Author Topic: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.  (Read 407 times)

doombass

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Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« on: October 21, 2017, 03:58:29 PM »
About six months ago I decided it was time to dig deeper into tube amps technology. It all started a few years ago when I decided it was time to learn how to replace tubes. Since I'm an industrial electrician I thought I'd at least be able to do that myself. Next step was troubleshooting my Orange AD200B MK2 which had an intermittent crackling distortion problem (turned out it was something completely else, another story).

Finally I wanted to put together a nice amp kit. I have the Orange and a Hiwatt DR201 and love their concepts along with memories of gigging with an old Marshall Superbass which actually was my turnover point towards ditching solid state amps in favor of tube amps so I fell for the TAD 150W Plexi kit.

The preamp is based on the old Marshall Superbass with some components tweeked further towards bass use, along with using ECC81-tubes as second stage and phase inverter instead of ECC83's all the way. The power supply and power stage is based on the same type as the aforementioned British amps which use what some call dual rail supply for the plates and screens and 6550/KT88 powertubes. This kit comes with KT88's when ordering a complete amp.

The documentation included schematics and wiring layout. The wiring layout only showed from between which points the wiring should go, not where the wires would be run inside the chassis to avoid any crossover feedbacks/interference. I found that to be the biggest challenge.

First step was mounting tube sockets, transformers and capacitors:



Heater and B+ wiring:



Power supply:



Turret board:





Connect turretboard with the rest of amp:



Measuring voltages. Install tubes:




Finished:



Ok. So what did this beginner manage to screw up? First of all, Tube Amp Doctor provided all the material except double adhesive  tape used to keep the rear plexi panel in place where there are no components keeping it tight to the chassis. I did'nt have any thin tape so I used contact glue. Big mistake which can be seen on the pic. The glue was too harsh for the gold paint so it bled through. Next thing was when inititially firing it up (no tubes installed of course) I had no bias voltage on the control grids of the powertubes which would've been not so good in case the tubes were installed. It turned out to be a resistor in the bias supply that got disconnected while soldering a wire. The wiring itself was on top and hid the fact it got unattached. Third screwup was that I heard only hum when connected to the low input on the normal channel. It showed out that I totally had missed to solder one connection on the input jack.

The end result is very pleasing. The Marshall sound is there though a bit more cream and headroom to it. There's no hum or hiss unless I dime the volume and presence like the originals. This is after all a quite faithful replica using for example old school carbon resistors known for being noisy. The specs says 150W but the powerstage hits 180W RMS clean just like my Orange (which otoh hits the roof in the preamp well before that at ~150W). The power supply is not anywhere near Hiwatt (I've measured mine to 210W RMS clean) which the much smaller lower weight transformers already had suggested.

amptech

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 01:22:42 AM »
Looks really nice!
Tube amp builds are great fun. Three blemishes along that way is nothing to worry about.
No matter how many amps you have built, the most important thing you learn is to sleep on it and spend a
couple of hours checking connections/solder points before you fire it up. Forming caps as well is recommended,
be aware that rebranders buy huge stock and it's not unusual to get caps that have been lying for years on the shelf.

Nice work!

doombass

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2017, 02:49:38 AM »
Thanks. Yes I did use a variable transformer to be able to gradually raise the primary voltage. There's really high tension in these designs (600 and up VDC) it would be quite a bit nervous for me to switch on full blast the first time.

Highlander

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 03:18:45 AM »
 8)
Staring at the event horizon is a dirty job, but someone has to do it...

66Atlas

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 07:39:02 AM »
I dig it, and nice choice on the tolex color  :toast:

chromium

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 09:46:34 PM »
Beautiful work and outcome! I would love to take that plunge one day- great inspiration.  :toast:

doombass

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2017, 11:50:33 PM »
I would love to take that plunge one day- great inspiration.  :toast:

Go for it! It's really interesting once once you scratch the surface, though of course very important to be aware of the dangers of the high voltages. This subject is of the kind that the more you study it, the more you become  aware how little you know.

cde3wa

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2017, 02:47:58 PM »
Hello, I am new to the forum and my English is low, I want to greet all the members and I want to learn in the bass world.
I have many questions for you
Tell me the differences between the amplifiers you have, which is your favorite:Orange AD200B MK2, Hiwatt DR201 or TAD 150W Plexi.
Which cabinet would be suitable for TAD 150W?
How about a couple of these?
http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/product_info.php?products_id=4217&url_node_name=Celestion_Bass_Series&language=de
I want to assemble the kit, I will already flood you with questions, especially the topic of BIAS
Thank you very much

cde3wa

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2017, 02:51:01 PM »
Sorry, I am writing to you doombass. Thank you

Highlander

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2017, 03:08:48 PM »
Greetings, wherever you may be...! :mrgreen:
Staring at the event horizon is a dirty job, but someone has to do it...

doombass

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2017, 04:00:50 PM »
Hello and welcome. My favorite amp of those three is hands down the Orange though they're all great amps and quite similar. It has the worst eq section of them all, but no matter what I plug in it sounds great and I pretty much leave the tone controls at the same setting. It really lets the instrument speak with its own voice and does'nt feel like there's a carpet lying over that you can't get rid of.

Cabinet choice? Well it's hard to say because it is all down to personal taste. I use an Orange OBC410 and one BPE115. If you're into old school tube amps you probably want to stay away from the modern more (considered) high tech cabs though. I see you linked to a speaker so I'm not sure if that's the question? If so, I'd say that speaker choice should be made with the cabinet design in mind as well.


cde3wa

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2017, 07:44:27 AM »
Ok, thanks, I'll build the TAD kit.
I plan to configure it with two 12-inch speakers BL12-200X 200W 8 Ohm

doombass

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Re: Tube Amp Doctor Plexi 150W Kit.
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2017, 01:49:55 PM »
Congratulations on that decision. And I'm sure the Celestion speakers will be a good choice as well. They've survived in this business a long time and together with a few other manufacturers are considered industry standard.  :toast: