SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

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SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Maddogcole on Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:56 am

Is anyone here able to tell me anything at all about SNS amplifiers. They were built in Bournemouth, England, and they were a 'new' company in the early 70's.
They had all slider controls, including a 'preddle' and 'baddle'..........???????
They made 300 watt bass amps and 125 watt guitar amps.
They were used for a few years by British rockers Slade, who were one of, if not the only, first major users of them - at the height of their fame from '72 - '75.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Misterman on Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:27 am

Hi - I was a dj from the early 70's until the mid 2000's. I certainly recall SNS amps and speakers. I used them extensively in the mid 70's. Indeed I still own an SNS solid state disco console which still works although I removed the Garrard AP76 turntables back in 1996 and finally skipped them about three years ago. I had no idea that anyone as high profile as Slade had used SNS. I do recall a local band using their amps and speakers in the mid 70's but information about the company and it's products is almost non-existent on the internet. I do know they went bust in the mid-70's and I traced them to a tiny office in a big company in Hove nr Brighton in 1979 when I needed repairs to the disco console. The company was, I think, called Sound Diffusion if that's any help. They manufactured communication equipment for the hotel industry. (Room intercoms and the like). Anyway, the guys in this tiny office in 1979 were so delighted to see one of their products still going strong (even back then) they replaced the damaged equalizer panel for free and gave me the design manual for the unit with all the original design diagrams and wiring diagrams, which I still have to this day!
If anyone reading this has any SNS disco speakers to go with my disco console and an SNS slave amp, I would be interested to hear from you.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:37 pm

Just came across this thread purely by chance so my replay is probably years too late.
I have some experience of SNS amplifiers.
The information already posted is correct. SNS were a company based in Christchurch near Bournemouth. They specialised in Communications equipment and decided to branch out into group equipment.
I can confirm that Slade were the main band to be sponsored by SNS who gave them a complete back-line of equipment. In fact, if you can get hold of a copy of the original Slade vinyl album called "Sladest" you will see that the centrefold photograph shows Slade in concert with both Noddy Holder and Dave Hill using multiple SNS amps and cabs.
As for my own experience of SNS - the previous post mentions a local group who used SNS equipment. That group was called "Sumovus" and I was the guitarist/keyboard player with the band. We were based in the Southampton area and we won a local "Battle of the Bands" competition and part of the prize was that we were given several SNS amps and cabs to use for a few months to road test them. We were also given a tour of the SNS factory and testing facility. The only problem was that the equipment we were destined to use was, at the time, on the road with the boxer Joe Frazier who was trying his hand at music (I don't think that career lasetd long). By the time the equipment reached us, it had done a lot of mileage and had not been treated very well. However, it was still much better than what we had at the time and we were happy to use it for the few months that we had it on trial.
The equipment itself was very impressive although it was also very very heavy. The cabinet construction was extremely solid and robust. It took 2 people to lift even the smallest cab which was a 2x12. If I remember rightly (well it was 40 years ago), they also made 2x15 cabs and 2x12 and 2x15 cabs with horns added. The amps were rated at 50 watts or 125 watts. The front control panel could be hinged upwards and was all sliders. The amps were loud and clean and, if I could find one, I'd be very interested to lay my hands on it, just for old times sake.
The Preddle and Baddle were simply tone controls that were set in between the Presence/Middle and the Bass/Middle controls. I guess you could say it was an early type of graphic equaliser as they gave a lot more control over the frequency ranges.
We had to give the cabs back after a few weeks as SNS wanted to take them apart to see how well they had stood up to use on the road. I wanted to buy my own SNS amp at the time but sadly couldn't afford it. They were very expensive, (which possibly may explain why SNS equipment didn't really catch on) and I was a poor musician.
I'll come back to this thread every now and then just on the offchance that someone may have responded to it.
My playing days were over many years ago but I still play at home and do the occasional charity gig but I use more modern Fender amps now although I still sometimes dust off my vintage WEM Dominator MkII, or my Selmer Little Giant, which are still the best amps I've ever heard or owned. But I'd jump at the chance to take an SNS amp and cab out on the road although I suspect it's just wishful thinking. :-)
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Big_Stu on Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:46 pm

Decades_D wrote:Just came across this thread purely by chance so my replay is probably years too late.


Never too late! I was maddogcole in a previous "life" on here, some kind of log-in issues forced the change. Many many thanks for all the info. :thumbsup:
Yours is by far the most detailed and apart from the band members you're the only info I've heard from who's actually used them. The only info I have is from a rough scan from a Melody Maker interview Nod did in 1971. The cash from their first number 1 single is what paid for the amp change.
Nod & Dave Hill each had a 125 watt amp with a 2x12 and a 2x15 each. Jim had a 300 watt head (or perhaps 2 x 125 watt amps) and two 2x12s and two 2x15s. Jim didn't use them for long, he gave them to Nod & Dave and switched over to 4 x Acoustic 361s two years later.

The whole lot was dumped for Hiwatts in '75.

........... thanks to Misterman too; I hadn't seen the reply at the time it was posted, I think I'd given up looking by then.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:41 pm

Not sure if anyone is still watching this thread but, if you are, you may be interested in an item recently listed on Ebay.co.uk.
If you search for item 171186141443 you'll see it is an SNS-125 amp.The amp certainly looks original but I'm not sure about the casing as the SNS amps I used had a hinged front panel and wooden end pieces. The SNS amp on Ebay is the first one I've seen for sale in many decades and the seller obviously thinks its rarity makes it very valuable as he's given it a start price of £500. I'd love to get my hands on one again but not at that price, or anything like it.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby teemuk on Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:02 pm

The construction was obviously somewhat modular: The front panel is built out of two pieces (panels): One houses input, loop and tone controls. The second is a smaller piece and houses power switch, master volume and reverb controls. Rear panel houses power supply and power amp, plus related controls and interfaces. If you look at the photos closely you can see how these modules were used to build either an amp in "head" -type format (similar to one at ebay auction) or an amp in "desk" -type format, which had the hinges and stuff.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Big_Stu on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:55 pm

Decades_D wrote:Not sure if anyone is still watching this thread but, if you are, you may be interested in an item recently listed on Ebay.co.uk.
If you search for item 171186141443 you'll see it is an SNS-125 amp.The amp certainly looks original but I'm not sure about the casing as the SNS amps I used had a hinged front panel and wooden end pieces. The SNS amp on Ebay is the first one I've seen for sale in many decades and the seller obviously thinks its rarity makes it very valuable as he's given it a start price of £500. I'd love to get my hands on one again but not at that price, or anything like it.


Yeah - it's being watched. As you say the price is a bit ambitious. Obviously going for the Slade link.

Image
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:15 pm

In reply to Teemuk - As far as I can remember, all the SNS heads, apart from the slave, had the hinged front panel. Yes, it was in modular form as the power/master volume section was common across all the amps but the main section had different versions for guitar and PA. I contacted the seller of the SNS on Ebay and he confirmed that the one he has for sale is not in its original casing so SNS never made a "head" type casing that I can recall. They were all "desk" type. Unfortunately, although the seller has halved his original asking price it's still far too steep for me but perhaps he'll drop it again. I'll watch with interest. If it does reach a level that I can afford then I'll hopefully purchase it and the first thing I will do is to try to recreate a new "desk" type casing based on the pictures that have been posted and on my own very distaint faint memories. I always liked to the look of the original casing. It was unique and stylish, at least that's my opinion.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:42 pm

I managed to agree a price on the SNS amp listed on Ebay in the UK and I picked it up this morning.
It works well but has a couple of things that need to be put right.
The reverb tank is missing and I'll have to try to find a replacement, which might not be easy with no schematic to work with.
The output meter doesn't seem to be working properly so may have to be replaced - if I can find one.
The output transistors are 3 x 2N4348 and a single 2N3773 - which I assume is an equivalent and a later replacement. I may have to look at getting another 2N4348 so that all the devices are the same.
Then, of course, there is the casing which is not original and which I'll have a go at trying to build a closely matching replica.
I've taken a few pics of the inside of the amp which I'll be happy to send to anyone who is interested.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:48 pm

Many thanks to Pitchfork from Hampshire, UK who has done an excellent job of deciphering, redesigning and rebuilding the reverb circuit along with fitting a new reverb tank on my newly acquired SNS amp. He has also repaired the VU meter circuit. Everything works exactly as it should now and so now the fun starts - trying to recreate, as closely as possible, the original SNS casing. If anyone has any dimensions, plans etc then it would be extremely helpful, otherwise it's largely guesswork based on memory and the few photos that I've seen and been able to get copies of.
I'd also be interested to hear from anyone else who has seen, used or owned an SNS - I think there are very few of us left, apart from the original members of Slade of course.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Pitchfork on Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:19 pm

Yes, it was an interesting challenge & I'm pleased to have been able to sort it. I'm in the north of Hampshire (UK) not far from Basingstoke & will take on repairs to both valve (tube) & solid-state (transistor) amps, mixers & Copicat tape echos. ian@pitchforkband.co.uk if I can help anyone. :cheers:
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:45 pm

I've managed to finish the replacement casing on my SNS amp, apart from some minor touches. Although I'm not too bad at doing restorations, woodwork never was my strong point but I'm pleased with how it's turned out as it doesn't look too different from how it would have looked originally. The Board isn't letting me attach pics as it is saying the board attachment quota has been reached so, if you want to see some pics please message me and I'll send them to you. The amp works well, including the reverb. The only disappointing aspects are that the Bright switch doesn't seem to do much and the output meter on the front doesn't register. My repair tech did take a look at it but it's a complex circuit and he wasn't able to fix it completely but, overall I'm very happy with it. It's a big, heavy, and very loud beast but hopefully I'll get a chance to use it sometime in the future.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby DaveW on Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:56 pm

Hi, If you want to post pics just upload them to a free service such as www.photobucket.com and then copy the 'Image' link and put it in your post.
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby Decades_D on Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:01 pm

Thanks for the advice DaveW.

Hopefully, if I've done it correctly, you'll be able to see the SNS pics at the following locations :-

http://s159.photobucket.com/user/Decade ... ort=3&o=10
http://s159.photobucket.com/user/Decade ... sort=3&o=9
http://s159.photobucket.com/user/Decade ... sort=3&o=8
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Re: SNS amplifiers, Bournemouth

Postby teemuk on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:23 am

Got any "upskirt" photos of that? You know, circuit p*rn?
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