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5E3 Proluxe Build - 1st Amp

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by mnegrete, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    I've been reading about the 5E3 kits for a long time and have wanted to build one for my teenage son who is outgrowing his Fender Mustang III. I really liked the 5E3 kit, but he was concerned it wouldn't be loud enough. The other guitarist in their band has a Blues Jr and that has trouble keeping up with their drummer and was part of the reason for his concern.

    I know he could just mic the 5E3, but after hearing about the Proluxe build, I decided to go that route. I'm in the process of ordering the kit from Dave at Boothill Amps.


    Here's the first of many questions I'm sure I'll have moving through the build of this amp and cabinet:

    If the 5E3 Proluxe ends up blowing the doors off his room and we want something quieter in the house, is it really as simple as replacing the 6L6 tubes with 6V6 tubes and replacing the rectifier tube with JJ 5U4GB?

    I'm planning on using this power transformer: https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/P-TF22723
     
  2. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Tele-Meister

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    :arrow:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  3. KCStratMan

    KCStratMan Tele-Afflicted

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    A lot depends on the style of music and the drummer. The proluxe should have more volume and clean headroom than the deluxe. With 6V6s in place it should have somewhat less volume and less headroom before rolling into overdrive, but as for quiet practice in the house, better have thick doors on that bedroom. Swapping low gain 12AU7 tubes into the preamp positions will significantly reduce gain for practice purposes.
     
  4. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I recommend the Allen Amps TP40D power transformer for the Proluxe.

    You will probably need to set the power tube bias when swapping the power tubes and rectifier. If you added the Switched Bias mod you wouldn't have to re-bias when switching between tubes with the amp in cathode bias mode. The 6V6's will still be very loud. You might want to consider the simple PRE Phase Inverter Master Volume to allow quieter practice volume.

    Here's how to wire the HallAmplification.com Variable Voltage Regulator in the Proluxe. It adjusts the bias voltage and B+2 and B+3 simultaneously:

    http://robrobinette.com/5e3_Modifications.htm#Add_a_Variable_Voltage_Regulator

    [​IMG]

    Here's my BoothillAmps.com Proluxe Build: http://robrobinette.com/AmpBuild.htm

    Here's my 5E3 modifications page (many apply to the Proluxe): http://robrobinette.com/5e3_Modifications.htm
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm not sure, but this may be a tech question that can only be answered with the finished amp in hand.
    Did you ask at Boothill?
    If you just want second and third opinions you might ask Wally and Muchxs here.
    There might be a switch on the bias resistor needed to do the tube swap depending on the build, I don't know.
     
  6. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The Proluxe is fixed bias so no cathode resistor.

    If your output transformer has 4, 8 and 16ohm speaker output (highly recommended) you would also want to change the speaker impedance switch when moving from 6V6 to 6L6 power tubes.

    Note that because of the difference between 6V6 and 6L6 output impedance differences, if your output transformer is made for 6V6 power tubes like the Allen Amps TO26 you have to make an output impedance adjustment to get the most out of 6L6 or EL34 tubes. For 6L6 or EL34 tubes and an 8 ohm speaker you would use the 16 ohm speaker tap. For a 4 ohm speaker you would use the 8 ohm speaker tap.

    If your output transformer is made for 6L6 (Proluxe) or EL34 power tubes you would do the opposite. When using 6V6 tubes and a 16 ohm speaker you would use the 8 ohm speaker tap. When using an 8 ohm speaker you would need to use a 4 ohm speaker tap.
     
  7. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    Rob - thanks for the tip on the VVR3 from Hall Amplification. If I'm reading things right, I could skip swapping tubes and just use the VVR3 for fixed bias amps and that would allow for lowering the volatge/volume of the amp w/out too much loss of tone.

    Telemnemonics - I've been asking Dave plenty of questions regarding transformers and speakers and didn't want to bug him with any more questions.

    KCStratMan - Thanks for the input. We're not too concerned about the volume in the house. I dig listening to him play all the music I like. It's more of a concern about bothering the neighbors. The number one priority with the amp is having something he can use with his band. I just wanted to find out a bit more about the details of the tube swap that I've seen thrown around quite often, but haven't been able to find out too many examples of it actually being done with the Proluxe.
     
  8. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    Rob - that's another question that has been going on in the back of my head, but I wanted to chew on a bit more before throwing it out there. Since you brought it up... I read on your page that your recommend the Mercury Magnetics ToneClone+ FBFVO-40M that has the 4, 8, and 16 ohm outputs. I'd like to build in as much flexibility as possible with this amp, but I also want to keep the cost somewhat reasonable. And, more importantly, since this is my first build, I'd like to not deviate too much from the basic kit, but am willing to if need be.

    With that said, if I stick with an output transformer at 4 ohm with the 6L6 tubes, I need a 4 ohm speaker, and an 8 ohm speaker is a no-no, correct?
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for the clarification Rob, I'm interested on a 5e5 Pro, but simpler and cathode biased, and the Proluxe is even more involved and complex than I realized.

    It kind of sounds like maybe Mnegrete needs a 5e3 with 6L6 option for more headroom, rather than a fixed bias 5e3 Proluxe designed for 6L6 with a 6v6 option.
    Is the Proluxe more 6L6 high power oriented?
    Does that make its low power option even louder than a plain 5e3 Deluxe?

    It's maybe hard to judge on the internet without hearing the amp in the bedroom where it might be expected to sound great at 1w output.

    I suspect that the MV you suggest is an absolute requirement if the amp is to be usable at bedroom volume.
     
  10. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hey, OP! Thanks for joining up with a good question for your first post.

    I don't think tube swaps will solve the home practice volume problem. It's going to be loud putting out 5 watts. Cutting the maximum back to 12-14 watts (5E3 territory) will be pointless.

    The Mustang III is 21st century amp technology designed to deliver any sound at any volume up to max power. Godzilla crushes New York at whisper volume, no big deal.

    The Prolux is mid-20th century stuff. Totally different animal. The volume control is abrupt, full volume from about 3.5 on up. You'll need to use the guitar's volume to access and control the clean range, and it will be loud when you move into that vicious overdrive. On my 5E3, I just leave the amp volume up and do all the controlling from the guitar.

    Keep the standard tubes in there. Your son is probably going to have more home practice time than gig/rehearsal time. Let him learn to use the amp in its normal configuration. The #2 input on each channel is 6dB down. And the guitar and amp have volume controls. Turn down for home practice, turn up for the group, end of problem.
     
  11. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Take a look at the Allen Amps TO-26 output transformer. It has 8 and 16 ohm speaker taps and will run 6V6 and 6L6 tubes. With this OT and an 8 ohm speaker you would select 8 ohm for 6V6 and 16 for 6L6.

    Using an 8 ohm speaker with a 4 ohm output transformer isn't ideal but it can be done. It stresses the power tubes a little more but the amp won't blow up.
     
  12. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The Proluxe differences from the 5E3:

    Larger value filter caps will tighten up the 5E3's low end and make it a little more "punchy," and less "tubey" with less "farting out."
    Larger output transformer will give a little more max volume and will have less compression.
    Fixed bias will increase max volume and make the amp more "punchy," and less "tubey."
    GZ34 rectifier for higher 6L6 B+ will make the amp more "punchy," and less "tubey."
     
  13. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    Rob, I'm curious why the Allen Amps OT & PT are recommended over the Marvel ones from Antique Electronic Supply. Does spending more on the Allen Amps OT and PT get me anything more than the 8ohm and 16ohm taps?

    Right now, I was planning on going with the 4ohm Jensen C12N, but if I go with the Allen amps I'd probably get the 8ohm Jenson Falcon.

    Thanks for all the input.
     
  14. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The Allen Amps power transformer has enough 6.3v heater current to run EL34 power tubes. It has a 6.3v center tap and enough HT current to fully power EL34 and 6L6GC power tubes. It's rectifier heater can power pretty much any rectifier tube.

    The Allen Amps output transformer was designed to work well with 6V6, 6L6 and EL34 power tubes and has an 8 and 16 ohm speaker tap.

    Allen Amps transformers are getting great reviews for not a whole lot more cash.
     
  15. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

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    I'd just go ahead and build it with cathode bias and no power scaling (which would affect the way the amp compresses). I had a 5E3 with a 25W OT and 5881s and it had enough headroom for a large band with keys and horns.
     
  16. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A cathode biased 5E3 modified to run 6V6, 6L6 and EL34 tubes is a good option. This is from my 5E3 modifications website:

    To run 6L6 and EL34 power tubes a cathode biased 5E3 will need the following changes:

    The 5E3's 250 ohm 5 watt cathode resistor needs to be bumped up to 250 ohm 10 watt to handle the higher output 6L6 tubes.

    The cathode bypass capacitor needs to be bumped up to a 25uF 50 volt cap.

    6L6 tubes need higher B+ voltages so a GZ34 rectifier tube works well. I'm a fan of the JJ GZ34S.

    The 5E5 uses four 16uF filter capacitors and the Weber Proluxe uses three 40uF 650v caps but a 40, 30, 30 arrangement will work fine too.

    You should also consider upgrading both your power and output transformers for 6L6 operation.

    To run EL34 tubes you will need a power transformer with at least 4 amps of 6.3v heater current like the Allen Amps TP40D mentioned above. You will also need to add a jumper to the power tube sockets' between pins 1 and 8 to tie the suppressor grid to the cathode. This has no effect on 6L6 or 6V6 tubes because their cathode and suppressor grids are connected internally. Adding the jumper simply adds power tube flexibility.
     
  17. hackworth1

    hackworth1 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I recommend building your proluxe stock* with the transformer set I pointed you to. As you can see, there are many ways to go with mods and such. Rob has done a great job diagramming these. In fact with my kits, I always send a link to Rob's website so builders can see the beautiful diagrams and great info he put together.

    Now as far as the 35 watt proluxe amp being too loud for home use, this is generally true. Your son won't be able to crank it to natural tube distortion levels without blowing everyone out of the house.

    He could, however use a distortion box or other type of pedal and keep the volume turned down.

    Keeping the build as simple as possible is my recommendation. The amp should serve your son well in his band.

    Now everyone needs at least two amps, so I recommend a Champ 5F1 or my single ended EL84 amp for home use. These are wonderful little 5w amps you can build that are great for domestic use or recording. They are lightweight and conveniently portable for jamming with friends at home or away.

    * Proluxe is much like a Bandmaster without the Bandmaster tone stack. Proluxe is a 5E3 hot rod. Bigger Filter Caps, Fixed Bias like the Bandmaster 6L6 Power Tubes, GZ34 or 5AR4 rectifier.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  18. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    I'm really appreciating all the input. I'm going to go with Dave and Ricky D's suggestion and build it stock, keeping it simple at first.

    Once it's built, if we're feeling limited in any way, then I can dive into all the great suggestions & mods Rob has put on the table.

    My son has a few pedals that he'll be playing with including a tube screamer he built himself, a wah he modified, a distortion pedal, and a big muff fuzz pedal.

    Now for a few cabinet related questions...

    1) Is there a preferred way to mount the speakers on the baffle? I'm trying to decide between using t-nuts in the baffle versus the screws that are pointed at the end, have a portion of machine threads, and them some wood threads at the base by the head.

    2) Should I use machine screws through bolted, or wood screws to hold the rear baffles to the cabinet?

    3) Are #10 size screws and finish washer the appropriate size? I've seen some vintage countersunk finish washers available online, but am thinking regular finish washers will be just fine.
     
  19. KCStratMan

    KCStratMan Tele-Afflicted

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    Speaker should be mounted to baffle with machine screws (bolts), star lock washers, and nuts, or nylock nuts. Rear panels mount with #8 or #10 oval head wood screws in cup washers. Chassis to cab mounts are #10 round head machine screws. "Vintage correct" is nickel plated - expensive from Fender parts dealers. Stainless or chrome are generally available from hardware store at reasonable price.
     
  20. mnegrete

    mnegrete TDPRI Member

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    KCStratMan, thx for the info. I'm still a bit curious on the speaker mounting screws. If you just use screws/bolts, once the speaker baffle is covered, how do you tighten the nuts without the screws/bolts slipping? Do you epoxy the screws into baffle?

    I had seen speaker baffle mounting screws here that looked like they would do the trick, as well: http://amprepairparts.com/hardware.htm
     

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