Posts Tagged ‘bass’

TubeSync Fitted To A Mesa Boogie F-50

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Sensational blues guitarist Mitch Laddie has been out touring with the product fitted to his Mesa/Boogie F-50, which he said sounds “incredible”. “I had totally fallen out of love with this particular amp before Tubesync was fitted but the difference in sound is more than substantial.The response and tone have been improved ten-fold. Very tight, very fat and all round punchier, especially in the low to mid frequencies.”

Mitch & His Mesa F50“I believe the product is very interesting and definitely nothing like anything I’ve seen or used before. The main advantages of the product are that not only does it give you a valve maintenance feature by displaying a light if a fault is found within a valve, but it manages your valves to run at an equal number of milliamps. This means that each valve is working at an equal rate which in theory gives you optimum amp performance.

F50

Above : TubeSync fitted to a Mesa Boogie F-50

Tube Amp Testing For Professional Stage Performers – Engineering Tube Talk

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

A common requirement for tube amplifiers used for professional and stage purposes is that there should be a high percentage of confidence that one or more tubes will not fail during the performance. Tubes are often thought of in the same manner as light bulbs, in that they are most likely to fail catastrophically at switch on. This means that the moments just after the switch on point constitute the most stressful and potentially damaging periods in the life of the equipment.

In an attempt to guard against this possibility, it is common practice to do one of two things on a regular basis.

1/ regularly remove the tubes and have them commercially tested;

2/ replace the tubes with new stock on a regular basis.

These two methods may give the operator a degree of confidence but in fact, it can be shown that the faith placed in both methods is misplaced.

It is a known fact that removal of a tube from its socket results in a number of potentially damaging mechanical stresses on the metal to glass seals around the pins. Each insertion of an all glass tube will cause micro-cracking of the glass around the pin. This will invariably cause a small leakage of air into the valve, causing ‘gassing’ and eventually leading to its demise.

Removal for testing will also break the intimate contact between the holder and the tube contact pin, resulting in a poorer contact on re-insertion.

Many tube testers apply unreasonable electrical stresses to the tube internal electrodes and it is not uncommon for a known good valve to be damaged during the test. Tube testers can also give erroneous results depending on the way they perform the tests, possibly allowing faulty tubes to show ‘good’ and the good valves to be rejected as ‘bad’.

The second method of ‘blanket replacement’ with new stock on a regular basis can also lead to problems because if the failure distribution curve for tubes is analysed, it can be seen to follow the classic ‘bathtub’ failure curve. This inevitably means that an amplifier which is regularly ‘re-tubes’ will inevitably be considerably more likely to fail during the first hundred hours service than one which has been left untouched.

TubeSync overcomes these problems by performing an ‘in circuit’ test on the tubes every time the amplifier is powered up. The mutual conductance (gm) of the tube is measured by monitoring the cathode current of each valve whilst adjusting the grid bias in fixed steps. The results are tabulated and the new value is compared with previously stored values. A decision is then made on how far the tube has decayed in emission since the last test. Outputs from the device inform the user of the predicted remaining life of the tube.

TubeSync_350

What People Say About TubeSync

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Guitarist Mitch Laddie has been out touring with the product fitted to his Mesa/Boogie F-50, which he said sounds “incredible”. “I had totally fallen out of love with this particular amp before Tubesync was fitted but the difference in sound is more than substantial. The response and tone have been improved ten-fold. Very tight, very fat and all round punchier, especially in the low to mid frequencies.”

Mich_Laddie

“I believe the product is very interesting and definitely nothing like anything I’ve seen or used before. The main advantages of the product are that not only does it give you a valve maintenance feature by displaying a light if a fault is found within a valve, but it manages your valves to run at an equal number of milliamps. This means that each valve is working at an equal rate which in theory gives you optimum amp performance.

“You can also connect the product to a computer and by using the TubeSync software you can dial in the parameters for each valve to your liking. This makes room for a lot of exciting experimentation,” he said.

“You can fit whichever valves you like, no matter which amp you are using with the product fitted and not only can you fit whatever valves you chose but you can mix valves and it will automatically bias them with no issues at all. This also gives room for a lot of exciting experimentation which we are going to get under way when I return from the current tour.”

Orange
Technical director for Orange Amps, Adrian Emsley, plans to launch a new 100W model involving TubeSync at the upcoming Winter NAMM show next year, but didn’t disclose any further details. He did say that he thought the product was “extremely groundbreaking” with regards how it can be incorporated into high end tube guitar, bass and hi-fi amplifiers. “It can keep an amplifier perfectly set up and keep it always sounding great on the road!” he said.

Audio Kitchen Amps, an Acton-based guitar amp manufacturer, has incorporated TubeSync into its bass amps, one of which is currently being used by Kings of Leon. Audio Kitchen’s Steve Crow commented: “It’s pretty cool, that’s for sure. For me the most revolutionary aspect is the show-must-go-on factor; normally if an output valve goes bandy during a gig it’ll take out a fuse on the amp and the player is left playing air-guitar, but TubeSync will shut down the offending valve pairs and the show goes on. Genius.”?Tired Pony, the supergroup featuring Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and REM’s Peter Buck, have already played their first live gig with the help of an Audio Kitchen Base Chopper amp fitted with TubeSync, at London’s Forum venue in Kentish Town on July 14. According to Crow the band have been “loving it” so far and there are other bands lined up to try it out.

Audio Kitchen
Crow added: “People are scared of the word ‘Bias’, but TubeSync does lots of the thinking for you so it’s possibly a less daunting proposition for the average musician or tech. Also because the valves are individually biased, you don’t necessarily need matched pairs of output valves anymore.”

Hiwatt UK amplifiers, as used by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Killers and The Enemy, is another adopter of the TubeSync. The company plans to install the product on its pro series of guitar amplifiers as standard. Hiwatt’s Mark Lodge said: “Pretty much all of the bands that we deal with will start to add TubeSync to their amplifiers over the next year. We are just actually putting together the wiring practices etc, for our builders to be able to incorporate TubeSync into our UK pro series custom shop amplifiers.” Lodge said the reason they have got behind the product from the start was because it is a “fantastic” piece of kit that solves many problems associated with valve amplifiers.

Hiwatt UK
He added: “We all know that valve amplifiers sound by FAR the best, the only issue is that 99.9% of the time, the valves let the amplifier down. The deteriation can be traced back to when the military ceased to use valves; since then, the quality has gone down and down. TubeSync negates this and actually once more gives builders and performers hope and peace of mind. I think it is a huge step forward for the valve amplifier.”

Wienbrock Amplifiers
Wienbrock Amplifiers owns two 45W production amps that currently use TubeSync, one with overdrive, one without. Rob Wienbrock said: “The TubeSync takes a completely new approach that has many hidden benefits. Its main advantages are significant reduction in power consumed, huge reduction in heat emissions, greatly extended valve and component life and great reduction in maintenance costs.
BREAKING THE BACKLINE MARKET

John Henry’s will be the first backline rental company to test out the TubeSync management system. Said Fallon: “We see the backline rental market as a market for us because they do have problems with amplifiers and they have to maintain the ones they’ve got when they rent them out.
“John Henry took us round his facilities and he has hundreds of amplifiers, one shelf had about 50 marshall amps on, so we realised we needed to give him something quick to install.”
John Henry commneted: “I haven’t managed to see one in action yet but from the brief overview it was a very interesting product, there’s nothing else like it, and if it works we would certainly be interested in having a look and trying it out. Anything that can tell you when a valve is about to pop is a good thing.
“I was a little bit concerned about how you actually fit it without drilling holes and damaging the authenticity of a vintage piece of kit because as it stands it’s based at the valve market. I think they need to make one which is an external fit. So it’s in the early stages and I’d need to get my engineers to test it out, but in theory it looks good.”

John Henrys
KBO Dynamics has been working on an external fit model specifically for the backline rental market. Said Fallon: “At the moment TubeSync is a circuit card that goes in the amp, but we’ve put it into a large circuit board self contained unit. It de-skills the fitting process so the user can easily retro-fit it into an existing guitar amp in around 5-10 minutes. John Henry will be the first one to test this out.”
Added Henry: “We go through thousands of valves a year so for us it would be a great asset as we might not need to replace a set of valves but maybe just one. It has a lot of potential.”

Backline Rental Companies Save Time & Money With TubeSync

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Backline rental companies don’t shell out on big, powerful expensive amps if they’re not going to be used on stage by pro musicians or semi-pro at the very least. That also means that the public shell out to go and see the artists play. Therefore, neither party will be particularly chuffed if an amp tube goes in the middle of a performance. Many travelling pro’s use the services of a backline rental company to take care of their equipment, however many tube guitar amps have problems which cannot be avoided by even the best tech.

iStock_000006400704XSmall

So yes, the pro musician or backliner probably carries a spare amp or three just in case, not to mention a box full of matched tubes!

Peace of Mind

TubeSync gives the backline tech and the musician peace of mind; simple. With TubeSync fitted in the amplifier, it’s a bit like having a dedicated amp tech working full time on that amp from the moment it’s turned on to the moment it’s turned off. Best not to fiddle around too much, then. Better still, let TubeSync do what fiddling there needs to be done. Tubesync sits within the circuitry and ensures that the pairs remain matched throughout, and micro-adjusting the biases when necessary. Four LEDs display the status of each tube, in a 100W head for example, if a failure occurs TubeSync will immediately switch out the affected pair; OK, the amp will be functioning at only half power, but at least it will be working. That’s peace of mind. Knowing that this technology is available but not using it would be a bit like driving really fast whilst wearing welding goggles. Don’t want to worry you or anything.

Crowd at the rock concertWhy Choose TubeSync

•    Performance peace of mind
•    Greater efficiency due to reduced maintenance back at the workshop
•    Can be configured to work with any fixed bias tube amp
•    Logs how the long the amp has been driven with audio
•    Records faults seen by the amp – Gives the tech full diagnostics
•    No need to purchase tubes in matched pairs anymore, TubeSync takes care of the biasing
•    Save money, better tube life / only need to change the defective tube
•    Reduces quiescent power consumption
•    Detects tube failure and prevents catastrophic damage to amp
•    Switches out faulty tubes and runs amps at half power until tube can be changed

and there’s much more….

Bias Runner Software

Improving amplifier biasing methods, servicing and fault diagnostics

Interfacing with Bias Engine hardware, the Bias Runner software has been designed to allow professional amp technicians to interrogate the status of an amplifier, alter bias settings, perform field diagnostics and configure the amp for best performance, further adding value to your services.

Bias Runner

Bias Runner is easy to install, offering full fault diagnostics, enabling tube biasing with and without audio present, either collectively or as individual tubes. It is the perfect tool for warranty provision and servicing, providing a database of hardware serial numbers and storing amplifier parameter settings for full traceability.

Please click here for your free information pack

KBO Dynamics TubeSync Technology

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Introduction

There is a certain quirkiness about the British psyche. On the one hand, the proportion of consumers in this country who actually bother thoroughly to read instruction manuals is undoubtedly very low. On the other, there was a Japanese survey, apparently, that found of all significant inventions going back over 200 years, 55% of them were British. Obviously, the Germans are more disciplined and better organised. The Americans are driven. The Japanese are still incredibly advanced technically, yet the British struggle to get the trains running on time. Maybe that’s the point: because we’re surrounded by chaos, we’ve had to become inventive.

The Americans make the best electric guitars but the British make the best amplification, goes the old adage. Doubtless, there are as many British luthiers as American amp manufacturers chorusing their disagreement, but as a general rule, this is probably true. And although if you look at all the great British amp makers – Hiwatt, Marshall, Sound City, Orange and the rest – they all have an Achilles Heel: the tubes. Ironic, really; amps that collectively have been responsible for the greatest sounds in contemporary music relying on components whose design hasn’t altered at all for decades. Enter TubeSync.

TubeSync_225

The engineering guys here at KBO Dynamics – inventors of TubeSync technology -are into power supply. Their background ranges from white goods to defence, and to be fair, making a washing machine go is hardly rock’n’roll. But when they turned their knowledgeable gaze towards tube amps, well, that’s different. For example, when a technician at Hiwatt builds a Custom tube amplifier, he and he alone will spend 20 hours soldering the components to stringent quality control guidelines: no production line or PCBs here. Yet, despite this labour of love, if the tubes fail, the amp won’t work. So when KBO Dynamics approached Hiwatt with a system that could monitor the tubes constantly when the amp is turned on, adjust the biases, forewarn if the tube was getting flaky and even switch pairs should one of the tubes fail completely, they pricked up their ears.

TubeSync

Musicians don’t shell out for a big, powerful expensive amp if they’re not gigging. That makes them either pro musicians or semi-pro at the very least. That also means that the public shell out to go and see them play. Therefore, neither party will be particularly chuffed if a tube goes in the middle of a performance. Yes, the pro musician probably carries a spare amp just in case, as most guitarists have a spare guitar in case they break a string, but it’s not ideal. TubeSync gives the musician peace of mind; simple. With TubeSync fitted in the amplifier, it’s a bit like having a dedicated amp tech working full time on that amp from the moment it’s turned on to the moment it’s turned off.

custom ampThe output from a traditional 100-watt valve amplifier comes from two pairs of EL34 tubes: matched 1 and 4, and 2 and 3. There are companies who sell ‘matched’ pairs of these tubes, as two identical tubes will tend to last longer than an unmatched pair. Normally, the EL34 will operate at 50Ma, although they can be rated higher, but the higher they are rated, the shorter their life. Best not to fiddle around too much, then. Better still, let TubeSync do what fiddling there needs to be done. The device, which is not an integral part of the amplifier, sits within the circuitry and ensures that the pairs remain matched throughout, and micro-adjusting the biases when necessary. Four LEDs on the facia plate – one for each tube – serve as a visual indicator of the state of each one. So the musician is given adequate warning if one of the tubes is getting flaky. In the unlikely event of one of the tubes letting go completely without warning, TubeSync will immediately switch out the affected pair; OK, the amp will be functioning at only half power, but at least it will be working. That’s peace of mind. Knowing that this technology is available but not using it would be a bit like driving really fast whilst wearing welding goggles. Don’t want to worry you or anything.

hayden Granted, having TubeSync installed in the amp is going to give peace of mind, but then we at KBO Dynamics haven’t just left it at that. Professionals in the music industry need to find out not only that there are certain strains on the tubes within the amp, but are there conditions within the live situation that perhaps put an amount of stress on the tubes above others. Handy that the techies can plug a laptop into TubeSync and get a readout, then. Handier still, we are working on an interface that when completed will allow the TubeSync-ed amp to hook up with either us or Hiwatt via the internet, and the amp’s performance can be monitored remotely in real time, even if the gig is in Australia. How formula 1 is that then? But then again, it isn’t, when you think about it; it’s more like professional progress. The Rolling Stones, for example, earn millions every time they tour – having seen them, they’re worth every penny, but that’s just one opinion – but they will never have toured in the past with amps loaded with TubeSync. Imagine the poor old amp techs frantically peering through the grilles of the back line checking for the dreaded EL34 red death glow while the band is laying it down for over a million fans on a beach in Brazil: now that’s stress.

We are talking with other amplifier manufacturers, but Hiwatt was a logical place to start: they are fiercely proud of their reputation for reliability, rightly so, and any technology that compliments that reputation is clearly going to be of interest to them. Both KBO Dynamics and Hiwatt feel that the incorporation of TubeSync technology genuinely adds value not just to the amplifier, but also to the whole amplification process. Tubes are still fairly reliable; with or without TubeSync, manufacturers wouldn’t build tube amps if they weren’t and we’re not in the business of scaremongering. However, the fact of the matter is that they are still the least reliable component part of the amp, and if you have experienced ‘sod’s law’, then you’ll know that if a tube is going to fail then it’ll pick the most inconvenient time to do so. Going back to the driving analogy, the odds of you needing the airbag in your car are reassuringly long. But try driving a car without one fitted, you genuinely do feel vulnerable.

Conclusion

In recent years, there has been an exponential rise in ‘extreme sports’ and the arrival of the adrenaline junkie, doubtless in response to an increasingly risk-averse society. The term “Nanny State” has been coined as a result. But let’s keep things in perspective; there’s a big difference in safety for safety’s sake and straightforward common sense. TubeSync technology has been designed to prolong the life of the tubes in the gigging musician’s amp – which is good – and also to alert them to the fact that the tube is approaching the end of its life – also good. We think that’s common sense, which is why we invented it.

TubeSync_500

German Based Bulldog Amplification Approves TubeSync

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Bulldog Amplification builds handcrafted tube amps in Germany to meet  the ever demanding needs of musicians in terms of tone and reliability. Years of experience in repairing and modifying tube amps has lead to an exclusive line of guitar amplifiers. These instruments are built to produce the best possible tone. Most of today’s amps offer many different sounds and functions, but the guitar signal has to pass through various paths of electronic circuitry until it reaches the speaker, consequently the tone is weakened. Tone and bullet proof reliability are the most important things for Bulldog Amplification and that’s why Bulldog is delighted to announce that TubeSync will become standard within their The Jack 66, Jack 18, Black Bert 1, and Den Lachs amplifier models.

bulldog

The ‘’Jack 66’’

‘’The combination of TubeSync with short signal paths and other high quality components make our amplifiers world class and due to this, Bulldog Amplification is becoming a preferred choice by professional artists and serious guitar players’’.

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The TubeSync ‘’Bias Engine’’

‘’ Robust, bomb proof reliability, with enhanced functionality and perfect tone is what we want’’ – says Ingo Bührmann from Bulldog Amplification. Ingo goes on to say…

‘’Cheap poorly designed products from China are fast becoming unacceptable to guitar players especially within Germany, where high quality engineering is embedded within our culture’’ You would buy a car if the drive was terrible and it broke down when you needed it the most, well would you? ‘’ I believe the same philosophy applies to guitar amplifiers, high performance and reliability is paramount’’.

Bulldog Amps are currently used by a number of high profile bands such as the massively popular German band Guano Apes and Livingston. Bulldog amps with TubeSync will soon be appearing on a stage near you!

Guano Apes

Guano Apes

Liv

Livingston

For more information on TubeSync email:

UK: info@tubesync.co.uk

Germany: info@bulldog-amps.com

TubeSync For Valve / Tube Amps What am I ?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

About me:

I am a revolutionary new amp component, enhancing amp performance resulting in pure valve magic. My superior amp technology overcomes many of the problems associated with conventional tube amplification. With a little help from me there is no need for bias current matching, I can increase tube life and take your valves to their optimum temperature as soon as you power up. I can be easily integrated into any guitar valve amplifier. I take care of the detail, so you can concentrate on becoming a master of the strings . . . You can find a lot more about me on my main website www.tubesync.co.uk

The TubeSync Bias Engine

The TubeSync Bias Engine

Eliminates the need for bias current matching of output tubes

Increases manufacturing efficiencies

Micro-adjusts the bias on each tube to ensure its full potential is realised

Maintains optimum performance

Increases tube life

Assures reliability

Reduces quiescent power consumption

TubeSync

TubeSync

Guitar Amp Tubes / Valves The History Of .. EL34 s etc

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Until the introduction of the germanium transistor in the late 1950’s, there was no alternative form of high quality audio amplification to the thermionic valve (American terminology was always ‘Tube’). The 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s saw a steep decline in the usage of valves for all purposes except audio amplifiers, to the point that, with a few exceptions, they were almost entirely replaced by transistors and integrated circuits. However, since the late 1980’s, valve amplifiers have experienced a renaissance which has, in the last decade grown rapidly year on year.

The unique character of the ‘Tube Sound’ has once again attracted both amateur and professional interest in the areas of High Fidelity (HiFi) amplification, Musical Instrument (MI) amplification (notably the electric guitar) and Audio amplification. The dominance of digital technology now, means that the valve amplifier is seen as new to younger people and as nostalgic to the older generation. Please note it is estimated, that the electric guitar amplification market consume as many as three out of four of the world’s production of audio tubes.

EL34 Valve

EL34 Valve

Many arguments have been put forward as to why tube amplification ‘sounds’ better than digital. Some differences can be proved using measuring instruments, whilst others are down to the nuances of the human ear. Whatever the reason, evidence shows more and more listeners appear to prefer the sound of a tube amplifier.

The demand for tube amplifiers is rapidly growing, with products ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds, depending on quality and output power, with tube sales worldwide currently standing at over $100,000,000. Today vacuum-thermionic devices hold sway over the US $100 million worldwide guitar amp business. One rough estimate shows a 10-percent-per-year growth in demand for tubes used in MI instrument amplifiers and high-end audio since the late 1980s, with no apparent slackening.

However, the problems with existing tube amplifier technology is that the circuits used are based on ‘classic’ designs developed in the 1940’s and 50’s and, although more modern technology has occasionally been applied, this is usually confined to regulating the power supplies. One of the principle disadvantages of existing tube amplifiers is that they are very inefficient in converting electrical power into audio power. This is largely due to the ‘classic’ methods of controlling them. All analogue high power amplifiers require a system known as ‘Biasing’ to be applied to them. This controls the output devices and prevents them from ‘Thermal’ overload and eventual destruction. It does, however, incur a heavy cost in loss of output power and increased heat dissipation. In addition valves also need to be used in ‘Matched’ pairs, in order to control distortion of the output signal. This process is time consuming and expensive when carried out on a commercial basis.

THE SOLUTION IS ……..

EL34

EL34

Innovation Winners Attracts Famous UK Guitar Amp OEMs

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

KBO Dynamics are making their mark in the international music industry. They will be showcasing their technology with a number of major customers at the high profile international music fair, Musikmesse in Frankfurt this March. Hiwatt is just one of the world’s most prominent guitar amp manufacturers and KBO Dynamics are delighted to have TubeSync technology incorporated in their latest amp designs.

KBO Dynamics Win Innovation Award 2009

KBO Dynamics Win Innovation Award 2009

KBO Dynamics, winners of the Durham and Wearside Innovation Business Awards 2009, stated : TubeSync technology achieves unique benefits including vastly improved reliability and performance in tube amps.  Securing orders from Hiwatt and others is a significant achievement.

KBO Dynamics Power and Control Devices

KBO Dynamics Power and Control Devices

‘The scale of the companies that KBO Dynamics are working with is impressive. They have ambitious plans for growth and have been performing very well since receiving investment from us. KBO Dynamics is an excellent example of successful innovation coming out of the North East and is testimony to the region’s strong knowledge base,’ Dr Richard Exley, North Star Equity Investors.

­The company has also been supported with market research, manufacturer introductions and early product launch activity by think M., a leading strategic marketing and research agency specialising in technology and innovation.

Andy Fallon, KBO Dynamics, ‘think M.’s channel research played an important part in helping us to secure investment by providing the market evidence required to prove TubeSync’s growth potential. It helped us to refine our offering to amp manufacturers and was instrumental in getting us through the door at some really high profile organisations.’

TubeSync

TubeSync

As KBO look forward to Frankfurt they already have further collaborations underway and anticipate generating more interest from manufacturers, amp technicians and musicians alike. If you would like any more information on TubeSync technology, please visit www.kbodynamics.com.

Hiwatt Launches TubeSync at MUSIKMESSE 2010

Friday, February 19th, 2010

UK-based KBO Dynamics will be showcasing their pioneering technology with Hiwatt at Musikmesse this March. TubeSync® technology achieves unique benefits including vastly improved reliability and performance in guitar tube amps. Hiwatt have incorporated the innovation in new amp designs to further underline their already exemplary reliability.
musikmesse_2010
TubeSync streamlines with the amp’s circuitry to constantly test and monitor the amp without altering the fundamental amplification process, tone or sound. It eliminates the need for bias current matching, increases tube life by micro-adjusting the bias on each tube, predicts tube failure and can, in the event of tube failure, even run the amp at half power, preventing catastrophic amp damage.

The result is an amp unhampered by many of the problems associated with conventional tube amplification allowing musicians to enjoy classic tube sound quality without the frustrations.

Mark Lodge Hiwatt’s general manager stated ‘Our amps have proven their reliability year after year. Incorporating TubeSync technology has allowed us to raise the bar one step further. The benefits are of great value to us and our customers.’

KBO Dynamics look forward to more exciting collaborations this year. For more information on TubeSync, please visit www.kbodynamics.com

Hiwatt_TubeSync_Tube_Amp