Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DHA: A sound so sweet

One really cool thing about spending time in the studio environment is the great gear talk to gets thrown around from player to player. This was how I came to discover David Hall Amps, I don't remember exactly who it was that tuned me on to them but I never forgot the gear itself. From the website alone you could see just how much attention to detail goes into DHA gear. DHA is responsible for some of the highest quality vacuum tube pedals, preamps, and amplifiers available today. These are true tools of rich sound and power, capable of taking your already great sounding tone and enhancing it to the next level. This is part of that elite high grade gear that stands in it's own category, gear that is capable of enhancing and complimenting anything you use it with. We'll be looking at three amazing sounding DHA pedals this month, the VT1 EQ Bass, VT1 EQ Guitar, and VT1 EQ Acoustic. By the end of these three gear demos I was not only highly impressed and satisfied, but able to see a whole new level of guitar pedal design and build. Come one, come all, and get your fix of pure uncut tone.

In this review we'll be taking on the mighty mighty VT1-EQ Guitar pedal. We took this pedal and put it through just about every setup we could think of. Solid state amp, tube amp, low wattage amp, and in-front and behind other pedals. The outcome was just what I thought it would be, spot on.

VT1-EQ Guitar
valvetone series pedals

 * Single 12AX7 - ECC83 tube powered overdrive
 * Blue backlight LED visible via tube vents
 * True bypass 
 * Balanced DI out w/Level
 * 3.5 mm Stereo Line Output/Headphone Amp w/volume control
 * 3.5 mm Line Input (include iPod/MP3 player music to headphone amp for practice play)
 * Gain & Volume controls for incredible volume control
 * Color Switch/adds negative feedback to circuit for more gain and compression
 * Boost Switch/adds clean output volume to tube signal using low-noise op-amp
 * 3 Channel active EQ - Treble/Mid/Bass - w/Midrange Q control i/p Pad control
 * Audiophile quality (12 volt DC, 30 watt, 2.5 amps)

There's nothing so sweet like pure tube tone. Don't get me wrong there has been some decent solid state amps out there, but when it comes to smooth, gritty overdrive tone nothing beats the tube. David Hall Amps products have been steadily rocking the UK and Europe for the past several years, and now thanks to John Rosato they are available here in the US. When John first got his taste of these amazing devices was when he knew he had to do something about making these killer products easily available to players in the states. I tell you, I was blessed to have come across such awesome pedals. The VT1-EQ Guitar pedal is part of DHA's ValveTone Series Pedals. These pedals are built using 12AX7 (ECC83) preamp vacuum tubes for achieving the ultimate in tube tone heaven. The series ranges from electric guitar, bass, and acoustic style pedals. These pedals run off of the standard 2.1mm socket for power input. There is an internal switch mode power supply which generates the 24V Plate voltage. This is so the tubes run at their best which keeps the pedal operating at the highest quality. We first set the VT-1 EQG through a Fender Deville 4x10 amplifier, being that the certain Deville I own has some pretty impressive tone mods I figured I wouldn't be able to hear all that much difference...boy was I wrong. First I used the pedal's clean op-amp booster to define, brighten , and enhance my root guitar tone. By introducing the Gain little by little I was able to find the exact rhythm tone I needed. I was also able to get some insanely cool low volume dirt tones by setting my amp at a low level and thumping the VT-1 to cook and fry. The warmth and richness that was already coming from my amp only got better, stronger, thicker, and sweeter. The sustain from this pedal is beyond impressive, dig and hold on to your notes for as long as you wish. We also set VT-1 EQG behind some basic boosters. We set our rhythm tone and threw a booster into it to see what kind of lead tones we could get...oh baby baby. Ride the volume on your guitar and you have every sound you need to get through a gig. There's another fun little trick this pedal can do, and that's produce some great fuzz tones. By adding in the Color Switch you introduce negative feedback into the circuit which makes for killer gritty overtones of fuzz. This isn't even the beginning. The balanced DI out has it's own Level control for recording, live situations, or anything else you can think. We mixed some mic'd and DI tracks together and got some of the fattest guitar tracks ever. Play through active or high output pickups? No problem. The i/p Pad control will help you level out any volume you need to get just the right sound. The real test with this baby was when we plugged in a old Fender solid state amp that we have around the studio for layering guitar tracks.  The difference between playing the VT-1 EQ Guitar pedal through the amp vs not using it was like day and night. Getting vintage tube amp tones through a solid state amp is enough to impress anyone. The reason for this is the VT Series pedals act like high gain tube pre-amps when combined with solid state amplifiers. The VT-1 Series pedals also work great with other tubes. Use the standard 12AX7 tubes for more high gain setting and tubes like the 12AU7 for low gain and compression. The possibilities are endless with these pedals. They make for a great investment, work great for studio use, gigging, and will brighten up anything you throw at it. I highly suggest you go out and get your hands on one of these amazing pieces of gear, your setup will love you for it.

For more info on DHA USA go to or click the DHA logo in our links. Remember we will be featuring two more of the VT Series pedals so make sure to stop by and get your fix. Get some!!!



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