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Fractal Audio AMP models: Friedman SM Box (Friedman Small Box)

yek

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



FRIEDMAN SM BOX: based on Friedman Smallbox

Dave Friedman modded amps for famous guitar players. He now designs and builds his own hand-wired amps, and does so very successfully. Friedman amps are medium-to-high gain amps with really fat tones. He has built signature amps for Steve Stevens and Jerry Cantrell.

I like the models of Friedman's amps. I really do. I'm hooked on the Dirty Shirley model now. Before that it was the BE. And for a while I preferred the Smallbox. They certainly share common ground.

The Smallbox is often thought of as the BE-100 in a small enclosure. But that’s not the full story. The Smallbox certainly has its own identity. It's grittier.

50 watts, EL34 tubes and two channels. Channel 1’s tones range from clean to Plexi. Channel 2 has a slightly different voicing on the Brown Eye sound, slightly more vintage sounding, with more pronounced midrange.

Friedman:

“Dave Friedman’s Smallbox, 50 Watt Head was designed for guitarists that want the classic tones reminiscent of great vintage plexis as well as Friedman’s more modern high gain offerings.​

The Smallbox features two channels, the first giving you those classic plexi tones that clean up nicely with just a twist of the guitar’s volume knob. It goes from clean to crunch to that full-blown plexi roar. The second channel features the modern high gain tone on which Friedman has built his reputation.​

The Smalbox was designed to take pedals and loves boosts, OD’s, phasers, flangers, tremolos and wahs, while the brand new ultra-transparent series effects loop handles your time-based effects pedals and rack units. The handcrafted in the USA head features beautiful Tolex encasing tongue and groove Baltic Birch construction and built to withstand the rigors of the road.​

The Friedman Smallbox has delivers all of these remarkable features into a mind-blowing 50-watt package.”​

The amp’s controls: Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume 1, Volume 2, Gain 1, Gain 2, Bright switch on channel 1.

We’ve got a model of channel 2. No need to miss channel 1, because we already got lots of Plexi models.

Manual:

“For Channel 2 we recommend starting with the Bass on 8, the mids at around 6 or7 and the treble at 5. Set the gain around 8 and then bring the master to taste. After plugging in, you will notice instantly, the tight bottom end and rich harmonically detailed chords and single notes, that’s the Friedman sound. This amp cleans up remarkably well with the guitar’s volume control even with the amp on higher gain settings."​

Note that the model is very bassy, in the sub-region. Cliff:

"The schematic shows a 2.2 nF coupling cap off the first stage but the actual amp has a 4.7 nF. 2.2 nF would mean less bass. I can only assume the amp was built to the latest specs. If an amp model is "G3'd" it is deadly accurate. I go through the amps and check the values of each component, measure the voltages, compare the frequency response to the model, etc., etc., etc. If the model is too bassy for you then you would find the real amp too bassy, or at least our particular reference model."​

You can also increase Low Cut Frequency to deal with the boomy bass.

The amp has a Master Volume control. This means that the amp’s distortion is created in particular by the preamp tubes, not the power amp. The Master Volume, which works in the power amp section, is still very important to the tone and feel. Friedman amps sound great at low-to-high Master Volume settings. The default setting is a good point to start of course.

The Smallbox combo comes with a G12M speaker. If you want the sound of Mark Day’s cabinet which he uses with his Friedman BE amp, use stock cabs 60 and/or 61.

Cab Pack 10 offers more IRs of Mark Day's 4x12 cabinet.​




 
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Rocket Brother

Power User
My favorite "Hi gainer" in the Axe, I love it !

I use the Dirty Shirley, Plexis and the Comet 60 more than the Smallbox for overdrive tones, but there are certain hi gain sounds where the Smallbox is just the ticket for me.
The Smallbox is as hi gain as I go, and I love the slightly more vintage sound and the way the midrange responds in the Smallbox compared to the BE / HBE that many seem to favor.
Admittedly I haven't tried the new Q3 BE and HBE versions (it's high on my to do list), but in Q2 at least I prefer the Smallbox.
 

marshall2553

Experienced
This model is so close to the real thing but is way too bassy. Maybe the spec has changed since Cliff's was built. Mine has significantly less bass than the model when running into the same Friedman cab.
 

Hubi

Experienced
I´ve listened to the vids here - I also think there is too much bass in our Axe-Models.........
I also like the small box for ACDC - more than the Plexis or 1959..
 

Hendrix95

Member
This model is so close to the real thing but is way too bassy. Maybe the spec has changed since Cliff's was built. Mine has significantly less bass than the model when running into the same Friedman cab.
Try increasing the preamp lowcut freq in the amp block. The default value is 144hz. I noticed that the BE100 defaults to 500hz, so I tried using a similar value and it sounds a lot better to me. I'm currently setting it to 450hz.
 

marshall2553

Experienced
Try increasing the preamp lowcut freq in the amp block. The default value is 144hz. I noticed that the BE100 defaults to 500hz, so I tried using a similar value and it sounds a lot better to me. I'm currently setting it to 450hz.
Thanks, I'll give that a try. I didn't even know about that parameter. Decreasing Depth helps a bit too, just wondering why it seems so different from the real amp.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
Thanks, I'll give that a try. I didn't even know about that parameter. Decreasing Depth helps a bit too, just wondering why it seems so different from the real amp.
See OP:

Cliff: "The schematic shows a 2.2 nF coupling cap off the first stage but the actual amp has a 4.7 nF. 2.2 nF would mean less bass. I can only assume the amp was built to the latest specs. If an amp model is "G3'd" it is deadly accurate. I go through the amps and check the values of each component, measure the voltages, compare the frequency response to the model, etc., etc., etc. If the model is too bassy for you then you would find the real amp too bassy, or at least our particular reference model."
 

Sharka

Experienced
Small Box - This has been my "go to" amp since it was added. I fell for it the instance I tried it, simply an absolute superb model!
 
Anyone have any idea what the behavior is of the Bright switch for Aries firmware on this model? It almost seems to do the opposite, it adds a pronounced lower freq. What gives? This is supposed to be Ch2 which means on the real amp the bright switch should have no impact. turning it off and on while hitting a chord does some crazy "bug like" behavior. Just curious. Great sounding model, finally getting around to messing with it after all these years.
 
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