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  1. #51

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    Jzucker,

    Maybe "grit" is a poor word choice. I've used Polytones since they became available on the East Coast. Yes, we were going for _clean_ amps. However, solid-state amps of that era were almost analytically clean...too clean. The Polytone sounded _warmer_ somehow. It was the lightest amp that made you think you were playing an Ampeg-style tube amp. No, it didn't sound like a Fender.

    Those old Polytones--three knobs with a "brite/dark" switch--were great sounding. Dinky reverb, but most jazz folks really weren't going for Fender surf reverb.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52
    we remember it differently I guess. I was very much part of the jazz guitar scene as well as the clubdate scene in dc back in the '70s. There was only one guy among dozens of players I knew who actually liked his polytone. He actually liked the red-knob distortion for roots-rock stuff. (Pete Kennedy). Everyone else I knew tolerated them because of the weight.

    I'd welcome a revamped class D polytone. A reissue would hold little interest to me but my guess is the guys on this forum would snap them up!

  4. #53
    remember they had 2 ohm speakers and bad service. If you blew a speaker and replaced it with something like an EV12L or JBL, you lost volume even though the better speaker was more efficient. You couldn't make up for the lack of amplifier power.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    remember they had 2 ohm speakers and bad service. If you blew a speaker and replaced it with something like an EV12L or JBL, you lost volume even though the better speaker was more efficient. You couldn't make up for the lack of amplifier power.

    With todays efficient speakers, I'm not sure it's even an issue.

    has anyone actually measured the old poly drivers.... I'm gonna do that one of these days.

    There are several things in the circuit that makes for that characteristic sound. The ic's are very much a part of the sound. I would not be interested in one with modern opamps.

    The funny thing is how people like different sounds. All of the new ss and modeling designs sound thin and hifi to me. They are clinical and designed like hifi amps, where specs equal tone. I like dark, fat, compressed jazz tones, none I have ever heard a clip of, do it better than a poly.

    Also, I don't like the later polys with mid controls. The mini Brian falls into that category. A look under the hood shows it's an entirely different amp than the classic minibrutes. The power section looks especially wimpy. Not surprised it couldn't keep up. I wouldn't use the memories of that amp as the basis for judging the classic ones by. Personally I can hear the crossover point of that mid control, and it just doesn't sound right...

    To me, which is funny because I am about to trade polytones with a guy that prefers the later ones with a mid control. Different strokes for different folks!!!

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    There is something about the old, first-generation preamp ICs that is a little gritty (and noisy). The grit is, in part, what folks were going for with _that_ sound. Generally, when you modernize the preamp ICs to lower the noise floor, you lose the grit.

    People complain about the newer Polytone amps not having the soul of the older ones. What they are actually complaining about is Gumina and company switching over to modern ICs in the preamp--the old ones were no longer available. They sound too clean.


    Greentone, I agree about differences in opamps, I have a box of opamp types. The older TL071 single opamps have much more noise than the quieter dual OPA2134 opamp. I prefer the OPA2134 sound, but it's probably my HiFi conditioned ears.

    I'm coming to the realisation that a Polytone preamp pedal could be built using a standard active Baxandall circuit with opamps as the buffer/amplifier/impedance matcher. The art is tweaking the tone stack caps/resist to get the sound you prefer.

    Have a look at this:
    http://www.guitarpcb.com/PDF%20Files/Tone%20TwEQ.pdf

    I'm not an expert, but I think that you can use this "TONE TWEQ" board and tweak the tone stack caps/resist to get the sound you prefer. Even change the Dual opamp TL072 to a OPA2134 if you want cleaner HiFi sound.

    Guy
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  7. #56

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    I bought a 2X12 104 in the late 70's. I traded a BF Fender Pro Reverb for it. It is up there with some of my all time stupid trades e.g. the time I traded my 73 Les Paul Deluxe for a Gretch Super Axe and to make matters worse I then took the PAF pickups out of my 1960 ES345 and stuck them in the Gretch and traded that away as well. Looking back in hindsight, I should have put every guitar and amp I bought in the 60's and 70's into long term storage. If I remember correctly, the Polytone was a one dimensional amp with a lousy distortion circuit. Reminded me of my Fender Blender which by the way I hung on to a made some money off of that one. I'm no stranger to solid state amps as I had a Gallien Krueger before the Polytone and for a SS amp it was not bad.

    I quit playing guitar in 1979 and didn't resume until 2000 but I shlepped that damn amp all around the east and gulf coast. I went back to playing in 2000 and after 6 months the Polytone went up in smoke. The product support was non-existent. Couldn't even get a schematic. I gutted the amp replaced the speakers and used it with a Fargen Mini Plex Mark11. Seeing how I hear part of the Polytone sound is in the speakers, I'm going to have to go through some boxes to see if I still have them. Who would have thunk it.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    Greentone, I agree about differences in opamps, I have a box of opamp types. The older TL071 single opamps have much more noise than the quieter dual OPA2134 opamp. I prefer the OPA2134 sound, but it's probably my HiFi conditioned ears.

    I'm coming to the realisation that a Polytone preamp pedal could be built using a standard active Baxandall circuit with opamps as the buffer/amplifier/impedance matcher. The art is tweaking the tone stack caps/resist to get the sound you prefer.

    Have a look at this:
    http://www.guitarpcb.com/PDF%20Files/Tone%20TwEQ.pdf

    I'm not an expert, but I think that you can use this "TONE TWEQ" board and tweak the tone stack caps/resist to get the sound you prefer. Even change the Dual opamp TL072 to a OPA2134 if you want cleaner HiFi sound.

    Guy

    Personally I am not concerned with the noise of the old opamp, they are pretty quiet amps with the reverb off. Keep in mind the power amp is essentially running wide open, I would suspect that is where the noise comes from.

    What I am concerned with is the very fast slew rate of the modern opamps changing the FEEL of the polytones. If you wanted more dynamic range/faster transient response, by all means use a modern opamp. Personally, I like the slight compression of the older opamps. My favorite is the MA332, I wouldn't mind hearing a polytone with one of those.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    The Polytone sounded _warmer_ somehow. It was the lightest amp that made you think you were playing an Ampeg-style tube amp. No, it didn't sound like a Fender.
    Interesting thread. So the cure to 'tubify' the one-dimensional ear-fatiguing none-headroomed but otherwise perfect Polytone sound is NOT to make a tube powered Poly but to find a Ampeg that Polytone tried to imitate!

    Does anyone know which Ampeg model this would be? Is there a Classic Jazz Ampeg?

    We have different problems. My band plays so quiet that I have had difficulties to find an amp that sounds warm and full on speaking volumes. My late 70's Mini Brute IV does that easily. My late 70's Princeton Reverb can't do that.

    After three decades of playing more or less pro (mostly rock) have teached me two things about drummers and guitarists:

    1. What makes a guitarist play too loud is a hard hitting drummer.
    2. What makes a drummer hit too hard is a guitarist playing too loud.

    Third thing might be: only way to fight back against playing loud (usually audience does not like it nor the mixing guys) and make people listening to You is to play easy.

    (...hmm, sounds like a line from the unpublished 'Mahatma Gandhi And The Wisdom Of Playing Electric Guitar'!)

  10. #59

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    I remember the first amp I bought, a little "Crate" number I got at a "scratch and dent" sale..... It developed a little problem with the 1/4" input jack and I decided to take it up to my local repair guy.

    Rather amazed at what was inside there....As noted a circuit board and a speaker. Quick spot of solder and I was back in business and also kicking myself for not fixing it myself.

  11. #60

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    The Polytone mini brute preamp section is very similar to the Boss FA-1 Preamp Effect Pedal circuit.



    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    I'll be building this in a few weeks, I'm interested in the sound of Baxandall tone stack and using the RC4558 opamp for a preamp, I will keep you posted.









    The Polytone mini brute preamp section is very similar to the Boss FA-1 Preamp Effect Pedal circuit.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by trefto View Post
    The Polytone mini brute preamp section is very similar to the Boss FA-1 Preamp Effect Pedal circuit.
    Interesting!

    Does the Boss FA-1 (with power amp and a speaker) sound like a Mini Brute?

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    I have given this a lot of thought. I used to make boutique Fender and Marshall knockoffs. I have been thinking about resurrecting a "Polytone-ish" amp. Almost certainly I will make myself one or two, just to see how they will sound. Everything looks very straight ahead, to me.

    I believe I will begin with the Baby Brute--my favorite--then build a "II." That was always a popular amp. OTOH, I think an amp with a cabinet the size of the III/IV, but a 12" driver might sound really great.
    I know it's an old post but...

    No no no... make a head, no a combo with a 10.. and a combo with a 15, scratch that, two 10's, or maybe a 12. All for less than the price of an upscale lunch date :-)

    Whatever anyone makes it will be wrong and the maker is doomed from the get go. Buyers nowadays are too picky.

    It's like a friend's dive photography club. He showed a pic of a BEAUTIFUL coral reef he took and one clown said, "boy that would have been a PERFECT pic if it had a turtle in it"

    The perfect amp has been made many times, and for whatever reason they're likely gone or will be soon.

    PS, I have on very good authority that THE "Polytone" is coming back in a limited fashion.
    Regards,

    Gary

  14. #63

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    Don't much know if the boss FA-1 preamp into power amp sounds much like a Polytone mini brute, being that have never played through a polytone mini brute, but in and of itself the FA-1 is a very good preamp and sounds good before any guitar amp with a whole lot of tone shaping capacity. Since the circuit is a close resemblance to the polytone preamp, it might well sound close to the polytone if it was used before the polytone power amp section.