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Re: In Defense of "Cheap Alpha Pots"


 
1/24/2001 6:15 PM
Dave K
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Re: In Defense of "Cheap Alpha Pots"
PeteR,  
 
 
 
My point was,and still is,that TR is charging $5K for an amp,and boasting "top quality components".  
 
I don't consider Alpha pots to be worthy of a $5K amp.I expect a sealed,conductive plastic pot,like a Clarostat 53C3,which IMO is superior to the 1/2 watt,carbon comp Alpha.When companies charge a premium for their product,I expect a certain level of quality and detail,something that I don't see in the TR.  
 
 
 
I've used many Alpha's myself over the years,they are fine for a cheap,generic replacement pot.But when I charge a premium,you are going to get the best!No excuses!  
 
 
 
FWIW I asked Gil what Bogner amps used Alpha's,something I'm familiar with.I've never had a Kendrick or Top Hat on the bench.But if their asking $5K for an amp,it better be built to the hilt!  
 
 
 
Dave K
 
1/25/2001 3:24 AM
anonymous
Dave,  
 
 
 
If alphas aren't worthy of a $5k amp (this is USD right? - shit!) then what are they doing in Dumble's? Personally I'd prefer the 2W carbon Clarostats m'self - but then you and I are never going to spend that kind of money on an amp, are we? ;)  
 
 
 
The point I was trying to make is that just because something is cheap doesn't mean it's bad or shitty. A while ago I got a bunch of Ero polyester caps, expensive and made in W. Germany. When I finished building the amp I chased my tail around for hours trying to find why there was no tone. I ended up replacing the Ero's with cheapo Taiwanese jobs and voila - mega tone!  
 
 
 
I think quality should be determined by tone and reliability rather than cost alone.  
 
 
 
Now can anybody tell me why Dumble uses Alpha's in his amps? That has got me totally intrigued!  
 
 
 
PeteR :)
 
1/25/2001 3:26 AM
PeteR
email

Oops, that was me.  
 
 
 
One shouldn't play on the internet when one's at work...D)  
 
 
 
PeteR :)
 
1/25/2001 5:26 AM
Steve A.
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Pete:  
 
 
 
Now can anybody tell me why Dxxxxe uses Alpha's in his amps? That has got me totally intrigued!  
 
 
 
    As the little bird said to the frog: "Cheep! Cheep!"  
 
 
 
    If you haven't had any problems with them.. great! Sometimes I try to wire too much shit to a pot, rather than doing it right and adding the components to the board...   :(    
 
 
 
    Here's a little tip to deal with the smaller bushings on an Alpha pot when you try to put them in a SF/BF Fender: slip a plumbing o-ring around the bushing to help center it in the hole. I picked up a few different sizes, like a thicker one for installing the small bushing p-p pots in a Fender (and an even thicker one for mounting pots in an input jack hole- heaven forbid!)  
 
 
 
I think quality should be determined by tone and reliability rather than cost alone.  
 
 
 
    Agreed! I bet that you would warranty a pot that became scratchy in one of your amps after a few years- right? I think that the builder's reputation and integrity might be more important than the actual parts that he uses. You don't want to guarantee everything forever, but if something does fail prematurely I bet that most of the small builders that hang out at AMPAGE would handle such a repair in a way that would be fair to the customer.  
 
 
 
 
 
Steve Ahola
 
1/25/2001 1:33 PM
PeteR
email

quote:
"I think that the builder's reputation and integrity might be more important than the actual parts he uses. You don't want to guarantee everything forever..."
 
 
 
 
I think you're right again Steve. I guarantee pots, switches and jacks/sockets for 3 years, all other components for 10 years and my workmanship is guaranteed for life (mine anyway :D)  
 
 
 
Integrity, quality (tone and reliability) and honesty are everything. Without these there's nothing...nothing worth having anyway.  
 
 
 
PeteR :)
 
1/25/2001 5:54 AM
Dave K
email

PeteR,  
 
 
 
I completely agree that cheap or inexpensive doesn't mean low quality,and expensive doesn't insure quality.I'm just relating from personal experience using hundreds of pots over the years.I've been using the Clarostat 53C's for over ten years,I've found them to be superior electrically and mechanically.It's what I consider a top quality component.I've never had problem with them,I can't say the same for the Alpha's,that's all.I do like the damped rotation feel of the Alpha's though,but it's just sticky grease used on the shaft in the bushing.And don't spray them with cleaner,or it's gone!  
 
 
 
I'm not a Dumble freak like some here,but I suspect if he were building several hundred amps per year and dealing with warranty claims,he would do things a little differently.  
 
 
 
Dave
 
1/25/2001 12:57 PM
PeteR
email

quote:
"As the little bird said to the frog: "Cheep!Cheep!)"
 
 
 
 
That makes sense Steve, but you'd think that when he's got such "luminaries" using his stuff that there maybe another reason. Imagine being able to get someone like SRV, R.Ford or L.Carlton to buy and use one of your amps only to have it all go down in a screaming heap because of a cheapo pot. Your amp building business would never recover! Seems to me to either be an incredibly stupid or incredibly ballsy/arrogant chance to take.  
 
 
 
I wonder if it's the "feel" of the alpha's? A lot of guys have commented on how good they feel - that sort of "interface" with the amp seems important. I guess unless someone pins down the venerable Mr D, we may never know! ;)  
 
 
 
Dave, I know what your saying. Although not as well built as Clarostats/AB's I normally use CTS pots mainly because their carbon track is a bit more substantial compared to alpha (plus AB's cost me $23 plus tax from the distributor!). But living down here in the "antipodes" a lot of gear is hard to come by and supplies can be unreliable. Our alphas have the normal size bushing, not the skinny ones Steve mentioned - maybe they're different in other respects too.  
 
 
 
This Dumble/alpha thing has still got me!!! Any Dumble techs out there?  
 
 
 
PeteR :)
 
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