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Discussion Starter #1
Hello people! So I am building up components to take an AC30 cc2 and use it as a platform to make a JMI spec Vox. My question (for now) is about the transformer swaps. I'm curious as to whether anybody here has used both the direct replacement output/power/choke transformers from these respected companies and noticed any big differences in tone.
Thanks for your time!
 

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nobody wants to wade in on this one. :)
I think Hammond makes a great product. I don't think you would be able to hear the difference between Hammond and Mercury Magnetics. I've never seen/heard a bind comparison test of the two brands though. As long as the specs are the same, does anything really have the ability to affect tone other than the output transformer? (and speaker). I believe WC Gill uses Mercury in his builds, he might have words of wisdom for you.
 

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I believe hammond is *significantly* cheaper if my memory isn't torn from work today. I'm sure some builders may have more conclusive info.
 

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I believe hammond is *significantly* cheaper if my memory isn't torn from work today. I'm sure some builders may have more conclusive info.
Oh for sure. M.M. is always twice the price of any other transformer builder, sometimes more.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I believe hammond is *significantly* cheaper if my memory isn't torn from work today. I'm sure some builders may have more conclusive info.
Yeah, Hammond is significantly cheaper which is what prompted my question. I know Hammond is a quality company, especially being a vintage Traynor amp lover, but the prices are so much different I was curious as to whether it was one of those instances where the price is a fair representation of current quality. Although, I am under the assumption that isn't the case; just a bigger company charging more because they can, rather. I can get the power/output/choke transformers from nextgen for around $450 before shipping, whereas MM ToneClone trio would cost $590 USD, before shipping...

nobody wants to wade in on this one. :)
I think Hammond makes a great product. I don't think you would be able to hear the difference between Hammond and Mercury Magnetics.
I think you're right with that. I've never heard a word spoken ill about Hammond Transformers
 

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Until I see a 50+ year old MM transformer still kicking after surviving decades of abuse and gigging I'll continue to trust Hammond.

I doubt the tonal difference would be enough to say one is better than the other. I'm sure they could sound different, but I doubt the difference is more significant than other factors (speakers, tubes, etc.).
 

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Is it Mercury Magnetics that uses "big iron " as one of their catch phrases? More iron better product? Just took a quick look and they want 200 USD plus shipping etc for a Marshall Class 5 transformer. LOL, I could almost buy another class 5 LOL.

What about radio spares iUK f you want vintage UK? Or Heyboer
 

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Ah, one of the internet amp forums' favourite debates, another one being amp-cab impedance matching. I use MM almost exclusively, along with Hammonds, I like them both. Are MM's better than Hammonds? Possibly.

A few years ago we tone tested 4 OPT's in a VOX AC30 build. The AC30 is a good platform for this because there is no feedback in the amp so if a component change results in a change in tone it is immediately noticeable.
The 4 transformers were a MM Vox AC30 OPT, primary impedance of 4.2k, an Edcor Trainwreck OPT, 5.2k, a MM Radiospares OPT, 6.6k (the one used in the very first AC30's), and a Heyboer AC30 OPT, 4.2k.
Two guitar player friends played through the amp while I switched the transformers. They didn't know which transformer they were listening to as I didn't give any indication. This process went on for some time until everyone had a sense of which one was which, i.e. #1, 2, 3 or 4.

In the end everyone, myself included, preferred the two MM transformers, even though the primary impedances were different, and they sounded a lot different. The least favourite, the Edcor, even though this one seems to be very popular among the Trainwreck community. I know this isn't scientific, but it is blind, unlike the fan-boys who change parts and then wax eloquent on how much better the new one sounds, probably because they paid an arm and leg for it.

Now, the price. I don't pay retail nor do any builders who buy any kind of quantity. I find them very reasonable if somewhat more than the competition but the variety of what they offer to builders is unprecedented. Want an AC30 power transformer with higher or lower B+?-available. How about a Fender Deluxe OPT with 4-8-16 ohm taps?-available. How about a power transformer for a Sunn Solarus? Would that be the EL34 or 6550 version? That you won't find from any other supplier. Sure there's lots of hype but behind that is a damn good innovative company. I like 'em. Are they better than Hammond?
Possibly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sure there's lots of hype but behind that is a damn good innovative company. I like 'em. Are they better than Hammond?
Possibly.
Thanks for your two cents WCGill, definitely much appreciated & you gave me much more to think about than what I considered just on transformers in general; plus you made a good response regarding MM and their perceptibly high prices. As you said, they supply a lot more variance than other companies, & all at the same great quality!
 

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In the end everyone, myself included, preferred the two MM transformers, even though the primary impedances were different,
Too bad there's no simple way to find out if it was the impedance difference that everyone liked, or some other aspect of the MM. A shoot-out where all the iron had closer specs would be very helpful.

I'll mention once again about the MM pricing, for anyone who may choose to use them. No one is allowed to advertise less than MM's suggested list, although they can sell them for much less. Sometimes as low as half list! Their markup is ridiculous, and their whole marketing scheme really bothers me, but whatever.
If you want to use them, find a dealer who will sell for less, or become a dealer yourself (or get your favourite shop to become a dealer).
 

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I've been using MM for a while now. Pricing gets better the more you buy and it never resets. They have a lifetime warranty on their transformers which I don't believe anyone else offers. I have both my rental AC30TB's refitted with their Woden units which sound great and in my opinion, are far more reliable than the Dagnall offerings that came stock.
 

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I stand corrected....it's a 10 year warranty. Still blows away any competitor's offering.
I had a customer bring me a Fender Tweed Deluxe CS a while ago with a blown MM output transformer. It was out of warranty. I contacted MM to see what they could do and they replaced it free of charge! That's pretty good service if you ask me.
 

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Do most MM transformers have a center tap for the heater circuit? That's one thing I noticed is missing on some of the cheaper brands of transformers. The Hammond "upgraded" line all had it (from what I've seen) but their standard PT's don't. Either do Magnetics Corp (Classic Tone) in a lot of cases.
 

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A lot depends on what the transformer is modeled after. For instance, A BF Deluxe Reverb transformer will have the heater center tap whereas the Deluxe 5E3 circuit transformer will not.
 

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The Hammond "upgraded" line all had it (from what I've seen) but their standard PT's don't.
The "upgraded" Hammond PTs (291 series) mainly just had better cores. Most of them have been discontinued due to the heavy fluctuations in the cost of materials used to build the "upgraded" line.

Their "upgraded" OTs (1760 series) have extra output taps.
 
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