Magic little boxes

Discussion in 'All Things Analog' started by Redboy, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Many of you know that I like to build stuff, especially tube amplifiers and various tube amp-y things. And if you've seen some of my builds, you know that I like to use a lot of vintage iron...

    Transformers, that is.

    I especially like the good old mil spec transformers; potted and hermetically sealed, designed sixty years ago to run 24/7 in demanding environments like the boiler room of a navy ship, or the ass end of a military tank (I don't actually know if these specific details are correct, but it's where I picture them in my mind's eye).

    I'm really intrigued by the stuff. It's a weird thing to be attracted to, granted, but there's an inexplicable magnetism (heh!) to these things that draws me in...


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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  2. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    I've built a bunch of step up transformer (SUT) devices for LOMC phono cartridges with old input transformers, too.

    Several months ago, I found a pair of Peerless 4665 transformers on that big auction site. They were listed at an attractive price, so I clicked that BIN button.

    This weekend, I finally got around to building something with them, and you know what? They're just amazing.

    They're truly magical little boxes!


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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  3. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    It used to seem counterintuitive to me that these old things - antique by some standards - could be a viable option in a new build, that they'd even be functional at this point. But more often than not, they're not only functional, but superior to anything currently available.

    These 4665s, for instance. They sound amazing... did I mention the magic? How can a crusty old chunk of iron and copper sound so great?!

    I can't pretend to know all the answers, and that's okay with me. But I was happy to stumble on a new (to me) site yesterday, If you've ever wondered how the old Peerless iron was wound, and wanted to know a little bit of what the magic might be, this site is worthy of your time. Neat stuff!
  4. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Here's another SUT...

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  5. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Couple more.



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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  6. fiddlefye

    fiddlefye Senior Member

    I've got a brand new transformer or two in a box of my father's radio/audio bits from the 40s. I should drag them out and see what (if anything) you could build with it/them. if they could be turned into a SUT or something it would be fantastic and I know my father would have approved.
  7. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Dig 'em out and take some pics! :)
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  8. opa1

    opa1 Moderator Staff Member

    Cool stuff! You must watch the sites a lot to find all that good iron. Carry on! :)
  9. David

    David Moderator

    There's something very Shindo about your approach mate
  10. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    "When the Audiophile is ready, the transformers will appear....."

    Or should it be: "When the transformers are ready, the Audiophile will appear....."

  11. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    I do indeed... It's an affliction! I make a point to watch for deals, and buy when the opportunity presents itself. Some of these things don't come around very often! I keep some of it for myself, and sell some of it to feed the habit.

    Thank you, I'll take that as a compliment! The Japanese and other Asian audiophiles really figured this stuff out early. Back in the day when we Westerners couldn't dump these old things fast enough in favor of cheaper, crappier solid state stuff, they were filling shipping containers with our cast-offs and hauling them away! I wish I could read Japanese...

    Did someone say transformers? :)

  12. Celt

    Celt Peanut Head

    I like the step-up trannies! Maybe one of these days...
  13. marantzfan

    marantzfan Administrator Staff Member

    I’ve never played with a SUT before.

    I keep threatening to build a SUT around the venerable Altec 4722 someday.
  14. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Thank you! They're fun to build, and I like searching out oddball vintage input transformers to try. I've got a few pairs of them that I need to build up, soon.
    Just do it, mang! That's one sweet sounding little step up transformer. Do you own some? They don't come cheap anymore...
  15. marantzfan

    marantzfan Administrator Staff Member

    Sadly, I don’t own any. I keep thinking that with patience I’ll find a set for less then $400.

    So far, that strategy isn’t working for me. ;)

    Probably should just bite the bullet.
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  16. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    I found a stash of some interesting little input transformers for the latest build(s). These are nice!

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  17. je2a3

    je2a3 Junior Member

    You are one lucky guy! I’ve been looking for a pair for almost 20 years, always evaded me. :(

  18. Celt

    Celt Peanut Head

    Gonna have to hit you up for one of those one of these days...
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  19. airdronian

    airdronian Junior Member

    Another treat from the stash.

    This is how I visualize Redboy's basement. ;)

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  20. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 Señor Member

    yeah, except instead of crates, it's all little iron boxes.

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