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Traynor Mono Block II

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Matt Till, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    So, my Mono Block II came in the mail today, it looked a little beat, I didn't mind, I hate things to be all shiney and new anyway. First thing I notice, "Damn, this thing weighs about 60lbs, at least." Maybe more, I'm a bad judge of weight

    So I take it to my guitarists house, because that's where my big Sunn cab lives. I throw it on top... well, I drag it on top, this thing is heavy and hard to "throw." But I gave it a shot. It sounded great! Heavy, Clean, I'm very very excited. The main volume pot is a bit noisy, I'll probably get that fixed.

    I'm in a doom metal band, and if you know anything about doom, the question is... HOW LOUD CAN IT GET?!?! To answer my question, I cranked it. :smug:

    Remeber how I said this thing was heavy? IT WAS BOUNCING OFF MY CAB AND STARTING TO WALK OFF MY CAB!!!! Luckily I stopped before it finished. DAMN THIS THING HAS POWER!! And it sounds perfect!

    THANKS SMASH for the heads up on this awesome awesome head!
    blindrabbit likes this.
  2. that is the only solid state amp I would buy. I saw one at a locl store for $300, if I did not just put in an order for a nw stingray I would have been all over it.

    let us know how it sounds in a band situation.

    congrats on a great find!!
    blindrabbit likes this.
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Rockin' at practice tommorow!! :bassist:

    I originally took a overdriven bass approach, but I think that might be one of the reasons our mix sounds a bit muddy. I think having me keep a clean sound (but still loud) will help the mix a lot, plus I'll be able to use my wah without it sound like a duck who is throwing up blood.

    JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUST to make sure, my cab is rated 400 watts at 4 ohms, the Traynor rocks 325 watts at 2 ohms... how does that break down? What wattage am I really kicking? And will my cab be able to take it? It sounds good, I just don't want to blow any speakers.
  4. You should be usin about 165 give or take watts.
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Man, wattage makes nooooo sense. I use to have a crate rig that kicked 220 watts, and it had zero umph... now this 165 watter (essentially) is shakin' stuff off the walls. Makes no sense to me... I don't ask questions now, I just smile and eat my baby alligator.
  6. The way companies rate the wattage differes a lot, making it very fustrating to get a decent spec. Tube vs. SS makes it all the more complex. Cabs also have a very big influence on volume. The best thing to do is to just go by your ears.
  7. TFunkadelic


    Apr 9, 2006
    Watts are watts. 10 watts on a tube amp is the same volume level as 10 watts on a solid state amp. Tube amps are capable of withstanding a bit more abuse, but watts on a tube are not somehow more potent.

    The biggest difference maker will be the cabinet efficiency. This is measured by output at 1 watt at one meter. For example, A speaker may be rated at 97 decibles/1 watt. An efficient speaker makes a massive difference in total system output, because a double in wattage is needed for every 3 db gained, so if you're at pushing 50 watts to get to 97 db, you'll need 100 at 100 db. Similarly, if your cab is more efficient and only needs 25 watts to do 97 db, you'll only need 50 at 100.
  8. Wasn't trying to make this a tube vs. ss thread, we have plenty of those. Not even going to adress it here. Do a search.
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I went solid state to avoid confusion. Tube is ideally the sound I'd go for, but I kinda like the no frills approach right now. And it sounds great, so, I'm happy.
  10. Thats really all that matters. If this sounds good to you, maybe tubes really just aren't your thing.
  11. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    My post got kinda long and gushy, but what the heck ... guess this'll be the Block II "megathread", or at least "megapost".

    Exactly. Some measure things with advantageous ratings (peak vs. RMS) or at frequencies that have little impact on bass playing (the lows distort or bloom out of control), outright make numbers up, have massive THD along with it, little headroom, etc. Then it just seems like there's been inflation on watts same as the cost of living over time.

    Whatever the case, I've got one of these amps (and use several others regularly) and it can match or smoke in volume, tone, headroom, and quiet reliable operation almost anything else I've tried (much quieter than all the modern "boutique" amps I've had - iAMP, TF, Aguilar...), and I've tried/gigged/rehearsed a lot of stuff including many of the darling amps-du-jour and/or some that claim many times the power but can't deliver close to as much "ooomph" through the same cabs.

    Factor that they're also the toughest amp (for once something is truly "built like a tank") and that they can frequently be found for $100-$300 and you can hardly go wrong.

    The only amp that I've liked as much is the Carvin B1500 (cost me over 8x the most expensive Mono Block I've bought) and I perhaps like the DB750 better (cost me over 18x the most expensive Mono Block I've bought and weighs even more). Some of the early Peavey "Mark" series are comperable too but the 5-band active slider EQ puts the Traynor way over the top IMO (slider EQ not found on the Mono Block B = Mono Block I, the "B" standing for the originally planned name "Beavertone").

    Cons? They're heavy (42 lbs, Matt) and come encased in an awkward metal case with some sharp edges that's about 2.5u high and perhaps 19" deep once factoring the front handles. Mine has taken chunks out of my car, shins, doorways, concrete driveway, and cabs. I finally had to make custom foam-and-duct-tape covers for the edges to avoid further injury. I eventualy scored a factory cover on eBay for it too, so keep an eye out for one of those. The bright side? That metal casing is also the heat sink so it can run all day long at 2 Ohms without even getting warm. It has no DI either, but does have a preamp out and power amp in. Works great for keys and will do for vocals too.

    Why do I even have other amps? Despite all the excellent/expensive amps I have I still ask myself that often. It used to be "nah it can't be that good", then the more amps I tried the more I realized it really is that good but I didn't want the hassle of the casing or the weight, and now that I've largely given up on the laptop-sized nu-amps and instead cart around amps that, once racked, are as large and weigh as much or more ... well I like having a DI with pre/post on my amps and ground lift and such, but really is that worth the extra $1800 or so the DB750 cost me? No, given that I could get those installed on the Block for a couple hundred (including top-quality DI), but I love using and trying different stuff. Still, I wouldn't heistate to pick the Block if I had to chose just one of my amps. Beavertone rocks !

    They're not for everyone of course, and are best suited to those who want to rock although given the versatility and quiet I wouldn't be shocked to see someone amplifying a DB for supper jazz either, but they shine the most when rocking loud and hard. When it comes to budgetary concerns though, why people bother with hissy and unreliable crap when they can get these (or stuff like the early Peavey Marks) often for only $100-$200 is beyond me.


    Matt, can you post pics of yours? These often have different touches - perhaps the knobs or often the power switch (size and colour) and pilot light (size and type). Pete Traynor would use whatever parts he had in the shop and as a result sometimes the tones vary slightly too, but very slightly.

    There's an excellent .pdf on the Yorkville site somewhere called "The History of Yorkville" that documents the many firsts Pete Traynor introduced to live music amplification and it's a must read to find out what a rich history this map is part of and what an unsung here Pete was - loudest bass amp at the time (this very amp), first 8x10 cab, first wedge monitors I believe, many of the first PA arrays for big concerts, etc. ... a very long list I'll let you discover for yourself if you care to.

    You're very welcome! I'm glad you dig it. Being able to play loud, heavy, and yet clean is a revelation eh? You won't be stuck like so many bassists being lost in the live mix, unless you want to push the low sliders up a few notches and get into boom car territory 'cause it'll do that too but God's mercy on your cabinet. Speaking of which, your cab will be fine - these stay clean practically all the way up and are very hard to drive into clipping.

    That noisy volume knob probably just needs some WD-40. If you ever do need the amp worked on though, it's easy for any competent tech to fix quickly as it's all simple technology with plenty of room to work (look inside, believe it or not there's almost *nothing* in that giant casing).

    I've seriously looked into cloning these in a small, light, modern package, but all the electrical engineers I've talked to say that the modern parts are too sterile per their "improved" tolerances so will not give the same tone - that's the joy of this amp, it has this perfect faint grind/character that sweetens the highs, allows the mids to cut without honking, yet retains tight lows. Very tubey if you set it right and crank it, more so than any emulator I've heard.

    Sounds crazy? Read the other reviews (all too few) you can find online or ask cats that have used 'em, even heavies like "Psycho Bass Guy".

    Matt, I play mine through a SUNN 2x15 as well *and* a Traynor 2x15. You'll find that with a decent amp that a 2x15 cab needn't have the slow/mushy/dark tone so many people assume all 15" speakers posess.

    Clips (all set for a fairly flat/clean tone to cut through, in the case of the 3rd clip to cut through two 100w Marshalls with a total of five 4x12 cabs so it's set quite middy with boost on the passive mid) :

    studio, rock, Schroeder 2x12 mic'd, Roscoe Beck 5 passive bass - http://www3.telus.net/tarkake/Gonna Get You.mp3

    studio, funky, same cab & bass - http://www3.telus.net/tarkake/Gonna Quit My Job.mp3

    live, proggy metal?, two 2x15 cabs, RB5 bass (early rehearsal demo of this, so kinda sloppy) - http://www3.telus.net/tarkake/TARKAKE - Thanksgiving Kake.wma

    Pics of the ones at jam spot - top for vocals, middle for organ, bottom for bass. Note the different power button and pilot light on each, and mine has a black button with round LED (seen as an old avatar of mine in 2nd pic) so that's 4/4 that are different that I use.

    OK. Rock-on. :bassist:

    Attached Files:

    blindrabbit likes this.
  12. jerry

    jerry Too old for a hiptrip Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Mmmmmmm big knobs!
  13. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I just laughed so hard I couldn't breathe.
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Awesome post Smash, hopefully it will encourage more to seek out this awesome amp.

    I'll post some pics of mine when I get the chance to snaps some photos of it. My noisey knob isn't external, it crackles when I turn it. But that doesn't cost too much to replace, it can also wait, once I have my volume set to where it needs to be, it sounds perfect/clean.
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    FINALLY got some pics




    My Dean is pretty unmetal in comparison, but, I'm finally getting the sound I want. This rig is heaaavvvyyy man.
  16. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
    Ahhh, black switch with rectangular red(?) light. Sweet.

    That's some wild EQ'ing you got there. My fave on the input is also 6 or 7, and I see that the volume is "only" on 2. I'd feel sorry for your cab if you boosted the master much higher with that bass dialed in.

    Happy dooming to you !

  17. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Hey Matt,

    Have you recorded anything with that head yet? I'm in a similar situation as you, and I'm interested to see what other gear fellow doom/stoner bassists are using.
  18. SMASH

    SMASH Guest

    Jan 18, 2000
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    For some reason, those pics won't show up for me on the Ebay ad... not sure what the ground/lift is.

    Good call on the duct tape, I'll look into that.

    Against Will: Sorry, no recordings yet... sometime within the next couple months, my band will have a full length. On the demo, I recorded through a guitar POD... it made for some weird tone... I didn't know what I thought of it, but everyone compliments it. I know waiting a couple months for me to record is a bit out of the question: Smash's Tarakake recordings have the same (sorta) setup as me... different setting, but you get the idea. This amp sounds like POWER, that's all I can say. Perfect for Stoner/Doom/****ING ROCK
  20. rebelbass


    Feb 16, 2006
    New Jersey
    Congrats on scoring a mono block. used one of those in the late 70's they are cool! Sunn cab you have is the one I used to own,want now! I'd build one but can't find plans/dimensions to copy it.

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