Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #113929  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon May 14, 2012 8:49 pm

I didn't know about that interview till a friend called to tell me about it the other day.

Nels is killer. Gotta see him in action with Wilco.

 #114154  by claytushaywood
 Sun May 20, 2012 7:58 pm
JonnyBoy wrote:I don't understand the huge difference between using a PCB and hand wired. I only ask because I dunno if it really makes a difference tone wise. Is it the quality of the connections? I can't see how a PCB would really make that huge of a difference, much like solder etching being a PCB. I think it would make little difference tone wise if the right components are in there. I can however see that the repairs and the fragile nature of the board could cause unwanted issues. If a builder gives an unconditional type of warranty, and it makes it through a year or two under normal conditions (proving its stability), I can't see how a PCB wouldn't be OK.
i guess you dont open many amps up and feel around inside them. Printed circuit boards are not the sturdiest of materials. a printed circuit board is a piece of plastic basically that has holes in it with little plates that you solder components to, the component leads are connected to other components by the tiny little thin layers of copper that run throughout the board. i dont know about you, but i'd rather have my signal traveling direrctly from component lead to component lead and forget the tiny little layers of copper thaat you can actually scratch thrrew with a little bit of pressure (mostly to take out the circuit board composite layers) what's the point of super nice 18 guage canaree cables if you're signal is jjust gonna run through a ton of teenyy tiny copper traces?

also, i've never seen brad's secret preamp... but there are varying degrees of thickness of circuit board. most new production amps you could break em between yyour thumb and forfinger, and that is actually very easy to do when working on the amp. I have bought pre fabbed pcb's for pedals that are super thick and nice with big fat traces and heavy duty solder pads. but those cost. if you're about the bottom line. you're not gonna spend!

i've only been playing for 12 years and opening up amps for 2. But I've seen a fair share of problems related to circuit board amps, and hardly any point to point problems (plus they are easier to work on, and I charge people much less to work on PTP stuff- it just has less risk, and is easier to fix) the higher cost and higher rate of breakdown is reason enough. i'm not saying i can hear a difference in a blind test- but i cant hear the difference in two decent enough cables in the same length (some of those super expensive audio cables are like too bright and sound weird though i must say) I still try to eliminate anything weak in my signal path. I dont even like george L's cables cuz they arent soldered and they're so thin. but forget all that- that george L aint gonna last nearly as long as an amphenol plug with a huge copper conductor and crazy strain relief.

a preamp doesnt get as much heat as a power tube amp.. but it still gets hot, ESPECIALLY in a rack. years of that will eventually take its toll. wonder why amps from the 50's-70's are still around and amps from the 80's arent? that's due to PTP- nothing else. a circuit board amp will eventually cost more to fix than its worth.

My real point was the fact that dude's using full sized mercury magnetics transformers versus toroidal transformers- i really dont see how he could profit with that preamp at $800- that's a helluva price for those kind's of features... not to mention the extra tube and real spring reverb... shooo
 #114162  by Jon S.
 Mon May 21, 2012 5:19 am
Lots of good points in your post though I'd respectfully question these two.
claytushaywood wrote:point to point ... they are easier to work on
Silberman's Law: A tech's preference for P-T-P over PCB is directly proportional to how much easier he personally finds it to work on them. :-)

Especially with older folks (and at 54 I include myself!), our vision ain't what it used to be, neither is our hand-to-eye coordination and steadiness, and we just generally find it harder and harder to deal with shit we didn't grow up on. (Among the many reasons I'm so happy with my own tech, Pete Cage , is that he spent many formative years repairing computers so he finds quality amp PCBs flex-free and roomy.)
claytushaywood wrote:wonder why amps from the 50's-70's are still around and amps from the 80's arent? that's due to PTP- nothing else.
This is a strawman argument. The resemblance of quality, modern military-grade PCBs to their '80's amps counterparts is but superficial. But I guess we'll need to wait a few decades longer for empirical evidence on today's designs.
Last edited by Jon S. on Wed May 23, 2012 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #114167  by Smolder
 Mon May 21, 2012 7:42 am
My personal preference it avoid pcb, but that's because I want to learn, customize and modify... and I'm not as skilled (as say Pete) enough to work on any pcb.

There are many grades of pcb... I've worked on some of the worst and its a pain. I've also heard about very high grade military spec manufacturing that is second to none in terms of performance and durability.

Lastly... to be a bit anal with semantics, what Leo did with turret and eyelet boards was not really point to point. If you look at the layout mess of early gibson amps... and some of the more orderly circuits from valco, etc... that is true point to point. But I digress.
 #114183  by JonnyBoy
 Mon May 21, 2012 3:42 pm
i guess you dont open many amps up and feel around inside them. Printed circuit boards are not the sturdiest of materials.
Printed circuit boards are not the sturdiest of materials.

No, actually I am my very own amp tech, and not by choice. I have burnt my fingers millions of times with a soldering iron while replacing electronic components in amps, pedals, guitars etc.... My statement wasn't meant to display my ignorance, more so to ask why people insist that PCB's suck compared to P2P. I totally disagree with that last statement. The components are totally secure on a PC board. The teeny tiny leads are actually rated for plenty of current and are most efficient. I have yet to hear any proof that they are in fact inferior sonically or durability wise.
Easier to work on, I see that. Being familiar with old school amp layouts and can access the parts easier, totally get that. Visually appealing and almost artistic to look at, agree there... But better sounding or more durable than PCB's, can't swallow that. I have yet to play through any amp that sounds better than my SMS hooked up to ANY power amp.
 #114189  by Jon S.
 Mon May 21, 2012 6:04 pm
Yes, those PCBs are so heat-sensitive and unreliable, thank goodness NASA doesn't use them for their aircraft and rockets ... oh - they do. :-)
* All phases of PCB manufacturing and production to include locally manufactured prototype single and double sided circuit boards as well as outsourcing of multi-layer analog, digital, and hybrid circuits
* PC board component population utilyzing programmed automated pick and place solder dispensing. No need for stencils. ... group.html
Last edited by Jon S. on Wed May 23, 2012 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #114206  by eric
 Tue May 22, 2012 7:43 am
Not trying to change course here but... Anyone have any thoughts on running the Earth Drive on 18 vs 9 volt operation ?
 #114280  by JonnyBoy
 Thu May 24, 2012 7:50 pm
Wouldn't more voltage just give it more head room? I kinda like a pedal that has some voltage sag like a worn out cheap 9volt... There is an EHX pedal that has a knob that allows you to adjust the voltage to simulate that...
 #114468  by zoooombiex
 Tue May 29, 2012 9:35 pm
Just received my Earth Drive and thought I'd chime in FWIW. It's a great OD with a lot of flexibility. On the lower-gain side of the spectrum, but has more than enough gain on tap for my needs, especially with humbuckers.

Tone-wise it has a lot in common with the Dumble-type OD pedals I've tried (been through a few). Not saying it is limited to that use, but it's a helpful reference point. It's relatively transparent on the high end, with a fattening in the lower mids. It also has a nice smooth distortion - not ratty or jagged - and a gradual onset of distortion that you can control effectively with playing dynamics.

Looks like a solid build and the price is very reasonable. Great job Brad!
 #114474  by zoooombiex
 Wed May 30, 2012 5:28 am
Staemius wrote:Ordered my ED 5 weeks ago - perhaps not meant to be.
Have you checked in wiith Brad? I ordered mine on 5/2 and just got it yesterday.
Last edited by zoooombiex on Wed May 30, 2012 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #114476  by NSP
 Wed May 30, 2012 7:39 am
Staemius wrote:I just sent him a notice (I ordered mine on 4/20).
Hmmm....ordered mine on 5/14. Damn, he must be backed up. To be expected with a build crew of one. I'd rather wait for a quality hand built product than something mass produced off an assembly line overseas. But, I sure would love to have it for my gigs next week. All good things in all good time.....
 #114484  by eric
 Wed May 30, 2012 9:44 am
I had emailed with Brad a few weeks back , he had sliced his hand open , setting him back a little bit. Probably making something for one us jackasses. My wait time was about 5 weeks. And totally worth it. It was exactly what I was looking for . It's scary good sounding ...
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