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 Post subject: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:16 pm 
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I've done my research and really want to try a TC15 build for next amp. Haven't seen ANY here in BC in my travels but I'm sure their out there.

I'm set on building a Matchless style head or combo (tubes down controls up top - I'm tall) and using a 2x12 combo/cab. I might make the head width and cab height same so I can put vertical if I desire. Even if I go head and cab, I'd still like to go tubes down.

Is the faceplate available in this configuration? I'd hate to have to get one made as it will add cost.

Also curious if the chassis is available in a deeper configuration (if installing in 10.5" deep cab a 6" deep chassis will leave rear buried in cabinet). I see the Trinity 15 chassis used to be 9" deep if I read the forums right.

I'd hate to have to buy a chassis and faceplate from Ceritone or something and have to set aside perfectly good ones from Trinity. Duties and shipping are a turnoff too. Like to buy in Canada if I can.

I probably could have e-mailed for this info but thought others might be interested too.

Can't wait to build!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:45 am 
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I am a fairly tall guy (6’3) and the standard TC-15 head works for me.
The amp is in a head cab which is on a slightly oversized 112 cab. All of this is put on top of a covered milk crate. The milk crate just adds some height and gets the cab off the floor (this is a good thing). You see lots of studios have their amps setup like this.

With this setup the amp is more than high enough and visible for me.

Tubes up is better than tubes down also. Tubes down the tubes are subjected to more heat, vibration and stress. Your chassis will get much much hotter with the hot air rising up from the tubes as well. Also with the TC-15 you don’t want to subject the amp to more vibration as the EF86 is a fairly sensitive tube (that’s why you don’t see combo amps).
If you do go tubes down you will need a custom faceplate and you’ll have to modify the layout of the amp., both expensive and not a recipe for success.

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:46 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback especially from another tall player. I almost always play standing up.

I may have to rethink the tube down thing. I sometimes get an idea in my head and won't let go. I didn't take the potential microphonics of the EF86 into account as I have never owned an amp with one but I am most likely going to build a head and cab.

The height may be from my bass playing history (I play both) and the fact I'm used to a head on an 8x10 cab.

Tubes up does make sense for heat. By the looks of the layout and the guitar inputs on the right hand side however it looks very much like the chassis was designed for tube down however and was curious if I could pull it off or if there were options. I am very handy with wood as well and it would be different. The right hand guitar input kind of bugs me for some reason.

There are some nice heads in the pics especially Stephen's black one with silver piping! Nice and compact. and would sit nice on a 2x12 built the right height turned on its side (more for at home in music room or on tight stage).

I believe that an amp should also look like a class act and not just a piece of hardware like my bass rig (otherwise just paint it black and put a black steel screen on front. Ugly).

I would like to buy everything in Canada too!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:44 pm 
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Tubes down works fine and havent had an issue or concern expressed so far. Use a good EF86 for microphonics. Chassis are one size 6" deep for a combo, tubes down. Even hanging a head chassis like the Matchless & others do, chassis would be 6.5" deep but a custom flipped over faceplate is required. We did make a 10" deep chassis but there was a whole lot of wasted space so we downsized.
There are some TC15s in BC, but I think all heads. (one of the original 15 combo in Chiliwack) but heads seems to be the popular choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Thanks for the info. Knowing what is available helps a lot.

I'm going to check with my local sign/decal shop on Monday to see if they can make plates for me. They have made plastic/plexi labels with engraved letters for me before for equipment and the guy there is pretty creative. Different colours too.

I think I've settled on building a head and cab but my OCD still says (nothing against your nice design) inputs should start on left. Just me. If I can get a plate made I'm going to build what I think will be a pretty nice and slightly different looking TC15!

Looking for places in Can. to get tolex, grill cloth etc. Found Steamco (Winnipeg I think) site but is there any other options here in Canada that anyone else has dealt with? Building everything other than the amp kit is a little more interesting trying to source stuff!

Itching to get this thing built and played!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Quote:
but my OCD still says (nothing against your nice design) inputs should start on left.


If you flip it and hang it upside down, tubes down, and get a panel, you will have your inputs on the Left Side.

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Local shop said they could make up plates so I think I'll give it a shot. Should be pretty cool so I'll be ordering soon. Thanks for the feedback!

I'll try to post some pics as I go so you can see what I'm up to just in case anyone else is interested.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:22 pm 
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OK...Put the rectifier tube in and checked voltages. Good.
Intalled the tubes. Had to get solder out of one terminal for EF86. That sucked.
Wired up 8ohm speaker in my old Backstage Plus and plugged into speaker output.
Powered up and slowly turned all the knobs and listened for funny noises and smells.
Plugged in guitar cable and touched across other end of cables while diddling with knobs.

Plugged in guitar...and played for an hour. I switched channels, jumped them together turned amp on and off a few times and the only problem I had was twice a scratchy popping thing that only went away after turning standby switch off. I think it might have been one of the terminals on the speaker and never came back. I'll check again tomorrow.

Amp sounds great and just like I wanted it to. The Crunch/Munch switch makes it kinda like two amps in one. I put a switch pot on Ch. 2 for the boost switch instead of back and glad I did as it makes quite a difference. As long as that noise doesn't reapper I'm very happy with the product and my assembly so far. Love that EF86 channel!

On to the cabinet.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:36 am 
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Congrats on the unique build. How about a picture ?

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:50 pm 
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I'll get a chassis pic for you as soon as I get the faceplate from the sign guy so you can see How that turned out.

My wiring isn't quite as pretty as some pics I've seen (Kudos to those guys) but I was careful of what went where next to who and the amp is pretty quiet so far.

Mine is the black board and is great to work with the turrets but they do seem to need more heat so you have to be careful but the wires on the bottom don't come unsoldered when you solder into the top which is a bonus.

I also broke into the circuit on both channels before thr PI caps and put in the stereo switching jacks I bought from Stephen to make an effects loop for each channel (maybe for reverb). I haven't tried them yet but Stephen send me some extra shielded cable as I received too short a piece in the original shipping and I was able to use the extra to run shielded wire to the jacks as they have to run across everything.

You also have to be careful of the way you do the components on the 6way switch as they get close to the ground bus and turrets on the board so no big loopy bends on that. As always, measure twice, cut once!

I'll be starting cabinet work today and I build a simple jig for doing finger joints out of scrap wood so I'll take some pics of that process too once I figure out how to post pics.

Back to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:10 am 
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Here's pictures of chassis almost finished and new faceplate ($25.00 cash at local sign shop - he got it fairly close) and cab in process. Tolex. grillcloth and speakers should be here by weekend so we'll see how it goes. Never tolexed before but how bad can it be!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Here it is. Sorry, pictures are sad. Not a super original design but I really wanted a 2x12 combo that I could carry with one hand. Cab is some 3/4" weird 9 ply plywood from 40 year old kitchen cabinets I had but was straight, flat and voidless (I tapped every piece) and has what I think is a nice firm woody sound. Finger jointed and braced so should handle 2 12" speakers and some lugging around.

Still need to put a rear plate of some sort instead of duct tape labelling and am going to put speaker switching inputs etc. but is in the house and working great! Tolex is tricky but doable and learned a lot just by doing it.

Put a WGS Reaper and WGS Green Beret in parallel at 4ohms and they are sounding great together. Should get even better as they break in. They compliment each other nicely across all the different tones and one doesn't really outperform the other.

Cab dimentions 27"w x 19.5"h x 9"d. (Matchless Lightning 2x12 size I think). Total assembled weight - 51 pounds. Not bad for a tube 2x12 I thought and about as heavy as a full jerry can of gas.

Most importantly it sounds great! It can be pretty loud if you want it to but it doesn't HAVE to be sizzling to get decent sound especially for clean stuff. Playing in my 24x24 garage with 10' ceilings the sound just seems to come from everywhere in a good way. That's why myself I'll take an open back 2x12 any day.

I'm glad I put a switched pot for channel 2 boost on volume pot as I think it would be a pain in back as much as I have been using it. Besides, that's where I put the FX jacks!

I switched the cap on ch. 1 volume but changed it back so amp is pretty much out of the box. I isolated the EF86 mounting a bit with some CAT o-rings I had lying around and so far no rattles, put the FX loops in and put the boost switch on the ch. 2 volume pot and left the rest alone. The amp is fine the way it is as you buy it. I'm quite happy with chosing this amp. I'm actually a more accomplished bass player and with just the Reaper (G12H30 copy) hooked up it makes a good low volume bass practice amp too!

Thanks to Stephen and Trinity amps who were so good to deal with. I hope I did your product justice with my build!

Now for reverb... :hmmm:


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Great job . Total package looks good!

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:49 am 
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OK. Now the followup. Amp is working great.
Probably a no brainer but tubes have been the issue. EHX EF86 - rattles like crazy. Decent sound though! Went to and RTF EF86. Better tone to my ears but rattled too eventually. I did build a 2x12 combo so no surprise. I found however, like others I'm sure, if you quit focusing on it and just play it and listen to the tones you get over it. Once your jamming or with a group you don't even care. That's where you hear the magic. Sucks a little quiet or alone but I did brace the corners of the alluminum chassis, shring tubed and o-ringed the tube and it toned a lot of the rattle down.

The output tubes were JJ's and they sound great but one rattles. Haven't replaced them yet as i just try to play it but this amp is to me all about the combination of preamp and output together. Otherwise I would have built a 30 or 50w amp. It's very hard to ignore output tube rattle and noise so once that stops I can stop obsessing and will sound better miked.

That aside, once the speakers 'warmed up' or 'broke in' whatever you want to call it this thing sings! I built a combination A-B-Y switch (gotta have channel switching) with a modified boost/distortion loosley based on an electra distortion/LB2 booster (only one transistor so real raw classic sounding) and I can get just about anything I need out of this amp.

I posted the pics before I put the piping and a nice chrome strip on so here's the finished ones for those interested. Better at guitar than photography.

Recommendations - if you don't want to deal with some of the rattle noise - build a head. For real portability build a 1x12 but for me I like the mixmatched 2x12 speakers and combo. It's worth the little extra weight and size to get the full effect and still be one hand-one trip. Jammed with a guy with an AC-30 the other day. Struggled a bit to keep up but that thing was stupid heavy for the difference and I liked the tone on the TC15 better. I think he may have too!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:42 am 
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Thanks for the follow up. We have built some combos and used NOS EF86 that didn't rattle. Also put o rings on them which helped. Might be worth trying a rubber mount ef86 socket!
Happy the tone is good!

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:55 pm 
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I built the EF86 socket isolated pretty well with an o-ring and grommets around machine screws etc. before I finished (kind of homemade rubber mount) as I was getting a rattle even at the chassis on the bench stage and made a bit of difference but didn't fix it. The second tube (RTF) was fine for a bit and sounded great to me but I think maybe those speakers pounding on it made it angry and it started to rattle too. Put thick shrink tube, rubber and silicone o-rings and even went so far as to use RTV silicone in rings around them until they looked ridiculous like a rocket ship from the Jetsons to no avail.

I was kinda anticipating some issues just from research on EF86's but didn't want to spring for any more tubes until I was sure amp was performing well otherwise. Problem is once youv'e gotten used to the EF86 sound you just can't give up on it. Really sounds great driven or with some fuzz too!

The Tube Store has lots of options but trial and error with tubes can get pricey.

What tubes (not that I'd hold you to it if I have different luck) have you had the best luck with if you don't mind. Not looking to start a tube thread as there are many discussions out there already. Just looking for a place to maybe start from someone who I know is dealing with 'my' amp.


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:51 pm 
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Since I've played the hell out of the amp for awhile now and gotten accustomed to dealing with playing EF86 tubes until they fizz out. I've decided to play with tweaking the EF86 channel a bit. I love and depend on the 12AX7 channel but really want to take advantage of the EF86 cleaner tones as well.

I'm considering changing the resistor values from 330K/2Meg down to a more traditional 220K/1Meg or a middle road 270K/1.5Meg to pull some of the gain out and clean things up a bit. I'm not really excited about changing anything else but would this require a change back in the PI voltage diviter resistors back to 220K/100K for balancing? Would a volume pot value change, in theory, make any difference?


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:52 am 
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Better to mess around with the plate and screen resistors like you were thinking, remember to change the plates coupling cap to the appropriate value if changing the plate resistor.

Changing the volume will affect the frequency of the response of the channel as well but has little control of the overall gain.

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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Thanks for info. I haven't figured the coupling cap value yet but that shouldn't be hard.

I was kind of curious if the PI resistors for voltage divider were adjusted from previous versions to balance volume due to the high gain nature of this channel or if it was for some other reason. I didn't want the channel to get 'more quiet and tamer' if I pulled some of the gain out. I'm looking to get more of a 'sister channel' to channel 2 rather than extreme overdrive. I have hot humbuckers and boost/distortion going in and even to the low gain input its a bit much for what I'm looking for.

I can always change it back if I miss it!


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 Post subject: Re: Tube down TC15 Build
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:30 pm 
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In fact, the resistors were adjusted from previous versions to balance volume of both channels .

For EF86 tubes we've used new old stock Amperex with great luck. I haven't tried some of the new EF 86 but it would be nice if they were not microphonic. You can actually reduce the 25 µF bypass To help minimize the effects of the microphonics.

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