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Ampeg Micro-VR: clip light gone crazy?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sloppy_phil, Jun 11, 2012.


  1. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    I grabbed the Micro-VR mini stack not too long ago, and really dig it. But I've tended to notice the the peak/clip LED flashes quite often, even at fairly low volumes. At a pair of gigs this past weekend, I was seeing it really often; even with the limiter engaged it was peaking. I don't think my settings were ridiculously unreasonable; Gain at around 1-2 o'clock, Volume at about 9-10 o'clock. The mids were boosted a bit, and the highs cut to about an equal amount. Bass knob got moved around to test the clip light but appeared to make no difference. However, the sound was totally fine; the amp and bass sounded great the whole time, and took all pedals wonderfully!

    But even at home, with volumes that wouldn't disturb the neighbours that have the upstairs apartment, I occasionally get the clip light if I start really digging in... Again, the tone is just fine! I guess the point of this little rundown was to see if this is 1) a problem, and 2) something to be expected from this amp or 3) based off the way I've been using it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    I'm not going to be a whole lot of help to you as I've never really been able to crank my rig - and I haven't gigged with it yet, but here goes.

    I have a passive Squier P/J plugged into the Micro VR head going into 2 x SVT210VR cabs (4 ohms). With my basses' two pickups turned on full, I can't make the peak light flash unless I have Gain at 3 o'clock or more - and I have to really dig at the strings. I'm doing this with the Master Volume at 0, but I don't think that should matter for this comparison.

    Compared to mine, it sounds like yours is being a little sensitive - or your pickups are really hot or something.

    Edit: As another point of comparison, the Revision of my Micro VR is A00, in case that might become important.
     
  3. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    my bass is passive too (Ric 4003), and it's got relatively low output p'ups, so i don't know if that's the cause. Maybe the light/sensor is just sensitive, I don't know.

    And just curious, what is this Revision you speak of? If it's something I can check on my amp, where would I look?

    And also, to derail my own thread, have you ever had any issues running two of the cabs together? I have one, but saw a video recently that kinda scared me off taking the plunge without doing more research into the matter of doubling the cabs.
     
  4. Are you sure it is not that the pedals are boosting the gain going into the amp...?
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Here's how you use the clip light on Ampeg amps:

    Ignore it.

    Set the gain where it sounds good to you, and don't worry about the light. When I use mine, I set it to where the light comes on regularly, but it doesn't sound distorted. I think you get the best sound out of Ampeg SS and hybrid amps by giving the gain a little gas, too.
     
  6. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    The Revision # is on the back of the head right next to the serial number. When manufacturers "revise" (tweak) their designs they assign a new revision # to define that version of the amp. If a design has had a particular problem, it may be addressed and that change will be marked by a new Revision #.

    I got mine through Long & McQuade at the very end of April and they had to order it in (waited about 3 weeks), so I would think that I would have gotten the latest revision at the time.

    I did see the YouTube video by one of the TBers about the cutting out, but through some more research, there was talk that Ampeg addressed the problem, so I took the plunge. Actually it is because of the problems I read about early on, that I took quite a while to decide to go with the Micro VR.

    Again, I have not had a chance to drive mine hard for more than a few minutes at a a time, so I am not the definitive test case for a gigging musician, although I do have both cabs plugged in all the time. I figured if I ever had to drive mine hard to the point where it started to cut out, it would be time for more power and another head at least and I'd keep this one as a practice amp.

    Mine has not exhibited any problems whatsoever, but again, it is used lightly. I will drive the Gain pretty hard for some distortion at times, but the master volume stays pretty low - until I find some soundproof bunker as a practice space anyway. :)

    If the peak light is coming on a lot on yours but is not causing any output issues, you can probably just ignore it like Jimmy says. The peak LED is just monitoring the level of the input signal to the preamp stage. It's telling you when you are exceeding the relatively clean level of input and going into greater distortion. (That's the way it should work anyway.) At worst, the level that yours is coming on is (perhaps?) set too early, but as you have found out, it doesn't affect your output. If it really bugs you, maybe try calling Ampeg and speak to tech support. Never had to do that, so don't know how satisfying that experience might be.

    All the best
     
  7. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Well, when they were on they pushed it even further, but mostly the pedals were all off and the clip light was still flashing.

    I'll be honest, this has been my plan thus far. The amp seems to be working great, so I haven't been tempted to mess around at all.
     
  8. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil

    Hey man, good to know that all has been working out well for you thus far! My revision is also A00, so perhaps they've addressed the double cab issues that the dude in the video was experiencing? Anyways, I'm still not ready to purchase the second cab yet, but at least I feel better about the idea now!
     
  9. The only difference between revision A00 and B00 was tolex glue. A00 models have a tolex glue used by mistake (oil based?) where the tolex will peel off after time. B00 fixed this.

    And I am "The dude" in the video. lol

    Edit: Unless they made a manufacturing change or released another model like a C00. The problem exists. They were fixing them on a case by case basis for those that had a problem. They swapped my entire Micro VR stack for a PF350 and 2 PF115HE cabs. They took care of me, but not the problem with the head. Like I said unless there is a B01 or C00 they they released or they fixed it quietly in production. I would make a guess that all A00 models and most B00 models have the problem, it depends on whether the player is running it hotter or digging in more than others. I was using a passive P-bass when I made that video. Gain 1 o'clock. Bass 1:30-2 o'clock. mid and treble about 12 o'clock master 1 o'clock.

    Who knows. I did like the tone of that stack and miss it, the PF115HE has a ton more bass response but doesn't sound the same.
     
  10. Waldo19

    Waldo19

    Jul 9, 2011
    I have been seeing my peak LED a lot as well. I was concerned because of how frequently it was coming on ( gain at 11:00 to 1:00 o'clock) rather than how it sounded (passive bass with HOT pickups).

    I am happy I am not alone on this issue and that ignoring it (as I have been) has been working fine for others as well.
     
  11. It was explained to me that the problem was with the soft clip (tube emulator) circuit. They sent me a "fixed" head and what it seemed like to be they just decreased the gain by about 3db so it wouldn't clip. I lost a little clean volume and it sounded more fuzzy. Not in a good way.
     
  12. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    I did watch your video, Fenderhutz, and that's why it took me so long to make up my mind on this amp. I appreciate the info regarding what was in the revisions. OK, so maybe I am technically not "fixed", but I have no problems with early peaking or anything else so far. I have tried to play it louder, albeit for short periods, 'cause too loud for too long just doesn't work here right now. I did pay an extra $20 (I think it was) for an additional year of warranty through the dealer. Maybe the 2-year warranty will come in handy. In any case, if this head started causing me trouble, I would just pick up something else.

    Before I decided to go with the Micro VR head I was actually going to pair the SVT210 cabs with a GK MB200 because of the early Micro VR problems. I did take one home but returned it a few days later and ordered the Micro VR, as the MB 200 didn't have a Gain control, just Volume - and damn it - it just didn't look as cute as the head made for these cabs. :D So I caved in. And I love it.

    I just checked the revision level on my cabs. They are both B00 - so they won't lose their Tolex - relief. :rolleyes:

    So far the Tolex on the A00 head looks good. I guess I'll see how long that lasts.

    Thanks again for more background info.
     
  13. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    I think that as long as the early peaking doesn't cause any output problems and the output doesn't falter, I would live with it rather than having Loud Tech "adjust" the internal gain as they did in your case.
     
  14. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    Well crap! Sorry I misled you regarding revisions. At least we know where we stand. Looks like we'll both be stocking up on contact cement to redo some Tolex.

    You'd think that these guys might have done Tolex a time or two before they got to our units....

    If your MVR head sounds good, play it until the wheels fall off I say!

    Although there's no prediciting your head will work flawlessly with 2 cabs. It's something you'll have to try before your warranty is up.
     
  15. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    Hahaha, "the dude" indeed! Thanks for chiming in. I guess we'll see what happens when I buy the second cab (I am indeed going to try it, I think). I do tend to dig in rather hard, but then I don't know if I'll be turning it up quite as loud; I've gigged the thing out, and had the gain somewhere around 2 o'clock, but the volume was only at about 9-10 o'clock. At least compared to the way you were running it in the video, it seems my settings were quieter (i'm also using a pretty low output passive bass), and I imagine I would need even less volume with the 2 cabs. I guess we'll end up seeing what happens. I'll get some liquid cement ready for the tolex in the meantime....:(

    Crazy that they ended up replacing your rig with a PF set-up; isn't that, like, a bunch more money for all that stuff?? Very cool!
     
  16. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil

    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    No worries, mang. All info is appreciated unconditionally! And I will definitely be playing this little bad boy for what I hope to be a long while. My old Portaflex has finally been allowed to retire into an almost-exclusively-for-studio/home-use status!
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I should mention that my Micro VR is an A00 and I've had it 18 months now and it's still got its tolex sticking just fine.
     
  18. VerryBerry

    VerryBerry

    Mar 4, 2012
    Canada
    Yeah, actually, with all the metal corner bumpers, screws with larger washers, bottom feet, etc. it would be hard for the Tolex to come away even if it weren't glued down.

    I think we're good!
     
  19. Mine were A00 too and I never had major problems. I had some seams that weren't sticking properly but nothing bad. People on here do though.
     
  20. Yes. They took care of me. I have never denied that.

    However, the Micro VR has/had a design defect. They won't admit that publicly (even though they did to me on the phone, but it only happens to certain players so they decided to keep it on a case by case basis). :D

    And yes many other TB'ers experienced this.
     

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