Muy Caliente VOX Pathfinder 15/15r Modification

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by SnorkelMonkey, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. cactusrob

    cactusrob Friend of Leo's

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    You guys are gonna make me have to break down and go to whittlin' on my Pathfinder...I feel it coming on...thanks for the tips !!
     
  2. iiipopes

    iiipopes TDPRI Member

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    They used to. It was called the Super Beatle. :D

    Speaking of output, this may be for a different thread, but when I got mine, I read the "white paper" on the output transistor spec. It can safely run four ohms. So I bridged the "either-or" speaker switch on the external speaker jack, and I run both the internal speaker and a 1X12 8-ohm cab with a 1967 Jensen Concert. Makes a great "mini-stack" for my Rick 12.

    If you're not sure about unsoldering, you can clip the leads out using some mini-clippers. Use a pair of small ones like those used to make jewelry, to get to the diode leads without bumping anything else. Then you can clip them out of the top of the board. This eliminates the risk of damaging a trace by trying to wiggle them loose, or damaging the board overheating it with the solder joints. Of course, this is only for those who are really sure that they want the mod and will not want to reverse it.

    I'm looking forward to removing the diodes to get more out of the amp.
     
  3. strat_tone

    strat_tone Banned

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    Glad to see this thread kicking. I've had some success in my mods. I'm thinking about offering doing mods for it for others. Would anybody be interested in:

    -new chip and transformer to boost wattage to 30
    -new 3 spring medium decay reverb tank. The stock is junk, I think that's why it sounds so weak turned up.
    -baffle modified for 12 in speaker, retain original grill cloth
    -stealthy kick back leg
    -replace plastic input jack with switchcraft metal jack

    That's what I'm thinking would be worthwhile for myself and others. If you want to show interest / support toss me a pm. The 30 watt mod makes the clean headroom gig able I dare say. Right now I'm using a nice made in Canada Hammond transformer. I'll post some clips once I get settled this summer.
     
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes TDPRI Member

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    I probably won't change out the output transister. After all, I have a silverface Bassman Export and a first-year issue Marshall 2203 for gigging.

    I think you'll be surprised after the diode mod and bridging the either/or external speaker jack what 15 watt can do. I would suggest you do that before you change out the output transistor.

    Since I got mine on sale for less than $100, I'm not sure it's cost-effective for me to change out the reverb tank, although that is a common problem with a lot of small amps for those who like their tone really wet.

    For gigging, I agree that changing out the input jack is a good self-defense move.

    It does beg the question: at what point are mods simply mods to tweak an amp, and at what point, both from the mods themselves and the cost/time/irreversable physical changes to the amp cabinet and chassis involved, does it make more sense just to get another amp?

    Then again, we all love to tinker, or we wouldn't be here. :)
     
  5. littlericky

    littlericky Tele-Meister

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    Strat_tone be interested to see pics. What type of 12 did you fit in there.? Not much depth available.

    I agree with the reverb mod, for under $40 it's a nice improvement.
    What is the output of the trans? Doesnt a 2050 have a max input of 25?
     
  6. strat_tone

    strat_tone Banned

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    Ceramic 12s fit, it nearly touches the chassis. I have not tried an alnico. I may try changing the reverb pot also to see if that will help.

    It's not really that spendy to do it, Hammond trannys are affordable, op amp ic chips are like $2 in small orders. High power eminence speakers are about $70.

    If they made all those changes I would pay $250-$300 for the amp. Yeah I could buy a bigger amp, but I think this one is exceptional as far as solid state goes. I don't know what the diffetence is, but I can afford whatever I care for, I think I'll get another one of these and run them together if I need to play live.

    I'm not bringing my amp home with me, I'm leaving after my engineering final I have in 30 min. Dem fluid mechanics. I do have Picts for anyone with the led mod. You dont have to take the board off, all you need a is soldering iron, a spring solder sucker and a tweezers/pencil. It still gets fuzzy with high gain and the boost switch on, but good fuzz, it's much less harsh and more creamy.

    Sent from my iPhone
     
  7. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

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    The amp tech that I took the Pathfinder to for this Mod used the Pic of the PCB board that I sent him via Email and a dentist mirror to look under the board to locate the LEDS. He warmed the thing up with the soldering iron and the LEDs dropped into his hand after about 5 seconds. He charged me "lunch", ($10), for doing the Mod and it took all of 10 minutes, even with him taking phone calls at the shop......and the MOD works! Not as harsh and more headroom with the tone.
     
  8. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    I just took apart my Cambridge 15, and it appeared to have 2 LEDs for clippers, which I promptly cut out. I'm looking for a little bit more headroom, running it to an external cab with a Cannabis Rex. I used it last week at rehearsal through a 10-inch Eminence alnico speaker (from an old Pro Jr.) and I didn't have quite enough oomph to hang with the band (competing with a Peavey Classic 30), although everyone loved the tone.
     
  9. cactusrob

    cactusrob Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't done the mod (yet) but the Pathfinder does "play well with others". I ran mine thru an A/B switch with my Fender Pro Jr and it can only be described as 'awesomeness"...It would be interesting to see what two Pathfinders sound like linked up..:cool:
     
  10. jamesachaplin

    jamesachaplin TDPRI Member

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    Hello,Fellow Teleheads and Pathfinder trainspotters, back after a year off.
    Since last in I have torn out the pressed tin chinese 8" speaker and shoe horned in a Jensen 10" 50 watt Mod Speaker into the same cabinet. A tight fit , not perfect but ok for now. New combo cab is the next project. I played a small club show with this when my rebuilt Blues Junior failed 5 minutes preshow. It held its own ,but towards the end didnt have the headroom.
    I have just done the LED removal mod and done a quick sound check of its new sound and found a stack of headroomin the boost mode. Cleaner and less fuzz in the overdrive and louder until it does breakup.BIG BIG SOUND
    I have heard via my local music shop in Byron Bay Aust. Of an amp fiddler running a 2x10" cabinet from a pathfinder 15r
     
  11. jamesachaplin

    jamesachaplin TDPRI Member

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    LED Mod, Looked it up on the net, whipped out a phillips head screwdriver ,knobs off clipped out LEDs and back together in @ 10 minutes ( i am an electrician as well). So it was a quickie
     
  12. tantamo

    tantamo Tele-Meister

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    Has anyone put this mod on a switch? I tried to do this but it didn't seem to work. I'm certain the mod is working because I have three pathfinders and this one sounds different than the other two. Also I opened up the amp while I was playing and I can see the LEDs lighting up when the switch is one position but the go dark in the other. However the switch makes no difference in the sound.
     
  13. Trout

    Trout Tele-Holic

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    Mine is switched. At first I thought there was no difference. Several weeks later, I discovered (accidentally) that the mod is only "effective" when the amp is turned all the way up.

    Push the boost button, turn up the gain and volume all the way, then toggle the LED's back and forth. You will hear a difference. The problem is... I never crank this amp that much, so the mod is really worthless to me.
     
  14. tantamo

    tantamo Tele-Meister

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    I guess I'll just leave the mod permanently and not switchable since I have two stock pathfinders. By the way, still having stock pathfinders I can tell you where the effect of the mod will be most noticeable. With the boost switch off, turn the gain way up and I guess the volume to taste. On the modded pathfinder the tone will be a cleanish overdrive sound that is very tubelike sounding and the unmodded pathfinder will have that sharp razor tone still with a lot of gain.
     
  15. cactusrob

    cactusrob Friend of Leo's

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    OK, a year later, I did it....Man !! A totally transformed amp ! I can't believe they don't sell them like this off the shelf...Its like it had a cheap dirt pedal wired into it and you took it out and threw it away. The amp has a totally different personality and my Tele loves it !!

    If you have a Pathfinder 15R and you haven't done this mod, DO IT TODAY !!
     
  16. dqami

    dqami Tele-Holic

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    Just did this mod to a Pathfinder 10 I scored used at GC for $30. The OD/Boost switch on this model isn't as clean as on the 15R and has harsh distortion, even with the gain all the way down. After doing this mod, it cleaned it up significantly and now it sounds more like the 15R. Highly recommended.

    Note: when removing the spade connectors in removing the chassis, it was so tight that it undid the spade solder connection from the board. If you can, try to remove the board with the connectors on. It will save you a lot of headache
     
  17. lothar34

    lothar34 Tele-Meister

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    I did the mod too, just because I like screwing around. I don't play the amp very much and when I do I don't dime it. Maybe it was my imagination, but it does seem to sound better post-mod, especially w/ boost . but I wanted to mention another benefit- the extra clean headroom should also cause the PF to play nicer with fuzz/OD/distortion pedals.
     
  18. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

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    I would probably destroy something.....any sound clips or vids to sway my hand to the mod?
     
  19. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

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  20. bluesky6

    bluesky6 TDPRI Member

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    Caliente at room temperature

    I just did the LED removal mod on a "spare" Pathfinder 15R and was blown away by the nice crunch that I was getting.

    Unfortunately, said nice crunch was obtainable only with gain set at 3 o'clock or after at which point, the sound was too loud for bedroom practice.

    So I did several other mods to bring the heat back to room temperature.

    1. Swapped out the R64 4.7K resistor for a 470K
    2. Swapped out VR4 for an audio taper pot (optional)
    3. Swapped out the R61 4.7K resistor for a 100K (this is for reverb mix-in, leave out if a non-reverb Pathfinder)
    4. Put a treble bypass 4.7nF cap between the legs of the volume pot (optional)

    With these changes, I was able to leave the gain permanently at max, boost/OD on and run the volume pot at 9 o'clock for bedroom practice. And still have that nice crunch. The crunch is very similar to the sound of the AC15VR with the OD1 gain and volume maxed out.

    Slightly more detail, schematic and discussion thread at ssguitar. I can't upload the schematic here.
     
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