Area 51 wah... old version vs new version?

hellbent

Member
Messages
22
I saw some pics today of the newest revision of the Area 51 wah. It looks like they have gone from the BC-109 tin can transistors, to what LOOKS like a new manufacture transistor. Maybe a 2n5172?

Anyways, would this make much of a difference in tone? I mean, I could be totally wrong, but it doesn't look like a vintage transistor. It looks like your typical black 2n series transistor we used in electronics in high school.

Anyone heard both and notice any difference? Is the whole vintage transistor thing just hype?

Thanks
 

Lefty

Member
Messages
311
voxwah002sy2.jpg


Older board.
 

ChickenLover

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,794
Newer board...just got this kit this past Thursday and installed it Saturday. Looks like different trannies, different caps, different inductor, and a different switch. The stuff you get is NOT what is pictured on the site. The switch in the pic on the site (and in the above older board) is supposedly much more quiet (mechanically) than the 3PDT switch in mine...these 3PDT switches suck for wah use...they're WAY too mechanically noisy. Rather disappointed.

Area51Wah.jpg
 

tlpruitt

Member
Messages
948
BC109's, with the right gain for a wah, are getting tougher to find. The 2N5172 was used in the original Vox 846. It is a good transistor too as long as the gain is in the right range.

Don't judge a trannie by its color or shape. There are some great wah transistors that come in the little black TO-92 form. Many of the boutique wah builders use black TO-92 type transistors to make great sounding wahs.
 

geetarman

Member
Messages
2,115
Newer board...just got this kit this past Thursday and installed it Saturday. Looks like different trannies, different caps, different inductor, and a different switch. The stuff you get is NOT what is pictured on the site. The switch in the pic on the site (and in the above older board) is supposedly much more quiet (mechanically) than the 3PDT switch in mine...these 3PDT switches suck for wah use...they're WAY too mechanically noisy. Rather disappointed.

Area51Wah.jpg


The potentiometer is different too I have the same Fulltone pot like Lefty. All I can say is that I love my A51 wah it really sounds great it knocked my PW off the board after many years of being there.
 
Messages
4,296
T All I can say is that I love my A51 wah it really sounds great it knocked my PW off the board after many years of being there.
Two different era's of Wahs. The a51 is more of an V846 Thomas wah..Both are great sounding circuits.I use them all.No preference.depends on the Tune and required tone..
 

ChickenLover

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,794
The potentiometer is different too I have the same Fulltone pot like Lefty. All I can say is that I love my A51 wah it really sounds great it knocked my PW off the board after many years of being there.
My Area 51 above is supposed to have the upgraded Icar pot...but I guess it's not the same as the Fulltone pot (and I guess I can't be sure what pot I got). I also have a Teese Wheels of Fire wah that I've modded to be a bit more like the 'typical' wah circuit (per RG Keen's Technology of... article) and I like the tone of the Teese way more. I don't know how close a PW and my WoF are though. I had an RMC3 and a PW and preferred the PW but I like the WoF even more (after my mods).
 

geetarman

Member
Messages
2,115
bandofthieves™;3696512 said:
Two different era's of Wahs. The a51 is more of an V846 Thomas wah..Both are great sounding circuits.I use them all.No preference.depends on the Tune and required tone..

Actually that's incorrect the A51 board is also based on the old Vox Italian PW circuit.
 

geetarman

Member
Messages
2,115
bandofthieves™;3697514 said:
So is the V846. So why the heavy inductor?? I'm not a Vox/Thomas wah circuit Expert by any means.Just know what I have been told..Oh yea and what I hear.:BEER

Very true the V846 is very similar I was more thrown by your different era comment. ;)
 

DucRyder

Member
Messages
2,640
My Area 51 above is supposed to have the upgraded Icar pot...but I guess it's not the same as the Fulltone pot (and I guess I can't be sure what pot I got). I also have a Teese Wheels of Fire wah that I've modded to be a bit more like the 'typical' wah circuit (per RG Keen's Technology of... article) and I like the tone of the Teese way more. I don't know how close a PW and my WoF are though. I had an RMC3 and a PW and preferred the PW but I like the WoF even more (after my mods).
what mods did you do?:confused::)
 

Brad J

Member
Messages
469
Old one, with Icar pot, Q control , growl control, 5 way selector and output buffer.

Area51wah.jpg


The last wah I will ever use.
 

ChickenLover

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,794
what mods did you do?
It's difficult to describe the mods without revealing circuit values of the stock pedal and that's not fair to Teese...plus I can't even remember.:p

However I can tell you 'where it's at' right now. Just get RG Keen's online article The Technology of the Tube Screamer and use the schematic in it...and ID all the resistors and caps on your circuit board (most values will be the exact same value in just about ANY 'vintage' type wah). RG tells you what each component does and what affect it has on the tone. I did the following (all 'stock' values I'm referring to are from that article...NOT my WoF wah):
Changed 1.5K resistor to 1K resistor plus a 1K-L trimmer in series.
Changed 470 ohm Q1 emitter resistor to a 100 ohm resistor plus a 500ohm-L trimmer.
Added a .0022uF cap in parallel with the .01uF 'feedback' cap (i.e. NOT the .01uF input cap.
Adjusted the 'tail' resistor on the Q and Vol pots to get a nice range/sweep on those controls.

These are all very simple, common, well-known mods...to a very simple, common, well-known circuit. If you just take weekend and dive into that article with your wah in hand you'll learn a lot about it and in the end you'll be surprised just how simple it really is.
 

hellbent

Member
Messages
22
Do you guys know if there are any sound differences between the new and the old models?

ChickenLover.... do you like the sound of yours?
 

rhythmrocker

1966 Battle of the Bands
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,897
Hey all - just curious if anyone found any significant difference(s) between the older one, say between the 2008 and before models vs. the 2010 models. Dan said there had been quite a few changes. Looking for first hand experience(s).
 
Last edited:

Astro Strat

Active Member
Messages
54
The older models use a different inductor, the white one that you see in the pics. The newer versions use the Halo-Replica Inductor which is what the early Clyde Mccoy Wahs from the 60's used. This the best inductor you can get next to Fasel Inductors.

As for the transistors, he uses the black-style transistors in the newer models. This is the military grade version of the BC108-BC109 transistors that he used to use. It's basically the same thing. Dan must had been running low on the BC's and switched to the other version as they are more readily available.

It's a great Wah no matter what version you have.
 




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