AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

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steamboat
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AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by steamboat » Sat May 30, 2015 8:08 pm

Does anyone have an AD15 or AD30 from 1998-2004 that upgraded to mercury magnetics transformers both OT & PT?

I keep hearing about how they used transformers that weren't all that great. And from about 2006 on orange upgraded to different transformers that are better.

I have a 2008 ad30TC with the new transformers that i think sounds great but I also have a 1999 AD30 single channel that I think sounds just as good if not better and that has the old transformers.

Anyway I'm wondering if anyone has replaced both there Transformers and was it worth spending the $300-$500 usd to do so?

Thanks
Last edited by steamboat on Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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a.hun
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by a.hun » Sun May 31, 2015 12:01 pm

I can't prove it - only you can - but I strongly suspect that if you did upgrade the AD30 single channel with MMs it'd sound like a million dollars.

The transformers (especially the OT) are the beating heart of any valve amp. People usually underestimate their contribution of the OT to the general sound and dynamics. I think it is huge. If I ever blew the OT on any of my older amps (my Orange, Hiwatt, Vox heads) I'd be gutted.

While there was nothing 'wrong' with the transformers used in the earlier ADs they certainly weren't the best ever. Upgrading them, while not cheap, should definitely take it to another level IMO.


Andy.
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irish_admiral
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by irish_admiral » Sun May 31, 2015 6:34 pm

I had an AD30R that I did the upgrade on from the Trace era, although I fitted a Demeter tranny rather than a MM one.

I chatted to Ade about it before doing so, and whilst he said there wasn't much difference between the MM and Demeter (ie. just a shade of flavouring that you would otherwise be able to achieve tweaking something else in the amp or signal chain), upgrading to either from the stock was a bit of a hike up in quality. Certainly my AD was a bit more open and musical sounding afterwards... a bit more lively.

Worth thinking about... the Demeter tranny was fairly cheap as I got it direct from Orange. Not sure i'd pay out for the MM unless you've got a lot of spare cash: it didn't tick the box on my value vs. quality increase over the stock because of what you had to pay, whilst the Demeter was 99% as good (apparently) and a lot more affordable. Worked for me before I downsized to an AD15 with a Heritage G12H in.

Hey... my 18,000th post...!
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by bclaire » Sun May 31, 2015 8:51 pm

Just out of curiosity, Joe, did you leave everything else the same at that time or did you replace tubes?

a.hun
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by a.hun » Sun May 31, 2015 10:20 pm

irish_admiral wrote:Hey... my 18,000th post...!
Congrats on that Joe and welcome back. Nice to 'see' you again. :D


Andy.
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by irish_admiral » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:04 pm

Thanks Andy, been getting on with life and watching my daughter grow up!

Hey Bill... I swapped the OT out first but left everything else the same initially to do a bit of an A/B comparison, so that's where my impressions came from. At various times, i'd swapped the power valves to Harma E84L (slightly cleaner than EL84), and the speakers to Celestion Century Vintage. The preamp valves... I just had a bagful and played around with whatever I liked at the time! I normally went with the cleaner sounding ones, as the amp had plenty of gain for me.

That being said, with the AD15 i've got now (Bink's old amp, after he moved to the US), i've got a Tung Sol ECC83 in, which I like.

Have always had a GE rectifier valve in either amp - watched a Harma one arc out and die the other day, but the GE one just keeps on going.
Joe

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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by bclaire » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:58 pm

Ahh... well, that's good to know. I suspect that most of the time people who replace their transformers also tend to do a retube at the same time which could amount to the majority of the differences they hear.

My amp tech is suspicious of a lot of claims although he has an account with MM - if it's bigger built than maybe but most of the time he's not convinced that there's much of an audio improvement... He's really skeptical when it comes to the places that will 'bake' your transformer to make it sound better. :mrgreen:

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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by Thinline_slim » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:53 pm

a.hun wrote:
irish_admiral wrote:Hey... my 18,000th post...!
Congrats on that Joe and welcome back. Nice to 'see' you again. :D


Andy.
No kidding, welcome back Joe!


Not and AD15 or AD30 but I went with the MM transformer upgrade for my Tiny Terror. I believe it made a pretty big difference and I liked the difference. I picked up a TT combo that was pretty cheap and compared it and the head with the MM transformers side by side. I'd say they broadened the sound spectrum but it's been a long time since I did the comparison and now the combo has the MM transformers too.
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by Bink » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:50 pm

irish_admiral wrote:Thanks Andy, been getting on with life and watching my daughter grow up!

Hey Bill... I swapped the OT out first but left everything else the same initially to do a bit of an A/B comparison, so that's where my impressions came from. At various times, i'd swapped the power valves to Harma E84L (slightly cleaner than EL84), and the speakers to Celestion Century Vintage. The preamp valves... I just had a bagful and played around with whatever I liked at the time! I normally went with the cleaner sounding ones, as the amp had plenty of gain for me.

That being said, with the AD15 i've got now (Bink's old amp, after he moved to the US), i've got a Tung Sol ECC83 in, which I like.

Have always had a GE rectifier valve in either amp - watched a Harma one arc out and die the other day, but the GE one just keeps on going.
I miss that AD15. May have to try and search out another one here in the US...
Chris
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by Janglin_Jack » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:37 pm

I had a Rockerverb Head a while back and I changed the Demeter transformers in favor of the Mercury. What I remember was the Mercury changed the feel of the amp, a little stiffer. I remember it having more of a hi fi clarity. So it was not better just different. I preferred the Demeter in the rockerverb. What is really funny, is when I brought it to band rehearsal my band mates noticed a difference. When I told them I changed transformers, the agreed they liked it the way it was before with the Demeters.

So is it worth changing? I think the answer is it depends. I use Mercury Magnetics in my Marshalls and Fenders I built and really like them. I have noticed you have to get the right transfer. I used 3 different OT in a JTM45 until I found the magic one. They all impart a character and feel to the tone.

Good Luck
Mike
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by fiveightandten » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:01 pm

There are some good comments in here. Something to keep in mind is that how you use the amp will affect how you view a transformer swap.

People who are using the amp well below its volume potential will likely report a minimal change, or maybe report none at all. The guy that cranks his amp up with the master on 10 will notice the most difference, as the transformer is saturating at those volume levels, and therefore coloring the sound most and its dynamic reaction is the most prominent then.

People using lot of pedals or tons of pre-amp gain will notice transformer coloration less. People using minimal gain and no pedals will notice it the most. Also, some guitars have more top end or more bottom end than others. So at the far reaches of the frequency range, the transformer swap may be changing things that some people hear, and others don't.

So, on one side of things you have a guy with a Les Paul who is playing his AD30 with the master on 3 and the pre-amp gain on 10...he has an overdrive pedal in there dirtying things up, and he's running a compressor and a fuzz that he uses from time to time.

On the other side of things, you have a guy with a Tele who is playing the amp with the master on 10, and the pre-amp gain on 3. He's going straight into the input of the amp.

Those 2 people will report completely different experiences from a transformer swap.

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Les Paul Lover
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by Les Paul Lover » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:34 pm

This will be near on topic.......

I recently bought a 2nd AD15.
Both amp sounded VERY GOOD. But the new amp to me did sound even better. Thinking it was the valves, I elapsed them from one amp to the other. First EL84, then ECC83, then GZ34.

Each of the swaps brought the amps to near equality. So I swapped the valves again...... And again, the new amp to me sounded much better.

So the components themselves made the sound difference. It was pretty impressive to see how much of an impact electrical components can have on the overall tone of the amp.

That new to me AD15 is actually an early run AD15, I think 1St year of production or so. I'm wondering if there's basis in the old rumour that the AD15 was too costly to produce, and if the later ones might have had inferior components to cut the costs down.
In any case, the lesser AD15 that was in my possession really impressed the buyer I sold it to.... And for good reason. It still sounded fantastic. Just not quite as good as the other one.

The point of this post.... Is to say that if regular components can change the tone..... Why transformers wouldn't???
Ant

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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by Bensnake » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:40 pm

Hey Steamboat! Did you go for an MM? :)
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Re: AD15 & AD30 anyone using mercury Transformers?

Post by steamboat » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:40 am

:D I have not yet done the MM mod yet. For a few reasons i guess. First it's not cheap! basically half the price i paid for the amps. second, I enjoy the current tone the amps are putting out so why change it, but my curiosity wants to try it out! And maybe it's just me being weird but the amps I have are really low serial number amps and I guess I'd like to leave them stock for the collector side of things i guess. But who knows maybe the transformers would add value? I replaced the speakers in them cause I love the celestion g12h speakers compared to the V30's, but that's an easy mod to put back without having to actually modify or solder Anything on the amp chassis. I really do want to try it though. Are you thinking about doing the mods at all?
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