We just started rewiring the big rig in the studio which is a monster task as there are three main power amps, the Mesa Boogie 290, VHT amp and the new super rare Groove Tubes Dual 75 that covers all the Fender tones. I’ve only ever seen one other Groove Tubes 75 and that was 20 years ago in Amsterdam. Its a monster power amp designed to fit with the Groove Tubes Trio, which I bought 20 years ago. The combination is extraordinary and when played through two Mesa Boogie 1 x 12 cabs, it covers all the classic Fender tones in spades.

I’m using the Soldano Space box as a 100% analogue reverb and again this is super rare. I’ve never seen another one and the combination is terrific.

Egnater M4 and MTS modules

The big rig contains a number of Egnater and Randall modules which are run via two Egnater M4 units. These are also super rare and I bought both of these many years ago directly from Egnater in the USA. I remember having to wait for the second M4 in line after Steve Vai who swears by these units. The MTS modules are faithful reproductions of classic preamps by Bruce Egnater, including the Fender Bassman, Vox and other amps. Randall also made some of these but never found a way to properly market them.

Soldano X99 from Martin Barre

Years ago I heard about the Soldano X99 and asked Manson Guitars to look out for one of them for me. On the phone the Manson guy busst out laughing commenting “Nick, do you know how rare these are?” I later found out that only 200 were made and only 3 with UK voltage. Manson’s rang me 6 months later with one brought in from Martin Barre from Jethro Tull and I grabbed it.

I also have a Soldano SP77 which is the sister preamp to the Soldano X99 and is also rare, but not as rare as the X99. The VHS power amp is the perfect companion for these units, giving a classic rock tone.

Synergy SYN 1 and MTS units

Bruce Egnater and other builders combined to create the Synergy company to market the classic pre amp modules. The Synergy SYN 1 is a single unit module that is perfect either as a DI recording device or to play live. I have two of these in the studio and they work brilliantly as well as being really well made.

The rig requires a lot of cables and a Quartermaster unit for switching some of the preamps. I’m running these units out though two Mesa Boogie cabs, two two rock cabs and a Bognor 2 x 12 cab. This creates literally all sonic options. Its 100% a studio rig and not for playing out, as it would take a team of people to transport all this gear!

Rewiring the Big Rig, inc Soldano X99, Groove Tubes Dual 75 and Mesa Boogie 290

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