Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2012 - Sansamp GT2 - First impression.

I scored a GT2 this week for a really good price. I'd been humming & hawing about getting one for ages, but since they're usually more than $200AUD for a second hand one, I was reluctant as I do have a few adequate amp & speaker modelers (Bad Monkey, Condor Cab Sim, Digiverb, VT Bass).

I got mine nice and cheap and have only had a little while to play with it so far, but already there are things I do and don't like.

Here are the basics:
3 amp settings (Tweed (Bassman), British (Marshall), California (Boogie).
3 "mod settings" Clean, Hi Gain & hotwired.
3 mic settings Classic (flat), Center (mids), off axis (lower mids)

First off the amp settings appear to have different gain and eq structures, the Tweed being the lowest gain and the California being the highest. The tweed has the lowest bottom end and the others are fairly similar in my first test.

The mod settings appear to be a little misleading, as the "clean" setting doesn't mean clean tone, but actually means "stock" or "unmodded". I have read on other websites that the Sansamp is not capable of a clean boost, this was not my experience. When set for Tweed, Clean & Classic, I was able to get a really nice Fenderesqe clean tone with my Goldtone PB-GRE. As mentioned in my previous blog article, this guitar has a fairly low output and is likely biasing my experience.

The tone of the settings I've described is sparkly top with a nice thick bottom. I did notice a bit of noise (hiss), but that might be due to a flat battery, or that I'd cranked the gain. After fiddling with the knobs (they're old and a bit crackly) I was able to tame the noise and stop my mixer from overloading.

Speaking of overloading, this and the VT bass have some serious power in the output department.
It can be tricky to track down the culprit when your mixer clip light isn't triggered and there's unwanted distortion somewhere. I'm not 100% on this, but I think that the Sansamp series might actually be able to clip their own output stage.

So far I'm not convinced that the high gain models are up to the job of direct recording without some intermediary speaker cab filter. They can be somewhat fizzy, but it's also possible that the low output pickup just doesn't play well with those settings and I need to use a guitar with a humbucker or at the least high output single coil, like a P90 or a Mosrite.

I'm pretty happy with the clean tone and look forward to spending more time with the unit.

Stay tuned.

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