DIY Trace Elliot V8 w/ 8 KT120 - diyAudio
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Old 11th April 2013, 08:48 AM   #1
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Default DIY Trace Elliot V8 w/ 8 KT120

I managed to scrounge up:
Enormous Trace Elliot V-8 power transformer
Enormous Trace Elliot V-8 output transformer
Trace Elliot V-8 power amp printed circuit board (unpopulated)
Trace Elliot V-8 preamp printed circuit board (unpopulated)
8 KT-120 tubes

Up until now, the biggest project I ever did was 44 years ago, building a transistorized guitar amp with 1 preamp channel and 2 quasi-complimentary power sections. That was with my dad's design, supervision and test equipment, as I was a kid.

Now I really took on a really big one.

One of the real "holy grail" production bass amps (not mega-buck Boutique), perhaps even more elite than a blackline SVT or the 400-watt Hi-Watt, is the Trace Elliot V-8. It's not hand-wired on turrets like a Marshall Major or that HI Watt, but it's not machine-loaded printed circuit either. Filament wiring is off-board twisted-pair. Preamp filaments are regulated DC. This product is a few decades newer than most competition (though Fender has a nice tube bass amp now).

The Trace Elliot V8. I think only about 100 were made and few made it to the USA, and every kid in England with a V-6 really wants one. I was never into the blacklight green, and for years I thought they only made transistor amps. When Gibson took over, all their big amps would be transistor and they stopped making the v6 and v8. The V-8 had some front-panel controls for a tube compressor modelled after some classic studio gear, more to fatten up the bass without boom than control punchiness. The only weak spot was the direct-out, reputed to be noisy. It also had a cool magic-eye type tube used for adjusting bias and as a VU indicator, calibrated to indicate clean at 400 watts. Both the V-6 with 6 KT88's and the V8 with 8 KT88's were rated at 400 watts, though the V-8 made a lot more, just the first 400 were clean. Trace also made a tube preamp with the same circuit board as the V-6 preamp, but no compressor. There were also some models similar to the V-6 but with the compressor.

I'm going to use 2 or maybe even 3 larger, roomier chassis. The preamp is not too simple, and I want to make sure I get something completed. So I might put th epower supply on its own chassis, and the power amp on its own chassis, both to be mounted on the bottom of a large head cabinet, with a preamp in its own chassis mounted above...kind of like an SVT but bigger and roomier.

This SOB is going to be really heavy. It might even make more sense to make the components rack-mount.

I'm going to start on the power amp chassis and the power supply chassis, but this is going to be a long-term project to (hopefully) finish before I die or get tremors and can't play.

Last edited by cyclecamper; 11th April 2013 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 11th April 2013, 04:24 PM   #2
es345 is offline es345  Germany
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Great stuff!

All the best for your project!

Hans- Georg
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Old 11th April 2013, 04:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Up until now, the biggest project I ever did was 44 years ago
The biggest (most powerful, not physical size) project I ever did was 42 years ago. It was also solid state, with an unknown maximum power output. I personally saw 1200 watts before blowing the line breaker.

I had scored a huge heat sink with 24 X 2N3773's and two fans mounted in a military scrap yard. I wired two banks of 12 paralleled transistors in a transformer driven totem pole circuit. It was powered from bridge rectified wall outlet. I usually drove it with a Kustom solid state PA amp, but I saw it fed with a 50 watt Plexi Super Lead once, and it was a deadly sound. I sold it to a rock band that used it for a PA booster for about a dozen years. With 360 amps of silicon, shorting the speaker leads just melted the speaker leads and blew the line breaker!

I have never seen a Trace V-8...or V6. It has to be deadly, the good SVT were! I hope you have some serious speakers! I am starting on a 200 to 250 watt tube amp now, but the really big one is still pretty far down the list.
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Old 11th April 2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Luckily their parts list / bill of materials has decent descriptions of the parts. LIke whenever using a production printed circuit board, there will be some issues of using the exact same board-mounted switches and pots in order to fit. I really like the built-in tube compressor, but the preamps might be a bit complicated. Of course, I COULD build the power amp on turret-board! But the truth is that this is a well-designed printed circuit, with good start grounding, and some things wired direct to the tube sockets, like the filament wires are still twisted pairs of wire, coming off the sockets at 90 degrees to the printed circuit board. Good stuff.

The Trace Elliot tube stuff has more of a following in England than here in the USA. If I don't finish the project, I'd probably have to sell it overseas in order to recoup my investment.

There's a Plitron toroidal output transformer that's rated at 500 watts, but this is the only one I've found that's comparable. And it's reduced in price, new, at British Audio Sales.
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Old 11th April 2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
There's a Plitron toroidal output transformer that's rated at 500 watts,
There was a thread here about 5 years ago that mentioned some transformers listed on Plitron's surplus page for just over $100 each.. A feeding frenzy ensued and they were soon all gone. I bought two. They are rated for "400 watts at 20 Hz." The guy I talked to at Plitron thought they were made for Marshall, but never used in a production amp. Those are for the really big one. I have seen 525 audio watts flow through one of them, fed by 4 X 35LR6's running at the edge of meltdown.

My current design is running Edcor OPT's and a big surplus toroidal power transformer, two channels 100 to 150 watts each. I have no speakers that can eat a bigger amp, so I haven't been in a rush to make one, but the parts have been sitting on the shelf lonely for several years........someday soon.
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Old 28th April 2013, 07:49 AM   #6
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I used to own a trace vr350, which is related to the v8 (basically power amp only, with six tubes).
+50kgs in its simple diy rack. Backbreaking, sounded real nice though.
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Old 28th April 2013, 11:55 PM   #7
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Yes, the ones with 6 output tubes used the same thickness of laminations and same core for the output transformer as the V8; just wound for a different impedance.
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Old 6th May 2013, 01:24 PM   #8
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Hi

Had a V4, 3 V6s, 4 V8s.
Are you doing the V-type preamp with the compression circuit, or the V pre with just gain and tone?
PCB quality let the production units down a bit - sound great, not really up to touring.
They were built to order, so every one different (I had three different logo plates).
Used the compnents at hand, so some freedons taken 'on the day'....

Do you need the schematic?
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Old 9th May 2013, 06:51 AM   #9
Tesla88 is offline Tesla88  Italy
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I would like to see schematic of the compression version , i've a bass player friend and some spare transformers
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Old 9th May 2013, 07:33 AM   #10
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The compression version also has the overdrive; very flexible. PCB appears to be extremely high quality epoxy fiberglass with dual-side printing, DC filaments in preamp.
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