Archive for the Restored Category

RCA BA-72A Preamps

Posted in Racked Modules, Restored with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by AnalogAudioRepair

A client in Los Angeles wanted a pair of RCA BA-71 preamps racked with the option of using them to run some stereo tracks through.  These use the same circuit as the BA-31 (minus power supply) and the BA-72.  I had a few BA-72A modules in stock and came up with this single space rack mount solution.  First the modules were tested, re-capped and tested again.  Then I built a power supply with 30 VDC for the preamps and 48 VDC phantom power.  The modules were wired with a switchable 20dB pad as well as a switch to change the input transformer from 150 ohms to 600 ohms.  With both the pad and 600 ohm setting, the preamps can take up to 0dBm input without clipping.  Of course the output is +20dBm at that point, so I added 600 ohm attenuators to the output.  Everything fit nicely in the single rack unit and I put collars around the +48 switches, original RCA knobs on the outputs, and a black and silver RCA “meatball” logo on the front panel for good measure!

recapped RCA BA-71 72 31 transistor preamplifier

Recapped Preamp

connecting RCA preamps BA series discrete transistor

Wiring in Progress

Wiring RCA preamp rack BA-72A

Wired Up

RCA BA-71 vintage preamplifier front

Front View

RCA BA-72A Preamp back panel

Back Panel

RCA BA-72 discrete preamp controls

Controls

RCA meatball logo on BA-72A preamp

Meatball Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gates Sta-Level

Posted in Repaired, Restored with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by AnalogAudioRepair

A client gave me a beautiful original Gates Sta-Level to bring back to life.  It had all original components but had not been turned on in over ten years.  After testing all the tubes, I brought it up on my Variac with just a solid state rectifier installed.  The power supply filter caps were good, but not great so they got replaced first.  With the new PSU caps and the tubes installed the unit was working ok, but had a very strange frequency response.  Above 1kHz it was fairly even, though not quite up to spec.  Below 1kHz it increased steadily to about +12dBm at 30Hz!  It turned out the feedback caps from the 6V6 output stage to the 12AU7 were leaky.  I replaced those and the coupling caps and things are now back to factory spec.

Vintage Gates Sta-Level

Original Gates Sta-Level

Gates Sta-Level original guts

The guts – dead stock!

Gates Sta-Level power supply re-cap

New Power Supply Caps

Gates Sta-Level capacitors

Replaced Film Caps

 

Telefunken ELA V624 Discrete Preamp & EQ

Posted in Repaired, Restored with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by AnalogAudioRepair

Bad packing, or should I say NO packing, is to blame for the damage this preamp suffered.  It was shipped to me in a small flat rate Priority Mail box with nothing to protect it.  As you can see, the frame was bent and one of the circuit boards was broken into six pieces!  The frame was easy enough to bend back, but the PCB was like a little jigsaw puzzle that required epoxy and jumper wires to make it structurally and electrically sound again.  While I had it open, I replaced the electrolytic caps and added XLR ins and outs as well as a power jack with regulation.

The ELA V624 is a nice little module from later Telefunken mixers.  It has a mic pre with 60dB of gain, high and low EQ (I believe at 60Hz and 10kHz), and a line input as well.  Both the mic and line have transformer balanced inputs and I wired the unit with an impedance balanced output.  The circuit is fully discrete transistor and runs on +24v DC.  They are not as huge sounding as the earlier discrete modules (V672 Pre, W695 EQ, etc.) but very useable on a variety of sources.  Certainly worth the time spent repairing such unnecessary damage!

Bent Frame

Bent Frame

Broken PCB

Broken PCB

Broken PCB 2

Broken PCB 2

Before

Before

Fixed Frame

Fixed Frame

Fixed PCB

Fixed PCB

Recapped

Recapped

XLR Box

XLR Box

Completed, Front

Completed, Front

Completed, Back

Completed, Back

Zim-Gar Vintage Transistor Amp

Posted in Modded, Repaired, Restored with tags , , , , , , , on May 4, 2013 by AnalogAudioRepair

This is a funny little solid state amp I bought from a fellow on Craig’s List.  I bought it “as-is” and it hummed and made noise but passed no signal.  At first I thought it was Japanese, but when I took off the back panel there was a tiny schematic marked “Paris Corp. Salina, Kansas”!  I replaced the first transistor which took care of the noise and lack of signal, but the tremolo wasn’t working.  I rebuilt that section with some new caps and a resistor and dug up a vintage footswitch to turn it on and off.  The power supply filter cap had already been replaced so I can only think that the amp has always had some hum (it was certainly not high-end when new).  Adding a second stage of filtering killed the hum and made this into something that could actually be used.  Honestly it was more work than the amp is probably worth, but a fun project nonetheless!

Zim Gar Front

Zim Gar Front

Zim Gar Panel

Zim Gar Panel

Zim Gar Panel

Zim Gar Panel

Zim Gar Schematic

Zim Gar Schematic

Zim-Gar Guts

Zim-Gar Guts

AKG BX20 Spring Reverb

Posted in Restored with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2013 by AnalogAudioRepair

So a client brought me a BX-20 – the largest of the AKG BX series spring reverbs.  I have always loved the BX-10 and was interested to work on the big daddy.  The amplifier cards were partially recapped, so I completed the job.  I even replaced the tantalum caps on the preamp daughterboards because they were getting leaky.  With a little adjustment the boards now sounded good but one side of the reverb was spitting out random noises.  After chasing ghosts for a while, I determined that the problem was in the spring assembly and proceeded to take it out and open it up.  It was measuring like there was a broken wire or burned out coil.  I was hoping for the wire, but unfortunately one of the tiny red coil windings that hangs in the magnet gap had gone open.  There are no replacements for these so for now it will be a mono reverb!

AKG BX20 Panel

AKG BX20 Panel

AKG Daughterboard

AKG Daughterboard

AKG Inside

AKG Inside

AKG Spring Tower

AKG Spring Tower

AKG Spring Base

AKG Spring Base

AKG Coils

AKG Coils

Ampex 601 Tube Preamp & DI Mod

Posted in Modded, Restored with tags , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by AnalogAudioRepair

This was a fun project that involved removing some tape deck electronics and modding the remaining circuit into a tube mic preamp with DI.  As you can see, several of the tubes are not needed when using this as a preamp.  A whole bunch of other parts came out too which cleaned up the crowded underside of the chassis a good bit.  The headphone jack is now the DI input and the Input/Tape switch selects either the mic or DI.  The Line Rec Level pot is now the DI level control and an XLR output jack has been added on the side.

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RCA BA-2C Tube Preamp

Posted in Restored with tags , , , , on February 26, 2013 by AnalogAudioRepair

This vintage RCA vacuum tube preamplifier was missing it’s power transformer.  Fortunately I had the schematics and a transformer that would fit the bill.  A couple power resistors were required to get the voltages spot on, but in the end it worked out well.  The unit got a full re-cap and a fresh set of New Old Stock vacuum tubes.  The new owner even received an original manual!