Posts Tagged ‘valve’

Hiwatt launch TubeSync at the Frankfurt Musikmesse 2010

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Famed for their legendary reliability and tone, Hiwatt have gone one step further in the reliability stakes by employing TubeSync® technology in their already bulletproof amplifiers.

Over the last year, Hiwatt and Durham-based KBO Dynamics have developed their own version of a pioneering technology called TubeSync®, which Hiwatt will launch at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2010 in March. The technology has been developed in order to overcome problems associated with conventional tube amplification such as biasing, tube longevity and overall reliability. What the collaboration has achieved is to improve amplifier design without changing the fundamental amplification process yet retaining the classic Hiwatt tone and sound.

Hiwatt Launch TubeSync

Although not an integral part of the amplification process, Tubesync® is connected to the heart of the amp’s circuitry, constantly testing and monitoring; it’s like having an amp technician working full time inside the box every time the amp is powered up. This technology eliminates the need for tube bias current matching, increases tube life by micro-adjusting the bias on each tube, predicts tube failure and can, in the event of a catastrophic tube failure, even run the amp at half power. The result is the eradication of many of the problems hampering conventional tube amplifiers and peace of mind for the musician wise enough to have taken this route.

KBO Dynamics Chief Exec Andy Fallon: “It has been a pleasure working with Hiwatt who have been extremely receptive to change and have embraced the new technology. They have seen the benefits it can bring to them and of course, their customers, and we are looking forward to further exciting collaborations. This technology genuinely has raised the bar concerning reliability and classic tube amps, and what’s more. It’s been developed exclusively in the UK.”

Hiwatt logo

Electro Harmonix Guitar Valve / Tubes EL34 s etc..

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Electro-Harmonix is a New York based company that makes electronic sound processors. The company was founded by Mike Matthews in 1968. They are most famous for a series of popular guitar effects pedals introduced in the 1970s and 1990s.

EL34EH Electro-Harmonix

buy

Electro-Harmonix was founded by Mike Matthews in October 1968 in NYC, USA.

Himself an R&B keyboard player, he had traded his passion of music for a job as a salesman for IBM in 1967. Shortly afterwards he realized that his job at IBM no longer suited him, and he was interested in trying once again to make career for himself as a keyboard player. Concerned he may not be able to support his (now ex) wife while being unemployed, he aspired to save some money to support her before embarking on his journey to stardom. Partnering with an acquaintance of his, Bill Berko, an audio repairman who claimed to have his own custom circuit for a fuzz pedal, they jobbed construction of their new pedal to a contracting house, and began distributing the pedals under a deal with the Guild Guitar Company Fuzzboxes were in demand following a trail of hits involving their sound, including “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction ” by The Rolling Stones two years prior, and recent popularization of Jimi Hendrix. The latter connection resulted in the pedals being branded the ‘Foxey Lady’.

Following the unexplained departure of his partner, Matthews was introduced to inventor and electric engineer Robert Myer through IBM colleagues.

Together the two began conceptualizing a circuit designed to emulate Jimi Hendrix’s use of a distortion-free sustain. While testing a prototype of the Distortion-Free Sustainer pedal, which Matthews did by simply plucking the strings of an electric guitar, as he did not play guitar, he noticed another small box connected to the prototype. When asked, Myer explained this box was a line booster, designed to boost the guitar’s passive signal to an appropriate level for the prototype. Matthews listened as the guitar’s volume increased greatly as the booster was turned on, and asked Myer what was involved in manufacturing the pedal. The pedal consisted of a simple circuit and used just one transistor (This would later become know as the Linear Power Booster (LPB-1), a pedal still manufactured today.Shortly afterwards, Matthews founded Electro-Harmonix to produce this and other pedal designs throughout 1960s, 70s and early 80s.

The first Electro-Harmonix product was the Axis fuzz pedal, which was also sold under the name “Foxey Lady” for the Guild guitar company. While working with Bob Myer on the early Big Muff design, Mike Matthews used a booster circuit Myer had incorporated into the design and marketed it as the LPB-1 or Linear Power Booster in 1969. This massively boosted a guitar signal to provide gain by clipping the signal, dramatically changing the sound. The new device provided a raw distorted sound, full of sustain and harmonics.

Several similar devices followed such as the Treble Booster and Bass Booster. The new devices were extremely popular with guitarists.

Electro-Harmonix stopped making pedals in the mid-1980s, and in the early 1990s started selling vacuum tubes re-branded with their name for guitar amplifiers, which they had also been making since the 1970s. However due to demand, and the high prices guitarists were paying for old 1970s pedals on the vintage market, they reissued the more popular old pedals in the mid-1990s, the Big Muff Pi and Small Clone included. In 2002 they started designing new pedals to add to their range. Company policy is that all reissued effects remain as close as possible to the original, vintage designs. This means however that casings, knobs and especially the old-fashioned mini-jack power plug are not up to modern-day standards. This all changed in 2006 with their smaller and more standardized “micro” and “nano” effect lines.

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

Introducing The TubeSync Bias Engine

Friday, February 19th, 2010

KBO Dynamics is a world leading design consultancy and supplier of high performance electronic power and control devices. TubeSync® is the flagship in our range of tube amplifier products . TubeSync® was developed to overcome many of the problems associated with conventional tube amplification, such as biasing problems , tube longevity and amplifier reliability. Our goal is to improve amplifier design without changing the fundamental amplification process so tone and sound remains unaltered.

TubeSync Bias Engine

”Improving amplifier design, performance and efficiency”

We work closely with our customers to deliver the best possible technical solution that satisfies both technical and commercial needs. Our designs are created with flexibility in mind and in most cases clients will have the opportunity to create their own unique product features.

Bias_Engine_PCB

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
• Assures reliability
• Maintains optimum performance
• Increases tube life
• Reduces quiescent power consumption
• Easily integrated into amp systems
• Sets tubes at their optimum temperature as soon as you start playing
• Detects tube failure and prevents catastrophic damage to amp
• Switches out faulty tubes and runs amp at half power until tube can be changed

TubeSync_275

For further information email:
info@kbodynamics.com
T : +44 (0) 1207 585846
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

What People Say About TubeSync

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
What I like about TubeSync is that gives us the opportunity to create our own features which enables us to have our own unique USPs.

(Marketing Manager)

Not changing the sound is very important to us because the sound is the main reason why customers buy our amps. TubeSync offers a long list of benefits without changing the sound. Amplifier reliability is a big one for us as some of our order designs have design problems which can result in field failures. Failures are very costly and results in a large amount of hassle for both us and our customers especially when an amp output transformer blows up! The TubeSync reliability features is what we like best, it saves time, money and of course our reputation.

(Lead Development Engineer)
TubeSync does what it says on the tin! We are looking to incorporate it into our next generation of amps!

(Technical Director)

Not matching tubes that’s a big one – it’s a pain in the neck – it’s key to getting a successful tube amp ‘fantastic’. if you don’t need to use matched pairs and there’s no need to bias, then that’s amazing, the efficiency savings on the factory floor will be a awesome. Who needs a Six Sigma Black belt!

(Amplification Product Line Manager)

You’re saying all of the things that we hear on a regular basis, i.e. ooh, tube longevity – these are things that crop up that keep me awake at night. I’d say it’s pretty unique

(Marketing Manager, Guitar Amplifier Manufacturer)

We are currently going for the ISO 14001 environmental accreditation. The energy savings resulting from TubeSync will be part of our continuous improvement plan. If everyone does their bit, the world will be a much greener place.

(Operations Manger, Guitar Amplifier Manufacturer)

There is only so much power a tube can throw out before it dies. So it’s an efficiency thing? It gives you more power for less heat? Useful, yeah

(Lead Development Engineer)

TubeSync can optimise the running temperature of the tube down considerably, and as a function of that, the life of the tube increases. And that’s something that’s far more interesting than putting more power through it.

(Technical Director)

The Advantages Of TubeSync In Guitar Amps

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
Eliminates tube matching

Eliminates the need for bias current matching of amplifier output tubes,this increases manufacturing efficiencies, due to reduced testing.

Reduced tube cost

Eliminates the need to purchase tubes in ‘matched pairs’ and replaces conventional biasing components.

Increased tube life

Automatically micro-adjusts the bias on each tube to ensure the full potential of each tube in the system is realised throughout its working life.

Reliability assurance

Replaces conventional tube testing methods by performing an ‘in circuit’ test every time the amplifier is powered up.

Half power back-up

If TubeSync® detects a faulty tube, it can automatically ‘switch out’ the offending tube and run the amp at half power, until the defective tube can be replaced. tubesync rendering white

Maintains optimum performance

Dynamically measures the amplitude of the drive signals supplied to the grids of each output tube and optimises performance accordingly.

Simultaneous distortion

Maintains the classic warm sound of the amplifier by ensuring tubes distort symmetrically.

Reduced power consumption

Reduces quiescent power consumption when compared to conventional amplifier biasing techniques by an average of 20%.

NEW ‘ Hot Anode’

TubeSync® knows the optimum operating temperature of your tubes, so there is no need to warm up your amp. TubeSync® will get you to where you need to be just as soon as you start playing.

Customisation

Unique algorithms can be incorporated to tailor optional performance characteristics and features to customer requirements.

Tube Failure Modes, Within Amplifiers

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Catastrophic Failures. These are failures that occur suddenly, without warning, making the equipment unusable.

Examples of catastrophic failures are: –

  • Glass failure, loss of vacuum due to mechanical damage or thermal stress.
  • Heater failures open circuit or partial short circuit due to excessive heater voltage or high initial surge current and normal on off cycling over many thousands of hours.
  • Arcing, due to low cathode temperature, causing damage to the cathode and grids.
  • Bias failure due to component leakage or valve characteristic spreads using fixed or auto bias.

Degenerative Failures. The slow but eventual, deterioration of all tubes, which can contribute to the end of life of the tube.

Examples of degenerative failures: –

  • Gas is present in all tubes and if the tube is used within its characteristics should not be a problem, however excessive dissipation can liberate gas from the tube structure and lead to eventual premature failure.
  • Getters are patches of evaporated metal, which are deposited on the inside of the glass. The purpose of the getter is to absorb any gas that may be evolved during the life of the tube and work best at normal glass bulb temperatures.
  • Spurious emissions are uncontrolled unwanted emissions usually caused by gas released due to excessive dissipation and elevated temperatures.
  • Inter electrode leakage. This is current, which flows between the electrodes of the tube, which are not connected in any way. The cause is metallic vapours released by the hot metallic structure of the valve being deposited on the insulating micas and eventually leading to a conductive path.
  • Cathode depletion can occur due to arcing, which can strip the cathode coating reducing the active area of the cathode. Arcing will vaporise the cathode material and generate gas, which can poison the cathode material. This can also be caused, by passing excessive cathode current before the heater has reached its normal operating temperature.

Subjective Failures. These are tubes, which will normally pass tests but do not perform satisfactorily due to for example: – hum level, microphonics and noise.

Examples of subjective failures: –

  • Hum is an unwanted mains frequency signal, which is superimposed on the wanted signal.  It can be caused by heater to cathode leakage or due to electrostatic or electromagnetic fields within the equipment.
  • Microphonics is defined as a signal originating inside the valve caused by mechanical vibrations being amplified by the tube.
  • Noise is a signal originating from inside the tube, but not due to hum or microphonics. It can be due to intermittent short circuits, open circuits or arcing due to leakage paths between the electrodes.

Characteristic Variables. These are variations or spreads in the tube characteristics, due to manufacturing tolerances and follow a normal distribution curve.

Examples of characteristic variables: –

  • The Standard is usually a tube that complies with the manufactures published data. The Upper and Lower limits are values that any tube within these limits can be considered acceptable for normal use.
  • Characteristic Spreads is the degree of deviation from the standard tube.
  • Design Tolerances is the normal variations of standard parts, which a well-designed piece of equipment will operate correctly.

The Solution Is ……….TubeSync!

TubeSync Amp Biasing

TubeSync Amp Biasing


www.kbodynamics.com

The Advantage Of TubeSync Over Fixed Or Auto Bias

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

TubeSync has many advantages over other bias methods. An amplifier with fixed bias needs to be set manually and adjusted frequently to maintain the correct bias. Also unless each tube has its own bias setting, at best the results can only be a compromise due characteristic spreads in the valves, which in push pull amplifiers can lead to saturation of the output transformer on high signals due to DC magnetization of the core due to unbalanced anode currents. TubeSync continuously monitors the bias current and ensures perfect DC balance. Auto bias can compensate for valve characteristic spreads providing the characteristics of the valves are closely matched. However auto bias introduces loses by subtracting the bias voltage from the power supply voltage and with some types of valve the losses can be considerable and this means that the anode of the valve has to be operated at a much higher voltage to compensate for the auto bias losses.

TubeSync Amp Biasing

Using TubeSync these losses are eliminated and the HT power supply voltage can be reduced or the amplifier can deliver more output power due to having all of the power supply voltage available to supply the load. TubeSync can compensate for much large spreads in valve characteristics without the need to use specially selected or matched pairs of valves and still maintain the linearity of the output stage.