Envisioned & handcrafted as a faithful 1:1 replica of the original 1979 Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS) audio circuitry, The Schaffer Replica EX Tower creates a truly unique sound signature. This device brings back the elusive '70s sound heard on albums like AC/DC's Back in Black, Highway to Hell, Powerage, For Those About To Rock, as well as many others from bands of this era. The Ken Schaffer SVDS artist list from 1976 to 1979 is thorough: Aerosmith to ZZ Top, ELO to EWF to The Eagles, Nile Rodgers & Chic, the Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir, Foreigner and Rick Derringer. Perhaps the two of the most fateful were David Gilmour of Pink Floyd (who purchased 21 of them within the period of one week), and Mr. Angus Young of AC/DC. These two were, as it came to pass, ultimately the most devout users of Ken Schaffer's SVDS Towers; both artists actually continued to use their respective SVDS units well into the following decades, even after Ken Schaffer shifted his focus to satellite and frequency transmission across the Atlantic Ocean and beyond. Intrepid to the end, Ken Schaffer flew the last custom Southern California production batch of SVDS himself solo from San Rafael, California to Newburgh, New York in the fall of 1979.
The present revised circuit on the Spring 2017 SoloDallas EX tower is 100% analog, featuring an analog limiter derived from a previously unseen and very musical Opto-Isolator (a vintage optical limiter) recently discovered in our latest reverse-engineering of the original Schaffer-Vega Diversity System EX10 Transmitter, a compact manila envelope-colred belt/strap transmission unit which featured a compander (compressor-expander). When dialed in effectively, the EX Tower creates incredible bloom, sustain and affords a controllable noise cieling, making it an ideal weapon in the studio, and especially live. In effect: the EX Tower embellishes tone with greater sustain, touch sensitivity, fatness and a rich harmonic content that opens up the instrument's sound.
The EX Tower version incorporates specific vintage through-hole components, sourced through private and Dutch industries. This particular Tower is housed in an enclosure identical to the original '63EX' receiver. The original SVDS was 3D-scanned and faithfully replicated from a single block of 2021, seamlessly incorporating 2017 machining technolgy
The latest iteration features several enhancements which our artists & friends have requested over the past 18 months, including two dramatic enhancements:
1.A toggle (DPDT) switch on the back panel which enables or disables the opto-isolator (OI) for even more tonal flexibility. This allows the operator to incorporate the optical compression for certain projects, and then instantaneously eliminate the OI whenever necessary.
2. An additional extra normal/boost mode toggle switch which allows for either a smoother, quieter operation above lower noise floor, or the "monitor mode", initially an extra monitor input on the SVDS. This was first discovered by David Gilmour, much to his delight: he began plugging his guitar directly into the front of the SVDS monitor stage input, boosting his Strat for decades henceforth. Then, historically by Angus Young at the Palladium in New York City in 1977, when Ken Schaffer met with Malcolm Young early in the afternoon, as Angus did an interview with Kenny's friend from Atlantic Records on Bowery and East 4th Street. At Malcolm's urging, Angus tried the unit at soundcheck at the Palladium, and used the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System for the very first time that evening. The SVDS & Angus quickly became literally inseparable: he played every show with the SVDS in his school-boy backpack the following tour. At one point, Angus brought what Kenny later described as "the foulest, dirtiest, most road-worn" SG he had ever seen, so Schaffer could install an EX-10 Transmitter directly into the body of the SG. Angus Young then continued on to change the known possibilities of live Rock and blues guitar playing, often running & traveling hundreds and hundreds of feet with the guitar, while playing flawlessly and delivering stadium-shaking tone. The 2017 EX Tower puts out a full out 30.4 db of clean boost to "give a guitar hell" (to use Angus Young's own words, Guitar Player Magazine, March 1984).
The SoloDallas EX Tower reproduces not only the sound, but the complete tactile and aural experience of operating a long-lost vintage piece of analog audio gear: a time-tested, refined piece that will immensely enhance your musical experience for decades to come.
NOTE: This is NOT a wireless unit.
All domestic US orders will receive a footswitch with your EX Tower. No, you won't really use it, because the tower will remain on perpetually: The new EX Tower truly works and sounds that incredible. Any latching A/B footswitch with a 1/4" jack will work with the EX Tower. Note: This is the default mode for when there is no footswitch 1/4" plugged into the back of the EX Tower. Therefore: the footswitch is optional for operation. Always, always use a 15V Positive PSU. We will provide you one US Power Supply Unit unless you specify otherwise. You can SMS/iMessage us at 310.741.8488 with specific questions & custom requests. Thank you.