Guitar Amp Mods
Old 2nd January 2014
  #31
Gear interested
 

I have a Laney AOR protube 30 watt combo amp that I've been wanting to mod for a while. It was the first amp I bought in High School - and never liked the tone.

Here's a link to a youtube video of the amp:

Laney Protube AOR 3012 Demo - YouTube

I just read this article: 8 Guitar-Amp Mods for Newbies

Pretty informative.

I've been looking at amp kit build videos for the Plexi 45. Looks pretty cool. Here's what I want to know: what are the components that will affect the tone most?

Power transformer - not much affect on tone
Output transformer - yes
Capacitors - yes?
Transistors - yes?
Tubes - type (EL34 vs 6l6) and manufacturer (Mullard vs. Sovtek)

How much does PCB vs handwired turret board matter?

I want to simplify the amp. It has Three preamp knobs and push pull EQ.

I'm thinking lose preamp 1 and 2, simplify the EQ knobs, replace the output transformer (with what? What will make it better? Manufacturer? Type?) and try some values on the caps and resistors that more closely match what's in a Plexi.

I just want one preamp, master volume, bass, middle, treble and maybe keep the reverb. Will probably also try a different speaker.

Thoughts?
Old 3rd January 2014
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
I have a Laney AOR protube 30 watt combo amp that I've been wanting to mod for a while. It was the first amp I bought in High School - and never liked the tone.

Here's a link to a youtube video of the amp:

Laney Protube AOR 3012 Demo - YouTube

I just read this article: 8 Guitar-Amp Mods for Newbies

Pretty informative.

I've been looking at amp kit build videos for the Plexi 45. Looks pretty cool. Here's what I want to know: what are the components that will affect the tone most?

Power transformer - not much affect on tone
Output transformer - yes
Capacitors - yes?
Transistors - yes?
Tubes - type (EL34 vs 6l6) and manufacturer (Mullard vs. Sovtek)

How much does PCB vs handwired turret board matter?

I want to simplify the amp. It has Three preamp knobs and push pull EQ.

I'm thinking lose preamp 1 and 2, simplify the EQ knobs, replace the output transformer (with what? What will make it better? Manufacturer? Type?) and try some values on the caps and resistors that more closely match what's in a Plexi.

I just want one preamp, master volume, bass, middle, treble and maybe keep the reverb. Will probably also try a different speaker.

Thoughts?
Sell the amp. Get one you want.
Old 3rd January 2014
  #33
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Did the OP ever tell us what amp he was considering modifying?
Old 3rd January 2014
  #34
Gear interested
 

Well there are a few reasons I'd prefer to try modding the amp rather than sell it:
1) I'm not going to get much money out of it
2) I've never tried modding and want to give it shot
3) Want to keep it for sentimental reasons (it was my first amp)

Any other amps that I'd actually like to own are a good deal more than what I can get for this thing.
Old 3rd January 2014
  #35
Gear interested
 

Old 3rd January 2014
  #36
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

If you want to get into amp building, try a basic 5-7 watt Champ circuit
or try it on something already affordable, like an Epiphone Valve Jr.

In any well made amp, the best mods are not mods at all but checking over
the amp for bad connections, dirty pots, replacing loose or cheap jacks and switches and then maybe trying some better quality tubes and better speakers.

Now if you have an old Marshall or Fender that needs refurbishing anyway,
there are plenty of fully reversible mods you can do that should
not affect their value, unless of course the work and materials are substandard.

Mods are more likely to decrease value than add to it for most buyers.

There are a few exceptions with known shops like Friedman, Bradshaw, Fargen etc.

If you just flat out hate the amp, sell it for whatever and put the funds towards something reasonably worthwhile and worth your investment.
Old 3rd January 2014
  #37
Gear interested
 

I listened to some clips of that Epiphone Mod. Sounds fantastic!
Old 3rd January 2014
  #38
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
I listened to some clips of that Epiphone Mod. Sounds fantastic!
Even though the Valve Junior Head sounded pretty good stock with single coils,
it was $100.00 and with mods like $350.00 ish. The Turretboard.com mods are cool and affordable.

The Valve Junior Head cabinet is worth the price of the head as far as a mod base to mess with.

Allan Amps also has kits.

Take a look at the Chihuahua 10 watt kit.

Haven't been there for years, but 18watt.com has a ton of support for new builders,
plus I think turretboard.com has a forum as well.
Old 3rd January 2014
  #39
Gear interested
 

So here's the question: what's the difference between using an Epiphone head as the start for the mod vs. my Laney AOR? Is the Laney too complicated to begin with? Too much to remove?
Old 3rd January 2014
  #40
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
So here's the question: what's the difference between using an Epiphone head as the start for the mod vs. my Laney AOR? Is the Laney too complicated to begin with? Too much to remove?
I'm gonna guess way more complicated than it's worth.

If you're going to gut the stock chassis and just use it for a building base, that's
up to you.
Old 4th January 2014
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
Well there are a few reasons I'd prefer to try modding the amp rather than sell it:
1) I'm not going to get much money out of it
2) I've never tried modding and want to give it shot
3) Want to keep it for sentimental reasons (it was my first amp)

Any other amps that I'd actually like to own are a good deal more than what I can get for this thing.
That's not the amp to start with. And the "mods" you're talking about essentially entail ripping the guts out, throwing them away, and starting over. Not a task for a novice.
Old 4th January 2014
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
So here's the question: what's the difference between using an Epiphone head as the start for the mod vs. my Laney AOR? Is the Laney too complicated to begin with? Too much to remove?
Yes and yes.
Old 4th January 2014
  #43
Gear interested
 

One point is what do you want from this venture? Is it a means to an end or is the journey more exciting? Is it more important to wind up with something really cool or is it more important to simply have fun trying?

If you are doing this just to have fun tinkering with an old amp you can pay less attention to the practical advice here and just do whatever. You may end up with something better suited as a boat anchor, but I guarantee you will learn tons in the process. And you will also have a fun time if being extremely frustrated is fun for you .

A couple of things:

1. If you know nothing about electricity/electronics get some basic knowledge. A few good sites were mentioned and I'd like to add AX84.com. They even have good beginner projects you might find interesting.

2. Know what will kill you. Parts of tube amps have 600+ volts. Knowing how to make an amp safe to work on is important! Don't just unplug -- discharge those electrolytic caps!

3. Know how to turn on an amp after you modded it. Sounds silly, but people wind up in the hospital after soldering a wire to the wrong terminal and turning the power on. At the ax84.com site you will find a link to a document that describes a safe power on procedure. Read it.

And above all, SAFETY FIRST.


Happy Modding!

Last edited by Thunk; 4th January 2014 at 06:01 PM.. Reason: Formatting & grammer
Old 4th January 2014
  #44
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

If a complete build from turret board is over your head, consider a complete Ceriatone chassis and mount it in a generic head cab from Mojotone Music Supply
or DIY head cab.

Check out this little Ceriatone Express clone.



http://www.ceriatone.com/productSubP...s_Complete.htm



You can see Nik offers the chassis in various stages of completion.
Lots of people opt to order the chassis without transformers to save shipping weight and also to use even higher quality American transformers, NOS tubes, etc.

Look at the size of those transformers for a little 15 watter.
Big Iron = Depth of tone.
Old 4th January 2014
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by danpenguin View Post
I have a Laney AOR protube 30 watt combo amp that I've been wanting to mod for a while. It was the first amp I bought in High School - and never liked the tone.

Here's a link to a youtube video of the amp:

Laney Protube AOR 3012 Demo - YouTube

I just read this article: 8 Guitar-Amp Mods for Newbies

Pretty informative.

I've been looking at amp kit build videos for the Plexi 45. Looks pretty cool. Here's what I want to know: what are the components that will affect the tone most?

Power transformer - not much affect on tone
Output transformer - yes
Capacitors - yes?
Transistors - yes?
Tubes - type (EL34 vs 6l6) and manufacturer (Mullard vs. Sovtek)

How much does PCB vs handwired turret board matter?

I want to simplify the amp. It has Three preamp knobs and push pull EQ.

I'm thinking lose preamp 1 and 2, simplify the EQ knobs, replace the output transformer (with what? What will make it better? Manufacturer? Type?) and try some values on the caps and resistors that more closely match what's in a Plexi.

I just want one preamp, master volume, bass, middle, treble and maybe keep the reverb. Will probably also try a different speaker.

Thoughts?
Change the speaker. Seriously everyone goes on and on about tone mods for amps, but an amps tone is about 90% the cab. It's the simplest mod you can do and it'll give you the greatest effect.

Most amp mods are about changing the amount of gain and the distortion characteristics, these are for the most part pretty subtle changes compared to changing out the cab, adjustments to the workflow with more options and tone stack adjustments have a greater effect but rarely make the things any better.

If you really can't be deterred and want to get into amp modding I'd suggest getting in to amp building first so you can see how the different circuits work (most are variations of fender circuits), then go from there.

Otherwise focus on the other area everyone ignores with tone, which is the playing technique and arrangement. It's the cheapest option and it works with any amp.
Old 4th January 2014
  #46
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

You can always find a home for a good speaker, so sure that's a start,
but if you really want to get into DIY building, take it carefully step by step.

If you just want a great amp for under $1000.00 I guarantee you Ceriatone
is putting out better quality than current production Marshall anything.

You can do cabinets and speaker cabs and speakers and refine the critical amp components, but at least you end up with a rippin rig when you're done.
Old 6th January 2014
  #47
Lives for gear
 
eve69's Avatar
 

Tubes are one of the finest mods. Some fun tubes too like 12BZ7s and stuff for the PI. The old great tubes allow greater range - some more lows - some more highs - some break up fast, some slow. Those little tweaks can build up some differences, and they are a simple mod.
Old 6th January 2014
  #48
Gear nut
 

Well, I've been down this road. Cut my hellhound combo into a head because I realized I just don't like combos and I'll keep the amp forever.

Did the same for deville 4x10, although I really wasn't sure I'd keep it forever. Also had a guy mod it to sound similar to a JCM 800. Lots of stuff changed, including transformer. Runs el34s.

The gain side comes pretty close, but it's fizzier imo, and the bass is not the best imitation. Not bad though, considering the amp he started with.

The real surprise was how cool the clean channel came out. Due to the tone stack design and shared eq, messing with the gain side to get higher gain affected the clean channel. In this case it's got this great, thick, somewhere between marshall and dumble vibe that's so thick it takes high gain distortion pedals to get it to break up; but when it does it's just crushing, with endless sustain; nothing else sounds like it. Many distortion pedals will work, but believe it or not a metal muff, which normally is far too thin and tinny for my tastes, works best here.

It was a gamble, and it required some revoicings to get it acceptable/useable. Not super expensive, but enough to have bought a nice used high gain amp. Not sure I'd do it again, but I do like having something unique.

Did the chopping into a head myself. What was the top is now the front. I use a weber amp switcher to toggle between amps, which is just great; fender like with the hellhound/6l6s or marshall/dumble like with the deville/el34s. And I mean like; not really accurate representations.

Cabs are over sized lopolines with swamp thangs. Huge sound. Not tight and punchy like a 4x12, but big everywhere, with pounding bass if I want it. And little speaker breakup, which I'm not a fan of. Just what i wanted. Everyone who plays the setup (all better players than me...lol) is left blown away. Unfortunately I still haven't had an opportunity to play it in a band setting. Haven't recorded enough with it yet to how that goes, but will soon.

I've never been out to cop standard tones for a base setup, so I'm happy for now. But one day i'm sure I'll add some higher end amps and more standard cabs.
Attached Thumbnails
Guitar Amp Mods-013y.jpg  
Old 6th January 2014
  #49
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
Did the OP ever tell us what amp he was considering modifying?
This thread was started in 2003, I don't think it matters at this point.
Old 6th January 2014
  #50
It was revived by a guy with a Laney AOR protube 30, so I assume that's what we're talking about now. From what he says he wants he might as well just get a different amp, either that or rip all the guts out except the transformers and build something from scratch in the chassis.

EDIT: I just downloaded the schematic, circuit doesn't look too bad. Tried to find some pics inside the chassis, looks like a PC board amp that might be kind of a pain in the butt to work on.

Not as much of a pain as a friggin' DeVille, however. Those things are nightmares.
Old 6th January 2014
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It was revived by a guy with a Laney AOR protube 30, so I assume that's what we're talking about now. From what he says he wants he might as well just get a different amp, either that or rip all the guts out except the transformers and build something from scratch in the chassis.

It doesn't look like a good foundation for modding, really.
FFTT specified "OP", so I assumed he was referring to the original poster/thread starter.

I agree on the Laney thing, you have to draw a line on what is worth digging into and what isn't, and for that list of mods you might as well just gut the whole thing and stuff a completely new circuit in there.
Old 6th January 2014
  #52
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I think if he really wants to learn how to build, then he's better off starting with
a complete kit including new chassis box.

Trying to retrofit a gutted chassis is more trouble than its worth in this case.
Old 7th January 2014
  #53
Gear interested
 

Guys, I really appreciate all the input. I'm going to put the mod project on hold for now. First reason is: I ended up putting the Laney up for sale on eBay on Sunday.
I've got four other amps that work great and what I really want is a solid mic pre. So, selling the amp for whatever scratch I can get out of it.
The other reason is that most of the folks on this thread advised not to bother with this particular mod. I think if I'm going to do a project I'll try the Ephiphone one. Looks cool and sounds great on the youtube clips.
Old 24th May 2014
  #54
Gear interested
 

need advice on modding a univox 1221

Ok so yea I'm new, prolly posting this in the wrong spot but here goes, I have a 1969 univox 1221 tube amp and unfortunately can not find any info other than schematics as far as nodding it, so anybody that could give me some ideas id like it to get a nice gain at low volumes and as awesome as this amp sounds its a "clean" amp all the way up to 9 and at 50watts that's just not gonna work for me, I know basic electronics and I've modded a few low wattage amps before, so anybody that could help my personal email is onestepaway06@hotmail.com, and thank you guys very much in advance
Old 24th May 2014
  #55
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Oldone's Avatar
After owning, modifying and selling a lot of amps I have also come to the conclusion that modding the electronics of an amp is a waste of money. Buy one that sounds like what you want versus spending money on mods. There are a couple of things I would say are OK to address one of which is changing tubes. Pretty harmless mod. Changing speakers is a pretty harmless modification. A little story to emphasize my point.

A few months back I came across a modified Blackface Deluxe Reverb which had been a road amp for "The Cars" band. It had mercury transformers, completely re-voiced preamp section, upgraded speakers, had recently been recapped from the original caps to orange modern caps. I played the amp for about ten minutes because I kept searching for a decent sound which this amp had none. In fact a DRRI right next to it which is a PCB modern take on the 60s Deluxe sounded so much sweeter and usable.

If you want an electronics adventure, buy a kit, build your own amp. You will learn infinitely more about how amps work, how to voice an amp and end up with a really great amp.

Another piece of advice. Don't modify vintage amps. If it's a silverface, leave it a silverface. They have their own unique and wonderful tone.
Old 24th May 2014
  #56
Gear interested
 

Its a univox its not that valuable, and I've already upgraded all the tubes to jj tubes simply looking to add a master volume for one, maybe make the 2 channels foot switchable, and opinions are that of the beholder some of the best recorded tones came from modded amps ie slash and the #35 appetite amp, just looking for the direction as to add in my mods far as I can tell nobody has modded one of these amps and it could sound good or might not but mods are always reversible
Old 25th May 2014
  #57
Banned
 

mess with your caps man, and mess with plate resistors/cathode resistors in the preamp I tend to like the plates higher and cathodes lower but that's just me... hot-rodded SlO like for example, then just slam the front end with an OCD xD, its either XF2s or Sylvania 6l6s or RFT El34s/old Tesla EL34s those do it for me xD
Old 25th May 2014
  #58
Gear interested
 

Thanks for the advice, anybody got a clue as to a master volume for this thing? Pre phase or post phase, and exactly where/how do I wire either in, and I read the schematic is similar to a plexi? Can anybody confirm this or give me a idea what amp this was based off cuz I know almost all tube amps are either based of early fender designs or early Marshall
Old 25th May 2014
  #59
Gear interested
 

I guess unfortunately your Univox belongs to that 2% of amps which aren't based on a Fender or a Marshall design (we could even just say Fender, as early Marshalls were Bassmans with an EL34 power section and a matching closed-back cab).Its schematics show some 6AN8 tubes which don't appear in Fender or Marhall designs but could be found in some Ampegs and Garnets (and the aesthetic of this amp reminds me that of Sunn's model T, which's another manufacturer who would have decided to stick to some uncommon tubes and your amp might have inspired that "machine of doom").
I'd suggest you a THD Hot Plate rather than a master volume mod.
Old 25th May 2014
  #60
Banned
 

Yeah just get an attenuator, post-phase inverter master volumes never sounded that amazing anyways in my opinion....
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