Output Transformers....where the magic lives!

Freddy G

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So I have a pair of custom amps that I run in stereo. Since I built them I've been chasing a sound. I know what I want to hear...after endless tweaks I got as close as I could but there was something fundamental that never changed. One of the only things I didn't tweak were the output transformers. From day 1 I installed some Mercury Magnetics and I figured, hey these are supposed to be the shnizzle! (and they weren't cheap)
At the end of my rope, not knowing what else I could possibly tweak, because I had been down so many rabbit holes I pulled the trigger and swapped out the MercuryMags with a pair of Heyboers. Holy mother of pearl! That was it. I am shocked at what a huge difference they made. My band has been on a 3 month hiatus from practicing because of the virus lockdown. Last night we had our first practice and even the drummer (even the drummer!) said.."wow, your sound is great! What did you do?" :thumb:
I am one happy guy.
 

el84ster

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Yes, I love heyboers!
what did you hear with those that the Merc’s weren’t giving you?
 

Central Scrutinizer

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Good for you.

Would love to get in to amp building.
I admire those that do so.

Cool feeling to track down and fix an issue that is bothersome.
 

E.T.

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I know from experience there's magic smoke and electrical fire which lives in output transformers and must not be let out. Also that it is a bad idea to try and push 100W through one designed for 50W..

What's the difference between the two brands there? Geometry? Inductance? Grade of electrical steel? I'm intrigued
 

Freddy G

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What's the difference between the two brands there? Geometry? Inductance? Grade of electrical steel? I'm intrigued
I stumbled upon this site before my decision to try the Heyboers. It was a no brainer. As soon as I heard the clips I thought yep! That's the sound of my amp right there...(the Mercury clips) ....so listening to all 4 clips the Heyboer just sounded beautiful to me. They talk about paper layer vs plastic bobbin winds but I don't know what else might be going on. All I know is I finally have the sound I've been looking for.
 

Lex

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My father built a low power twin with the basic weber kit, which I believe includes basic weber transformers. I built the same amp with top shelf everything, including Mercury Magnetics... and his amp sounds slightly better than my amp. The weber kit amp is the recording amp. It is a magical amp. Weird.
 

Brek

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I had a similar epiphany today, got my hands on a pulsonic coned greenback 55hz, and suddenly I was hearing sounds I only previously heard from 60's/70's guitar heroes. amps, pedals, pickups, strings, bridges, saddles, all made a difference, but not got the sound I wanted, an old speaker, its kinda obvious, you know, but not at the same time, how about that big thing the mic is stuck in front of.

I wouldn't know where to start with transformers. Good you scratched that itch finally. yay.
 

ErictheRed

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I am not personally a fan of Mercury Magnetics, I have to say. Heyboers have always worked great for me, though!
 

The Ballzz

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@Freddy G
Your story is not the first time I've heard most of those exact same phrases and descriptions! It's really interesting to hear of a person with such discerning ears providing another account of busting the supposed Mercury myth! Now that we have the sad news of Magnetic Componets/Classic Tone going belly up, the transformer choices are smaller. Heyboer, while highly regarded, does not have a very user friendly website and all the different vendors they proprietarily supply have the depth of available specifications all over the map. Edcor seems a bit easier to analyze, but I've seen few reports of the way their products sound! Mercury's tight lipped approach to specs is a joke, for what they charge. I guess we're just supposed to "trust" that they know what's best for us, better than we do?

I'm sure gonna miss ClassicTone. Their website has been a very valuable, informative and well formatted resource. It was quite handy for making comparison when modding or designing an amp, as well as providing a great product for repairs. Most of their products have been very good and quite consistent!

So nice that you can actually say: "All I know is I finally have the sound I've been looking for."

Enjoy!
Gene
 

Freddy G

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@Freddy G
Your story is not the first time I've heard most of those exact same phrases and descriptions! It's really interesting to hear of a person with such discerning ears providing another account of busting the supposed Mercury myth! Now that we have the sad news of Magnetic Componets/Classic Tone going belly up, the transformer choices are smaller. Heyboer, while highly regarded, does not have a very user friendly website and all the different vendors they proprietarily supply have the depth of available specifications all over the map. Edcor seems a bit easier to analyze, but I've seen few reports of the way their products sound! Mercury's tight lipped approach to specs is a joke, for what they charge. I guess we're just supposed to "trust" that they know what's best for us, better than we do?

I'm sure gonna miss ClassicTone. Their website has been a very valuable, informative and well formatted resource. It was quite handy for making comparison when modding or designing an amp, as well as providing a great product for repairs. Most of their products have been very good and quite consistent!

So nice that you can actually say: "All I know is I finally have the sound I've been looking for."

Enjoy!
Gene
To me the ClassicTone sounded pretty good too. Too bad they went belly up. And you're right, the Heyboer website is pathetic. But I bought mine from Amp Parts Direct and the price was very reasonable.
 

Cjsinla

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Some of this may be hit or miss or a sum of the parts. I too built an amp with a Mercury OT and it was pricier than any other OT. The kit was a Weber tweed Super with Weber alnico speakers. I found the Weber PT to be problematic and put in a Mercury PT as well. I found the amp’s sound to be bright and sterile and switched the OT out for a Classictone and Greenbacks. That seemed to be a little better.

In true tinkerer style I built a second version of the same amp (both amps now have Mojotone guts) as I had the extra speakers and an OT lying around and wanted a backup to the first amp. When I play them side by side, the amp with the Mercury OT and Weber speakers is a bit louder and clearer than the amp with the Classictone OT and Greenbacks. I don’t know if the Mercury iron is overrated or not, not sure if it’s the best either but I find that I like the amp with the Mercury and Webers better.

I’ve also built a few Marshall clones using Classictone, Heyboer Metrospec, Ceriatone and Merren OT’s. Two were 2204‘s, two were JTM45’s. I’m not sure I could tell the difference between the two 2204’s or the two JTM45’s if I was blindfolded.
 

Dolebludger

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Freddy, I looked at the comparo link in your post #7 above, and the tone compare wouldn’t come up. Then with the help of Google I went to the link, and still couldn’t bring up the tone comparo. I’m interested, so any help you could provide in finding a tone compare of at least Heyboer vs. Mercury would be appreciated. I have Mercury in my main amp (Soul Tramp Wraith head — the third ever made) and it sounds great for my style. But things can always be better, right?
 

redking

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Is there a classic amplifier that is known for having Heyboers as the stock transformer? I believe my Traynor YBA-1's have Hammond transformers and I have a Garnet Sessionman being serviced and tweaked right now, but not sure what they would have had stock - I would guess Hammond as well but not sure.
 

redking

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After listening to those short clips, I preferred everything over the MM's. I like to hear the crackle of upper mids / treble in a guitar tone most of the time.
 

THDNUT

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So, Freddy, are your two custom amps Marshall clones? JTM-45s?
 

THDNUT

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Freddy, I looked at the comparo link in your post #7 above, and the tone compare wouldn’t come up. Then with the help of Google I went to the link, and still couldn’t bring up the tone comparo. I’m interested, so any help you could provide in finding a tone compare of at least Heyboer vs. Mercury would be appreciated. I have Mercury in my main amp (Soul Tramp Wraith head — the third ever made) and it sounds great for my style. But things can always be better, right?
They came up fine for me. They are to the left of the picture of the transformer.

Here's another link to the same website.

 

Dolebludger

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Do I click on the squares with the musical notes? The sound just won't come through on my iPad or Mac desk top.
 

stp

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those are in the friedman amps.
 


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