Keith's Magica Rig
Take the knobs for a spin
When you receive your new RedPlate Amp, it is highly recommended that you spend some time with the amp and get to know what all the controls and switches do.
Tone controls are self-explanatory, but, the volume for each channel, gains in some channels, and levels in some channels all interact and change the sound of your amp. For example, on an amp that has cascading channels, like a BlackVerb or BluesMachine, the level that you set the first volume of the clean channel dictates how the entire amp will sound. If the volume control is too low, there will never be enough signal at the drive channel to get any gain out of the amp. We highly recommend you start with the first volume around 10-12 o'clock on a BlackVerb and 12-1 o'clock on the gain and volume of the clean channel on a BluesMachine.
On an amp like the BlackLine, the clean and lead channels are separate, but the lead channel is still a cascaded channel from an internal circuit feeding the drive section. The gain, drive, and level controls all interact giving different tonal characteristics to the drive section. Gain is basically the amount of guitar signal getting in to the lead channel. If you run gain and drive high and level low, the sound will be very "fusionesque" with a smooth drive and lots of compression. If you back off the gain and drive to about noon and bring the level up to 10-12 o'clock, the drive channel will "open up" and be more dynamic with less compression.
So, give the knobs a spin, and try different settings. There is A LOT of tone in a RedPlate Amp!
We are often asked if RedPlate Amps can be built for use outside of the USA. The answer is absolutely! Whatever your voltage requirements, we can meet those specifications at the time of the build. Be sure to give us the information when we contact you after your deposit is paid.
What can I add to my RedPlate??
We are often asked about customizing an amp when it is ordered. Here are some of the most popular options.
Effects Loops Add Options
RedPlate tube-buffered serial effects loops are on all of our current amps with a master volume. The effects loop is probably the most underutilized part of the amp and may be misunderstood. Yes, it is the best place to put your time-based effects like chorus, delay and reverb, but there are other things that can be done with the effects loop:
Changing the Mids on a Magica
On all Magica amps built since the third quarter of 2016, a mini two position switch has been placed near the back of the amp between the two tubes furthermost to the right. The switch points down towards the bottom of the cabinet. This may not be the most convenient location for the switch, but it is the shortest distance for the signal and does not create any unneeded noise.
When the switch is pushed toward the front panel, it is in "M" mode and when it is pushed toward the back of the amp, it is in "D" mode. The difference is "D" favors lower mids and "M" favors upper mids. This only effects the overdrive channel(s).
There might be a little pop when the amp is on and the toggle is switched, but is is safe to use when the amp is on so you can experience the difference for yourself.
Caring for your RedPlate
Caring for your RedPlate is simple. There are really two kinds of owners: those who want their amp to look new for as long as possible and those who prefer to let their amp show its use as it ages. If you like the aged look, you can skip the first paragraph below.
To keep your RedPlate looking new for as long as you can, regular cleaning can help. We recommend a soft microfiber cloth, Sprayway (or other ammonia free product) and WD40. The Sprayway can be used to clean all parts of the amp from the panels to the covering, just remember to always put the product on the cloth and then apply to the amp. If you have a tolex covered amp and want it to shine, put one part WD40 and two parts Sprayway on a microfiber cloth and wipe down all of the tolex areas. Do not apply WD40 to the panels or chassis. If you have a raw tweed covered amp, a quick vacuum using the brush attachment that comes with any household vacuum is your best bet. If you spill or stain the tweed, you can try Sprayway or a lightly damp cloth to blot at the stain, but do not use WD40.
If you gig regularly or travel with your RedPlate on a consistent basis, we suggest checking the bias on your amp monthly. Obviously, you will need to use your judgement based on your usage. For an amp in a studio or home setting that is not moved frequently, checking bias quarterly should be enough.
Should the tone of your amp begin to sound dull or have more unwanted noise than normal, it may be time to replace the tubes. We do sell replacement tubes here at the shop, but there are plenty of online retailers who do as well.
When the amp is not in use, we recommend a custom cover to help fight dust, accidental damage and spills. The folks at Studio Slips make great covers, fitted to your RedPlate that feature the RedPlate logo on the face of the cover. A great way to protect your investment.
We handcraft RedPlate amps to last a lifetime, and with a little care, your amp should be a lifelong partner in tone!
Here are some simple directions on to accomplish this task.
Using a multi-meter, preferably a digital unit, set the meter to DCmV (the 200 range, if you have to choose on your model).
Turn on the amp, turn down the master volume, and take it out of standby and place into operate mode.
Let the amp run for a few minutes. Take the red lead of your meter and place it in the red tip jack on the back of the amp. Place the black lead on a screw head on the amp. We like to use one of the four screws that hold the amp in the cabinet as those screws go to the chassis ground. Check your bias reading and adjust with a small flat blade screwdriver in the adjustment potentiometer on the back panel next to the tip jack.
For 6L6 amps, 76mV should be on target. For EL34 amps, 60mV should be on target.
Put your tools away, crack open a cold one and enjoy the sound of your amp. Remember to check bias periodlically as the tubes “break-in” and wear.
Why hand-wired amps?
What makes hand-wired amps different than those with circuit boards? Not having trace circuits allows us to install tone in the amp at the bench. We can tweak and fine tune the sound as we go, or if need be, we can easily change parts without destroying the board or the wires. Hand drilled eyelets allow us to use full-size capacitors and resistors that add depth of tone with which circuit boards cannot compete. The point to point wiring affords some wires to stay away from one another while allowing proximity to others enhancing the sound resulting in Amps That Sing!
We snapped a few quick shots of boards yesterday while they were being cut and again today while they were being wired to show you their individuality and (we think) beauty.
Hints from RedPlate
Over the years, we've had questions that repeat. We hope to use this section to address as many questions as possible and generally share the love for RedPlate Amps.