Peavey ValveKing Royal 8 Mods

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by ElephantMan, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    I got one of these as a Christmas gift & have been pretty happy with it so far (just messing around in the house). It seems to have some potential, but needs a little help. I've seen a mod kit available on Ebay from the alnicomagnet guy, that has the Champion 600 kits. I liked his noise reduction mod & plan on ordering one, but was hoping that there would be something more. I didn't care for the sound he's getting with his "Marshall style" kit. I have a Champ 600 that I have done a couple of small mods to, but am still new to this sort of thing & need some guidance. I replaced the stock speaker with a Jensen Mod, which seemed to help tremendously. What's next? It has a JJ 12ax7 & Sovtek EL84. Both seem like quality tubes, so I'm thinking that there isn't much to be gained there. I read somewhere that Hammond makes an output transformer that really wakes this thing up. My issues are with the tone control, or lack thereof, & the "grainy" breakup when played at higher levels. I've also read that this is very similar to the Epiphone Valve Junior circuit layout. Could some of those mods relate to this amp?
    Thanks
     
  2. ZZB3

    ZZB3 Tele-Holic

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    I have two Royal 8's and was given an old blown up Bandit cabinet with a single 12" Scorpion in it. I am going to put one of the Royal 8 chassis in that cabinet as the twelve works better. They are fun little amps. Have fun, Wayne
     
  3. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    Well, after looking around a little more today, I think I'm gonna order the "Basic Mod Kit" from Alnicomagnet sometime within the next few days. I really could source the parts myself, but it has a CD/DVD ( or whatever) with it, as well as the parts to reduce the noise, add a standby, external speaker jack, & line out jack, etc. I figure, if I'm gonna be shipping something from England, I might as well get something other than just the info. Also, I was reading through the info on one of his kits that he has listed & noticed that someone had asked him about adding an attenuator. He replied, that he didn't use them, but that the CD had instructions about adding an effects loop. That was the seller for me. I figure that I can run a cheap (Danelectro Fish & Chips, etc.) EQ & help smooth things out a bit & get the tone control that I feel like this thing lacks. I'll post the results as soon as I have some. In the mean time, I'm still open to any advice/info that anyone can give. I really want to get this amp a little smoother & quieter so that I can use it for recording around the house soon.
    Thanks again
    ElephantMan
     
  4. Armo

    Armo Tele-Holic

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    ElephantMan have you done your 'alnicomagnet' mods yet? Done mine just the other day (and they took most of it). Had already added external speaker jack and L-pad attenuator plus speaker upgrade so opted to source myself. Having done so I have concluded that his prices are very good. Didn't do voice changes however. Maybe in the future. Opted for the 3way Carling switch as a much neater option than a separate standby switch. Not knocked out by the effects loop (extreme volume loss with my pedals) but the rest is all good.
     
  5. Lur Kingman

    Lur Kingman TDPRI Member

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for hipping me to these mods! I've had a Royal 8 (The Tiny King) for a while, but it's never totally "done" it for me.

    Perhaps one of these mods would be the key.
     
  6. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    Armo, haven't gotten around to ordering my kit yet. Been busy @ work and home the past couple of weeks (kid's birthday & stuff). I was actually thinking I'll get one ordered later this week. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't had much time to play lately, so I'm thinking when I get this stuff together, it'll be a nice shot in the arm. Mods & new equipment seem to do my playing ability a ton of good. I can use all I can get. As far as pricing is concerned, I was thinking that by the time I ordered everything individually, it would probably work out about the same. Especially when you factor in the hassle of ordering a bunch of little parts, verses getting them all in one box, at one time. I'll be sure to let ya'll know what the outcome is.
    P.S.-Glad to see that there are a few others with these amps. I guess I'm not totally crazy for wanting to put a little effort into making it better.
     
  7. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    Well, I got the Alnicomagnet CD the other day. I ended up going with just the CD because I wanted to get one for my Champion 600, as well. By the time I got 2 "basic Mod Kits", it would've been over $100.00. So I figured that I'd get his CD that he said had all the instructions, parts lists, schematics, etc. Well they finally showed up Friday (2 weeks from England? Must be the volcano thing). Anyway, long-story-short, it's a bunch of pictures. There are no parts lists, or wiring diagrams, or instructions. I thought that there may have been a mistake on the Peavey CD, so I checked out the Fender CD. Same thing. Actually worse! He had the inside of that amp looking like a bird's nest! I have no idea what the heck is going on other that he is good a taking pictures of holes that he's drilled & the nice soldering work that he has done. There are a few pictures of stock parts & replacement Fender or Marshall style parts, for comparison purposes. That's it. I thought that maybe I'd screwed up & should've gotten the kit, so I went back & looked at his ad. No, it's not my mistake. He clearly states that these are the instructions for his kit & that you can get just the CD & source the parts yourself. Well, I must say, that I am extremely disappointed. I have read about his kits elsewhere, & they had good reviews. This is a complete waste of time & money. Had I bought 1 of his kits, I still would be in the dark, because this is the instructions for his kit. There are no instructions. Just some pictures. Don't waste the $$$ like I did.
     
  8. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    This doesn't seem possible. Or, I should say, I would have expected more, too.

    He does say in his video demos that he hasn't helped the low end at all with his mods. Listening to one of the demos in which he describes the improved clarity and sweetness of the high end: well, I guess I hear it.

    I had posted in a thread on another forum not to get this amp although I would try a $20 Behringer +/- 15dB EQ in front of the amp to try to force lower and higher frequencies through. Might help a little. I notice on higher gain, which isn't necessarily what I want, the tone is fuller.

    This thread:
    http://www.agileguitarforum.com/viewthread.php?tid=22744&page=1#pid304363

    was describing in good detail someone's attempt to re-engineer the circuitry of the Royal 8 but the thread abruptly ended. Maybe he burned it up. He commented often that he didn't want to resort to a new OT as the cost of that might defeat the purpose of buying and modding such an inexpensive amp. Or, HE is "alnicomagnet" and decided to take it commercial!

    I put a diff 8" speaker in mine (a Selenium) that is capable of far greater clean frequency response the the Peavey amp delivers. Minor difference. The sound through headphones is similar to the poor sound trough the speaker, so I'm not too impressed with the potential of this amp.

    In addition to the EQ, I might also try a different pre-amp tube that actually delivers less power to the power tube: it's supposed to clean up the result. I have a delay pedal with a stereo output. It consists of two 1/2" jacks; I only use the one for mono sound. But, I can use the second output to split the guitar signal so I can also play through a second, small SS amp that delivers the missing low and high frequencies.

    I would like to hear any more about improving this amp. I know it's more sensible to change platforms but something makes me want to salvage this one,

    Greg
     
  9. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Greg. I'll have to check that out. As for the transformer upgrade, a Hammond output tranny can be had for $40.00-$50.00 (depending on which model you get). Keep in mind, that I got this thing for X-Mas. Actually, it was from the wife & cost me $99.00, but it's the thought that counts, right? So with the Jenson Mod speaker that I installed, about $125.00. Then there is the "mod CD". So really, I don't have that much in. I like the amp & think that it has great potential. The way I see it, I can make this one sound like I want for less than the cost of something comparable. I have/do use a Danelectro Fish & Chips EQ in front of it. Big difference.
    As for the Alnicomagnet mod CD, I was really p.o.'d, but I'm over it. Typical Ebay experience for me. Who knows, he may have had bad batch of cd's or something strange like that. I'm not gonna bad-talk him or pursue the issue with him any further. Not worth it to me. Live & learn. For what it's worth, I have SEVERAL amps to play on, but want to have a little fun with this little guy. We'll see.
     
  10. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Okay, I guess am persuaded that something like the Hammond 125DSE (often recommended) would help, esp the lower end.

    Then, I remain interested in swapping the 12AX7 with a 12AY7 in the gain stage. Might you be able to discern from your CD what the resistor and cap mods are? Some will contribute to a quieter amp.

    For my part, I'll continue web research on this.

    Thanks for posting this, EM,

    Greg
     
  11. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    I'll look at it again when I the a chance. As best I remember, I couldn't really make out the specs on them. He had Mallory caps for the Marshall mod & Orange Drops for the Fender mod. That's about it. I just looked in the Antique Electronic Supply catalog & priced the 125DSE @ $49.30. They may be found cheaper. I don't know. The catalog was sitting here on the desk. I have not swapped the tubes yet. I'm not really looking for any more headroom, just needs to be more clear& defined. I have several different 12A-- tubes. I'll try to get around to swapping them around a little sometime this week & report back. Let us know what you come up with. Like I said, for some reason, I really like this little amp. Maybe it's because I've owned so many Peaveys over the years. My first amp with a real "distortion" channel was an old-school Peavey Rage. I hated it at the time & used to run it through one of my old Silvertones, just for a different sound. That was probably the late '80's. I still have the Silvertone though.
     
  12. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've ordered the Hammond Output Transformer 125DSE from Angela Instruments (Angela.com). I spent a lot of time trying to consolidate the transformer order with resistors, capacitors and tubes but couldn't do it.

    I do want a carbon composition resistor from Weber and may or may not get other components from them.

    So, I read quite a bit at SEWatt.com regarding the Epi Valve Jr mods and posters there have also contributed a lot of modifications to the Peavey ValveKing Royal 8. The two amps are similar. It seems that most modders are striving for a Marshall-like tone but there are references to choosing more clean, more clean gain and just more gain for OD heaven.

    I'm still putting together my list of which resistors and capacitors I want to change and I'll post here when I figure that out (soon) with the rationale. I will also be adding a speaker out; could probably add a standby switch since my power switch is broken but I don't want to devote the hours into scouring the SEWatt forums for that information. Someday: an effects loop? A few pedals after the gain stage seems to make more sense. And, I have a different preamp tube in mind.

    I have spent more time with the Peavey (to which I've already added a Selenium 8PW3-SLF 8" Driver (*). If one is careful, one can get okay/good sounds from the amp as is. It helps if you don't switch to the Peavey directly from a better sounding amp. Also, don't swap guitars too fast.

    I have identified the areas of distortion that I want to eliminate and also keep coming back to the lack of a bottom end (the OT should make the most difference here). There seem, also, ways to deal with the harsh but muted high end, too. The contributors at SEWatt take exception to the tone control design.

    Greg

    * Power handling: 125 watts RMS/175 watts max * Voice coil diameter: 1-1/4" * Voice coil inductance: .32mH * Nominal impedance: 8 ohms * DC resistance: 6.48 ohms * Frequency response: 70-8,000 Hz * Magnet weight: 20 oz.
     
  13. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Transformer upgrade

    I upgraded the stock output transformer with the Hammond 125DSE. At this time, I don't have a sound file to post, but I will work on that.

    The original poster laid out that his ValveKing Royal 8 was a gift from his charming wife and he only wanted to make it better. I mentioned that I wasn't too wild about mine (amp) but I was, for some reason, determined to make it better, too.

    After researching the topic, I concluded that the most effect modification would be to upgrade the output transformer. After that, there are circuit component upgrades; for the most part, swapping values on given resistors and capacitors. Also, most people think the speaker can be upgraded.

    By now, I have approaching $200 in this amp (speaker upgrade, transformer and assorted components). Just as I was tinning the last lead on the transformer, I got a call back on a CraigsList item which I raced out to get. I got a Peavey Classic 20 with speaker and tube upgrades plus it had been recently given a tune up by an amp tech. $150.

    [​IMG]

    Quick note here, and then I'll post pics and details of the OT upgrade: the ValveKing Royal 8 is much better with, now, a speaker and an OT upgrade. There is still room for improvement that may be helped by resistor and capacitor swaps, and a pre-amp tube change. I am sure now, the whole unit as is would sound much better through an extension cabinet.

    I was happy for the little project but, if you're reading this and thinking you might want to get an inexpensive PCB tube amp like the ValveKing Royal 8, consider rather an SE5 clone or DIY amp. Or, a used, higher quality amp.

    Greg
     
  14. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    OT upgrade with details and pics

    As promised, I installed a Hammond 125DSE in my Peavey ValveKing Royal 8. It had already received a speaker upgrade (Selenium) which helped tame the tone.

    To install the OT, I did have to drill 2 new holes through the chassis. This is easy but I caution that you, in advance, plan to collect metal shavings as they are formed. I used 2 inch packing tape and magnets to collect the waste material that was created.

    The wire colors of the Hammond do not correspond to the colors of the stock OT. I believe that it is okay to "reverse" them, if that is the case. You can see in the pics I supplied the orientation that I chose.

    The Hammond includes taps for 4, 8, 16, and 32 ohms. Possibly, an impedance selector rotary switch can be added later and those taps can be used. I used the 8 ohm lead and taped off the others.

    Pic of PCB before modification; Red, blue, black and white wires passing through chassis on left are from the stock output transformer (OT). Note: red and blue wires are reversed from label on PCB (can't see PCB printing); wire nut in bottom left is in lieu of power off/on switch, which broke after about 20 uses.
    [​IMG]

    View of PCB after installation of Hammond 125DSE. I've soldered the input wires (brown and blue) to the connector until I can find a similar connector to use. The black and green wires are from the OT and are intended for an 8 ohm load. The unused taps (32, 16 and 4 ohm) are coiled and stashed in corner.
    [​IMG]

    Pic of chassis prior to removal of stock OT. Comparison of size of Hammonds 125DSE. It is larger and heavier.
    [​IMG]

    Pic of chassis after Hammond OT installation. Note, the spacing of the mounting holes was too small to accommodate the new transformer; also, the Hammond part needed more space to squeeze between the cabinet side and the tube cage. In addition, it had to be moved closer to the front of the cabinet so as not to occlude the cable pass-through hole.
    [​IMG]

    I mentioned above that I also purchased a Classic 20 just as I was wrapping up the OT installation. This is to mention that I had a very good amp to do a side by side comparison. In summary, the new OT gives more authority to the lower end. Though the OT is rated at 100-15,000 Hz, the lower tones are much cleaner and deeper than they were with the stock OT at an equivalent gain setting. At the high end, I can at least say that the harshness when the tone knob was maxed is gone.

    The clarity brought by the improved OT re-emphasizes that there are still issues with some of the tone-conferring circuit components and also that, if it suits your preferences, the gain stage might be helped by a lower gain tube in place of the stock 12AX7.

    I will work on providing sound samples soon. I also intend to add an extension cabinet jack and maybe an L-pad attenuator (which I have). Replacing resistors and caps will be more difficult as the board will have to be removed and care must be taken with modifying the PCB. Replacing the OT was relatively easy.

    Greg
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
  15. 7thSon

    7thSon NEW MEMBER!

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    Nice one for coming back to post pics Greg, am hoping to do the same upgade myself, had no idea it was fairly straightforward.

    I changed some caps on mine, but didn't take out the board. I just snipped the old ones out and soldered the new ones to the legs left behind, dunno if that's a good thing or not? But it seemed to work okay, only briefly tested.

    Interesting to hear about the alnicomods CD though, had been planning to get that!

    Here's some useful threads I'd found incase you're interested:

    http://www.sewatt.com/node/19641
    http://www.sewatt.com/node/15368
    http://www.sewatt.com/node/19519
    http://www.sewatt.com/node/17295
     
  16. ElephantMan

    ElephantMan TDPRI Member

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    Nice pics Greg! I've been super busy lately & haven't had time to stay in touch, or mess with the OT for mine yet. Like we talked about, plugging this thing into a 12" speaker makes a huge difference. I run the 8" Jensen MOD with no complaints, but plugging into the stock 12 in my Blues Jr. is twice as good. Thanks for the detailed post. That'll make my job a little easier when I can get around to the OT upgrade.
     
  17. djgibson51

    djgibson51 NEW MEMBER!

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    Love my Royal 8 - hours of modification fun without increasing the mortgage.
    Amongst others, I've done the bitmo tone control mod, and rewired the headphone socket to a speaker out. Now I can use whichever speaker cab to suit the venue.
     
  18. BAMF

    BAMF NEW MEMBER!

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    Hi. Was cruising the web for more mods on my VK Royal 8 and landed here. Since the thread has been revived I might as well share my mod.

    Some will say that this is a bad idea, but it's okay. I have a local winder who can make me custom power trannies.

    I tapped an octal tube socket to the nonal of the EL84 and this allowed me to use big bottle tubes. The difference in tone is night and day from where it came from.

    Some might say this mod will blow out the PT but so far I've been using mine with no issues as of yet. There's a possibility that the Royal 8 PT is over-engineered.

    Here's the youtube demo. Forgive the video per se, my laptop must have been hiccuping. But the audio is intact.
     
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