Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

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Larsongs
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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larsongs » Tue Sep 20, 2022 8:50 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 8:24 am
Larsongs wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 6:11 am
øøøøøøø wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 5:23 am
To me the DRRI is really great, the PRRI is pretty good but maybe missing something slight.

I think the new Jensen C12K might be just a little bit more to my taste than the 10” Jensen they use in the reissue Princeton and Super.

The 10 is a little bit brighter than I’m accustomed to from vintage examples of those amps
Funny… I’m just the opposite.. I’ve always thought my 65 DRRI needs something.. Better Tubes, Speaker, Transformer & maybe all 3…

Whereas, my 65 PRRI was perfect out of the box…

That said, I play several different kinds of Guitars. Strats, Tele’s, AV65 JM, AV65 Jag, Les Pauls, 335’s, Casino’s, Ric 360’s & a Gretsch Duo Jet mostly… All of them sound great in the PRRI.. While something is missing re; the Sound in the DRRI….
Interesting!

Maybe the truth is that they're both fine, and individual preferences will mean that someone is always happy, and someone is always less-so
Without a doubt..

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larsongs » Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:00 am

Would changing to a P2P board make a big difference in Tone & Sound? Other than being able repair a P2P board is there a significant advantage?

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:22 am

That’s an easy one: no :)

Speaking frankly: guitar players tend to be biased in favor of the old methods of construction for romantic reasons (I used to be the world’s absolute worst about this!)

It’s more “artisanal” to use a cringe-word, which sets us up to believe it’s better.

But if we’re being intellectually-honest, it’s not. Electrons moving at audio frequencies don’t know the difference between a copper PCB trace and a copper wire.

If we were really motivated, we may be able to contrive some pretty arcane theoretical reasons why there might be a plausible academic difference (you’ll hear people pontificate about “co-planar traces” and the like), but the reality is that a guitar amp’s behavior is doninated by, in this order:
  • The circuit design
  • Electromechanical considerations (speaker, cabinet)
  • The implementation of the circuit (the technology of the components used)
  • Physical layout (i.e. wire/trace routing to avoid parasitic coupling/oscillations, proper ground layout for quiet operation, etc.)
Anything beyond that and we get into “the tone is best at certain phases of the moon” territory—in other words, quasi-religion

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:54 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:22 am


Anything beyond that and we get into “the tone is best at certain phases of the moon” territory—in other words, quasi-religion
I guess I'll play devil's advocate for a second, first, though, I'll say how happy I am reading the good things you say about the Princeton reissues and the Deluxes as well. I've always been happy with them, however, I don't get to play as many amps as you do, so I've always wondered if there was a whole lot better out there I either didn't know about or couldn't afford anyway.

That being said, this guy makes a pretty compelling case that the PRRI (and the Deluxe reissues) aren't made quite as well as they could be, he calls them "handicapped".

He then shows some upgrades- I can't speak to the upgrades personally, however, while I agree that electrons don't care about how they flow, it is still the case that not all amps are made to the same quality no matter what type of wiring is used.

With that in mind, I felt I could hear a difference in quality between the amps in this video, a stock PRRI and one of the Fender handwired ones. Maybe you will too, regardless, you could make the case that Fender can build a better Princeton or Deluxe than the stock reissues using either handwired method or the boards.

My point being that if someone were to play a very expensive or custom made handwired amp, it might sound better than a stock Fender amp or something, simply because it is made to a higher standard and not because of any inherent flaw or benefit with either method.
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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:12 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:54 am
simply because it is made to a higher standard and not because of any inherent flaw or benefit with either method.
This is it. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

PCB is by far the more efficient method of construction, so all cheap amps will use it.

But that doesn’t mean it sounds worse.

Similarly, a “boutique” company would be less likely to use a PCB because they know what their customers demand, and (rational or not), their objective is to get those people to pay lots of money for their amps (not to educate them).

15 years ago I also could make a pretty convincing case that the reissues fell short and that PTP construction was way better.

I probably convinced some people.

In hindsight (having built and modified quite a bit of audio equipment in addition to using a lot of it during that time) I just bought into a bunch of hype and helped spread it.

Is a DRRI fully-optimized in every respect? Not really. But it’s a pretty deft balance of price and performance, in my view.

If I wanted to improve a DRRI the first thing I would do is have a solid pine cabinet built.

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:48 am

øøøøøøø wrote:
Wed Sep 21, 2022 9:12 am


If I wanted to improve a DRRI the first thing I would do is have a solid pine cabinet built.
I suppose I did all right with my Princeton reissue with the solid pine cabinet and 12" speaker, then. It certainly sounds good to my ears, but I've only owned around a dozen or so amps in my life, some Carvins, Mesa Boogies, and various Fenders which I tend to prefer. None of them super expensive, I so genuinely don't really know what a boutique hand-wired amp could really bring to the table.
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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larsongs » Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:00 pm

I have friends who play vintage Original Princeton & Deluxe Reverbs.. They do sound a slightly better than my 65 Reissues.. But, I'm not convinced it's the Speakers, possibly the transformer & the Speakers.. Also, an all Wood Cabinet not plywood or particle board or whatever they use now.. All of which can be upgraded reasonably on Reissues..

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by sal paradise » Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:03 pm

Get a reissue Princeton then all you need to do is: swap the cabinet, change the speaker, replace the tubes, rip out the pcb and get ptp board in there. Oh and change the transformer.

Don’t know why anyone would waste time looking for a vintage model.
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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:28 pm

Or you could just play it. I played one last night and will play a different one tonight. Nobody in the audience or band has ever complained, and I’m pretty happy with it too

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larsongs » Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:10 pm

I love my 65 PRRI.. I’ve had it about 6-7 years so it’s not really old.. I play it all the time.. Another Thread got me curious re; What if scenarios… I may never need to do anything with this Amp.. But, in the event something does wear out or break down, what possible repairs might I make? For me this Amp is a keeper.

As I mentioned earlier & on other Threads it’s one of the few new Amps you can buy today that are perfect out of the Box!

My 65 DRRI is another story.. That Amp is pretty good but always think it needs something? My friends with real vintage Deluxe Reverbs are really superior sounding in comparison… Day & Night!

Unlike the PRRI & vintage Princetons.

I have thought about selling my 65 DRRI which has never thrilled me & my 100 Watt Pro Tube Twin which is heavy, really loud & I seldom play anymore.. Although the Twin does sound great when I do play it..

One of my friends has a recent ‘68 Deluxe Reverb which I do like a lot.. Maybe get one of those..

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by øøøøøøø » Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:45 pm

Which speaker is in your DRRI, out of curiosity? I ask because earlier DRRIs shipped with a pretty poor speaker. Once they started using the Jensen C12K, that's when I became 100% satisfied with the sound of the reissues.

In fact (controversial hot take ahead): An ordinary new DRRI (w/ C12K) probably sounds better to me than the average vintage DR.

The old ones are, by now, really inconsistent. You can play a dozen and no two will sound alike. Some of them have poor speakers, almost all of them have had various parts replaced or drifted out-of-spec.

It would probably be fair to say that there are two kinds of vintage Fender amps: those that have had extensive work done, and those that need it.

And for those amps that have been serviced, they will have been serviced by different technicians with different ideas of what's appropriate. You'll find them with old leaky power supply caps left in until they fail, and on the other extreme you'll find them where every single resistor has been replaced with metal film and every coupling capacitor has been replaced with metallized polypropylene. Just a huge range.

When "vintage amps" became a thing, these amps were 20-30 years old. Now they're 60-70 years old, and that amount of time will have some effects on an electronic device... not many of which are positive effects.

Sometimes a rental house will bring a vintage DR for me, and they always have the vibe like they're doing me a big favor. But almost every time it's a mild bummer... "okay, the tremolo is weak*" or "why did someone put a Fane vox-style speaker in a DR?*" or "someone put the wrong impedance reverb tank in this and the reverb is weak*" or something else. For getting actual work done, I'd rather have them bring a reissue (if it's MY amp, on the other hand, I can make sure that it's maintained).

---

*all actual real life scenarios I've encountered with rental or studio-owned "vintage Deluxe reverbs" just within the past 12 months

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by Larsongs » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:21 pm

I have a couple friends who find the most unbelievable mint condition Guitars & Amps.. Like new almost never played, stored in their Guitars cases or Amp Covers since new. All original Parts, like New.. I don’t know how they do it? I’ve asked them to teach me but they say they just run across them?

One of them is quite wealthy & his Collection of Amps & Guitars is mind blowing!

Anyhow, my 65 DRRI is a 2009.. Guess I’ve had it longer than I thought. It’s got at least 500 hours on it, so it’s broken in.. It does have a C12K Spkr. It is all original as it came from the factory..

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by andy_tchp » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:45 pm

Turret boards can suck as well FWIW.

The shit they (Fender) used in the 1970s can absorb moisture and become conductive leading to all kinds of unpredictable extraneous noises. The only reason I had the Hoffman site open was the high likelihood of needing to replace the board on my Vibrosonic Reverb before I sell it off.
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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by øøøøøøø » Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:17 am

That is true.

I will say that just like guitars, you do run across the special ones.

And I love old amps! They’re amazing when right.

I have a 1961 Fender Super that will probably be in my possession until I die… if it’s not, something is most likely seriously wrong.

But on balance, the difference between a vintage DR and a reissue is a little bit overstated, IME.

If I can’t play a fantastic show on a DRRI, I can guarantee the amp isn’t the reason why

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Re: Converting PCB to HW Point to Point Boards

Post by garyfanclub » Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:53 am

Converting a PCB amp to a point to point amp is a fool's errand if you're looking to "improve the tone". As Brad mentioned earlier, the signal can't tell the difference between one method of construction or the other, and there are far easier ways to tangibly change the way the amp performs.

The simplest and cheapest way to go would be to swap the speakers; do some research into what you want e.g. more mids, less highs, whatever and try a couple out. WGS, Jupiter, Eminence, Weber all have fantastic options for people who want to tweak the tone of their Fender amp.

You like how your friends' vintage DR/PR sounds? See if you can find a modern repro of the (likely) alnico speaker in your friends' amp. There are *so* many options that you're bound to find something you like. Shit, if you're really going for broke, or just buy a vintage speaker (re-coned, ideally, but honestly I wouldn't do this if you're going to use the amp at high volumes).

Still not digging it? Then maybe roll some preamp tubes and see how you like that. I'm sort of ambivalent about this to be honest, but it's still easier to do and recoup value through resale if it doesn't work for you.

If those don't work, sell your amp and invest in a vintage one that gives you the sound you want. Converting your current amp will be a colossal headache, and you'll absolutely demolish any resale value if you decide you're still not happy with it for whatever reason.

Final thought, PCB construction isn't inherently bad, it's often the cost-cutting measures that accompany them that cause failures (board mounted pots, crappy QC, etc.). I've got a number of 60s and 70s Ampegs that have dinner-plate thickness PCBs that sound fantastic, and they still run after 50+ years of hard service. Many of your pedals are probably PCB, is anyone upset about that?

If I can’t play a fantastic show on a DRRI, I can guarantee the amp isn’t the reason why
Bingo.

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