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View Full Version : Bell & Howell projector Amp project info or anything else


pfflam
07-27-2006, 01:37 AM
I recently spent way too much money on an old Bell and Howell 179 Tube Filmosound projector and speaker cabinet.

I haven't opened it up in order to see the innards yet, but based on the MINT condition and the obsessive way this thing was cared for -still has replacement bulb and fuses strapped on the door etc- I assume the tubes are in good condition . . . also, the speaker cabinet is a true beauty!! nary a scratch or smudge

Anyway, I heard rumor that these things have been converted into guitar amps:
anyone have information on this?

or pictures?
or stories?
Ideas?

TwinandTwang
07-27-2006, 07:07 AM
Colin Cripps ( Kathleen Edwards) has one done long ago.
I heard him with it before he added the vintage AC30 next to it onstage and it did sound great. Then again he is a really good player.

ES350
07-27-2006, 07:25 AM
6v6 PP, 12AX7 preamp, 5Y3 rectifier, cathode bias, '18 watts' printed on the chassis, looks like early 60's...I don't know if mine is 18 watts, but with a C10Q in a ported Kodak cab c. 1940's, it kicks butt as a guitar or harp amp and if you want to hear it, listen to the James Cotton tracks on Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith latest album. Not much you really have to do to them unless you want to pad down the mic input or change the output jack to standard 1/4...

krash
07-27-2006, 07:49 AM
I have a couple of B&H theater amps (6550s) and the only problem is that the transformer output impedance is 64 ohms. Not a lot of guitar speakers like that. I guess you could wire up a 4x12 with 16 ohm speakers in series and make it work but it'd be hardly worth it. The iron is not that great anyway in my amps so I just figure I'll let them collect dust until I happen on some old alnico 64 ohm speakers to go with them.

drbob1
07-27-2006, 09:30 AM
I've got an Ampex projector amp (actually a satellite speaker kind of deal) that sounds great. Modded to take a 1/4" input and that's all... It expects a pretty quiet input, so your guitar shouldn't have any trouble overdriving it.

Bonedance
07-27-2006, 12:23 PM
I've got an Ampex projector amp (actually a satellite speaker kind of deal) that sounds great. Modded to take a 1/4" input and that's all... It expects a pretty quiet input, so your guitar shouldn't have any trouble overdriving it.

Is that the Ampex 620 model? I just came across two pristine examples of Ampex 620's for $100 each last weekend. I believe they were designed to amplify Ampex reel to reels. The 6V6 tube complement piqued my interest in believing it could be made into a mini deluxe type amp. I passed on them, but I'm sure they will be there if it sounds like a good idea.

Also came across a pristine olf progector/speaker deal with with EL84's for $75. Wondering the same about that.

drbob1
07-27-2006, 02:37 PM
Grab the Ampex amps, there's a lot of goodness packed into that little box (not sure about how the amp would do for cooling with so little airflow, but at maybe 20w those 6L6s are sincerely understressed). It should already have a 1/4" output for running into a bigger speaker cab, but you'd probably need to add a 1/4" input. Stereo Ampex for your wet/dry/wet rig, what a thought! I just wish I had a replacement for the handle (in that luggage style finish it's hard to carry without one).

TwinandTwang
07-27-2006, 02:39 PM
Colin's has EL 84 's. Some are 6v6.

6789
07-27-2006, 03:03 PM
I have a Bell and Howell speaker cab I use with my Lovepedal 1/2 watt amp and Aphex guitar exciter pedal. Sounds really good. The speaker isn't very efficient, so it is quiet - just right for the bedroom.
http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/6642/bellandhowellcab987gt6.jpg

Macaroni
07-27-2006, 03:22 PM
I believe some guy in Canada made one or two of them, and they were called the, "Bernie". Steve Webster, creator of the V-Stack pedals and amps, made a one off pedal modeled after a Bernie. I have it.

Scottone
07-27-2006, 03:36 PM
I believe some guy in Canada made one or two of them, and they were called the, "Bernie". Steve Webster, creator of the V-Stack pedals and amps, made a one off pedal modeled after a Bernie. I have it.

I think it's Bernie Raustig, but my spelling of the last name may be a bit off. Here is a link to one that's mounted in a 1x12 combo cab.

http://www.capsulemusic.com/retail/detail.asp?ID=2550

Bonedance
07-27-2006, 05:21 PM
Grab the Ampex amps, there's a lot of goodness packed into that little box (not sure about how the amp would do for cooling with so little airflow, but at maybe 20w those 6L6s are sincerely understressed). It should already have a 1/4" output for running into a bigger speaker cab, but you'd probably need to add a 1/4" input. Stereo Ampex for your wet/dry/wet rig, what a thought! I just wish I had a replacement for the handle (in that luggage style finish it's hard to carry without one).

Thanks for the info. Yes, it did have the 1/4" out for the speaker, but what looked like an RCA fro the input. no biggie to do that though. While I did not look inside the amp, the tag indicated they ran 6V6's. Is that correct or are they 6L6's? What are the speakers used in these?

Both were in exceptional shape and one looked like it had never been used.

Yeah, it would be cool to have both and use them as a stereo rig!

pfflam
07-27-2006, 09:29 PM
I wonder how hard it is to separate the amp from the projector . . . I would want to keep it so that i could re-assembled if I wanted without much fussing.

Its as if its never been used. I'm still unpacking from my move to PDX so I haven't even been able to try it out . . .

Sure is purdy though . . :)

e-z
07-28-2006, 07:17 AM
I have a Bell and Howell speaker cab I use with my Lovepedal 1/2 watt amp and Aphex guitar exciter pedal. Sounds really good. The speaker isn't very efficient, so it is quiet - just right for the bedroom.
http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/6642/bellandhowellcab987gt6.jpg

Beautiful.

filmosound
10-20-2006, 11:02 AM
I think it's Bernie Raustig, but my spelling of the last name may be a bit off.

Bernie Raunig. I don't know the exact # of Filmosound projectors that he converted into guitar amps, but I think it was more in the 15 to 30 range rather than 1 or 2. I have one myself... I believe the last one he put together in 1998. Colin Cripps has the first one (and possibly the best one) Bernie made in the early/mid 90's. Some had 6V6's and some had EL84's as someone else already mentioned.

57special
10-01-2007, 10:37 PM
Bernie worked out of Hamilton, and probably made about 15 Filmosounds. He liked the 6V6 version more, but everyone wanted the EL84 type. Mine sounded great, but i had so many great amps that i let it go. The tone was sorta in between a Tweed Deluxe and a hot sounding Ampeg Rocket. Sounded great with a tele. I still have a modded Ampeg Reverb o Rocket II he did .... GREAT amp!
Around Bernie's i was known as "never ending customer #2".

Macaroni
10-01-2007, 10:47 PM
I'm from Hamilton, and I was back there in late July to play the Burlington Jazz'n Blues Festival. I played with 2 other guitarists, one of whom was Brian Griffith, who was playing through his Bernie at a very small bar when we went to see him before the festival. Daniel Lanois gave it to him. Very nice amp. I love my V-Stack Bernie pedal - quite a unique one off.

LustandFury
10-10-2007, 10:33 AM
Hi I ended up scoring 2 Filmosound amps...one running two EL84's and one running 3 6v6's. The EL84 is actually set up with a two 1/4" outputs for 8 and 16 ohms. And plugging straight into it sounded pretty sweet! The 6v6 needs some 1/4" outputs but all the tube light up and the guts look brand new.

Does anyone know what Bernie actually did to the amps as far as mods go? From the little info I could find I've read that it wasn't much...

LustandFury
10-11-2007, 09:30 AM
I also cant find a schematic for the EL84 amp. It looks close to the schematics for the Filmosound Specialist 399 model but they use 6v6's. Can an EL84 circuit layout be modified to use 6v6 tubes? I thought I remember reading 6v6 tubes were designed as a replacement for EL84...
here's the schematic PDF's
http://www.film-tech.com/warehouse/wareview.php?id=1448&category=2

canklyde
10-12-2007, 07:00 PM
The Bell & Howell Filmosound amplifier that really gets the thumbs up is the EL84 model.They are actually quite a rare version made between 1959-1962 in the B&H model 385 and model 399(Sapphire bearing version of the 385).They appear to have only been made for the Canadian export version,where the amplifier section was either made in Canada,or exported to meet CSA standards.If you find this version,you have the components to do the 'BERNIE" amp that I use,but the circuit that Bernie came up with is quite unique and NOT what was stock to the amp.Bernie essentially gutted the amp,and did his own thing.It looks like a Rat's nest in there unfortunately,but the amp sounds amazing!!!

LustandFury
10-15-2007, 08:23 AM
Do you have a schematic for the amp by chance? The amp stock is a real rats nest as well. I have a bunch of schematics of that model amp but they all say they use 6v6 power tubes. Would the basic layout of the EL84 version have a fairly similar component layout? I'd be really interested to see a picture of the guts to compare it to the stock version. I'm really new to the whole tube amp thing so I'm trying to learn as much as possible and was hoping this would make a good first project.

Did he use the original Chassis? And I'm guessing he changed the Output Transformer since the sound of the bass on the stock one I have sounds pretty flabby at most volume settings. The high end has a really nice sparkle though. Thanks for any help in advance,
Mike

pepperco
10-15-2007, 12:32 PM
The Bell & Howell Filmosound amplifier that really gets the thumbs up is the EL84 model.They are actually quite a rare version made between 1959-1962 in the B&H model 385 and model 399(Sapphire bearing version of the 385).They appear to have only been made for the Canadian export version,where the amplifier section was either made in Canada,or exported to meet CSA standards.If you find this version,you have the components to do the 'BERNIE" amp that I use,but the circuit that Bernie came up with is quite unique and NOT what was stock to the amp.Bernie essentially gutted the amp,and did his own thing.It looks like a Rat's nest in there unfortunately,but the amp sounds amazing!!!

CC ?

:AOK

If so, I was wondering when you were going to show up around here .
http://b8.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/00577/80/24/577444208_l.jpg

Troubleman
10-15-2007, 12:55 PM
Saw a guitar player using one in his blues band in Mississippi. He had it closed-mic'ed and was using an old Gibson Melody Maker.
The thing sounded scary good.

jb

LustandFury
10-15-2007, 10:53 PM
Hey Colin since you have the "first and bbest Bernie amp" I'd definitely would like to see your amps layout! Love your playing!

pfflam
10-16-2007, 12:23 AM
Wow. I started this therad almost a year ago.

I have since opened up and removed the amp. This model uses three 25L6-GT tubes, and a 6SL7

Mine doesn't start up at all but it is as if it were brand new, absolutely mint.

Please tell me this think could potentially work for guitar . . anybody know?

BTW here's a pic of the outside:

The Camera is beneath the speaker. I eventually want to get it working and figure out a way to mount it in the speaker cab.
http://homepage.mac.com/pfflam/.Pictures/GIT/Rig1.jpg

LustandFury
10-16-2007, 07:26 AM
It should definitely work for guitar in some way. Not sure how the 25L6-GT's will sound but they are related to 6L6's and kick out 4.3 watts. Both of mine lit up and worked straight away. I just unscrewed the amp from the bottom of the projector and it just drops out, you can then just remove the cover to service it. I had to add a 1/4" speaker out but beside that mine sounds pretty good stock so far. It's a total rats nest though so servicing it could get pretty tricky.

canklyde
10-16-2007, 03:41 PM
I can tell you that the circuit Bernie came up with is a somewhat guarded secret,largely due to the impossible amount of wire there is and how difficult it would be to figure out.The guy I have mine serviced from,has spent many hours trying to unlock the secret,and while he has come as close as it gets,he still reserves some speculation as to the values on some of the resistors and caps.
I took my #1 to Andy at THD a few years back,as he was interested in seeing it and got in touch with me.It was hilarious because as soon as he took the back panel off to look at the circuit,he saw the Rats nest,said "**** this",and put the panel right back on.He couldn't have been more disinterested after that!!!!!
I am indeed "CC"by the way.

LustandFury
10-16-2007, 07:14 PM
Well since Colin won't show his I'll show mine...http://photos-b.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sctm/v130/60/104/638785631/n638785631_1448445_8042.jpg

LustandFury
10-18-2007, 08:23 AM
The amp was almost definitely made in Canada to because the caps are all marked Made in Canada and they are all original.

Richards
10-19-2007, 05:41 AM
A great amp builder in Toronto (good aquaintance too!!) is producing amazing "Filmosound" amps, http://www.teixeiraamps.com/bernie.html . He is a great person to do business with, and bends over backwards for his customers. He has several amp models , always has something in production; amp wise. His amps sound great,I have played most of his models and a few prototypes at Capsule and at his home, I don;t own one his amps, but I will be purchasing one before December of this year. Great builder, remember the name people; teixeira.

LustandFury
10-19-2007, 06:19 AM
Much appreciated!

Magnatone1960
10-20-2007, 05:40 PM
Here's a couple of pics of mine. If anyone is interested there's a couple of EL84 based ones at eBay currently. The guy sells professional film related stuff and when he first started selling these he had a picture showing about a dozen of these with both EL84 and 6V6 types.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250167454764&ssPageName=MERC_VIC_RSCC_Pr4_PcY_BID_Stores_IT&refitem=250171557292&itemcount=4&refwidgetloc=closed_view_item&usedrule1=StoreCatToStoreCat&refwidgettype=cross_promot_widget


http://img108.mytextgraphics.com/photolava/2007/10/20/bhfront-4887mj6fb.jpg


http://img108.mytextgraphics.com/photolava/2007/10/20/bhchasis-4887p3jb2.jpg

canklyde
10-21-2007, 08:10 AM
This is the 6V6 version made around 1960.It has the smaller Power tranny with the "27765" output tranny.There is an earlier version with the same output tranny,but with an even larger Power tranny.These are great for doing a tweed Deluxe sounding amp.This one looks to have been made in the U.S whereas while the Canadian version LOOKS the same,all the filtercaps,etc,are marked made in Canada,so they clearly where assembled both sides of the border.

LustandFury
10-22-2007, 01:24 PM
Do you normally just gut the entire amp and start from scratch with a circuit layout that will fit the tube complement in the amp?

canklyde
10-24-2007, 12:20 PM
Bernie's approach was definitely a mixed bag,where he used existing components as well as adding new parts.He did essentially gut the unit and rewire it.He didn't use any existing schematic,and it offers up a unique look on electronics guys faces when they see what he did in creating the Rat's nest.

LustandFury
10-24-2007, 01:39 PM
Thanks Colin...looks like I'm off on a bigger adventure then I realized! Should be a good learning experience though.

Phloored
10-25-2007, 10:34 AM
1952? 6V6 model

http://kijiji.ebayimg.com/i21/01/k/000/77/f9/06fa_20.JPG

canklyde
10-26-2007, 02:36 PM
As you can see,there was a substantial evolution between the model 185 and the model 385 6V6 version.I have seen and played through alot of filmo amps,made from different heads,sometimes thought to be 'Bernie' style amps.While each had some unique qualities,the 385,is the best version in both the 6V6 and EL84 circuits,in my experience.

mcknigs
10-26-2007, 03:43 PM
Here's some pics of the Filmosound I found on the curb a few years back. I never did get around to doing anything with it:

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX1.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX1.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX2.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX2.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX3.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX3.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX4.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX4.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX5.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX5.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX6.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX6.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX7.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX7.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX8.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX8.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX9.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX9.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX10.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX10.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX11.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX11.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX12.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX12.JPG)

http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX13.JPG (http://www.scottmcknight.com/FOSX13.JPG)


I also have a 2xEL84 that came out of a Graflex 16mm projector. It sounds pretty cool, or did before it mysteriously stopped worked a couple years ago. It's primary claim to fame is that (I'm pretty sure) it's the first amp that Mike Kropotkin (KCA NOS Tubes) worked on when he went into the amp repair business years ago.

-Scott

danielzink
10-29-2007, 10:14 AM
Picked up one of these myself......unfortunately in my rush to purchase I negelected to notice that there is no power transformer. How are these used for an amp without a transformer ?

http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo1.JPG

http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo2.jpg


Luckily I scored this one with the correct layout etc.

http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo3.jpg
http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo4.jpg
http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo5.jpg
http://pws.cablespeed.com\~danielzink\filmo6.jpg


Now I've got to decide what to do with the first one.........probably sell it off - I don't want to pump a ton of money into a power transformer and the labor to have it wired in right etc. Plus - the original one uses 25l6 tubes.........


Dan

canklyde
10-29-2007, 08:39 PM
I wouldn't bother with the first one.The second is a prime candidate for a 6V6 monster.This is a 385 version from around 1958-59,and has all the right components to make a great sounding amp.

Magnatone1960
10-29-2007, 09:12 PM
http://pws.cablespeed.com%5C%7Edanielzink%5Cfilmo1.JPG

http://pws.cablespeed.com%5C%7Edanielzink%5Cfilmo2.jpg
Luckily I scored this one with the correct layout etc.

http://pws.cablespeed.com%5C%7Edanielzink%5Cfilmo3.jpg
http://pws.cablespeed.com%5C%7Edanielzink%5Cfilmo4.jpg


Ah -so you're the guy that bid $68 for the one that I wanted to pair with mine. I was going to bid but at $90 with shipping it was too high for my tastes for one without tubes. It does come with the phototube and the 5879 -I asked the seller. There is a good schematic available for that one.

LustandFury
10-30-2007, 09:52 PM
These projectors are everywhere. Try a local school that has some old stuff laying around, thats where I got both of mine!
Mike

z3
10-31-2007, 12:01 AM
A great amp builder in Toronto (good aquaintance too!!) is producing amazing "Filmosound" amps, http://www.teixeiraamps.com/bernie.html . He is a great person to do business with, and bends over backwards for his customers.

indeed, antonio is a rather an obsessed guy. great set of ears. into vintage british tube hi-fi gear too, so his ears aren't spoiled by too much silicon.
jim cuddy uses a couple of antonio's amps.
that's so weird that this thread has popped up again. i couldn't sleep last night so i was surfing the net and pondering film-o-sound amps and the garnet herzog. i lost my herzog when my ex made off w/ it some ten years ago, i'd owned it since the late '60s and hadn't used it much since the '70s.
i have to say, i may not have played the #1 bernie, but antonio's is mighty fine for the dude that doesn't wanna have to go thru the process of raiding the audio visual dept. of Ur local high school, etc..

LustandFury
10-31-2007, 07:41 AM
That's strange...I just bought an original very early Herzog off a guy in East Toronto a few month ago for $550! It was listed on Craiglist for ages at $700 and I called on a whim to see if it was still for sale. It was all original with Brass trimming and everything. Totally original with almost no damage so I bought it after selling one of my guitars. DO you remember the serial number? Mine is 5696 which is the second oldest on the Garnet Registry. Sadly the prices I'm seeing them go for on eBay lately are giving me the itch to sell it. But I'm fighting it hard...money is just so tight :FM

Here it is with my Rebel II Combo. Picked that up on eBay for $350 what a great deal for such a wicked PTP amp!
http://us.a2.yahoofs.com/groups/g_1892699/a72f/__sr_/899c.jpg?grgxLKHBEmiJZcxd
http://us.a2.yahoofs.com/groups/g_1892699/a72f/__sr_/358d.jpg?grIBMKHBLYUNDW4e
http://us.a2.yahoofs.com/groups/g_1892699/a72f/__sr_/8726.jpg?grIBMKHB..NOcE.8

z3
10-31-2007, 09:41 AM
DO you remember the serial number? Mine is 5696 which is the second oldest on the Garnet Registry. Sadly the prices I'm seeing them go for on eBay lately are giving me the itch to sell it. But I'm fighting it hard...money is just so tight.

i don't remember the serial # of mine. it was very pristine, tho'. PM me if U ever consider selling it. i'm awfully busy and don't really have the time to track all the stuff down that i'm looking for (a matchless TV-1 would be welcome if it fell outta the sky into my lap).

the garnet stuff is cool. when i was a kid marshall and vox and fender were just stratospherically priced. the argument was traynor vs. garnet. there were a number of amps built by gillies that had other names than garnet. when i was a kid in guelph a buddy of mine had a gar gillies built dual EL34 bass amp under the name 'Ram' that flat out smoked. i actually liked it better than my 'rayno' bassmaster, but he just wouldn't part w/ it.

most folks don't know that gar gillies built the gibson lab series amps, which are pretty decent amps, the sand circuitry notwithstanding.

much appreciated if U keep me in mind about Ur herzog.

LustandFury
10-31-2007, 09:51 AM
I will but I'm trying not to sell it. I just sounds so good! I had a Traynor YRM-1 and the Garnet just smokes it!

z3
10-31-2007, 10:29 AM
I had a Traynor YRM-1 and the Garnet just smokes it!

i still have the bassmaster that i bought used in '69. i never was a fan of the traynor guitar amps. the rebel is a sleeper, for sure.

LustandFury
11-02-2007, 08:28 AM
Hey Colin what is the cab of your amp made from? Is it just raw MDF!?!

canklyde
11-05-2007, 05:07 PM
Bernie #1 is made from solid Pine,reinforced with pine strips glued and screwed laterally to hold it all together.No finger joints,or anything fancy.All the screws in it are Robertson(Square insert),making it ALL Canadian!!!

LustandFury
11-05-2007, 09:48 PM
Nice!

Hey Colin one question. And you don't have to answer it but which tubes are not being used in the Bernie? I've finally got up the nerve to cut the wiring to the 6AR5 tube as it didn't seem like it was being used for the output which proved right. But I've read a number of posts that state the EF86 preamp tube has enough gain to run the EL84's all on it's own...but there are two 12AX7's left so my limited knowledge is telling me that at least one of those is not really needed? But maybe one could be used post the tone control as a makeup stage? Or is one already the Phase Inverter and one a makeup stage!? I get a pretty confused at that point in the circuit.

canklyde
11-06-2007, 08:27 PM
Bernie used this as the tube layout.1 EZ81-rectifier,2-EL84 Power,2 12AX7-preamp.1 12AX7 acts as the phase inverter,1 for the tone circuit.Not all the EL84 amps originally had an EF86 tube,so it was taken out altogether in Bernie's circuit.Hope this helps.

LustandFury
11-06-2007, 08:54 PM
Thanks Colin! It look like the 6V6 Schematic is very similar to the layout of the El84 version but I'm having one hell of a time making heads or tails of it still!

57special
11-07-2007, 08:23 AM
Hey Colin. Have you been in touch with Bernie at all in the past few years? Last i talked to him he sounded good, but only mildly interested in anything to do with amps.
This is Rob Dixon, btw. Belated congrats on your marriage.

canklyde
11-08-2007, 09:53 PM
Hi Rob,it Has Been A While Since I Have Spoken To Both You And Bernie.i Have Not Heard From Bernie In At Least 10 Years,i Heard He Moved To Northern B.c And Is Living A Remote Lifestyle.
I Hope All Is Well With You,i Still Have One Of The Ampeg Echo Twins(with 7591's) I Bought From You So Many Moons Ago.i Need To Get It Serviced And Up And Running Again,it Was A Great Sounding Amp When I Last Used It(around '96!!!)

57special
11-09-2007, 12:02 PM
Last i talked to Bernie was about 4 years ago. He sounded healthy. I guess breathing fresh, cedar scented air is better for you than solder fumes. I still have a Ampeg RR2 that he modded which sounds great.
I gave up on the ET's, even though i loved them. The 6SL7's ALWAYS went microphonic on me after a while. The RR2 gives me a similar tone, w/o the problems, and is actually more versatile, but it doesn't do that hypnotic, swampy thing as well as the ET's.
PM me if you want Bernie contact info.
Just bought the KE CD- and i never buy anything. Really, really good!

canklyde
11-09-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the compliment.I would be happy to drop Bernie a line.Perhaps I could find out the mystery values on some of the caps and resistors he used in my Amps.Do you still live in the area or are you out West as well?

57special
11-11-2007, 08:28 AM
Colin,
I believe you were on of the last people to see me before i left for the West in 96. Remember that D-28 deal?
I've been south of the border for 5 years now... married, kids, etc..

Will PM you Bernie's info.

valcotone
01-08-2008, 10:46 PM
A couple of years ago I bought 2 Filmosound 179 amps with the intention of turning them into guitar amps... I found there was too much hum. I went the lazy route and just replaced the filter caps but the hum remained. Next step would have been to remove all the extraneous components and check the grounding or rebuild it entirely.

The chassis' are very cramped... so I sold them both. Oh well... if I had more time I would have stuck with it.

My two:
1946 Bell & Howell Filmosound 179 Amplifier model 14027 serial=117715
1947 Bell & Howell Filmosound 179 Amplifier model 14027 serial=144647

Tube line up was the same for both: 5Y3, 2x6V6GT, 6SL7GT, 6J7. In addition there was a lamp tube and another 6V6...

A couple of pics:

http://www.kilback.net/pics/dsc05475.jpg

http://www.kilback.net/pics/Dsc05476.jpg

http://www.kilback.net/pics/Dsc05477.jpg

pfflam
03-18-2008, 02:17 AM
I just got another two Filmosound projectors at a thrift store for $5 each.

Plugged one into the B&H speaker cabinet and into my Git and *BOING* great sounding amp!!

Yeehaw, I don't even need to do anything to it: it sounds fantastic.

Richards
03-18-2008, 05:43 AM
If anyone is interested in checking out a Filmosound amp, (not affiliated in any way sp??, but we are good friends) Antonio Teixeira at Capsule music in Toronto /Canada is currently making them. I was at the store this past week-end and we were discussing the amp in great detail, I have played different prototypes of his version, all have sounded really really good. Here is a link (as posted on Page 2 of this thread) , sorry for the redundentcy http://www.teixeiraamps.com/bernie.html

On the topic of Bell and Howell projectors, as someone else in the thread stated, high schools and junior grade schools here in Canada are stocked with these things, alot of them. I have scored 2 because my better half is a teacher. Cheers. Richards

razelfrax
06-12-2008, 01:46 PM
I learned to build tube amps from Bernie and was around during the Filmosound developement and I remember Bernie always telling me to rip out the tone controls lol But I was after the Marshall sound. Rob did you have a 100 watt Hiwatt back then ?


Scott

STEEVDA
08-03-2008, 03:28 AM
I have just picked up a bell &howell projector for a wallet bustin $24.99
removed the amp section and wala the combo of 2 el84,2 12ax7,ez81,6ao5a?
plugged er in and sounds real good its a filmsound specialist 8399av other than the sound another impressive thing is the chassis is aluminum and perforated and after a nice wipe is very clean has an output jack for 8 ohms and 16 ohms in back and a nice sounding stock speaker with a cord like 20 feet long

soldersucker
08-03-2008, 04:54 AM
Here's mine looks funky as hell but sounds good!
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t289/stn23/2008_0626tort30274.jpg
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t289/stn23/2008_0626tort30280.jpg
http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t289/stn23/2008_0626tort30278.jpg

tweedtwin
09-01-2008, 12:18 AM
Hi I have a weird Bernie amp. It is single ended and runs on 1 EL34. It has a 6SL7 preamp. It is not made from a filmosound chassis but was hand made by Bernie. I was told by him that it was his personal amp. It sound like a plexi ready to melt down. Has anyone ever seen another Bernie amp like this?

Tweedtwin

pfflam
09-01-2008, 12:48 AM
So I got one together, with the cab in the early pages of this thread, with all the parts, and I didn't have to pay an arm or a leg . . . I didn't even do anything to it, it just sounds great . . . though i did strip the projector part and used the bottom part of the projector housing (metal part) as a cover, otherwise I kept getting radio signals.

I popped in an old Fender Alnico 12 that I had laying around and I love it-!! . . . it seems to warm up after awhile, and the then after that the sweet natural brown distortion starts to get a bit heavier, (maybe a bit mushy) but this thing sounds pretty amazingly fantastic.

I use the projector case for the head and the B&H cab sits on top and it looks very nice . . . . will have pics as soon as I can get to it.

57special
09-01-2008, 05:46 AM
Hi I have a weird Bernie amp. It is single ended and runs on 1 EL34. It has a 6SL7 preamp. It is not made from a filmosound chassis but was hand made by Bernie. I was told by him that it was his personal amp. It sound like a plexi ready to melt down. Has anyone ever seen another Bernie amp like this?

Tweedtwin
Yes, he used to make those, too. It was sort of based on this great old Harmony amp that i had that had the same tone. Rope handle? The coverings were usually a white sort of cloth, i think. Very rustic looking- i liked them.

tweedtwin
09-01-2008, 08:50 PM
Hey 57 Special,


My amp is actually covered in brown burlap. The inside is a rats nest, but it is reliable and has a tube driven line out built in to it!

There is actually a tube inside of the chassis!

Is that on all of the single ended amps he made?

Thanks, tweedtwin

57special
09-01-2008, 08:55 PM
I remember now, some were in Burlap, some in this white coarse cloth. I believe he shellaced them. Very cool. Bernie had great ears.

tweedtwin
09-02-2008, 06:04 AM
My Bernie also has the silver 50's Celestion that is a perfect match for the amp! Also run that line out into a larger amp and get ready to hear an amp on the verge of meltdown!

Tweedtwin

drewl
09-02-2008, 06:34 AM
Mine is a Filmosound 22w power amp, 2 large bottle 6L6's Cathode biased with an awesome sounding 16ohm alnico I used to run my 50w Marshall into.

I put a 12ax7 preamp stage with a single volume control to use it as a stand alone amp.

canklyde
09-02-2008, 07:58 AM
Bernie covered the amps in Sailing Cloth,and then would Shellac them.Some were given a brown stained Shellac,some clear which yellows over time. Almost all the original amps use Robertson Screws in their construction and amp chassis mounting as well.

57special
09-02-2008, 08:50 AM
My Bernie also has the silver 50's Celestion that is a perfect match for the amp! Also run that line out into a larger amp and get ready to hear an amp on the verge of meltdown!

Tweedtwin

I think they were from the early 60's, if you are referring to those 12" Celestion 44's. A lighter duty Celestion alnico with a distinctive tone.

tweedtwin
09-02-2008, 12:32 PM
Well the speaker is as I said silver and it says 3ohms on the basket. How do I find out more info on these speakers?

Thanks, Tweedtwin

57special
09-02-2008, 12:58 PM
there was a guy in Saskatchewan who was sitting on a bunch of these left over from the 60's . A guy called Johnson used to make amps in the 60's there, i think, and they featured Celestions. I believe that these speakers were left over from that time. The look like a G12, but handle less power. They were called P44's. Great distorted tone, but hard to get any cleans out of them.

canklyde
09-03-2008, 08:02 AM
I remember well the stash of speakers,trannies,etc that lingered at Johnson amplifiers in Brandon,Manitoba in the early-mid '90's. A friend bought about 10 NOS Celestion P44's from him thinking they were like G12's.There was a lot of disappointment when he hooked one up to find it's power rating quite low.They ended up in a few stores in Toronto,and took forever to sell.They were beautifully made though and had a nice,albeit small sound.
When I finally made it to the shop in '97,Mr. Johnson had passed and his Wife,herself in her '80's was minding the place.Behind the counter were rows of half filled Tube master packs.When I saw them my heart started pounding.Thinking I was going to get a deal,she matter of fact said,"oh those are NOS Mullards from the early '60's and will be $25 apiece." This was in '97 when they weren't worth much more.She was sharp as it gets,knew everything she had.
Later a friend saw her on a quiet day,and bought everything for one price.

drewl
09-03-2008, 08:31 AM
The only downside is whatever these things are made of, they vibrate a bit when cranked!
They probably didn't expect to have a guitar blasting through them!




http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v360/drewl1/100_2326-1-1.jpg

coco
09-12-2008, 08:38 PM
Does anyone have a schematic of the Bell & Howell Filmosound model 385 Canadian, EL84 version? Sounds like it's worth building one unless it can be bought or found?

pfflam
09-30-2008, 03:09 PM
Here it is . . . pictures are TERRIBLE, not up to my usual snuff, awful flash
I stack the cab on the cab for the old projector. The projector has been removed (weighed a ton) except for the metal housing over the sound amp which keeps out radio frequencies and also fits the projector cab.
I like the doors on the Porjector Cab.
http://homepage.mac.com/pfflam/.Pictures/GIT/B&H3.jpg

http://homepage.mac.com/pfflam/.Pictures/GIT/B&H1.jpg

http://homepage.mac.com/pfflam/.Pictures/GIT/B&H2.jpg
I still need to get a decent speaker in there . .. a 16-Ohm.
I will probably use the Warfdale from my Vox.
I'll keep this thread posted

BTW: how did the FilmoSound amps work-out for those that bought them from me?

pfflam
10-16-2008, 04:58 PM
Well Damn-!!

I put a proper 16-Ohm speaker in the cab (a Warfdale I had from my Vox fix-up) and finally had a chance to crank this thing = !!!

This is an ultra fantastic growly (yet articulate) mean-arsed blues monster!!!!

The olny problem is that the handle on the cab vibrates something awful . . . I need to figure out a cure for that.

But OMG!!

pfflam
10-17-2008, 01:28 PM
Hmm?! . . . today there seems to be some major bark-distorting that is not pretty when it is hit with volume

Anybody else who had tried one of these experience this?

BTW: if there is an amp-modder on these boards who does something to these to make them more guitar friendly (if it in fact needs it, which I am not convinced it does (except this new-fangled distortion thang)) then why not give up the cap-and-resistor changes knowledge? . . . you won't be giving up any business secrets that are gonna make you rich, so? . . . . do tell.

Freepressright
11-04-2008, 07:31 AM
I recently snagged a B&H 185 and harvested the amplifier. It's mint and sports an array of 25L6GTs, a 6SL7Gt and a 5879. I had to "build" my own speaker cable and power cable for it in order to satisfy my dying urge to test it, but I was all smiles at the results!

It has a very retro, late 60s early 70s tone. At low volumes, it stays nice and clean. At high volumes, it sings with warm, smooth distortion. I used my Marantz PMD660 digital recorder to snag some sound bytes. I used a Benson Audio Labs mic about a foot or so from the cabinet, out of fear I would throw too hot of a signal into the recorder.

This little 10-watt amplifier powered my Laney 4X12 (HH Equipped) like it was no one's business. It was loud and very pleasant. Using my Fender Stratocaster with Saga HO pickups, I haphazardly threw together some audio samples.

Keep in mind this amp is BONE STOCK with the original tubes and caps.

CLEAN TONE - STRAT - VOLUME AT 12:00

http://www.zshare.net/audio/5088299888fa8ea2/ (http://www.zshare.net/audio/5088299888fa8ea2/)

SLIGHT OVERDRIVE - STRAT - VOLUME 75%

http://www.zshare.net/audio/508830890c0471dc/ (http://www.zshare.net/audio/508830890c0471dc/)

FULL VOLUME - OVERDRIVE - STRAT

http://www.zshare.net/audio/508831403d888985/ (http://www.zshare.net/audio/508831403d888985/)

BLUES LICKS - STRAT - NECK POSITION

http://www.zshare.net/audio/508832409d72a7af/ (http://www.zshare.net/audio/508832409d72a7af/)

-------------------------------------------

But how would this amp deal with a high-gain application? I employed the use of my Behringer VT999, 12AX7-driven Vintage Tube Monster Pedal with the BitMo modification. I grabbed my Les Paul and went for an AC/DC-like tone, with slightly higher gain.

With the volume of the B&H amp at about 50 percent of the way up, and the VT999 configured in the following way:

GAIN PHASE SWITCH - Center
GAIN: 5
VOLUME: 6
MID: 4
TREBLE: 5/6 ish
BASS: 6

Here's the clip: http://www.zshare.net/audio/5088340799137de3/ (http://www.zshare.net/audio/5088340799137de3/)

---------------

I wish I would have put the mic closer to the cab to do a better job capturing the essence of low, but overall I'm pleased with this little 10-watt dreamtoy.

Your thoughts?

LustandFury
11-04-2008, 09:41 AM
Does anyone have a schematic of the Bell & Howell Filmosound model 385 Canadian, EL84 version? Sounds like it's worth building one unless it can be bought or found?

I've tried to find this schematic for over a year since I have one of these amps. I wish I was skilled enough to map out a schematic But it seems prety simple. Hopefully at some point soon I will be.

pfflam
11-04-2008, 11:06 AM
I'd love to hear those clips, but for some reason the file format isn't recognized on my system

Freepressright
11-04-2008, 01:14 PM
They're hot links, so make sure you're clicking them open, as opposed to saving them as targets. They'll take you to a landing page where they'll open a Windows Media Player window.

outtahear
11-05-2008, 09:24 AM
Grab one for $35....
http://www.webervst.com/bns2/messages/49899.html

joem123
11-06-2008, 09:02 AM
I have never heard od anyone doing that.. Those projectors are really clunky..
So have you obtained anymore info on this conversion?

<joe>

drewl
11-06-2008, 09:14 AM
Well Damn-!!

I put a proper 16-Ohm speaker in the cab (a Warfdale I had from my Vox fix-up) and finally had a chance to crank this thing = !!!

This is an ultra fantastic growly (yet articulate) mean-arsed blues monster!!!!

The olny problem is that the handle on the cab vibrates something awful . . . I need to figure out a cure for that.

But OMG!!


What was wrong with the original speaker?
Mine has an incredible sounding 16ohm Alnico that I used to use with my "73 50w marshall, so I was pushing it with like 90watts before I knew what it was and how expensive old alnicos are!

Phloored
11-06-2008, 10:08 AM
Well Damn-!!

I put a proper 16-Ohm speaker in the cab (a Warfdale I had from my Vox fix-up) and finally had a chance to crank this thing = !!!

This is an ultra fantastic growly (yet articulate) mean-arsed blues monster!!!!

The olny problem is that the handle on the cab vibrates something awful . . . I need to figure out a cure for that.

But OMG!!

Take a hand towel and fold it in thirds and hang it through the handle.
Use towel to wipe sweat from from vigorous playing, then return to handle

tcforec
11-06-2008, 10:46 AM
I have one that Marc Auble built and it has become my favorite amp. It came with 5v6 but sounds killer with some Old RCA 6v6's and Old Tungsol 5881's. It runs the 6sl7 and has a pentode triode switch. I can get a wide range of power tube distortion depend on the switch, the tubes used and waht cabinet. I used to run it into the speaker of my DR ('67) w/ a weber 30 watt blue dog and people would rave about how great that DR sounded. I'd just laugh. It is SO fat and rich and man, you should it it through a 4X12. It kills.

DynamicDave
11-12-2008, 11:45 AM
This is my first post and I came here searching for information on the Filmosound amps. I now own 4 of these but mine are different than any posts I have read here. I don't have #1 or #4 yet, both from Ebay. My #2 was a second hand store find for $35, 285 projector and all. Amp is stamped BH134 and part # 07136. The tranny is dated 3-39 and the tubes are Bell and Howell dated 3-43 except the 5879 is an RCA

The amp has a 12ax7, a 5879 and 3-25L6GT. I removed the photocell tube based on posts to another forum I read.

My # 3 was a Craigslist wanted ad I ran and a lady in California sent another 285 (just the amp and 6" speaker) to Chicago for $22 shipping. it is identical to #2 except the tranny is 3-41 and it is stamped BH175 part # 07138

#1 is in a Devry suitcase style cabinet like the external speakers pictured here. I know know that it was, at least at one time, know as The Devry School, Bell and Howell. It should arrive from Hawaii soon and the previous owner tells me it worked up until he changed speakers. Probably a mismatch ohm situation and something in the output may be burnt.

These buzz when out of the projector much more than when it is inside. I also learned that one of the accessories was a cage for the amp when it was removed from the projector, presumably to use as a PA. I see at least one picture here that has aluminum foil around what would be my 5879. That may help mine.

I want to use these as harmonica amps and need to get rid of the buzz. I read here that a cab job did not solve the problem. I know some of the circuit is devoted to the unneeded photocell tube, and some is devoted to the unneed input for the projector sound. Does anyone know where I can find the schematic for these? The PDF file that is referenced here does not include the 285 projector amps.

Any other advice? Does anyone else have one with this tube layout? I know I can reduce the gain by changing the 12ax7 but I have tried these amps with a dynamic mic successfully, however, none of my crystal mics will make a sound. Usually indicating a lack of gain in the preamp tube.

I tried to upload 2 pictures but I guess I need to start an online photo account somewhere!

Dave

Freepressright
11-13-2008, 02:31 PM
The 285 is actually in there, it's just a pain in the butt to find. Try page 212.

DynamicDave
11-14-2008, 06:27 PM
OK, I got rid of the buzz on #2 and 3 just by replacing the cover over the 5879. Since it had the window for the photocell tube I just figured it was not needed after I took the photocell out.

Next question. Since I don't understand amps very well, the Filmosound has 2 speaker inputs. One is marked for the 6" speaker (4 ohms)that is in the projector and dual. That would be if you used 2 speakers presumably combined to 4 ohm?

The 2nd speaker input is marked 8 or 12 inch speaker. The external cab is rated for 16 ohms according to what I read on Ebay and I see that they were made to daisy chain if you have 2 use the dual, presumably then 8 ohms because if they were wired for 16 ohms then it should just go in the 8/12 inch socket.

Now the question. Can I just use an 8 inch 8 ohm speaker? Plug into the dual input that powers the 4 ohm 6" internal speaker? Or do you plug into the 16 ohm socket for the 8 or 12 inch speaker?

Dave

Freepressright
11-22-2008, 07:27 AM
How big of a bee-otch would it be to rid my model 185 and model 285 amps of their 5879 tubes and replace them with something of the 12AU7/12AT7/12AX7 variety? I realize the socket would need changed as would some wiring. How labor intensive would it be and what skill would it requre? I'm tired of a bastard preamp tube that's always microphonic. I've yet to find a 5879 that isn't.

DynamicDave
11-26-2008, 07:34 AM
I know very little about amps but I own 4 of these now. 2 work well, one loud hummer and 1 DOA. In playing around I have found that just touching the 5879 creates output to the speaker. I assume this is micro phonics.

After I put the cover back on it was better. I have been thinking about adding a metal shield.

Maybe we should ask this in the techie forum thread? I would love to change to a 12ax7 or possibly a softer 12au7 for harmonica.

Dave

atmars
05-26-2009, 06:51 PM
The amp has a 12ax7, a 5879 and 3-25L6GT

I don't know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but this version of the amp is transformerless. Sometimes referred to as "hot chassis" amp. For safety reasons an isolation transformer should be used in between the amp and the power supply. With a guitar you are wearing part of the circuit around your neck which can result in major league deadness. I don't know how likely this outcome is, but when I asked questions about making this version into a guitar amp on another forum, some very smart people were very alarmed about this amp.

pfflam
05-27-2009, 11:29 AM
But he said there is a 'tranny'?

atmars
05-27-2009, 09:15 PM
It's possible that there is a version that I haven't seen, but I've seen a few, and everyone with a 25L6 I've come across for power tubes is "transformerless", meaning it lacks a power transformer. it does have a output transformer, however. I'm no expert, but what I learned from my experience is the transformerless amp was used to reduce weight. A lot less iron for a "portable" projector. Instead of a power transformer with heater taps of 6.3 volts (or something else) and the heaters connected in parallel, the heaters are connected in series. That way the designer can use tubes with different heater requirements. the 25L6 needs 25 volts on the heaters, the 5879 needs 6.3 volts. This idea was common in old radios refered to as the "all american five". These radios had all wood or plastic outer jackets because the "hot chassis"" would carry current. I believe the filmosound is an updated version in which the chassis is isolated from the line voltage, but people a lot more knowledgeable than me insist that any amp without a power transformer is dangerous, especially for guitar.

chosenfool
06-26-2009, 08:24 PM
It's possible that there is a version that I haven't seen, but I've seen a few, and everyone with a 25L6 I've come across for power tubes is "transformerless", meaning it lacks a power transformer. it does have a output transformer, however. I'm no expert, but what I learned from my experience is the transformerless amp was used to reduce weight. A lot less iron for a "portable" projector. Instead of a power transformer with heater taps of 6.3 volts (or something else) and the heaters connected in parallel, the heaters are connected in series. That way the designer can use tubes with different heater requirements. the 25L6 needs 25 volts on the heaters, the 5879 needs 6.3 volts. This idea was common in old radios refered to as the "all american five". These radios had all wood or plastic outer jackets because the "hot chassis"" would carry current. I believe the filmosound is an updated version in which the chassis is isolated from the line voltage, but people a lot more knowledgeable than me insist that any amp without a power transformer is dangerous, especially for guitar.

hello, all - just wanted to chime in (and agree) on this:
tranny-less - big potential shock hazard.

Best solution: dont use it for guitar (or anything thet would require touching it live).
If-you-must Solution: use an ISOLATION TRANSFORMER.

used to own a Harmony H303A amp. completed a circuit, and it wasnt fun. Sold it to a collector who i made sure understood the issue. Without a PT, its not easy to make it safe. The older TV/amp repair gent who sold me the amp told me the same thing, and even he couldnt find a decent way to ground it with a 3prong plug. He strongly suggested an iso transformer.

I have one of these PT-less B&H amps, and though i havent worked on it yet, i did read thru the film-tech.com PDF file. According to it, B&H took away the PT to indeed reduce weight. But what's intriguing for me was that apparently, some of the B&H amps that have no PT DO have an isolation transformer built in.
Question is, is this the same as what a regular ISO xformer does?

In that PDF file, Page 188 (H-18, Design 179, Amplifier No. 05311) :

This Amplifier is a rather radical departure from any past Bell & Howell amplifier. It is not an AC-DC amplifier.

The power output is 10 watts maximum - 8watts minimum.

In Order to reduce weight, the power transformer has been eliminated.

Two selenium dry disc rectifiers connected in a voltage doubler circuit supply the high voltage DC for the tubes.

Tube filaments are series connected across the line.

The sound-silent projector switch partially shorts the exciter lamp when operating projector at silent speed.

An isolation transformer is used in the phono-microphone input circuit.

A .1 mfd condenser, part #17030, is connected from line to chassis to reduce motor crackle. In the event of shock complaint, the condenser should be changed to .03. It may, however, reduce the amplifier sensitivity. This condenser must be moulded plastic or metal encased. Aerovox Duranite 600Volt .033 MFD may be used.

Complaints of noise, static, etc. are usually caused by a damaged photocell cover, part #06543. A sharp blow against the cover will loosen the angle bracket bond to cover. They can not be repaired except at the factory. It is suggested that each service station have two covers in stock. The damaged cover may be returned for repair.

A loose PEC socket will also cause noise. Tighten by soldering locking ring to chassis.

Loss of volume (sudden) and sometimes noise are usually caused by electrolytic condenser (rear) having been hit, so that grounding ring on condenser is loose. Change condenser to repair.

Low volume is usually corrected by changing or interchanging 25L6G tubes. quite an informative note from the B&H repair manual. But just reading it, it seems B&H engineers and repair people KNEW about potential shock hazard themselves back then! They even suggested a solution.

One thing intrigued me more was that they pointed out an ISOLATION TRANSFORMER right at the microphone input.

Does this mean it's still safe to use it for guitar? honestly, i dont know. Im inclined to think it is. Most likely why they have that small isolation transformer at the mic input, unless its used for another purpose (if anyone can trace it to correct me, the schematic is on page 189 and 190 inthe PDF file). below is one half showing where the small iso transformer is:
http://www.chosenfool.com/pics/amps/BHiso1.jpg

That being said, i still wont take too much of a chance without the use of a heavy external isolation transformer. Thats just me. I myself am interested to learn how this amp sounds - i will brave it, and find out as soon as i finish my other B&H projects. (one use ive thought of is to make TWO of these as a two-channel/stereo amp for possibly hi-fi/lo-fi use).

on a side note:
ive been busy on working on a 385 and a 179, both 6V6s with a PT (just different preamp tubes).

Im on the other side of the camp - I decided to keep them as is (they already sound great as-is to me), only changing out the electrolytic caps, keeping close to, if not using the same values whenever i can. Adding the usual 3prong cord, toggle switch, and power lamp (and a 1/4" output jacks).
Though when i got the 385, its volume was all over the place, and the tone control did nothing. So I switched out to a 1Meg pot volume pot, and separated the single tone control to individual bass and treble knobs (drilled an extra hole between the V and T). i think i used 2MEG pots for each. It provided better tone controls, since i can turn up BOTH bass and treble at the same time.

sound wise? all i can say is WOW! I stand as a witness to its marvelous tone! Both amps sound strong and clean half way, then starts to break up past it. and dimed? WHEW! never realized 6V6s can sound this delicious overdriven....

im hooked - theyre the first amps i turn on when i play. im close to selling my fender SCXD cuz of this. Though i'll still keep my Kalamazoos....

by the way, im hooking up to those vintage 12" B&H speakers. What better way to listen to a B&H amplifier than thru a B&H speaker? To me theyre meant to be together (and quite honestly sound GREAT together!). I think they were jensen P-series. I also tried then on 65-66 jensen C10Ns, and it gets real nice and crunchy.

i did score on a canadian EL84-based filmosound early this week. I cant wait to get it on the bench...

Funny, i think about it - these amps and speakers are 60 years old (one dated march 1947). It's like they waited 60 years to get to me, to be played in a way they were NOT meant to be. Its like theyve been given a new life. I just hope to play them well. :)

pfflam
06-26-2009, 10:50 PM
I'd love to get all the specific info told as if to an idiot from you on how you made your 6V6 workable. Mine sounds great but has an enormous amount of hum.

Schematics et al - layouts work best for us idiots.

BTW: I took apart a projector from one of these and at every turn, I mean at EVERY piece of machinery I was dumbfounded by the high quality craftsmanship and materials - on EVERY part!! every screw is hefty and precision machined perfectly!

Bear1484
08-12-2009, 07:30 AM
Hi,

I just got a 385 last night. Removed the amp from the projector, find it has 3 6V6 (RCA black plates!) and the 2 12AX7s are Mullards! What a bonus! I checked it out as a well as I know how (tubes werent cracked, no really bad looking caps that I could tell, etc. I made a new 2 prong (for now) power chord, connected it to a 16 ohm 10" Eminence guitar speaker, and turned it on. Probably should have done the whole variac method of starting it up, but... I didnt plug a guitar in, just turned up the volume and there is a major hiss as I turn up. The hiss gets incredibly loud - cant imagine how loud a guitar will get! Guessing the hiss could be some worn out caps. There are some waxy ones in there that dont look so good. It also has a bad hum that get worse as you move the tone control to the bass end of things - that also all but goes away when I put my hand within an inch or less of the PEC tube. It is almost like the circuit is ungrounded or unshielded somewhere. I am really a novice at this, but it seems from the schematic that there may be something "open" by unplugging the amplifier connection to the "Exciter" (whatever that is)?

Anyones' thoughts on the hiss and hum would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Bear

pfflam
09-22-2009, 11:40 AM
I made sure to cage my tubes in a grounded box and that reduced the intolerable hum . . . now just to isolate the cap/tube hum?!
I've seen some people wrap the tall tube (or one of them(?)) in foil.

BTW: I just got another 6v6 version, it has some strange sort of speaker outs so I can't really try it.
So, I am selling it. Dirt cheap BTW - $20+ship

dqami
09-24-2009, 09:21 AM
I just picked up a model 385. I was wondering about the output jacks. Mine has two; one marked single which I assume is rated 16 ohms, and the other marked dual which appears to be a stereo jack and is wired to the single jack. I'd like to run my 8 ohm cab out of it. Besides changing the jacks to 1/4 inch, would I'd like to know is what is the deal w/ the stereo jack and how can I set it up the output to run my 8 ohm cab (or can I)?

Thanks

pfflam
09-24-2009, 05:42 PM
I think that the 'dual' jack was originally used fo rhte small speaker that was housed in the projector case.

The one that I have that I use occasionally had a small speaker and two outs - though for some reason the main speaker in the cab I think was originally 16-ohms (I could be wrong . . . I'll need to check on this) . . .
In the case of my amp, I thin stereo was not in the picture . . . . literally

Dexter.Sinister
09-25-2009, 08:09 AM
Yank all the electrolytics and replace them. It juts isn't worth the effort to test each for such an inexpensive amp. That often brings the noise down when I rebuild PA amps and projector amps (I have one on my bench right now and another on the shelf waiting for some work).

DS

Buzzystang
07-24-2010, 08:30 AM
So...I just stumbled on to the secret of these Filmosound Bernie amps and am dying to score a vintage projector on eBay to kick off an inexpensive head/cab project. (I'd love a Teixiera CC Sig, but my wife would file for divorce if I did :) )

This thread and the schematic pdf link has been extremely helpful in my search. To sum up my education thus far:

The 385 / 08855 w/ EL84's is the holy grail - but tough to find. Can't really confirm from just an eBay picture which power tubes it might have...

Viable alternatives are:

179 / 14027 or 14100
185 / 06580
285 / 07137
384-A or 398-A / 010214
385-K or 399-K / 08855-AA
Specialist 8399??

Ones to avoid are (no PT, shock hazard)

179 / 05311
202 / 08256
285 / 07138
302 / 09046

Did I miss any? I'm somewhat partial to 3xx models since they have 12ax7 pre-amp tubes rather than the 6xxx pre-amp tubes of the 1xx or 2xx models...but am I being too persnickety?

Anyone out there with experience with a 384-A or 398-A / 010214?

Thanks in advance!

amphog
07-24-2010, 12:47 PM
I have a couple of B&H theater amps (6550s) and the only problem is that the transformer output impedance is 64 ohms. Not a lot of guitar speakers like that. I guess you could wire up a 4x12 with 16 ohm speakers in series and make it work but it'd be hardly worth it. The iron is not that great anyway in my amps so I just figure I'll let them collect dust until I happen on some old alnico 64 ohm speakers to go with them.
You can get 32 ohm 10's, they are for older Ampeg svt's. they are distributed by Electro Harmonics and made by Eminence.

canklyde
07-26-2010, 08:16 AM
The best version and the original Bernie model was made from a 385 EL84 version. The 399 is the same head,it was merely put into the deluxe projector version which had Sapphire bearings. The 385 version was apparently made in both Canada and the US where almost all the US versions I have seen are 6V6 output tubes.
They were made between 1958-1961 from my research.
Hope this helps define things for those of you out there looking for one.

valcotone
07-26-2010, 11:07 AM
Viable alternatives are:

179 / 14027 or 14100



I may have posted on this thread already, but I had two of these, both dated from 1946-1947 based on transformer and pot dates. Tubes were 6J7, 6SL7, (2) 6V6, and 5Y3. There was a 3rd 6V6 and a 918. The chassis are very tight to work on, and both mine had a hum I couldn't get rid of by replacing caps.

It sounded a bit like a lower-volume early 50's tweed deluxe, except it was darker (less treble) and a flabbier bottom end.

http://kilback.net/pics/DSC05478.JPG

http://kilback.net/pics/Dsc05476.jpg

Buzzystang
08-02-2010, 01:24 PM
Hope this helps define things for those of you out there looking for one.

Thanks Colin - what kind of speaker did you have in #1 (brand/size/ohm rating)? If I can get my hands on one of these, my ears are hankering for a dual 12" cab, but my back would rather go with a single...

canklyde
08-02-2010, 04:44 PM
The best speaker I have found for these is the Celestion Vintage 10" 60 watt.
My #1 has always had that speaker in it and it sounds full,tight, and really musical to my ears...

magnus02
08-03-2010, 06:36 PM
what do you guys think of 'at mars' amps? theyre built off this platform and they sell them on www.destroyallguitars.com...

i just came across this build style and really like the idea of stuff built off of old platforms and plus its seems somewhat cheap to get it all put together... but i'm no good with electronics so i'd probably have to pay for a finished project...

any other options out there? any advice or comments on 'at mars'?

Thanks!

Buzzystang
09-05-2010, 07:39 AM
This just got posted to cinema website five days ago. Thought I'd bring it here - the Service Manual and schematic for the Filmosound 8399. Various sub-models described within, all run 6BQ5/EL84's. Great find (if I do say so myself)!

Bell & Howell 3899 Service Manual (http://www.cineinformation.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Bell-Howell-Projector-Filmosound-8399-Service-Manual.pdf)

tommc
09-05-2010, 11:50 AM
Maybe this has already been posted, I didn't work throught the whole thread:
http://www.atmarsamps.com/products/index.html

In action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtcXeQZOs4

Macaroni
09-05-2010, 02:01 PM
I believe the original Bernies were made in Hamilton, ON Canada. Steve Webster, the creator of the V-Stack modeling tehnologies, borrowed one of them (he lives in Burlington, next to Hamilton) and made a one off V-Stack Bernie pedal. I'm the happy owner of that pedal. I've heard my friends Bernie amp a few times, but not directly compared to the pedal. Both sound great.

wsaraceni
09-05-2010, 03:35 PM
Maybe this has already been posted, I didn't work throught the whole thread:
http://www.atmarsamps.com/products/index.html

In action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtcXeQZOs4

are these modded or just totally stock vintage amps in a guitar head cabinet? it sounds amazing. and the price is pretty sweet too. although i dont think i've ever heard lance play something and sound bad

tommc
09-05-2010, 04:41 PM
wsaraceni - Good question; you'd have to ask the builder. I kinda assumed he is building brand new amps using the circuit from B&H. Hard to imagine that they can find enough used ones to meet demand. I could be wrong.

Meanwhile, Lance is really taken with this amp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kRNa-qG8BE

wsaraceni
09-05-2010, 04:49 PM
lance says in the video that the amp is "old old stock" i wonder if the originals are old and the later ones will be newly built, kinda like the dr z carmen ghia from the hammond chassis.

57special
09-05-2010, 09:17 PM
sure looks like an old Filmo faceplate.

tommc
09-06-2010, 10:44 AM
I emailed AtMars and asked if the amps are vintage rebuilds or new based on vintage circuit.

Their response was: "New circuit, vintage iron and chassis. I buy old filmosounds and gut them down to the sockets and build a new circuit inside. I have buy every one I can and I have quite a few stockpiled, but someday there won't be any more."

pfflam
09-06-2010, 12:17 PM
What a shame . . . what's the point of rebuilding it completely?!

And besides the entire projector is itself a beautiful thing . . . I mean really really high quality and worth keeping at least within proximity. I dismantled a couple and I regret it, the one for the guitar amp sits in my closet in case I ever wanted to reconvert it back to a projector.

wsaraceni
09-06-2010, 03:32 PM
What a shame . . . what's the point of rebuilding it completely?!

And besides the entire projector is itself a beautiful thing . . . I mean really really high quality and worth keeping at least within proximity. I dismantled a couple and I regret it, the one for the guitar amp sits in my closet in case I ever wanted to reconvert it back to a projector.

at least now i know not to run out and try to buy up these hoping i can get the same thing for less than the $750 asking price of the at mars.

lanny
09-11-2010, 09:29 PM
I picked up a 385 with EL84's a few months ago on CL. It was checked out by a local tech, all is fine. I'm having a pine 1X10" cab made locally. I need to find out what has to be modded to really make this amp shine. I'll try it out 'as is' but there must be a reason most of them get modded.

pfflam
09-11-2010, 09:41 PM
Strange, this thread is 9 pages long and nobody has yet said exactly what that modding is . . . I agree, its probably out there somewhere . . that esoteric knowledge.

canklyde
09-12-2010, 08:53 AM
It's been a secret formula for years. In the Bernie version he did some quite unexpected mods that most techs scratch their heads at when they see it.The results are spectacular though...

lanny
09-12-2010, 10:53 AM
I'll give it a whirl as soon as the cabinet is built. As I'm used to the clarity of an AC30, I'll pay attention to the 'flabbiness' as one poster mentioned. It will have to be recorded in a band mix to really see what needs to be done, if anything at all. CC, can you PM me the cabinet dimensions on #1?

wsaraceni
09-17-2010, 10:26 AM
It's been a secret formula for years. In the Bernie version he did some quite unexpected mods that most techs scratch their heads at when they see it.The results are spectacular though...


i've searched and its probably right in front of my eyes, but are there any videos of the bernie amp around? what about any sound clips of your 59 burst through it?

57special
09-19-2010, 08:14 AM
i've searched and its probably right in front of my eyes, but are there any videos of the bernie amp around? what about any sound clips of your 59 burst through it?

probably tons of clips of Colin playing it around besides the ones on the Texeira site. He did Letterman a couple of years ago with Kathleen Edwards while playing his 62 SG/Les Paul. Maybe google Letterman/Edwards and hope you don't get an old interview with a smarmy southern politician.

canklyde
09-19-2010, 10:39 AM
There are quite a few youtube videos of me using the Bernie with Kathleen Edwards. Pretty much everything you hear is that amp. All the late night shows,ACL,etc. There is a decent version of "Copied Keys" from The Troubadour in LA for the sound of it on slide that I like.

pfflam
09-19-2010, 01:03 PM
So what do we look up on youTube to find these? I mean we don't know who you are unless we look up 'canklyde'
. . . and why oh why is this thread about some guy named Bernie who does something to these amps that I am sure anybody who knows electronics could figure out but hasn't?
unless this guy is making a living through this magic, I see no reason why it isn't floating out there: what do you replace? what wires do you change? etc?
in my case my amp merely buzzes too much at volume, I am sure it is probably just a matter of a few caps or a tube . . . but I am too busy at the moment to do that sort of work . . . but if it is something else why not share it with others?!
He can't possibly make enough mmoney off his 'secret' that he should keep it a secret!

So where are the folks who are not named Bernie with these things?

wsaraceni
09-19-2010, 02:31 PM
pfflam. look up kathleen edwards (his wife) or Colin Cripps (canklyde)


Colin, your right. that troubadour clip is a nice tone!!1


VVgf_q0-NPk

colin....both guitars vintage gibson?

canklyde
09-19-2010, 06:15 PM
Kathleen playing her '57 LP Junior, I'm on a '64 SG Std.

pfflam
09-19-2010, 06:29 PM
Nice organic sound . . I could imagine that my Filmo would sound like that if I could get rid of the hum.
or is that a Vox?

canklyde
09-19-2010, 06:36 PM
Kathleen playing thru a '64 Vox AC10, I'm through the Bernie.

lanny
09-24-2010, 11:26 PM
Here is a shot of the Canadian spec EL84'd 385 I had built. Big thanks to Gary Economy for pulling it all together. Sounds amazing. Overtones galore. Celestion Vintage 10"[IMG]http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz11/LannyH/DSCN1532.jpg

Buzzystang
09-25-2010, 02:27 PM
Sweet pic, that looks a lot like a Fender Pro Junior cab... got any more pics? Was anything done to the circuit or was it just plug n play? I'll post some pics of the 8399 AV I picked up a few weeks ago.

Buzzystang
09-25-2010, 04:04 PM
Here's a Canadian built 8399 AV I picked up a few weeks ago. As you can see, EZ81, EF86, 12AX7 x2, EL84 x2, plus the non-crucial tubes. All appear to be barely pushed Rogers or Siemens vintage tubes. I have a Celestion V10 and G12M Greenback to pair it up with once I get around to building a cab for them.

It really sounds great, but right when it should hit the sweet spot (10 - 11 O' Clock), it starts to fart/buzz out a little bit, and then beyond that the distortion covers it up. It almost sounds like a blown out speaker, but I know the speakers are fine. I suspect probably the filter caps, but if anyone wants to chime in on what else it could be, I'm all ears.

Other than that, considering its about 46 years old, it looks absolutely pristine inside. Check out the dual language labeling!

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5sn3pEfnI/AAAAAAAAABQ/oy6cM_aTOo8/s800/P9253825.JPG
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5so0svTMI/AAAAAAAAABU/NAelggPpYa8/s800/P9253829.JPG
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5spXPxs7I/AAAAAAAAABY/pWnL52km1fY/s800/P9253831.JPG
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5sqkmSDfI/AAAAAAAAABc/T_fcsQHl4V4/s800/P9253832.JPG
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5sr6ccmdI/AAAAAAAAABg/yCKEpNTU97s/s800/P9253833.JPG
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5sseaI9KI/AAAAAAAAABk/cVv9b26b_Mw/s800/P9253836.JPG
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_HL0vLHOxtTQ/TJ5stcxYzeI/AAAAAAAAABo/14Efwp_IGsE/s800/P9253837.JPG

pfflam
09-25-2010, 09:50 PM
Wow nice tubes

now about getting that secret to cut the buzz . . . forget it man . . . that's solid platinum knowledge bub! and people's fortunes depend upon it.

Either way, that does seem to be the ubiquitous problem with these things

lanny
09-26-2010, 09:32 AM
Another shot. I had the amp serviced, repaired a few glitches but no mods at this time. Next is a pilot light:) Buzzystang, your's is identical to mine, although nicer condition. CC suggested they were made in 1960-61. Mine is noisier than I'd like but no worse than my old AC30.http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz11/LannyH/DSCN1536.jpg

canklyde
09-26-2010, 08:16 PM
That's a classic Canadian made model 385!!!! The one you want to do the original Bernie...
The EF86,6AQ5, are not used in the circuit....

deafelectromark
09-29-2010, 01:55 PM
I have a 1946 Filmosound with 3 6v6 tubes on the chassis. I have looked for the schematic for this model but can't seem to find it. Can anyone point me in the right direction and/or tell me what the third 6v6 is for?
Thanks
I am new to this forum, and read this thread twice, but not as a member, so maybe I can get the schematic now?
:bow

slaje
09-29-2010, 03:42 PM
Canklyde,
This thread was a great find. I have always thought your tone was awesome. I play keys and harp but love good guitar tone. Maybe you could help me. I need to know what the harmonica was being played through on "Goodnight, California". Amp and effects.
Also, When are you and Kathleen heading south, like Atlanta?
Thanks

deafelectromark
09-30-2010, 01:45 AM
I found the schematic for my unit here:
http://www.film-tech.com/warehouse/manuals/AMPS.pdf
It looks like the 3rd 6v6 is to modulate the exciter tube for the sound track and photocell pickup. Who would have known?

lanny
09-30-2010, 09:26 AM
Another shot. I had the amp serviced, repaired a few glitches but no mods at this time. Next is a pilot light:) Buzzystang, your's is identical to mine, although nicer condition. CC suggested they were made in 1960-61. Mine is noisier than I'd like but no worse than my old AC30.http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz11/LannyH/DSCN1536.jpg

I did my first rehearsal at volume last night with Filmo, wow! Even unmodded it's pretty amazing. Having used AC30's for the last 20 years, this is a totally different approach. No 'lead boost', just riding the volume pot. We'll have to see if 15 watts will cut it on a stage. It seems to match my P90'd SG Special the best so far. Fun stuff being able to get nice controlled feedback and whistles at relatively low volume.

GaryE
09-30-2010, 12:03 PM
Which tubes can be pulled without mods? Can you just pull the EF86 and 6AQ5 and still run the amp safely?I was thinking that the less tubes running may improve the performance/noise etc.

topboost
10-06-2010, 11:01 PM
So is a canadian made 399 the same as the 385 , just offered with the saphire bearing?

canklyde
10-07-2010, 01:23 PM
Yes the model 399 is exactly the same amp chassis,just a deluxe bearing version over the 385.

topboost
10-07-2010, 06:09 PM
Thanks CC, I'm picking one of these up tonight.

lanny
10-08-2010, 11:06 PM
I'll pipe in here as Topboost is on vacation. It turns out this 3899 AV, Canadian made version has 6V6's. One of our group of GAS sufferers is going to snag it anyhow. I'm currently arranging pickup of another 8399 AV in the Toronto area, the pic of the chassis looks exactly like mine...I just can't see the tubes! It's cheap enough though.
I did another rehearsal last night switching between my 62 AC30 and the Filmo. The Filmo simply doesn't have the clean headroom I'm used to with the AC30. It sounds amazing, but would be a challenge on a larger stage, especially without IEM's or a good monitor mix. Colin has played hundreds of shows with Bernie, with a tone that suggests it's not terribly dirty or flat out. Next, I'll compare it to my AC15C1 to see if that's cleaner. Is it possible Bernie was able to get more headroom over the Filmosound design?

Buzzystang
10-09-2010, 06:26 AM
Which tubes can be pulled without mods? Can you just pull the EF86 and 6AQ5 and still run the amp safely?I was thinking that the less tubes running may improve the performance/noise etc.

In my experience with my 8399 AV, you can pull the 6AQ5 and the photocell tube without issue, but not the EF86. Pulling that tube cuts the signal. I intend to mod a bypass around it one of these days, per Bernie legend...

GaryE
10-09-2010, 11:10 AM
Thanks Buzzy!

topboost
10-09-2010, 06:37 PM
I found a wifi cxn!!
Ya, I was dissapointed to find out that filmo had 6v6's in it as opposed to el84's. Probably still a cool amp, but I'm partial to el84's and didn't want to put the money and time into a 6v6 project so hopefully the next guy can enjoy it or make a few bucks.


I'll pipe in here as Topboost is on vacation. It turns out this 3899 AV, Canadian made version has 6V6's. One of our group of GAS sufferers is going to snag it anyhow. I'm currently arranging pickup of another 8399 AV in the Toronto area, the pic of the chassis looks exactly like mine...I just can't see the tubes! It's cheap enough though.
I did another rehearsal last night switching between my 62 AC30 and the Filmo. The Filmo simply doesn't have the clean headroom I'm used to with the AC30. It sounds amazing, but would be a challenge on a larger stage, especially without IEM's or a good monitor mix. Colin has played hundreds of shows with Bernie, with a tone that suggests it's not terribly dirty or flat out. Next, I'll compare it to my AC15C1 to see if that's cleaner. Is it possible Bernie was able to get more headroom over the Filmosound design?

lanny
10-19-2010, 07:09 PM
Found yet another..thanks Search Tempest;)

topboost
11-08-2010, 06:29 AM
I'm picking one up this afternoon:)

Filmosounded
11-22-2010, 02:56 AM
It was finally time to accept that I wasn't going to be running any 16mm movies any more so was scouring the web for the best way to dispose of my projector. Not being a musician, I didn't think along these lines, but Google is such a great friend. :)

It's been sitting in the basement for about 10 years, but seems to be in perfect shape. No film around, so I can't test it out properly. It is a Filmosound DES 399-K. I used to use it constantly so unless it spontaneously died, it should still be in full working order.

I hope it's not bad form for me to ask here, but any suggestions about marketplaces for this? And the film side of me hates the idea of junking a very good projector, so I wonder if anyone knows if a cheap modern amp could be modified to work with the projector while the tube amp goes on to become a rock star?

Thanks for any advice, and for at least the moment, making me feel like I discovered a Rembrandt in the attic!

oregonblues
02-12-2011, 01:13 PM
http://http://s1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/?action=view&current=IMG_0869.jpgJust picked this up today:http://http://s1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/

Can anyone tell me about what era this came from? I didn't get the amp, it was gone when the seller bought it, no information there. The 16 ohm speaker has a 2 pin jack directly into the side of the cage, cable was included. All wood, leather, metal grill cloth front and back. I am building a 5e3 for it, the speaker is coming out.

Can anyone identify it?

oregonblues
02-12-2011, 01:19 PM
http://http://s1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/?action=view&current=IMG_0869.jpgdid this get in?

I will try again later, having trouble with using photobucket. Going to go read some FAQ's I guess

oregonblues
02-12-2011, 01:26 PM
http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/IMG_0872.jpg
http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/IMG_0871.jpg
http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/IMG_0870.jpg
http://i1220.photobucket.com/albums/dd452/Oregonblooz/IMG_0869.jpg

3 posts and I finally got it.......I think

This cab oozes retro, can't wait to make it functional

DEMENTED
03-23-2011, 09:32 AM
I just picked up a B&H model 5 projector amplifier, with 4 6L6's !!!! Can't find any info on it..must have been a commercial application, it's huge and 150 watts. Help?

pfflam
03-26-2011, 11:41 AM
Awesome . . . .



it would be great to get some pics of that.

WHat kind of tubes were in it?

DEMENTED
03-26-2011, 12:34 PM
Awesome . . . .



it would be great to get some pics of that.

WHat kind of tubes were in it?

Mine?.... it has the original 4 RCA "Coke bottle" shaped 6L6's., 1 RCA 6F6 GT, 2 5U4G rectifiers, 1 Sylvania 6V6 GTA, 1 Sylvania 6N7 metal tube.
I'll get pics if anyone wants to see it....

pfflam
03-27-2011, 02:08 AM
Pics are always great, though I understand they are a pain

Being able to use old 6L6G tubes (coke bottle) is a plus, less expensive than 6L6GC tubes

DEMENTED
03-27-2011, 05:54 AM
Here it is.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v57/blackzeb/stuffs010.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v57/blackzeb/stuffs008.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v57/blackzeb/stuffs013.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v57/blackzeb/stuffs007.jpg

pfflam
03-27-2011, 12:15 PM
That is about the best damn thing I've ever seen!!

What kind of 6L6 tubes re those?

DEMENTED
03-27-2011, 12:33 PM
That is about the best damn thing I've ever seen!!

What kind of 6L6 tubes re those?

RCA, must be late 40's , early 50's.
It could be yours...make an offer :jo

aldosolano
08-02-2011, 09:02 AM
hey what about the 179 filmosound amp
a friend of mine will throw all the components away and will use only the chassis to do a kind of tweed deluxe.is this the only way to do a guitar amp after the filmosound??
i really need your help
thanks man

pfflam
08-30-2011, 10:55 AM
Many 179s will work simply with a cord and and output
though I think you need to use some sort of Faraday cage for grounding hum (or maybe just wrapping one of the tubes.

I have one that works well, gets a good crunch but does have some hum at volume

I am thinking of selling it . . .

http://gallery.me.com/pfflam/100014/B%26H1/web.jpg?ver=13147232810001

http://gallery.me.com/pfflam/100014/B%26H2/web.jpg?ver=13147232840001

CaptainCat
09-18-2011, 09:33 PM
This topic had sparked my interest a few years back and today at a film processing lab's closing sale I managed to find a filmosound with nice shiny EL84's inside.

The film-tech.com PDF doesn't help me figure out what version it is but I suspect it's a 185. Serial/Model No. 050919

It has a 1/4" in, 8Ohm and 16Ohm 1/4" outs, 2x EL84s, 2x 12AX7, 1x EZ81 & 1x 6AQ5 and it lacks the two larger tube/bulb/cap things beside the OT that I've seen in previous posts.

Haven't tried it out yet as I don't have any marrettes around to rig up a power cable. I just had a few questions that I didn't find answered earlier (Wow 5 year thread!)

- Has anyone installed a grounded power jack? Did it create extra buzz?
- Anyone recognize the model and able to help suggest a relevant schematic?

http://imageshack.us/g/839/photoon20110918at23222.jpg/

Thanks in advance!

Oh yeah, Colin, if you're still creeping around this forum, do you have any gigs in the near future? I'm local and would love to hear this thing in person.

LeifH
09-19-2011, 08:04 PM
I've just scored a Filmosound Canadian version with EL84's, just two of them. I haven't had the time to open up the amp, gave it a short play, sounds weak through the projector speaker, farty, but it's just a 6". seems to have a lot of sag when pushed, so I think that the filter caps or the rectifier may be weak.

Surprisingly, it's not humming, quiet as a church mouse, actually, which leads me to belive that I've got a gamer here!.

I'm going to take a couple of pictures and crack it open later. This one, I think will get a '59 AC15 Vox type pre-amp circuit. That is what Tony Tex said these amps need.

canklyde
09-19-2011, 09:36 PM
Hi Captain Cat, you have a model 385.... THE one that you can turn into a true "Bernie" amp. There are only 2 guys that know how to do this right. If you contact Antonio at Tex amps, he MAY do the mod for you.....The other guy that knows is Bernie,but he hasn't done one in over 15 years...
Congrats on getting it. Seems they really are only available here in Canada.....

pfflam
09-19-2011, 09:45 PM
and for some reason he doesn't just get his buns over here and let us all in on the secret . . either

LeifH
09-19-2011, 10:21 PM
Hey Colin, do you know if this is the right "Bernie" version?

Then again, I'm going to take out the EF86, and go with a pair of 12AX7's

On further inspection, I have only has 6 tubes, no V7 or the photo tube either. It's a 8399, and the photo tube /pickup is on the projector, connected with a 4 prong plug and a RCA jack?

http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae264/Leif_H/P9200094.jpg

EDIT:On review of Captain Cat's amp, it looks the same, now I just need to find a schematic to make sure I don't cut out anything I need.

alguit
09-20-2011, 06:44 AM
I have an At Mars Specialist, and man do I love that thing! When I opened it up, I almost couldn't believe the amount of wiring and components crammed into such a small space. More importantly, it breaks up beautifully and works with evey cab I own.

CaptainCat
09-20-2011, 08:59 AM
Canklyde, thanks for the support! I didn't think my shit luck would ever turn me onto THE one of anything.

Leif, congrats as well, your model is the same as mine.

Well, I'm now going to trace back to the comments regarding the correct 6V6 schem. to pair this with, dig through a few other resources, and likely end up back here where Pfflam and I will arrange a seance to bring "Bernie" back.

LeifH
09-20-2011, 05:23 PM
Canklyde, thanks for the support! I didn't think my shit luck would ever turn me onto THE one of anything.

Leif, congrats as well, your model is the same as mine.

Well, I'm now going to trace back to the comments regarding the correct 6V6 schem. to pair this with, dig through a few other resources, and likely end up back here where Pfflam and I will arrange a seance to bring "Bernie" back.

Capt'n,

I'm with you on that.

Tony from Capsule suggested to me to (pushing the schematic under my nose) go with a Vox AC15 preamp with my 6V6 filmosound. Now that I have this one, I'm going to make a Magnatone out of the 6V6, and try the Vox preamp with the Saphire, EL84 filmosound.

Surprisingly both the 6V6 and EL84 amps have the same output section with different tubes, but the same circuit, and the same transformer.

CaptainCat
09-20-2011, 08:53 PM
Leif, as far as I can tell, this is the schematic we can basically follow http://www.cineinformation.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Bell-Howell-Projector-Filmosound-8399-Service-Manual.pdf

I'll let you know if I come with any ideas.

LeifH
09-21-2011, 04:50 PM
Capt'n Thanks,

That's the schematic I found, I'll share what I come up with too.

canklyde
09-22-2011, 09:11 AM
Yes LeifH, that is a model 385 as well. THE one to do an original "Bernie".....

LeifH
09-23-2011, 03:05 PM
OK, I thought I was going nuts... one tube socket is marked 6AQ5... the EF86 tube. odd and a 6AQ5 is an output tube.

Also in the schematic, it shows an 6AR5, but there isn't one in the amp, could it be that it's in the projector and connects via the 4 pin connector, RCA jack, there also isn't a 4pin jack noted on the diagram. More investigating needed.

I'm halfway done stripping the drawing down to get it to where I can start putting in what I want to do. I'm going PTP on this, let's hope that this makes the Mojo of the amp come through.

Colin, could you tell us if your Bernie is quieter at idle than the Tex that is on a turret board?

Darrell Jennings
09-24-2011, 04:27 PM
I picked up one of these for the price of the repair ticket on it ($170). It's similar to a Fender tweed deluxe from the 50's. It's got 25 watts and as long as you want "dirty blues tones" it sounds as good as some of the $2000 boutique amps I'm playing through. I strongly recommend this thing. I never knew Bell and Howell made amps, but the tone is fantastic. It's got a 12 inch Jensen speaker made in Italy in it. I'm not sure it it's original or not since it looks to be in great shape, but it may be.

Buzzystang
10-16-2011, 02:27 PM
This is interesting... & no photocell circuit. (?) C - L - E - A - N....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280754075665&category=73369&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_2797wt_883

LeifH
10-19-2011, 06:20 PM
This is interesting... & no photocell circuit. (?) C - L - E - A - N....

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280754075665&category=73369&_trksid=p5197.c0.m619#ht_2797wt_883

Not at all interesting at that price... I bought the whole projector (specialist with EL84's) for half that, and an amp for $110 including shipping with some RCA 6V6's.

This has 1/2 the Photocell circut, the output tube (6AR5) et al. It's NOS, but at that price I'd like the thing to have a grounded cord.

CaptainCat
11-02-2011, 12:36 PM
Leif, how you making out with the conversion/rebuild?

I've found myself very busy and haven't even looked at a schem. in weeks. I also realized quickly that the schem I thought I should be following doesn't match the actual values of a lot of the resistors.

I last left considering an AC-15 1960.

You got anything going?

Grooveman
11-02-2011, 01:55 PM
I sent my filmosound off to At Mars Amps
http://atmarsamps.com/
Anthony (of At Mars) is building me a "Specialist" as I post this - I should have it in ~1 week.
I bought the chassis locally (Beaverton Oregon) and shipped it off to Minn. MN. I have the 6V6 model.
You can buy already converted At Mars Amps at DAG (Destroy All Guitars)

outtahear
11-02-2011, 09:19 PM
I picked up one of these for the price of the repair ticket on it ($170). It's similar to a Fender tweed deluxe from the 50's. It's got 25 watts and as long as you want "dirty blues tones" it sounds as good as some of the $2000 boutique amps I'm playing through. I strongly recommend this thing. I never knew Bell and Howell made amps, but the tone is fantastic. It's got a 12 inch Jensen speaker made in Italy in it. I'm not sure it it's original or not since it looks to be in great shape, but it may be.

Not if it's made in Italy...

LeifH
11-08-2011, 04:33 PM
Leif, how you making out with the conversion/rebuild?

I've found myself very busy and haven't even looked at a schem. in weeks. I also realized quickly that the schem I thought I should be following doesn't match the actual values of a lot of the resistors.

I last left considering an AC-15 1960.


You got anything going?

Cap'n yeah, I'm kindof at the point of testing... I'm a little worried with the Power supply, I'm trying to figure out things after I replaced the Filter Caps, and wondering about dropping resistors values.

Here's my schematic.
http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/3430/filmoh.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/818/filmoh.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

And yes, your amp is like mine, it does not have the EF86, and many of the components are not the same values, the Tone Pot is 3meg, I've got them paralleled to drop the value to 1.5M will it suck tone? I dunno, but we'll find out later this week.

organ grinder
12-30-2011, 05:13 PM
If it's got the french and english on the control panel for tone and volume and it's the 385, then it's the EL84 model (Canadian) and the one you want.... like this one !

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/393234_2702495015674_1655692471_2459847_2072995776 _n.jpg

Buzzystang
12-30-2011, 05:27 PM
So...youre just going to tease us with one little picture like that? Come on man....very few have seen a real Bernie in the wild!

LeifH
12-31-2011, 08:55 AM
If it's got the french and english on the control panel for tone and volume and it's the 385, then it's the EL84 model (Canadian) and the one you want.... like this one !

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/393234_2702495015674_1655692471_2459847_2072995776 _n.jpg

There appears to be two "Canadian" versions; on with an EF86, one without.

Mine is without.

shackpalace
12-31-2011, 01:22 PM
....reading this whole thread has been such a treat.......
....all this talk of Capsule, and Toronto, makes me nostalgic for the music that mystified my young ears.....no mind......a neon rome......yup....i left toronto in '91........Capsule had not yet been born.....Song Bird was still kicking.....

.....sorry for the drift from Bell & Howell territory, but i snagged an old AMPRO just over a year ago......below are some pictures of it before simplifying the circuit and getting rid of unnecessary rot.....
....now it is an amazing sounding 6L6 circuit.....2 separate channels.....one sounds a little like some of my old ampegs......the other, more fender like.....i can also cascade the 2 channels together, which sounds amazing......and the meters still work......yup......
.....so, i highly support this endeavour......

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/P1010091.jpg

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/ampro_front.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/ampro_fulltubes.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/ampro_dials.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/ampro_input.jpg
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b188/squelchpalace/ampro_output.jpg

xtian
01-17-2012, 02:15 PM
Just bought a B&H 179. Needs some work. Will have to decide whether to repair or rebuild.

Anyone know what circuit At Mars uses?

xtian
01-17-2012, 02:16 PM
Just bought a B&H 179. Needs some work. Will have to decide whether to repair or rebuild.

Anyone know what circuit At Mars uses?

LeifH
01-17-2012, 03:17 PM
Just bought a B&H 179. Needs some work. Will have to decide whether to repair or rebuild.

Anyone know what circuit At Mars uses?

I believe they do something of 5E3 with them, they may use the second half of the 12AX7 (V1) as an additional gain stage.

Tele Wacker
01-17-2012, 03:32 PM
I have had 2 Bell & Howell and 2 Ampex projector speakers cabs. All had Jensen C12N type speakers but were 16 ohm. I still have one Ampex left. These are neat cabinets but I've not tried to put an amp in one yet.

xtian
02-07-2012, 09:55 PM
I have had success rebuilding my Filmosound as 5C3 Deluxe. Details and photos here:

http://ampgarage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16996

Pimust
03-14-2012, 05:29 AM
Yesterday I bought a combo than seems to be put together from a Filmsound 179 amp and a Victor 12" Alnico speaker in a sheet metal cabinet. Glad I found this site, by reading this thread alone I know much more of there's amps now than I did yesterday.

Seppo from www.kitarakuu.fi demonstrating the amp. (http://kitarakuu.fi/index.php?PAGE=501&NODE_ID=501&LANG=1) Click the youtube link on this page.

teleking36
08-03-2012, 07:50 AM
bumping this up...

Colin or 57special, I could use your help on this one.

I'm going to check out a Filmosound 399 projector locally today. I saw in pictures that it has the 'Sapphire' bearing plate affixed to the chassis of the projector.

Any indication as what amp this model has? I'd like to think the seller would let me remove the amp for inspection, but in the event she doesn't allow it, I'd like to know in case it's worth picking up. I'm dying for a Bernie-type amp and if this one features the 6BQ5/EL84s I'll jump on it.

LeifH
08-03-2012, 01:50 PM
bumping this up...

Colin or 57special, I could use your help on this one.

I'm going to check out a Filmosound 399 projector locally today. I saw in pictures that it has the 'Sapphire' bearing plate affixed to the chassis of the projector.

Any indication as what amp this model has? I'd like to think the seller would let me remove the amp for inspection, but in the event she doesn't allow it, I'd like to know in case it's worth picking up. I'm dying for a Bernie-type amp and if this one features the 6BQ5/EL84s I'll jump on it.

If it's the "saphire" version, it's the deluxe, and if Canadian, most likely the EL84 version. Mine did not have the EF86 pre-amp tube, but some other 57 series tube. I couldn't find a schematic for it, but that didn't matter for my purposes, I am gutting and going with something Vox AC10 / 18W Marshall-ish circuit.

teleking, I did get your email, and emailed you back.

WahmBoomAh
12-16-2012, 07:49 AM
loving this thread ....I just joined the club ..... 25 bucks for a Craig`s List 179 .
I`m not savvy on amps but I do have a great tech (with no filmosound experience) ....thinking of going with him or just shipping it off to Mars !
I still haven`t plugged it in yet .. Any info necessary to remove the amp from the full projector ? In the old days it seems a screwdriver and some common sense got the job done .

samdjr74
12-16-2012, 08:57 AM
This was the problem I had when I tired to build up one of these, the ohms are down right odd in the guitar amp world.

I have a couple of B&H theater amps (6550s) and the only problem is that the transformer output impedance is 64 ohms. Not a lot of guitar speakers like that. I guess you could wire up a 4x12 with 16 ohm speakers in series and make it work but it'd be hardly worth it. The iron is not that great anyway in my amps so I just figure I'll let them collect dust until I happen on some old alnico 64 ohm speakers to go with them.

LeifH
12-16-2012, 11:34 AM
This was the problem I had when I tired to build up one of these, the ohms are down right odd in the guitar amp world.

As it has been said before in this thread, you can swap out the iron. An output tranny is pretty reasonable.

GiftsnGadgets
03-04-2013, 03:51 AM
Howdy guys, saw the interest here when researching one of these I picked up at a yard sale over the weekend. I took it apart and will put up some pictures of what I pulled out. It was a 399 Filmosound Specialist that worked great, but is a little dirty - will be cleaned up before sending. If anyone is interested, can toss me a message here with what you're willing to pay - I glanced through but didn't see any prices, but I did see them going for around $150 on eBay. It does have a "Sapphire" sticker on the projector which I saw someone mention as significant.

http://s10.postimage.org/cjndc7cyx/ENIMAGE1362393875973.jpg
http://s8.postimage.org/n74vuz5xh/ENIMAGE1362393888202.jpg
http://s10.postimage.org/lc9dx04fd/ENIMAGE1362393899332.jpg

arumrunner
07-25-2013, 01:30 PM
So there I am checking out the local thrift store and what do I see in the window!? Boing!!!

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/IMG_0540_zpsef2ec9ca.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/IMG_0540_zpsef2ec9ca.jpg.html)

Knowing I have a bunch of these at home just waiting for some guts...

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_3387_zps281c2e07.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_3387_zps281c2e07.jpg.html)

On the to bench it goes for a lil surgery...

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_3438_zps3dbe86cd.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_3438_zps3dbe86cd.jpg.html)

Just lovely, quality Japanese glow sticks

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_3434_zps2a3c6a88.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_3434_zps2a3c6a88.jpg.html)
http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_3437_zpsd6c5c491.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_3437_zpsd6c5c491.jpg.html)

Rats nest yes, but that's where some of the magic comes from. A few simple mods and were all set...

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_4578_zpse0c9fbe7.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_4578_zpse0c9fbe7.jpg.html)

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_4583_zpsf76cf09a.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_4583_zpsf76cf09a.jpg.html)

Thoughts??? I live in the land of Bernie and now Tex so I know what's possible with these lil gems and this one delivers the goods - big time. Clean up till noon and then steady climb to chimey, harmonic drive that peels paint - holy shit. I'm going to do a lil work on the tone stack and find a 16ohm V30 and call it a day.

http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_4587_zpsc0b34268.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_4587_zpsc0b34268.jpg.html)
http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k182/IlapU2/Music/Amps/DSC_4595_zpscc0050ec.jpg (http://s88.photobucket.com/user/IlapU2/media/Music/Amps/DSC_4595_zpscc0050ec.jpg.html)

DW

LPVM
07-25-2013, 03:39 PM
Love these conversion stories. I've got a AO-44 & AO-29 on my bench waitng to be gutted right now. I had this Masco done by Skip Simmons. Clean it is 50's Tweed Bassman all day. Sweet chimey & jangly. Beautiful edge of break up blues tone and it can get down and dirty with a boost.

M2V_yZaAYSU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2V_yZaAYSU)

pfflam
07-25-2013, 08:07 PM
I sure would love to know the absolutely specific mods that went into arumrunner's amp, and if possible, in terms made understandable for real-idiots -I still have one of mine, just like that one, and its is pretty good but could use a tweak or two
(btw: what Ohms does it want?)

oh, and also BTW, here's what I have going for HWired Marshall SLP Anniversay

Sporting two Weber Legacy speakershttp://i1323.photobucket.com/albums/u583/pufalayam/web_zps8898b143.jpg (http://s1323.photobucket.com/user/pufalayam/media/web_zps8898b143.jpg.html)

goldenrule
08-29-2013, 10:37 AM
I found a B&H speaker cab left out for the trash about 6-7 years ago. Had the jensen inside reconed by DBM in manhattan. I ordered a 185 projector for i think $50-60 on ebay and had the amp inside refurbed by a tech friend in Brooklyn. The speaker itself is a real beauty, and I recently made myself an adapter speaker cable so I could try it with some other amps. The amp I've had and used off and on for years has worked well and I've never experienced any kind of shock, though it is the transformerless variety. I didn't know enough about amplifiers at the time to be able to tell it was dangerous, and (oddly) my tech pal who I paid to get it working did not mention the danger to me either, but the fact that i've used it safely makes me think the isolation that was pointed out much earlier in this thread on the input jack is operational. However, plugging my princeton into the B&H cabinet made me realize that that 185 amp just doesn't sound that great in comparison! So I ordered myself a 179 amp yesterday that I hope I can have cleaned up to usable status. A word on the old 2-pin connectors B&H used for these earlier models - in case there are any intrepid researchers out there who want to use the original connectors, I can tell you they are Amphenol 80 MC2M, available from several online sellers as NOS. If you're looking to make a speaker cable with 1/4, once the connector is disassembled for wiring you can look inside and see the two pins are numbered - i found as you might expect that pin 1 is signal, 2 ground. it's a little tricky because these require you to push the leads through the pins, trim and solder them in, so you have to watch the gauge you use or you're never getting it in there.

anyway, looking forward to trying to clean up my 179 and having a nice 6V6 amp to play through this pretty speaker.

TerryH
11-06-2013, 03:43 AM
Hello all. I am brand new to the site, and just wanted to share my cool find at an estate auction lst week. I picked up a B&H 399 specialist for $1.00. I popped on a 16mm film from old high school Geo class, and it worked great! I ran my strat through it and it sounded ok. I'm not sure about the speaker, and I haven't dropped the amp out yet, but I am stoked to say the least. I am an absolute beginner at electronics, but I am reading and watching everything I can on You Tube. I would love to make this amp into a Vox type (AC15/AC30). I may become a pain with questions. This post is great!

s360guitarist
11-06-2013, 06:06 AM
Welcome Terry, if you have not done so already, do an advanced search for "Texosound" and see if that will give you any info you don't already know...

TerryH
11-06-2013, 08:53 AM
Thanks. I'll check it out.

Dbwalker
02-27-2014, 01:04 PM
I just picked up a Filmosound 302 and read the "Transformerless shock hazard" warning ... what is the deal with that ... I got a volt meter out and measured the case, and input jacks, nothing was there ...

Is the shock hazard only if you are working on it, or is there a defect that can cause it to arc?

Silent Sound
02-27-2014, 01:42 PM
I just picked up a Filmosound 302 and read the "Transformerless shock hazard" warning ... what is the deal with that ... I got a volt meter out and measured the case, and input jacks, nothing was there ...

Is the shock hazard only if you are working on it, or is there a defect that can cause it to arc?
It has to do with the grounding scheme. If the amp isn't grounding properly and the guitars strings are grounded to the guitar's output jack (which is often the case in most guitars to reduce noise) then it's possible to have the full 115 volts from the wall connected directly to your strings. The transformer isolates the wall current from reaching you directly. You can still get shocked even with an isolation transformer, but it's less likely to be as powerful as it would be without one.

Just make sure that you're wearing rubber soled shoes and don't touch anything else that's plugged in or made of metal (like microphones) and you should be fine. Also make sure the power cord is plugged in the right way. Plugging it in upside down is what will cause the chassis to become live. The best way to know if it's plugged in correctly is to plug it in and listen for hum. If it hums, flip the plug around. If the hum gets worse, flip it back. It should have less hum when it's plugged in the correct way.

People have been using these amps for decades and few people ever experienced any major electrocutions. But a few people did, and some people have died, so don't ignore the threat. If you're planning on gigging with it or using it often, you should to take it to a tech to have an isolation transformer and a grounded, three prong plug installed for safety's sake.

LeifH
02-27-2014, 02:12 PM
I just picked up a Filmosound 302 and read the "Transformerless shock hazard" warning ... what is the deal with that ... I got a volt meter out and measured the case, and input jacks, nothing was there ...

Is the shock hazard only if you are working on it, or is there a defect that can cause it to arc?

There is no isolation from "wall voltage" with a transformerless amp. These use line voltage to power the amplifier, and thus the hot section of the jack is connected through to the 120V coming in from the wall. This is a less safe situation, and the reason it's no longer used.

Putting an isolation transformer in front is one solution, but you still can have grounding issues with other equipment. The best solution is to have a grounded plug installed, remove any "ground" switch & the death cap if it has one, and have it checked by a tech.

Even if it is for home use, you have to understand that in houses the plumbing is grounded, as is any metal piece of structure that comes into contact with it. It's easy to ground yourself regardless of shoe sole material.

Dbwalker
02-27-2014, 06:54 PM
Ok ... thanks for that info. I've been using it with no issues (so far), but I think I will take it in and have the isolation transformer put in, and the grounded cable ... and the proper 1/4 in jack ... and the caps ... damn .. this $80 amp is going to cost a lot more aint it ... better than :thud though

pdodge77
02-27-2014, 08:57 PM
Subscribed and now on the look out...

Jimbo735
02-28-2014, 05:00 PM
Yes isolation trans and plug,I have two bell and howell projector amps, they are worth your time and effort and there a blast to use for guitar.Find the right tech if you are not able to work on them yourself.