Want to get Angus Young’s classic tone from AC/DC’s heyday?
Get in line.
Or better yet, get your name on the pre-order list for the Schaffer Replica, a faithful reproduction of the Schaffer-Vega wireless system that sat between Angus’s Gibson SG and Marshall amps on great albums like Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black, For Those About to Rock and Flick of the Switch.
As some of you might recall, last September we told you about Filippo F. Olivieri (shown above with Angus), who runs the classic rock blog SoloDallas.com. One of his contributors had read a vintage interview in Guitar Player with Angus Young, in which the AC/DC guitarist was asked if he used any effects.
“No,” Angus replied. “I just have a Schaffer-Vega wireless system.”
That set Fil on a quest to find a Schaffer-Vega for himself.
But first, an obvious question: Why would a wireless system impart a sound, let alone one that’s desirable?
Though it was designed as a wireless device, the Schaffer-Vega—or Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS), to use its full name—also featured a clean boost, a compressor and an expander, all of which made subtle improvements to the signals that it passed. Nearly every major touring act of the day used the SVDS, including Van Halen, ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Boston and, of course, AC/DC.
Unfortunately, production of the SVDS ceased in 1981, and units are hard to find. With the help of Ken Schaffer, the creator of the SVDS, Olivieri received a pair of pristine units which he has had meticulously analyzed and re-engineered from the ground up (with Schaffer's blessing, of course).
How good is it? Good enough that Angus used it on the sessions for AC/DC’s latest, Rock or Bust.
Last year, the Schaffer Replica debuted in two versions: the Schaffer Replica Tower, which is modeled on the look of the original 63EX receiver, and the TSR Pedal, a more affordable pedal version that has all the same functionality and character.
Both units quickly sold out, but pre-orders are being taken for the next batch, which should be ready to ship in mid February. The TSR pedal is listed at $349; the TSR Tower is priced at $999.
To pre-order, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit SoloDallas.
Here’s a video of Fil demonstrating and talking about the Schaffer Replica.