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Kay

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Guitandanza, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

    231
    May 31, 2015
    Connecticut
    Image1531055477.913097.jpg

    I bought this little amp about ten years ago. Jensen Speaker. It hissed more than I’d like, so I brought it to my tech. He did basically nothing to it. There were 3 inputs, but only one worked. Now they all work and hiss went away. These are sweet sounding amps. I play acoustic through it. An electric guitar breaks up earlier. Under $100 in 2008
     

  2. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Holic

    572
    May 30, 2017
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Wait, he did nothing but it works much better now? It just needed to get out of the house for some fresh air?
     
    Guitandanza likes this.

  3. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Techs have many different degrees of 'nothing' -- basically nothing, almost nothing, nearly nothing, nothing major. Hiss cure might be new V1 grid stoppers; channel fix could be as simple as bending back the shunt on a jack. Making it sound easy enhances their apparent expertise and makes it more likely we'll come back.

    Plus techs know many customers like a bit of the old mystique: "I just did the two or three most basic things you could have done yourself" doesn't sound as good as "your amp was almost perfect, so I just touched up a couple things."
     
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  4. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

    231
    May 31, 2015
    Connecticut
    Someone added inputs to the back. He made them all usable. That was it.
     

  5. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Neat looking amp!
    What tubes does it use?
     

  6. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

    231
    May 31, 2015
    Connecticut
    I’ve never heard of these. 35Z5, 50L6, 12AU6. Also, my tech said there was little risk of getting shocked, but this amp, the 503a is said to be dangerous. I’ve used it a few times over the past few 10 years and almost daily for 4 months. Should I unplug it and give to an enemy?
     

  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    These widow maker amps run off of the wall voltage. There is no power transformer, which in itself is an isolation transformer. A few of these amps came with an isolation transformer that put out the same voltage that the wall outlet provided. That voltage is rectified and supplied to the tubes. Add up the first numbers of the tubes... 50+35+12..... most of these amps did not have an isolation transformer....too expensive, right? If there is no isolation transformer, then there is a possibility of the wall voltage getting onto the chassis. With an electric guitar that has ground connected to the bridge/Strong’s, this is considered a dangerous situation. An electric/acoustic has no such connection to the chassis of the amp. I have little use for these amps. I recently installed an isolation transformer, grounded power cable, and a fuse in such an amp. I did not consider the results to be worth the trouble and expense, but the owner felt that he could sell the amp for something like $300. ??????
    I have two of them lying around....but I don’t know if I want to bother with them...even though I have a new isolation transformer for one of them. They are low output amps.....bedroom amps if you will. IMHO, IF one wants to use one safely; fresh electrolytics, grounded cable, iso trannies and a fuse should be installed.
    Note: even using that electric acoustic, the metal of the instrument cable is connected to that chassis....so danger still exists IF certain things go wrong with that power supply.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    BobbyZ and Berndizzle440 like this.

  8. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    I recently heard of those handles referred to as "drawer pulls." I never thought about it before, but sure, enough they look like they came out of a '50's diner. Maybe I should search Home Depot for "amp handles."
     

  9. dqami

    dqami Tele-Holic

    924
    Feb 11, 2004
    The tube setup was used in many radios at the time. Though they look cool, I think new amps today are better, safer, and better suited to our needs.
     

  10. Guitandanza

    Guitandanza Tele-Meister

    231
    May 31, 2015
    Connecticut
    It sounds almost perfect for recording. I hesitate to bother Wally, but help!
     

  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Guitardanza, I took the time to look up the schematic. The one I found for the Kay 503A shows an isolation tranny. So...no worries on that front....IF your amp follows that schematic. I don’t know that particular amp, but the first thing I do when I see those tubes is to look for the isolation tranny....most of them don’t have one. Your tech likely confirmed that there is an iso-tranny and therefore told you that there was ‘little risk’ of shock. It would be best, imho, in such a case for a tech to explain that this amp is a step above the widow-makers versions that do NOT have an isolation transformer. I am going to make a WAG that the first version was likely the 503 model and did not have the iso-tranny. The A at the end of the 503A model designation is most likely a revision to that earlier circuit. The revision likely was that little iso-tranny. Harmony had such a situation with an ‘A’ revision. There are versions of the Silvertone Amp-in-case amps that do not have an isolation transformer and some that do have that iso-tranny.
    ‘Tis little amp needs fresh e-caps at the minimum, imho and ime. They are low output amps and are great instruction tools on how to control the guitar output because they will NOT yield a clean sound if one hits the strings hard.
     

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