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Emory Sound Microbaby vs. Superbaby w/ Power Soak for Home Recording?
Old 10th February 2009
  #1
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relaxo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Emory Sound Microbaby vs. Superbaby w/ Power Soak for Home Recording?

I need an amazing sounding, highly flexible sound-wise and very quiet amp for recording in my apartment.

I already have a Marshall SE100 Speaker Emulator / Power Soak Attenuator which I could use to bring down the levels of the Superbaby to that of the MicroBaby or even totally eliminate the guitar speaker.

Sound quality-wise, what are the advantages/disadvantages of the SuperBaby over the MicroBaby? Any other noteworthy advantages/disadvantages? (Maybe the Superbaby has a better and wider tube choice array?)

Are there any other amps to look at for an amazing sounding quiet amp that does clean and distortion very very well?

And what about the Marshall SE100 Speaker Emulator / Power Soak Attenuator, anybody using this with low powered class A amps?

Thanks, Scott
Old 10th February 2009
  #2
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🎧 15 years
from what i can tell the micro (which i own and love) is MUCH quieter and has much less clean headroom compared to the superbaby....which is the same tone...but significantly more powerful.

the micro is practically acoustic guitar volume and already starting to break up. tons of fun. however if you want the clean volume capability of (for example) a fender champ....you would need the superbaby.

this is the micro at about 1/3rd volume:

http://www.zacharyguitars.com/EliPlink2WJazz_01.mp3

that was about as loud as a really loud acoustic guitar in the room. you can hear the power tube just starting to saturate.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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I've got a Microbaby. I find it significantly louder than an acoustic guitar even at a low setting (say the theoretical "3" on a dial of 10). There are certainly choices I can make in terms of tubes (I have the Mad Scientist kit) and the front power switch to reduce the overall volume of the amp, but generally speaking those choices also hurt the tone of the amp. (I think the power switch on the front by far sounds the best in the top, or loudest, position). For sitting around playing at "bedroom levels" the gain knob is usually set at about "1". (Of course there aren't actually numbers on the dial). I actually have an attenuator hooked up to it that I will occasionally engage if I want to crank the Microbaby up to noon or higher to get that sound. Generally I keep it clean).

The tone does break up quite early in a very subtle way, but unless you have a fetish for a real biting, clean tone I wouldn't worry about it. (I'm usually playing a strat through it, by the way, I'd expect a humbucking equipped guitar to present a very different experience).

Having never heard a Superbaby it's impossible to compare them. There are more than enough tubes for the Microbaby in the Mad Scientist kit to keep you occupied for the rest of your days. I'd expect the Superbaby to have a different tone, with a completely different selection of tubes at its disposal. (If it doesn't are we just screwing around when we swap out tubes?)
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 15 years
just to amend my earlier post:

what i think of as "acoustic level volume" occurs when the amp is really not breaking up at all very low on the volume knob. for reference the recording above IS breaking up a bit, at least to my ear that is not really what could be called a clean sound in the strictest sense....although it is also clearly closer to "clean electric guitar sound" than "overdriven guitar sound".

as you proceed up the volume dial of the micro you very quickly start to hear more power tube break up and the volume quickly becomes much louder than an acoustic guitar....although still quiet compared to almost any other small amp i have used.

to give you an idea i have put this amp literally dimed on in my apartment (during the day) and heard not a peep of complaint from the neighbors. this sounded loud compared to most normal noise....but very quiet compared to any other dimed non master volume amp i have ever heard.

i agree with the above post in that the stock tubes are the "best sounding" ones i have tried....the experimentation set is very fun indeed and there is no biasing needed...however i have found that my favorite setting is (as observed above) the stock set up tubes with the amp just starting to really get juicy (but NOT outright overdriving) at around 1/3rd up the volume dial with the power switch at "full" rather than half power.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Eligit...

can you tell me what the stock setup is? I've swapped mine around so much I've forgotten how it all started!
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace ➑️
Eligit...

can you tell me what the stock setup is? I've swapped mine around so much I've forgotten how it all started!
HA!!

i hear that...

anyway the "stock set" (i am pretty sure) is:

6X5: rec
6G6: power
pre: 12AX7

that set sounds sweet.

according to their site the audio circuit is the same in the microbaby and super baby. obviously considering the tubes used and the watts put out this does NOT mean the two amps sound identical....but they are certainly closely related in the "vibe department".
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Cool... thanks for the info.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
I have a Microbaby, and it's great. Any amp that's more than a few microwatts is going to be loud, so in an apartment you are going to need an attenuator. I use a Weber MiniMASS and it works very well. So my setup is:

1. American Strat with Fralin Vintage Hots
2. MicroBaby
3. Weber MiniMASS
4. A Valve Jr. cab with a Weber 12A125A speaker, which is somewhat less efficient and reduces the volume a bit more than it might be otherwise, and has tone to die for.

This combination just kills.

And keep in mind that if you get the Microbaby, get the open chassis version. It's less expensive and makes it very convenient to swap tubes. So it's really like a number of amps in one. The default tube set is more oriented towards earlier breakup, and it provides a great Champ/Princeton type of vibe and super-vintage tones. I picked up a second set that's at the opposite end of the spectrum, and I can get great clean jazzy tones and Blackface types of tones. And there are various other tube combos you can put it in and get various other sorts of vibes.

And it also has three different modes that go from low gain and naturally compressed, to a spongier mid-gain tone, to a higher gain grunge mode. So between those and the tube possbilities, it's very flexible.

With the Weber I can get extremely nice tones at volumes reasonable enough for the apartment.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
1. American Strat with Fralin Vintage Hots
2. MicroBaby
3. Weber MiniMASS
4. A Valve Jr. cab with a Weber 12A125A speaker, which is somewhat less efficient and reduces the volume a bit more than it might be otherwise, and has tone to die for.
Hey Dean,

I use the same attenuator with my amp. (Recommended to me by Curt at Emerysound, which might be why we both have one...). I'm less crazy about the attenuator, actually, it really robs a lot of tone, even for just plunking around.

Curious what your alternate tubeset is to get the "blackface" sounds...
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I actually find that the attenuator can be used to my advantage, for recording purposes anyway. So often there's way too much high end for recording and it ends up getting rolled off anyway. The attenuator pulls some of that out, which is often not a bad thing. So I've been finding that I can often get nicer recording tones with it, but maybe that's just me. Since I'm in a situation where I can't crank it up, that's just the way I use it, so all my tone searching is in that context.

So maybe because of that I've just found those good tones in the same way someone would without it, because that's the chain they've got so that's what they explore to find those tones. I dunno. Then again, I'll generally going for a nice vintage sound, not a modern super-crunchy high endy sound. I find myself rolling off the high end of just about everything, and I'm 45 so I figure it's probably actually more high endy than I'm really hearing, if anything.

I'm not tube fetishist, but as I understand it, the default tube set pushes the pre-amp circuit the most and the power amp the least, so you get earlier breakup and around 1 watt output. If you go the opposite direction, then it's pushing the pre-amp the least and the power amp the hardest for around a 2 watt output, and more head room.

So the stock setup is: 12AX7, 6G6, 6X5
A pretty direct opposite of that is: 12AU7, 6V6, 6AX5

So I got that second set as well. You can put various other types of tubes in it as well, but I've not tried others yet. With that second set in, and the Fralins in the first or second pickup position, it gives me a pretty dang nice Blackface sort of vibe, with that clean but dirty grinding tone. Maybe not exactly the same, I don't have one here to compare against, but close enough for my needs. It might not be quite as 'hard' sounding, but that's probably not a bad thing for recording purposes.


Oh, and our differences may have something to do with the pickups and speaker as well. I was unhappy with the Fralins at first (still using the Epi Eminence speaker.) When I got the Weber speaker, I went back and tried the Fralins again and they just kill in that configuration now. So maybe your particular pickup/speaker combination is less happy with the attenuator than mine, I dunno.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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I was thinking your pickups are probably a lot brighter than mine, from the sound of it. (And the fact they have the word "Hot" in the name...). My early 70's strat has what I consider pretty mellow-sounding stock pickups. With the EQ turned off just running straight into the amp it's definitely not too bright for recording, so when I use the attenuator it loses the sparkle and sounds muted to me. (Also I usually use the neck pickup which is of course darker than someone who records with the bridge position... but even my bridge pickup isn't really piercing the way I've heard some Strats).

I've got the Emery 10" cab. I think it also isn't particularly bright; kind of neutral or mid-rangey. (I haven't ever used it with another amp, though, so it's hard to say.) Finally I don't like playing with brand new strings (too bright). So if you look at my setup pretty much everything is kind of not-too-bright... then the attenuator comes along and turns it all to mush. I still use it sometimes, though, in the right circumstances. (Because sometimes the song just calls for mush, you know).
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If your Emery cab comes the Blue Pup, I think that's a pretty aggressive speaker, right? I don't think that the Vintage Hots are particularly bright. They definitely aren't compared to modern stock Strat pups.

One thing I often do is keep the guitar volume down a bit, around the 5 to 7 range, and crank the amp. The harder you push the input to this kind of amp, it seems to me, the more mids and lower mids you get. Lowering the volume on the guitar thins the sound out. And I have the pickups fairly low as well, going more for tone than output level, and that probably thins it out even more. And I also keep the low end of the pickups a little lower than some might, which probably thins it out also. And the Weber speaker I have is tight on the low end as well.

I do often play on the kneck pickup, which sounds great. I only mentioned the 1/2 position above in terms of trying to get a Blackface'ish type of sound. I got the baseplate option on my bridge pickup which actually makes it heavier than Strats generally are there. And I don't change strings too often either, since I'm po' and only use it for recording so it's not being played hours a night or anything.

So I tend to do something like, Strat on 6 or 7, Microbaby volume up quite high, so that I'm pushing the power tube hard and adjusting breakup with my guitar volume, the tone from 10 o'clock to 3 o'clock according to what I'm trying to do, the attenuator down in the 1 to 4 range, and with the +3 or +6 treble boost on the attenuator as needed.

For me, that makes for an amazingly nice sort of tone, great for recording. Makes my big toe shoot up into my boot, as Little Richard would say. It's not overly bright or overly heavy, though if close mic'ing as usual I'll roll off some lows. Definitely not mushy, at least not to me. But I'm going for a vintage sort of vibe, so what I consider not mushy might be to you if you are really wanting something like a Marshall or Vox or something.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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I like Fender amps. I find most Marshalls and Voxes so bright they take your head off. I'd like to get a second cabinet for my Microbaby with a more Fender-ish speaker in it. Maybe a 12" like a Deluxe Reverb. It's on my to-do list. Not really sure what speaker to get, though. (Weber offers so many, it boggles the mind).
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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2 Reviews written
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The one I got (the number was posted above) sounds great with the Microbaby, and it's supposed to have a 60's Fender type tone. It's only $105, so it's not an enormous investment if you want to give it a go. It certainly made a huge difference for me.

As I mentioned above, I got the new faceplate with the Fralins, and went through a lot of effort to get it, because it got delayed and was a month getting to me. After all that, I didn't really like them (this was before the new speaker.) And after spending $350 and waiting a month, I really wanted to like them. But, exactly like you are saying, it sounded like mud.

So I went through all the trouble of switching back to the original electronics. But after getting the new speaker I decided to try again and it's most excellent. So the new speaker definitely did something. It was just a much better match for the Fralin pickup sound.

Hopefully in another week or so I'll have my first new piece that I've done with this setup. I'll post it so people can hear at least one full bore example. It's so hard to find any real examples out there of the Microbaby that are not horrible quality Youtube (and only a few of those) or a few standalone single tracks here or there.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Cool. Thanks for the lead on the speaker. I may get one later this spring. I'll keep an eye open for your tune.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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Anyone tried the Emery 1x12" (open ??) mahagony cab?

I might eventually get a Microbaby too, but IΒ΄ve got no clue what to add cab-wise for it??

(was rather thinking of a Bluesbreaker style 2x12", 1x Tonetubby + 1 Celestion/Weber Gold or a G12H30)
serving double duty for another JMP45 or similar KT66 style amp later!



already have a nice open back 10" Princeton

anyone tried the Emery Sound Cab?
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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I did quite a lot of poking around before I bought, and only found a few comments on the cab out there. Of course there aren't that many comments on the amp either. There's a strange lack of commentary on it, given how nice it is. Though, what you do find is usually very complementary. At first I thought they must be planted, because they were so few and so gushing. But, now of course I'm one of those gushers.

I can only comment on what I have, which was pretty inexpensive. I had a Valve Jr cab and replaced it with a Weber speaker. So, even including the speaker which I've effectvely tossed out, it was only $250 all told and it sounds great. So definitely you don't have to spend a lot. Definitely consider some Weber speakers. He really seems to put tone first.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A much earlier thread testing the mad scientist kit with the Superbaby
resulted in the most likeable tones coming from the use of a 6550 in the power
section for added clean headroom.

The Microbaby is cool for ultra low lead work, but recordable bang for buck, I'd go for the
Superbaby.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
I did quite a lot of poking around before I bought, and only found a few comments on the cab out there. Of course there aren't that many comments on the amp either. There's a strange lack of commentary on it, given how nice it is. Though, what you do find is usually very complementary. At first I thought they must be planted, because they were so few and so gushing. But, now of course I'm one of those gushers.

I can only comment on what I have, which was pretty inexpensive. I had a Valve Jr cab and replaced it with a Weber speaker. So, even including the speaker which I've effectvely tossed out, it was only $250 all told and it sounds great. So definitely you don't have to spend a lot. Definitely consider some Weber speakers. He really seems to put tone first.
i use the emery 10 cab with my micro. it has a low efficiency p10R jensen speaker in it and sounds very nice.

for whatever reason this is a very DIRECTIONAL cab. meaning that i get really great sound right in front of the speaker but if you go to far away/off center the tone becomes diffuse and muddy in a way that seems slightly different from the average cab. either way...works great for recording...but for the price it is worth researching/comparing, etc.

i would also like to try my micro with some other cabs just to see the difference...but since i only use this amp for recording i have not had the motivation.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Thanks Dean for the detailed response!!

IΒ΄ll take a closer look at the webers for sure....




Anyone else actually bought the EMERY cab ??
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
A much earlier thread testing the mad scientist kit with the Superbaby resulted in the most likeable tones coming from the use of a 6550 in the power section for added clean headroom.

The Microbaby is cool for ultra low lead work, but recordable bang for buck, I'd go for the
Superbaby.
I would have to cast a dissenting vote on that, at least as a blanket rule. For recording in an apartment, which many of us do, then the Microbaby is way more appropriate. It has more than enough clean headroom for low volume recording that folks like me would be doing.

If you are in a larger studio, then yeh, the Superbaby might be better if you want to fill up a larger room and volume isn't an issue. But I can get quite clean tones even with the standard tube set on the Microbaby, at volumes that are more than loud enough for recording in my situation, i.e. I still end up attenuating it somewhat.

A lot of it is how you use your guitar's volume and tone controls with an amp like this. Bring down the guitar's volume low, and don't push the pre-amp very hard at all, and it'll get lighter and lighter sounding. The harder you push the pre-amp, the more mid-rangey and thick it'll get. With the alternate set of tubes I got, it's got way more clean head room than I could ever use in my apartment unattenuated.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude ➑️
Thanks Dean for the detailed response!!

IΒ΄ll take a closer look at the webers for sure.... Anyone else actually bought the EMERY cab ??
BTW, the Blue Pup/Blue Dog speakers in his cabs are Weber speakers as well. I think that they are more in the Vox'y sort of vein, i.e. chimey and aggressive and loud. So that was the opposite of what I needed in my situation, but could be just what the doctor ordered for someone else. They are I think the most expensive speakers Weber sells.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I mostly lean towards the Superbaby because it's more versatile and I'm fortunate
not to have any volume restrictions, but I can understand your point of view too.

Can't imagine trying to be productive in a situation where I had to worry about
neighbors when that stroke of brilliance can't wait.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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relaxo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You all were very helpful with my decision to buy a MicroBaby, which I ordered yesterday.

Now, MicroBabiers, what are your all time favorite tube combo's, clean dirty or otherwise?

Also, most of my rock clients ask for the Zep/Who/Purple/Hendrix/Sabbath sound..what tubes to try for that?

Thanks again for all your help!
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by relaxo ➑️
You all were very helpful with my decision to buy a MicroBaby, which I ordered yesterday.

Now, MicroBabiers, what are your all time favorite tube combo's, clean dirty or otherwise?

Also, most of my rock clients ask for the Zep/Who/Purple/Hendrix/Sabbath sound..what tubes to try for that?

Thanks again for all your help!
i would ask curt about that.

maybe the el84 in the power section?

i still like the stock set best over all...rich very quiet clean....or total freak out overdrive if you dime it.

it is worth your while to really explore different speakers and cabs and see what that gets you. different levels of size and efficiency will have a pretty dramatic effect with such a small amp. it is also advisable to get the cab way up off the floor and close to ear level so you can really clarify what is coming out. sounds obvious....but with this particular amp....this is how I have personally gotten the tones i like best out of it.

i would also avoid an attenuator whenever possible. that is kind of the point of a 1-2 watt amp anyway....tell your neighbors to chill (at least during daylight hours).

enjoy!
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
i would also avoid an attenuator whenever possible. that is kind of the point of a 1-2 watt amp anyway....tell your neighbors to chill (at least during daylight hours).
That's just not possible for most folks in an apartment. 1 or 2 watts is LOUD when cranked all the way up.

But yeh, the default tube set is great for classic rock type tones. I also want to get one of those Yellow Jacket guys so I can try an EL84 and see what it sounds like. But those things cost more than good tube sets, so I'm waiting till I can blow the bucks.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey ➑️
That's just not possible for most folks in an apartment. 1 or 2 watts is LOUD when cranked all the way up.

But yeh, the default tube set is great for classic rock type tones. I also want to get one of those Yellow Jacket guys so I can try an EL84 and see what it sounds like. But those things cost more than good tube sets, so I'm waiting till I can blow the bucks.
i live in an apartment....i use the microbaby a LOT in here with no problem.

granted...i don't have it dimed most of the time....but i make sure it is off the floor and away from the wall....and after 2 years....no problems.

point being that i can get the amp turned up to a nice healthy level and have not had any problems so far as long as it is not early in the morning or late at night.

guess it depends on your neighbors as well as the thickness of the walls....and how much the effect of the attenuator bothers you.

my yellowjacket adapter came with the experimentation set from emery.
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