Author Topic: variac  (Read 4942 times)

yosoytudios

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variac
« on: May 01, 2014, 10:31:53 AM »
any of you tried to play with what voltage your amp likes best? i got the idea from robben ford, and i have to say, it makes a huge difference. my ots50 is happiest at 123-124 volts.

RichR

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Re: variac
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 04:09:19 PM »
any of you tried to play with what voltage your amp likes best? i got the idea from robben ford, and i have to say, it makes a huge difference. my ots50 is happiest at 123-124 volts.

Never tried it.  Considered trying a variac to control headroom/breakup volume.

Does the higher voltage seem to provide more clean headroom?  Or less?   What kind of changes do the higher/lower voltages cause?

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 06:13:39 PM »
Would you be willing to share the manufacturer/model of the variac you are using.
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

yosoytudios

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Re: variac
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 12:23:37 AM »
Would you be willing to share the manufacturer/model of the variac you are using.
w5mt by the general radio company. from the 50's. my tube guy gave it to me as a bonus. it has one knob, an on/off switch and a fuse/reset. the output is calculated from an input of 120 volts, so if the input is 115 for example, you have to recalculate, not hard though. i measure the input voltage. this also allows you to run a consistent voltage regardless what the voltage is at the venue you play. a huge advantage.

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 01:03:16 PM »
This has led to some amazing reads and revelations.   Was reading that stage votages can lag behind home voltages.   Will make a huge tone difference.  Might not want something that vintage, might get something that has an voltmeter already.

Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

RichR

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Re: variac
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 01:37:28 PM »
This has led to some amazing reads and revelations.   Was reading that stage votages can lag behind home voltages.   Will make a huge tone difference.  Might not want something that vintage, might get something that has an voltmeter already.

Pretty common for bar venues to have crappy wiring.  Overloaded circuits.  No common ground (ground differential hums and shocks).  Hot grounds.  Never know what you might find.  Low voltage pretty common.  I have a low-end power conditioner, but I don't think it can correct low voltage.  Mine just provides RFI/EFI filtering and surge protection.

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 01:39:35 PM »
Yeah, I have been at venues where stuff just works weird and now it makes total sense.  How can I know what the volatge is without knowing what the voltage is?   It seems so simple but so untouched as a tone issue. 
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

DannyDV8

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Re: variac
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 06:41:54 PM »
Almost every place I've ever played had messed up stage wiring, and even if they don't, they have 50 neon beer lights plugged in around the stage.  Good luck trying to get a good sound through all of that!
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

yosoytudios

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Re: variac
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 06:47:48 PM »
This has led to some amazing reads and revelations.   Was reading that stage votages can lag behind home voltages.   Will make a huge tone difference.  Might not want something that vintage, might get something that has an voltmeter already.
  i just use my voltmeter.

DannyDV8

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Re: variac
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 08:21:38 PM »
 :idea:
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2014, 07:55:05 PM »
I don't want to necessarily haul my voltmeter everywhere I go and they do make variacs with voltmeters in a decent price range. 

Thanks again for the decent information.
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

yosoytudios

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Re: variac
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 07:35:24 AM »
I don't want to necessarily haul my voltmeter everywhere I go and they do make variacs with voltmeters in a decent price range. 

Thanks again for the decent information.
my voltmeter goes to every gig. to check continuity, to check power draw, to check voltage, batteries, temperature etc. it's not big and it is absolutely necessary in case anything goes wrong with electronics. i have seen many people in deep shit at gigs because they didn't have their voltmeter. and since it is necessary to carry around, it is easy to check the voltage with it, and not needing the redundancy from having it in the variac as well.

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 03:21:53 PM »
I don't want to necessarily haul my voltmeter everywhere I go and they do make variacs with voltmeters in a decent price range. 

Thanks again for the decent information.
my voltmeter goes to every gig. to check continuity, to check power draw, to check voltage, batteries, temperature etc. it's not big and it is absolutely necessary in case anything goes wrong with electronics. i have seen many people in deep shit at gigs because they didn't have their voltmeter. and since it is necessary to carry around, it is easy to check the voltage with it, and not needing the redundancy from having it in the variac as well.

ok...

Temperature?  I don't have a probe with mine but just curious what you check..

Thanks BTW, learning a great deal.
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 09:16:47 PM »
Off to practice to see what the voltage is on stage.  At home a 121.9 volts. 
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

KenBJammen

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Re: variac
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 01:31:39 PM »
Ooh, has this been fun the past few days. 

The voltage at church where we practice is a stunning 126.3 volts on one side of the stage and 124.0 on the other.  The wiring in the church is vintage in some parts and new in others.  Interestingly enough One of the main reasons I got rid of the Peavey 6505 (besides it was heavy), as it was noisy.  The amp was checked and all ok several times.   Now it makes me wonder, what was I dealing with with power when it was acting funny. 

Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.