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Messages - phatt

Preamps and Effects / Re: Waves GTR3 Preamp
March 02, 2009, 02:09:10 AM

Your rather LARGE Schematic got me thinking about the pains I went through when messing with Fet ideas some years ago ,,,So this Schem might help you out.
You can run into trouble with noise and this will reduce that issue somewhat.

Also in regard to balanced circuits why not just jump on "Jensen Transformer Site".
Heaps of balanced circuit ideas with explanations on their pages, all free to download and try.
Preamps and Effects / Re: Waves GTR3 Preamp
March 01, 2009, 09:34:56 PM
    In Answer to your Q ,,No it's not balanced output.
Sounds like you need to do some research if you want hi spec bal output.
I believe Rod Elliot at ESP may still have some Bal output ideas on his pages I think.
Might help also if you give us some idea of what you are trying to achieve
as not everone may know what  a Waves GTR3 Preamp is used for,,well I have no idea?
Cheers, Phil.
Preamps and Effects / Re: eq as pre-amp.
February 11, 2009, 09:33:08 AM
Hi Teemu,
Just pointing out that using the low input does subdue the hiss,
Use of the low input on older type Valve Amps also Stops the signal from going
to big to fast.
This forces the preamp to run clean/cleaner than it otherwise would and now you have
to turn the volume up higher than before,,, So the "power tubes" are now able to do their magic.
[I'm talking pre Master volume Tube Amps of course.]
The Bass was often pretty fat on old Amps and often turned into mud if you cranked them high,
so this was one way to gently pull back the preamp gain.

I think you will find the response curve [on valves at least] is the same shape just down by xxDb.
Of course I'm only using sims.

As your obviously after bright sound then with the addition of one cap right in front of the 68k/68k voltage division, Those old low input sockets can be turned into an Ultra bright Channel.
Yes this trick IS Also Passive. If your interested? And in case your wondering,,
No sadly it does not seem to work on SState Amps.

No I can't see how use of the low input will give you that mud woman tone you speak of,,
If that's what you mean?  Maybe you had a bad input socket?
As for your taste in tone,, well we are all different and we would all be a boring lot
if we all liked the same thing.   
If your after metal you still need to establish the fundermental part
of your sound which to my mind is rock tone with a scooped out mid section.
I have no doubt that there are other ways to get there that maybe better.

With modern tube rigs it's all about multi gain stages of triode fizz and IMO
it's not quite as real/dynamic as the old Amps which needed to be pushed into poweramp dist
to sound good but that's probably why some of those old tube amps are so famous.

There is a whole section on opamp noise in "Art of Electronics" but I have loaned that book out.
Generally I think the story was, spreading your gain over two or more stages will reap better results for noise issues.
Sadly my brain is getting to darn old to absorb and store a lot of complex info.
Cheers, Phil Nambour Australia.
Preamps and Effects / Re: eq as pre-amp.
February 06, 2009, 08:46:54 AM
Hi armstrom
Yes I just moved the buffer to the front,, 
It's a 50/50 thing,,,does not seem to make any difference.

Yes I hear what you say one wonders if the buffer needs to be there at all.
That can be deleted also but I figured that Messa know more than me and wouldn't
go to so much trouble unless they had good reason.
I did have the volume wired between buffers just like the Vtwin
but in the end the trim pot does just fine.
Folks like you may have ability and equipment to test which is best.

Also I'm running from battery power and you can chew up power real easy by adding to much.
What confounds me is that with or without an Active front end it seems to work the same.
Which raises the Q. What friggin impeadance does a guitar input actually need to be
able to work in a reasonable fashion?
I get the distinct impression that a lower impeadance may actually be of benifit.
[Especially with hard driven Amps]

I think it is now gaining more exceptence that lots of distortion at full bandwidth
sounds absolutely aweful and some modern tube amps can sound pretty harsh as well.

It was once said that the low input on a lot of the old fenders works better
if you want to run the Amp really loud as it keeps everything together, tighter OD.
68k is ten times smaller that the high 1meg input, Yet the Amp still pumps out close
to the same wattage. [just food for thought]
I personally use the low input on my tube amps more than the high.

I also have a OD circuit that I built from a reverse engineered Nobels Sound studio 1
[a little headphone crunch box from the late seventies.]
It has a non-inverting buffer input with just a 10k series and 68k in parallel.
[so the input imp is probably under 100k]
This buffer drives the main input [a 10k pot] which then goes into a selector
of 4 modes, clean 1/2,  OD and Dist.

While rebuilding I noticed that changing the 68k to the manditory 1meg just makes
the noise and bandwidth increase. This of course makes it a little crunchier
but at the expense of a lot more noise which adds all the harshness,, Yuk!
But my slightly modded rebuild is very pleasing,,lets say I've heard a lot worse.

Back to my tone box,
I know there is the Signal to Noise Ratio issue with my circuit
that being the incoming signal is reduced by 9 to 10 times THEN amplified.
It's open for debate as to which way is better.
If you wack all your gain up front the SNR is better BUT then you've probably
got a whole new set of problems to overcome.

My Vtwin build with a triode frontend was good but triode distortioin was not for me.
It was in fact the powertube stage compression effect that sounded so much better to me.
[it's much richer in harmonic content and I'm glad I went to the extra effort
to work that out].
It was of course while messing with the Vtwin circuit that
I stumbled upon this idea of connecting directly into the tone stack.

So I'm just waving a flag to say: Hey look it works this way also and it's 
a lot less hassle than building a dozen tone circuits like the one you mentioned
and works heaps better.

By FAR The most important lesson I learnt from reading really $expensive$ text books
is that no matter which circuit tophography you choose "there is always something lost
with something gained" and it finally dawns on you that most of the time your just picking
the best of a bad lot.
Once again Murphys law is spot on,,
For every problem you solve you just create another. [There is no Holy Grail].
Preamps and Effects / Re: eq as pre-amp.
February 03, 2009, 07:00:19 AM
Thanks for that armstrom,
Will pay me to read first ay?  :duh
I now see what you meant.
Hopefully James will still get something useful from it all.  8| 
Preamps and Effects / Re: eq as pre-amp.
February 02, 2009, 01:02:42 AM
Quote from "armstrom"   
"Having an inverting op-amp as the input stage means that your input impedance
is dictated by the inverting input resistor

No I think you will find it is not that simple,,Heck Electronics would be easy if it was! ;D
ROG seems to like hanging 1meg resistors off just about everything.
If you search it out the 1 Meg is Also in parallel with The internal impeadence of the opamp ,,,   [from what I've read, some are dismal]
the volume pot on the guitar the PU and probably the cable as well.
Now the maths does not look so easy ay? :(
Someone better qualified than myself may wish to add comment on that.

Yes you get bigger signal with 1Meg more bandwidth and then spend forever trying
to get rid of noise issues and working out how to get rid of high freq hash.
Oh yes I also used to subcribe to that thinking but I've learnt that
kind of design is plauged with noise issues.

Just using the 1k per volt rule of thumb tells me that an opamp with 10volts supply
only needs about 10k across it's input. I know it's far more complicated than that,,,
but Think about it?
a Thermionic valve is a high voltage, high impeadance, low current device
While a transistor is a low voltage, low impeadence, high current device. humm?
The amount of opamp circuits that just use valve values as a rule of thumb
is showing how limited some makers are, they obviously don't do much research.
Opamps are not Valves. That is why if you notice 10<100k on opamps and 100k<1meg on valve circuits.

As I said I did try my circuit in many ways and a buffer frontend IMHO sounded worse.
Putting the buffer "After" tone allows the next Gain section to run at a much lower imp.
Thereby reducing the colletive noise. [Check out Mesa Vtwin opamp section to find
a lower noise technique and BTW Yes I've built a Vtwin circuit]

My circuit develops a 30 to 35Db notch cut at 400HZ!!! [give or take a few db]
now try to get that from tonemender circuit and you will be waiting a long time.
I took the time to sim tonemender for you and you are lucky to get 10Db cut
at 200 HZ with midrange at zero.
BTW the 1meg after treble does nothing as U1b's positive terminal
is already getting DC Ref via the pot chain.

The 500k gain pot Alone would make the tonemender a noise prone circuit.
So If that is what my circuit has to compete with then I am not worried. ;D

Heck it is simple,,,   if you want tone control build one,,
if you want a gain stage?    build one of those as well
but jezz don't try and do it all in one stage.
To much gain at the front will likely stuff up the tone control section anyway.

Gain alone sounds crap by itself is unlikely to produce good tone,
Just sim some famous tube circuits and you might get a fright when
you see how little distortion is in the preamp stages of those Marshall Amps,,,
as most of it is happening in the output stage. Sadly not easy to do with all SState circuit.
The voltage gain is built up over stages one being a LOSSY tone section.

The whole point of this was to add a Tone Stack THAT ACTUALLY WORKED
and did not raise the signal level much past what went in,,
ie 1 to 1, So only the tone is altered. The reason I built this was to get around
the often pathetic tone circuits used in SState Guitar Amps. [and ROG just copies them]

The famous [and much copied] TS9 circuit has a DC rolloff cap connected
to a pot for some basic and rather wonky tone control, Trying desperatly to put tone
and OD all around one opamp. The TS9 circuit has been done to death and no one has woken up to the simple fact that it's not enough by itself.
Try my circuit before your fuzz boxes, you might get a big suprise at how much more control over tone and your OD you will have.

You're obviously more into the teck maths stuff than I am, and good on you for picking
up on some of the details. Hey it's just a hobby for me and I'm not promoting anything.
I still can't believe this circuit and how well it works,,, Again It just does.
I have ten very happy musicians who are smiling knowing that you can't buy this tone at a music shop.
I only mentioned the noise issue because Most learners would likely just stick in a 500kpot  [To much ROG] thinking Gain, gain and more gain and then complain about the noise. THEN Blame my circuit.       OBVIOUSLY you have not built my circuit.
I'm not that good with maths and I do not propose to know ALL. It's taken me 2 years
to even build up the courage to post this and make comment.
I'm quite aware that some folks are way better with teck stuff and will laugh at my circuit and I have no doubt that like ALL electrical circuits there will be limits/flaws somewhere.
But everthing it gets plugged into is greatly improved.

Keep in mind with ANY of these passive tone circuits,
They do not produce gain it is only by creating large loss at different freq
that any real tonal advantage can be had. [And it is uniquely different if you get it right]
The steeper the mid notch the better it will sound as big shallow scoops don't work.

All is well,, Phil.
Preamps and Effects / Re: eq as pre-amp.
January 28, 2009, 08:18:14 AM
Experienced builder?   Na! I'm just a mad hobby geek ;D

A Graphic EQ is usefull but prolly not at the frontend.
Depends A LOT on what type of music you are shooting for AND TONE in general is all rather subjective..  Your idea of great guitar tone and mine may well be worlds apart.

That said if you want the classic Rock tones and you only have a SState Amp then here is one way to do such things. [see schematic]
This gives almost Zero distortion but does indeed nail the the tone shape needed for rock. [I've found that distortin is better at the end anyway.]
Though it is not common practice the old valve type tone stacks don't actually need an active front end, [ie, meaning a valve or transistor] They may well work more true to tone without the loading of a previous active stage,,, that of course is open for debate and I'm not about to argue with those who don't agree....
It just works great and I have built about ten of these in the last 2 years and sold everyone I have made. [cept for my first one]

I have come to realise that the "Shape" and "Lossy nature" of those old tone stacks used in tube Amps is part of the magic ingrediant  and inserted in front of most SState guitar amps will improve the realisuim sometimes greatly so.  [Works on some valve amps also]

My Alesis Micro EQ [active parametric EQ] cannot pull this tone shape and believe me I've Tried hard to find fault with my circuit.

Pros, improves the big mid notch dip almost non existant with some SS Amp tone circuits.
Cons, oh bugga there is always a down side.
Because of the "passive high imp input" this will amplifiy resistor Noise if you overdo the gain. so Metal resistors and low noise opamps are needed.
I did try it with an Active front end but noise is still present at high gain ,,somehow it sounds better as shown,,, feel free to improve it if you have the knowledge that I do not.
Hey it's only a hobby for me.

I've opted to use the classic HiWatt tone stack as it is by far the best of them but you can use any of those old tone stacks if you wish.
Fiddle around with different values by all means to refine it to your particular needs.
For those that wish to use the original HiWatt Values be very aware that the Bass pot is 500k Log and will deliver a tiny bit more bass below 100HZ But it MUST be A TRUE LOG ,,not the modern wannabe fake log type.
I hardly see the point as the bottom string on guitar is 82HZ so you won't notice any loss.

If you want huge midrange honk like say british valve amps then it may not deliver what you are after but still this will cover a lot of tonal ground that most tone circuits can't.

Be very aware that the overall end result of any tone is the culmination of many tone shapes all slightly and sometimes dramatically changing as the signal passes through each stage of the amplification system.
At nearly every point in these circuits there is tone shaping happening [intentionally or not] It's not just the tone stack.
This schematic is basic and assumes you know how to develop a bias voltage and no bypass switching is shown.
Use the lowest noise spec opamp you can obtain for improvement but I use the TL072

So in answer to your subject,, EQ as a pre-amp,,, Well I think this would qualify :)
I use mine in front of a rather complex setup and Believe me I know when it is bypassed
out of the signal path.
Hope you find it useful. Phil Nambour Australia.

If my memory serves me well,,,Then with a HT voltage of only 12 it is unlikely that biasing is needed at all.
And also not much chance of blowing anything up by mismatching transformer outputs with only a 12 volts HT. [but don't do it with normal tube outputs]

Very unlikely you wil get a clean sound [but Hey,, I could be wrong ::)]
As these valves are no longer working in there linier region and hence all the standard values will be very different. [ heck 1 meg or 10 meg  grid R suck it and see]
The transformer will never be able to saturate [if your looking for that overdriven OTr fat sound].
IMHO I think there are far better thing to do with valves.
There was a circuit by Anderton "Stack in a box" [I think] and that ran 40 volts HT with no OTr,,, again not really worth it.
The "Mesa Vtwin pedal" would give far better results than most of these things.
but yes it uses normal HT 200 VDC.
Cheers,, Phil.
I think I follow you,
Ok,, if you have AC secondary And then re fit Caps delivering DC rails ,,,
Now Bang when you reconnect the power amp.

Sorry sounds like it's terminal.

You could insert a pair of say 33ohm 10/ or 20 watt Wire wound power resistors before the power amp rails.
This will limit the current and may give you some time to check out what part of the poweramp circuit is overheating,, there is usually something getting very hot.
Check TR3 and TR6 these are the predrive and usually work harder than the output devices.
If it stays working long enough then see how much DC is on the speaker terminal.
it should normally only be within a few mV like 30 /100mV if it is many times higher ,,then it will just go bang again real soon.

Sadly SState power Amps like this are hard to fix at home,, you could replace ALL active devices but these things often have design flaws and the problem may well resurface again.
If you can source a poweramp module designed to run on the 50/50 rails then that is another option.  look at ESP site ,, a Mosfet power module ultra simple and probably a lot better than yours.

I have often found design flaws in some big brand name gear,,, yeah should not happen but sadly they don't care.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
Phil,,, Nambour Australia.
Tubes and Hybrids / Re: Hybrid project started.
January 25, 2009, 09:41:14 AM

   If you simulate a triode Push pull output stage [firefly] you will notice the waveform becomes rounded at full power but NEVER Flat topped as It does not possess the grut needed to do so.

Pentode PPull is a very different animal,,
it just square waves with very slight rounded corners.
If you have access to one of those fancy tube amps that has
a triode/pentode switch on the output tubes then
see which one sounds full to you? Yes it works but is that what you want?

One reason the pentode was perfected was to get around this very problem,, so to me it's kinda going backwards to use triodes for a power stage.
Oh I admit I wanted that firefly amp to work but I'm glad I took the time to read stuff first.

TC [transconductance] for EL84 is about 11,200
now try and get that from a small signal triode.

I did listen to your little clip so if your content with what your getting
then disregard my ramble.
Also if your happy with Attenuators alone then that's ok too but
a whole new world awaits those how want to go the extra mile.

If you wish to hear this Reamp concept taken to the extreme then
go have a listen to the Guytron GT100 Amp.
It's a pair of EL84's pp driving a resistive load then Reamped via
a EL34 quad output stage, effectivly giving you 2 tone stacks and jezz
if that one does not prick your interest then nothing will.

Your last sentence tells me you may have missed something in the link. "The whole point is about EQ",, In fact EQ tweaks are sitting at every stage in those old tube circuits.
If you're content with the mass thing fine but it's a whole lot simpler my way. You obviously wish to process with DSP anyway so the mass is hardly worth the effort.
Just my two cents,,

Cheers Phil.
Tubes and Hybrids / Re: Hybrid project started.
January 23, 2009, 09:43:01 AM
Quote from: armstrom on January 15, 2009, 02:04:50 PM
I just finished the first stage of my hybrid combo amp. My plan was to build a complete low-wattage tube amp, run it through a dummy load (probably a weber MASS speaker motor) and tap the speaker level to drive a passive tone stack followed by a DSP effects processor and finally into my LM3886 power amp. The combo will likely use a single 12" Lil'Texas neo speaker to keep the overall weight down.

I have completed the first phase of my master plan :) The tube amp is done and tested. It's a firefly from
If anyone is curious I have a 2mb sound clip of my friend noodling around on the amp. Keep in mind that the amp was only driving a 5" Jensen MOD speaker so the bottom end is kinda muddy. Strange, who knew a 5" cone didn't do so well in the low range  :P. The guitar is a Gibson ES 335 with stock humbuckers.


Good on ya for having a go at it.
As I may have already perfected what you are trying to achieve I figure I may be of some help.

The problem with the fire fly is the triodes,, sadly they just don't have what it takes.
Look up the transconductance of some Pentodes for a start then compare it to the triodes you are using.
I use Pentodes [6GW8], a small 10 watt Push Pull into a resistive load then tap off to a line level.

I found this to be a very good read if you are trying to get your head around what is often made unnessicerily complex.
Hey look no maths  :tu:

My setup is just expanding on this basic idea.
my input EQ module is TRUE passive input  [HiWatt style] > tubeamp > ReAmp box [or power soak] > 5band graphicEQ +-6Db > 120watt SState poweramp.
Graphic is 100HZ > 330HZ > 1kHZ > 3k3HZ > 10kHZ.

Assuming an 8 ohm output from say a pair of EL84's in PP,,The big soak resistor can be made from three paralelled 33R 10 Watt Wire wound resistors giving about 11 ohms. Exact ohms is not super critical a little more than 8R is likely to be better but don't go crazy.
If you want to spend the time with inductors, Caps or silent speakers at this stage feel free
but there are easier ways to get around the loss problem via EQing. [Read the above Link]

Here is a mud map of the basic setup I use.
Cheers, Phil.

Amplifier Discussion / Re: Class A solid state
January 15, 2009, 09:31:52 AM
Quote from: Boprikov on January 15, 2009, 05:32:52 AM

This is an interesting vintage design. If i understand correctly, the primary of the output transformer must stand 400 mA. I have no idea what the impedance ratio should be. Is it possible to somehow estimate it? And what should the power supply voltage be? I think 10-20 Volts is not enough as efficiency is poor in class A.

Sorry my english... but i´m quite interested about what type of output transformer was used at those SS Selmers.

Hi Boprikov,
I searched years back trying to find such a circuit and you found one,, Good find.
Here is one I built some years back similar in concept to Selmer Mercury.
I never went on to complete it because of the bass issue but insanely loud even though it was driving a small 100mm speaker.
I have no idea where the OT came from, just found it in some trash.
The output Tr has to be a fairly high voltage as the collector voltage can get quite high when using transformer coupling.
Q3 only needs a clip-on heat sink as it only runs lukewarm.

Jfetter, I do wonder about Exotic transistors and all that heat ,, my thoughts are go with transfomer coupling as it puts a lot less heat into the Amp,,heck line transformers are easy found.  Teemu is on the mark there,,
just my take on it. :)
Phil,  Nambour Australia
Hi glugster,
            Oh I see your not gonna give up but believe me you will eventually  :)
This is a bit like wanting a tow bar fitted on an F1 car so you can tow a boat.

The signal from the Rev Drive is designed to drive a transducer [not line level]
which is a coil of wire wrapped around a small chunk of steel.
Via magnetic transfer it then moves [vibrates] a suspended magnet connected to a long spring.
The principal is sorta reversed at the other end where the slightly delayed signal is picked up
and mixed into the original [Dry] signal.

The output at the Rev Driver socket is pumping maybe 5watts needed to drive the rev tank
and will kill most line level inputs connected directly without any serious
and probably expensive modification.

There's also a pile of complex impedence /inductance issues to deal
with both drive side and return side.
Obviously you don't want the reverb so just take it to a teck and rewire to a dedicated Effects loop, there should be enough space once you remove the reverb stuff.

There are already enough things that can go wrong just building a propper dedicated Effects loop,  Now add all these extra complexities,, and the odds of it working well are 20times worse.
This will likely end in tears for you and quite frankly,, IMHO
It's a darn easy way to stuff the resale value of a very good tube amp.

Hope you understand I'll have to go find a whole pile of complex equations for you and Having messed around with 100's if not more ways to wire things up inside and out side of Amplifiers I have learnt enough to know when Not to try certain things,, this is one of em.

Be warned Effx loops can easy bugga the whole magic of tube amps like yours.
They where never really designed for the modern efx junkies,, though some will agree.
If you want the bells and wistles  stuff buy an amp that has all that pleases you.

Cheers Phil.
Short answer is NO don't even think about it.
Long answer is yes but it's going to cost you so much as not to be worthwhile. :'(

On the subject of Efx loops I never found a use for them anyway,
maybe half useful on SState Amps but kinda stuffs the whole magic of tube Amps.
Cheers, Phil Nambour Australia.
Amplifier Discussion / Re: Peavey Bandit 75 schematic?
January 08, 2009, 05:02:23 AM
Hi JV,
I just simulated some of the Bandits circuit for a friend and the results where as sad as the tone/sound they produce.
You only get about 6/10 Db of boost/cut anywhere in the preamp circuit.  ??? hum?  No wonder my friend is not happy with his Bandit.
There are obviously many models of this rig but I get the impression they are all much the same.
You need at least 20 Db of cut at around 300/500Hz to get a worthwhile tone that resembles a guitar tone.

I built a very simple "Stand Alone Tone Stack" which improves the Amp dramatically, if your into building your own gear I can post it up here. [battery powered if you so wish]

I tend to try and work  "Outside" of Amp circuits as much as possible as modding some of these circuits can end you up in more trouble than the Amp is worth.

Cheers Phil.