The Dynaco Tube Audio Forum

Dedicated to the restoration and preservation of all original Dynaco tube audio equipment - Customer support for Dynaco VTA tube amp kits, all Tubes4hifi.com products and all Dynakitparts.com products


    Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Share

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:11 pm

    Here are two photos of my stereo with MontanaWay's new Big Bopper (I call 'em Bad Boys) amps, personally delivered this past weekend.
    They are beautifully built and wired, and the sound . . . what can I say? Makes your socks roll up and down.
    I will write a more detailed review but want to see if this post with the picture references work.






    audiobill

    Posts : 271
    Join date : 2014-03-13
    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by audiobill on Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:17 pm

    Beautiful amps and system!

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:45 pm

    Bill, thank-you. It's been 3 years and a gob of help from a lot of friends (the gang on this board) to git 'er done.
    Holger takes the M-125, or any other VTA amp or preamp, a step to the next level. And he's not ripping off the VTA/tubes4hifi gang. They work together. Granted, much of what he improves is aesthetic, but he's a fuss-budget about noise and his wiring and workmanship are impeccable. My M-125s came back better than when they left, and the biggest improvement (other than great looks) is the distance he puts between the back output tubes and the xformers. Definitely runs cooler.
    More later ...

    ramon68

    Posts : 83
    Join date : 2009-04-12
    Age : 75
    Location : naples fl

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by ramon68 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:10 pm

    Who's Holger?

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:12 pm

    ramon68 wrote:Who's Holger?
    He's MontanaWay on this board.

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2378
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by Bob Latino on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:15 pm



    David - Your "Holgerized" VTA M-125's look great ..

                         Bob

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:35 pm

    Bob Latino wrote:

    David - Your "Holgerized" VTA M-125's look great ..

                         Bob

    Thanks,
    You oughta hear them! My neighbours now listen to good music, whether they want to or not.
    Holger swapped out a few parts and put in the new driver boards (didn't realise I had the old iterations) and they run like a raped ape. He adds a bit of elegance to the whole package.
    Think I'm gonna stick with McShane's Russkie KT-120s and NOS GE or RCA drivers from now on.
    Upon audition, Art Pepper was literally in our lounge with his sax.
    This speaks to the quality of the M-125s. They are sturdy and utterly transparent amps. Thanks to Dave Hafler, and to guys like Bob, Roy and Holger for bringing them back to life.


    mantha3

    Posts : 298
    Join date : 2010-11-10

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by mantha3 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:46 pm

    Looks like a wood phono preamp and a wood preamp? What is the scoop on those two? I saw MontanaWay's thead when he was building these for ya. Set for life!


    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:58 pm

    mantha3 wrote:Looks like a wood phono preamp and a wood preamp?  What is the scoop on those two?  I saw MontanaWay's thead when he was building these for ya.  Set for life!

    Don't think you can go wrong with MontanaWay. His website is: http://www.tubenirvana.net/
    My woodie preamps arrived a bit noisy from other sources; Holger is a no-noise-and-distortion freak so they will be sent to him for an overhaul as time and money permit. Good guy.



    MontanaWay

    Posts : 767
    Join date : 2014-02-06
    Age : 58
    Location : Cameron, Montana

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by MontanaWay on Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:40 pm

    deepee99 wrote:
    mantha3 wrote:Looks like a wood phono preamp and a wood preamp?  What is the scoop on those two?  I saw MontanaWay's thead when he was building these for ya.  Set for life!

    Don't think you can go wrong with MontanaWay. His website is: http://www.tubenirvana.net/
    My woodie preamps arrived a bit noisy from other sources; Holger is a no-noise-and-distortion freak so they will be sent to him for an overhaul as time and money permit. Good guy.



    thank you David for the write up!
    The main thing is that you're happy with your re born M125's. I have to admit, they do sound amazing through your Vandersteen's!! cheers

    audiobill

    Posts : 271
    Join date : 2014-03-13
    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by audiobill on Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:22 pm

    Great work, Holger!

    gener8r

    Posts : 56
    Join date : 2012-04-28

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by gener8r on Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:27 pm

    Nice set up, but then again, I'm biased.

    Neither the SP14, nor the SP12, housed in the same mahogany cases, have any of the noise issues the SP13 does.  This based on a minimum of two builds of each model.  The SPs 12 and 14 are quiet in wood, without any special treatments, and the SP13 is not.  Why? Who knows as the only real difference between the SP13 and 14 are the tubes.  The circuit(s) and PCB layout(s) are pretty much the same between all three.   But its enough of a difference for one to be noisy and the other two to be quiet.  I am not investigating it any further or working with the SP13 in wood (repeat wood, not metal) any longer to try to find out or to try to quiet it down.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but I couldn't and that's using either the 6CG7 or the 6FQ7.  It's a shame too, as the SP13 has a richness of tone that is different than the SP14.  To the point that if I could have gotten it quiet the SP13 would be my preamp of choice.  From what I can tell the noise is inherent in that particular tube type.  It becomes too easy to just go with an SP14 in wood, as I'll take a black background over tonal richness if I have to choose between the two.  The SP14 wired for 12SN7s is IMO the first choice.

    SPs 12, 13 and 14 in eerily similar cases......




    MontanaWay

    Posts : 767
    Join date : 2014-02-06
    Age : 58
    Location : Cameron, Montana

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by MontanaWay on Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:32 pm

    gener8r wrote:Nice set up, but then again, I'm biased.

    Neither the SP14, nor the SP12, housed in the same mahogany cases, have any of the noise issues the SP13 does.  This based on a minimum of two builds of each model.  The SPs 12 and 14 are quiet in wood, without any special treatments, and the SP13 is not.  Why? Who knows as the only real difference between the SP13 and 14 are the tubes.  The circuit(s) and PCB layout(s) are pretty much the same between all three.   But its enough of a difference for one to be noisy and the other two to be quiet.  I am not investigating it any further or working with the SP13 in wood (repeat wood, not metal) any longer to try to find out or to try to quiet it down.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but I couldn't and that's using either the 6CG7 or the 6FQ7.  It's a shame too, as the SP13 has a richness of tone that is different than the SP14.  To the point that if I could have gotten it quiet the SP13 would be my preamp of choice.  From what I can tell the noise is inherent in that particular tube type.  It becomes too easy to just go with an SP14 in wood, as I'll take a black background over tonal richness if I have to choose between the two.  The SP14 wired for 12SN7s is IMO the first choice.

    SPs 12, 13 and 14 in eerily similar cases......




    your photo's are not visible.
    One solution to your SP13 is to use flexible adhesive copper sheets, available from craft suppliers. Line as many of the internal wooden surfaces with these sheets, then connect each sheet, individually, with a wire, to your ground, kind of creating a 'star ground'.
    In my wooden chassis', only the sides are wood, all plates are anodized aluminum, and each plate is connected to the star ground by its own wire, the above suggestion would pretty much copy that, and all my amps and preamps are dead quiet.

    gener8r

    Posts : 56
    Join date : 2012-04-28

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by gener8r on Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:54 pm

    I hate it when that happens, and I followed the directions for posting photos.  Oh well.
    You can link to them here:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/59541088@N08/6976814246/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/59541088@N08/9348161882/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/59541088@N08/8606079038/

    Mr. Montana:  Thanks for the suggestion, as Roy had suggested that too.  You do very nice work, and you more than others are probably aware of the amount of work that goes into case work.  I love your addition of the VU meter/gauge.

    The one thing I don't want to do is take away from the pure wood aesthetics as it appears on the outside viewed surfaces.  See Deepee99's cases.   I have since gone to a brass backing plate for the RCAs (grounded of course).  The addition of some copper plating/shielding certainly couldn't hurt.

    Deepee, those are some god awful knobs hiding the beautiful wood on that preamp's case............... Razz

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:31 am

    Hey, Gener8r, I paid good money for them Bakelite knobs. I like the Hallicrafters look.
    As to noise, my SP-13 survived the woody transformation just fine. It's the PH-16 that gives grief.


    Elrick

    Posts : 71
    Join date : 2012-09-02
    Location : Bellingham WA

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by Elrick on Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:15 am

    I'm a fan of big knobs. I have the same ones on my Hammarlund HQ170A, they are easier to use than the originals.

    I really like the idea of the M125's but would probably have to move out of the neighborhood or soundproof my entire house. For now I'm "settling" for a pair of Mark III's w/ the octal boards.

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:21 am

    Now we're talkin' Razz

    arledgsc

    Posts : 330
    Join date : 2012-11-30
    Location : SF Bay CA

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by arledgsc on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:05 pm

    Very nice setup! Enjoy!

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2378
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by Bob Latino on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:53 pm

    Elrick wrote:I really like the idea of the M125's but would probably have to move out of the neighborhood or soundproof my entire house. For now I'm "settling" for a pair of Mark III's w/ the octal boards.

    Remember that you can also use the VTA M-125's AS Mark III's by just using TWO output tubes per monoblock. You use one left and one right side output tube and bias the amp at .600 VDC instead of 1.200 VDC. Each amp will now have 65 watts available in ultralinear mode and about 35 watts available in triode mode. I would recommend using the two FRONT tube sockets because the tubes would probably run a little cooler with a further distance from the power transformer. Below is a photo showing the two output tube option on one of my VTA M-125 prototype amps. I can tell that they are the prototypes because the prototypes had the yellow driver board and the smaller 5 amp switches. All the production M-125's have the dark green driver board and the larger 10 amp switches.

    Bob



    audiobill

    Posts : 271
    Join date : 2014-03-13
    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by audiobill on Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:58 pm

    This is the way I use mine.

    Plenty of power, even in triode, lower tube cost, fewer parts in the path and I think way overspeced power and OP transformers run this way!

    All good.

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:21 pm

    audiobill,
    I have run my M-125s in the same configuration as you describe with quite satisfactory results as well, especially during hot weather. Like you, I prefer triode mode unless the neighbours want their windows replaced.
    One of the beauties of the "Holgerized" amps is that the tubes are spaced a bit further apart, and there is greater distance between the aft pair of outputs and the xformers, resulting in much, much lower heat back there. Also, with Holger's mod, he provides ventilation holes at the tube bases allowing for better ventilation for under the chassis as well as for the big tubes.
    Is there a sonic difference between stock M-125s and the Big Boppers? Not likely; I don't think Bob's/Roy's designs can be much improved upon, although Holger did upgrade my older driver boards so I can't exactly A:B things. What I can tell you is that Holger's layout is jaw-dropping beautiful, runs cooler, and his wiring "under the hood" is impeccably elegant. Well worth the bucks, IMHO.




    MontanaWay

    Posts : 767
    Join date : 2014-02-06
    Age : 58
    Location : Cameron, Montana

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by MontanaWay on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:00 pm

    if anybody likes the look of the woodies that I made fore Dave, I do offer this service to anyone. This offer also goes for ST70's and ST120's.
    And for members of this forum, I will give you a good deal.
    There are several styles of custom wooden chassis' available, from darker wood to lighter wood finish like Dave's, inside our outside chassis feet.
    I re use most of the components from your original steel M125, ST70 or ST120. If your M125 happened to have the original non CCS driver pcb, I will need to update yours to it, as the hole cutouts on the top panel will not suit the original driver pcb. I would think that most members here already have the correct VTA driver boards for the ST70 & ST120. I also do both noval and octal versions for the ST70 & ST120.
    You will get, with this service, new wooden chassis of your choice, left and right handed or whichever you prefer, new bronze anodized aluminum plates, new ceramic tube sockets, 4 & 8 OHM gold plated speaker posts, input either on the front panel or the rear of the top panel, (There is NO rear panel on my versions of the M125, but there is one for the ST70 & St120 versions) new power receptacle with the appropriate right angled power cord or straight one for the ST70 & ST120, retro VU meter, two on the ST70 & ST120, volume control, on/off switch with LED and a "WAIT" LED on the front panel.
    You will also get a new TDR, time delay relay, unless your M125, ST70 or ST120 happens to have one, then I'd use that.
    That "WAIT" LED is tied to the TDR, it goes on on power up, then after about 10s goes off, meaning B+ has now been applied to the driver tubes.
    Each amp will also have a mini cooling fan.
    Turn around is about 7-10 days.
    If you are interested, 'pm' me.

    audiobill

    Posts : 271
    Join date : 2014-03-13
    Location : Philadelphia

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by audiobill on Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:54 pm

    I think I'll put those bakelite knobs on my telecasters!

    zx

    Posts : 194
    Join date : 2011-08-05

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by zx on Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:07 pm

    Wood.
    It has a natural ability to absorb vibrational energy and diffuse it. In fact, that is one of the main jobs it is designed to do. It's cell structure is compliant and this shifting ability of it's cells allows it to turn vibrational energy into heat (friction) and dissipate it.
    Peter Gunn o-pins................

    Great work MontanaWay....thanks for the wood service,s...Killer look





    Thanks for the site Bob.................

    deepee99

    Posts : 1260
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by deepee99 on Tue Nov 18, 2014 4:12 pm

    zx wrote:Wood.
    It has a natural ability to absorb vibrational energy and diffuse it. In fact, that is one of the main jobs it is designed to do. It's cell structure is compliant and this shifting ability of it's cells allows it to turn vibrational energy into heat (friction) and dissipate it.
    Peter Gunn o-pins................

    Great work MontanaWay....thanks for the wood service,s...Killer look





    Thanks for the site Bob.................

    xz, You're right about the wood. It's just bloody beautiful, and the sound is perfection. The trick is, and MontanaWay has sussed,, is to build a sufficient ground-plane into the chassis. You can't ground to wood, so there has to be a lot of metal "under the hood" so to speak to keep noise and transients at bay.

    Sponsored content

    Re: Going woodie. MontanaWay's modified M-125s, the Big Boppers

    Post by Sponsored content Today at 11:17 pm


      Current date/time is Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:17 pm