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Re: What made me post...(long and winding)

6/10/2000 1:20 AM
Holger Notzel
Re: What made me post...(long and winding)
Fifty minute little details add up to a tremendous difference. How many people here have tried to build Express clones? A fairly simple amp, the available schematics are in their sum not too far off. Compare your clone or any one of the commercially available ones to the real thing and you will swear there is no way it's the same circuit. The difference you're hearing is details. Hogy
6/10/2000 2:05 AM
Steve Ahola

    Are there any MP3 sound samples available on-line for a real 'wreck? Or commercial recordings that feature one without a lot of studio processing?  
    Details, details... like for each coupling cap or tone cap, the brand and type will effect the overall sound to some extent, along with the actual value used. There are ~8 such caps in the Express amp, so let us assume that there would be 4 usable choices for each cap (let's just say a high value and a low value, with a choice between polyester and polypropylene). With the assumption that the two coupling caps going to the output tubes would be the same, that works out to 4x4x4x4x4x4x4 = 16,384 different possibilities... just from the coupling and tone caps! 6 choices might be more realistic (high, low and mid values) so that would work out to 46,656 possible combinations.  
    At least speaking for myself, I'll try different caps and combinations rather arbitrarily until I find something that sounds "good enough", without exhausting all 16k possibilities...  
    But if someone had really good ears for building an amp, they could hear how some combinations work really well and others don't. Like if you have perfect pitch you can tell right away when something is out of tune; the rest of us have to get our tuners out to check...  
    In any case, I believe that Ken Fischer's "magic touch" has nothing to do with the voodoo topics like pure silver wire and other audiophile-grade components. I bet that if he was to work at any of our benches for a day or two, he could come up with an absolutely killer amp using the same parts that we have been using... (Or substitute whatever amp builder that you respect a lot for the reference to Ken Fischer.)  
Steve Ahola
6/10/2000 2:51 AM
Peter S

I agree Steve, a great amp builder can build a great amp out of whatever junk is available, just like a great player can make great music on a piece of junk instrument. I cant see how anyone could not hear however, that if the amp builder junked the junky cc resistors in favor of some good ones, that the amp would be much less noisey, and therefore sound better.  
Peter S  
Kimerik Amplifiers
6/10/2000 3:20 AM
Holger Notzel

I watched Bob Benedetto's videos on building an archtop guitar and he tells the story of how he used the family kitchen table when he needed maple. He also says he buys a lot of woods at the local lumberyard, but he never tells the guy that he builds guitars, because that would likely make the price go up. When I built my first guitar, I bought the best, most expensive, air dried wood and made it sound like cardboard.  
I think building instruments or amps is much like cooking. The possible combination of ingredients is staggering, but with taste and experience you don't have to try them all to know what will work.
6/10/2000 5:04 AM
You're totally right. Ken can build a "Trainwreck" amp just using spare parts that he had laying around his shop (the same parts any tech would have). I own the first Trainwreck amp built. It's a 15 watt Class-A amp built on a gutted Fender chassis. No aluminum chassis, no custom transformers, parts from old Ampeg/ Marshall/Fender amp, using a stripped Fender circuit board. He calls it a piece of "junk" made from "spare parts" that "blows away any AC-15 or Marshall 18 watter" ( and he has worked on and played a number of these classics). It was built to test out ideas ( ex. it had features like switchable fixed/cathode bias ) before he built the full power (4 EL-84) model. Ken does have the "Magic Touch" but he also has the "Magic Ear" to go along with it. It looks like just another Fender chassis that someone had modded.....but when you hear it ....Wow, it's like from another world. Hey, next time that Aron comes back home I'll let him play the the amp and he can do a review for Ampage:-)
6/10/2000 7:43 PM
Stephen Conner

"Are there any MP3 sound samples available on-line for a real 'wreck?"
If you are agonizing over tiny sonic details then MP3 compressed audio won't do you any good. I've tried MP3 compressing solo guitar, and it barely even sounds like a guitar any more. I reckon you should hold out for 44.1kHz 16-bit uncompressed audio.  
Steve C.
6/11/2000 3:49 AM
Steve Ahola

If you are agonizing over tiny sonic details...  
    Judging from the accounts of Nigel and wreckboy, the Wreck has a sound all its own so it is not a matter of "tiny sonic details"... but I have never heard one so that is just "hearsay" (or should I say "hearplay"?)  
    I was just wondering if the Wreck Express is supposed to sound like EVH's variac'ed Marshall or something altogether different. I've been talking to someone else who built an "A2 version" of the amp with EL84's and the results are more like EC than EVH... (No complaints from me about that!)  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. Examples of currently available commercial recordings using a real Wreck would be preferrable to "transistor radio" quality MP3 samples. :D

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