Has anybody specifically listened to all the voltages available on the back of an amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by michael.e, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    ?

    My amp has a 110, 120, 220 [1], and 240. I am thinking of running it at 110 to see how it responds. Of course I will lower the voltage going to the amp.



    Has anybody experimented with step up transformers and variacs to either raise or lower incomming voltage? Any difference in tone/feel/response?


    Emee
     
  2. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    In answer to your questions Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!
     
  3. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    I have very old variac that also allows different voltage outs. Anyway, most of my experimentations were with an old 69 plexi I had. I had originally bought the variac as a kind of regulator to "protect" the amp. This was like in 85 after finding out Eddie used one. Anyway, what I found was the amp sounded it's best on it's normal voltage 240. I also found that on about 90 volts the amp got very squishy and really got the "brown" sound that Eddie was using. I palyed that amp for about 6 years with that variac before I retired it. On regular 110 I found the amp to feel kind of stiff and bright. I have also done this experiment with a Komet constellation with very pleasing results.
     
  4. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Interesting, so you are saying that there is definately a difference in tone if I run a step up transformer to 240 and set the amp accordingly?


    Very cool! Thanks!

    Emee
     
  5. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Hogy was talking about this. Sounds cool.
     
  6. hogy

    hogy Member

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  7. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Senior Member

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    Without having read those other threads, the short answer is yes. It isn't really the amount of UK voltage. It's the lower frequency and the ghost notes created by your tube amp will be much less audible, thus creating less harmonic clashing.
     
  8. Dave L

    Dave L Member

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    GuitarTone - I think the voltage that the amp eventually sees is what matters in this case, not what originally came out of the wall.
     
  9. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Senior Member

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    It depends on if your amp produces ghost notes. USA voltage is at 60Hz and UK voltage is at 50Hz. UK voltage produces lower freq/less audible ghost notes. I don't know if South Africa voltage is 50Hz, it probably is. An inexpensive step down/step up voltage converter will not change the Hz frequency of the voltage. You would need a piece of lab equipment costing thousands to convert that. This all started because of interview with George Lynch I believe, commenting how much better his Marshalls sounded when recording in Germany or the UK on those voltages.
     
  10. Structo

    Structo Member

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    I agree with Dave L.
    If the transformer has primaries for 110 and 120, the secondary voltages are probably going to be the same if the transformer is wound right.

    The only way you are going to be able to tell is to check the voltages inside the amp and see if they are within spec.

    I understand the theory of using a whole winding in a coil that has taps on it.

    But that usually refers to the secondary of an output transformer.

    I guess you can let your ears be the best judge but I just don't see it doing anything beneficial.


    With a vintage amp that was designed for a 110 v wall voltage I can see using a variac or other type of voltage limiter to lower the voltage to 110v since the whole amp is scaled for that primary voltage.
    There was a guy at The Amp Garage that made a limiter that had several taps on it.

    He has a 61 Fender Concert that I believe was designed for 117vac.

    He made his limiter with 106, 113 and 120v output.

    At 113v his heaters were at 5.8v and with 106v they were at 5.5v


    What was really interesting was that with 120v supply voltage his heaters were at 6.3v.

    This with an amp made in 1961 with 117v primaries.
     

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