16 Mar Let There Be VEGAs: the Quest formally begins.
here they are to us (these three later Cetec-Vega Diversity units). “Us”, I would say, as I hope you’ll follow this one closely with me, as you have always.
These wireless, Cetec-Vega Diversity units here were intended mostly for microphone transmission (levalier), not guitar. In order to try and match what I think is closer to the original Schaffer-Vega Diversity Units (which is the core of this project), they will have to be modified (mainly and hopefully, the input jack type – see pictures – and a few components on the transmitter only).
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They have arrived just now, three complete units (One receiver and one transmitter per complete system). In short, the following are my facts and hypothesis (both of which took me years to put together) from which I am officially starting my quest:
1) Angus Young began using a wireless system back in 1977 (documented). This system was called the “Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS)” and it was a “bulky unit” (not my definition) made of a receiver and transmitter, very much alike the ones you’re looking at now.
Angus Young DID use said unit’s “Volume Boost” (to literally clean-boost the signal inside the amplifier’s input, thus overdriving his amplifiers) extensively from the very first moment he had the unit to probably the moment he quit using it (still unknown). He did mention this aspect of the SVDS system himself, in more than one occasion. He likely did use different boost settings on both live performances and in the studio. I am convinced that this boost type greatly altered Angus Young’s guitar tone and even influenced further his style of playing (my presumption), both for the unit’s sonic qualities and for its wireless capabilities. A built in compressor is also in place because of wireless communication needs of the era (mid to late 1970s). The compressor was built in in the transmitter box. I say again, I am more and more convinced that Its sonic characteristics altered both Angus’ playing and sound.
2) While an original Schaffer-Vega Diversity can’t be found at the moment of this writing (March 2011), it seems (to me) that CETEC bought Vega shortly thereafter, probably keeping the production of these units unaltered for a few more years (hope/personal hypothesis)
3) Given the scope of this project – reproduce Angus Young’s exact tone of those very years using the same gear, in order to create a definitive reference point for all interested rockers from now on – a proper boost and compressor have to be found.
While many of us including me are succesfully using several boost types, it may be possible to open one or more of such units and try to re-create the volume boost circuit and compressor specifications. This is also a core part of this experiment/project.
Experiments will in fact be made in several fields:
– transform the transmitters from mic to guitar input and
– use wirelessly at least one of these units – transmitter/receiver to study also the wireless component of the frequencies
– use the unit non-wirelessly
– reproduce (attempt) the unit’s volume boost and built in compressor to build a repro box available on the market sold by me (studies on copyrights will be needed again). SoloDallas.net members will be first.
Here’s all the truth, as always, from me.
You can now consider the quest for tone as realistic as ever. It’s started!
Please note: as you probably noticed, instead of choosing the path of keeping all of this hush hush, study everyting, make a product and come out with it to sell, I chose always to be very vocal about this, openly. These units – the Cetec-Vegas; the original Schaffer-Vegas are instead super rare and likely, more than collector items – can be found easily on eBay and other sources, they’re no rarity as the Schaffer-Vegas and they’re not expensive at all (I bought all the three for USD 199).
I want to make it very clear that my scope here – as always – is almost scientific, and so it is in my chosen methodology, too: it’s open. You can purchase your own unit, study it, modify it and then choose to make something for us to purchase. There will be no competition from me. I don’t do it for the money, although financial benefit from this would be indeed pleasurable, as having money is always nicer than not having money. Money helps. But this is open. You can talk about it, do your own experiments, anything. Actually, I encourage you to do so, too: if anyone of you or anyone else came out with a replication boost to get Angus tone – the part related to gear, not the style bits – I would surely buy one immediately. Just to be extremely clear as always.
I love this place. Our solodallas.com. In a world that seems to have lost its ethics, solodallas.com is already different and MUST remain as such.
Further note: please notice that this study has progressed extensively over time; you can now reference a lot more information by clicking on the related posts tab below and by clicking Schaffer Vega Diversity System. Thank you.