One of my original complaints about the Stangray when I first had one in 2006/07 was the fact that it didn't sound as good with overdrive pedals as many of my other amps (past or present).
Well, today I played with it for about 3 or 4 hours and a lot of that time was spent with my pedal board trying to dial in my pedals. I found out that if you roll back the tone on the Ray, this not only reduces the low end but also lets more mids come out of the amp and the pedals sound so much better than I remembered (when I ran my tone up around 2:30). I found, with my pedals, that if I run the tone too much past 12:00 that they start sounding "not so good" and too scooped.
I wish I knew this 4 years ago, I may not have gotten rid of my first Ray.
So if you're having any issues getting your Ray to like your OD's or distortion pedals, try dialing back the tone some. It still has plenty of low end at noon, more than a lot of other amps, so it still sounds amazingly good.
Last Edit: Oct 10, 2012 15:26:35 GMT -7 by telejas
I have a Ray on loan fro a friend (he has my MAZ 38). I found I had to reset all my dirt boxes ('79 Tubescreamer, BB Preamp, Alpha Drive), they react very differently to the EF86. Less drive is needed than with the MAZ, imho. Eventually I got them all dialed in. The Ray rocks!
What you're saying hit's the nail on the head. My Ray speaker preference is inefficient darker speakers. So my tone control settings are in the 9:00 - 12:00 range. I still have plenty of 'thud' factor and grand piano low notes tones and use the cut control to dial back the highs. End result, the Ray works well with my dirt pedals. I often scratched my head wondering why so many folks have pedal problems with the Ray. Now I know. Great observation!
Another Ray discovery that seems to go against the grain. Set the volume control to 2:00 or higher. In recent years I've been experimenting with cap and resistor values in guitar treble bleed circuits. With treble bleed circuits humbuckers and singles coils have different characteristics across sweep of the pot. Cap and resistor values also make a huge difference. The Ray has a similar treble circuit on the volume control. Many folks run the ray volume setting below noon. The higher the volume control setting the less of an impact the treble bleed circuit has. The Ray's response changes as you increase the volume control, same as a guitar does. Because the treble bleed circuit has less of an impact as your increase the volume control the Ray becomes thicker and beefier as you turn it up, i.e. more of a rock-n- roll machine. I do not recommend changing the Ray's circuit as it's a damn thang of beauty as is but, if you can run the volume control past noon the amp's a different animal. I use inefficient speakers and one or two clicks on an airbrake to run the volume control around 2:00 and roll the guitar volume down to get beautiful cleans and turn up the guitar for snarling saturated rock tones.
Welcome back to Ray'ville! It's a great place to hang.
I've noticed this, too. I almost never run my tone control past noon. My rationale is as follows: -- You don't need all that bass in electric guitar. Let the bass player handle the bass. It also lets you push the Blues a lot harder without farting out. -- Something magical happens to the mids of the Ray when the tone around 10:00. I can't describe it, but even running it clean, I LOVE the way it sounds at this spot.
You can run the Cut control a good bit lower with the tone dialed back. 9:00 is about all I can handle with most guitars-- lower with my Tele. The louder you play it, the more Cut you can use.
STANG RAY Head #82 w/ 2 Blues
"I predict that people will falsely attribute quotes to me online."-Benjamin Franklin