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Tweed Component Selection Help & Speaker Question

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by timewaster1700, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. timewaster1700

    timewaster1700 Tele-Meister

    260
    Feb 17, 2016
    Utah
    I've been doing a ton of reading and study on the 5F1, 5E3, and 5F11. I'm leaning towards building the 5F11 as my first amp. I know mojotone sells component kits that a lot of people are happy with. I'm wondering though if I were to manually select the components myself if I could get some help with finding real high quality components. I would rather spend more and have long lasting, excellent sounding components. Here's the components I'm wondering about:

    -Output Transformer and Power Transformer. Mercury Magnetics? David Allen? Others?
    -Electrolytic Capacitors
    -Orange Drop Capacitors
    -Jacks. Switchcraft?
    -Switches
    -Pots
    -Resistors
    -Wire. I notice some wire is cloth covered and some plastic. Does it matter?

    As for my speaker question. I've heard some people put a 12" speaker in their 5F11. I guess my question is how do you know a certain amp has enough output to drive a larger speaker? I know speakers have a maximum wattage which is usually well over the output from the amplifier, so how do you know the 5F11 can drive a 12" or any amp for that matter can drive a larger speaker than it was designed for?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

    May 24, 2016
    Florida
    The brand and to a certain degree even composition of your electronic components is mostly cork sniffing. Well made, in spec components are what matter and most modern components fit the bill.

    MM transformers are certainly good, but I'd save my money and go with Classic Tone, Hammond, Heyboer, or Edcor (all in a similar price range that is much lower than MM). The specs of you transformers (mostly the OT, but PT too) make a huge difference, but who made it doesn't. MM isn't just automatically "the best" because they cost a lot. If you have the wrong MM transformer it is going to sound bad and with the number of models they have, if anything it gives a beginner more room to end up with the wrong thing.

    Resistors: use metal film if you want the lowest noise floor, carbon comp if you are more concerned with looks and "mojo", or carbon film if you want to compromise, its not going to make much difference at the end of the day.

    Coupling caps: I like the yellow polypropylene film caps that most vendors seem to carry, polyester film is fine too. Don't get caught up thinking this is a magic component, sozo, jupiter, etc are pretty and give some people warm fuzzies because they're expensive, but thats about it.

    E-caps: maybe worth spending more here. Some are definitely better than others, but even the expensive ones are going to need to be replaced eventually. Personally I use the generics and figure if I have to replace them in 10 years instead of 20 I'm still ahead of the game at 1/4 the price...

    Speakers are where you really will see the most difference.
    Any of those amps will drive a 12" speaker, even a 1watt amp will... it just won't drive it as hard. 12s and 10s sound different, different makes and models sound different, ceramic vs alnico... there is a lot to think about and its something I have only scratched the surface of. Reasearch speakers more and components less and you will get more return on your time and money.

    Further reading: there is a lot of good, authoritative info here, especially on component questions.

    P.S. don't forget tubes! Thats a whole other rabbit hole of subjectivity...
     
  3. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    These are a couple of areas that bear some research. You should scour the 5F11 build threads here to learn more specifically about PTs.

    Other Vibrolux builders bought Mojotone kits and were very happy with them. But I thought my amp sounded raw and ragged with the higher than spec voltages (380-400+). I wanted more "vintage voltages." As you know, the 5F11 specs put B+1 at about 340v +/- 20%. Mojotone's "stock" Vibrolux PT was spec'd at 350-0-50-350 secondaries. I'd recommend a transformer with 300-0-300 and the 50v centertap. They exist, but not from Mojotone. Go Fish. Other builders can weigh in on the wisdom of that. Remeber, volts go down, current goes up.

    I've had the luxury of owning this amp twice. Getting in the ballpark of vintage voltages makes this amp sound like a Vibrolux to me.

    Speakers: You'll probably love whatever speaker you chose. Honestly.

    I initially put a 12 inch Fender Special Design ceramic speaker in my amp (It was pulled right out of a Blues Jr., and BillM says its basically an Eminence Legend). Its a great speaker when its loaded in a decent cabinet, and it worked really well for this amp. Good mellow midrange response (nothing like its behavior in the BJ), solid bass and adequate articulation.

    Tried a ceramic 12 inch hemp cone Cannabis Rex. It was a thug that had no finesse and no regard for local noise ordinances (not a great choice for church, IMO). I love it in my BJ. Others love it in this amp.

    Now I have a Weber 10a125H (that's a 10 inch hemp cone). It's 30 watts and Alnico, really great mojo and great bass response. Like a CR that said "no" to steroids.

    This is from CJ at Weber, and it should help you get some perspective on speakers in general. I found it educational:

    "...The wattage is determined by the voice coil of the speaker, and the voice coil on the 30w is a little bit longer than the 20w. what this means is there is actually more torque available, and the voice coil can move a little farther -- which results in a fuller tone in my opinion. the 20w is a little in-your-face and the 30w is a little more full and rich. of course, these differences are very slight, but they are still there.

    however if you want that in-your-face sound, then the 20w is a good bet"

    I love Alnico speakers in my two tweed amps. The magnets lose power as you load the speaker and that contributes to the smooth creamy breakup. I think its important in a tweed amp. Others may disagree, and they are just as correct as I am. ;)
     
  4. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Some people will argue with that. I'm intrigued by the idea of using higher wattage carbon comps in the right places, like plate resistors before the PI. And not using them in places where they translate into noise; input stage. But that's probably cork sniffing too. Here's an interesting read on resistors:
    http://www.aikenamps.com/index.php/resistor-types-does-it-matter

    (There's a handful of really good web resources for amp building, Aiken is one of them. Hoffman and Robrob are two others. Bookmark them, you'll spend a lot of time with them. My experience as a novice amp builder has been that I read way more than I build. So get used to that for a while. )
     
  5. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    Also keep in mind that shipping charges add up quick when piecing this type of thing together on your own and you need to order parts from 4,5,6 etc. different sources.

    Could end up being cheaper to build the kit, maybe swap out a few parts like resistors/caps if you want. Classic Tone tranny's are really all you need. MM are great and they have a 10 year warranty, but they are spendy.

    There is no tone in the tranny's, just specs. Like was said before, get the specs right and it will sound the way you expect. Classic Tone are made mostly in the manner that they were made back in the day.
     
    JuneauMike likes this.
  6. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Dec 11, 2009
    Bloomington, MN
    I used a Hammond PT for my last 5F10, which is similar to the 5F11 you are looking for. It's the Hammond 290 CAX. It has two options for HT Voltages - 315 and 275. I used the 275 for the 5F10, but the 315 may work for you with the 5Y3 in there. It doesn't have a bias tap on it, so you'll have to nab that from the HT, but that worked out perfectly for me too.
    The chassis would probably be great (everything else for that matter) from Mojotone as well. If you wished, you could supplement some of the resistors (if you wanted to; all of the lower watt builds I've done have not been nosey with carbon comps) along with the tranny when you order it. I think I paid $68.00 from AES and like less than 40 for the OT.
     
  7. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    They are brother and sister. See if you can guess which one mom likes more? Ha.
     

    Attached Files:

    Mr Ridesglide likes this.
  8. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Dec 11, 2009
    Bloomington, MN
    Yes, but they do use different plate voltage and so on down the line by about 25 volts.. no?
     
  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Yep, I'd say that's right. Also, 6AT6? That's not a tube you run into every day. Less voltage than a 12ax. And its a 7-pin.

    B+1 is 305 +/- What kind of a PT would that be? 225-225?
     
  10. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Dec 11, 2009
    Bloomington, MN
    Well I used the 275 taps - x 1.4 = 385, then it got loaded down and dropped by the 5y3... for some reason, and I'll check it one day again, I think i'm at about 315 on the plates, and down to about 185 on the 6at6. I did tap off the rectifier for the fixed bias circuitry.
     
  11. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    955
    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
    This Classictone PT...http://www.classictone.net/40-18027.html also has the dual voltage secondaries. I have used it in several builds and usually end up around 315vdc on the low winding and 360ish in the high winding with a 5y3 rectifier. I always end up preferring the softer, browner sound of the lower voltage option. Their OT's are also excellent and they have several options depending on your speaker and cab selection. Ordering from AmpPartsDirect has always been a pleasant experience but I have had a couple of hiccups when purchasing from Triode.

    For components, I would stick with F&T electrolytics and Mallory 150's for coupling caps. Whether you stick with carbon comp resistors for authenticity or metal film is uo to you. I always end up with good carbon films in most of mine. I have been down the road many times of obsessing over buying the fancier, high priced parts, but after a number of builds I have come to realize that none of that made the amp sound any better. Component values and clean lead dress will have a bigger impact on how good the amp sounds. Whenever I start worrying about which parts will sound better, I tell myself that Leo Fender most likely used the cheapest parts he could get and look how great those amps turned out.
     
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  12. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    955
    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
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  13. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Hoffman is awesome, especially for those of us who don't always know precisely what we're doing. The parts descriptions often have a little clue as to what they do. (He even writes a thank you note on your invoice.)
     
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  14. timewaster1700

    timewaster1700 Tele-Meister

    260
    Feb 17, 2016
    Utah
    Wow you all are awesome! So thankful for the overwhelming feedback on this. I'll take time to look into those components. Thanks so much for steering me in the right direction.

    @Nickfl, thanks for grounding me and keeping me from spending a bunch on parts that don't affect the tone.

    @dan40, that Hoffman link didn't work for me and I've been on that site before and unable to find a 5F11 parts list on there. But sounds like those two places will be an awesome place to get the components.

    @dan40, so that power transformer outputting at 315 VDC instead of 340 like the schematic, does it keep the vibe of the vibrolux but just cause earlier breakup?

    @JuneauMike, so would you recommend a 12" or 10" speaker? I was thinking maybe the Weber 12A125A.


    Question for you all. What place online has the best advice for assembly? i.e. best grounding practices and making the wire look nice and not pick up extra noise, etc?
     
  15. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    I dont have a recommendation on speaker size. I wanted a smaller amp with a refined brown sound, and I figured this amp was designed around a 10 inch speaker. So your call.

    Regarding build instructions. That's the problem with the Vibrolux. There isn't one, nor is there nearly as much technical info on it as there is for the Champ. You just have to sort it out yourself based on what you know about the Champ, amps in general and miles and miles of comments from web forums and books. Read enough build threads and you can sketch out a plan for your own build. Get stuck? Come to places like this, or Hoffmans forum or ampgarage (though I haven't gotten much from ampgarage, they're way over my head).

    You've settled on an amp so Step 1 is assembling a parts list. You can do 90 percent of that by looking at the Fender layout drawing and making yourself a list. I'd recommend buying several resistors in the same value and measuring them, or bin them, to find the closest value to use. Resistors are cheap. You can do that for caps and pots too, but they cost more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  16. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    955
    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
    If you are shooting for a final voltage around 340vdc, I would use the higher taps on that PT that I linked. Most kit PT's will give you higher voltages than what Fender placed on the schematics because wall voltages are higher these days. A change of only ten volts coming in will make a much bigger difference on the PT's secondary. I wouldn't get to worried about nailing exact voltages because most folks feel that the numbers listed by Fender are on the low side compared to what they have measured in actual amplifiers. Where you decide to set your bias voltage at will also effect the final B+. Biasing cooler will raise B+ and biasing hotter will lower. You can also try different rectifiers to fine tune your final voltage. I prefer sticking to lower voltages on 6v6's because it makes the amp a touch softer feeling and easier to overdrive. Lowering B+ voltage will also lower preamp voltages so you have the option of adjusting dropping resistor values to raise or lower your final preamp voltage if you choose. Once you get the amp built and running perfectly, their are many options available to fine tune the voicing.
     
  17. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    955
    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
    I just caught the fact that the PT that I linked you to does not have a 50v bias tap. If you are trying to stick to the original circuit, you will need to find a PT with the same voltage and current ratings that also has a bias tap. You can go higher on the current capacity but going to high may take some of the natural squish out of the amp and make it stiff. Part of the Fender charm is the fact that most of the PT's that Leo used were barely adequate for the job. It's good to up the rating a touch but not too high. If you are not concerned about complete accuracy, you could use that Classictone PT and just tap the bias voltage off the secondary like it was done in the Princetons. The bias circuit remains the same but some of the resistor values will be slightly different to account for the higher incoming voltage.
     
  18. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    That, right there. Speakers were sometimes grossly inefficient too, which added to it.
     
  19. timewaster1700

    timewaster1700 Tele-Meister

    260
    Feb 17, 2016
    Utah
    Yeah I knew there were any 5F11 specific instructions but I figured there would be good instructions for the 5E3 and there is enough similarity I think I can wing the rest. I was more wanting to figure out what's the best source for finding best practices on building the amp to have it turn out noise free and well built. Reading that link from http://www.aikenamps.com/index.php/resistor-types-does-it-matter was super helpful.

    I guess I was shooting for 340 just because of what the schematic says but sounds like lower voltage sounds nice. I knew I needed one with an extra tap for the bias but didn't know it needed to be 50 V since the schematic doesn't label it and without knowing the current I couldn't calculate it from the resistor values.

    This hammond has the 50V tap and might work:
    https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/transformer-hammond-120v-vibrolux-vibrolux-reverb-etc
     
  20. SngleCoil

    SngleCoil Tele-Holic

    560
    Apr 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Hoffman is outstanding! I had always heard good things about him, but for one reason or another always ended up sourcing stuff from AES, Tube Depot, or Mouser. Well I placed my first order with him Tuesday morning...It was in my mailbox the next day. Granted I live only a few hours away from him, but still compared to 5-7 days shipping from the other guys, Hoffman definitely has earned my business for anything that he carries.
     
    Urshurak776 likes this.
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