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EMT - 140 plate reverb valve or transistor Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 29th August 2007
Gear Head

EMT - 140 plate reverb valve or transistor

Has anyone used both versions of the EMT-140 plate reverb, being valve and transistor side by side and heard what the sonic difference if any is...
I have found a Stereo transistor version & the supplier/service technician has made these claims...

1. The valve version is very unreliable
2. The plate sound is down to the steel plate itself and not much else
3. The valve version has a SNR figure of 30db and there is no way to improve the hum noise this is down to the poor valve amp design.
4. The transistor version has 60 db SNR figures.
5. Transducers from the earlier valve versions were different than in the later models and can be intechanged for a warmer/different eq curve...
6. The steel in the plate was mined from a unique Welsh mine and atributes to the amazing sonic qualities and no other steel will do the job the same way...

He worked in Olympic studios as the chief service technician for 5 years and claimed they had 6 plates in the basement rooms, all of these were thrown in the waste skip when the studio was somewhat ''upgraded'' including plate number ? forget which one but one of them was way more amazing than all the others yet nobody knew why! a bit like guitars where you get that one in a thousand thats sounds more amazing than the rest...

Any tech/source parts info is useful, i may need to find the early transducers so as to experiment a little... am sure to buy a valve version in the future also...


p.s If you A to B check up to 3 times and cant hear a difference chances are you are using the same mediocre gear, between a real plate reverb the EMT - 140 and a digital version the sonic differences are bloody obvious, the same for a 2 inch tape when compared to digital recorders, and etc.
Old 30th August 2007
Gear Addict
darkwavo's Avatar

i would like to know about this as well...
Old 30th August 2007
Gear Maniac

I worked in a studio with both an tube 140 and a transistor 140. The difference was minimal between those two! I slightly prefered the transistor.

Now I only have one plate, a tube 140, and I'm still getting by just fine heh
Old 31st August 2007
I have an EMT that was originally tube. It sounded great but I found it too hummy and generally noisy. I ordered the Jim Cunningham pickups and had some high quality solid state amps built to replace the tubes amps. Now it is deathly quiet. The actual character of the reverb hasn't changed though despite the switch over to SS. The character is all in the metal. Different pieces of metal sound different. That's why their are great EMT 140s and mediocre ones. Proper tuning is important too. Jim Cunningham makes an excellent tuning gauge for achieving equal tension around all four corners of the plate. Highly recommend it.

Old 31st August 2007
Gear Head

I have one 140 that has the stereo solid state amp (model 162), and one 140 that has two V54 tube amps. Most of the difference in tone is in the plate and the condition thereof. The SS plate is very clean. The tube plate has some corrosion which is part of what makes it sound different. Not bad, just different. I'm sure the tension on each plate is different too, but I haven't made any kind of device for checking that. Personally, I like having two different sounding units.

The tube amps are pretty quiet when you recap them. Some early V54's don't have the high pass filter on them that later versions have. The 162 amp has a compressor on the input side that the V54's don't have. So mind those differences if you're listening to someone's 140...
Old 31st August 2007
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
I've had them both and when it comes right down to it the Solid State version was generally the one I prefered... but as someone mentioned earlier, it has more to do with the tuning of the plate than the amplifier.

The best plate tuner I've ever heard is Greg Hanks... unfortunately back when I had a couple of plates I didn't have the budget to get Greg to tune them for me [so I fudged it myself and got them OK... but not as good as if Greg had done them]. Over the years I have worked on a bunch of plates Greg had tuned and they just had a sweetness to the decay that can't really be relayed with the typed word!!

Old 6th September 2007
Gear Head

EMT help

Thanks for the advice everyone my tech reckons its all in the metal and tuning also, am very pleased to hear that! again thanks
Old 22nd September 2010
Gear Addict

I've heard that there's a way to mod the v54 amp to run as a nice tube mic pre.
Anyone here have any info/experience of this?
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