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Viva Analog 360+ preamp Review

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by adrian mccullou, Jan 19, 2012.


  1. adrian mccullou

    adrian mccullou

    Dec 14, 2009
    I just received my new 360+ built by JC Maillet at Viva Analog. I have been playing his preamp for about 4 years and this is the new updated version with the clean etched finish . I thought that I would share my thoughts on this pedal as I find it a very important tool in my arsenal and I get many people asking me about it. so here goes my little review....

    As a working musician who plays the club circuit virtually every weekend and logs plenty of hours in the studio, I can say that this pedal is my main sidekick. Playing stages that are back-lined or having to use another players' rigs can be frustrating, so I always have this Preamp at my feet as it has become my guarantee to my tone every time. Also, if I am playing an acoustic sunday afternoon pub gig with friends, I can use this between my bass and the PA to give me a stronger signal and allow me to do some personal EQing. The 360+ is not noisy at all.

    the 360+ gives a lot of tonal options with the Variamp selection. It really goes noticeably from grindy mid-range to a full blown low end and with a little tweak of the bass and treble, I can get exactly what I am looking for. There is a Bright switch which I have rarely used but it does noticeable perform its intended function! I find that some stages/rooms can be boomy with my standard Bassy EQ and with a quick adjustment I can have things dialed in without losing any of the warmth or stage volume.

    The Acoustic 360 had an on-board Fuzz which many players loved. The fuzz in the 360+ is creamy delicious and will not disappoint. I find that it keeps the low end presence while having a huge amount of attack and gain. However it can be reined in with the appropriate amount of blend and effected signal. It just has that old school thing that I can't really explain but its beautiful. I have other distortion pedals but I find that quite often this is all I use. Put the fuzz together with an octave pedal and you have synthy goodness!

    The switches are very quiet and don't pop when engaging them(totally silent switching) and I use the mute as my main signal kill at shows. My old 360+ had a red power light which I had some issues with but the new version has a blue LED which works much better(I see this as one of the biggest improvements), great on the dark stages.

    So there you have it. Viva Analog 360+ is a great little unit that can stand alone or be put to use in a complex signal path and it totally rocks. I have used it as the Pre on a vintage Ampeg SVT and it rocked. I have used it with crampy under powered solidstate amps and it gave me more juice. This thing is compact, looks good on the board and I will never gig without it.
    360.
     
  2. Thanks for the review. I've long lusted after obtaining one of these.

    I find JC Maillot's old lynx site, and even the new Viva Analog website to be difficult to navigate to find what you want... It's not clear what products are in production and available; the VA site is too bloggy; I wish it were more straightforward.

    Killer stuff though, and the 360+ isn't the only VA gear I GAS for...
     
  3. vinnycolletti

    vinnycolletti

    Mar 3, 2011
    Oneonta,NY
    Luthier
    I built one of JC's 360+ kits years back & loved it. It was used for all my studio work. When the new version came out I jumped on it and with copious assistance from JC, I also cloned the 361 power amp.

    The 360+/361 clone is run into a homemade 12" reflex cab and the tone is just awesome. I had an Acoustic 360/361 rig way back and JC's work is not only spot on-it goes over the top with direct out and limiter options available on his forum.
    The bonus is you don't have to lug the "Refridgerator" around.
     
  4. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Awesome- I have been intrigued by this pedal for awhile. I wish there were more powered cabinet designs around today- we have the expensive Berg IP series, and then I just saw that Genz Benz released a series of powered cabs at NAMM this week. It seems like with a lightweight class D power amplifier in a relatively lightweight cab + a pedal like this would be an amazing gig combo...
     
  5. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    nobody else out there have one of these. I actually bought the diy kit but have yet to attempt building it. schematics scare me....
    there was an old sound sample that was great but seems to be gone.
     
  6. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    I just started building the DIY kit. Here's what I have so far:

    IMG_0095.

    I can't wait to get the rest of the parts and finish it.:bassist:
     
  7. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    where did you get the parts from?

    schematic looks like nothing i can make sense out of. maybe this picture will help me...

    anychance of getting a shot of the other side
     
  8. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    Most of the parts I ordered from Mouser. The last few odd parts I got from Small Bear.

    As far as the rear shot, I'm not comfortable showing the trace side of the board since the schematics aren't freely available.
     
  9. WANT.

    Is anybody making these? Could a DI be crammed into this enclosure as well?

    EDIT:

    So I found the Viva Analog page $500?! Holy crap! Worth it if it sounds nearly as good as I hope it does. I may have to man up and try an build it myself if it can be done for closer to $150.

    Downside: gotta learn some basic electrical engineering

    EDIT 2:

    So I also just noticed that the preamp is always on or muted. That stinks. I wonder why it isn't bypass-able. My guess is that it is designed more as an always there preamp and not as a pedal, which is silly, cuz ya know, it's a pedal.
     
  10. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    It not a typical fx pedal. It's a full blown preamp. Viva Analog builds them into pedal encloses to keep the size as small as possible. The original 360 head was like 90 percent empty space and didn't need to be nearly as big as it was. I've seen someone build this kit into a 1U rack chassis and put it in a rack with a power amp.
     
  11. Oh totally worth cutting down on the size and weight when using it as your main preamp, but putting it into a pedal enclosure makes me think they (or someone) should go the extra mile and make the circuit more like a preamp/DI pedal like a sans amp or something. That would make it incredibly more versatile and would open up the market to more bass players.

    Could the circuit be modded to add DI and so that it is bypass-able or is the PCB pretty unforgiving?
     
  12. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    If you are a member of the Viva Analog forum there are a couple mods available, including DI out, FX loop, and a limiter.
     
  13. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    I bought the kit i am just baffled by a schematic....partial ok?? just trying to get actually board versus schematic ...
     
  14. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    but then you will need another preamp when off or 2 preamps when on....

    If /when i ever get it built i am thinking about an AB setup with my VT deluxe to get the 360/b15/svt sounds covered...
     
  15. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001

    I believe Phil Jones has a new active cab that's nice. I bet this would be a perfect match.
     
  16. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    or a nice power amp that runs down to 2 ohms...
     
  17. reddi

    reddi

    Jan 7, 2010
    Any sound clips?
     
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Not everything in pedal shape is an effect. It is a preamp, meant to be "always on". No different than the Sansamp for example.
     
  19. Why doesn't anyone ever mention the SWR Amplite in these preamp threads?

    I think a small lightweight power-amp such as the SWR Amplite and a pre-amp such as the 360+ mounted together on a pedal board would be the bees knees – then all you're lugging around is a pedalboard and a speaker cab. No rack, no "amp".

    4415050000_frt_wlg_001.
     
  20. True, but taking the time and skill to reorganise the circuit to be in a pedal style enclosure with pedal style switches, it wouldn't be that difficult to go ahead and give it a pedal style feature set as well.

    I'm asking these questions and made that comment because I am looking for a solid preamp/DI pedal and my amp is an Acoustic 370 so this pedal would fit into my set up like a dream.
     

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