Professional Vacuum Tube Amplifier Service
Hi-Fi Amplifier Rebuilding Mono hi-fi amplifier matching Guitar Amp Rebuilding Hifi and PA Amplifier Conversions for Guitar Use Old Console Amp Conversions and rebuilds Modern Production Tube Amp Service

I have been in the tube audio field for close to 40 years. I remember when many of these vintage amplifiers were new. I not only enjoyed listening to my records via a tube amp but am also a musician who has been using tube guitar amplifiers all my life. I studied electronics both in high school and in college, when vacuum tube theory was still taught. My first electronics project was a Mullard 5-20 hi-fi power amplifier which, when finished, worked first try. Although I do use and service some solid state amps, I prefer the sound of vacuum tubes for both hifi and guitar.

When we service a vintage tube hifi or guitar amplifier, we do a thorough test of the amp and replace all bad parts. Then we replace certain other parts, that may still work, but are known to cause both reliability and sonic issues in vintage vacuum tube amplifiers. Parts like the bias supply components, coupling capacitors, power supply capacitors, and a multitude of resistors in key circuits are just a few of the things that will be replaced. These components deteriorate over the years and if not replaced, will generate future service issues. We clean all controls, re-tension the tube sockets (or replace them if they are bad enough), Test the tubes, bias the amplifier, and will do a 10+ hour burn in test of the completed amplifier. After the 'burn in' we recheck voltages to make sure everything is stable. When we finish with your hi-fi or guitar amplifier, it will work as good or better then when it was new. We also stand behind our work. If, for any reason, we feel your amplifier is beyond help, or you feel it will cost more then you want to invest in the amplifier to fix, all you pay is the return shipping. We DO NOT charge any up front fee just for opening the amp up!

We also offer different levels of electronic restoration. You can have your amp reworked with standard coupling capacitors, modern clamp type power supply capacitors, and standard replacement parts for a quality cost effective rebuild which will make your amp reliable and nice sounding again. But, if you want to upgrade certain parts, like coupling capacitors, to high quality types like Auricap or Hovland Musicaps, the only additional charge will be the difference in cost between standard parts and the upgraded ones. We keep most parts in stock including original type FP can capacitors and offer them as an option over the modern clamp type capacitors. An example of the price difference is $15.00 for a 20, 20, 20, 40uf @ 500 volt clamp type verses $34.00 for a 20, 20, 20, 40 uf @ 500 volt twist lock metal can capacitor. You can choose to have other components, that are not normally service issues, replaced or upgraded as well. We will go as far as you want with respect to the rebuild of an amp. We don't list one price for a rebuild because each amp has it's specific needs. Where one amp may cost $250 to electronically restore to proper and safe working condition, another may cost twice that, due to it's complexity and initial condition. Since we play guitar and bass as well as listen to a lot of music, we are very familiar with which types of parts work well in a guitar amplifier and which are better suited for hifi use. We are passionate about ALL tube audio. We service vintage as well as modern production tube guitar and hifi amplifiers.

So you have decided to get that tube amp fixed!

So, now what do you do? Just contact us at either email address below! We will be happy to do this work for you in a timely and professional manner. The way we work things is like this. You pay shipping to and from our shop in north Florida. When your amp arrives, it will be opened up and an assessment of the amp will be made. We will contact you and let you know what the amp needs, and give you an accurate estimate. If you choose to have the work done, we will start work on the amp. We will keep you appraised of our progress as well as with any additional issues that come to our attention. We work on all brands of vacuum tube amplifiers and are especially familiar with McIntosh, Dynaco, H.H. Scott, Marantz, Bogen, Bell, Fisher, Audio Aero, Jadis, EAR, and Sherwood hi-fi amps and preamps. We service both vintage and modern, tube hi-fi amplifiers and preamps. We also service vintage and modern vacuum tube guitar amps from companies like Fender, Ampeg, Gibson, Supro, Marshall, Sound City, and Sunn. We are not limited to just these makes. If it is a tube amp, we can fix it! Just contact us!

A special note to guitar amplifier owners!!

 

Fear not if your amp is a heavy combo amp like a Fender Twin or Super Reverb. All we need to rework your amp is the actual electronic chassis, which comes out of the cabinet via a couple screws. If the amplifier has reverb, we will also need the reverb tank, which is generally strapped on the bottom of the cabinet. So, you do not have to ship that huge, heavy cabinet! If you have any questions please feel free to contact us! We are happy to give instructions on how to remove the amp from it's chassis and how to pack it so as to insure a safe trip here. In the picture below, we see a Fender Showman with the back off, and upside down. The only part you would really need to ship is the silver metal chassis. and the black item (reverb tank) that sits on the bottom of the cabinet (top of this picture). Tubes should be removed, labeled, and placed in a separate box. This chassis is very representative of Fender amplifier chassis of the 60's and 70's. Although things look a little different in other guitar amps, most all have a removable steel or aluminum chassis that holds all the electronics of the amplifier.

 

Conversion services for Hifi and PA amps for those who want to use them as guitar amps:

Got one of these? or something like it?

This is an amazingly cost effective way to get into an all tube amp for your guitar or bass. These old public address amps make excellent sounding guitar amps. Many 'harp players' and people looking for a nice clean sounding amp love these old tube PA amps. But, these amps also lend themselves well to modifications and can be converted into real screaming master volume overdrive machines! Many old Bogen, Bell, Shure and other off brands are over looked by players. We see these amps on Ebay and in used audio stores sell for very low prices. If the amp has a good set of tubes, a little reworking and optimizing for guitar can net you a totally rebuilt all tube amp ready to for a little over $300.00! You'd pay more then that for a tired Fender Bandmaster head which would still need a $200 - $300 refurbishing! So, don't discount that old Bogen you saw on Ebay for a starting bid of $9.95. Who knows, you may just end up winning it for $50.00. If you do, we can convert it into a nice all tube guitar amp. A word of caution. Make sure the amp IS a tube amp! The P.A. world converted to transistor in the late 60's but retained the chassis look of some earlier tube models. If you are not sure and are buying one vie the internet, ask to see the amp with it's cover off, or ask the seller to give you the output tube numbers. If he can't figure that out or can't get you a picture, the amp may not be tube at all.

For use as a guitar amplifier, we will need to bring the amplifier back up to factory spec first. Then, when the amplifier is working correctly, we can start to modify the input stage to work properly with a guitar. We will also, upon request, add additional gain stages as well as a master volume to give the user the same flexibility as found in any master volume guitar amplifier. We can go as far as you want. We can essentially gut the chassis and build a whole new amp or just modify the input stage so it works correctly with a guitar as the source. We have had great success doing this and it offers the musician on a budget, who may already have an old tube P.A. amp just collecting dust, a way of getting in to the classic sound of tubes without the huge price tag normally associated with modern production 'boutique' amps. Most of these old P.A. amps were designed to run all day long and were built tough. We can also modify the phono preamps of old mono hifi amps so that they will sound good with a guitar. Although not as tough as a vintage P.A. amp, these old hi-fi amps sound real nice. If all else fails, we can design an appropriate gain stage to work with the rest of the circuitry in the particular amp. So, if you have given up on ever being able to afford that tube guitar amp, this may be a cost effective way to get into a real tube guitar amp.

So, how do these amps sound? To make comparisons or to say the amp will sound just like some well known guitar amp is silly. Obviously, the only way you can make one amplifier sound exactly like another is to gut the one amplifier and rebuild it with all the same components as the amplifier you want it to sound like. OK, that's the bad news. The good news is that all tube amplifiers have a certain feel and tone that is unique to amps using tubes. So, the basic tube tone is common, to a point, in all tube amplifiers. . The great thing about these old PA and hifi amps is that their build quality is generally excellent, and the quality of their transformers is generally better then that found in the average guitar amplifier. Although I do mention the cost effective or economic reasons, let me assure you that these amplifiers can and are world class performers. You can find these PA amps being used in recording studios and even on stage by players looking for something other then the Fender, Marshall, Vox sound signatures. The coolest thing about using a PA or Hifi conversion is that they offer the player a unique sound signature. Think of it. Why would you, as an aspiring guitar player who wants to stand out form the crowd, want to use the same amp as everyone else uses? That would be career suicide! Now what if you could find an amp that had a cool but distinctly different tonal character. That would help you to stand out and be noticed. This is another benefit of these conversions. They are NOT Fender, Marshall, Vox clones. They are tube amps, but their designs are different. Not so different that they sound totally out of place, but different enough that they offer the player a unique sound signature that just can't be duplicated with the more common vintage and modern guitar amplifiers. So, to me, these amps are not as much for the person who wants "A guitar amp that sounds like a Fender whatever or a Marshall JC one million" but rather for the guitar player who wants to define his own unique sound. It's like the difference between a band who plays nothing but cover tunes and the band that strikes out on it's own and plays original music. Think about this. How many 'cover tune' bands do you see at the top? Now, how many unique acts playing their own unique music do you see make it in the business? Dare to sound different, try a conversion and create your own sound! We do this work here and you can find already converted amps by clicking here. http://www.affordablevintageamplifiers.com/

 

 

Mono HiFi amplifier matching for use as stereo pairs.

If you have a pair of mono hi-fi amplifiers from the 40's and 50's, we will not only rebuild them for you but will also do what it takes to turn them into a matched pair for stereo use. Mono amplifiers can sound quite different, even though they may be the same model. This is because the manufacturers will install many modifications to the circuitry during a production run. The other problem is that no two amplifiers age the same. The only way to insure your pair of vintage mono tube amplifiers can perform as a stereo pair is to have them rebuilt and matched. We take the time to make sure that both amps are wired exactly the same and that the components in each amplifier match to insure that the sonic qualities of each amplifier match. This can be very time consuming. But, the results are spectacular. Another benefit of using the dual mono setup is that most of these amplifiers have phono stages which are far more flexible then what is found in the newer stereo tube amplifiers. Many who have very old Lps and '78's" really appreciate the large variety of phono eq settings these vintage mono amplifiers have. So, if you have something like a pair of Scott 99D's, Bogen DB130's, or any other pair of vintage mono hi-fi amps, let us make them into a matched pair for you. Chances are that once you hear how good a matched pair of vintage mono amps sound, you'll never want anything else!

 

Rebuilds and modification of classic console power amps!

Here is a power amplifier that was salvaged from an old Magnavox console. It has been cleaned up and restored to far better working condition then when it was new. The power supply has been beefed up with much larger filter capacitors and an extra section was added to address issues in the screen grid power for the output tubes. Such things as separate cathode resistors and the addition of bypass capacitors have been added to this circuit. The amplifier now has a proper fuse holder and speaker cable connectors which allow you to use standard speaker wire as opposed to the original phono jacks. The power switch is a line reverse type and all the coupling capacitors were replaced with high quality Solen capacitors. Resistors were upgraded with matched sets to insure channel to channel balance. This is just one example of what we can do with such amplifiers to make them really hifi quality. Don't overlook these amps! We can make this type of amp sing for you. Given the usual low price these amps sell for, this could be one of the best tube hifi buys out there. When we tested this particular amplifier, it delivered 12 watts of clean power per channel and had both high frequency and low frequency characteristics similar to 'big name' power amps and integrated amps of similar wattage and vintage. Many of these amplifiers can be found in good will type stores in old consoles as well as on auction sites like Ebay. They are still relatively inexpensive to buy. If you have one of these old console amps from the 50's and 60's, contact us and we will see what we can do to make the amp into a true hi-fi performer for you.

 

 

 

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Contact me at:

wbittle1@windstream.net

or

Archangele66@yahoo.com