NOS transistors

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by zeppelinpage4, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 Member

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    I read about these on Analogman, what are they exactly?

    And how do they compare to current transistors?


    Also i'm getting a Monsterpiece NPN with Silicon transistors, how would i know if they were NOS?

    Thanks.

    -Zp4
     
  2. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Ask the builder. NOS just means 'New Old Stock' which is an unused product that is out of production. Youre better off concerning yourself with whether or not you like the sound of the pedal than whether or not a few of the parts are 50 years old IMO. Otherwise youre just letting marketing tell you what to like and not to like.
     
  3. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 Member

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    ^ Ok so it really shouldn't effect sound much right?

    I agree the sound of the pedal matters most. I'm curious as to what makes these transistors superior to others or if they're actually just the same as any current production one.
     
  4. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    It isn't accurate to say that transistor type won't affect the sound much, but it is accurate to say that you can't tell which you will like best until you hear them yourself.
     
  5. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Im not saying the parts dont affect the sound. The age of the parts isn't making the difference though. What you want to know is if the pedal is going to sound like an original because a similar transistor is used. The thing is that old parts vary widely and finding good matched sets is really difficult. It all depends on the pedal too. Some are more sensitive to transistor changes than others so you have to just do the research and see what happens.
     
  6. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 Member

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    Ahhh ok, thanks for the info.

    The fuzz is coming with BC108's so I think the transistor should be good. It's socketed anyways so if I don't like how the fuzz is sounding, I could change them out or get a different fuzz. Trial and error I suppose....
     
  7. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Fuzzes aren't really like Tube Screamers IMO. Swapping transistors isn't like swapping opamps because there is more biasing to be done with transistors and variation is a huge factor with NOS stuff. The Monsterpiece pedals are supposed to be awesome though so Im sure youll like it.
     
  8. 4styx

    4styx Member

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    Fultone stopped making Germanium fuzz's because of the lack of decent sounding transistors,so it must make a difference.
     
  9. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    Granted that the quality control for transistors back in the 60's wasn't what it is today, the performance didn't really vary THAT much from one transistor to another of the same type. I can guarantee you that pedal makers back then weren't sitting at a lab bench plotting the characteristic curves of each transistor in a lot, hand picking the ones with precisely the right characteristics. The assemblers just grabbed the next transistor in the bin and soldered it to the circuit board.

    Yes, these minor variations in the characterstics did affect the performance of the circuits, and each pedal had a slightly different tone, but except for some rare cases guitarists didn't really notice it. They didn't play every pedal a store had in stock to find the "one". They just bought the one that was handed to them.

    All that said, every transistor type has a set of characteristics which make it somewhat unique. Even two transistors of the same type but from different manufacturers might have slightly different characteristics. Some people consider it sacreligious to change the values of any resistors or capacitors in a classic circuit design in order to get the same (or nearly the same) tone using modern transistors. They prefer to leave the circuit exactly as it was "back then", and so prefer to use NOS transistors.

    Some people go a LOT further. They're not just shooting for the general tone of a particular model of pedal, but they're aiming for the specific tone of a specific pedal, feeling that "one" pedal captures the sound they're looking for better than any other pedal of the same make and model. They resort to going through boxes of NOS transistors to find the ones whose characteristics exactly match the ones in that "one" pedal.

    Can people really hear the difference? Some swear that they can. If you're one of those people then buy the pedal with the hand picked NOS transistors.

    For everyone else, just buy what sounds good and don't worry about the vintage of the transistors inside it.
     
  10. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 Member

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    Thanks for the advice and amp_surgeon that post made things alot clear. I guess I do have a specific classic tone in mind but you make a good point. A fuzz is a fuzz some will sound different but i'm not willing to go to those lengths yet.

    At worse i'll just resell the pedal and go for an AM. Though i'm sure i'll like the Monsterpiece....I just have to.
     
  11. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    The Monsterpiece is a great pedal. You won't be sorry! :AOK
     
  12. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 Member

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    ^ Awesome, I just bought the Monsterpiece, hopefully it'll get mailed soon and be here as fast as the mail allows. :D


    Just out of curiosity I noticed the "NOS" thing being mentioned only for NKT-275 transistors and never BC108. Any reason for that, or just coincidence?
     
  13. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    I'm pretty sure the BC108 is still being manufactured. I think Philips Electronics still makes them, as well as others. I've never heard of any transistors that are still in production that are actually worse than the one's they made "way back when".

    Tubes are a different story, though. When American and British companies stopped making tubes the only other sources were cheap Chinese and Soviet knockoffs. While Chinese and Russian tubes have improved a lot, they still aren't quite up to the quality of the old Sylvania and Mullard tubes (among others). When those factories shut down decades worth of trade secrets were lost. That's why NOS tubes from those old American and British companies sell for so much more than modern Chinese or Russian equivalents.
     

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