Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

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Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby infiniteposse on Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:24 am

Hi all-

A local shop has an old head in stock that looks like it's seen better days. They've got it labeled as a Sound City Prototype and I'm curious what you guys think. The front panel is labeled 130RMS. On the rear of the amp there's a paper label that says "Sounds Hire LTD, London, England Model MK VII/B, Serial # 7B/001"

Front panel has a master volume knob that's detented and completely rotates - so it can go from 1-12 which was odd. Looks to be 4xEL34's and the transformers look similar to pics I've seen of Partridges. I didn't get a chance to crack the chassis open, so I could only look through the rear grill and see the tranny's like that...

Anyhow, I'm just curious if this adds up to anything familiar to you guys. This place has on many occasions wishfully labeled items so this may simply be another example. I can't find anything out there from SC that remotely conforms to this and was also unable to find anything at all for "Sounds Hire LTD" in London...

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Pics:http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b149/infiniteposse/Sound%20City%20Prototype/
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby Papa Dog on Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:01 am

from what I can see in the pictures which you have posted I can tell you that what is being offered as a "SoundCity Prototype" is no such thing.
The date on the tag, along with the names indicates that it was built after SoundCity had ceased production.
Back in the early 80s i was in touch with a man in New York, whilst looking for NOS parts to repair an old amp who claimed to have bought out the remaining stock of amplifier parts nad head cabs from Arbiter.
That amp in the pictures looks to be in a SoundCity head cab, and it is possible that the chassis is SoundCity.
I have no idea what the circuitry would be, but IMHO this is probally a build using leftover parts and a re-designed circuit.
The designation of Mark VII is what would lead me to believe that, and there are some interesting features there.
As far as I know, the master volume control is a unique feature, that may have been introduced in the Tour Series amps just before Arbiter closed up shop. At any rate it is NOT a SoundCity "prototype," as there was no "SoundCity" in 1985.
O'course i could be wrong in my remembering of dates, but again, the paper label on the back would indicate what i have said to be correct.

edit: I went back and looked at the pictures again.
The master volume goes to 12!
It looks like the tone controls (bass, mid and treble) are "active" like in the SoundCity Mark IV. The front panel is interesting in that it is black with silk screened numbers, which was not a feature that I know of in SoundCity amps.
The back panel shows indications that some mods have been performed on that amp. Where the voltage selector should be, there has been placed a modern type power cable socket and the voltage is set at 117 V. There are some other odities about the back panel, not the least of which are the labels made with the old punch type lable maker.
I would wonder if the power transformer is not original to the amp, but there is no way of knowing for sure from the outside. The model number Mk VIIB indicates that it is a Bass amp. The serial number 7B/001 would indicate that this is either a "one off" amp or else was the first off the line of an intended line of amps. It may, or may not be one of a kind. There is no way that i would even power that amp on without first pulling the chassis and making sure that, at the very least, the power supply caps are in good order.

Please do us a favor and ask the shop where they got the idea that it is as claimed. They might just know something about the man who built it, and have contact information, and he MAY be a good source for NOS parts for SoundCity, SMF, Tour Series and a number of other amps. Thanks.
There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--"
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby gldtp99 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:00 am

This amp doean't look like it has much to do with Sound City, but i don't know what it is--- i've never heard of Sounds Hire, LTD but i have heard of Frank Levi------ when he worked as a tech for SIR studios in LA he modded one of SIR's Marshalls similar to another one that had been modded by Tim Caswell (who had left SIR by this time)--- the one Frank Levi did is the #36 head that was used by Guns n Roses to record "Appetite for Destruction"...... Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child of Mine, etc are the Marshall that Mr Levi modded---- according to what has been posted on different threads on different forums lately.
This Sounds Hire LTD amp just might be a bass head, it's hard to say---- the model numbers seem to indicate that--- it does seem to have Partridge iron---but without better external and internal pics it's hard to say what the heck this one is---- but it is cool in an interesting way....................gldtp99
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby awkwardsilence on Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:05 pm

From the photos that looks fairly similar cosmetically (front control layout and unusual nuts on the standby and mains switches) to a Roost amp. In the early days they were built just down the road from where the Sound City amps were made in Southend on Sea, often using components from the same suppliers. It's hard to tell more without good photos of the inside.

There's a Roost website here: http://www.andy-duke.co.uk/roost/roosthistory.html
It might be worth posting the photos on the message board there. The Sounds Hire company in London rings a bell with me as being linked with manufacturing for another British amp brand in some way in the '70s but I can't remember which one...

If that amp is a Roost relative, they're usually most closely compared to the Hylight era Hiwatts but have PCBs rather than being hand wired. I have a 1975 Roost model SR22 100 watt and they are very good amps, with excellent tone.
Too much gear for this little space here...
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby truth_hz on Sun May 09, 2010 2:04 am

Yeah I saw that amp sitting in Trade-up for a week or two. I wanted to inspect the guts, but they wouldn't let me. It did sound nice, but the label on the back looked fishy, and it had definitely been on someones bench for mods at some point.
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby frank levi on Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:13 am

What you have is a STAK 130 amplifier, designed by Bob Birthwright (of Canary mixing desks fame) in the 70s. The real Serial Number of that unit is "33". I bought the amp new from Bob, modified it and used it for many years.
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby ramsesII on Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:16 pm

I have amp. STAK 130 RMS. How can I send pictures?
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby Mr. Foxen on Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:48 am

I have one too, and matching folded horn cab:
Image

edit: new image now they work.
New music: https://warriorpope.bandcamp.com/album/anchorite
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby ramsesII on Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:51 pm

#44

P9070040.jpg


P9070042.jpg


P9070043.jpg
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby ramsesII on Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:54 pm

P9070044.jpg


P9070046.jpg
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Re: Local shop has a supposed SC prototype - thoughts?

Postby Mr. Foxen on Mon May 27, 2013 1:29 am

Can see that someone was checking these out from blog hits. I've since spoken to the guy that made these, Mike Baker (hence the badge inside). The only sound city link is the music store he made them for had him competing with Sound City on price.
New music: https://warriorpope.bandcamp.com/album/anchorite
Gear tinkering blog: http://ampstack.wordpress.com/
Made a Facebook page for my ampguts stuff. Feel free to come post amp guts and rig shots: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ampstack/351966881575839
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