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Do these Mercury Magnetics transformers make that much difference?

sickboy79

Member
Messages
13,378
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.
I can further clarify. When I went with the upgrade to MM, it was based on a bit of research that I had done via internet, magazine articles, etc. Specifically the Tone Clones. They always received high praise at the time and the amp tech also highly recommended them. When I replaced them, I think I only had 1 amp that used MM as OEM equipment.

I'm not sure I understand what you are referring to as not being able to speak to their performance? I can speak to how they perform and sound compared to the original Dagnall transformers in the Marshall SLP. Maybe I'm not following your statement.
 
Messages
6,765
Previous was stock. MM was the Tone Clone replacement made to original specs.
The specs of which original tranny, I wonder. One source claims the Drake 784-139 is correct for the 1970s 50W JMPs - but if so you're pretty bummed if they claim "original specs" and yet they don't use authentic construction.

This is why I'm not very happy about MM's marketing. They would probably claim that the fat bottle 6CA7 is a clone of the EL34/ 6CA7, as well, on the fact they're spec'ed identically and both sound good.
 

gaelicsolus

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
369
I didn't make it through all the replies. But for that specific amp, I would recommend a MojoTone Heyboer output transformer and choke, the updated PCB board, and a Metro Loop. You might want to change a resistor here and there and make the deep switch into a mini-pot while you're at it. Reeves, certain Friedmans, and many others use Heyboer, and they do not muck around. I have a couple amps with MM transformers that are great (a Hiwatt Fernandes is one), but two of the others where I've done a replacement I've chosen Heyboer, and they're crushers.
 

Ultra GP

Senior Member
Messages
1,346
The specs of which original tranny, I wonder. One source claims the Drake 784-139 is correct for the 1970s 50W JMPs - but if so you're pretty bummed if they claim "original specs" and yet they don't use authentic construction.
That's the thing really. It was the PT that was replaced, and they offer ones that wouldn't have the correct B+ for a 70s model.

Generally I'll use whatever is closest to the original if I'm restoring an older amp

I didn't make it through all the replies. But for that specific amp, I would recommend a MojoTone Heyboer output transformer and choke, the updated PCB board, and a Metro Loop. You might want to change a resistor here and there and make the deep switch into a mini-pot while you're at it. Reeves, certain Friedmans, and many others use Heyboer, and they do not muck around. I have a couple amps with MM transformers that are great (a Hiwatt Fernandes is one), but two of the others where I've done a replacement I've chosen Heyboer, and they're crushers.
Is it possible to install the Metro loop in the existing location? I was considering one of those for mine.

The deep switch is a good call. I had a Friedman modded DSL a while back and one of the changes was to just have a fixed value instead of a switch.
 

PB Wilson

Member
Messages
856
I can't speak to the quality of Mercury over other companies like Heyboer or some of the other companies that are OEM or used often by DIY-ers, but I have noticed that Mercury has spent a lot of money on advertisements. That may have something to do with their increased cost. Just a thought.
 

woof*

Member
Messages
8,759
I have mercury output and power in my Superbass and they sound phenomenal. I used them because of dependability, they have a good track record. That’s my experience. There may be better sounding out there, I don’t know but my amp sounds as good as any Superbass I’ve played.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,492
No, in a a word. Transformers seem to generate similar hysteria to NOS tubes, so take anecdotal accounts of 'it transformed my amp into a whole new beast' with some healthy scepticism. This was recently discussed here: transformer talk
I have to chuckle at this a bit. Your amp is a circuit… a wholistic system. Everything, especially those components in the signal path have an impact on its output. Most components have up to 20% measurable tolerance… multiply that by the number of components. That what production amps vary from one to another… and multiply that over time.

Replacement transformers, particularly output transformers can change the sound of your amp. Is it better or worse… hard to tell. Mercury does an outstanding job of researching, replicating, and bringing consistency to their builds. That said, they get paid quite handsomely for that.

Remember that many guys here stood in front of large amps a lot. Most people suffer from hearing loss by the time they are 40. Add to that, hearing is sensed by the ear, but highly processed by the brain. Yes, you can learn, in many cases, to hear better. So much of this ‘hearing’ is subjective. And not every aspect of a component that impacts tone is measurable.
 

ChickenLover

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,151
The fact that CT went out of business implies to me that they weren't charging enough.

I've built with mostly Heyboer, MM, Merren with a few Edcor and Hammonds. Several times a brand new PT would audibly hum/vibrate and if I'm building a new amp that is unacceptable. Swapping for a MM has fixed it everytime. I also swapped in a MM OT in my Trainwreck Rocket clone and it sounded much better than the Heyboer. So I have a good track record with MM and just pay up the first time now. But these are one off personal builds, so an extra cost is not a huge deal when I consider the total cost and how many years I'll use the amp.
 

gldtp99

Member
Messages
4,033
Remember that many guys here stood in front of large amps a lot. Most people suffer from hearing loss by the time they are 40. Add to that, hearing is sensed by the ear, but highly processed by the brain. Yes, you can learn, in many cases, to hear better. So much of this ‘hearing’ is subjective. And not every aspect of a component that impacts tone is measurable.
I agree ----- I know this is very true in my case

So the difference between one OT and another (when it doesn't really make much difference to me) might make a significant difference to someone else whose ears aren't as beaten up as mine are

I used to buy up (for Cheeeep) original Drake and Dagnall OT's off the 'bay back when many would "upgrade" to MM OT's (as highly suggested on the Forums of the time)

I built many, many Marshall based amps with these "cast off" OT's and sold them to many very satisfied local players

Did the "upgraded" amps really sound much better as many owners claimed they did ?

I have no idea ---- they often would write "It was like I lifted a blanket off my amp's tone !!!"

Years later I bought two new, unused MM Axiom 050JM-M OT's from a local amp builder who was getting out of amp building

I used one in a Hi Gain "Big 50" head I built that was bought up by a local Grindcore band ---- this amp has been used by them for several years now, playing all over Texas, and also doing one West Coast and two East Coast tours ---- they seem to like the amp quite a bit

The other MM OT is sitting across the room from me now ---- I'll use it in another Hi Gain 50-ish watt build one day

But to think just swapping an OT is going to bring "Sonic Bliss" just isn't a realistic expectation ---- at least in my experience ---- a particular OT is part of the whole equation, but not the whole equation in itself
 
Messages
6,765
That's the thing really. It was the PT that was replaced, and they offer ones that wouldn't have the correct B+ for a 70s model.
Yes for the PT you may have another issue and that is the mains voltage may have changed from the 1940s, -50 or -60s so does the PT give you the correct voltages for starters. Then it may provide the correct B+ yet perhaps not made to vintage specs, a different count of windings being used.

Obviously, though, you want a PT that can hold current and sufficiently so - no doubt about it. That's the entire purpose of it. But even these are three times the money of the competition so you basically would have to ask yourself: would this be proportionate to what you actually get?

Then there's always: can even a PT be 'too good' should it infact hold current better than the vintage article. Anyway I find it a bold statement purporting something that is made different to the original item to be made to those specs still.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,307
Since a lot of people bring up cost in the same breath as Mercury Magnetics.… Mercury offers discounts to buyers who have bought multiple transformers from them. IIRC the discount tiers are at 5, 10, 20 and 40 units. The discount at the highest tiers is significant. And those are based on the number of units bought in your lifetime. So if you know somebody that buys MMs, then you may want to ask them if they will purchase a discounted transformer for you. If you build or repair amps, then the discounts can be significant.
 

JB6464

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,312
I put MM iron in two Marshall Plexi RI amps thinking it would be more vintage , what i did notice was the amps got darker/warmer sounding .
In the end I didn't like them as much as the OEM iron that came with the amps and sold the amps off rather than reverse it all back , learned a big lesson on that experiment about chasing vintage tones .
Don't get me wrong MM makes great high quality stuff , my Soldano Hot Rod amps uses them and their fine , but in marshall's it warmed the tone up to much for me .
 

gaelicsolus

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
369
That's the thing really. It was the PT that was replaced, and they offer ones that wouldn't have the correct B+ for a 70s model.

Generally I'll use whatever is closest to the original if I'm restoring an older amp



Is it possible to install the Metro loop in the existing location? I was considering one of those for mine.

The deep switch is a good call. I had a Friedman modded DSL a while back and one of the changes was to just have a fixed value instead of a switch.
Yes, it's basically plug and play. Just the return resistor value that needs to be matched to the particular amp's circuit. The Marshall Forum has a few threads about it.
 






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