Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

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carl170
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Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by carl170 »

Good Evening everyone.

What is the difference between the Rockman distortions?

I now have an X-100 headphone amp, XPR rack and 2 Distortion Generators (1 won on after a low bid on ebay!). The x-100 is good, but doesn't seem as distorted as the other 2. The DG is more distorted, but doesn't sound quite as good as the distortion on the XPR. However, I suspect that this may be because of the extra Eq on the XPR?

I was wondering if the Sustainor 200 would add much to the mix? The settings seem to be exactly the same as the X-100 (clean 1,2, Edge and Dist). Is this going to be very similar to the sound as the X-100 ?

Now according to the Rockman.fr site, the XPR is also based on the X-100, but I would say it definitely has a heavier sound. Is this correct?

Hope these questions aren't getting too repetitive. I am just wondering if it is worth the extra spending. Of course once you go down the rockmodule route, I will need the midi octopus, Echo etc!

Regards

Carl
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

The XPR follows the design of the X-100 (but with MUCH more gain), whereas the Sustainor is quite different and has more honk. The DG is closer to the Sustainor, but has more control over the distortion harmonics. The Ultimatum most closely resembles the XPR.

Tom says he just uses the Sustainor anymore..though his is a Rev 20 that has probably been modified.

I've been reviewing the schematics of the XPR, regular Sustainor and the Rev 20 lately. It's possible to really goose up a regular Sustainor by just changing a few parts to those found in a Rev 20, which I've already done Next I'm going to see if I can mod a Sustainor to have the gain structure of an XPR, which shouldn't be difficult.
Last edited by RockmanCentralBob on Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
carl170
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:47 pm

Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by carl170 »

Bob,

I have been playing a bit more with the XPR. I tried adding the gsp1101 into the loop, but couldn't seem to get the levels right. I will need to look into this. Unfortunately, because there are so many ways the GSP1011 can be used (pre amp, effects processor, amp cab modeller, impulse cabs etc), it makes it more difficult to strip down initially. It has lexicon reverbs, which I believe Boston have also used.

What I did do was stick a delay pedal in it and that sounded pretty good. I also tried the distortion generator in the loop, but that did not work so well. I am guessing this is because you can't really turn off the preamp on the XPR, so effectively you have a preamp plugged into another preamp?.

It's also a shame that the loop isn't after the delay and chorus. That would have made more sense to me , then I could use the Rockman chorus and choose a lexicon delay for the delay. I like those 80/90s type of delays all the cool guitarists of the day were using (Lynch, demartini etc). I am guessing the position of the loop is done for a reason - I am guessing someone can tell me why?

I guess these are the limitations of the XPR!. However, the preamp is fantastic, it certainly sounds more distorted than the DG, and sounds smoother than my Marshall, so I am more than happy. I believe the Rockman distortion is based on Marshall amps anyway

Has anyone used a Rocktron Velocity power amp? There is one for sale near me, but may colour the sound too much - I just dont know!. I may still hold out for a second hand carver if anyone can advise me it will be better? Are all the older carver SS amps similar soundwise. I have seen a few 300-400 watters for sale, but don't know if these would sound the same as the 175?

Thanks for your feedback so far

Regards

Carl
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

carl170 wrote:It has lexicon reverbs, which I believe Boston have also used.
He may have here and there, but I'm pretty sure he just uses an old EMT Goldplate reverb. If you've never seen one, you should google them. They are HUGE!!! Like, the size of a refrigerator and has an actual gold foil inside!
carl170 wrote: I also tried the distortion generator in the loop, but that did not work so well. I am guessing this is because you can't really turn off the preamp on the XPR, so effectively you have a preamp plugged into another preamp?.
Yeah, that won't work so well. At least, unless you have yours modified like mine that allows you to bypass the Compressor and Gain stages. ;-)
carl170 wrote: It's also a shame that the loop isn't after the delay and chorus. That would have made more sense to me , then I could use the Rockman chorus and choose a lexicon delay for the delay. I like those 80/90s type of delays all the cool guitarists of the day were using (Lynch, demartini etc). I am guessing the position of the loop is done for a reason - I am guessing someone can tell me why?
There's a couple things that aren't obvious due to the layout of the front panel. The Post EQ is BEFORE the loop output, so that you can send your EQ'd signal out, and also since it's a mono EQ. It was probably just easier to send a mono signal out, and also, the Chorus and Delay/Reverb sections are stereo and typically come last in the chain anyway. If you want to use your own delay/reverb, then all you need to do is bypass the delay, use the stereo outputs from the XPR and plug them into your Lexicon or whatever. Really shouldn't be that big of a deal unless you are using the headphone output or have an XP100/XP212. BTW, the Ultimatum Rack wasn't even going to have the Delay/Reverb on it since most people were using outboard units anyway. Instead, they were going to add the Smart Gate, Auto Clean and the Ultimatum Growl circuit.
carl170 wrote: I guess these are the limitations of the XPR!. However, the preamp is fantastic, it certainly sounds more distorted than the DG, and sounds smoother than my Marshall, so I am more than happy. I believe the Rockman distortion is based on Marshall amps anyway
I don't know about that last part. I mean, Tom used Marshalls, but the Rockman filtering is really nothing like what's in a Marshall. And besides, Tom was using all kinds of other gear to filter (pre and post) when he was using the Marshalls. Aside from that, most Marshalls use tubes to compress/clip the waveform, while the Rockman uses diodes or LED's.

I think it's closer to say that the Rockman is designed to get the SOUND of heavily filtered Marshalls, recorded both direct and miked up and multitrack layered. The individual raw tracks of the Marshall based stuff doesn't really sound like Rockman at all. It's only after you layer up the tracks that it starts to sound like Rockman distortion. Even then, the Marshall tracks usually had more presence and less gain. But the cumulative effect of the layers makes it sound more distorted than they actually are. The Rockman gets you that SOUND in one take, and in Stereo. Though if you really want to sound like Boston, you still need to at least double track everything in mono.
carl170
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by carl170 »

Bob,

I looked up the EMT plate reverb (140!). Where on earth would you put it?!

How did you modify the XPR? Was this one done by someone at Scholz?

I have rigged the GSP1101 in the effects loop and have started programming it. It sounds pretty good and I am syncing it via midi with the XPR, so even when not using the 1101 effects, I can give the preset a name using the 1101 screen.

I am just working my way through the presets and copying to different locations and modifying them. It seems that there are so many variables on the XPR alone, it may take some time to work my way through them all!

I have tried plugging the XPR midi thru into the 1101 midi in, but it doesn't work. Not sure if the XPR is not transmitting, or if the 1101 isn't receiving. I eventually plugged the 1101 mid out into the MIDI in on the XPR. This seems to work OK.

Is there any way to do a midi dump on the XPR? I usually back up my presets, but cannot see how I can do this on the XPR!

Regards

Carl
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

carl170 wrote:Bob,

I looked up the EMT plate reverb (140!). Where on earth would you put it?!
In your basement studio, of course!!
carl170 wrote:How did you modify the XPR? Was this one done by someone at Scholz?
Yes, it originally belonged to Fred Sampson, the marketing manager for SR&D (and who wrote the original version of "I Need Your Love", which was originally called "End of the Waiting") and he had Bob Cedro modify it for him. He did the compressor bypass mod, and also did a mod where there is an extra mode PAST the mix modes where the top compressor light and the top gain light both blink in unison, which signifies that the compressor and gain stages are both bypassed. In order to get the extra mode the actual program on the chip had to be modified, so without some way of copying the IC chip, that can NOT be duplicated.

But I do know how to modify the circuit to do both of these mods, it's just that you'd have to figure out what mode(s) (or functions) you want to give up. Originally it was set up so that the compressor was bypassed in the mix modes. I changed it so that the 0 db setting on the compressor is bypass mode and made it so that the mix modes engage the Ultimatum Growl circuit. When used with the compressor bypass, the unit has TON's of gain but is nearly dead silent!

I've never had a need to bypass the compressor and gain stages, but I would probably just hijack one of the low distortion modes like the semi clean mode and make that the bypass mode. It wouldn't be that hard to do.

BTW, when I talked with Fred to buy it, Cedro was in the process of adding a Smart Gate to it but hadn't finished it yet. So unfortunately, I didn't get that mod. :-(
carl170 wrote: I have tried plugging the XPR midi thru into the 1101 midi in, but it doesn't work. Not sure if the XPR is not transmitting, or if the 1101 isn't receiving. I eventually plugged the 1101 mid out into the MIDI in on the XPR. This seems to work OK.
Is there any way to do a midi dump on the XPR? I usually back up my presets, but cannot see how I can do this on the XPR!
Check your midi channel... you should set it to OMNI (on both units and all should be well.
I believe there is a way to do a dump, but I can't remember it.
I may have some notes on it somewhere but I'll have to look for it.
RockmanCentralBob
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by RockmanCentralBob »

I've updated an earlier response I made regarding which unit the Ultimatum most closely resembles.
After studying the schematics over the past week or so, I would have to say that it most closely resembles the XPR.
The compressor design on the Ultimatum is slightly different, and I would say it probably has quite a bit more sustain.
From there I would say that the pre-distortion filtering is almost identical, though the gain level is considerably lower on the Ultimatum.
The major departure of the Ultimatum from all the other units is the Cab sim and, of course, the addition of the Growl circuit.
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rbc
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by rbc »

Hey carl170,

I'm curious if you have used the CLN1/DIST/HVY mixing on your XPR before. If so, what do you think of the sound? I've only read about it in the user manual. It sounds pretty cool.

Best,

--Bruce
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carl170
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by carl170 »

rbc wrote:Hey carl170,

I'm curious if you have used the CLN1/DIST/HVY mixing on your XPR before. If so, what do you think of the sound? I've only read about it in the user manual. It sounds pretty cool.

Best,

--Bruce
Bruce,

I have tried it and think it sounds kind of weird. It sounds like somebody playing an acoustic at the same time!

You can clearly hear both tones - might be useful for thickening a sound?

Funnily enough, the same feature is on the 120W Solid state Dime Amp, and has left reviewers scratching their heads too! Why Dimebag would have used this I have no idea. Although I did read somewhere that Dimebag Darrell was a massive Boston Fan - What guitar player isn't?!
Regards

Carl
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rbc
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Re: Rockman Distortion (XPR,Sustainor, DG)

Post by rbc »

carl170 wrote: I have tried it and think it sounds kind of weird. It sounds like somebody playing an acoustic at the same time!

You can clearly hear both tones - might be useful for thickening a sound?

Funnily enough, the same feature is on the 120W Solid state Dime Amp, and has left reviewers scratching their heads too! Why Dimebag would have used this I have no idea. Although I did read somewhere that Dimebag Darrell was a massive Boston Fan - What guitar player isn't?!
Interesting. Thanks for your remarks. I'll have to try an XPR some time.
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