I'm a bigtime Schecter fanboi, but there just aren't many demos of this awesome amp, so I'm here to add mine to the pile. Sorry for the sloppy playing, just figured even slop would be better than nothing.
The following were used for this recording:
Schecter Hellraiser Stage 100 Head
Schecter Hellraiser Stage Cab (the one loaded with V30's)
Schecter Avenger-7 (This is one old ass guitar, but it still sounds mean)
Schecter Raiden Special-5 (set to split coils)
Digidesign Eleven Rack (as a preamp for the Hellraiser and an amp sim for the bass)
Shure SM7 pointed right at the edge of the cap
Akai MPC5000 (for the drums)
Roland VS2480 (recording, reverb and delay effects, compression, EQ, and mastering)
I bought this amp a while back because all my guitars are Schecter and it only made sense to pick up a matching amp. This was when the first discontinued them, so I got a hell of a bargain. The trouble I had was that I already had a room full of other amps (Peavey 6150, Mesa Rectifier, Marshall AFD100, Peavey Vypyr Tube, Marshall VS100, and a bunch of others) and couldn't really justify getting this in addition to all these amps that I didn't use (I usually just track through a Pod X3 or the Eleven for convenience.) So when I bought the Hellraiser, the deal I made with myself was I had to unload the rest.
So how does it hold up compared to the others? I think I made a good choice. The other amps all have their issues. The Rectifier, while a staple of the metal world, really doesn't sound like what you hear in recordings unless you pile on effects, and then you'll never get away from that recognizable bark. While it was cool being one of the chosen few to own an AFD100, it just didn't have enough gain for my liking and always needed a boost. The Peavey was easy as hell to record with, but has this kind of generic tone to it. Honestly, my fave amp from the batch was my hundred dollar VS100. It's solid state, but with a tube pre and the emulated output was spot on. This was the only amp I had that I actually recorded on an album instead of just using an amp sim. It just screams oldschool death metal. The Hellraiser is its own thing, but in a great way.
Pro's: The Hellraiser sounds awesome even without a boost. The EQ is a lot like Mesa's in that it's a delicate balancing act and the changes are so subtle that you really don't notice the difference from one EQ setting to another until it's in a full recording context, but its this subtlety that makes it work so well. It's hard to mess up the tone. You can't dial in an old-school scooped-mids sound, but it's still incredible. It really has its own sound to it. I think James Brown did a great job putting this amp together. It's a metal machine, but with its own voice, instead of being like other amps outside of the big three that try to cop the sound of the big three. The noise gate is perfect. I hate messing with pedals, so it's nice to have one that clamps down perfectly without ruining your tone. The UK/US voicing switch on the clean channel is fun. It really does sound like you've got two amps out of this. The UK setting makes it sound jangly and bluesy like a real Marshall, but while still retaining its own sound. The presence knob is great. I like a lot of presence in my tone, but it's easy to make it sound piercing and ruin the tone. Not the case with the Hellraiser. In this recording, it's turned up to three o'clock and still wasn't obnoxious and overbearing. There are a lot of options when picking one of these up. There's the US and the Chinese version. I opted for the Chinese version because after messaging Schecter (their customer service is the BEST for this) they admitted that sonically, there is no difference. I don't play live with my amps, so a Chinese one will do just fine. Also, they have loads of choices for the speaker cabinets. I've read some bad reviews on the Depth Charge being too muddy and I had never heard Seventy80 speakers, so I opted with the good old Vintage 30's. They've still got some DLX cabs in stock, so I'm tempted to buy one anyway just so I can have both tones going on.
The cons of this amp? The focus knob is great in theory, but really beefs the sound up to the point where it's kinda muddy and conflicts with your bass tone. I find it's best to leave it on the 'Tight' setting where it rolls off some of the bass and gives a little bump to the mids (a la Tube Screamer). Even when using active pickups, I think the passive input is where it's at. Too much mud is added to it, I think. The clean channel is kind of tough to make it sound 'clean'. I think it suffers from the same issue the AFD100 had where it's damn near impossible to clean it up, even with the gain rolled way the hell back. The US/UK voicing doesn't affect the lead channel. I was sad about this because I love the Marshall sound, but I'll live.
Get 'em while they're cheap/available!
this is clean work, friend.
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