Where do super high end companies get their transformers? - diyAudio
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Old 25th April 2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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Default Where do super high end companies get their transformers?

I've been reading about transformers people here use for projects. I wonder if they are in the league of transformers used in companies' $10,000+ amplifiers? Where do those kind of transformers come from and can I buy one?

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Old 25th April 2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Well, some of them wind their own in-house, while others farm them out. Perhaps to places on this list.
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Old 25th April 2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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You would be surprised.


After all the deisn work and testing has been done by the engineers, the building is down to the accountants.
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Old 25th April 2012, 07:37 PM   #4
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I'll bet that many companies purchase off-the-shelf transformers and pot them.
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Old 26th April 2012, 09:25 AM   #5
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Hi!

You'd probably be surprised about the actual parts cost in a high priced amp which is sold through the regular channels in stores. Often you will find much higher parts quality in the typical DIY project.

If an amp costs $10.000 in a store, the actual cost of the parts inside is typically $500 - $1000. Quite often the biggest part of the material cost is in the chassis. Now you can estimate how much there might be left for the power transformer.

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Thomas
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Old 26th April 2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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From the technical point of view there are no super high end audio equipment, except those designed for recording studios. Super high end is a pure marketing terms used to skyrocket someone's profit. If you look under the hood of $10,000 or even $250,000 tube amplifiers in most cases you will see ordinary devices, sometimes beautifully hand crafted.

You can go for example with Lundahl, Tamura or Tango, and you won't be wrong.
There is a plenty of other respectable transformer design/manufacturing companies which DIYAudio members are happy with.
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Old 26th April 2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Well, there are some companies that build with silver wire for the windings.
Then there are somewhat expensive and exotic core materials (depending on the application).

You can argue one way and the other as to if this matters or not.

The only way that this sort of thing should be of concern to a DIYer, imo, is if you are designing for a very specific goal. That implies that you are more or less able to figure out the inner workings of a transformer design and engineering. In which case the general question you are asking is answered before you start.

Other than that, you want the transformer with the best spec for the specific tube and tube set up and parameters that you have, with the overall design's aims in mind.

Having said that, it seems that two seemingly virtually identical transformers like from Lundahl, Tamura and Tango, or UTC, etc., will all have their own "personality" when you listen to them.

I think that building a tube amp is both an art and a balancing act.

I doubt if any body can do a design, build it and know before they listen what it is going to sound like to their ears.

_-_-bear

PS. I will have to disagree with the idea that there is no super high end equipment except for recording studios... and they rarely use tube amps these days.
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Old 26th April 2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear View Post
PS. I will have to disagree with the idea that there is no super high end equipment except for recording studios... and they rarely use tube amps these days.
OK, what exactly "super high end" is about? In terms of engineering, not marketing terms?
10 kWt tube amp (by the size of large refrigerator), built just for fun by Russian DIYer?

There are no any new vacuum tubes (suitable for audio) designed since 196x. And thus, all vacuum tube amplifiers is a variation of schematics using those ancient, half-century devices, or mixture of tubes and transistors, which is barely something really new or complex, compared for example to IBM Power7 CPU with 1.2 billion transistors.
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Old 26th April 2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Thank you all very much. This has helped put me in the know on this issue. There is another side of the question....this question probably makes no sense practically, but for pedagogical purposes...

If I take a standard circuit design (say from the Mullard book), and I build two amps from it that are otherwise identical except I build one with Lundahl, Tamura or Tango transformers meeting the design's specs, and one with low-cost transformers, will the former have better transparency, open highs, etc.?

Thanks.
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Old 26th April 2012, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by river251 View Post
Thank you all very much. This has helped put me in the know on this issue. There is another side of the question....this question probably makes no sense practically, but for pedagogical purposes...

If I take a standard circuit design (say from the Mullard book), and I build two amps from it that are otherwise identical except I build one with Lundahl, Tamura or Tango transformers meeting the design's specs, and one with low-cost transformers, will the former have better transparency, open highs, etc.?

Thanks.
Maybe.

It's also possible that the amp with the better transformer will be unstable and oscillate, if the amp uses global NFB. Often the compensation in the feedback network is tweaked for the particular transformer used, so you may need to modify it to make it happy.

If there is no gNFB, then IME, an amp with a more expensive transformer usually measures better than the cheap one. But not always. It depends both on the amplifier design and the individual transformer. I've had some quite expensive transformers that performed poorly, and some cheapies that worked very well.

That doesn't help much, does it?

Pete
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