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#1
i've always wondered why handwired amps are always considered as good.
i thought hand-wiring doesn't affect the tone in any way ?
any explanation is appreciated
#2
generally they use quality components, basically. And the guys designing them are generally pretty good too.

Not to say you can't build a pcb amp which doesn't sound good too (thd, engl, bogner etc. do), just a lot of the time (not all) pcb designs are used to save money...

I think that's it, anyway.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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#3
^agree
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#4
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#5
I think a lot of it has to do with the parts used in making the hand-wired amp. If you are going to take the time to make a high quality hand built amp, you aren't going to put chinese tubes in it are ya? Also you get a bit of performance out of the detail put into each amp being worked on by a human (specificly making choices depending on each specific situation) instead of a robot (doing the same thing to each amp no matter what, because its programmed to)
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#6
Plus Point-to-point handwired amps are pretty much impossible to break. PCBs snap, but a tagboard amp like a Vintage Vox or Fender will just need new valves if you chuck it down a flight of stairs.
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#7
Part of the reason is the supposed attention to detail. If it's being put together by hand, it's thought that the assembler can go over every minute detail as they complete it, for less chances of failure and the ultimate in tone control.

Personally, I don't think it's worth it, unless you're a tone nazi and need to make specific adjustments to get a particular tone out of it. Then again, if you know enough to detail the specifics in wiring, you're probably better off doing it yourself.

I was also once told regarding most (not all) things hand-made, "People have Mondays, machines don't."
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#8
^ that's true, but it's a bit like getting a picture. if the person is any good (e.g. if you get van gogh to paint you a picture), he/she's better than the machine. If the person is unskilled (e.g. me), the machine is better (e.g. a print of van gogh's picture).

that's the way i look at it anyway...
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#9
Another thing to consider is there is a huge down side: They can be inconsistent, as a person can't do the same exact job on something 20 times over like a machine using PCBs can.
#10
i think that's a massive over-exaggeration, to be honest, much like "but valves are unreliable! *plugs into MG and fails life*"

EDIT: what I'm trying to say is, a lot of the time machine-made stuff is reliably mediocre, plus if you're any way skilled at all, you can hand-make something reasonably consistently.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
Well, yeah. If you build amps for a living, you'd think you would slack off sometimes.

But when you get 2000 dollars for said amps... Yeah.
#12
handwired amplifiers are stupidly expensive though. if you happen to have a friend who knows a good bit about circuitry, they can probably built you a replica of some boutique amp for a very reasonable price. A good bit of the cost you pay is hours of labour

e.g. with custom guitars you pay for the materials, likely not going to cost more then £600, but then they charge you a ton of money for each hour they spend, there was a website i found where they were charging £40 per hour, now that's an income lol.

he was a very quick worker though (average build was something like 15 hours) but then you wonder how much care was put into that, so you go for someone who took more time, and end up spending more money.


i'm not entirely sure about amps but i'm sure its along the same principals.

i intend to befriend someone doing a degree in technology or something and have them build me a replica of a bitching amp
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#13
I think the over-exaggeration can go both ways really.

The way I see things, hand made items HAVE to be of a particular quality, so the people making them HAVE to pay particular attention to detail, it's their livelyhood afterall, and if they put out bad product, that can break them. Personally, I wouldn't find any excuse for a hand-made item to be less than good quality because of the attention to detail they SHOULD have. But, I've still seen some shoddy work... Mondays I'm tellin ya!

Machines, once calibrated, and kept in good working condition, can pump out a large number of quality parts, in a short amount of time. Because of the sheer number of parts made, the time taken for quality control can actually be a bottleneck in production if not managed properly. Therefore, most of the time, plants that rely on machines, although they still do quality checks everything that goes out, my opt for more detailed "spot" checks then a particularly detailed check on each and every piece. As a result, a plant may pop out a few bad pieces before things get caught. Once caught, the machines are fixed, and it's back to good quality parts again.
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#14
One of the big advantages of an amp being hand-wired is that they're easier to work on. If you have a modification streak in you, or want to swap out caps and resistors yourself, it's more easily done, and easier to "see," in a handwired amp.

And they look so sexy when they're naked!

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#15
Honestly, after having built a few hand-wired amps i do not even believe that they are even better than pcb amps. PCB amps can be mass produced much quicker, and if the company uses quality parts then the amp itself will be just as good, if not better than a hand wired amp. The problem with a hand wired amp is that moving a wire just a small bit can lead to changes in the amp itself, it could induce more hum or affect the tone in other ways. A PCB amp is the same everytime, the only downside is that pcb amps can be much more difficult to repair, but a handwired amp can also be a pain in the ass to work on.
#16
Quote by Hakael
I think the over-exaggeration can go both ways really.

The way I see things, hand made items HAVE to be of a particular quality, so the people making them HAVE to pay particular attention to detail, it's their livelyhood afterall, and if they put out bad product, that can break them. Personally, I wouldn't find any excuse for a hand-made item to be less than good quality because of the attention to detail they SHOULD have. But, I've still seen some shoddy work... Mondays I'm tellin ya!

Machines, once calibrated, and kept in good working condition, can pump out a large number of quality parts, in a short amount of time. Because of the sheer number of parts made, the time taken for quality control can actually be a bottleneck in production if not managed properly. Therefore, most of the time, plants that rely on machines, although they still do quality checks everything that goes out, my opt for more detailed "spot" checks then a particularly detailed check on each and every piece. As a result, a plant may pop out a few bad pieces before things get caught. Once caught, the machines are fixed, and it's back to good quality parts again.


agreed, broadly.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#17
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ that's true, but it's a bit like getting a picture. if the person is any good (e.g. if you get van gogh to paint you a picture), he/she's better than the machine. If the person is unskilled (e.g. me), the machine is better (e.g. a print of van gogh's picture).

that's the way i look at it anyway...



Guys who are making & selling hand-wired amps take a great deal of pride in what they're doing, & won't put their name on some inferior goat-pile of an amp. Great care is taken in the selection of every component. These guys want everyone who hears their amps to drop their jaws & go "WOW. I gotta have this.". Also, like slats said, the mods, maintenance, troubleshooting, & repair of a hand-wired amp are so much easier.
Not that hand-wired amps necessarily sound better, just that painstaking care was spent in their construction. Whether or not it's worth the cost is personal preference.
I would prefer to have a hand-wired amp over any picture that Dave_Mc painted.
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#18
^

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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#19
for the people that are saying machine made is more consistent than hand made amps:

it's just like the automobile industry. chevrolets are machine made, and ferraris are hand made. chevrolets and other machine made low cost cars tend to have loose screws for tires and don't fit tightly, or some interior stuff that aren't fitting firmly. known as the "fit and finish". you never have those flaws in ferraris, or porsches, or bentleys, or aston martins.

honda, toyota, those japanese cars tend to do pretty good in the fit and finish department. i guess they use their super japanese computer technology to spice up the machines???
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#21
if you ever seen guts of a hiwatt (not 'you' as in mr hankey.), it's freaking neater than anything. it's crazy. called military specs? easier to replace stuff when something goes wrong.
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#23
holy... ****...
fender gets owned.

what kind of caps are those? the blue ones with white label...
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#25
sweet.

i've seen the yellow mallories. but not dark blue ones.
Call me "Shot".

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Est. 2007


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#26
Quote by ECistheBest
sweet.

i've seen the yellow mallories. but not dark blue ones.


All the electrolytics were Mallory too. They're Sprague now.
#27
sweeeeet. i never read about sprague's electrolytic caps... only their orange drops, although i love their orange drops though. i use them in my wah and my guitar.
Call me "Shot".

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Est. 2007


Source to everything I say about Guitars, Pedals, and Amplifiers: I make them.


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#28
One major problem with pcb amps that should not occur with hand-wired is the infamous cold-solder joint. So many production-line amps die because of a tiny spot of solder. I would also assume (I could be wrong) that the skill level to build a hand-wired amp would much exceed the level of the average factory worker.
#29
Quote by mr_hankey


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A thing of beauty....
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#30
Quote by uldhppi
One major problem with pcb amps that should not occur with hand-wired is the infamous cold-solder joint. So many production-line amps die because of a tiny spot of solder. I would also assume (I could be wrong) that the skill level to build a hand-wired amp would much exceed the level of the average factory worker.


With very thorough instructions, you would only need to know how to solder. But since those kind of workers would inevitably make mistakes, and then know nothing about fixing them; I don't think it would be better/faster than a few skilled amp technicians.

These days it's often the designer making the amps personally anyway (only with the small companies, obviously).
#31
Well I like handwired amps. But IMHO PBCs can be "underestimated". Vox AC30CCS, Orange Rockers and ADs, Orange ORs, Laney's, Marshalls (like the JCM800), Peaveys and so on are all PCB and machine wired. The good thing with PBCs are that they're cheaper and it's easier to achieve a good and consistent result (ie two amps will be a like quality wise). The problems with things being handwired are that it's A LOT more expensive and the quality consitensy is of course "worse". The thing is that when were speaking mid-high end tube amps that are PBC, they have so good quality control, I'd doubt anybody would notice if it was PBC or Handwired. In many cases handwired today is just a way to make money and isn't directly better. Myself owning an PBC amp, I can say that I have had no problems with it and quality is top notch. But in the cases of lower end amps PBCs are cheaper and generally quality control is bad, but in the priceranges of Oranges and stuff the quality control is so good that PBC is just as good. IMO many of the new handwired PTP amps are more hype and price...

But if your going to wire it yourself PTP is the way to go.
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#32
Quote by Gabel
But if your going to wire it yourself PTP is the way to go.


Yeah, because it's easier.
#33
^like i said. handmade ferraris and machine made chevys.

i've played numerous broken machine made amps that came straight from the factory.
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#34
Precisily, but IMO I wouldn't pay $200 just because some guys did the same job a machine could do as good...
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#35
^that's a point. but thats your value of people doing it for you versus a machine.

i said that because you mentioned handwired amps have less consistency.
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#36
Quote by Gabel
Precisily, but IMO I wouldn't pay $200 just because some guys did the same job a machine could do as good...


The machine can't do it 'as good', since PCBs always have certain flaws that PTP board don't have. Mechanical sturdyness and component placement (further apart, so heat doesn't affect other components) are some of the pros of PTP.
Last edited by mr_hankey at Oct 24, 2007,
#37
That is true, but today most PTP aren't as good as you pay for them (ie their equal to PBC basically) and most of the money is just because is handwired.

But would I prefer a PTP amp? Your damn right I would, I love a lot of handwired stuff, but when it comes to amps a lot of the handwired stuff (*cough* new Marshall RI *cough*) is just a way of making more money...
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#38
Quote by Gabel
That is true, but today most PTP aren't as good as you pay for them (ie their equal to PBC basically) and most of the money is just because is handwired.


Sure, you're paying for the time that the technician put into it; which can easily be dozens of hours.
#39
chassis mounted sockets, input/output jacks, pots/switches are all an advantage IMO, and I think you have to handwire those, I don't know if any company has machines do it. It can get slammed on a control, hit a tube, lead ripped out, etc.., and it won't take out the turret board or PCB. If the PCB is high quality, good solder contacts, flying leads, I wouldn't have a problem with paying good money for it. I would prefer a PTB for ease of replacing anything, that and having the components off the board, so they can go bad and not take anything with them, like a trace or another component. Some of those old PTP amps don't look easy to work on at all.
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