| 2006/07/06 | Last update: 2021/05/18

Archive - Old Newlistings and News Briefs

Archive of when new amp items and articles were added, News Briefs, editorials. (latest on top)

Note: external links in this archive are not updated and may be broken.

RIP Roly Roper, 1949-2016

Dateline: 22/02/2016

Friends of

Sadly, Roly Roper, creator of this wonderful repository of wisdom has 'shuffled off this mortal coil' early on Saturday morning, 20/02/2016, peacefully with his faithful companion Bev at his side. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year, it had spread, and he had a bad reaction to a hopeful new drug.

He has been an inspiration to me since my twenties (I'm 65), and has probably distilled more of his character and knowledge into a website than anyone. If we collectively contribute to it to keep it current, it is probably as close to 'living forever' as we dare hope.

There will be no funeral, and in a month or so a wake will be arranged. It would be a good opportunity for a few GearHeads to get together, even better if a 'show&tell' of some AVA100* 'Lamington' builds, or other projects inspired by could happen.

Greg Hall

Please see the AGGH forum thread for original announcement and for discussions.

AVA Mantenance Transfer

Dateline: 27/07/2015

Maintenance of AVA has been transferred to Stephen Bruce, as Roly's health prevents him from continuing. Over the next few months I will be applying the pending updates. Please be patient. Only this index page and the submission details have been updated so far.

Moved: 01:45 31/01/2014

Bill Putt

Dateline: 8/8/13

Bill Putt
(Pic: The Age)

It is with great sadness we record the passing of Bill Putt, bass guitarist with some of the most influential bands in Australian music history, most notably Spectrum, Ariel, and Indelible Murtceps, and was performing right up until his death this week of a heart attack while chopping wood.

Melbourne AmpFest 2013

Dateline: Aug 2013

The Aussie Guitar Gear Heads AmpFest this year was held at Pony Music studios in Hallam, Vic.

There was a great turn out of both gear and people, and a slideshow of pix can be seen on my Photobucket album.

Moved: 18:25 5/08/2013


Dateline: March 2013

While the entire contents of this site is automatically copyright to me under Australian law simply because it's here, I generally take a pretty relaxed attitude to questions of copyright, abstraction, quoting, hot-linking to images and so on.

On the copyright page release is given for personal use, and for use on other sites with the simple condition that credit is given with a link to AVA. Considering that this site is done for the love of it I don't think that is much to ask.

Material that has been submitted is also copyright to those who sent it in, so when sombody set up a website that made wholesale use of material lifted from this site without giving any credit for where it was obtained it wasn't surprising that my e-mail inbox started running hot.

The entirely avoidable and unfortunate outcome of stirring up this hornets nest in the Australian amp community was that the offending website was taken down. Avoidable because simply providing the requested credit and link would have settled the matter, and unfortunate because the site in question had some valuable contributions to make, but matters were taken out of my hands and followed their own course to this logical conclusion.

The full story for those who are interested can be found on a thread on AGGH, here.

AVA Malware Intrusion

In December AVA suffered a couple of intrusions of malware in the form of a Javascript that redirected visitors to a site where they may have been infected, possibly with ransomware.

My thanks to Warner in NZ for spotting these and warning me, and to our host SysOp Andrew_K for quickly correcting the problems, and apologies to anyone adversely effected.

We are pretty sure we know how they got in and have plugged the hole. AVA does not use Javascript anywhere and if you think something is happening that shouldn't, such as an unexpected redirection, please e-mail me straight away.

Moved: 18:06 22/03/2013

Internet Censorship

Dateline: March 2010
Mid 2011 Optus and Telstra agreed to block backlisted URL's.
Along with various new draconian Copyright laws this is still an ongoing issue.

The Australian Federal Government is proceeding with
the introduction of Web censorship by ISP Filtering.

I protest. As the legally responsible operator of the Australian Valve Amplifiers website I have been watching this development with growing concern, and finally alarm. AVA carries material that is being swept up in this proposed new law, graffitti, unauthorised copyright (everywhere), and a banned commentry.

I have written two articles on this issue;
“A gold-plated Government tool of the First Order” - ACMA Blacklist leaks, and issues arising.
“Making The Internet Safe” - a response. - An examination of proponents arguments, the content in question, and how they relate to Web reality.

Please express your views to Prime Minister Julia Gillard; Minister for Communications Senator Stephen Conroy; Opposition Leader Tony Abbott; Independent Senators Nick Xenophon, Steve Fielding(who?); and your local member.

13/12/10: In solidarity with WikiLeaks. The only good politician is an uncomfortable one.

Moved: 19:56 24/08/2012

Site Update

Dateline: April 2012

The long overdue site update is now in progress, trying to clear the backlog of submissions that have accumulated. A large part of the reason for this delay is that your scribe has been distracted by trying to get something rational done to prevent future flooding after the triple whammy that hit north-central Victoria over the summer of 2010-11.

I regret to report that more than a year of quite intense effort has come to nought and, in a resolution that would satisfy Sir Humphrey Appleby, we are having affordable levee banks foisted on us that will clearly only make matters worse, while the real nub of the problem, the two road bridges in town have been consigned to the too hard and too expensive basket. It is an ill wind that blows no good, and this unsatisfactory resolution of the flood works situation means that normal service will now be resumed here at AVA.

Submission Changes

Dateline: April 2012

Due to finally going Broadband some of the previous requests for limiting the size of submissions have been considerably relaxed. Also Yahoo Mail now has a feature that allows multiple e-mail attaches to be packed into a Zip file before downloading, so that request is now redundant. The How To Submit page has been modified to reflect these changes.

Speaker Cabinets

Dateline: April 2012

I want to draw particular attention to the new cabinets page. This covers the basic properties of different types of speaker enclosures used in stage work, but also includes the Fane “Loudspeaker Enclosure Design and Construction” book cut into a series of PDF files for easy download.

This book is a little gem for anyone wanting a wide range of speaker cabinet designs ranging from a simple 1x12 right up to arena PA bins. The first section in particular contains construction tips useful to anyone new to speaker cabinet construction, and a section on the use of bins for PA that every aspiring mixer and soundie should read.


Dateline: April 2012

We now have a Favicon favicon.ico. This should appear in your page tabs, toolbars, browser favorites, etc, next to the AVA entry to help you find it quickly.

Thick Marketeers

Dateline: April 2012

I've had a number of e-mails of late from people offering me amps, parts, articles, and website services. In each case they have obviously got no further than the site name, because if they had they wouldn't have wasted their time writing to an obviously non-commercial site. One would think that the .ORG domain would be a clue, but they are either profoundly optimistic, or profoundly thick.

Moved: 17:26 11/04/2012

We're Seven

Dateline: July 2011

Birthday time again and July marks AVA's seventh year on line, time for a bit of reflection. Seven's a bit of a nothing number really, odd, prime, but not a major milestone like 10 (double figures), 13 (teens), 18 (can drive, drink, and vote), or 21 (adulthood).

But in InterWeb terms seven years old is almost ancient, and AVA has certainly seen a bit in that time. We've been dumped by ISP's through no fault of our own, and as a result grown a backup mirror thanks to Gavin Vance at Valvolux, left our Elands home and become a dot ORG, now kindly hosted thanks to Andrew Krespanis.

The worldwide panic during our last extended outage gave me an insight into what the site has come to mean to many guitarists and amp techs, and you can be assured that I have no intention of letting AVA fold while there is still user interest.

AVA has put on a quite a bit of weight since the early days, now with around eighty amp marques listed, over 260 pages covering countless models, more than 260 megs of stuff including over 2000 photos of “amp pawn”, and hundreds of circuits.

And it's all down to you, the site users who have made AVA what it is with your submissions. New amp names have tapered off a lot, suggesting we are getting closer to a full listing of all era amps, but new names are still popping up (and we're currently looking for any info on “IW” amps).

AVA is only part of a healthy and growing valve guitar amp scene; ANZamps and AGGH forums, new Ampfests popping up, commercial web sites that range from excellent to outstanding, Grant Wills “Lamington” Amp Schools, and more and more individuals having a go at building their own stomps and amps.

Your e-mails show no sign of slackening and continue to run about 1000 per year with news of your finds, refurbs, new builds, site bug reports and corrections (which are always most welcome), or just to say “Hi” and thanks for the site.

And, of course your questions. If there is one thing I continue to really enjoy it's the wide range of technical questions that daily arrive from newbies through to experienced repairers stuck on a curly one.

So here's to many more, and to you, the users - cheers.

Circuit Bin

Dateline: 6/6/11

Out from down behind the filing cabinet...

The new Circuit Bin is for all those circuits that have been gleened, scanned or sent, that don't fit elsewhere, like imported amps and stomps that are part of the everyday working life of the audio technician. This is not intended to be exhaustive, but to present representative examples.

I am also putting up some more technical material on the Farfisa Transicord, and Transicord Deluxe electronic piano-accordions. This includes material on how vintage organs work and some guidelines to repairing combo and console organs.

AVA/Lamington amp builds show no signs of slackening with almost all of them showing some circuit variation or builders touch. These are players amps designed to put the player back in control of their sound. To make it as easy to change your tonestack as to change your strings. The AVA/Lamington designs now cover from Mini Lamington to the Lamington-II 50 watter. So far there is a lot of happy noodling on new builds, confirming these amps have a very high get-go-ability even in the hands of inexperienced builder.

Moved: 00:23 30/06/11

E-mail issues

Dateline: 12/5/11

Firstly, what with a quadrella of floods at my doorstep, and a dislocated shoulder, things at AVA have been even more chaotic than usual.

One result is that some of your e-mails have been overlooked, so if you have written in the past few months and haven't yet received a reply please write again.

Secondly, I've received reports of some abusive posts made in my name.

If you have noticed any such post I would welcome your report.

After seven years on-line and over 7000 e-mails I suppose one fixated nutcase with an imaginary axe to grind must be expected, but for everyone else your submissions and questions continue to be a wonderful journey of discovery and I thank you all for the experience.

Sony bungles - Again - and Again!

Dateline: 27/4/11 update 12/5

When Sony stuff up, they really do it Big Time.

A while back Sony managed to virus an estimated 44 million computers of their paying customers worldwide in the name of CD copy protection with XCP. Then it was discovered that XCP was itself built using stolen code!

XCP logo

Now they appear to have lost control of the entire 77 million PlayStation Network client database, 750,000 Australian, containing full details including credit card numbers. Then they gave the intruders almost a week head start before issuing a media release. (*)

It's possible likely this could be a hack in revenge for a law suit Sony is running against a code-hacker who broke their gaming console copy-protection. As far as I can gather the console originally was able to run other Operating Systems such as Linux, but Sony removed this capability post-facto during a software “update”, which this code-hacker found a way of restoring.

This trend for manufacturers to try and maintain control over equipment you buy is odious, and all the more so when they remove original functionality such as OtherOS. It's not too hard to imagine a software upgrade to an effects pedal or modern guitar amp with DSP effects removing functionality, and that's what I would call “theft”.

Call me paranoid if you like, but I can't help wondering how many of our software dependent appliances have an actual "failure" timer or counter. Certainly some printer cartrages seem to have this dubious "feature". How many lap top battery management systems are limited by software and not actual battery condition? What assumptions are behind the software deciding a very expensive battery pack (and often therefore the lap top itself) is dead? Beware the Moral Appliance.

Even if it is “only” the Russian mafia about to unleash another Global Financial Crisis, it's another, and this time very public, humiliation for Sony.

There were several lessons in the XCP fiasco but it appears that Sony hasn't learned anything. The future lies in Open Systems and a workable alternative to Copyright, but this futurist company is still rooted firmly in the past.

All attempts at closing systems are exposed to a worldwide community of code and hardware hackers who consider such locks to be an intellectual challenge like a crossword. Heavy-handed legal attempts to defend these locks, themselves widely seen as unjust, is only a massive incentive to this community.

Anon mask

There was something in Sony's XCP code that spoke volumes; they left embedded copyright messages in the code they stole (never mind the supreme irony of XCP being created to prevent theft of their Intellectual Property).

This was due to lack of management supervision, perhaps due to lack of project management skills. It looked like about four actual programmers and a huge clueless management superstructure created XCP.

Good one Sony. May emus kick down your dunny.

Currently there are some other strange things happening in code-space; US authorities hacked a bot-net and made it self destruct; the viral attack directed at hardware controllers in the Iranian nuclear programme has now been repeated; the struggling new Melbourne Miki ticketing system is 1.5 Giga-dollars and still counting; researchers in the US have found a way of taking total control of a car CAN buss via Bluetooth, and a friend had the strange experience of phoning himself via Bluetooth in a nearby vehicle.

At AVA our first Brave New Digital Age DGTEC Set Top Box suffered software meltdown and went back, and the replacement model flips the up/down bottons depending on which menu you are in.


A power failure to a scanner at Melbourne airport required the re-scanning of 2500 travellers, throwing airline timetables into chaos. Now credit card companies are faced with millions of users wanting their exposed credit cards stopped and new cards issued. Such are the risks of highly geared systems.

The saying “water is wet, rocks are hard, and software has bugs” takes on new meaning as software continues to creep into critical systems such as airliners and trains. Musicians experience this effect when their multi-function stomp or MIDI box “goes mental” on them in the middle of a number. It's a good argument for keeping your setup as simple as possible.

* (12/5/11) It now appears that Sony is under sustained attack with other elements of their networks being hacked, the number of compromised clients now topping 100 million, and some client data being published to give lie to Sony's claims that the intruders didn't get anything of value.

While it appears that Sony and not its clients are the target, anyone who has supplied personal data to any of Sony's net operations should pay special attention to their credit card records, and would be wise to assume their accounts have been hacked.

Moved: 22:49 18/05/11

December 2010 Goldentone recovery identified (p), Vase Hybrid 100 (p), Rex BA600 (p), Gunn 100 (p), (Teisco) (p,c) Lenard GB-100 (p), (Yamaha) TA-20, (PE100, TS90)(p), Vadis ET-20 (p,c), LB60 (p),
November 2010 Challenge (original, p), Coronet (c), Diason (p), Maton, 1947 (p), Overeem PA100 (p), Scion 8003 (p), Electravox Mini (c,p), ET8 Escort (p), Eminar (p, serials), Fhone (p), Fisonic (p),
October 2010 AmpsInAction7 (p), Lamington-II update (c), AVA106 Red Roaster (p,c), AVA101 Mini-Lamington (p,c), Vadis 408R, 250R (p),

Moved: 02:25 13/05/11

Beware dud solder

Dateline: 11/01/11

I love $2 shops, but some are selling “solder wire” that appears to be pure lead - no flux, and it won't even melt on a soldering iron. This may be useful to a plumber but it is of no use to us - avoid.

For all electronic work it is important to use solder that has a non-corrorsive flux included as cores in the solder, and to reliably get it you need to buy a name product from an electronics-specific supplier.

The use of plumbers' products such as the acidic Baker's Flux will result in all your copper wires corroding.

“I don't care who you are - get them off my roof!”

Is your roof and chimney OH&S compliant with railings?
Do you have your Council permit for the adgistment of livestock?
Have your Xmas lights been tagged?


Dateline: 13/12/10

Quite a varied in-tray this cycle with quite a few article updates.

More new builds, mystery amps identified, a simple test for shorted turns, the 6146 appears, the 6BL8 gets a mention, lotsa the usual amp pawn, a new circuit or two, reverb line repair, a couple of simple repairs and rebuilding a Notebook, e-Bay spyage, a Japanese import sneeking in as one of a couple of new names, even the AVA front page gets a little nip-and-tuck for Xmas.

If you run an amp such as a Goldentone, Maton or Playmaster that uses 6DQ6B's then you should take a close look at the 6146 as a possible substitute. Note: the pinouts are NOT compatable.

Bought a Yamaha console organ which turned out to have a rotating speaker using a rare and unique Flexion speaker.

Moved 21:47 27/04/11

Hum mechanisms

Dateline: 9/11/10

Frequent contributor and deep thinker Tim Robbins shares his research into how heater hum gets into our signal paths inside valves.

AVA101 “Lamington” parts availability

Dateline: 8/11/10

Attention Lamington builders: James Manion advises that Jaycar no longer stock either the 30V 500mA power transformer or 22uF 450V electrolytic capacitors, however the trannies are still available from Altronics, and 47uF caps can be substituted.

A couple of things to keep in mind; firstly, substituting transformers a few volts up or down isn't going to make any significant difference, and the current rating is a minimum - transformers with higher current ratings are perfectly acceptable (but may be somewhat larger). Secondly, electrolytic capacitors recovered from old computer power supplies will serve well in these amplifiers - they have been designed with component substitution and scrounging in mind.

Vox AC-30 clone - Mk-II

Dateline: 8/11/10

Evgeny Brainman previously produced a very compact clone of a Vox AC-30 and has now revisited this design with a very appealing and more conventional build - check it out.


Dateline: 15/10/10

Mini-Lamington, a minimalist design using a 12AX7 and 6BM8's equally suitable as a first build or for home studio.



Dateline: 4/12/09

Grant Wills has done it again with his new AVA106 “Lamington-II” build.
STOP PRESS: Updated for component availability - revised circuits.

New: 16/10/10 - Geoff's AVA106 Lamington-II “Red Roaster” build

Derived from the Fender AB763 circuit, and adapted to inexpensive locally available components without compromising sound quality or 50 watts output from this push-pull 6L6 design.

(...and I'd just like to send a big cheereo to Leo Simpson, editor of Silicon Chip magazine, who claimed that it would “cost over $1000” to produce such an amp.)

Also check out the new articles, Tim investigates valve microphonics, while I have pulled together some stuff on pot tapers and how they can be tweeked.

Have you converted . . .

Dateline: 23/8/07 Still looking - standing request.

...a 6DQ6 amp like a Goldentone or Playmaster to use different output valves? I keep being asked. We've got pix of a Goldie and a Playmaster fitted with 6L6's, but no details. So if you know something about this, or use a Goldie or Playmaster that was fitted with 6DQ6's and now uses something else, how would you like to e-mail me your experience for others to learn from?

Meanwhile, a discussion of the issues with 6DQ6 substitution.

New! 11/12/10
Finally! (I knew we only had to wait long enough...)

A big hat tip encore to Informed Source who tells us that the 6146 is what we are looking for.
Not pin compatable, but an identical set of characteristic curves, and much higher ratings; maximum anode power is 25W against only 18W for the 6DQ6B, so they should be loafing as a substitute. Please, clearly mark any amp you mod for a different valve.

The 6146 is very well known in Ham Radio circles as a tough little transmitter output bottle and dates back to at least AM taxi radios in that service.

Moved: 21/12/10

June-Sept 2010

A persistant respiratory infection producing deafness
and an all pervasive sense of indifference.

Valvolux mirrors AVA - thanks Gavin.
May 2010 Trent 2x KT88 (p), Martstone (p), Rite-Travis (p), Fi-Sonic 40WB (p)
Mar-Apr 2010 Site down, returned as OzValveAmps.Org
Jan 2010 McPherson (p), Maton (u/d), Fhone 500W slave (p),

Moved: 29/07/10

Dec 2009 Yeah, I know, Ho bloody Ho - silicon carols mean it's X-mas again. 414930fatfreddy.gif
AVA 106 - Lamington-II - Grant Wills does it again (p,c), Neon Screwdriver (add), Amps in Action (add), Rex (serial list+), McPherson (name, c, p),
Nov 2009 Goldentone 7/40 (p), 8/50 (p), Super 6 (c), 1752 (p,c), “1958”, 1776 (p), NalinD's No-Name Mystery is a Goldie (p), 6x6 resto (p), 1746 (c), 1757 (p), Holden/Wasp (advice), Professsional 200 (p), AWA PA1002BY (u/d),
Oct 2009 Amps In Action (p), AVA100 Flea PSU build (p), AWA PA1003Z (c), AWA PA872 (p,c), AWA PS1002 (c), Testgear (u/d meters,CRO p), Philips XM392 (p), Philips 961 (p,c), Steane's (new name), Baez (p), Calstan (c), Chandler PA Phono (p), Coronet (name,p), Diason (p), Dimco (NZ) Mustang-10 (name,p,c), Electravox 50 (c), Eminar 2x 6L6 (p), catalogue 2, interview with Millington and Roberts, ETI Paleface Minor (full article), Fi-Sonic 30WGR (p), 4 Chan PA (p), 5WG (c u/d)
Aug 2009 Vase Trendsetter 40 (p), Concord G350 (p),
July 2009 Eminar Apollo 160 (p), P606 (c,p), Farrington (p), Calstan new name (p), Soundmaster new name (p), Electravox (p), Lenard SGB-150 (p), Vadis ET20 (p), Amps in Action (p), Vase Trendsetter Deluxe 120 (p), Fountain 15W (c), 30W Mustang (c), 55W Thunderbird (c), 125W Fireball (c), Gunn Classic (c), Concord Allegro, Contina, Conquest, Contessa, Statesman, Super-Pro, Chief, Superchief, Constellation, 1964 Catalog, Professional catalog, Service Manual (p,c), AVA100 Lamington by Astrovic, AVA104-AC30 (p,c),


Mar 2009 ZIP files FAQ - add Mac Zip links.
Jan 2008 Techsite” small projects, 6DQ6 substitution in Goldies
Aug 2007 ZIP files FAQ, Pickups (u/d)

Alphabetical keyword page index of headings and highlighted words and phrases on this site.
22/8/07 This has been removed as the Google site search now provided at the head of this page is much more effective and up-to-date.

Moved: 12/7/10

Melbourne Vintage Aussie Amp Get Together

Dateline: 10/6/10

Room 1 Deluxe Audio (rehearsal studio)
9 Union Street
South Melbourne

Sunday 27 June 2010
Studio booked from 10am to 5pm (maybe zero that in to a 3 hour main time eg 12 - 3pm?)

Bring your vintage aussie amp or amps along for a bit of an informal and friendly show and tell. It's a big studio and there's probably enough space for 30 or more amps + owners.

Anyone is welcome, not just AGGH members. (more info at AGGH)


Dateline: 8/6/10

Southpaw's bandwaggon ('84 white Toyota Hi Ace - AU89RT) was stolen from Merrylands (Sydney) late last week.

Please see here for details of the gear stolen.

If you see the van AU89RT or think you know where the gear might be located please call Crimestoppers NSW on 1800 333 000 (anonymously) or report on line here.

Malicious email attachment targets aspiring musicians

Dateline: 6/5/10

Contract attached in .DOC format is actually a vehicle for a range of serious malware
- never open unexpected e-mail attachments. (read more)

Getting a conract (sic) doesn't make you a rock star. (read more)

We're Back!

Dateline: 28/03/10

No, AVA didn't vanish due to ACMA blacklisting, (nor did I take the site down in protest over ISP filtering) but it's still an example of what could easily happen if somebody complained to the ACMA and got us blacklisted.

What actually happened was AVA's free hosting, Elands.Com, just expired due to simple lack of interest. The details can be found on this thread at AGGH.

Thanks to Andrew Krespanis we have a new host, and AVA has a new identity in our own domain name so don't forget to update your browser favorites and other references.

Moved: 28/3/10

Guitar and Amp Expo

Dateline: 17/11/09

The 2010 National Vintage Guitar and Amp Expo
will be held on March 13 and 14 in Canberra.

Venue will again be the Statesman Hotel at Curtin and our theme this year will be Aussie gear!
If you can make it to the capital that would be grand.

Source: Derek Lark

Summer's here

Dateline: 10/11/09

It's warming up, and time again for the seasonal reminder not to leave your instrument or amplifier in the car.

There are at least two really good reasons for unpacking the car after a gig, no matter how stuffed you are. You can trust to luck that nobody will drive off with all your gear, but it's a gold-plated certainty that the sun will come up in the morning, and at some point the temperature in your car will shoot up to glue-melting levels.

Don't leave your guitar in the car.

Some new videos

Dojo Cuts

David and brother Nathan Aust are both musicans and contributors to AVA and Nathan has sent a links to funkist's Dojo Cuts YouTube videoSomething's Going On” (recorded live at The Basement, Sydney, 3 min 56 sec, ~8Mb) where he is playing his small Goldie and demonstrating that you only need about 15 watts to keep up with the brass.

The Ezra Lee Show

A “Rockabilly/Blues/Country” outfit with roots on the NSW Central coast, The Ezra Lee Show video shot live at the Sydney Fifties Fair, first broadcast on ABCTV Rage 16 Oct 09. Ezra's old man is Ed Matzenik, check out his instructional videos on YouTube.

Extreme amp mods

You need either a strong stomach or a good sense of humour to cope with this YouTube video of some real amp techs ecountering the extreme amp mods from hell.

Catch You Tube

There may be lots of reasons why you, like me, can't directly watch YouTube videos. Well it seems we are not alone, and there is a way we can still join in the video fun, and keep it too.

They come and go, but at any moment there seem to be several services that will grab a video for you, allowing you to convert it into a format you can see, then let you download it. Currently I use CatchYouTube to grab and convert videos to MPEG for downloading. They certainly aren't quick but seem to run okay in the background and are suitable for videos up to about 5 mins duration on dialup. Copy the links above complete, and simply plug 'em into CatchYouTube and set your desired format.

The Great Stumble Forward

Dateline: 10/11/09

Roughly thirty years after I got Quickmail auto-transferring e-mail bundles between FidoNet and my CP/M system, Yahoo mail has finally introduce a “get all” button that virus scans all attaches at once, then packs them in a single zip file for downloading.


Moved: 18/1/10

ISP filtering will have no impact on child abuse, but it will be conducted in secret with no right to be notified or to appeal an unjust banning. The leaked ACMA Blacklist demonstrates that it has already expanded to cover copyright, dissent, graffitti, abortion, computer games, legal pornography, and to protect “good taste”. This is not a power that any Government can be trusted with. Support the Aussie Internet Blackout Jan 25-29.

Moved: 31/12/09

June 2009 AVA101-3 Harp amp build (p,c), Abbey 100 (p), Goldentone 1750 (p), Rex Bassking BA50 (p), AG6 (p), Noyce - name only, Eston Super 20 (p), Electravox - Solid state tallboy (p), Playmaster - 101 (article, c), 102 (article, c), Soundmaster (name), Farfisa Transicord (c), Concord (u/d),

Moved 3/12/09

Hotmail Hi-Jack warning

Update: 17/11/09

Over the past couple of weeks I have been receiving spam from mail accounts I know. It now seems that this is not actually malware but connected to the theft of as many as 21 million account ID's from Hotmail in October, and later from Gmail and Yahoo. (News item)

Symptom: if you receive an e-mail from a name you know, possibly with a subject like “Vacation Reply”, that goes something like this, beware;

Surprise Unlimited:
Friends, I recently found a very good site.It can offer you so many kinds of electronic products which you may be in need,such as laptops, gps, TV, cell phones, ps, MP3/4, motorcycles even several kinds of musical instruments and etc..
E-mail: \[client]@18 MSN: \[client]1@h
its quality is very good. And the website is promoting their products these days, so they have very good price and big discount now. This website also sells tv,motor,laptop and so on. The promotion will keep 30 days .
I hope you have a good shopping mood! Greetings!

Where [client] may be,, or a number of others. Yostee in particular also offer guitars and basses, specifically Les Paul humbucker, Rogue basses, and Epiphone SG guitars.

What to do? Firstly, as always, never respond to the links or addresses contained in any suspect e-mail, no matter how tempting or interesting. There are some reports of people who have ordered items who have done their money cold - a cheap guitar is only cheap if you actually get it.

Secondly, send the e-mail to the mailserver abuse address. If possible turn headers on so all the normally hidden routing data can be seen, then copy/paste all of it into a message to the mail server.

For Hotmail this is but depends on the particular mailserver, so for other servers you will need to visit the server site and locate their individual spam report address.

If you have a Hotmail account you really need to change your password ASAP, and if you're on GMail or Yahoo it would be a good idea. If you have disused mail accounts, close them.

Moved: 10/11/09

AVA100 - Output transformer investigations

Dateline: 15/10/09

M-1115, 1120, 1130 as OT's

Sincere thanks to all the guys In The Shed over at AGGH for the ongoing broad and deep discussion about output transformer “character” generally, and specifically about using 100V Line trannies in valve output service.

The bad(?) news is the unsurprising conclusion that these trannies fall well short of Hi-Fi standards, after all they are intended for 100V Line PA service - The Girl from Ipanema in the lift - but the good news is that in practice all the reports so far show they are very satisfactory as push-pull OT's for tenor guitar (possibly because of their “shortcomings” such as assymmetric resistance and shortage of iron).

This seems to be another example where the traditional benchmarks laid down by fidelity requirements - bandwidth, distortion, and so forth - simply don't apply in tenor guitar amp service; that the extended bass response required for faithful orchestral reproduction produces a guitar amp that is “woofy” and lacks “grind” or tonal character in overload.

Theoretical considerations however, specifically the lack of inductance, still support the intuitive feeling that these trannies are too light for bass guitar service.

The Quote of the Moment comes from Andrew Neale on Aussie Guitar Gear Heads forum;

If there is one thing I've learned about the application of valves for guitar amps vs valves for hi-fi amps is that the complete opposite rules apply. That is, if you were to do something for a guitar amp, you would pretty much do the complete opposite for a hi-fi amp. And vice versa.

Read more on AGGH's; calc'ing specs for semi-unkown output xformer, and Transformers; their character.

The various AVA100 builds keep coming.

Just in from Rob Carter who is doubly LambingToned (6BQ5's);

OK. Amp number two is up and doing it's thing. A-B'ed the pair of amps through (as far as is possible) identical cabinets (4x12's and then with 1x12 cabs) and the tone, response and overall feel of the amps is as far as I'm concerned, the same.

Happy to say the amp would appear to be a solid repeatable result.

Number 2 has been in the hands of our bass player now for a week and he was instructed to run it hard. :) He plays guitar in 4 or 5 different bands so it's getting a good solid run.

Okay, the multiplier PSU and oddball OT ideas seem to work. Now the question becomes “for how long?” What is going to bust first? Are these amps going to have any longer-term generic weakness (like the Vox AC-30 being hard on output valves), or will they get a rep like Goldies for jus' keepin' on keepin' on?

See AVA100 “Actuality” list, and build Status table.

AVA105 build

My own AVA105 (2x 6L6's in 3x ATX cases) has the PSU, o/p, PI, and VAS stages wired, and is ready for a first power-on test. Normally you wouldn't apply power until the build was completed, but I an eager to do some testing of output transformers first, and the audio sig gen will drive the VAS jes' fine for the moment.

Front panel: Single isolated input, single volume, 2-knob tonestack, pilot, trem Speed, Depth and footswitch skt; rear: mains power, EIA, speaker skt, and “character” pot.

Sending Photos and Circuits

Dateline: 24/11/08

FAQ: “Do you want photos/circuit?

And the answer is always “yes” - very welcome. And serial numbers, etc., too.

BUT ... I ask for multiple images to be bound together in a single Zipfile before sending. This is because Yahoo imposes a mind-numbing times-ten overhead on each and every attach download, so one large file is very much quicker for me than a raft of indvidual images.

But some of you are having trouble creating Zipfiles.

So, as an alternative, you can upload your images to one of the many free on-line fileservers, and just send me their direct download addresses in an e-mail. I can then simply drop this list into my download manager (WebLooper 3v6) and it will fetch and file them for me in the background. Addendum 22/6/09: photos via work well.

FAQ: “My amp won't go - what's wrong?

Always happy to help, but that's not a lot to go on. A few clear pix, particularly of the underchassis, can tell me a lot and allow me to suggest possible tests to isolate and repair the problem.

If you have a problem you want help with, then save us both time by setting out the problem as fully as possible in the first instance, and include pix as above.

FAQ: “Do you have ... ?

If it isn't on the site, no. “Important” information such as circuits are posted as rapidly as possible. These are AVA's treasure and they are only as valuable as they are available. I fully understand that you want/need it right now. But if there is no circuit flag Circuit Near Here flag somewhere on your GrungeMaster page, it's down to you to trace and send it for those who follow.

Dateline: 21/7/09


Yippee! and another birthday passes as AVA celebrates it's fifth year on line.

AVA100 News

AVA105 - I still haven't got my workshop settled but I'm being prodded for a “Fender-like” pair of 6L6's for around 40 to 60 watts. 40 watts in cathode bias using a pair of 40 Watt line trannies looks attainable, but 55-60 watts needs a bias supply and our centre-driven multiplier presents problems. Apart from Craig's octupler (x8) ruminations, I have been looking at an end-driven hextupler (x6) which makes a bias supply a conventional doddle.

Some transformers seem to be retiring, while a couple of new ones have appeared, so the evaluations have to be updated. A number of builds have now proven voltage multipliers effective in smaller (up to 30W) amp builds. Now we see how their bright prospects go in bigger builds.

u/d: 21/9/09
For the ongoing discussion on the characteristics of 100 Volt Line transformers in valve output service see this thread on AGGH.

Just in (Sept '09) Rob Carter's AVA101 Lamington build, 3-knob Fender tonestack with boost feature.

AVA101-3 6V6 Harp amp build by Craig Moore. Stunning.

My AVA100 “Lamington” by Astrovic

“Redboard-30” - Ralph Parkhurst quad 6BQ5 (PCB).

AVA100 - “Lamington - 6BQ5's by Grant Wills.

Tim Robbins highly detailed report on his Vase PA100 restoration; circuit (PDF). Tim explores many of the finer points of large amplifier design and explains how they apply to this typical chassis. Well worth reading if you're contemplating a build.

Thanks again to our e-Bay spy PaulC for loads of new stuff, names, pix; and to all those many others who keep it coming in (change is the only constant).

Moved: 22/7/09
Mar 2009 Holden/Wasp 200XL (p), Fi-Sonic 60 (p), EL84 2x12 (p), Fuzz-Blender MKIV (p), 2x12 extension cab (p), Strauss Lancer (p), Vase Trendsetter 80 (p), Bassman 80 (p), 2x12 cab (p), EL34 Vedette underchassis (p), VASE PA100 (p,c), Phoenix (p), Lenard GB 60 (p), Maton Mystery (p), Rex Bassking BA200A restoration (p), Eminar memories, Diason Tallboy circuit (c), David Timson's 6L6 build (p), Maxim (notes), Safety - additional tips, Eston - broken links fixed,

Moved: 21/7/09

He's baaaak ...

Dateline: 19/6/09 - Cue: theme from Twilight Zone

The AVA “5-wheeler” has finally made it home.

truckwheel020_20hqp.jpg     floodwaters003_3rrhqp.jpg     bobinhall024_24rrqcp.jpg

AVA101-3 Harp amp build

Dateline: 20/6/09
Yippee! Blues harmonica

Craig Moore has seriously blown me away with his really stunning AVA101-3 Harp amp build. It is, in a word, simply gorgeous. Significant features include 15 watt 6V6 output, cathode-coupled PI, and tamed 12AY7 pre with 5meg input impedance.

Craig's attention to detail, both technical and physical, is something to aspire to - check it out.

Incidentally: some new ideas are too radical for some skeptical folk, so it has been suggested in some circles that the AVA100 quadrupler PSU isn't as good as claimed, and/or that there is something wrong with using recovered electrolytics and/or cheap output trannies. Well in a word “Bollocks!”. Just blather on guys while the rest of us are occupied producing a string of just such builds that are passing the all-important tone test. Just who, I wonder, could object to people building their own affordable guitar amps? Some sourpuss who dropped a bundle on an imported tranny wound with gold Litz wire by Peruvian virgins on the full moon? Components simply are what they are, the measurement were as reported, and these are all perfectly satisfactory.

Melbourne Ampfest

Yeah, I missed it too, but you can drool over some very cool hardware pix at AGGH's, a write up, and some heavy hardware that was on show.

Thanks to our e-Bay spy PaulC for the links.

AVA104 - “Redboard-30”

Dateline: 9/12/08

Ralph Parkhurst has completed his quad 6BQ5 which he has dubbed “Redboard-30”. Ralph has done a printed circuit board which he may supply if there is sufficient interest.

Meantime here is a preliminary writeup of his build.

Moved: 19/6/09
Dec 2008 AVA100 “RedBoard-30” (c,p)
Oct 2008 AVA100 more PSU tests
Sept 2008 Vadis (Galaxie) Escort (c), Diason Bovine (p), Vase Trendsetter-60 (p), Betts Slave (p), 6DQ6 data (u/date), AVA100 Lamington u/date, Moody Echomaster (p), Ratajczyk (name), Warland (name),
Aug 2008 AVA General Chassis (p), Amps in Action - arty Madder Lake, AWA - old amp restoration u/d, Abbey writeup,
July 2008 Vadis BR20 (p) & LB60 (c), Farrington (p), Rex Mascot (p,c), Betts (p), Galaxie (name),

“On Tour” - again!

Dateline: 15/4/09

I'm away until May. E-mails will not be answered until then.

ISP filtering - a major fiasco

The worst part of censorship is XXXXXXXXXXXXX Rant Dateline: 2/4/09 u/d: 15/4/09

In a prime example of the Streisand effect, the leaked ACMA Blacklist has spread to over 750 970 sources. The leak confirms worst-case fears, site blacklisting will continue to be unaccountable, and will be totally ineffective in its stated aim of “protecting children”.

Sites have been blacklisted for copyright and graffiti reasons, both of which includes AVA! You've read of all the innocent sites listed, but my own find is a proxy server This is seriously nuts. Certainly there is a lot of gruck in the list, but little CP and certainly not the “worst of the worst”. Filter advocates' bogus statistics exposed.

The Wikipedia article on Internet censorship in Australia is a must read, and a very full history with extensive links is at It is not yet illegal to get the list and “see for yourself” (Sen.Conroy on Q&A)

“Apparently, thinking about the children precludes one from thinking about anything else.
Common sense included.” - BoingBoing

Google censored Tom Mulhall's blog entry on censorship - read it here.

The Bushfires

Dateline: 14/3/09

As horrific and gut-wrenching as this disaster has been, it has been heartwarming to witness many musicians across the country donating their services to fundraisers for flood and fire victims.

While I was floodbound(!) on the North Coast of NSW I was able to follow the fire situation, particularly the Musk (Daylesford) fire, thanks to the continually updated CFA incident list which also gives a good idea of the direction and distance of “forward spotting”; Google Maps for precise locations; and the Bureau of Meteorology Weather Radar site (which incidentally displays thick smoke, and correctly showed the dual-fire structure at Musk). For a rain and lightning overview of the whole south-east the upgraded StormTracker2 is excellent.

Moved: 15/03/09

Christmas Break

Dateline: 9/12/08

I'm taking a break and “going bush” until February. Your e-mails and submissions are, as always, very welcome - just don't expect a response until my batteries are fully recharged.

Thanks again to everyone over the past year who has helped to build the site as a resource, and my best wishes for a safe and gig-filled season.

Broken Links

Dateline: 2/12/08

Thanks to those who have written pointing out broken links. It now appears that a number of files didn't make the transition to the new server. I'm on the case.


Our co-operative valve guitar amp development projects - DIY designs

Dateline: 24/11/08

Grant Wills can now be contacted directly for any matters relating to his AVA100 - “Lamington build.

Dateline: 17/11/08

Jaycar finally contacted me and are not stocking the 6BQ5 shown in their catalogue. It's all very well finally getting a credit, but I still need a supply of new friggin' valves (grumble, mutter ...). Oh well, I guess there are worse things than a pair of 6L6's.

Thanks to Ralph Parkhurst who has done some power supply experiments, including hextupler and octupler arrangements, for his Quad-6BQ5 project and sent in the results.

Several people have written this past month with news of their intended AVA100 variants at various stages of construction, including a 6V6 build, and one specifically for mouthharp players. More on these as it comes to hand.

David at Retrovox has 6AQ5's (basically a lower power 6BQ5) and matching bases. Ralph is covering the Vox-like Quad guitar amp, so I'm pondering a muso's home stereo using four of these. Yeah, okay, it is pandering to the valve mystique, but it could be a bit of fun with respectable performance and realistic price tag, and have the thin justification of having specifically muso-friendly signal routing.

Maybe it's just me, but I like to play along with with tapes, CD's and the radio, however domestic stereo equipment is generally unable to mix in a mike, guitar pickup, or synth with one of the playback sources. And you may want to listen on cans, and record the result as well, with, or without, the backing track. (Hummm... )

Remember: building a guitar amp isn't Rocket Science. Many of todays amp “Guru's” built their first amp in their teens out of junkbox scrounge. In my opinion it has never been easier to home-brew a “boutique” 10/15-watter, rightfully popular with todays guitarists and harp players.

Moved: 9/12/08
June 2008 Amps in action u/d (p), AVA101-6BQ5 Grant'sLamington” build (p,c), Philips XM392 (p), 110W Eminar head (p), Eminar ported 2 by 15 Cab (p), Eston Super 20 circuit revision v1.3 (c), ETI456 “Rocker” (c),
Feb 2008 Melnik = Mielnik name correction, Baez u/d,
Jan 2008 Holden/Wasp 100 Reverb, Slave 200, (c,p), Playmaster 116/7 errata/mods, Farrington (name), Savage Discussion and Mods (c,p), Havila (name,p), Concord (name), Abbey (u/d), Fountain (u/d), Gunn (u/d), Fi-Sonic 5wg (c,p), Rex AG6T (c), Diason Unknown3, tallboy (u/d), Vase PA60, blond Bassman (p), Goldentone circuits (c), Rite (c), Strauss Polka 150 (c), Eston Super 20 (c)

Moved: 17/11/08
Dateline: 19/8/08

AVA on New Server

System crash!

If you have had trouble finding us this week it's because we just moved to a new server. Sorry there was no warning but I didn't know myself until it had happened, in fact some of you knew before I did (and thanks to those who wrote letting me know something was up).

It may take a few days for the change to get to all the DNS lists but things should settle pretty quickly now.

While unexpected this change is most welcome, not least because AVA has now been allocated a vast space for future growth (not that I expect we'll need it, although I've been wrong about that before).

So a big thank you to Jeff who donates the server space, and Peter and the E-Crew for maintaining it.

Shameless plug

For Ed Matzenik's (ex-Atlantics) take on a classic. Youtube it here, or if you're bandwidth-challenged like me, convert and download via VideoCodeZone.

Circuit drafting

Dateline: 20/8/08

Drafting circuit diagrammes for use on the web is still frought, chaotic, and shambolic.

At the moment I am reviewing a number of freeware drawing packages to try and provide a guide to wot's got it, and wot's not.

This is part of a new AVA section on relevent software - looking at tools that can help when building valve guitar amps (or any electronic project really).


Our co-operative valve guitar amp developments - DIY designs

Dateline: 22/01/08

Grant Wills has encouraged me to publish an (incomplete) idea that has been on the back-burner since the middle of last year - a new DIY amp design concept I've dubbed “AVA100”.

Initially about 15 watts, to use all new over-the-counter parts yet cost less than $250 complete; to be buildable by teenage musicians; for weddings, parties, anything, and home studio; but also expandable and flexable to taste. Take a look.

Update: 12/6/08

Grant has now built the very first AVA100-6BQ5 “The Lamington, and so far the HT system is confirmed giving 15 watts output, the PI is confirmed (and I seriously overcooked the preamp gain). The build is simple, and it is quiet in noise and hum, and has tone.

I got so excited I built the bigPhase 5” version of the PSU using three common low voltage transformers purchased new-over-the-counter, all other parts scavanged - for under $A45. Power supply prototype test results now up here.

(but) * * * Not Happy Jaycar! * * *

Update: 14/9/08

Givin' Jaycar some well-deserved stick

Hey Gary, didn't you get my e-mail?

It's bad enough when they send your order to the wrong address, and worse when they don't appear to actually stock the 6BQ5's in their catalogue, that I ordered in July.

But what really drives me 'round the twist when they don't even respond to my e-mails. E-mail and voice-mail provide wonderful new means of communication, and with them wonderful new ways of driving clients around the twist by totally ignoring problems and complaints.

So, given that Jaycar are preoccupied having a Bex, a cup of tea, and a little lie down on my dime; rather than see the AVA100 project hung up on the retail availability of one small bottle, I hope we can move ahead with a NOS valve that David Crittle of Retrovox has in considerable stock, the EL90/6AQ5, around $10/pair.
To Be Advised - Watch This Space [ ].

Moved: 15/9/08

Update: 12/6/08

Grant has now built the very first AVA100-6BQ5 “The Lamington, and so far the HT system is confirmed giving 15 watts output, the PI is confirmed (and I seriously overcooked the preamp gain). The build is simple, and it is quiet in noise and hum, and has tone.

I got so excited I built the bigPhase 5” version of the PSU using three common low voltage transformers purchased new-over-the-counter, all other parts scavanged - for under $A45.

Rated at 120 watts and peaking at 375V unloaded(!), the HT has very good regulation and delivers from 350V at 100mA to 330V at a seriously deadly 250mA continuous! Also 6.3Vac CT at 2.3 amp for the heaters. We're talking a pair of 6L6-GC's, EL34's, or whatever you fancy. But not one for the newbies (please).

On the drawing board at the moment is what will be for the newbies and home-recording tone freaks is “The Flea”, 10W from 6BM8's using all new parts.
Stop press: Power supply prototype test results now up here.

Full write-ups coming to AVA100 amp project section RSN.

Moved: 20:05 16/08/08

Max Merritt

Max Inducted

New: 2/7/08

Max Merritt wasn't showing any signs of his current ill-health when he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame this month, performing “Slippin' Away” in a duet with Kasey Chambers.

Ross Hannaford's gear stolen RECOVERED!

Dateline: 7/2/08

Ross's van has been found with all the gear intact.

Dateline: 12/3/08

A while back a chap who lives up a very small street in Willamstown, Vic, couldn't help noticing that someone had parked a rather beaten-up old van in front of his house.

Time passed, but it didn't move. In fact the tyres started to go flat and cobwebs appeared here and there.

Finally, sick of this wreck that had been dumped at his door, he decided to investigate and tried one of the doors. It was unlocked. Looking in the back he saw a tarp covering something, and when he pulled the tarp back he found a guitar, amp, and sundry other musical stuff.

Taking a closer look he found a phone number. So he rang the phone number and when it answered he chewed Ross out for dumping his bloody van full of crap in front of his house!

So it seems that the van was taken and driven a few miles away, parked, and abandoned, possibly the same night. And eventually Ross got his gear back (and his van with flat tyres and battery).

The message here is, no matter how tired you may feel, don't ever leave your gear in the car overnight (and condensation damages gear too).

Dud ISP's

Dateline: 18/01/08

HelloNet was eaten by MyNet was eaten by TelPacific was eaten by Wix/Blitz Group, along with G-Node and Koala. Or something. And if your ISP is any one of those it's the end of a lovely relationship. The Quality of Service has fallen to bloody shocking since the takeovers late last year. If you are using any of these and are having difficulties, despite what they will tell you, it's not your phone or Telstra, it's not your computer or software, and it's not because you are an ignorant schmuck - you are not alone!

And guess who's been using MyNet? Thankfully AVA isn't hosted there.

More here at You can lodge a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman online.

Moved: 22:21 08/06/08

May 2007 The Death Set
Apr 2007 Biggest Guitar Amp (u/d)
Dec 2006 Repairs: Electrolytic caps, Repairs: Transformer Testing, Repairs: Overheating transformer diagnosis
Nov 2006 Plugpacks for musicians, Note Frequency Table - (another) correction, Tremolo LFO filter, Faultfinding in valve amps, A/B/C/D Switch/Fx selector, Tonestacks

Nov 2007 Maton Pasha
Aug 2007 Amps In Action, (also split Amps In Action and Maton pages), Fhone (p), Rex (p), Moody (p), Yamaha TA-60 speakers (p), Scion (p), E.D.A. (name), Belto (name), Image site search function
July 2007 Google Search function
June 2007 Baez history, Garl history, Goldentone 1778 (p), Goldentone 1756/7 circuit update (c), Maton serial, Playmaster 117 circuit fix (c), Steve's new build (p) Vadis LB61 (p), Wasp 50 and 100 (p)
Archive Down to New Articles   Top or press your “Home” key

Moved: 22:17 08/06/08

Yikes! Solid-State stuff!

Dateline: 18/01/08

The reality is that there are a lot of solid-state amps out there we'd all rather ignore, but sometimes it just can't be avoided. There are even a few of the classic era amps that have a bit of “sand” in them, so it helps to know your way around these too.

Yeah, I know, but purity doesn't get the amp fixed, so pragmatism wins here, okay?

Naturally this was inspired by a burst of e-mails from people having problems with Savage amps. So I have added an extensive Discussion and Modifications to the Savage page.

This is recommended reading for anyone wanting to service, or build their own, solid-state guitar amp. Yeah, we can have great fun at Savage's expense (and I do, often, 'tho it represents about the same challenge as mugging little old ladies). But these amps present a great opportunity for modders and tinkerers to get their feet wet with solid-state, and to do any poor bugger who owns one a big favour. So if you have circuits, or even repair or mod notes, I'd love to have them for the page.

New Projects Section

Dateline: 19/01/08

A “best of” re-release collection (heh heh) of projects for tinkerers from my old Techsite.

ETI Sampler

Dateline: Jan 08 Resolved

A big thank you to Ian Clark for coming up with the ETI 1402 Sampler article.

{see, I told you I'd make you famous :}

This gizmo is based on the idea of counting through a large slab of memory, reading the input using an A/D converter-filter, saving it for a while in the memory, then reading it out again via a D/A converter-filter. All hardware, no “smarts”. Think of a tape loop reverb/echo done in silicon. Redundant old computer memory chips represent some very long tape loops.

Moved: 14/01/08

Dateline: 18/10/07

Ross Hannaford's gear stolen

Update 22/11/07 - just checked with Mark Sydow and Ross's van and gear has still not been found. See an old white Hi-Ace van? Check it out for rego QRN 479 and phone the police or Mark if you see it.

Ross Hannaford at Deni Ute Muster, pic: Blackshadow

Alert - Gear stolen from Daddy Cool guitarist Ross Hannaford By blackshadow | October 16, 2007

A tragedy has befallen Ross Hannaford, the guitarist of iconic Australian band Daddy Cool.

In the early hours of Saturday morning Ross Hannaford's white 1989 Toyota Hi-Ace Van (Vic) QRN 479 was stolen from a Yarraville street. The van was most likely stolen by joy riders, but the real loss is the musical equipment concealed under a tarpaulin in the back.

Ross has lost all his amplifiers, his main guitar, and all his effects pedals. True to Hannaford's totally eccentric style, these are no ordinary instruments. They are one-offs and custom mades. Here's a description:

1. Chandler 555 Guitar - customised and hand painted in Red Yellow and Green sunray design (see photo)
2. Ampeg Jet II amplifier
3. rare 5 watt Diason Amplifier
4. Home made amplifier in Diason Cabinet with Peavey 158 Blazer head and Marantz 12? speaker
5. Green and yellow Indian “hippy” bag with Boss Phrase Sampler, MPX phase 90 and Tremit Tremolo pedal

These instruments are totally irreplaceable, and Ross is not interested in anything but recovering his beloved instruments.

Please spread the word and if anyone knows anything about it please contact Mark Sydow at or (03) 9495 6641, or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

Dateline: 04/09/07

ETI readers

Do you have a stash of old Electronics Today International magazines? I need a scan or photocopy of their project;

1402 Sampler Apr/May/Jun 86
1402b Digital Sampler Expansion Apr 88

In return I can't make you rich, but I can make your name immortal in these pages, and offer you the ETI projects index. Please contact me if you can help. TIA.

Dateline: 24/8/07

E.D.A. Brisbane

In a TV docco on The Saints it was mentioned that Ed Kupper used “a PA amp built by E.D.A. in Brisbane as his guitar amp”. If you know anything about E.D.A. amps, please write and tell me about them.

31/10/07 - A quick smack to the head from Jeremy Shaw has reminded me that E.D.A. was the name adoped after Hans Overeem sold up. (my excuse is that they are solid-state :)

Moved: 14/01/08
May 2007 Coltone (p), Goldentone serial

Dateline: 6/9/07

Concert for Max Merritt

Some of Australia's biggest acts, including Ross Wilson, James Reyne, John Paul Young, Normie Rowe and Spectrum, will perform at a benefit in StKilda next month for ailing soul singer Max Merritt.

“I am finding it hard to adequately express my appreciation for the help and support during my time of extreme personal need,” Merritt said from his home in Los Angeles.

The New Zealand-born singer, who has lived in Los Angeles for the last 20 years, is suffering from Goodpastures syndrome and a perforated bowel. He was recently the inaugural inductee to the NZ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Concert for Max takes place at the 3000-seater Palais Theater on October 21. Tickets go on sale from September 14 through Ticketmaster.

Source: The Age 6/9/07, p8

Thank you!    

Dateline: 28/6/07

We are 3!

As Australian Valve Amps comes up to its third birthday I would like to thank the many people who have taken the trouble to write from all over the world with submissions, corrections, or just to say “hi”. Around 1500 in this last year alone.

AVA started by accident when I found a few old amp circuits and decided to put them up on the web on the off chance that someone, somewhere might find them useful. So I searched the web for a suitable site to send them to.

After a really intensive search I found, apart from a couple of non-technical reviews on Harmony Central, not one of the Aussie amps I had worked on, and with, in the 60's and 70's were represented anywhere. So the first AVA page appeared with a few circuits and some commentry.

I thought I was close to the last of a dying breed, that almost nobody would be interested in old Aussie valve guitar amps. Never did I imagine that in three years AVA would grow into a monster of some 200 pages covering more than 60 names, and still be far from complete. Never did I imagine that the cellphone and MP3 generation would have discovered classic valve guitar amps, and fallen in love with the joys of fixing them up and playing through them.

And building new ones.

It has been a continual thrill to find that in these days of instant microwave-ready push-button everything there are so many still doing what I did in my teens and twenties, buying or scrounging all the bits and learning by doing.

Discovering the huge thrill when a new build finally works properly, the deep satisfaction of using your own build on stage, and being in the drivers' seat when something goes wrong (as it always will), or needs to be modified.

AVA isn't mine, it's is the product of all the contributors and has taken on a life all of its own. Today the content and direction of AVA is set by the contributors and I am only the stage manager keeping things moving along - this is your show.

Moved: 23/8/07

Apr 2007 Abbey Boogie (p,c), Amps In Action (p), AWA PA828 (p,c), AWA PA1003Z (p), Baez (name), Coltone (name), Diason tallboy (p), Goldentone - Hybrid 100 (p), Suitcase (p), advertising (p), History and model table, one mystery solved, Lenard SGB200 (p,c), Maton Mastersound 1G1 (p), Moody GA40 circuit (c), BA17 circuit (c), Ultratone 18 (p), Paling (p), Playmaster 117 (c) and 125 (c),
*** Hardware of the Moment - Rex Mascot (p)***, Scion (name), Stud combo (p), Vadis 408R (p), Vase Bassman 120 (p), Yamaha TA-30 (p)

Moved: 15:51 27/06/07
Mar 2007 Eminar (p), AmpInAction (u/d), Martystone preamp (p), VASE (u/d), Mystery Masthead Maton (u/d), ZJM-Melnik Vedette (p), GT 6x6 (p), W.H.Paling (u/d), Playmaster article scans, Sonola (name)
Feb 2007 Maton history update, Maton Vibra Tone V202 EP (p), Maton V-606 (p), Vedette name
Jan 2007 Goldie serial, Maton serial

Dateline: 7/5/07, u/d 12/5/07

Melbourne Amp Jam

Hi Roly,

A few of us lovers/owners of vintage aussie amps are trying to organise an informal get together to check out each other's gear.

It'll be at Bentleigh and were looking at Sunday 13 May.
[date to be advised - see link]

You'd be way more than welcome to come along.

The details so far are in this thread; [Aussie Guitar Gear Heads forum]


Moved: 13:46 07/05/07

Dateline: 23/4/07

Lobby Loyde dies

Lobby Loyde died on Saturday night at Box Hill Hospital from brain tumors following his long struggle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends.

Lobby, 66, was born Barry Lyde in Longreach(*) in 1941, and is known for his work with many significant bands including the Aztecs, Purple Hearts, Wild Cherries, Coloured Balls, and Rose Tattoo.

“That we're all still alive is a miracle” he said not long ago in interview, “We used to live close to the bone.”

The history of Lobby's Strauss Warror is outlined by Tony Naylor on our Strauss page.

Thanks to: The Age

(*) for our non-Australian readers, Longreach is a major town deep in the Queensland outback - more Cattle 'n Country than Rock 'n Roll.

Vale Lobby

Dateline: 21/4/07

Max Merritt admitted to hospital

Max Merrit and the Meteors

New Zealand-born music legend Max Merritt has been admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles after suffering kidney failure.

Merritt, 66, born in Christchurch, New Zealand, “is going to make a complete recovery” his manager Wal Bishop said today.

He toured Australia in 2002 as part of the Long Way to the Top concert series, which featured other legendary Australian acts including former Easybeats frontman Stevie Wright, Ross Wilson and the late Billy Thorpe.

More at:

Update 26/4/07

Test have revealed that Max is suffering Goodpastures Syndrome, an extremely rare viral infection, but is still expected to make a full recovery. “Trust me to get something rare” Max said.

Moved: 14:24 19/04/07

Dateline: 05/04/07


Continuing the policy of AVA leading the charge backward, bringing you the first last (and no, I don't have the circuit for Tesla's guitar amp), this is not the ultimate in ultra-low-noise stereo preamps, but it does seem to be some kind of statement. . .


A fair dinkum valve digital clock using Nixie® neon display tubes (unlike Decatrons they didn't count). These have ten cathodes shaped as numerals and provide an ergonomic readout, unlike 7-segment LED's.

In fact Decatron-driven-Nixies would still make a reasonable fairly simple and good-looking all-gas clock/counter/display. It was more common to use gas “trigger tubes” (a bit like a PUT/SCR) for counting and interstage coupling, but like Decatrons these must be getting rare these days. This clock uses a lifetime supply of 12AX7's for the counting. Who said the Germans don't have a sense of humor?

Source: Bruegmann-Digital-Roehren-Clock (German, Google English translation)

These's a bit of Nixie® madness about with websites and Elektor doing a conventional TTL-to-Nixie neo-60's Sputnik clock earlier this year. I'm more of a magic eye person myself.


Those cards and letters keep coming in folks. After three years there is finally something to put in the Abbey folder.

Traffic continues to creep upward, hits on the servers, and a stream of e-mails. At any moment I am exchanging e-mails with between 3 and 6 people working through amp problems. I love it when it pays off;

j&m: Man! The audio transformer is unbelievable. I tested it through the aux input on my stereo and it sounds fantastic. I started work on this amp specifically to use in recording situations so the implications this has are perfect. Not only is it remarkably clear, it also has a great element of 'closeness' in the sound. Thanks again...... left to my own devices this transformer would have ended up dusty in the spares box. (almost a crime!) “Three Cheers for Roly!”

j&h (gets confusin' sometimes) had a problem with a Goldentone reverb line that was feeding back and it turned out to be the following tone-shaping cap had gone open. Happy now.

The seems to be quite a bit of refurbishment (don'cha love that word? ;) of old amps going on at the moment - Goldies always; a 20 watt AWA factory PA being re-born as a recording guitar amp; a big VASE; a Lenard - and another old CRO, my first love (sigh).

Many of these exchanges are worthy of a FAQ since problems often cover similar ground - when I get a round toit.

But please, some suggestions when you write. The less time I have to spend fiddling about, the more time I can spend on your problem. So to help me to help yourself...


My spam filter often catches ligit e-mails, so to make them stand out start the subject with the brand of the amp or “AVA”.

Whitespace is free on the net. Active whitespace are the spaces between paragraphs of text - and the screen-reader needs more of it than on paper. So Rule of Thumb - hit “enter” twice every 1-to-3 full stops; more often than you would for paper. Your readers will love you.

Save text in plain “.Txt” format, not .Doc or other internal formatted WordPro file - I can't read it as intended and have to strip it to plain ASCII text anyway.


Please bundle multiple pix etc into a single Zip file. WinZip is free for home use. (try


The quality of photos continues to be great. The standard size of camera JPG currently seems to be about right (from 1 to 2k pixels wide) for reduction for the site using Irfanview - free!  Useful! (try Best to send them raw and let me crop, reduce and post-process.

Circuits and drawings

circuit flag

Unlike pix, diagrammes are turning out to be a bit of a problem, scans direct to PDF particularly, and another reason why I don't like PDF's. But sometimes there is just no other way.

The main problem is scaling. Not just on the net, but wherever circuits have to be displayed on a computer monitor or printed out for bench use - think about end uses before you start. This seems to be a generic problem into the future.

Experience backed by Information Theory says that any diagramme must be able to fit into a single view, mainly so you can see how the major parts relate. Currently the compromise seems to be an A4 page size which comes out around 3 screen wides by 2 screens high - any bigger gets really hard to follow.

But unless it's drawn with a thumb dipped in tar, when you zoom out or it is reduced all the lines tend to vanish!

A large proportion of the 70-odd megabytes currently on this site is actually whitespace in full-size circuit images. But in the end I'd rather have a giant circuit in PDF format, than not have it at all.

So some general tips:

What I'm listening to...

Still crazy on Spicks 'n Specks (ABC Wed, 8:30pm) and particularly RockWiz (SBS Sat 9:20pm), Julia Zemiro, Brian Nankervis, and the amazing James Black on Teli and Hammond.

helenk writes: Absolutely loved Rockwiz DVD [“Two for the Show”], especially Brian Nankervis being a complete dick as the pseudo muppets Swiss Chef in the extras. It was like a flashback to rehearsals for Let The Blood Run Free. You are totally gorgeous for sending me that and I love you!

My particular favorites, roughly in order, are;

Honorable mentions to;

Neville Brothers - Brothers Keeper
Buddy Guy - Damn Right I've Got the Blues (Mustang Sally)
Little Feet, South Oz rappers Hill Top Hoods on Triple-J, and old country gig tapes of The Hip Pedlars and Crooked Hearts. Bondi Cigars were good on The Basement (ABC Thur 10:30pm).

Tip of the month

Take care on the roads, particularly gig nights, and protect your hands during the lug.

Moved: 9/4/07

Dec 2006 *** Hardware of the Moment - W.H.Paling (p)***, Goldie#2208 (p), Goldie serials, Goldie Suitcase (p,c), Playmaster Unit 2 (c), Farfisa Amplivox-18 (p), Maton Opal T-30 (p)
Nov 2006 Brightening a GT1757 bassmaster, 12A-series FAQ, Goldie serials, Maton serials, EL156 Generic, Maton AM-3

Wolfmother Grammy

Dateline: 13/2/07

Andrew Stockdale and Myles Heskett of Wolfmother
Pic: The Age

Wolfmother have added a Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performance to their three ARIA's. Andrew is gigging a classic Moody and the flying-V logo can often be seen in their backline. Well done guys.

In related news Ken Palethorpe reports that the classic Goldie shown with Mia Dyson at the Falls Festival seems to be following her around, so we assume that she is also gigging a classic Aussie valve amp.

Disco Inferno

Dateline January 18, 2007 - 12:39PM
By Renee Switzer

Explosions and fireballs rocked Melbourne's south-east overnight when a huge warehouse fire caused up to $20 million damage at an industrial estate.

Country Fire Authority incident controller Troy Thornton said 15 trucks, “hundreds” of guitars and amplifiers, 150,000 litres of engine oil, 500 pallets of fibreglass, drums of hydraulic oil, mattresses, and a large amount of plastic were consumed in the blaze.
It was a very loud fire and the heat was so intense we couldn't get our crews into the actual premises for some time.”

Graphic T-Shirt

You may not be able to buy an air guitar T-shirt but you can now get one with a built-in graphic analyser.

Soundies note: not machine washable

Source: via Elektor

Dateline: 26/12/06

James Brown has left the building

“The hardest working man in show-business”. What can you say about James Brown? A hugely driven and energetic performer, remembered by his musicians as a perfectionist ogre who noticed and fined musicians for errors.

Of a heart failure following pneumonia, age 73

Dateline: 16/12/06

Coda - Ertegun Dies, 83

Ahmet Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records in 1947, has died in New York aged 83 after falling at a Rolling Stones concert and suffering a head injury.

Atlantic artists include Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Cream, Led Zepplin, Sonny & Cher, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young.

Backing and session musician on many of the Soul era classics include Booker-T and the MG's, the Bar-Kays, and the Memphis Horns; also immortalised as the core of the Blues Brothers band.

Overseas visitors

Having resisted the temptation to decorate AVA with cynical seasonal sprigs of snow-covered Holly, or even sorry soot-encrusted half-burnt gum leaves falling like some hellish antipodean snow, I finally made the following concession to the season of garish gee-gaws and too much to eat.

December '06
Greetings, all.

What I'm watching: Xmas DVD's - Pink Floyd in concert at Earl's Court with a “who-needs-drugs?” lightshow. RockWizz Duets: Two for the Show; fave track Stop Draggin' My Heart Around. The intros have a lot of interesting background for trainspotters.
Credits “James Black is God.”

18:09 03/01/07
Oct 2006 Countdown Spectacular '06 review
Sept 2006 Links page checked and updated, Pickups article graphics fixed (thanks to Phil Abbott). Countdown Spectacular Review (temp). Phil Abbott's MaxiVerb (c)
Aug 2006 Related chord chart
Rocktober 2006 Amps In Action (p), 6GW8 Generic (c)
Sept 2006 Sonata (p), Trent - Invicta, Invicta Super, Bobcat T60 (p), Bobcat Super T60, Cougar (p), Super Cougar, Panther (p), Super Panther, Panther Bass, Super Panther Bass, Panther P.A. (p), Tygon (p), Tygon P.A., Sonic Boom A/B/C/D (p), Sonic Boom P.A., Wildcat A/B/C/D (p), Amps in Action (p), Goldentone2 17-series (c), Maton - AM-2 (p), SRG75 (p), CPA80 (p), Moody blond BA40 (p), NoName DiyWatt 10 (c), Strauss - Polka 200 (p), S.S. (p)

23:03 14/12/06

Air Guitar Shirt

I want one! I want one!(*)

CSIRO airguitar.jpg, thanks to The Age

Yeah, I know, everybody picked this up. Must be a lot of frustrated guitarists out there.

Australia's CSIRO has designed a T-shirt with fabric sensors that can be used to imitate playing guitar - so-called air-guitar.

It works by embedding sensors into a shirt, allowing a computer to recognising and interpreting arm movements and produce the sounds of the instrument.

In this podcast [5mb], Dr Helmer talks about how the air guitar shirt works and how the same technology could be used for different applications.

(* there are only two, one white for Abba covers bands, and one black for Sabbath cover bands)

Gold-plated balony


Are gold-plated 6.5mm connectors any better than the silver ones? They make great equipment bling, and there's nothing generally wrong with them that isn't already wrong with 6.5mm connectors generally. And that's a lot. Wherever you have a choice, use something else, such as XLR's.

Wipe out

Do you have a cloth in your guitar case specifically for wiping down the strings and fretboard after you have played? Do you give her a caress before putting her to bed?

Simply wiping the sweat and finger grime off your strings will make them last several times longer, stops frets corroding, and grime buildup on the fretboard itself.

Summer's coming, so be careful not to leave any band gear in the car - none of it likes it.

Clean up

Two great new-found tools have been generating a lot of work on the site; CSE HTML Validator Lite v6.5 is quicker than going on-line for the W3C HTML Validator, and drops you into the editor right on the found errors which is very quick for correcting simple typos etc.

The other is Xenu LinkCheck which hopefully will significantly reduce the number of “Not Found” errors in the site statistics.

Xenu also finds orphans, items not actually connected anywhere. This exposed a few megabytes of pix that were uploaded in error, or not actually scripted in. So a few items previously lost in the wash should now appear, and some wasted server space has been recovered.

There were over one hundred items spanning twenty-some pages, and it's a fiddly error-prone process, so if you find anything still “broken” after a couple of attempts, please let me know.

What I'm thinking about: reissues, and the Playmaster 102/3; how good Maton amps like the Series-10 look.

Server Outage

The Elands.Com domain had an outage his week (28/11/06) for a few days, now back up. Even my SysAdmin doesn't know what it was. Remember, the keyword “OzValveAmps” will find both Elands and Lucidtone sites in most search engines. Both addresses are in full in the heading.

Moved: 18:16 01/12/06

“Goldentone” name for sale

Got a multi-drop in my e-mail advising that the historic Goldentone name is up for bidding on e-Bay, $1000 reserve. [in keeping with AVA's non-commercial policy I'm not posting a direct link, but for commentary visit forums]

And to clarify; no, this is not what I have previously alluded to.

I can now tell you that I was aware of the now-re-released Rex Basskings in red, white and blue. (see Mixdown at your local music shop).

When Lamberti's stopped amp production they were left with a stock of around 100 built Bassking chassis' which went into storage. I understand that a number of components, electrolytics in particular, have been replaced across the board, and that suitable speakers had to be sourced.

All I can say on the other, is that it is a name every bit the equal of Goldentone, but any re-issue will be an up-to-date traditional valve design.

Moved: 01:22 06/11/06

Site Stats


60MB, 1500 files, 140 pages, 1000 photographs, 235 diagrammes, 15 sound files, from over 200 contributors.


Hundreds of users every day, about one-third from Australia and New Zealand (Aotearoa), the remaining two-thirds from all over the world - Poland, Argentina, France, Czech Republic, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Croatia (Hrvatska), Hungary, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, Portugal, United States, Israel, Switzerland, Turkey, Chile, Russian Federation, Hong Kong, Aruba, Poland, Uruguay.

New Articles = *

Aug 2006 Goldentone 1764 (c), Amps in Action (p)
*Junly 2006 Note Frequency Table - correction, Farfisa Transicord power supply and reverb circuit (c), Pickups (c)
*Apr 2006 Valve-based test equipment
Junly 2006 Amps in Action (p), STC (p), Philips PA (p), Diason S.S.40 (p), Goldentone update (p), GT Broadway (p), Holden (p), PM116 (p), Amplivox (p), more Maton history, *** Hardware of the Moment - Maton Series 10 (p)***, Maxim (p), Moody BA17 (p), NalinD's NoName mystery (p), GraemeD's NoName anzamps, TimG's “Playstation” 6BM8-SA2500 homebrew (p), Rex BassKing BA60 and Combo (p), Savage 100 (p), Strauss Mouse (p) quad box (p), Moody/Ultratone 40 (p), Vadis LB60 and Escort (p), Overeem, Trent.
Apr 2006 Amps in Action (p), Amplivox (p), Diason (p), Melnik/Challenge/ZJM (name), another unknown Dyson (p)
Mar 2006 Eminar 2x15 bin (p), Amps in Action (u/d), Goldentone Solist (p - chassis detail), Rex (pricelist), Amplivox? (p), Eminar rebuild (p), Playmaster (p), Tapeloop (c), AWA PA774 (p,c), STC 6CM5 Rebuild (p), 3 unknown Diasons (p), Maton (history), Derek's NoName 6CA7 (p,c), Fhone (p)
Feb 2006 Holden Slave (p,c), Yamaha TA-series (p), AWA PA1002BY (p), 807 (c), Rex (u/d), Bibliography
*Feb 2006 Bibliography
Jan 2006 Stradivarius (name,p), Holden 4x KT88 (p), Jansen MOSFET Circuits (c), Lenard GB200 (p), Maxim slide and amp (p), Flame (name,p), Goldie 1351/9-60 (p,c), Moody GA40 (p), Vase Dynabass (p), *** Hardware of the Moment - Vase Split/Sound (p) ***, Rex AG6 (p), Rex Bassking BA200A (p,c), Eminar PA (c), Martstone 807 “Lounge Toy” (p,c), KT66 amp (p), Electravox G?60 (p), Maxim KT88 (p), Holden/Wasp history, Fountain (name)
Dec 2005 Mirror site up:,
AWA (name,p), Goldie 9-60 (c v1)
*Dec 2005 Sony BMG copy-prevention link
Nov 2005 Amps In Action (p), 6V6 Circuit (c), Eminar, Maton, Goldentone catalogue pages (p), Barclay (p)
*Nov 2005 Links u/d, Reverb, trem and other add-on's, Tape Echo, Magazine Project numbering, Transposing instruments
*June 2005 Standby switching, Superboard, Reverb tanks(p,c), Grounding (c).

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