    Relic, you said your first 30 was a head so what did you plug that into? Even a 2x V30 cab is not going to sound quite like the combo.

    Dave.
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  • relic245relic245 Frets: 430
    ecc83 said:
    Relic, you said your first 30 was a head so what did you plug that into? Even a 2x V30 cab is not going to sound quite like the combo.

    Dave.
    I had the Blackstar matching cab so 2x V30. 

    I also had a Zilla cab with 1x V30 and 1 G12H. The 2 together was a glorious sound.

    I did use it at rehearsal last night for the first time and loved the sound and got great compliments. The artifacts were not noticeable at that volume but I was concerned that it was quiet.  The gain was set very low and I was using pedals but I had the master at about 4 oclock. 

    I used to gig my head mainly on 10watts and always had seemingly loads to spare. 

    Maybe ICBM is right that the speaker is the place to start. 
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  • ecc83ecc83 Frets: 1125
    Hmm? Well I trust there is still someone there doing 'spec checks' as I did. Half an hour on the rig and I could tell you if the amp was up to snuff.

    Dave.
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  • relic245relic245 Frets: 430
    ICBM said:
    The very first thing I would do is put the original speaker back in. While I haven't tried the WGS Greenback copy, I have tried a 'Veteran 30', which is their copy of a V30... and it's hands-down the worst 12" speaker I have ever heard. Yes, worse even than the notorious Celestion Rocket 50/G12E-50! - it had a really nasty, harsh whiny tone to it... just awful.

    Just a thought. I had wondered what the 'greenback' sounds like compared to the V30.

    Is this a safe test? 

    2 speakers are both rated at 16 ohms and amp impedance is set to 8 so I assume the speakers are in parallel. 

    Can I disconnect 1 leg of the V30, tape it up, set the output to 16 ohms to see what it the GB sounds like. I would then do the same with the V30. 

    It seems slightly more scientific than just changing the speaker back without understanding what each sounds like. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 56973
    relic245 said:

    Just a thought. I had wondered what the 'greenback' sounds like compared to the V30. 

    Is this a safe test? 

    2 speakers are both rated at 16 ohms and amp impedance is set to 8 so I assume the speakers are in parallel. 

    Can I disconnect 1 leg of the V30, tape it up, set the output to 16 ohms to see what it the GB sounds like. I would then do the same with the V30. 

    It seems slightly more scientific than just changing the speaker back without understanding what each sounds like. 
    Yes, you can certainly do that - although it doesn't always give a perfect guide to how two different speakers mix together, the results can sometimes not be quite what you expect because they affect each other at different frequencies. Just don't turn it up full with the WGS because it's only a 25W speaker.

    Personally, I dislike mixing a V30 with a Greenback anyway, even a real one - to me it sounds oddly unbalanced because the V30 is louder and has a more prominent upper-mid peak. I'm not really a fan of a V30 with a G12H-30 either, since the combined rating is the same as for the V30 alone, and it means you can't drive the V30 hard before the H30 is overloaded - but in a 30W amp it doesn't really matter since neither will get more than 15W anyway.

    In my opinion the best pairs with the V30 are the Classic Lead 80 (great modern rock/metal sound), the G12H-75 Creamback (classic rock/old-school metal) and a Gold (which is somewhat like an 'Alnico V30' and sounds surprisingly good for country-rock). Or another V30 :).

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • relic245relic245 Frets: 430
    I've changed the speaker back to the V30. 

    I guess I didn't like the greenback either. 

    The artifacts that I was hearing seem to have gone, so maybe some kind of harmonic overtones that I didn't particularly like. 

    Hard to tell if it's made any difference to the volume at home levels. I'll know better after Tuesday's rehearsal. 

    What I do know for sure is that I'm enjoying playing it now. It was very put downable before whereas now it was hard to turn it off. 

    Never really experimented with speakers so didn't have any experience of how much difference they can make. 
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