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What Voltage Do You Run Your Amps At?

Amp360

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Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
896
IMHO running an amp at the right voltage can make a big difference in how it responds, which ultimately makes it sound better. I was wondering if others are picky about the voltage their amps are seeing.

Years ago, I worked with an engineer who would change the voltage amps saw, and I've had a couple of people who know about amps tell me that older components last longer if they're not run at modern voltages, which makes sense to me.

I was wondering what others thought or if this sort of thing is reserved for true weirdos!
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,980
I use a Brown box to limit it to 110.

On my actual older amps it makes a difference, on the boutiques it is not always that big a deal which is why I bought them.
 

corpse

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Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
4,909
Tone Preserver- drops 6 or 12 volts- season to taste. It has a great impact- esp on amps that tend to be brighter. My Brown Deluxe (gone) had a profound tone dif with the voltage down from 123 to 110 (or thereabouts).
 

fernieite

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Jan 3, 2010
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619
Yep, I use the Amp Maniac by Vintage Sound Workbench. I reduce my wall voltages to exactly what my amps were originally rated for. My tech biases my amps at those same voltages, too.
 

8ohms

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Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
173
95-97 volts seems to be the sweet spot. Softer feel, better breakup, smoother overall tone. You’ll need a variac for this and a rebias. Brown box isn’t going to get you there. Lots of squawk about cathode stripping with low filament voltages. That’s a rabbit hole you can choose to read on. I’ve used a variac since the 70’s and those same tubes are still going strong. Never had a problem.
 
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Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
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896
Thanks, everyone. It's an interesting topic, for sure.
 

charliechitlins

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Nov 16, 2021
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Tone Preserver- drops 6 or 12 volts- season to taste. It has a great impact- esp on amps that tend to be brighter. My Brown Deluxe (gone) had a profound tone dif with the voltage down from 123 to 110 (or thereabouts).
I have one of these.
It doesn't look as cool or robust as a Brown Box, but it's done several dozen gigs, rattling around in my gig case with no ill effects.
I run it around 109v.
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,380
I've been using the Brown Box for the last 4-5 years. I played an outdoor show yesterday and I used my 1962 brown Princeton, so I use the Brown Box cause I don't want to heat up anything. I know before I bought it a few years ago that my amp would get pretty warm, now it gets barely warm but sounds amazing. I just run them all at 110V!
 

Hot_Snake

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2010
Messages
199
I made a bucking transformer a few years ago for my vintage amps.
Parts to buy are cheap it’s an easy build if you have some skills. Resul is the same as The Brown Box.
good solution for people in the EU as Brown Box is only for 110V :)
 

J T

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Oct 20, 2005
Messages
10,524
Variac for those old timers.
This one goes from 0 to 150. Don't know why I would want to go up to 150, but it's there.

 

Don

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Dec 1, 2001
Messages
5,732
I made a bucking transformer a few years ago for my vintage amps.
Parts to buy are cheap it’s an easy build if you have some skills. Resul is the same as The Brown Box.
good solution for people in the EU as Brown Box is only for 110V :)
There's a 220-260v version available.

AmpRx Eurovolt
 

somebodyelseuk

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Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
457
I've been using rackmounts the last 30 years, with a Furman Power Conditioner. I don't for a moment believe it accurately regulates the voltage, so I'm assuming 230-240 volts. Everything sounds good and never had any failures.

Slight tangent, though. Don't know if it's 'a thing' in the US, but in the EU, since the '90s, workplaces have been required to have all electrical stuff 'pat tested'. I assume touring pros' techs would get this done as a routine part of servicing, but I do wonder how many gigging amateurs get it done, and if they've ever been challenged about it?
Myself, I used to get the company electrician to do mine. Only time I ever got challenged about it was when playing a gig with some workmates. Funny thing was, they'd had the same idea as me, so we were all up to date.
 
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PaulD

Active member
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Jun 25, 2007
Messages
680
Slight tangent, though. Don't know if it's 'a thing' in the US, but in the EU, since the '90s, workplaces have been required to have all electrical stuff 'pat tested'. I assume touring pros' techs would get this done as a routine part of servicing, but I do wonder how many gigging amateurs get it done, and if they've ever been challenged about it?

I've had a few customers asking me to PAT test gear as venues have been insisting on it but it mostly seems to be larger venues and public / council owned types of places that are asking for it. It certainly seems to be the exception rather than the rule and I've never known any pub / club type venues to ask for it.
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
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896
I've been demoing this new one for a couple months. It seems nice and can run a few different things. Working great so far.

365257643_10230052384402567_8379683760707096852_n.jpg
 

57gold

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Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
712
1959 Deluxe, 1964 AC-30 and 1966 JTM45 all see 110V using a Brown Box.

Have not used the Brown Box on newer amps, probably should use it with 1966 BFSR and 1963 Reverb Tank at 117V.

Have measured 125-27V at some of the dive bars we play at...after an hour of play prior to the Brown Box, the Deluxe control panel was very hot.

Tonal improvement is noticeable with the old dogs and the Brown Box, clarity and high end sweetness are greatly enhanced.
 
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