"BALLS TO THE WALL MOD" for ENGL Powerball 1+2
(scroll down for SOUNDCLIPS)
Kick Ass Mod opens up this amp and increases:
Channel 1: bigger, more open, more dynamic + sparkles more.
Channel 2: tighter crunch, more articulate + pushes more air.
Channels 3/4: tighter, more articulate + more agressive.
RESULT: more powerful and more penetrating tone !
NOTE: The original factory tone can always be SWITCHED BACK ON !
The clips below were recorded with an SM57 in front of a 4x12 cab with UK made Celestion G12H-100 speakers. They are linear recordings without any EQ added.
We recorded 2 pairs of clips, the first clip from each pair being the original factory tone, the 2nd clip being the modded tone.
All 4 clips were recorded with exactly the same setup and recording settings.
Special thanks to Ronny Dorian of the great L.A. Thrash Metal Band "HEXEN" for his generous time.
Testimonial by Azeem V. - WI:
The Powerball arrived earlier today (after 3 day turn around time!).
I unpacked it, set it up, and plugged in...
I started with the 100% stock sound. I put all controls to noon except volume, and I had the depth boost, bright, focused, etc were all off. I played for a couple minutes on the Hi Lead channel, and one thing I noticed right away was that the tubes you installed allowed for a bit more grit and definition on the high gain channel than the last tubes I used (SED =C=).
Then, I had my wife slowly turn your mod on while I played. First she turned it to 1/4 of the way up. That could've been the full extent of your mod and I would've been happy. Immediately, I could hear more clarity and complexity in the distortion. The response started tightening up and felt less 'rubbery' and less compressed.
I'll spare you anymore play-by-play and get to the real deal. 100% mod. Oh...my...GOD!!!!!!!! Day and night, man. I started with the Hi Lead, then worked my way backwards. The hi and lo lead sound much more aggressive and alive! The amp is also much less sterile now. The other amazing feature is that the amp is so much more dynamic to pick response, due to the DeKompression black magic you cast on it. Less sterility and less compression means that my Powerball FINALLY sounds and feels like an actual tube amp. It's a miracle!
The crunch and clean channels: So, with the gain turned low (around 9:30), the crunch channel actually sounds like a crunch channel! What I mean is that, before your mod, the crunch channel was almost unusable. It was honestly similar to a crunch channel you'd find on a solid state modeling amp. I always had to fuss with the EQ and my guitar's volume and tone knobs to get a remotely useable crunch sound without the assistance of pedals. That was, I assume, due to the high levels of compression and the extreme voicing of the Powerball. Now, I can actually feel the notes jump from the strings and my pick attack actually makes a difference on the sound of the amp. It still has the same voicing, which I like, but now it actually feels and plays like a crunch channel should.
Last, but certainly not least...the CLEAN CHANNEL! Oh, man...I honestly got a chill when I played the clean channel. It is absolutely PERFECT! The Powerball has always had a great clean channel, but the sterility and compression of the amp kept it from reaching its potential. Now, it sounds very full and organic and has even more of that airy-chime that I loved about it originally. Sounds perfect with a splash of delay and reverb.
Best way to describe the effect of the "Balls to the Wall" mod on my Powerball is that it turned it from a sterile, bland solid-state sounding amp to a full, open, organic tube amp! My favorite part is the hi lead channel. The attack, stock, was very soft and not dynamic, and now it is very responsive and aggressive. Like going from a butter knife to a chainsaw!
I love it, Jens. I really, REALLY love it! You weren't exaggerating when you said it sounds 100 times better. I couldn't agree more! I love that it still sounds like my amp, but all of the bad aspects are completely gone, and some new ones have replaced them. You're definitely a master of your craft. Thank you so much for your time and help. You're an awesome guy!
All the best,
Oak Creek, WI