Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trace Elliot Velocette. Oh, modern, amps. Why so lazy?



Had one of these on the ol' desk today, a Trace Elliott Velocette. I remember when these first hit the scene. The crazy 90's "there are no good cheap tubes except EL-84s being made so let's make little boutique sorta VOx sounding sorta Marshall sounding amps" era.

This amp came to me dead. No sound, no lights. Fuse was good, I had a hunch it was an internal fuse or the filament was dead. I haven't seen one of these in years but last one I worked on had a filament line issue.

 All tubes test good, high voltage is good. Yup, too much Bimoze on the filament line.

What's a Bimoze? I really don't know. I just like saying that.

So anyway, these amps are built in the typical modern fashion. With a crappy mother board where most of the components are attached. This includes your tube sockets as well. I never liked this. I'm not opposed to p.c. boards, but come on. Hand wire those tube sockets will ya? It's just better and more reliable. I know, I know. It cuts into profit. I'll shut up.

So the filament line comes off the power transformer into a connector that gets connected to the p.c. board that gets connected to another smaller connector that has wires going to 3 other connectors that connect to each tube. See something wrong with this sentence? It's a run on sentence and I say connector way too many times.


Photo of where the filament line connector meets another connector. Look at all that hot glue..... Got real handy with a razor today. Also notice the heat stains around the smaller black connector.


The underside:


This amp isn't very hard to get apart, that I appreciate. I just turned down working on an amp that I knew would be a nightmare. Life is too short.

More underside:



Hard to tell but wherever there is high current, there are cracked solder joints. This means filament line, high voltage line and speaker. Best to just touch up all of them while you are in there. Also touch up joints on jacks and pots. You can see what I'm talking about if you have a magnifying glass.

Connectors removed:



I wound up hard-wiring where the connector went to connector #2 on the first power tube. Lights on!


But..... after I put the amp back together, the other 6BQ5 tube wouldn't light up. Whack a Mole on such a simple amp! That connector was bad as well. In order to un-solder these connectors you need to remove the tube sockets. Um, EFF THAT!.

So I wound up removing all of these crappy connectors and hard wiring all of the sockets on the other side of the board. Now this little feller makes music. And sweet music it does make. These are really nice sounding amps. Almost has a 'gypsy jazz' quality to it. Warm and dry, cuts nice. They are cathode biased so you may pop in fresh tubes at will.

Speaking if which, one tube did start red-plating. They were just horribly mis-matched so I popped in one that was close. The only sets I have are JJs. Lovely sounding but I popped in 2 sets and they both started red-plating! I don't trust JJ EL-84 for class a operations. They are great for a Blues Jr properly biased but even in this amp, I don't like the risk.

Modern tubes.....bah.

I do like the styling of this amp. It looks like a cross between a vintage British racing car and a French bicycle.

Laziness #2:

Why write the serial number in pen?:


Can you read that? Oh well.

I would love to get one of these and gut it entirely then build a proper amp inside. But even stock, yeah, I would gig with this amp. It's strong point is that sweet, friendly voice it has. More my style then a Fender Pro Jr, which is a similar amp in some ways. I'm a huge fan of cathode bias. The sound produced is infectious.

JB

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