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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:42 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:04 pm
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Did a test recently with the Mark III and Mark V, interestingly to my ear the III sounds closer to the IIc+ than the V that features the same preamp circuit as the c+ (supposedly).

The biggest difference seems to be that the V has more mids, it's more articulate than the III but can't achieve the same level of scoop to really hone in on the Master of Puppets tone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpuoW-_s9KQ


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:39 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:38 am
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Location: Western Colorado
There's a reason that the IIC+ is 3-4x the cost of a III, IV, V etc..

Having owned or played all Marks but the V, if you can't swing a IIC or C+, the next best thing is a IIB with Mike's loop mod. After that a III, maybe black w/ the 105 or red. Not blue, way too bright. The IV & newer all lose that organic 80s vibe.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:15 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:35 am
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"..if you can't swing a IIC or C+, the next best thing is a IIB with Mike's loop mod."

Yes, and I'd also particularly put forward the Coli IIB - part of the mojo is from the PI, which I think is unique to the II series Colis. My two are also converted to 240V, using the pre-existing taps on the transformer, and giving up to 212W on full using a sextet of Sylvanias.

Using an active line-level device with volume in the loop as an overall master, they're pretty good at manageable volumes too.

"After that a III, maybe black w/ the 105 or red. Not blue, way too bright. The IV & newer all lose that organic 80s vibe."

Yes, I'd agree with this too: I sold my Blue Stripes, and bought a Black X/Dot with an Export transformer. It's surprisingly close to the IIC+ for such a cheap amp.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:37 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:38 am
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Location: Western Colorado
I know a guy with a IIB SR and a IIB Coli. http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=73808

Other than the "bigness" from the extra tubes, at roughly the same rehearsal volume honestly they sounded damn near the same to me. As a IIC++ owner I'm having a hard time not picking up a IIB.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:20 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:35 am
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GJgo wrote:
I know a guy with a IIB SR and a IIB Coli. http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=73808

Other than the "bigness" from the extra tubes, at roughly the same rehearsal volume honestly they sounded damn near the same to me. As a IIC++ owner I'm having a hard time not picking up a IIB.


Did the Coli you compared to a 100W have the loop mod, and a 12AX7 instead of a 12AT7 in V5?

The combination of these two mods gets you a good deal of the way to IIC+ness.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:17 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:15 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Is there a Mark II Coliseum, :shock: really that would be fun! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:04 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 3:35 am
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There are probably slightly over 400 IIB and IIC Colis, and maybe as many as 420; but I've no idea how many of these have been modded to + specs, or actually came out of the factory as stock +s.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:57 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:38 am
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Location: Western Colorado
The IIB Coli was all original, the IIB SR combo had the loop mod. I don't know about the tubes. They both sounded fantastic!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:14 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:37 am
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
GJgo wrote:
There's a reason that the IIC+ is 3-4x the cost of a III, IV, V etc..

Having owned or played all Marks but the V, if you can't swing a IIC or C+, the next best thing is a IIB with Mike's loop mod. After that a III, maybe black w/ the 105 or red. Not blue, way too bright. The IV & newer all lose that organic 80s vibe.


Do the amps with the loop mod sound pretty close to the c+ then? I had a IIB without the mod (I'm assuming) and it was a very different amp when compared to the C+ I have now.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Mark III

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Closer I think based on the ones I played, but still not as 3D as a C+, and the leads still aren't as awesome. But, I think it's a little better feeling than a III. IMO.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:15 am 
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Mark I

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Yes, a loop-modded IIB can be better than even a +ed III IMO*, and the Coli particularly so. These amps vary enough that they all have their own attributes, even between two relatively close serial numbers.

Export transformers help too, I find, but I'm talking about running them at a different voltage over here than 120 (I'm in the UK/EU) so the point may be moot for US IIBs.


This was an implicit part of my point in my earlier post - comparing a regular or even a loop-modded IIB with a totally unmodded Coli** is fine so far as it goes: but an otherwise- stock Coli with a 12AX7 in the PI circuit can hang with a loop-modded IIB. It's all about the sonic gains from hijacking the buffer tube in the PI circuit, which is unique to the Coli.





[*unless you're in love with the increasing aggression as the III series progressed, in which case have at them!]
[** unless someone's already done the 12AX7-for-the-12AT7 swap, and you didn't notice that they had, of course.]

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:49 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:04 pm
Posts: 19
GJgo wrote:
There's a reason that the IIC+ is 3-4x the cost of a III, IV, V etc..

Having owned or played all Marks but the V, if you can't swing a IIC or C+, the next best thing is a IIB with Mike's loop mod. After that a III, maybe black w/ the 105 or red. Not blue, way too bright. The IV & newer all lose that organic 80s vibe.



A lot of the reason they are expensive is to do with how rare they are though (and the albums they have been used on pushing up demand), it's not like they have vastly superior components other than maybe the power transformer. In any case, I was shooting for c+ "style" tone here, not saying a Mark V/ III can sound the same. I do think I got reasonably close to the recording though so there's obviously not a world of difference once the amp is in a mix (which is mostly what I care about anyway).

I'd say your advice re IIC / IIB is accurate, they are obviously much closer build wise to the c+

The III on this recording is a blue stripe btw, I don't find it to be too bright at all as long as you dial in the presence correctly.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:38 am
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Location: Western Colorado
All Marks are going to have the same "style" tone, this is just us being nitpicky over the minutiae. First world problems. :)

IIC+ are for sale all the time on eBay / Reverb. Not super rare. Yet they still sell for a bunch of money. It's not that the components are special. It's that this amp hit a magic combination-of-parts sweet spot, and when you play it it's the most organic 3D sound you've ever FELT. You can't capture that on a recording.

Both my my blue stripes, even the one with the C30 mod, gave me pretty bad ear fatigue & I could never dial it out. The red stripe I have now is so much better in that regard. They both recorded awesome but in the room they don't have that C+ 3D feel. As a player, the feel is something you can really feed on.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:25 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:04 pm
Posts: 19
GJgo wrote:
All Marks are going to have the same "style" tone, this is just us being nitpicky over the minutiae. First world problems. :)

IIC+ are for sale all the time on eBay / Reverb. Not super rare. Yet they still sell for a bunch of money. It's not that the components are special. It's that this amp hit a magic combination-of-parts sweet spot, and when you play it it's the most organic 3D sound you've ever FELT. You can't capture that on a recording.

Both my my blue stripes, even the one with the C30 mod, gave me pretty bad ear fatigue & I could never dial it out. The red stripe I have now is so much better in that regard. They both recorded awesome but in the room they don't have that C+ 3D feel. As a player, the feel is something you can really feed on.


Interesting, I get what you're saying there.

I'd definitely be keen to track one down and see what all the fuss is about, one day haha.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:06 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:04 pm
Posts: 19
GJgo wrote:
All Marks are going to have the same "style" tone, this is just us being nitpicky over the minutiae. First world problems. :)

IIC+ are for sale all the time on eBay / Reverb. Not super rare. Yet they still sell for a bunch of money. It's not that the components are special. It's that this amp hit a magic combination-of-parts sweet spot, and when you play it it's the most organic 3D sound you've ever FELT. You can't capture that on a recording.

Both my my blue stripes, even the one with the C30 mod, gave me pretty bad ear fatigue & I could never dial it out. The red stripe I have now is so much better in that regard. They both recorded awesome but in the room they don't have that C+ 3D feel. As a player, the feel is something you can really feed on.



Just checked out your link and realised I've been watching your youtube channel content for quite a while haha, great stuff. Does your c+ have a newish headcase? Looks pretty mint condition.


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