Rebuilding Tube Amps

I’ve been searching for a particular old school hack and ran across this little gem. I don’t know why I’m so intrigued by tube amps.. the high voltage, the glow, the power – oh yeah, never-mind. One of the most expensive parts of a tube amp is the transformer. They scored a pair of mono-block amps and walk us through replacing virtually every part except the transformers. My problem? I need at least 6.

8 thoughts on “Rebuilding Tube Amps

  1. Good to see another audio hack! Audio equipment always fascinates me… it is sort of an odd mixture of worlds.

    Anyway, good article… though any article on DIY tubes really ought to have safety instructions included IMHO. I think what should be noted, though, is that lots of tube amp designs are pretty easy to build… I think doing one of these refurb jobs is probably MORE work than building one from scratch. What you really save in refurb is money… primarily on the iron and maybe the chassis, but it seems like a lot of work to go to when you include the time spent searching, experimenting, tracing wires etc. etc.

    BTW, if you are looking for cheap tube amps there used to be a fly-weight kit that sold for $120 or so. I couldn’t find the link off hand but if anyone is interested I’ll dig deeper for it tomorrow.

    Also, consider putting tubes on the pre-amplification side of the equation. That way your power (and thus expense and complexity) requirements are much lower but you still get that tubey sound. Plus then you can use solid-state for what it is great at, fairly efficient and clean amplification of signal.

  2. What a beautiful project!

    If it sounds 1/3 as good as it looks after the refurb then you are doing just fine. Nice work!!

    I know a couple guys who refurbish old shortwave radios and the procedures seem about the same.

    I’m not even a tube enthusiast, but the projects make for some great reading.

    Keep up the great work hack a day!

  3. wow when i was young i had so many transformers (yes the electrical things not the toys) and i would just unwravel them..

    now i realize my mistakes


    you can find them alot of places tho like old electronics you just want to make sure they are the right type for what you need i would guess?

  4. @g0d: Pretty much everything wall powered and electrical contains a transformer, it’s getting the right type that counts ;)

    I’ve never really bought in to the “tube sound” thing (I’m happy with accurate recronstruction thanks) but this is a very nice job. The chroming is great.

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