04 Jul The Schaffer-Vega Diversity System: The Original 1977 Unit (Updated)
Another smaller but important update on the SVDS. I was able to exchange emails again with Mr. Schaffer during my Italian sleep-less night (majorly jet legged here, and so Mr. Schaffer having come back from Russia where he met his long time friend Sting of which he sent me a few pictures) and he confirmed me the following:
From what I remember (I promised: very dodgy) there was no switch per se.. . the XLR is the clean way out… the front panel “monitor” was never meant to be in line… but a lot (most?) guys used the monitor output, I guess sometimes to overdrive the front end of the amp (which the XLR output would not do).
You know – you can design something with one thing in mind, but once it gets out to the user, it can turn into a whole new ballgame. Just like writing a song – once it’s out there, the writer has like nothing to say about it !
So… I was wrong! I was right initially, and wrong afterwards. All these months I have basically thought that the “right” output on the Cetec-Vegas was the back one; not so.
It was the front one (just as Angus had in fact confirmed on the interview I posted here several times!), in an attempt to really simulate the originals (which I still presume are very similar sounding if not identical) that has to be used.
This is also good news for all of us wanting the replica, since the front boost is easier to replicate.
So I will say this again: in order to simulate Angus’ tone on all the records we now know the Vega was used, it is the front output the one to choose when having to boost the amp (it is also entirely possibile that he didn’t always boost the amp, choosing the rear output where the compression would still be present). Also, keep in mind that this output – contrarily to the back one – has a volume knob that allows to decide for the proper amount of boost to use. It still works in conjunction with the compressor naturally.
I have dedicated all morning to trying this feature and I am very satisfied by the quality of the tone. It IS different from the rear output.
My original SVDS’s are still in the lab and Guido Borghesani is about to open them and study them.
Stay tuned, more later or tomorrow.
Your tone investigator,
Update as of the 4th of July (Happy Independence Day, Americans!).
Dear Friends, I am now back in Italy after a month in the US of A (loved it!).
Tomorrow, tuesday the 5th, all the SVDS units (two of them working with matching TX/RX, two unmatched) will go to the laboratory (Mr. Borghesani’s) for revision and set up.
After two days probably, I could/should have them back here for… playing.
While I am obviously in anxious wait, it is a due thing to make sure they work properly.
Stay tuned, I hope good/great things will come out of this.
Update: please scroll down to the bottom to see internals of one unit.
Ladies & Gentleman,
I am proudly presenting to you, from San Diego, California, an original, 1977 Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (for guitar).
This unit – according to Mr. Ken Schaffer in person, who sold me directly 4 units, his last four – is the exact same one that Angus Young got in August 1977.
Exclusively for you, solodallas.com members, the first pictures of the unit, sitting in our San Diego house.
The units were received exactly minutes ago, unpacked and photographed for you.
I have no means yet to try them and additionally, the power cables are missing (and I’ll have to find appropriate ones, since these are using the older style 3 pins). All minor “issues”.
Also, please note that also these units sported the LEMO connectors. This is how the units shipped, according to Mr. Schaffer.
A few images of one of the units and its transmitter (X10).
Upon looking at it – and without manual yet (Mr. Schaffer is looking for one for me) – it is similar in certain aspects (front) but quite different on the back panel. Fascinating, I’d say. There doesn’t seem to be a boost setting on the back, so I’ll have to find out/ask how this was operated.
What you can see on the back is several things:
top left, additional ACC power supply (as on the CETEC Vega; for battery pack).
Top right, rear ouput jack (XLR, as on the Cetec Vega)
Bottom left: fuse
Bottom right: power cord (older type).
seemingly a 1/4 jack of some sort, unknown use at this time. Update: it’s not a jack. It seems to be a “hole” with a screw inside it. It may be the boost trim.
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