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Laney AOR Series II 100watt ???

1/14/2006 8:11 PM
Laney AOR Series II 100watt ???
I just bought this amp and I've retubed and biased it with JJ E34L's, (set to 34mA) and JJ preamp tubes. It sounds a little buzzy with the lead channel cranked and a little noisey. It is a '91 so I am thinking it's due for filter caps.  
My question: I noticed that the V2 preamp tube doesn't glow as bright as the other three. Could this be contributing to the Buzziness? I have made sure the preamp tube sockets are tight but that tube socket is very warn so I'm planning on replacing the preamp sockets with cermamics from TheTubeStore as soon as I get them in. I don't see anything obviously burn and the amp sounds pretty good, for the most part. It looks to be built really well with a choke, and good trannies.  
Any Suggestions?  
1/15/2006 12:12 AM
Ray Ivers
I worked on a bunch of these, way back when. I remember when they first came out, it seemed like every hard rock/metal guitarist in my area had one. They weren't expensive, had tons of gain, a loop, serious bass boost, channel switching, pretty good iron, etc.  
You might try:  
a) putting the old preamp tubes back in, one by one, to check out both them and the new ones by comparison  
b) don't pull the Preamp 1 Volume knob out, or keep it turned low  
c) keep the tone controls below 11 o'clock - otherwise they'll overdrive the following stage, and muddy buzziness can result.  
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1/15/2006 8:58 AM

Thanks for the Post and the Info. I appreciate all the help I can get.  
FYI: The amp I have has a shared EQ but the AOR channel doesn't cascade from the lower gain channel. I have tried swapping different tubes in the second socket with the same result. What I'm observing is that the parts of the tube at the very top that are glowing are just not as bright as the other 3 preamp tubes, (*sorry I'm not really up on the nomenclature yet). A friend of my gave me 2 excellent tube amp books, The Ultimate Tone and Inside Tube amps so I'm going to become a little more familiar with what I need to be checking for before I really make any changes. I think what is going on may be that there is a failed or degraded component that isn't delivering as much current to this tube as the others. V1 and V2 looked to be wired the same as each other and V3 & V4 the same. After I have a little better idea on what I need to look for, I'm planning on checking the voltages online and applicable resistances offline to see if this is the case. I was just wondering if this was something folks had seen and I was being paranoid due to limited exposure. I am hopeful that some of the noise with go away with the cap replacement but that brings me to another question I need to research, what and how many of the caps do I need to replace due to the age of the amp? I originally thought that I was just going to be buy the 2 largest ones the 50uf 500VDC ones, but I read something that suggested all the larger caps in the amp would be the best course. And I also read that the is a way to prestage the caps by power up the amp without the tubes in it first and I need to find that procedure before I break something. :^) Are the JJ Caps a pretty good replacement? They sound like they would be and I am happy with the tone direction they took this amp. It had Svetlana power amp tubes in it and one of them was blown.  
I've played for over 20 years, have some electronics background and have always wanted to know a little more about the inner workings of tubes amps so this is a long term project for me. I have recently modded a few effects pedals, including 2 SD-1's, a DS-1, CS-3, Dunlop Cry Baby and an Ibanez TS-9 with amazing results so I have the Tweak Fever now.  
Prior to getting interested in this I sent a Peavey Triple X head to a guy in Syracuse, NY and had it modded and fell in love with the possibilities of what a few changes could do to get closer to the kinds of tones that more expensive amps offer for a guy like me on a budget what with raising kids and a mortgage. He done a great job with a slightly better than average amp by cleaning up the buzz, installing a Mercury Magnetics OT and choke and changing the bias resistor so I could run the bias current a little hotter. I have Ruby EL34's in it and I'm running it at about 36mA for a really nice sound in all 3 channels.  
If I back the gains off of both channels and use a pedal, (*or 2), I get amazing tone out of this amp. I am just puttering and as I bought the amp for a good price I can be patient until I figure it out. It has a really good clean sound if you keep the gain reasonable on the first channel and back the guitar volume off a little. A real sleeper. I remember these amps being called Lame-ees, and I'm not sure why at this point. I have even tried just using the power amp to power my regular rig in stereo off of my effects loop on the Peavey. It sounds really good.  
thanks again,  
1/15/2006 11:18 AM
Joe N

I think they were called lame-ee's because they (laney) had some serious reliability problems. They use pretty good iron, which is rare for amps in that price range, but do tend to cut corners on other things. If you needed to replace the filter caps, you would know it. Doesn't sound like that is the case, so I would leave 'em alone. Ibanez was the distributer for those amps, and apparently they are rock/metal's best kept secret. Never played through one my self.
1/15/2006 11:32 AM

That sounds reasonable for the times, cutting corners that is. I think they were trying capture some of the Marshall business as this sounds sorta like like a JCM 800. I bought it and the cabinet for $150 as it wasn't working very well. Inside the cab it says H&H speakers. I've never heard of them but they sound a lot like the old Celestian G70's. I little bright but break up nicely and have a clear sound on the cleans. The chassis has a lot of orange drops in it. There is one part of the board that I noticed this morning is discolored so that might be my noise. I got the schematic from Laney and it has 100k plate resistors instead of the 220k that a lot of amp supposedly had to boost the gain. I thought that might be the original reason for the buzziness at first. I read somewhere last night on a Marshall post that changing the caps on the treble and mid controls helps take some of the high frequencies out, again, I'm still reading and learning.  
Thanks for the heads up on the Filter caps. I won't be spending any more than I need to as I bought it as a backup.
1/15/2006 9:40 PM
Joe N.

It is exactly that, a hotrodded 800. If the tube in question (v2) still is dull compared to the others in standby mode. I would suspect something with the fillament voltage. FWIW, I would check the scheme against the actual parts on the pcb, and make sure the values match, as I hear that some of these amps actually had some 220K rp's. a good example of a cut corner with this amp, is that the pcb's in some are mounted through plastic snap standoffs like old mesa's. The only time I've ever heard this amp was when I saw a Ritchie Kotzen instructional video, in which he was playing through one. i thought it sounded really good, and they get really good reviews on harmony central.
1/16/2006 10:34 AM

Thanks for the reply.  
I was thinking the same thing on the filament voltage. It is slow to 'warm' up and never glows as brightly so I'm also wondering if a resistance value has somehow increased and that is where I need to check first. If I'm lucky fixing this will clean some of the noise and increase the gain.  
I ordered 4 replacement ceramic 9 pin preamp sockets last night to take that out of the 'question' equation. I plan on replacing the power amp sockets eventually. I was going to order them from TheTubeStore but they are showing out of stock right now.  
I am still working with the 2 tube amp books to gain a better understanding of what I need to look for before I start 'fixing or breaking' things. I have seen that several Mod Techs offer up that they can make the amp sound less buzzy, fatter, warmer with better picking dynamics. That's what I'm after. I have looked around on the Internet and have come up with some ideas on how to start this by referencing Marshall mods as a place to start but I feel that I'm going to have to understand general tube amp Tone Stacks first and then how that signal is handed off to the power section to accomplish this task. I want to know how to control the amount of gain in the preamp to be able to send a better signal to the power amp. I know that from my foray into the effects pedal modifications I've done going from a 20% resistor tolerance to a 5% value really changed the noise floor so I'm thinking that once I understand how that works in a tube amp I can make intelligent decisions on where to start with this amp. There is a guy named Scott Splawn that has taken the Marshall 2203 and 2204 models to amazing levels in regards to gain, switching and function. He is building several of his own designs from scratch that sound incredible. I'd buy one of his, if money were no object...  
I still haven't completely discounted replacing the caps if that will buy me better, cleaner power tone. I would have to think that todays technology could offer up better quality control in production methods and at 15 years old, they may not be bad but there may be something to gain by this change. I don't know for sure at this point. It's not an expensive replacement and certainly couldn't hurt once I have the other things working better. Time seems to run out before my imagination does for things I Think I can accomplish in a given day.  
You lost me a what a "220K rp's" is, sorry, I'm still working on the jargon. Would you mind offering an explanation for an old guy? :^) Resistor Parts??? thanks.  
Mine has the plastic stand-offs, cheezy. I need to look for some tube stock to remount the board once I get the other parts in. I'd like to get a Riv-Nut toolset to drill and capture on the chassis through the board. I've done this in automotive applications years ago.  
Anyway, thanks again for the suggestions.  
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