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The Sound Of The Schaffer Vega Diversity (Back in Black)

14 Sep The Sound Of The Schaffer Vega Diversity (Back in Black)

I know… I know! But you knew that I can’t get enough of it. It’s my passion, my torment, my obsession. And the most sold album worldwide, as well.

Well., let me update you a bit about what has been going on behind the curtains recently.

I knew – directly from Mr. Schaffer – that the “Angus Young” era of the Schaffer Vega came with a Receiver AND a specific type of transmitter.

It was the X10 – naturally – but a specific type of X10. It had (has) a black knob instead of the flat screw of the later models. I really wanted THAT X10 (because I knew that that would give me the sound I was looking for).

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X10s with Black Knob

I did have it – I have three – but none of them was the matching one with any of my Schaffer receivers.

So we started (Mr. Schaffer, Mr. Borhesani and myself) hectically trying to understand how we could do the swap.

Eventually, Mr. Borghesani did the dirty deed. But – without luck – we chose two of the three black knob X10s that weren’t working. A terrible, unrecordable, unusable hiss was coming out of the amp. Couldn’t do anything with it.

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Three X10s early type, black knob.

Additionally, we knew that we had to choose one specific unit – a Receiver and one Transmitter – to copy exactly for the incoming replica. So we got down on it.

Eventually – today – we found that the third X10 with the black knob – the last of them – was the working one.

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A great match!

Ironic? I don’t know.

But now we have an original, perfectly matching and working 1977 style Schaffer Vega. 

 

Fil, is it any different to the Cetecs? Unfortunately, it is. And I say unfortunately, because this means this is a rare bird.

The moment you hook it up, it’s instant AC/DC to me (with the usual gear). There’s almost no equalization needed, not even the mild one I had been applying recently with the Cetecs.

And it is as such that I want to have you listen to it.

For the first time, in the right place and hopefully, in the right hands, my original Schaffer Vega Diversity System on AC/DC’s “Back in Black”.

(UNEQUALIZED! Just one Neumann U67 in front of the amp and UA tape emulators)

Back in Black, Schaffer Vega Diversity System

A few images of lab works following.

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Some of my Cetecs and two more spare, non matched Schaffer Vegas at the Lab

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Schaffer Vega being matched to black knob X10

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Hectic Fil playing Luca’s own 1959 Replica (terrific geetar!)

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See the many differences between an early type X10 (left) and a later, flat screw type (Cetec)

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Mr. Borghesani Matching a Black Knob X10 with Recevier

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Mr. Borghesani Matching a Black Knob X10 with Recevier

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A view of Mr. Borghesani’s desk

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Mr. Borghesani Matching a Black Knob X10 with Recevier

PS

 

Regarding the replica, you KNOW we are on the right path. The first right components have been purchased to construct the compressor and the output amplifier of the unit.

Talk soon,

 

Fil! 😀

 

PS2: Are the Cetec R42/T77 and the Schaffer Vega Diversity different, soundwise?

Yes, they are. As I said the first time I could play one – months ago – they are internally very different, use different components.

The Cetec R42s are TERRIFIC units with a superb sound. A little less “hissy” than the Schaffer Vega Diversity, but different. The Schaffer Vega is… well used on many records!!!

 

avatar
Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

77 Comments
  • avatar
    HighlanderBW
    Posted at 13:42h, 18 September

    Uhhh another German guy

    What a great sound – oh my God you did such a great job – incredible

    Bjoern – Frankfurt – Germany
    By the way your German seems almost as perfect as your AC / DC Perfomance :-)

  • avatar
    Dave4433
    Posted at 11:09h, 18 September

    Sounds terrific! All You need to do now is find and apply the correct EQ and You’re GOLD! 😀

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 11:21h, 18 September

      Dave,
      What IF I had it already down, found it, and was waiting for the next performance video(s) to unveil it? 😛

      • avatar
        Dave4433
        Posted at 15:00h, 18 September

        I’d say get those nose picking fingers picking elsewhere, with Your camera monitoring You, asap 😀

  • avatar
    madmax
    Posted at 09:42h, 18 September

    I cried of joy listening to your audio clip, you NAILED IT!!!!!!!!! You are my HERO!!!!

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:14h, 18 September

      Hahah thank you :) Yes, indeed it was and is a terrific feeling/emotion. It is for me, too. It’s all I am thinking about right now. Mind mind constantly navigates in the next videos to be done (redone): ALL of them, with the “new” sound thanks to the Schaffer Vega Diversity. I almost couldn’t express it completely to Mr. Schaffer himself, the importance of this unit. And not only for the golden era of AC/DC tone, but this was so relevant for many other bands including, Peter Frampton, Pink Floyd, Kiss, Boston, Chic, America, Steve Miller Band and so many more. To me, it is epic. Let’s see how all of this develops. Thanks again, Fil 😉

      • avatar
        diumafe
        Posted at 10:39h, 18 September

        Thanks for the explanation.
        One question: where can we find schematics of these devices?

        The tone is remarkably similar to that of Angus … hands too. :)

        When you organize a meeting with Angus? You could play together and do a blind test. It would be fun to see the results!
        I’m sure many do not recognize the true Ang! :)

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 10:49h, 18 September

          Thank you :) Well schematics of the SVDS simply do not exist anymore. They must have been paper schematics and they got lost, in time. I know, as I have spoken with Mr. Schaffer about it. So the only viable solution to this is to reverse engineer the original unit. Which thing, is exactly what we are doing to build our 1:1 replica (AUDIO only, NO wireless!).

  • avatar
    jupiter89
    Posted at 01:44h, 18 September

    I almost sorry to even post this because it shows how clueless I am, but can you tell me, and also help anyone new to Solodallas what actually the Schaffer Vega actually is ?
    I am thinking it’s either a wireless transmitter to the amp (so that your guitar is plugged into it giving you the freedom to not be tied to your amp by a guitar cord) OR it’s some kind of speaker emulation device that the speaker output of the amp plugs into , which then in turn is connected to a mixing board. If it’s the former, then it sounds like something I may want to buy to get that “toan” !

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:20h, 18 September

      Nah never fear at solodallas.net. There is no stupid question – I was taught – but there may be a stupid answer. The Schaffer Vega Diversity is (was) the first wireless transmitter ever invented for guitar and microphone (there was something before, but not even worth mentioning). The Schaffer Vega had (has) a peculiar audio circuitry inside made both for technical transmission reasons AND for the quality of the sound it had to deliver to the musician. It was thought for this. It has a compressor and a clean boost inside, built in. The combination of these two – probably the most relevant “effects” ever built for rock guitar – changes dramatically the sound of clean and driven guitar. It also does – on microphones – add a certain quality to vocals (and it was extensively used for singing live, for years, by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones). Technology then progressed (maybe) and this particular unit was forgotten about. Not anymore. We, here at SoloDallas, have diligently researched what characterized the sound of Angus Young on all records spanning from 1978 to 1981 (but likely its use goes on until 1988) and found out – out of the blue – that the missing link to Angus’ true tone was this unit. This unit is probably more relevant to the tone than guitar/amp. It’s really an important component. The compressor on one side and the clean boost on the other, also will slightly force us to change the way we play (for the better). To me, it is easier to play with it than without, and I didn’t put it down since I had the first Cetec Vega (evolution of the SVDS). Here, a brief summary of what it is. Now stay tuned for more, you are going to see, hear and likely HAVE lots more than this. Fil

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:38h, 18 September

      BTW Jupiter, if you want to know more, all of this is well documented here at solodallas.net. Just launch a search for “Schaffer Vega Diversity” in the search field, and you will get a number of results, displayed in chronological order.

  • avatar
    bhock4
    Posted at 12:02h, 17 September

    OMFG FIL to my ears you are so damn close or spot on i can’t really tell ahahaha its just to amazing of what you have accomplished my friend congrats and i so wanna be the first one to test the replica but at least get one ass son as possible hope it is able to send to Australia 😀 (HOME OF AC/DC LOL)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:34h, 18 September

      I will just say that Australia is SO relevant to ME that I will likely go there in person to deliver it to you myself. That clear ’nuff? 😛

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:35h, 18 September

      PS The Schaffer Vega replica will sell and ship worldwide!

  • avatar
    nitroangus23
    Posted at 23:48h, 15 September

    I……love…..it..

    *Drools on laptop and passes out

    :)

  • avatar
    rockn roll man
    Posted at 19:47h, 15 September

    Is ready the new Schaffer Vega replica?
    Write to me soon thank you for the help

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 19:50h, 15 September

      No, this is the original. The prototype of the replica of exactly this original is in the works now.

  • avatar
    deni91
    Posted at 16:13h, 15 September

    Incredible Fil! 😀 You have nailed it. A dream became true. What do you think, is it possible to replicate this tone with GR4 or Amplitube? I have an own AC/DC setting in both, but it’s not perfect. I have to do something with the mikes in Amplitube 3. I have a tone sample with Gone Shootin. Would you listen to it, if i send it?

    Cheers!

    Denes

  • avatar
    Ant
    Posted at 13:45h, 15 September

    Cool!

    So the Vaga is now in tip top shape just like new? wondering if the hiss was there when it was built 30 yonks ago?

    so your only tone limit now is the “Box” you live in :(

    Im curious again :P…. would the Control Room cabinet in GR4 be a good substitue to replicating the Cabs and mic you use currently use? I.e Guitar + Vega + your amp + GR4 Cab

    you could replicate the room\room’s Bib was recorded in

    I dont know if pluging an amp into the GR4 audio interface will give the same tone\charictaristics as your real cab + mic 😛

    i try to help anyway i can ^^
    Ant

  • avatar
    rpatzelt
    Posted at 11:38h, 15 September

    YES! It’s amazing Fil. But I’m afraid to say it’s perfect…because with every new “installment” you come with something better :)
    Great to hear that you’re close to finish The Black Vega!

  • avatar
    gallanman
    Posted at 10:46h, 15 September

    Yeah!!
    Very good news!!
    I wait my first gibson: a 1969/1970 standard (it is a luthier in) and my heavier modded marshall jtm45 is ready to loud^^
    Waiting for the replica!!!!

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 08:26h, 15 September

    Indeed, this is it. While you got closer millimeter by millimeter with the Cetec, just the fact that this record here is unequalized, stands for itself.

  • avatar
    Hyce
    Posted at 07:56h, 15 September

    I almost cried a little at that tone, man. Perfect. Just perfect. Makes me wonder if there’s someone out there constantly tuning his drumkit, trying to get Phil Rudd’s sound… haha.

    I’m excited for the “Vega Magic Box” that is going to make me playing guitar until my fingers bleed and my neighbors call the police because they’re tired of barely hearing my 5 watt tube amp 😀

  • avatar
    KyleSG
    Posted at 07:38h, 15 September

    I don’t know how you can top this as this is superb!!!!

    There’s little things that one will never achieve unless you have a time machine back to nassau 1980 but man the tone on this is crazy :)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 07:40h, 15 September

      I am please to hear you like it too :) It’s really the sound of the Schaffer Vega Diversity. It is it. A superior Unit built 30 years ago. Amazing. Well amazing to me, at least. It’s been used by so many rock stars that… it makes me want to sleep with it, eat with it, brush my teeth with it!!!111 😛

      • avatar
        KyleSG
        Posted at 07:45h, 15 September

        lol so any idea when the replica will be ready to market? few months, a year? But yeah I am still debating on whether to change my amp from the 6550’s to El34’s as I think the 6550’s the U.S tubes really nail back in black tone with my SG. But there’s always the will I get even closer with El34’s.

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 07:48h, 15 September

          A year? I will be dead in a year if I don’t deliver this a lot sooner. SOONER than a year, you! A few months. Waiting on the prototype now really. Then it’s almost done. I WOULD move onto EL34 with no doubt. They also are driven slightly more easily (I think) and generally are thought to produce a better tone.

          • avatar
            KyleSG
            Posted at 07:52h, 15 September

            Ok cool and yeah that’s my thoughts as well as 6550’s have more head room so need to be louder to distort more and I think that El34’s might help with better tone at lower volumes as well and few months sounds great!

      • avatar
        diumafe
        Posted at 20:56h, 17 September

        Quando decidi di lavarti i denti con questo apparecchio, chiamami: sono curioso di vederti! :-)
        Complimenti!

        • avatar
          banane
          Posted at 21:10h, 17 September

          Question is: which toothpaste to use?
          (Again a comment from me powered by Google translate™)

          😉

  • avatar
    headwhop26
    Posted at 07:12h, 15 September

    Ohhhhhh god Im so happy 😀 You hold out on us and then reassure us so well, Fil :)

    I was hoping to see more of the pedal board in that shot of you with the Les Paul in hopes of seeing a hint of a Black Vega…

    Still beautiful work!

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 07:19h, 15 September

      It’s coming Jake :)
      I did hold out on you all because *I* was being held out by fate. I.e., we researched even deeper on what was accurate, etc. THIS is it, finally. Whew!

      • avatar
        headwhop26
        Posted at 19:36h, 15 September

        Take all the time in the world, I would wait my whole life for AC/DC perfection 😀

        These guys seem like great dudes, and with the know-how to boot! Do they have a large shop there?

  • avatar
    Emplexador
    Posted at 03:16h, 15 September

    Fil, this is historical …would love to get a first run production unit (signed by you guys of course)

  • avatar
    Ryley
    Posted at 01:57h, 15 September

    :O toonneee! aahhh amazziinngggg!

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 23:45h, 14 September

    Unimagineably good news! Great work!

    Can’t wait for the replica, i will buy one in an instant no matter the price! 😀

    Will the Vega drive the tubes harder? Let’s say if i have an Marshall and puts in KT88s or KT120 (which are hard to overdrive unless you really puts them under pressure if i’am correct, expecily KT120s) it will help them overdrive easier just by boosting the amp? I’am not so sure about how all that works really so bare with me if this sounded weird :)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 07:16h, 15 September

      Seba, yes, it will drive your tubes harder! Additionally, the compressor will give it a specific egde/fatness that you are going to love.

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 23:41h, 14 September

    Win!

  • avatar
    Angusrocks
    Posted at 23:31h, 14 September

    what to say…….just perfect !!!

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