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Another weird vintage amp

 
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WildIowa



Joined: 06 Mar 2004
Posts: 490
Location: Henderson IA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:35 am    Post subject: Another weird vintage amp Reply with quote

Keyboard player gave me an old amp he found in the basement last night...an Ariatone Model 810. This was made by Estey organ and farmed out to several retailers who slapped their own names and labels on. Seems to be one of the old line powered "radio" amps also known as the death cap or killer amps, no transformer, volatile and frankly dangerous in some conditions. Was advertised in its day at 18 watts but no way. Maybe 4-6 max. 8" speaker.

Like any vintage amp they seem to get pretty good prices on eBay etc...surprising, actually. Maybe best for harp players I can't see this being used for anything other than bedroom practice or micing it for a harp on stage. But interesting nonetheless. I just love this old stuff. Some people on different boards have said you can add a 1:1 transformer and make it safe and add a grounded cord etc, but is it worth it really? Might re-cap it. Just not very much power and I don't like the death cap thing. Will clean it up and add it to the collection of weirdness, I guess.
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tangelolemon



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2691
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a 1:1 isolation transformer between the amp and the wall will make it safe.

Something like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TRIAD-N-57MG-115V-115V-1-1-ISOLATION-TRANSFORMER-/262114990074?hash=item3d074557fa:g:d00AAOSwAYtWL~U3

Those old "Series heater" amps can be pretty cool; usually they don't have much of a clean sound but sometimes the overdrive is cool (very often it is).

You'll notice that the filament voltages of the tubes all add up to the nominally 110-120v line voltage (the first number of the tube type is the filament voltage; 12AX7 is 12v heaters, 50C5 is 50v heaters, etc). The heaters are wired in series like a string of christmas lights. This and very low plate voltages (like 110v on the plate of the typical 50C5 power tube) allowed them to dispense with the power transformer.
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Mr. Clevername



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 2450
Location: San Francisco, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I call them "record player amps" because what's inside looks a lot like what was in my portable record player as a kid.

I was lucky enough to find a Kent Trem-Tone exactly like the one I had a million years ago - and somebody had already installed an isolation transformer. I've seen the same amp with a lot of other names.

These things can be great recording amps, especially with single coils. I like to crank the amp and turn the guitar down for clean, and then ride the volume control to dial in the right amount of dirt.
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86runner



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 2916
Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you should mention portable record players. I've had some dialogue with this guy about this one. Just thought it was cool, though I know less than nothing about them. He wanted $150 for it. If yall say it's worth it, I may be a buyer; but at the moment my money's not burning a hole in my pocket. Sounds like it may need a belt, but is otherwise in excellent condition.

https://nashville.craigslist.org/msg/5309291807.html


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