Cool ol´Gerry

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by Racing, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    By pure chance i ran into a really cool old german amp.
    A 1963 vintage Klemt Echolette Showstar 40. An amp that i guess some of us oldfarts might have used back in the day.

    Anyways,as i these days basicaly build tubers on a more or less pro basis i took this one under my wings to overhaul at first...:D,but...bah...

    The real reason for this post though...is that i was surprised to say the least. Surprised as in...good.:cool:

    I bought it dirt cheap. Hadn´t been used for yrs,and indeed according to the seller the trem channel of it was kaputt.
    What touched down at my shop was.....

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    Yep. Lotsa dust to say the least. That last pic though...is the No1 reason i bought it. Had heard so much about the ECC83/12AX7 replacer...the ECC808...and this was a time as good as any to play around with them. Note that these tubes are about scarse as hens teeth...and about as expensive NOS.

    Didn´t even bother firing her up....spent a good litre full of rubbing alcohol coupled with some elbow grease and a brush..and things started to clear up.

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    Although claimed to be a 40watter this pup sports a pair of EL34s driven at approx 465VDC. Yup. Them the originals...and measured as well as sound..like new. Old Siemens no less as can be seen.

    http://www.102983.org/gallery/albums/userpics/10003/Echolette_S40_old_valve_version.pdf

    Schematic for it is right there.

    Now,as i started to replace the various caps throughout i started to realize how extremely well thought through the design was. Chassis out of lowgrade stainless folded to become a "monocoque" asf. Trafos placed in "cages" within the chassis to minimize any and all magnetic fields aso aso aso aso.
    As it progressed i´d go as far as saying that not ONE component had ended up where it did without thought.
    Now..have in mind that the amp is a -63 vintage tuber. Look at the schematics...;)

    Anyways. I upped basicaly all capacitances slightly..and started the journey to set her up more intended for todays standards. Not highgain mind you,but more so in persuit of tone. So...them ECC808s were handed some new working parameters. At that...she was transformed into a 1 channel amp and as such had the all in all 4 gainstages cascaded.

    [​IMG]
    (Here basicaly just cleaned up)

    Yeah. PCB built. Back in -63,and the fact is that the entire amp looks to be built to be thrown out of a tourbus doing 60mph with no ills. Precision and quality wowen in.
    To the degree where the chassis is a REALLY tight fit to the cab,this BUTT ugly cab.:lol:

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    `N zee...this little puppy sports a rather cool feature...:D
    Yep. The fluorescent lights. In a tuber...no...your eyes are NOT fooling ya!

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    ..and indeed work progressed as a whole too...

    That said. This was not only to post about the build per se,which is of AMAZING quality,but of the ECC808s more specific.
    Given the right surroundings these are truly remarkable tubes and they make no secret out of it.
    Normaly these are hyped by the audiophile crowd to some degree...but i´m here to tell you that these flasks will perform WONDERS when set to guitar standards as well.
    For instance...
    As i´ve cascaded the two channels,in fact reset the entire setup topology,one of the truly remarkable features is that...i dial in WAY WAY WAY to much distortion for my P90 Paulie...and then just back off on volume at the guitar...and no matter the "new" sound that come from backing off...the amp still sounds with full clarity and sustain. Tone..same thing-in contrast to common 83s.
    What i´m saying is that the 808s seem to take to whatever you hand them,and that truly IS a first-to me at least.
    Altho they´re claimed to be of the same "mu" as the 83s..they DO amplify differently.
    Yep. Pinout is different to make the tube more silent in idle but...that´s as noted above isn´t even half the story.

    So?
    What came out the other end? In short an extremely cool background lit easy 50w fulltube amp that ROARS as you call upon it!
    Think...JCM800 just with more character and balls. Overtone bonanza if you wish,which i also attribute to them wonderful 808s.

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    Yeah. Even rubber suspended and completely galvanic separated pots..and that glimmer light is for the trem of course,and it blinks to tempo the trem is set..:twisted:

    Down...down to the little things. Like "faradays cages" for the small tonestack PCB...that are spring secured inplace...

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    As is it is technicaly restored. As for the estetics of it...it´s almost nicer to keep it as is. 50yrs of battle scars included. Setup to roar another 50yrs...

    I sit here writing this..still sort of flabbergasted by what the amp has shown. It is one of them german engineering wonders. For the sake of argument...
    Check the schematics above. Have the -63 vintage in mind...and check how the presence control works out.
    A reverse run Twin T...which makes it into a hump filter...originaly set to approx 3.5kHz. (I´ve reset it to about 1200Hz as i´ve made the amp much more prone to distortion and overtones)
    For those of you in the loop enough to "see" how that presence control works...1963 ;).
    The boys of Klemt sure knew what they were doing. No two ways about it...
    If you happen to run into one of these,or the B40(bass,it just lacks the lighting really) pick it up and bring it home. Hand it some fresh components and my guess is that you´ll be as amazed as i am.
     
  2. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG]

    ...forgot...;):D
     
  3. andyfromdenver

    andyfromdenver Friend of Leo's

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    Daaaaayum :)

    Really cool, thanks for showing that off, I'd love to play that. Sweden, why you so far away? sigh...
     
  4. Telenut62

    Telenut62 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ripper ;)
     
  5. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    Thanx.

    Nah. The Klemts can be found worldwide and as they´re sort of a "kept secret" shouldn´t be expensive the least to begin with.
    They are however some of the most well conceived amps i´ve ever opened up.
    Mark their vintage and go figure-sort of.

    http://deanmarkleyvintageamps.weebly.com/klempt-echolette.html

    The Showstars presence control...that reverse run Twin T,just goes to show you how much in the loop the boys at Klemt were back in the day.
    In short?
    The Klemts are good stuff. Simple as that.
     
  6. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG]

    Well whatta ya know! Found me yet another one... ;)
     
  7. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Nice!
     
  8. J.BURRELL

    J.BURRELL TDPRI Member

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    Really?
    Love the backlit controls looks like a radio.
     
  9. andyfromdenver

    andyfromdenver Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you for getting that for me :)

    Oh wait Sweden!?! Never mind....
    Those look so cool.
     
  10. billiemorini

    billiemorini Tele-Meister

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    Racing,
    thank you for sharing so many photos of the Showstar. It's a lot of fun to see all that cool stuff and to see the results of your efforts to clean it up. The amp is wonderful.
    billie
     
  11. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    Thanx.:p

    Now..the idea here was and is to transform this L model into full tube. Ie;the front transistor entry stages need to go and an 808 to be installed in their place.

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    Picked some fresh lights up and it turned out one of them was broken. One of the OEM units still worked tho,and lucky me cause i had an intermittent fault that showed only when both tubes were running. Was traced to a bad solderjoint at the trafo.
    Will pick another new tube up come monday. As you can see the upper OEM light is way "colder" than what i replace with.

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    At this point basicaly any and all capacitors have been replaced. In fact the OEM lyte by the PI to the letter FELL out as i touched it. Trusting 50yr old caps...nah. TBH...nah. I don´t at least,ergo...
    That god awful looking homebrew wiring of a masterpot by som previous "tech" will of course be thrown in the bin. Will be replaced by a Piher 1M pot that will replace the tremolo speed pot up front and that pot in turn will be placed out back.
    The various capacitances has of course been reset to other values as this will turn into a 4 stage jobbie all said and done.

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    `N here we go! The entire transistor setup has been taken out of the amp and the soldermask cleaned up. As you can see its almost like the boys of Klemt left a spot to install a novalsocket...kind a "just in case". In fact this conversion i´d say turned out to be way easier than expected.

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    Yep. They might be expensive...might be,but i honestly don´t care. They´re worth every penny NOS. They will belittle a common 83/AX7 like 7 days a week IMO.
    FANTASTIC tubes,and what´s more...those stating that the 808s don´t take kindly to being overdriven are either just opening their mouths in downright negligence or are just full of it.
    These flasks will DELIVER like you wont believe and from what i´ve gathered mainly from their differing transconductance vs the 83s. These are EXTREMLY well designed audio tubes and are NOT intended for stereos et al only.
    Not by a friggin long shot even.
    Yes. They are costly. On the other hand...how often to you replace good old NOS preamp tubes?
     
  12. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    All dressed up and.....:eek:

    Since tonite we have ourselves an all tube old Showstar L i´m happy to report.

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    This later incarnation Showstar presents a more..."tidy" impression if you ask me.

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    Some of the old coppertracks of the PCB were reused for new tasks at hand.
    ...and then for them MARVELOUS ECC-808s!! This amp turned out even MORE silent in idle than it´s older brother. It´s just...mindblowing. TBH all those of you out there accustomed to 81s and 83 and what have you not...you guys still have one revelation coming up. Just trust me on that.

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    Turned "business" for lack of better words i guess. Rather simple really this conversion.

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    ´N here´s a sight you don´t see every day these days! Two old Klemt´s atop each other,and in this case transformed from rather...child of their time to roaring monsters that´ll belittle and put any Marshall to shame like 7 days a week. :twisted::D

    Again. If any of you run into one of these...for the love a GAWD pick it up!!
     
  13. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Done.
    Now...for the next one...:D
     
  14. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG]

    Well,whatta ya know! Found me yet another one,sorry to say thos this one has been tampered with by some Mr Handyman on a rampage.
    All good tho from the aspect that all the vitals are there and in working order.
     
  15. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG]

    That kind of feels...real good :D
     
  16. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    Overhauling and modifying this last one...i knew from the onset that it would entail some work. No doubt as some Mr Handyman had been at it previously and as such had....pulled a few less than satisfactory solutions.

    For example.
    These amps hold an optical trem. Driven..by a couple of lights,of course. Well..one of the bulbs reside in a brass bung that OEM should be bolted to the PCB via an M12 fine thread nut.
    So.
    Mr Handyman misplaced the nut i guess...so how do we solve that? :D

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    Weeeeeell...todays correct lotto numbers are....:lol::lol:. Yep. One dips the entire brass bung in contact cement...and install to PCB.

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    Here ya go leddies n gaentlaemaen!!! A worlds first! Conductive contact glue!

    Of course this could have been all just fun n laughs if it wasn´t for the fact that brass is of course conductive and within there...resides 460VDC under load.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Mr Handyman also...fiddled a little with the actual circuits. Soldering tin was.."improved" upon by the old adage that more is better. Lake Eire style.

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    As one of the light tubes had gone out...we do NOT replace it! Nah. We fab a reflector out of aluminiun which takes the place of the failed tube. At that we make it sit still by the use of....yeah....you guessed it. Contact glue. (Do we see a red thread here?)
    In the photo we also see another innovative solution. For some reason three of the 4 jacks has been scrapped. The microswitch in turn...is for "channel select".
    Well...channel select in this case means that the inward bound signal from the JACK hits that switch first up....and the switch in turn directs the signal to one of the two OEM channels.
    I guess one could state that....that is ONE way of doin it...however i´m quite certain it isn´t the correct one :lol:.

    Nah.
    Not gonna be an ass about it...so far what i´ve done is clean the amp out. To the letter. All of those "goodie" add-ons has been ripped outta there and got tossed in the bin.
    For some reason the tremolo had been reassigned to act as driver and recovery for a homebuilt loop..and that has been scrapped too. Back to stock,as these machines sport one absolutely marvellous sounding optical trem in OEM form.

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    ....and it IS coming along. To say that i´ve cleaned up is being gentle.

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    Apart from fresh pts the OEM transistor entry stage setup has been scrapped,and as you can see a noval has taken its place. Again with one of these absolutely mindblowing ECC-808s within.

    [​IMG]

    Easy enough to install and hookup and as such kind of brings the machine back to -63 status.

    In fact i hope to have come thus far that i can actually try the amp out already tomorrow.
    It came in the door...DOA see...
     
  17. Telenut62

    Telenut62 Poster Extraordinaire

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  18. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    Yeah. They can be expensive your side of the puddle. Over here they´re more modestly priced,but still more expensive than your average 83.
    IMO worth it tho.

    AFAIK they were introduced in -63,which is quite a leap from the 83 from a vintage POW. As such they are way more thought through as design,and having played around with them quite a bit by now...a few things have stood out.

    First of all they´re for some reason touted as "Hi-Fi" tubes only. This i can attest to being plain utter bull**** and rubbish. The 808s take to distortion like nothing you´ve ever encountered. The thing to have in mind when selecting resistors for them though is that they from a practical POW differ in transconductance vs the traditional 83s,which they were aimed to replace. Brings that the various resistor values needed vary a bit vs the common 83.

    Now,of course this is just an opinion,but it strikes me why these flasks are not reproduced? They would wipe the 83s out of the market once people in general understand what they´re capable of. They are THAT much better IMO.

    Second of all....they are SILENT. Due to their internal redesign vs the 83 hiss n hum is kept to a bare minimum. Have you ever experienced a 50w where all you do is turn the volume of the guitar down and the amp turns...silent? No background noise..no hiss...
    IOW...these are bar none as studioamp tubes.

    Third.
    Their,again due to the transconductance,ability of dynamics. How shall i put this..... To this day i own like ~25 electric guitars or so. Every one of them is equipped with treble bleeds. In the case of HB and P90 axes that comes down to a 1000pF high quality ceramic in series with a 100k metalfilm resistor. To me...that works.
    K.
    Onstage i basicaly don´t use effect or pedals of any kind,my trusted pitchblack apart. What i DO use,a LOT,is the volume controls of the guitar in case.
    Well.
    I always dial in more distortion than i need and control the rest of it up at the guitar. With 83s in there,when i REALLY back off-to like squeeky clean,it always leaves something to be desired as the amount of signal approaches zero.
    Enter...
    808s.
    When i back off in the same way it instead sounds like the guitar is still at WOT...and that i´ve redialed the AMP instead for cleans. TBH..i believe that has to be experienced to really appreciate what i´m saying here.

    But yes. The OEM NOS Telefunken,Valvo et al 808s are by no means inexpensive preamp flasks today. Granted.
    Worth it?
    I´ll put it this way.... To me,every last penny. Then again..over here in europe they are way less expensive.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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  20. Racing

    Racing Tele-Meister

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    I´ve touched upon the just genious application of a Twin T filter run backwards in these for presence control previously.
    Now...the issue with that is that with increased amounts of distortion,which i certainly set up,the amount of overtones increase accordingly...and as such the values for the OEM Twin T needs to be reset.

    Well. OEM the values for the TT is 22n/10n/10n. That makes for a cut-off frequency of like 3000Hz+ and that simply wont cut it.
    Resetting to 47n/22n/22n lowers that to like 1500Hz approx.

    Doing so though seems to produce an oscillation within the phaseinverter though,and i´ve spent some serious time in combating that condition.
    It had me friggin runnin up the wall at the end...

    Well. The thing here is that using a Twin T filter run backwards vs a PI for presence control is THE most effective presence control i´ve even encountered and as such that IMO brings that if it can be controlled and put to good use..then all good.

    The remedy i came up with was that...the oscillation seems to have happened beyond ability of human hearing...and what i did was put a small,120pF,ceramic cap between the ingoing 82k plate resistor for the PI and ground...which made the powerstage completely stable.

    I recomend each and every one of you to investigate the use of that app on any amp sporting a LTP PI. Yes. It works THAT well as long as the inherent instability is taken care of.

    Speaking of which i´ve been asked by numerous what these Klemts sound like. We still haven´t recorded any "tech" clips,they´re coming though. Rest assured.
    For now..i´ll just post a link for those of you out there with Facebook accounts...

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/NitroVille/119282894816442?sk=app_2405167945

    That there are my friends of english based Nitroville...raunchy bluesrock to say the least and indeed a pegged stock Klemt/Echolette...
    Plexi...eat yer heart out!! ..:lol::lol:

    What i in turn do ém makes them way more complex and overtone rich..
     
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