NewGearDay: Amprx Brownie

Polvo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
740
This little box has been the single best purchase I've made in shaping my tone. I play a `76 1959, 76 1987 through a `71 Marshall 4x12 with `79 G12-80s and Vox AC30cc2 through a 2006 Vox 4x12 with the 30 watt Wharfdales, obviously not all at once, just depending on my mood for the band, which plays original rock. Guitars are either a `91 Heritage Les Paul a partscaster or a `77 Ibanez Les Paul.
I've always thought I had a good guitar sound, depending on the room, or even depending on the climate though I could find myself battling some harsh high end.
In comes the Brownie, I have never heard any of my amps sound so good, rich and organic, made think of a mushroom cloud, big and soft looking but packing a wallop. It's amazing hearing my amps at the voltage they were designed for and even lower, my basement reads around 122v whereas my practice space was teetering 125.
My `76 100 watt with a Tele sounds best at around 104ish volts, every note just sings harmonically rich and blooms into a sound that you can almost touch. With a Les Paul the amp responds similarly but at 113 volts, dropping it down with humbuckers really browns things up and sounds really cool, but it is a little slower on the attack- I could see writing songs around the flexibility of voltage input.
The Brownie is well built and fits nicely in my gig box.
This has really tamed my Vox as well though designed for modern voltages, it really sings when around 104-108.
Finally, a purchase that I didn't regret after making that impacted my sound and even my playing maybe more than any other purchase or change I've made.
The downside... now I regret selling off a couple of amps before being able to try them with the Brownie.
 

mxk116

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,150
Good thread Polvo. :beer

Purchased an AmpRx Brownie from Humbucker Music a month or so ago for my '65 Vibrolux Reverb; wow what a difference running at 110VAC. My home routinely delivers 125-127 VAC from the wall and it was really messing with the amp. If I hadn't thought it through or read the posts by TGP'r 71strat I wouldn't be enjoying the benefits.

I originally purchased a Furman P1800 P to protect my live rig from brown out conditions on stage and subsequently added the P1800 AR voltage regulator. Now my gear is powered by the AmpRx Brownie which is connected to the high current receptacle of the 1800P which, in turn, is plugged into the 1800 AR.

All the amps now have a stable, clean supply of voltage. It's fascinating to hear how they react to the line voltages they (and their components) were designed for as well as how they respond to lower voltages. I particularly like how my Morris GCM-008 sounds at 115 VAC.
 

Muffdriver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
758
This little box has been the single best purchase I've made in shaping my tone. I play a `76 1959, 76 1987 through a `71 Marshall 4x12 with `79 G12-80s and Vox AC30cc2 through a 2006 Vox 4x12 with the 30 watt Wharfdales, obviously not all at once, just depending on my mood for the band, which plays original rock. Guitars are either a `91 Heritage Les Paul a partscaster or a `77 Ibanez Les Paul.
I've always thought I had a good guitar sound, depending on the room, or even depending on the climate though I could find myself battling some harsh high end.
In comes the Brownie, I have never heard any of my amps sound so good, rich and organic, made think of a mushroom cloud, big and soft looking but packing a wallop. It's amazing hearing my amps at the voltage they were designed for and even lower, my basement reads around 122v whereas my practice space was teetering 125.
My `76 100 watt with a Tele sounds best at around 104ish volts, every note just sings harmonically rich and blooms into a sound that you can almost touch. With a Les Paul the amp responds similarly but at 113 volts, dropping it down with humbuckers really browns things up and sounds really cool, but it is a little slower on the attack- I could see writing songs around the flexibility of voltage input.
The Brownie is well built and fits nicely in my gig box.
This has really tamed my Vox as well though designed for modern voltages, it really sings when around 104-108.
Finally, a purchase that I didn't regret after making that impacted my sound and even my playing maybe more than any other purchase or change I've made.
The downside... now I regret selling off a couple of amps before being able to try them with the Brownie.
Cool. Do you guys rebias the power tubes when you drop down? Is it safe for the components and tubes if you don't? Even for non-vintage amps?
 

mxk116

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,150
Cool. Do you guys rebias the power tubes when you drop down? Is it safe for the components and tubes if you don't? Even for non-vintage amps?
I, for one, have not rebiased any of my amps for use with the AmpRx Brownie. I wanted to hear the effects of just one variable, line voltage, and frankly have been lazy measuring the change it has on the plate voltage. I was told by the amp tech who replaced the leaky caps in my VR that he uses a stable 110VAC power supply when does any work on vintage Fender. So in the case of the VR, the 6L6's were already biased using a 110VAC line voltage. It's no surprise that amp sounded so different with 110VAC v. the 125-128VAC coming from the outlets in my home.

Regarding the safety of using lower line voltages, from what I have read, reducing the tube's filament voltage too much can cause the filament's chemical plating to deteriorate which can result in premature tube failure. What is "too much," I don't know.
 

Polvo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
740
Cool. Do you guys rebias the power tubes when you drop down? Is it safe for the components and tubes if you don't? Even for non-vintage amps?

I haven't either, though I was going to talk to my tech about hopefully today, if I can make it out to his shop.
 

Sirloin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,823
Definitely on my radar. Thanks for the review. I think it is important to note that this device does not actively adjust to changes in line voltage, although in most situations line voltage stays relatively consistent.

I would rebias based on the corrected voltage as your bias is probably "cold" now. However, one would want to be careful to always use the Brownie as going back to higher input voltage without the Brownie would raise bias a bit.
 

bobotwt

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,407
So why get the brownbox over the brownie? Is it only if you're using a higher wattage amp? 5 amps isn't enough to run two amps, is it?

Josh
 

Polvo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
740
So why get the brownbox over the brownie? Is it only if you're using a higher wattage amp? 5 amps isn't enough to run two amps, is it?

Josh
Well I think it can run them in parallel, but 2 100 watt amps I don't know, I actually have been running the Brownie with a 76 100 watt superlead... I think the rated power consumption is around 370 watts or so, but I haven't had any issues.
 

sg~guy

Member
Messages
682
-long time variac user-(STACO bench model I made rack mounted & it has a built in voltage meter)-

-run mine at the industry standard of 90v -(aka EVH & RHODES)-

-does lowering the voltage affect bias? YUP!!

-does lowering to voltage lower your volume??? YUP!!

-does lowering your voltage affect tone???? YUP!!

-LOVE UM!!

-TOTAL PRICE FOR MY STACO VARIAC,.. $75 shipped
 

dbeeman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,928
Not to spoil the party.. bu that box looks a lot like a repackaged Variac for more $$$
 

Sirloin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,823
Not to spoil the party.. bu that box looks a lot like a repackaged Variac for more $$$
It has a built in meter and makes the job of setting voltage at a gig a bit simpler as everything is in one box.

But I guess you do have a point.
 

Polvo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
740
-long time variac user-(STACO bench model I made rack mounted & it has a built in voltage meter)-

-run mine at the industry standard of 90v -(aka EVH & RHODES)-

-does lowering the voltage affect bias? YUP!!

-does lowering to voltage lower your volume??? YUP!!

-does lowering your voltage affect tone???? YUP!!

-LOVE UM!!

-TOTAL PRICE FOR MY STACO VARIAC,.. $75 shipped
Don't really know what your point is, enjoy your variac.
 

dbeeman

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,928
VAriacs have the potential of damaging an amp, whereas this doesn't.
How?

It has a built in meter and makes the job of setting voltage at a gig a bit simpler as everything is in one box.

But I guess you do have a point.
Variacs also have a meter (at least ones I have seen/used)

Don't get me wrong. If you like the brownie and it is worth the extra $$ to you, that is great.
I have souped up tube screamer clone that I probaby dripped an extra $50 or $100 on over a standard screamer
 

Sirloin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,823
Can someone provide a link to a variac with a built in meter that doesn't cost $800+?
 




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