Author Topic: New Aion L5 Preamp  (Read 1204 times)

gordo

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New Aion L5 Preamp
« on: August 25, 2023, 09:46:34 PM »
Let me get out in front of this, I have an affinity for all things Lab Series.  To shorten my backstory: In the 70's I drank the kool-aid while working at a music store as a kid but there was no way I could afford a Lab.  Ironically it was much easier to afford a Hiwatt Custom (with sequential preamps) than Norlin's (Lab/Moog/Gibson) top shelf amp.  So that's what I had.  Jeez I wish I still had that amp.

Fast forward to the Nashville floods and I rebuilt an L5 that was destroyed but only the cabinet and speakers.  I transplanted the chassis to a head cabinet.  It became my mainstay for years thru either a Marshall 4x12 or Orange 12.  Glorious amp but not very flexible.

Kevin (Aion) released the L5 as a dead on recreation of the preamp but it needed a 12vAC supply and was finicky about it as well.  In my case a Yamaha supply worked well.  The next gen was a separate build for Channel 1 (often referred to as the Clean channel) and Channel 2 (the drive channel with all the goodies).  Both featured an onboard power module that was expensive but took a clean 9v feed and did it's magic in a similar clean way.  Superb.

This version goes back to the drawing board by eliminating a few nuances/annoyances.  Both channels are back under the hood with a footswitch to select them.  Both channels fall under the same compression circuit.  This is often misunderstood by guitar player compressor peeps in that in the original it compress's the overall output.  So a 100 watt head could be reigned in to be tolerable in a small bar by simply turning DOWN the compressor knob (zero being the lowest output - full CW being no compression).  In Kevin's pedal this allows you to simulate the amp sag that the original would display and also level out the volume differences between a clean CH1 setting and and overdriven CH2 setting.  Or vice versa if that's the way you set it up.  Reread this, because it is one of the most confusing aspects of using a Lab.

When Ty Tabor (King's X) had his Labs torn apart and redone as preamps to feed a power amp the compression circuit became useless by the nature of the circuit itself.  He got all his compression by pummeling the power amp.

And when BB King used his, he dimed the Master, used no compression and gawd help the folks in the beam of those 2x12's.  Seriously killing sound though.  The last time I saw him I had my choice of seats (snowed out Atlantic City casino show with only a handful of audience) and had to move over a handful of seats just to get his sound man's perspective.

I'm getting long winded and I'll wrap this up.

Here's the photos.  Nothing too crazy here.  I cleaned up the footswitch flux to be like my hero Thewintersoldier (geebuz those are clean builds) but left everything else as ratty as my normal stuff.  The enclosure is a gold sparkle enclosure from somebody (I'll edit this) with waterslide.  I didn't get too crazy as I knew this was going to be for my eyes only.  It was a lumpy powdercoat so I kept the detail to a minimum.









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gordo

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2023, 10:10:25 PM »
My overall goal, and if I can get the third pic graphic corrected, is to change my live pedal board from it's current state:
Line6 Wireless>Polytune>PedalPCB 6band EQ (tweaked to Exactone specs)>MBP Trash Compactor>Peavey 6505Mh>Line6 MM4>TCElectronics Nova Delay>PedalPCB Deflector

To:
Line6 Wireless>Polytune>>MBP Trash Compactor>Aion L5>TCElectronics Impulse>Line6 MM4>TCElectronics Nova Delay>PedalPCB Deflector
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jjjimi84

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2023, 08:27:33 AM »
This is a beautiful build! Were you ever able to locate a reliable 12v power source?

Also, a photo of this magic portable board is in order

Thewintersoldier

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2023, 10:03:43 AM »
Damn Gordo, I'm not the biggest fan of the lab series stuff but that's an impressive build bone the less. And clean too. Nice shout-out on the cleanliness but it's like Billy Corgan said-"Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness
And cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty
Just like me" lol fantastic build either way!
Who the hell is Bucky?

jessenator

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2023, 12:51:05 PM »
Gold is gold! I'm a sucker for sparkle anything

Bio77

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2023, 07:48:01 PM »
Looks awesome, Gordo  8)  I'm confused, this one runs on 9V?

aion

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2023, 12:39:04 PM »
Looks awesome, Gordo  8)  I'm confused, this one runs on 9V?

This one runs on standard 9VDC. The original one from 2016 was 9VAC, though it probably could handle 12VAC if it's what you had available.

gordo

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2023, 06:13:50 PM »
Thanks for piping up Kevin.  I stand corrected, I used the Voodoo Labs AC supply to drive the original version.  I think I was a tad nervous about the Yamaha if I recall.
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gordo

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2023, 04:25:38 PM »
Dammit, no fault to the pedal but as killer as it sounded on my rig at home, and is now my default recording rig, it just didn't punch like the Peavey does live.  I'm back where I started and for most people would be happy that they've achieved nirvana.  I have but never lost sight of greener grass.  I should be happy with how far I've come.

So to recap:  Yamaha RGX-TT -> Line-6 G30 wireless (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) -> TCElectronics Polytune mini (2 or 3, not sure) -> MB Trash Compactor -> Line6 MM4 -> Effects loop in Peavey 6505mh -> TCElectronics Nova Delay -> PedalPCB Deflector -> Effects loop out Peavey 6505mh -> Direct out (XLR, cab sim).
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nzCdog

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2023, 04:56:27 PM »
Looks killer Gordo 8)

gordo

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2023, 05:09:29 PM »
On the other hand the L4 preamp is now my default bass rig.  I played bass last weekend and had it into a DI with a Small Clone clone out in front and when I hit the first note I about wet my pants.
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aion

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2023, 07:02:35 PM »
On the other hand the L4 preamp is now my default bass rig.  I played bass last weekend and had it into a DI with a Small Clone clone out in front and when I hit the first note I about wet my pants.

I've never considered taking out a full-page ad in a magazine before, but with a quote like that, you might be forcing my hand!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2023, 10:28:47 AM by aion »

gordo

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Re: New Aion L5 Preamp
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2023, 08:22:50 PM »
Ha!  Our rehearsals are 7:00am so keep the coffee intake in mind as well.  Seriously though this thing with my MIM jazz is just stupid good and for being a pretty mediocre bass player I get a tone that keeps me smiling the whole set.  One of the tunes needed an 80ís Journey Ross Vallory sound and this combo nailed it.
Gordy Power
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