• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Do these Mercury Magnetics transformers make that much difference?

Rick Lee

Member
Messages
11,158
For the money MM charges, I'll go with Merren every time. I put a Hammond PT in my '79 2203 when the original one blew. It sounds the same to me. I have put CTs in several amps and really wish they were still around. I have a hankering to get another DSL100H or HR and do a choke and OT upgrade. So I'm watching this thread.
 
Messages
1,606
I've never swapped transformers, never wanted to, so this is strictly anecdotal from the experiences of people I know, but it often seems like the "magic" of transformer replacement has less to do with the quality of what you put in than the quality of what you took out.

MMs will very likely be an upgrade from any bad transformer; whether that makes them especially good in themselves, I don't know. We're getting into metaphysics with that one. I (briefly) had a JCM2000 DSL, and just to infer from the rest of the amp, I'm guessing the transformers are fine but unspectacular, and I sort of doubt that there's enough to the amp itself that yoiu need a boutique transformer to get that missing magic out.

Could be wrong, of course, but I would personally save that kind of (price) upgrade for a great amp with a faulty transformer or a vintage one with specs that weren't working. I tend to doubt that there are many new amps that are great right up until the transformers; if they'd designed and built a great circuit, they probably would've designed and commissioned a great transformer.
 

cetanu

Senior Member
Messages
184
Where else can I get a drop in replacement for my 1963 Gibson GA5T, Orange Tiny Terror, and Ampeg SVT? To some people, there's value in having a company around that makes replacement transformers for these amps.
Most transformer manufacturers really if they have the specs and they're not that hard to come by. Imo, it's not that big of a deal and I don't think there's so much R&D involved like you imply and I think Mercury just gathered a good bunch of those specs from customer orders back when everybody and their grandma wanted a Mercury upgrade for their amp. The hype was unreal.

Until a friend of mine ordered one for his blown amp from Mercury directly well over a decade ago they didn't offer them for this particular amp on their website. Afterwards they did and still do. I didn't even know they're still in business and still a 'thing'.

But they were fine quality for sure and not that expensive back then which was the reason said friend ordered from them in the first place.
 

HotBluePlates

Member
Messages
11,883
Most transformer manufacturers really if they have the specs and they're not that hard to come by. ...
No one (except maybe MM) seems to make a correct Deluxe Reverb power transformer. But that's partly because there were at least 3 or 4 different versions, just in the silverface & blackface years.

I had a 1964 Deluxe Reverb, and it delivered different output voltage & had higher winding resistance than any available replacement transformer (I did not have data on MM's Deluxe Reverb replacement to know about theirs).

After spending 20 years on guitar forums reading guys gripe about how their home-brew clones had higher B+ voltage than they expected, it turns out the reason is the modern replacement transformers are made "too well" with too high winding resistance. And that plays a role in sag as well...
 
Messages
6,765
I've never swapped transformers, never wanted to, so this is strictly anecdotal from the experiences of people I know, but it often seems like the "magic" of transformer replacement has less to do with the quality of what you put in than the quality of what you took out.

MMs will very likely be an upgrade from any bad transformer; whether that makes them especially good in themselves, I don't know. We're getting into metaphysics with that one. I (briefly) had a JCM2000 DSL, and just to infer from the rest of the amp, I'm guessing the transformers are fine but unspectacular, and I sort of doubt that there's enough to the amp itself that yoiu need a boutique transformer to get that missing magic out.

Could be wrong, of course, but I would personally save that kind of (price) upgrade for a great amp with a faulty transformer or a vintage one with specs that weren't working. I tend to doubt that there are many new amps that are great right up until the transformers; if they'd designed and built a great circuit, they probably would've designed and commissioned a great transformer.
I think about now is a good time to pose the question what makes a bad transformer. Insufficient iron, insufficient induction, a harsh highend... or ones thst just go bust without warning.

In my world trannies and other components have a signature sound. With OT this is particularly obvious.

MMs seem to have plenty of lows, no harsh highs but then tend to sound muddy overall and don't produce very interesting overtones of their own. They're probably hard to break as they seem to be the sturdiest on the market. But then all brand trannies of today should really last the lifeexpectancy of the amp.
 
Last edited:

ellis dee

Member
Messages
2,412
Is the transformer of your prized vintage amp dying or no longer working? Do you have an original vintage transformer that is losing its tonality? Mercury will restore it to its original condition for you.

We start by methodically deconstructing your vintage transformer, documenting every detail, anomaly and wind. We then restore your transformer to its former glory. The proprietary procedures we use require an extremely high level of expertise. Therefore restorations are only performed by our technicians with 20 or more years experience.

We DO NOT alter your original transformer in any way. With our attention to detail you can be assured that your restored vintage transformer will look AND sound exactly as it did! Most pro musicians, technicians and studios already know that our rewinding services as the best there is. Period. We believe you will too, GUARANTEED!!
 

Tag

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
42,082
I'm doing some repairs on a JCM2000 DSL100 head which wants a new mainboard and output transformer (standard conductive board and runaway bias business).

As it needs a new OT anyway, I was wondering about giving something fancy a whirl. However given the cost comparison to a standard OEM Marshall output transformer, is there really that much difference in sound?
OP transformers are a nightmare. If you like the original tone and feel, DO NOT SWITCH!!
There is no "better" in this case, just different.
Some of the cheapest ones can sound the best in a given amp. Just make sure the new replacement has the same specs as the original, and you MUST test this yourself. Have fun.
OTs are a true nightmare IMO.
 

Johnny Cache

Member
Messages
295
No one (except maybe MM) seems to make a correct Deluxe Reverb power transformer. But that's partly because there were at least 3 or 4 different versions, just in the silverface & blackface years.

I had a 1964 Deluxe Reverb, and it delivered different output voltage & had higher winding resistance than any available replacement transformer (I did not have data on MM's Deluxe Reverb replacement to know about theirs).

After spending 20 years on guitar forums reading guys gripe about how their home-brew clones had higher B+ voltage than they expected, it turns out the reason is the modern replacement transformers are made "too well" with too high winding resistance. And that plays a role in sag as well...
You know, I couldn't find a good replacement PT for my DRRI so I put in a Hammond PT originally intended for a Vibrolux Reverb Reissue it fit perfectly, a bit heaver duty than the cheap import ones Fender uses today (Schumacher) and quieter. The original Pt had a distinct hum I didn't like. The job went easy only issue was re-biasing for 6V6's which wasn't that bad, had to change the resistor value to the bias pot. It raised the Plate Voltage a little, and no hum. While I was in the amp I also replaced the crappy Illinois filter caps with F&T's which I like and have used in other amps. BTW now if I want I can run 6L6's with just a small rebias adjustment, but I like the sound better with 6V6's, the 6L6's sound a little cleaner and louder. 10 years later it's still working good and sounds great.
 
Messages
1,606
I think about now is a good time to pose the question what makes a bad transformer. Insufficient iron, insufficient induction, a harsh highend... or ones thst just go bust without warning.
And that's a question I'm not really sure I can answer (not that it can't be answered, just that I can't) until I hear the same amp running 2 different xformers. Just my experience, grano salis, etc., but I've read enough specs about everything in the world, and then been bewildered (or totally unmoved) enough by so many "major changes," that I would have to answer your question backwards ... which would be expensive and time-consuming and is something I hope I don't have to do. But hell, it would be good to know, and certainly good to hear from you or someone likewise informed and trustworthy if you, or they, figure it out!
 
Messages
6,765
OP transformers are a nightmare. If you like the original tone and feel, DO NOT SWITCH!!
There is no "better" in this case, just different.
Some of the cheapest ones can sound the best in a given amp. Just make sure the new replacement has the same specs as the original, and you MUST test this yourself. Have fun.
OTs are a true nightmare IMO.
I second this with a sidenote: If you know exactly what you want and the original trannies doesn't have this, then replace the transformers. If a certain brand does what your ears like: that is what you should go with, no matter the pricetag or others opinions.

The JCM2000 features laydown trannies, which are great in the sense it doesn't have any leads running out of the trannies. Leads from elsewhere in the amp are soldered onto lugs to facilitate replacement. Then the conductors of these leads are typically wrapped around the lugs quite tightly which are a pain to untangle even with professional tools.

Then everything is colour coded so shouldn't pose any issues even sans a correct schematic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tag
Messages
6,765
And that's a question I'm not really sure I can answer (not that it can't be answered, just that I can't) until I hear the same amp running 2 different xformers. Just my experience, grano salis, etc., but I've read enough specs about everything in the world, and then been bewildered (or totally unmoved) enough by so many "major changes," that I would have to answer your question backwards ... which would be expensive and time-consuming and is something I hope I don't have to do. But hell, it would be good to know, and certainly good to hear from you or someone likewise informed and trustworthy if you, or they, figure it out!
I know CT featured a few samples of different OTs in the same amp. I liked their the best, the Heyboer wasn't far behind but had a more strident midrange. There was a third brand and the comparable MM. The MM sounded thick with good push yet dull and less lively. The MM was probably the result of having more iron, being bobbin wound and probably tweaked in the highend. No mentioning of exact impedances or inductance levels, unfortunately.


Just tried to google the Internet for something similar clips wise, now that the samples were taken down with the demise of CT. Some truely great stuff, CT did.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,378
I like Mercury Magnetics transformers a lot. They are OEM transformers in a number of my amps. I also replaced the transformers (PT, Choke, and OT) in my 1997 Marshall 1959 SLP after a bad power tube took out the PT. It was quite a fantastic upgrade. The tone got bigger, fatter, and smoother all around. I'm very happy with the upgrade and it was well worth the money for me.
 
Messages
6,765
I like Mercury Magnetics transformers a lot. They are OEM transformers in a number of my amps. I also replaced the transformers (PT, Choke, and OT) in my 1997 Marshall 1959 SLP after a bad power tube took out the PT. It was quite a fantastic upgrade. The tone got bigger, fatter, and smoother all around. I'm very happy with the upgrade and it was well worth the money for me.
May I ask if that was the tone you were purposely, actively going for with the SLP or the result after the fact?
 
Messages
1,606
Just tried to google the Internet for something similar clips wise, now that the samples were taken down with the demise of CT. Some truely great stuff, CT did.
They were Mesa/Boogie's OEM transformer shop as well, weren't they? For the wild range of tonal demands a modern Mesa wil put on its xformer set, the Classic Tones must hve been pretty incredible.
 

deepcove17

Member
Messages
1,297
I have a 1971 JMP 50 that did not sound right. I sent it to a few different amp techs over years and I kept getting it back and felt its still did not sound as it should. It finally ended up at Warehouse Studios in the hands of Bryan Adams tech. I got it back with the PT replaced with a MM....all I can say is WOW...this amp sounds as I feel it should. Worth every penny.
 

Ultra GP

Senior Member
Messages
1,346
I have a 1971 JMP 50 that did not sound right. I sent it to a few different amp techs over years and I kept getting it back and felt its still did not sound as it should. It finally ended up at Warehouse Studios in the hands of Bryan Adams tech. I got it back with the PT replaced with a MM....all I can say is WOW...this amp sounds as I feel it should. Worth every penny.
Was the previous one stock? Might be that the new one has a different plate voltage.

@JonSick It might be worth trying something of a different spec, rather than a MM version of the stock Marshall transformer. I know Heyboer offers one that supposedly makes the amp sound a bit smoother.
 

deepcove17

Member
Messages
1,297
Was the previous one stock? Might be that the new one has a different plate voltage.

@JonSick It might be worth trying something of a different spec, rather than a MM version of the stock Marshall transformer. I know Heyboer offers one that supposedly makes the amp sound a bit smoother.
Previous was stock. MM was the Tone Clone replacement made to original specs.
 
Messages
6,765
Result after the fact. The set is from the Tone Clone series.
You know I'm happy for you and thanks for the clarification. Then, if you forgive me, but it seems that you went with what you're used to, not necessarily the item you liked best or that performed the best out of a rake of options. So in effect your experience of MM makes you a valuable asset, although you cannot extrincically speak for the performance of MM specifically. Or can you? Just thought that needed to be straightened out for us to be on the same page.
 
Messages
6,765
They were Mesa/Boogie's OEM transformer shop as well, weren't they? For the wild range of tonal demands a modern Mesa wil put on its xformer set, the Classic Tones must hve been pretty incredible.
I believe Mesa used CT although they are known for using Schumacher specifically as their main distributor of trannies. The mother company I believe was called Magnetic Components or similar, which seem to having been around for ages as well.

In a sense I'm glad I got the Marshall 50W style trannie from CT when I did. Had considered perhaps going with them for other duties as well, but... well, the lightning must have struck with not a cloud on the horizon, it seemed. I still live on the hope somebody would take mercy on CT and resurrect operations there.
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom