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Old October 27th, 2013, 03:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Transformers

Greeting's all,

I am wondering what differences there may be between Heyboer transformers at tube depot and Classic tone transformers?

More specific, I am building JTM 45+ off of Tube depot's layout and diagram and want to use Classic Tone transformers because I'm curious how they sound.

Should I stay with the Heyboer Tranny's as the tube depot build is using or expect some circuit changes using Classic Tone iron? or would they be the same...

Thoughts and opinions please.

Thanks

Bruce

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Old October 27th, 2013, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Both make great products. I built an 18 watt Marshall clone from Trinity with their Heyboer trannys and I built a 5E3 with a Heyboer output trans.I have purchased a bunch of Classictone trannys for Fender style builds since then.You really can't go wrong with either,but I would probably go with the Heyboers for a Marshall type build based on how pleased I was with the 18 watt ones.I don't know if that helps you or not!
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Old October 29th, 2013, 05:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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transformers don't really "sound" like anything. if the specs are the same, they should sound identical, regardless of brand. however, some transformer manufacturers list maximum specs, while other list an "average" and build in a bit of leeway (if that makes sense?) in that case, they might sound slightly different simply due to the fact that the specs were listed differently. one transformer might actually draw a higher or lower current than its listed specs, which would make the whole amp run hotter or colder than a different transformer would, and that would make it sound different.

i will say that i think a lot of the misconceptions about what transformers do (and are capable of) comes from some rather outrageous claims made by a certain transformer company who i won't name. much of the things they claim about transformers don't actually hold much (if any) scientific water, and it's purely marketing.

both brands make great transformers, but i personally think the ClassicTones are the best value out there: USA made, high quality, and less expensive than most other brands. i've been doing a ton of research on transformer brands lately, and they keep coming out on top in the price-performance ratio. Heyboers are great too though, and they've been around for a long time, as have Hammond.

as long as you go with a well known brand, you shouldn't have any problems and the amp should sound good...assuming you don't wire it up wrong or something.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think there is enough variation between manufacturers that there might be audible differences. Now if they used the same steel and wound the windings the same way then probably not. The winding will determine much of the frequency response, the steel more the overload characteristics due to the different saturation curves. How much metal is thrown in the mix alters it also.
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Old October 31st, 2013, 06:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Now if they used the same steel and wound the windings the same way then probably not. The winding will determine much of the frequency response, the steel more the overload characteristics due to the different saturation curves. How much metal is thrown in the mix alters it also.
that's what i was trying to get at (in my overly-long, circuitous way.) i was thinking of specs, which included the same type of steel plates. of course i didn't say that...because i forgot.

i always forget about the different methods of winding the coils though, which i concede might change the way an amp sounds. BUT (and here's where i question that), the transformer's job is simply to change one type of electrical signal to another: as an example, in the case of the power transformer it takes the AC from the wall and steps it up to a higher voltage. it's a step-up transformer, and that's its only job. it takes the rest of the circuitry in the amp to help convert those electrical signals into an audible sound. if two different PT's are putting out, say, 600v, and are being run within spec, i don't see how they could "sound" any different. they're just stepping up the AC voltage, nothing more. at that point, it hasn't even hit the rectifier and converted to DC yet, so things like ripple haven't come into play. it's just pure AC.

i only have a fairly basic knowledge of the nuances of transformers though, so there might be some things that i'm overlooking or not aware of. regardless of whether or not they're using the same plate steel or coil winding, if they're putting out 600v (and the same current draw rating) they should still "sound" the same, shouldn't they? i'm not trying to be argumentative; i'm genuinely curious as to what aspects i might be missing that could make transformers sound different, and why.

in my current amp-building mode, i'm fascinated by this sort of info!
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Old October 31st, 2013, 01:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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For output transformers, differences in construction can have an impact on the sound because output transformers are actually a part of the audio path. Differences in core materials, winding (scatter vs regular), wire tension, wire gauge, insulation, etc. will all effect the measurable characteristics of the transformer and, for those with good enough ears, the sound. This is easy to understand because an output transformer is a big complex impedance, so changing the values of L, R and C is bound to have an effect on the sound.

I don't see how power transformers can sound any difference. I'm not a big believer in magic mojo or secret sauce; if you can't measure it, it's not there. If the power transformers are the same in terms of turns ratio and power/current rating, regulation, etc., they may have small differences in iron and copper losses, but as long as the power transformer is operated within spec, it really can't affect the sound. I don't think transformer regulation has any impact on power supply "sag" - that's more a function of tube rectifiers. Rectifying the AC eliminates any power factor / phase affects. Filtering removes ripple. A power transformer is also a big complex impedance, but the amplifier doesn't really see this impedance - it sees the impedance of the rectifier and filter network.

I don't have golden ears. I'm on the wrong side of 50 and have worked in environments with pretty high sustained sound pressure levels. I don't hear anything above 12 KHz anymore. I'll concede that some people can hear things that I can't. But I also know that there are people who think they hear things that aren't there.
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Old October 31st, 2013, 01:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat MacKinnon View Post
that's what i was trying to get at (in my overly-long, circuitous way.) i was thinking of specs, which included the same type of steel plates. of course i didn't say that...because i forgot.

i always forget about the different methods of winding the coils though, which i concede might change the way an amp sounds. BUT (and here's where i question that), the transformer's job is simply to change one type of electrical signal to another: as an example, in the case of the power transformer it takes the AC from the wall and steps it up to a higher voltage. it's a step-up transformer, and that's its only job. it takes the rest of the circuitry in the amp to help convert those electrical signals into an audible sound. if two different PT's are putting out, say, 600v, and are being run within spec, i don't see how they could "sound" any different. they're just stepping up the AC voltage, nothing more. at that point, it hasn't even hit the rectifier and converted to DC yet, so things like ripple haven't come into play. it's just pure AC.

i only have a fairly basic knowledge of the nuances of transformers though, so there might be some things that i'm overlooking or not aware of. regardless of whether or not they're using the same plate steel or coil winding, if they're putting out 600v (and the same current draw rating) they should still "sound" the same, shouldn't they? i'm not trying to be argumentative; i'm genuinely curious as to what aspects i might be missing that could make transformers sound different, and why.

in my current amp-building mode, i'm fascinated by this sort of info!
I think you might be oversimplifying this, Cat.
I have built using sets from Hammond, Mercury (the one I think you refer to as making outrageous claims) and ClassicTone/Magnetic Components.
As Don has stated, there are many influences over and above say whether a PT runs hot or not that influence the sound.
I can tell you the MM amp, a modded AB763 sounds absolutely stellar and has drawn many compliments, there is a tightness in the bass that sets it apart from similar amps I have used.

The Hammond amp. a 50w Dumble clone, went to a hard-gigging guitarist some years ago and AFAIK he is still totally happy with it.
My current Dumble clone has Classictone and is similar sounding.

My Classic tones also sound fantastic in their amps but I would say, if money was no object, I would go MM every time. It is the tight bass response that I dig with MM.
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 03:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Lots of good info here, Thank you all for your posts.

I did do a little more searching and found the specs for the transformers. I also run across a sound file of Mercury Magnetics (MM), Weber, Heyboer, and Classic tone trany used in a Marshall clone. What they did was compare the four in one amp by Granger I think it was.

Well check it out for yourself, go to Classic tone and look under Marshall Output Trany's, here is the part # 40-18025, it explains what they did and I made my decision from there. I liked the Classic Tone better from what I was hearing. The page also explains the differences the different components of the different manufactures. The Trany number is the exact iron I will be using for my build which is the model I was looking for, Cool aye!

Bruce
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Old November 2nd, 2013, 05:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have the # 40-18025 in my JCM800 2204 clone and that is a killer amp for sure!
Good choice!
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Old November 3rd, 2013, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Right on, I'm glad to hear some feedback on the iron, especially the #40-18025!

Thanks!
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