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Thread: Voice of Music Amp - VM 160

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    Voice of Music Amp - VM 160

    Ok. I know I have a problem. The first step to recovery is to admit the problem. I'm a vintage tube amp addict! Here is my latest acquisition. Appears to be about 1952 Voice of Music Model 160 amp. Its not a guitar amp, but it looks like a good candidate. Here are the pics as it arrived.

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    Last edited by tigerzilly; 01-23-2020 at 07:37 PM.

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    More pics.

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    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    Could make a guitar amp with some mods.

    Schematic:

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickb View Post
    Could make a guitar amp with some mods.

    Schematic:

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    Thanks for the schematic! Besides replacing the input jacks with 1/4", what mods would you suggest?

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    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    I'd cascade the mic input through a tone stack and then to the phono input. Maybe add a cathode bypass cap to to mic input for less hum and more gain. Also add a further RC filter stage in the power supply to feed the mic input.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    FWIW I built a little 2x6v6 amp from the guts of a VOM phonograph. It sounded remarkably better than you might expect from the 300Vp and that tiny OT. It actually had a great low end and literally perfect , classic, definition of the model BF Fender clean tone. And because of the low-ish plate voltage it would move very gracefully into thick, cello like clipping. The cabinet I made for it was pretty crappy and I'd built the rest of the circuit from scrap components PTP and all squeezed into the tiny chassis. So I decided to tear it down for a proper build of the same circuit some time. So I still have the transformers. My PT is a stand up whereas yours is a lay down (Z mount?). But the OT looks like the same one I have. I don't think you'll be disappointed

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I don't think you'll be disappointed
    That's what I'm thinking. The cabinet on this one looks pretty decent. Its cleaning up real nice. I really like the way the amp chassis slide out and can sit on the side. Very cool.

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    Heres the underside of the chassis. Comes with a schematic too!

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    The schematic looks good but hard to see. Do you have a scanner? My printers are also scanners, for example. A pdf scan might be easier to work with. Unless it is the same as the one posted up in post #3?

    It looks like someone already replaced a filter cap, but that orange one has a date code of 1973, so evven it is getting old. meanwhile I would be surprised if all those paper caps didn't need replacement. Probably leaky by now. Note the resistors are all 20%, and even then likely drifted, but frankly that probably doesn't matter much. Just don't expect a "100k" resistor to measure 100k.

    But looks good and clean.

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    What looks like a Sprague black tubular capacitor would not be original either if the amp is from the early 1950s.

    At this point in history, it's not unusual to be doing a 2nd refurbishment of amps from this era.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    The schematic looks good but hard to see. Do you have a scanner? My printers are also scanners, for example. A pdf scan might be easier to work with. Unless it is the same as the one posted up in post #3?
    Here is a scan of the schematic. Not much better though.

    VM160.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhodesplyr View Post
    What looks like a Sprague black tubular capacitor would not be original either if the amp is from the early 1950s.

    At this point in history, it's not unusual to be doing a 2nd refurbishment of amps from this era.
    The can cap and the sprague look like replacements. The values are also double of the schematic values. 40mf instead of 20.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Here is a scan of the schematic. Not much better though
    You're right, not much better. But a have to say thanks for doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    You're right, not much better. But a have to say thanks for doing it.
    Ok. One more time. This time I took a pic of the schematic with a better camera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    Ok. One more time. This time I took a pic of the schematic with a better camera.

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    Picture seems a bit dark so lighted it up a tad.
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    Got the new caps in and replaced one tube socket. The amp had a three prong plug, but only two conductor wire. Replaced the power cord and grounded. Amp powered up and passes good signal. Plugged a guitar into the 1/4" microphone jack. Decent sound with fair volume. The original 10" speaker has some buzzing . Got it running through a 12" and it sounds much better.
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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Please make these changes and let us know how it works out

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Please make these changes and let us know how it works out
    I presume that change will make it more guitar friendly. Any thoughts on Jensen P10S alnico speaker? It gonna need a recone. Is the speaker worth saving?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    I presume that change will make it more guitar friendly. Any thoughts on Jensen P10S alnico speaker? It gonna need a recone. Is the speaker worth saving?
    Jensen's "S" model was a step below their "R" line. I have no idea what the real world difference is between the p10s and the p10r, but the p10r is the more desirable speaker. That being the case you wouldn't really be money ahead to recone it. And being as this will never be a collectible amp I wouldn't be concerned about preserving the original speaker for it either. But it's probably a perfectly good sounding speaker and if you did have it reconed it would probably get "R" parts anyway.?. I think the magnet was the same on both speakers. So in this light I'd probably look into the cost of a recone vs. say, a new Weber or something and then go with the cheaper option.

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    I can get a Jensen MOD for $35. Recone is $65. I can store the original Jensen away in the unlikely event it adds value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    Ok. I know I have a problem. The first step to recovery is to admit the problem. I'm a vintage tube amp addict! Here is my latest acquisition. Appears to be about 1952 Voice of Music Model 160 amp. Its not a guitar amp, but it looks like a good candidate. Here are the pics as it arrived.

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    Here's what you amp 'problem' reminds me of...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URSnFwRGw_I



    You came to the right place for help... if you never want to get better that is !


    THAT FUTURE GUITAR AMP LOOKS GOOD TO ME !

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    Last edited by HaroldBrooks; 02-18-2020 at 07:58 AM.
    " Things change, not always for the better. " - Leo_Gnardo

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    I can get a Jensen MOD for $35. Recone is $65. I can store the original Jensen away in the unlikely event it adds value.
    I've never tried the MOD, but I've read that it's designed for a very wide and flat frequency response for modeling amps that simulate different cabinet types. And that doesn't sound great to me for a basic toob amp. $65 bucks seems like a good price for what will basically be a new speaker. And if I'm right, the magnets are the same AND they recone with "r" parts you'd be getting what amounts to a new p10r for $65.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    $65 bucks seems like a good price for what will basically be a new speaker. And if I'm right, the magnets are the same AND they recone with "r" parts you'd be getting what amounts to a new p10r for $65.
    The P10S appears to be a 9 watt speaker. The amp according to the schematic is 8 watts. Seems it would be nice to have a little more margin above the amps power rating. Will R parts give the speaker more power handling.

    I have used the Jensen MOD in the past. No complaints at all.

    I started making those changes you recommend. I need to order the 2.2uf cap. The 1M and 47k resistors are in.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    The changes work in tandem, not individually. The operation of the tube is altered from grid leak to cathode bias. The 1.5k cathode resistor in place of the 4.7k will increase signal sensitivity at the input and run the tube at a higher idle current. This is when you need the 1M grid load resistor instead of the 4.7M that was in there. You could use any capacitor value over 470n for the capacitor parallel to the 1.5k cathode resistor. I think a value of 2.2u or smaller is best because there's really no high pass filtration like most guitar amps. A partial bypass on that stage will boost above a frequency dictated by it's value. Smaller = higher frequency knee. Anything over 3.3uf is basically all audible frequencies boosted.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigerzilly View Post
    The P10S appears to be a 9 watt speaker. The amp according to the schematic is 8 watts. Seems it would be nice to have a little more margin above the amps power rating. Will R parts give the speaker more power handling.
    More searching didn't reveal a direct comparison between the s and r models for the 10", but I did find the 12" s and r side by side in a catalog page. It's probable the the magnet on the p10s is smaller than the r, but the voice coil diameter is likely the same. So, putting r parts on the speaker (if that's what can happen) won't up it's output, but power handling is about heat. So I would think that the heavier gauge voice coil might up it's power rating. Also, modern adhesives do a lot for power handling too. But I'm no speaker expert. I can't actually find vintage catalog info on the p10r.?. It's interesting the a modern p10r is rated at 25W but the in the vintage catalog a p12r is only rated for 14W (the p12s is rated for 13W). With this info on hand I would have to guess that an actual vintage p10r was probably a 10W speaker (the p10s being rated at 9W). Not 25W like a modern p10r. But I don't know. But the point is that I don't think the wattage will be a problem. If four 10W p10r speakers could live in a cranked up Bassman I think your p10s will be fine in your amp. Especially considering any upgrade possible with the recone. But I'm out of my depth now.

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    I got the 2.2mf cap and finished the recommended mod to the input. Also got the new Jensen speaker. Its sounds really good. Only issue now is vibration from the handle on top of the speaker cabinet. That may have been what I was hearing when I decided to put in a new speaker.
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    I bought a roll of neoprene foam with adhesive on one side for my boat to seal the hatch. The extra has been serving me well for solving cabinet and chassis vibration issues. Works on the handle too.
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    I discovered the best reason for keeping the old speaker. The amp won't fit in the cabinet with the new speaker. The. 5Y3GT is bumping up against the new speaker magnet before the amp is slid all the way back in.
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    So back in with the old speaker. I doped up the rips and the outer edge of the cone. The new Jensen was louder and sounded good. The old P10S has early breakup with a more distinct sound. The handle rattle gave it the offensive noise. At least now the amp fits back in the cabinet as it should.
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    Last edited by tigerzilly; 03-10-2020 at 02:25 AM.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    The standard fix for cone tears is layers of tissue and water resistant carpenters glue. The fix for edge surrounds is the heaviest tissue you can get and rubber cement. You seem to have done well enough as it is. And yes, the speaker depth thing can be annoying. The last amp I sent off my bench has the 5y3 just slightly inside the gap of the speaker frame. I had to rotate the speaker a quarter turn to achieve this and fortunately the cone doesn't whack on the rectifier tube BUT... I knew this going in and I checked the mounting depth of the new speaker before purchase. Figuring it might come to that. So you live and learn.

    The MOD speaker is expressly said to NOT have a distinct tone. It's touted for modeling amps that include cabinet simulation so it's whole point is to have the frequency response to imitate most anything when certain frequencies are nulled rather than added. If you get my meaning. But people seem to like it well enough in several non modeling amps as well. Too bad it doesn't fit, but it's not a bad speaker to have on hand for a future project. So there's that.

    Glad you like the circuit changes.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Part question- part suggestion: Looking at your first post, I notice the chassis of the amp doesn't sit all the way back or flush with the rear of the cabinet. I'm attaching a picture to show the area I'm talking about. See the red dot. If you cut that board under the chasssis to allow the whole chassis to go back a bit so the face plate meets the rear of the cabinet, would that give you enough room for your new speaker? I obviously can't know without measuring, but it could be an option if it will work.

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    In other words, cut off that piece of wood on this line so that the chassis is further away from the speaker. Maybe that gets you enough room?

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    Last edited by The Dude; 03-10-2020 at 03:30 AM.
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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Or get one of those plug in solid state rectifiers, they are short. If all that is in the way is the recto tube...

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    And maybe find a way to touch up the paint loss (from cleaning?) of the VM logo

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

  34. #34
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Or get one of those plug in solid state rectifiers, they are short. If all that is in the way is the recto tube...
    Might also raise the B+ a bit and you may like the amp better. A couple of diodes soldered under the socket would be cheaper.

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    So you live and learn.

    Glad you like the circuit changes.
    I learned that the old speaker sounds pretty damn good! And yes I do like the circuit change. Thanks for taking the time to provide a revised schematic!

    I had a friend over today and I recorded him playing through the VM. He was loving the tone. Here are some clips.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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