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Fractal Audio AMP models: Euro Blue and Red (Bogner Ecstasy)

yek

Moderator
Moderator
* EDIT: Up-to-date information is available in Yek's Guide to the Fractal Audio Amplifier Models *



Euro Blue and Red: based on Bogner Ecstasy (XTC)

The Bogner Ecstasy (often abbreviated to XTC) dates from the early ‘90s but still is their flagship amplifier. There have been several Ecstasy models (read the history on the Bogner site). The current model (since 2009) is the 20th Ann. model with 6L6 tubes (100 watts). And that’s the amp on which the four models in the Axe-Fx II and AX8 are based. And it's a fantastic amp. But I'm biased, because I was a "Bogner guy". I owned various Ecstasy models (Classic and 20th Ann.). It was my mainstay amplifier before I got the Axe-Fx Ultra. I love this amp for its low-mid growl and fat tones.

Bogner:

“The features allow the "DNA" of the 3 distinctly voiced channels to be radically morphed into sounds of the past, present and future. Imagine going from our notorious barking Plexi mode, to the greasiest, harmonically chewy overdrive and then washing it all down with the lushest most decadent clean tone.​

The Ecstasy comes standard with an amazing array of controls: 1/2 power switch, new/old style switch, dual assignable presence controls with 3-way Excursion switches to control speaker cabinet dampening, gain boost and individual pre-eq switches for each channel, plexi-mode, gain structure, tube buffered series/parallel FX loop with mix and master volume control.

In 2009 we celebrated our 20th year of Bogner USA and wanted to create something special for our amplifier line; enter the 20th Anniversary Ecstasy. We consider this model to be the new "Flagship" in the Ecstasy line with the most organic and open sound yet.​

The 20th Anniversary Ecstasy has a real plexi panel with gold background and a different pre-amp circuit as well as a foot control able boost feature in the plexi mode. Up until late 2015 the amp was housed in a slightly larger head shell for an iconic and classic vintage vibe.​

The 20th Anniversary is our finest evolution of the Ecstasy line that started with the 100B, 101B and Classic. However, the 20th Anniversary model features its own unique circuit and many refinements never before seen.​

In the past few years many new boutique capacitors have come on the market such as the Sozo and Jupiter brand which focus on replicating the vintage capacitors from the 60's. These new capacitors are very expensive and mostly hand made in their construction so we were intrigued to hear how they sound. We purchased all the available brands and meticulously went trough the entire signal chain of our Ecstasy circuit incorporating these vintage style capacitors into the design. However, once this process started, we quickly realized that replacing the capacitors was only the beginning, additional adjustments and refinements were implemented to maximize the vintage tonal character of these new capacitors which all together give the 20th Anniversary its iconic Golden-Era of Ecstasy tone.​

Additional refinements have been made including:​

The pre EQ's 2 and 3 have been shifted and a vintage modern style switch lets you decide the overall flavor of Channel 2 and 3, bypassed when in the plexi mode. The plexi channel has slightly more gain and a foot controllable boost was added which expands the amp to have 6 sounds on tap via your foot. Boost is engaged with the same switch as for Channel 2 and 3. The clean channel has been changed; special emphasis was taken to the boosted mode which gives you more gain with nicely balanced frequencies and compression. Power amp dampening was adjusted to compliment the new pre amp design, the Excursion switches so to speak. The 20th Anniversary amp was designed and features 6L6 power amp tubes standard but can be custom order with EL34's."​

The Ecstasy was one of the first 3-channel amps to hit the market, with plenty additional modes and options. Channel 1 (Green) is the clean channel, which isn’t modeled. Channel 2 (Blue) is the very famous crunch channel. Channel 3 (Red) is the high-gain channel, meant for leads.

The Structure switches on the amp allow the player to choose between Vintage mode (less gain) and Modern mode (more gain).

Fractal Audio has modeled the Blue and Red channels, in Vintage and Modern modes. The models represent the original amp really well. For my own use I prefer the non-Modern models.

The controls on these channels are: Gain, Master, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence, 3-way Bright switch, Structure switch, Old/New Style switch, Excursion switch (model: Depth), Gain switch, Plexi Mode.

I kept the tone controls on my real Ecstasy amps pretty much around noon. I set the Bright switch to B1, and turned up Presence.​

Cliff’s comments:

"People think Bogners are dark but they really aren't. The reason they seem that way is the pot tapers. Most people assume knobs should be set somewhere around noon. If you do this on a Bogner it's like turning the treble way down on a Marshall. Close your eyes and adjust the tone controls with your ears. Don't be afraid to turn them way up or way down."​

"Human nature is to put the knobs near noon. We are reticent to deviate much from noon. Amp designers exploit this and use different tapers to change the sound of their amps WITH THE KNOBS AT NOON. A prime example are Bogner amps. Everyone says "Bogner amps are dark". No they aren't. But he uses a Log10A taper for the treble pot. It's a standard Marshall tone stack. Usually a linear taper pot is used for the treble. The treble knob at 5.0 (noon) on a Bogner is equivalent to the treble knob at 1.0 on a Marshall. People put the knob at 5.0 and go "wow, this amp is dark". No it isn't. If you turned the treble up to 8 or 9 it would sound a lot like a Plexi but humans are reticent to turn the knobs to extremes. Amp designers know this and exploit it to give their amps a "signature sound"."​

The Bright switch on the amp (Normal / B1 / B2) not only adds treble, it adds gain too. But at high Gain settings its effect gets less noticeable. Cliff:

"Our reference amp is a a 20th anniversary and N is Bright Off, B1 is 150 pF and B2 is 1000 pF for both channels. The models default to B1. Change the Bright Cap value to 1 nF to emulate B2. Or better yet use your ears to select a value that sounds best."​

The Blue and Red channels are also available as standalone Bogner pedals. In a similar fashion you can turn the Amp block into a pedal, by disabling the power amp section of the amp model (turn down Supply Sag until it says: “P.A. off”).

Bogner cabinets range from the small 1x12 Cube to the large 4x12 Uberkab with V30 and T75 speakers. So the Bogner stock cabs are a logical choice. You’ll often hear the Ecstasy with V30s, but G12M, G12H or whatever speakers work well too.

More IRs of Bogner cabs are available in Cab Pack 9 and Cab Pack 14 (which includes Cab Pack 5). OwnHammer also has a large collection of Bogner IR libraries.​





 
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Smeier_ch

Member
Loved my 20th, but had too few occasions to really use it. So it had to go, was replaced by a Duende, which I still have, despite the Axe....
 

bradlake

Axe-Master
To my ears, the "turn the AMP block into a pedal" trick, works even better now with Quantum, these might be the most potent pedals in the box..........
 

h.c.e.

Power User
The Euro Blue is probably in my top two favorite general use models in the axe. Sounds great with humbuckers and single coils both (generally w/o even needing to tweak settings), and I really like how it cleans up w/ changes to the input drive and guitar volume. Sounds pretty good right out of the box, but for a nice full clean sound I go input drive on 3, pres around 6 or 7, and mv on 6, everything else at defaults. For cabs I usually like a stereo combo of either the German v30 RW (f047) or Uber T75+V30 RW (f052) and the TV MIX #2 (f132) (I'll usually throw an R121 Rib or 67 Cond mic sim on redwirez cabs)... this post has totally inspired me to go play with he Euro Red model for my afternoon though. Thanks again yek, great post as always!
 

BrickGlass

Inspired
Both the blue and red channels are incredible sounding once you dial them in. The blue is one of the top 10 amps in the Axe for me, and quite possibly top 5. It certainly sounds good with humbuckers and single coils, which is always a great thing.
 
Honestly, I have a harder time dialing these amps in than the Mesa Boogies.
Once you get them right though, they're really something special!
 

ngstime

Inspired
I believe the Euro is a 20th XTC with 6L6's

Will changing it to EL34's simply turn it into a 101b?
Further, what tweaks could we do to make it a 100b
 

Smittefar

Fractal Fanatic
This is one of those that was not really on my radar - I think, I need to try it out - Lukather makes it sound glorious.

(Hate to beat an old horse, but I do wish the clean channel had been modeled as well ;))
 

James L

New Member
IMG_3278.JPG Great post, a ton of information listed. It's funny and timely to me because I just listed my 101 b with metal grill and class A/AB power option for sale because of the purchase of my Axe FX II and MFC 101. I primarily used the Bogner in the blue channel simultaneously with my Mesa Road King II to fatten my tone and add a cool texture. After playing around with the Axe FX for a couple of weeks now and getting more comfortable with it I decided to offset the cost FAS gear by selling the Bogner. I wish that I could have been able to keep it, it is a very cool and versatile amp. I always thought that the Plexi mode on the Ecstacy did a pretty awesome job.
 
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craiguitar

Power User
Yep. And he says that it is all in the rig. I own a Luke II and III and I can tell you that it is not all in the rig. My fingers sound *nothing* like his :(
Haha, no-one does.
I tried the Euro Blue model to 'try' and achieve a sound similar to Luke's lead/solo sound, using my Lukes 1/2/III. However, because I couldn't replicate Luke's drive pedal (Tone Concepts Distillery) sounds, I ended up going with the Euro RED model, but without a drive block, It got me closer to 'my' idea of that lead sound all on its own. I still prefer the smoother sounding CAE 3+ Lead over this, but the Bogner does cut through a live mix better.
 

ChrisMetal86

Experienced
Love the Ecstacy amp in the Axe! I've always been a Mesa & Bogner type of guy. I'll occasionally mess with the Marshalls and tons of other amp sims, but my tone lies within the Mesa & Bogner stuff. Shiva is always my clean, Ecstacy is one of my main lead tones, both red and blue, and Uberschall or however you spell it is one of my main rhythm tones. Also use the Lonestar for most of my leads, Mark series (can't remember the sim) for lead and rhythm. Thanks for your posts yek, they are always very informative and much appreciated!
 

mmpete

Experienced
Haha, no-one does.
I tried the Euro Blue model to 'try' and achieve a sound similar to Luke's lead/solo sound, using my Lukes 1/2/III. However, because I couldn't replicate Luke's drive pedal (Tone Concepts Distillery) sounds, I ended up going with the Euro RED model, but without a drive block, It got me closer to 'my' idea of that lead sound all on its own. I still prefer the smoother sounding CAE 3+ Lead over this, but the Bogner does cut through a live mix better.
I was having a go with the Bogner blue and red models last night myself (after seeing the videos). I was actually after a nice low gain setting with a bit of bite and the red came up winner. Of course - today might see me re-evaluating that choice when I turn it on and fire it up again.

Mind you, Mark Day get really close the Luke's sounds from the pre-bogner days. That might be worth investigating if you like his earlier stuff.
 
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mmpete

Experienced
View attachment 31788 Great post, a ton of information listed. It's funny and timely to me because I just listed my 101 b with metal grill and class A/AB power option for sale because of the purchase of my Axe FX II and MFC 101. I primarily used the Bogner in the blue channel simultaneously with my Mesa Road King II to fatten my tone and add a cool texture. After playing around with the Axe FX for a couple of weeks now and getting more comfortable with it I decided to offset the cost FAS gear by selling the Bogner. I wish that I could have been able to keep it, it is a very cool and versatile amp. I always thought that the Plexi mode on the Ecstasy did a pretty awesome job.
Bogner and Road King II - man you must have had a full time road crew ... Two of my favorite amps (that I never owned)
 
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