time for a recap?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by deepbluez, Jun 14, 2006.


  1. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

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    I picked up a 40 year old Ampeg combo a while ago. Still sporting a set of the original tubes - and it appears it's never had any caps replaced.

    The amp sounds good...but it begs the question "compared to what"...and how much better it might sound with a recap. A recap kit runs around $50 (the big 80/40/30/20/525V multicap is the expensive one).

    Would you recommend a recap NOW as "preventive maintenance" or wait for symptoms of a problem to surface? I'm leaning toward a recap but informed opinions are much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    dpblz
     
  2. VacuumVoodoo

    VacuumVoodoo Member

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    I'd recommend a recap job now.
     
  3. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    hoffmanamps.com has a bit of forum discussion regarding old Ampegs right now...i just got an old vt40 and i am looking at the same issue...
     
  4. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Cap jobs are like an oil change. You do them BEFORE your engine siezes, not after.

    Sometimes the symptoms are shorted power tubes and/or output or power transformers. I don't think you want to hold onto $50 for the risk of having something irreplaceable go out.
     
  5. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    I agree with the above statements. Do it now so you won't have a problem in the future.

    I have two older Ampegs from the '60's. In both cases I did a cap job right away. The Gemini had a few bulging caps - close one. The sound tightened up, the amps had more punch and I relaxed a little bit.

    $50 isn't bad at all. Spread that out over the next 10-15 years...

    Have you been here yet? http://www.fliptops.net/


    AL
     
  6. donnyjaguar

    donnyjaguar Member

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    Replacing them is sound advice, and let's be honest cheap insurance too. If you are going to be gigging with the amplifier then this is a must.

    I must confess however, I would test them thoroughly first myself and probably leave them in if they are okay. I have equipment with older capacitors than that and there's nothing wrong with them. But I don't play live any more and don't fret about breakdowns. :)

    YMMV
     
  7. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I'll be honest... I'm lazy. So if I get an amp where the caps appear to be in good shape and the amp sounds fine, I'll generally leave them alone if the owner doesn't actively want them changed - and many don't, since rightly or wrongly they feel it will adversely affect the vintage tone and/or the value, as well as costing them money that they don't think 'needs' to be spent.

    But having said that I've yet to hear an old amp - no matter how good it sounded already - that didn't sound better with new caps, even if it didn't really look like they needed doing. I know, 'better' is subjective and I also know of at least one person/amp (Hogy with his very early JTM45) who would give an example of the opposite...

    ...but I'd replace them on that Ampeg. Forty years is really pushing it, and even if you don't do them now, you probably will have to soon. In the mean time you're risking a major failure.

    Give it another twenty years and I really don't think 'original caps' will be as sought-after or as much of a pricing issue in vintage amps either, as more or less all old ones in working condition will have had them done.
     
  8. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

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    Hey, thanks all. Recap it is!

    I was headed that direction - I just needed a push! Amp has probably been played more in the last month than the previous five years before we found each other...couldn't bear to lose her!

    Al - thanks. Fliptops is the place, all right. Helpful, and friendly to boot...a good guy.

    Mike K. - got the tubes a-ok, thanks. Dang that was quick!

    dpblz
     
  9. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

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    One last question (rather than start a new thread on this) -- (and especially for anyone who might have direct experience with recapping these older Ampegs) -- any strong feelings (heh heh) on type of caps for the Gemini I? Electrolytics and coupling. Not sure yet what I think of brand related issues...and that IS another thread.

    I know this is a much discusssed topic (read way more than I care to) but someone more knowledgeable/experienced than me has probably been down this road.

    Thanks, folks. Any/all opinions welcome and appreciated.

    dpblz
     
  10. Texasamp

    Texasamp Member

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    Sprague Atoms for the power section, bias, and coupling bypass. SBE 716 for your coupling caps. (orange drops)
     
  11. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

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    Thanks for that, txamp!

    dpblz
     
  12. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    I used Sprague Atoms for the electrolytics.

    I wouldn't recommend a coupling cap swap unless necessary. Those usually won't need changed.

    AL
     
  13. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

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    Update - Got a chance last evening to pull the chassis and have a look...long story short - replaced all the electrolytics, bias resistor, cleaned the pots, etc. One of the (original) electrolytic caps in the reverb circuit had started to leak.

    Powered up and all was well...hopefully good for the next 40 years! I think my son's got his eyes on it...

    Peace all,

    dpblz
     
  14. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    everyone else said it and sounds like it worked out well for you, but the general rule is "if you have to ask, then yes replace them."
     

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