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212Mavguy last won the day on September 7 2015

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  1. NAD Bartel Sugerland

    The simple circuits are often some of the nicest sounding ones. Thinking about George Alessandro's high end stuff. The Bartel line diligently defines what a boutique amp should be.
  2. Part 2... While I was inside the Overlord I noticed a small, mouse turd sized bit of white stuff that had oozed out of the ground side of one of the filter caps. They help the amp change alternating current to direct current. There are several, some in diverse locations. This one was on the main power supply eyelet board. There was another, identical one next to it that did not appear to have anything wrong with it. When the amp was new, within the first couple weeks one of the board standoffs came unscrewed, there was no glue holding the nut in place as the others had. So those parts came undone as a result of loud playing and vibration from the speaker cabinet, the now loose parts floating around inside got into the wrong places and shorted out something so that the amp would not make sound. Rather than have to pay to ship it both ways to the builder for a warranty repair, I took it to my super skilled tech, one Mike Christenson at House of Guitars in Salt Lake City. He fixed what kept it from working without the aid of a schematic. It came back with only three corners of the main eyelet board supported, but no biggie since each board is made out of 1/8 inch thick sheet fiberglass, called Garolite, very rigid and no problem with one of the corner supports missing at all. I think that when those parts came loose that the filter cap in question got shorted out. Instead of it exploding, it just got hot enough to ooze a bit of the electrolyte material out. I ordered a new pair of caps, a higher quality brand than was originally installed. It was a bit difficult to get the old leads out of the eyelet holes, tough enough that I just snipped those leads off the old part and grabbed hold of each one with a pair of pliers to yank it out when I put the soldering iron on to melt the old solder. Eyelets are easy to stuff one wire or lead into, but the more wires that go into one, the more difficult to insert the new or remove the old and broken when going in for a repair. For that reason, I prefer turret boards to eyelet boards for a boutique build, easier to repair. You can wrap more wires and leads around a turret than stuff those same number of wires into a small hole. So since the other cap looked good and there was going to be a tight fit getting the new lead to jam into one little eyelet hole that already had a wire plus leads from two other parts inserted, I did not fix what appeared to be unbroken. I just replaced the one bad cap. The amp ran dead quiet before, and when I fired it up is was the same. However...on the clean channel the volume/gain knob could not be turned up past about 3 1/2 before a bit of breakup happened, right at pick attack for a very brief moment, my buddy and I refer to that as "splat". After the repair, I could crank it clear on up to past 6 on a scale of 10 without any splat at all. This changed how I could play the amp significantly... Made it even more of a 50 watt Marshall eater! Can still get the smooth milkshake tones out of the lead channel as well as the Kerraaaaaaaang!!!... tasty nasty! Big win...little money! Start to finish less than a half hour! Yaaay! A printed circuit board amp would have taken me several times as long to fix. I was surprised to have a longtime friend come over to play some right after I finished. We played a bunch of different guitars through that amp 5 hours straight... Boutique amps for boutique guitars!
  3. I am with you on the 633 thang fo sho!!! But the Tellytone is pretty damn cute for the living room or man cave at least! Especially with the optional set of legs! Haaaaah!
  4. Brimar is starting up production of vacuum tubes again! http://brimaruk.com/ In addition to their tubes, they have an affiliate that is building a hifi amp and a guitar amp as well. The guitar amp is about as retro looking as anything I have seen today. I don't like to see the tubes mounted directly on a printed circuit board, but mounting them upright instead of inverted helps them last longer from better cooling and also allows less heat transfer to the board. http://www.tellytone.com/ Fun to read their quirky materials! I am interested in trying some of their tubes. If they can make a great sounding power tube and good 9 pin preamp tubes then it will be a good thing to give JJ, the Russian reflektor, and the Chinese Shuguang some needed competition. Time will tell! They are in the process of restoring the old Mullard tooling. They have a line of preamp and power tubes now available, they say all of them are currently being made in England. I thought that this guitar amp was pretty novel looking. I'm not a fan of having the tubes mounted on a PCB, but in this case (if I have it right) they are mounted upright, which is much better as far as transferring heat to the board. I love the look!
  5. Supro Black Magick 25 watt combo

    If it's good enough for 'Slate, it's more than good enough for me! Time will tell on the reliability issue, a few years will tell the story better than any of my words. RESPECT! Re: Valco and Sound Projects, TR, you might well be correct. But under the hood-wise, they share a LOT of similarities. 'Nuff said from me on this thread.
  6. Supro Black Magick 25 watt combo

    Valco, Supro, Harmony and Lectrolab amps from the early 60's were all made at the same Sound Projects factory in the Chicago area. They were all point to point/turret strip wiring. And yes, the parts used were not the best. I own and have left the circuits pretty much intact in two Sound Projects amps, a '61 Harmony H-306a, and a'65 Lectrolab R600c. These early American crafted amps are not sacred in my opinion. I increased the power section filter cap's values, swapped out the original tone caps for military paper in oil ones, yanked the vintage Jensen C12R ceramic and alnico P12R speakers, substituted similar time period, fuller sounding University Diffusicone 12" speakers, and replaced the wimpy output transformers with much more robust ones, mounting the much more massive replacements in the bottom corner of the cabinet. The speaker baffles are less than a half inch thick compressed PAPER, these old hand wired spaghetti guts' brands are the ones I refer to as vintage cheese amps. After I boogered both of these, they sound absolutely amazing for what they look like. Both use footswitchable bias modulating tremolo, that feature is not often found in anything but boutique modern builds, and is a real harmonic honey producer. When the power tubes are starved for current at the low volume part of the tremolo, , harmonics are produced that carry on when the tubes do have enough current flowing, at the high volume part of the tremolo volume wave. It's possible to adjust this tremolo type to sustain as a solid note breaking into tremolo for a varying amount of quarter note's worth of time later in the sustain, depending on string attack. This is heard particularly well when cranked up on the volume knob. It can definitely put out an emotional feeling into the room, very expressive with passion to spare into the listening room or recording. Tone is powerfully subliminal in it's effect on both the player and audience! Having the tube sockets mounted on the printed circuit boards in the modern production is not the best way to build a PCB design. It is somewhat acceptable with the tubes mounted upright, but having the power and rectifier tubes hanging upside down with the sockets on the PCB's instead of mounted to the chassis is a cost cutting procedure which results in a lot of tube generated heat convecting and conducting upwards into the PCB's, particularly with power tubes operating in hot running class A. I'm not surprised that the new ones are supposed to sound great, my oldie moldy boogered vintage cheese ones certainly do! And just like the old motorcycles and cars redone in the art custom shops since the 60's now displayed on modern TV shows, the vintage cheese amps are going up in value, but in most cases someone with soldering skills and informed intent can take vintage cheese and booger it into greatness for less than the new ones' price tags. It is an absolute blast to play out through a wolf in sheep's clothing! YMMV... Boutique amps for boutique guitars!
  7. 575 or 525 for live higher gain setting

    As long as I put the speaker cab on the neck side, not set way behind, laterally past the headstock even, my 576 can play dirty quite well. YMMV.
  8. NAD Bartel Sugerland

    Mark Bartel is in his own way a lot like Chris Siegmund...that build thread says it louder than any words... BUY AMERICAN CRAFTSMANSHIP! Keep the great part of America great! Invest in quality and pride... DON"T buy Chinese cut corner price point poo products, especially the "Reissue" ones that have to be modded out of the box to attain some measure of reliability. Gaaaaaaaah! Just say NO! Boutique amps for boutique guitars! Boutique guitars for boutique amps!
  9. Your "swiss army knife" Heritage

    555/Seth Lovers
  10. Great questions! Am not second guessing the builder who knows waaaay more than I do, rather will explain why I did it in the first place. Marsh amps tend to be fantastic sounding! I did have previous experience from other mad scientist experiments, that is what prompted the amp surgery in the first place. The foundation amp for Dumbles is the Fender Bassman, as is the earliest Marshalls. That Bassman amp in 50 or 100 watt versions came with a large output transformer in order to put out a strong bass response. Smaller transformers fail to provide that level of breadth in their frequency response. I could be wrong, but it appears that my Marsh Overlord did not come with a clone of a Bassman output transformer. The Ceriatone builds of the same circuit type feature a locally sourced clone of the Bassman OT. Nik is pretty fastidious about his parts selection. I learned a lot from writing back and forth the Chris Siegmund, his amps are known for being special in a very amazing way. I have a Midnight Blues Breaker head of his, it has a slightly oversized Radiospares type output transformer from Mercury Magnetics, as well as a real pair of British KT66's socketed. He has a term called the "power trio." It consists of the power tube(s), the output transformer, and the speaker(s) that dominate the amp's resulting tone. According to Siegmund, the most important is the output transformer, it is the "Heart" of the amp's tone. This led me to test the theory using a 70's silver face Fender Champ as the guinea pig. I ordered a Poshan brand singe ended output transformer from Taiwan that was double the mass of the stock Champ iron. Was easy to do. The difference in overall tone of the amp in a "good" way validated his words. Then I noticed a 30 watt unit on eBay that weighed somewhere near 6-7 pounds, I got that and mounted it in the bottom of the cab because it was so oversized. Again, a huge difference in volume, frequency bandwidth and harmonic content for the better...waaaay better! The observations from the two swaps in same amp (changing nothing else) were that swapping out a less massive output transformer for a beefier one led to a louder, beefier, more detailed tone content. My Marsh came with a Mercury Magnetics power transformer, those are really expensive. Both Heyboer and Classic Tone iron give a lot of bang for the buck. Classic Tone's parent company, Magnetic Components, built transformers that are found as original equipment in lots of vintage tube amplifiers, including guitar amps. It may be that in order to offset the cost of the Mercury iron that the choice for what was used happened. I don't know for sure. Heyboer iron has a great reputation as well. I am not familiar with pricing difference between those two makers. I do know that Classic Tone builds great sounding transformers that sound like the original equipment in Fender amps, I did a swap in a '68 Super Reverb using model 40-18000 to get 2, 4, and 8 ohm secondaries for using a single 15 inch speaker a la Vibroverb. Have never heard another Super that could compete with mine in the tone department either. But that's another happy story...and that OT choice was only a small part of what was done to that secondhand, DOA amp with two blown speakers that I paid chump change for. So the past results of earlier output tranny swapping did lead me to the current experiment. I expected some difference, but not to the extent that I experienced. I previously touted the Marsh Overlord as a great amp to cover a huge range of tones. That capability became more enhanced as a result of installing the Classic Tone unit. It covers the Dumble roots, and now gets more aggressive if desired. Hope this helps.
  11. Would you believe the damn thing took six hours to get done? Aaaaauuuugh! The two tough bolts...an hour to get them out. 2 1/2 hours to get back in. They were a tight fit through the chassis slots cut out for them. Lots of bad words said very loudly every now and then. At least it sounds uniquely awesome. But sheeeesh...glad I don't work on 'em to pay the bills. Am my own laughing stock right now. Very humbling. At least it worked the way it should right off the bat. Getting in and out of the amp as a project reminds me of the limerick about "The girl from Peru"... There once was a girl from Peru, Who filled up her insides with glue... She said with a grin, They paid to get in, Now they'll pay to get out too...
  12. Tone King Ironman Attenuator

    Once again, +1, Kudos to Cobo for his more than skilled playing ability, for his exceptional taste in boutique amps and a great attenuator product, and for his willingness to labor and share helpful information with others. Tone King amp products are top tier quality items. MUCH RESPECT! Boutique amps for boutique guitars, Boutique guitars for boutique amps!
  13. Marsh amplification builds some really nice sounding amps. I ordered one of the first 50 watt Overlord models as a build to order on Fleabay, got it at a discount because it was a new model. It used some really nice Ceriatone boards inside, but was built in the USA instead of Malaysia. The amp came with a Mercury Magnetics power tranny, I don't know who made the choke, and remember it advertised as having a Heyboer output tranny. It is a copy of an 80's Overdrive Supreme by dumble, #124. I have enjoyed playing through it, I had a couple additional features installed as part of the build, one is a lift negative feedback switch using the same switch formerly used and called the ground switch. It still has that original label, a secret tone weapon. The other was a half power switch that sits on the back of the chassis, it works by operating the power tubes in triode mode instead of pentode. Using half power results in a slightly quieter, less punchy, darker tone set. with only five tubes in the whole amp one would think that the inside would be relatively simple, in fact it has way more parts inside that chassis than my '68 Fender Super Reverb, and it has nine tubes. I really enjoyed the tones, the OD has a full, fat sound with a lot of lower mids providing the girth. However in the bass frequencies that tranny was lacking. I first listened to a Classic Tone output transformer that came with a custom build of a 50 watt Marshall Jubilee. I noted that the tones had a robust bass response. However, the clipping diode type of distortion found in that circuit was not my cup of tea. But I could tell that I liked the way that iron sounded. So I remembered the part number... Last week I saw an auction of that model, 40-18025 for 25 bucks plus shipping for what was advertised as new. When it arrived I noticed that one of the leads had been extended by a foot, and all the other leads were full length, however, each lead had a female spade fitting crimped onto the end. Other than that it looked like it had never been used. This is a 50 watt replacement/upgrade for the Drake transformer found in 50 watt Marshall amps. I thought that it would be a great science project to transplant it into the Overlord. Only seven wires to cut and solder, right? Should be easy one would think...Haaah! Not in a this case. I didn't build the amp and I did not have a schematic to help. So The only option was to leave the circuit intact. Only problem was that two of the four bolts mounting it to the chassis were underneath the eyelet boards. So both of those boards were removed from the chassis standoffs in order to have room to work underneath, it ended up being nearly impossible to do, and definitely impossible to remove wires in order to make more clearance to work under the Garolite eyelet boards because of no schematic and because I did not build the amp. The sheer number of parts made getting to the the tranny primary and secondary wires a tight places proposition, so I used my 25 watt pencil instead of the beefier 40 wat one that I favor. The wimpy iron had a longer tip that I previously bent down to improve reach into tight spots. Using that iron was good, but each solder joint was a much slower process to heat up the work properly.. When I finished, I was tired, but the anticipation of first fire up caused some nervousness. Getting the primary wires reversed would have resulted in a really loud high pitch whine that would make the amp unplayable. However, I wrote notes as to the color of each primary and secondary wire and what colors went where on the power tubes. So after diligently following the example from the Heyboer, I was ready to fire it up. At first blush, I noticed a bit of low volume hum that the amp did not have before. I was perplexed because I left the lead dress as similar to what it was originally. Found the source of the problem, the half power switch was on, triode operation is a little noisier than pentode. Then I plugged in a guitar... I was floored! The amp was a good third louder at similar master settings and the preamp gains in the clean and dirty channels were also similarly affected. Gain was as much at a setting of 2 as before at 3 1/2 in the clean channel. The bottom end now was tight and huge, and the dirty channel definitely had that plexi rip yer face off vibe going. The new OT had about the same lamination stack thickness, but the end bells were a good half an inch wider across than the Heyboer, I think that there was more copper inside that Classic Tone. Add in the factor of the new tranny being designed for el34 rather than 6l6, the primary impedance in the Heyboer was likely at or over 4,000 ohms, while the new one had around 3700. That also had a lot of influence over the louder volume I was getting. So now this beast goes from a fendery clean to a Marshall scream. It is still possible to set that clean channel for the smooth jazz vibe as well. The time was worth the major PITA factor, and I felt fortunate that everything worked as it should at first fireup with no freakups! Yaaaaaay! And the resale value won't be hugely affected, those amps hold their value well.
  14. Tone King Ironman Attenuator

    Not much...the bigger amps might cost more to fix...and as far as the small amp's potential for greater wear and tear in the smaller sizes, think that it goes back to construction quality and what percentage of full output does either type/setup operate at. If your amp has a serial effects loop, there is a better way. Howard Alexander Dumble was all about using a tube effects loop buffer with his amps called the Dumbulator. Most of his builds were 100 watt or more, so the Dumbulator in the loop was his way. The overall volume of the host amp is controlled by the send and return knobs on the Dumbulator. Since it is inserted before the power section of the amp, the wear and tear on the power section is correlated by how loud the music is being played, just like an unattenuated amp. I have a Ceriatone C-lator, and it works great with the amps that have the same type of FX loop that Dumble's circuits have. I set the master up slightly or way above beyond what is required, and the C-lator becomes the new master volume control. It depends on how I want the amp to behave to touch as well as harmonic content in the tones. Having the master dimed or only slightly loud makes no difference in parts wear because a tiny signal into a dimed master volume can result in the same volume level as a stronger signal going into a lower master setting, what matters is the how strong the signal is when it leaves the power tubes. In either case, you get what you need without squandering excess.
  15. Tone King Ironman Attenuator

    What Steiner said...+1. I have a couple, nice ones. Weber Mass 100 watt with a full tone stack (volume treble mid bass on the line out), lots of bellls and whistles... and a handwired one of a kind Ultimate Attenuator from Mr. Ho in Canada. Of the two. the UA colors the sound the least. Cranking a loud amp and then attenuating down to a whisper does not change the fact that the amp's power section is still running cranked... this causes a lot more heat to be given off by the tubes and the parts in the power section. How the amp is built as far as the capacity of the chosen parts used has a correlation with how well it can endure that kind of treatment. A top end boutique amp with robust parts all across the board ls likely to tolerate that kind of thing MUUUUUUCH more than a Chinese PCB construction, many of those use parts of lower capacity than they should in order to hit price point. The best way to use an attenuator is to not overdo it. By that I mean that using it to reduce a slightly too loud volume setting is fine, but don't expect your dimed 18 to 200 watt beast choked down to a whisper to operate indefinitely without some kind of accelerated tube wear and overheating/early failure of amp circuit parts. Slightly rather than hugely attenuating an amp output also causes less effect on the amp's tone from the attenuating device. Amp geeks like to use upgraded master volume designs, or use controls to reduce the voltages inside the amp. London Power for instance has a product line designed to do just that.