Bell & Howell projector Amp project info or anything else

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by pfflam, Jul 27, 2006.


  1. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    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?
     
  2. TwinandTwang

    TwinandTwang Member

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    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.
     
  3. ES350

    ES350 Member

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    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...
     
  4. krash

    krash Member

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    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.
     
  5. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  6. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    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.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    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).
     
  8. TwinandTwang

    TwinandTwang Member

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    Colin's has EL 84 's. Some are 6v6.
     
    joshofsorts likes this.
  9. 6789

    6789 Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    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.
     
  11. Scottone

    Scottone Silver Supporting Member

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    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
     
  12. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    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!
     
  13. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    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 . . :)
     
  14. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Beautiful.
     
  15. filmosound

    filmosound Member

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    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.
     
  16. 57special

    57special Member

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    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".
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  17. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    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.
     
  18. LustandFury

    LustandFury Member

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    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...
     
  19. LustandFury

    LustandFury Member

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    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
     
  20. canklyde

    canklyde Member

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    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!!!
     

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