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  1. #1

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    Ok I know we all love those old polytones and I did have a mini brute 4 that I sold I should have keep had the 15 inch speaker. Well I have this little baby tarus and maybe had it 25 years. I just practice with it but I noitce it really cannot take much volume before it starts to have a bit of breakup in the sound. My main amp is a Clarus R2 with RE twin 8's. It is completely clean and can take a huge amount of sound. I like this amp better but the Polytone is nice and simple and at low volumes works fine. It does seem to at times have an odd buzz or electrical hitch but goes away. With the 400ces is seems less of a choice to use than my with other acoustic archtops with floaters.

    Now that I am actually practicing with my amp more with the Super 400 I have decided this Polytone might not be a great as they are cracked up to be. After 25 years you would think I know but I am wondering if a DV Mark little Jazz might be a much better option and sound better. Then again I am hesitant because there is no way to try a DV without buying first and maybe the little polytone cannot compare to a clarus R2. I figure I could sell the baby tarus easy enough but I made a huge mistake on the Mini Brute IV not realizing what I had in a small light package that was great.

    Any of you polytone uses find these small polytones fickle and somewhat umpredicable? I am on the look out for something in the DV price range just to have sitting in shop so I don't have move the clarus from room to shop. Is the old polytone technology not so great these days?
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

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  3. #2

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    No, a small Poly can't compare with a Clarus setup @ hundreds of watts, but that's not what they are about. The Poly technology is just the same as it ever was, great sound ( if you like that) at moderate volumes, and definitely loud enough to gig with. If yours isn't doing that any more, maybe it needs service - the speaker in the baby series amps doesn't last more that 20 years in my experience of a babybrute of ( probably ) similar age, the caps last not even that long, and these amps are anything up to 45 years old. Nothing lasts forever

    I think they are worth keeping going. BUt YMMV, as they say here...the DV might well be a replacement

  4. #3

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    I hate to insult anyone who likes theirs, but that’s not the “polytone” people rave about.

    Unfortunately, it is what it is.

  5. #4
    What new speaker do you recommend? That would be cheaper right?
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    What new speaker do you recommend? That would be cheaper right?
    The babybrutes take a 4 ohm speaker. Trouble is, there are very, very few 4 ohm 8" speakers available. What many people do is install the readily available 8 ohm Eminence Beta 8" speaker ( maybe $50) . There will be a loss of power, but the amp still puts out about 40w, will run cooler, and is easiliy good for a trio gig. Original Polytone 8" speakers are virtually extinct.

    But before you do that, and only if the amp is worth it to you, I suggest having an amp tech check it over: it could be something else. If the caps have never been changed, that would be one obvious starting place.

    It's a dilemma; I have a 83 baby brute that has needed a lot of work to keep it going, but I've done it because it sounds great, is a classic amp and is very portable. Not many amps fill that bill, for me anyway.

  7. #6

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    Franz is right. The power supply caps on the old Baby series are under a pretty terrific strain, right out of the factory--especially in comparison to the Mini and Maxi Brutes. With time, they will get crappy. The 8" speaker, too, tends to get fatigued, in comparison with the 10", 12" and 15" speakers in the bigger amps Polytone made. (This doesn't happen so much if you don't overtax the Baby amp...but everyone does.) I found a pristine OEM Polytone/Eminence 8" speaker for my Baby amp and the sound is _restored_.

  8. #7

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    All the electrolytic caps, power amp filter, preamp power filter and coupling caps are due replacement if they are 25yrs old.Like Franz wrote, it could be a number of things, decide whats it worth to you.Everyone has different priorities/taste/budgets, id take a rebuild/serviced old polytone over a DV anytime.

  9. #8

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    FWIW, I took both a tweed Deluxe and a Polytone MiniBrute II to a gig yesterday. I had planned on using the tweed, but elected to use the MB at the last minute. (I looked at the set list and made a judgment call.)

    The reviews from people in attendance were rave comments about the guitar in the band. People really liked both the playing and the sound. (Aw, shucks.)

    Anyway, the 40 year-old MiniBrute really delivered. These amps, if maintained, just do anything. We did everything from Irving Berlin to Hendrix and the rig was just flawless. (I just wish I had a pedal to switch the Dark/Brite switch through its range while I'm playing. It's tough to reach it and execute a switch to Brite, or to Medium on the fly. 1st world problem.)

  10. #9

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    I recently sent my old babybrute up to Jon Shaw, a friend and the maker of the UK mambo amps, for checking and he remarked on just how great the amp sounded. He also ( AMP NERD ALERT....) did some scoping of the wave under test and commented how the old, 'grainy' ICs in these old amps produce a very tubelike waveform when pushed.

    I'd ( obviously) take a baby Poly over a DV too, but admittedly, I just like to keep old amps going instead of dumping them. I'd be curious to know how many people responded to Peter Hendriksen's offer to give $100 in trade for a dead Poly recently

  11. #10

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    Polytone Taurus should have much more power than a DV Little Jazz,

    as replacement i can recommend (also used in Quilter amps)
    The Celestion TF 0818 100 w 8" 8 ohms works/sounds fine, i bought one purely as a spare for my

    Mega brutes & Baby Brutes, all orig/stock speakers, decrease in volume as Franz said. but not by half ( i may be wrong there, it sounda like that to me. Baby Brute 100w is pretty loud, Mega Brute's 75w not far behind,

    My DV Little Jazz, sounds good, small, light, reverb over 1.5 crap, good for a quick fast tone 90%, thats where it ends. IMO Polytone any day over before a DV LJ or a Hendriksen , but that nothing wrong with any.

  12. #11

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    deleted- boring
    Last edited by Franz 1997; 11-12-2019 at 05:58 AM.

  13. #12
    Unhooked the speaker and used my Raezors Edge Twin 8 for the amp. Sound great! Of course this is a first class 4 ohm 200 watt cabinent that Rich made for me personally, and I had used it in the past as an extension speaker. The trouble is the beauty of the polytone is the small package so I do need to get replacement speaker but I know it will not give the great bass and depth of the RE. What speaker to put in? decisions decisions decisions.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  14. #13

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    A speaker is cheaper than a new amp, undoubtedly. Replacing all the caps plus a new speaker may or may not be, it depends on what the tech charges for labor. I have a DV Mark Little Jazz, and it sounds very much like my Clarus/RE Stealth 10ER setup. I tend to play the Clarus at home and the LJ outside, because it's so much smaller and lighter, and sounds close enough to me, and the audience truly could not care less. I can't comment on the Polytone because I've never owned one, but if I did I would be sorely tempted to make it work at its best.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    Unhooked the speaker and used my Raezors Edge Twin 8 for the amp. Sound great! Of course this is a first class 4 ohm 200 watt cabinent that Rich made for me personally, and I had used it in the past as an extension speaker. The trouble is the beauty of the polytone is the small package so I do need to get replacement speaker but I know it will not give the great bass and depth of the RE. What speaker to put in? decisions decisions decisions.
    Like Franz (again) ill second, Eminence Beta’s Sound great with the polytone, a Alpha is another option but it seems to be the norm that the alpha suits a sealed and port cab better than the Beta. Eminence custom shop can build you a 4ohm version of either if thats important. Of cause there are many brands options besides thoose two. I have a 70’s MB lll (15”), bought with a swapped Eminence legend xx, still Sounds like a polytone, i have a closed back 12” taurus with the original poly speaker and a diy cab with beta 8a ( tried open, ported and sealed cab +/- insulation), i love em all.Enjoy the chase.
    Last edited by jazzmus; 11-12-2019 at 07:11 PM.

  16. #15

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    Make sure the distortion knob is clicked all the way off, before doing anything else. It happens surprisingly often. Also flick the gain switch down. The Baby Taurus should be warm and clean right up to the top of the volume. If the distortion knob is off and the gain switch is down, then it's time to look for a blown speaker, cap problems, etc.

    I have a Baby Taurus, a 5E3, a Pro Reverb, a Clarus 2r/RE 12, a Cube 60 COSM, an Egnater Rebel 30. The ones that sound best and that I use 95% of the time are the Baby Taurus and the tweed Deluxe. I'll get around to selling the others off one of these days.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  17. #16

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    Amen, Cunamara! You absolutely have to make sure that the red distortion knob is clicked off (fully rotated counter-clockwise). Whenever I advance the volume on my old MiniBrute II, the distortion knob clicks on. I have to make sure to turn it back off, else the sound is trashy.

    Like Cunamara, I have a wide array of amplifiers to choose from. The two that I invariably take to gigs are my 5E3 (tweed Deluxe) and a Polytone.

  18. #17

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    This question has surely been asked before: What is it that makes Polytones so special and irrevocable? From what I understand, there are different models with widely differing configurations. Can they all be superior to anything contemporary? If they do not contain long-gone Germanium transistors or other Jurassic electronic components, why can't the circuits just be reproduced? The rest is speakers and plywood. All over the world, dozens of boutique manufacturers base their "unique" tube amps on old Fender, Amped, VOX etc circuits. At least four in my small country (Finland) alone. Perhaps the retro solid state market is too small, or the contemporary offering too good or inexpensive to make the effort worthwhile. Just wondering.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug View Post
    This question has surely been asked before: What is it that makes Polytones so special and irrevocable? From what I understand, there are different models with widely differing configurations. Can they all be superior to anything contemporary? If they do not contain long-gone Germanium transistors or other Jurassic electronic components, why can't the circuits just be reproduced? The rest is speakers and plywood. All over the world, dozens of boutique manufacturers base their "unique" tube amps on old Fender, Amped, VOX etc circuits. At least four in my small country (Finland) alone. Perhaps the retro solid state market is too small, or the contemporary offering too good or inexpensive to make the effort worthwhile. Just wondering.
    Sorry for the detour deacon Mark/op.

    Gitterbug, the circuit has been "reproduced" - Brute EQ and Polytone Minibrute!

  20. #19

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    Another +1 for the Beta. I purchased a baby Taurus earlier this year with an original speaker and it was quite underwhelming (I have several other Polytone amps to compare). Replacing with the Eminence Beta made a big difference.

  21. #20
    I replaced speaker with Eminence alpha a 8ohm. Amp sounds way better and I don’t notice the drop in power. Back in Business and frankly very happy. Forum wins again for advice.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Franz 1997 View Post
    I recently sent my old babybrute up to Jon Shaw, a friend and the maker of the UK mambo amps, for checking and he remarked on just how great the amp sounded. He also ( AMP NERD ALERT....) did some scoping of the wave under test and commented how the old, 'grainy' ICs in these old amps produce a very tubelike waveform when pushed.

    I'd ( obviously) take a baby Poly over a DV too, but admittedly, I just like to keep old amps going instead of dumping them. I'd be curious to know how many people responded to Peter Hendriksen's offer to give $100 in trade for a dead Poly recently
    100$ is crazy... they will kill polytones!
    those little amp deserve more love!

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Make sure the distortion knob is clicked all the way off, before doing anything else. It happens surprisingly often. Also flick the gain switch down. The Baby Taurus should be warm and clean right up to the top of the volume. If the distortion knob is off and the gain switch is down, then it's time to look for a blown speaker, cap problems, etc.

    I have a Baby Taurus, a 5E3, a Pro Reverb, a Clarus 2r/RE 12, a Cube 60 COSM, an Egnater Rebel 30. The ones that sound best and that I use 95% of the time are the Baby Taurus and the tweed Deluxe. I'll get around to selling the others off one of these days.

    hello
    could be caps, but what happened to me was a bias wrong setting.
    Easy repair and costs a little.
    Sometimes I use to spray a bit of wd40 on preamp chips, amp became more quite.
    Polytone rules!

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    hello
    could be caps, but what happened to me was a bias wrong setting.
    Easy repair and costs a little.
    Sometimes I use to spray a bit of wd40 on preamp chips, amp became more quite.
    Polytone rules!
    I didn't know the bias on Polytones needed setting. That's a new idea for me. How is that done?
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I didn't know the bias on Polytones needed setting. That's a new idea for me. How is that done?
    Onboard (power amp pcb) has a trimpot/variable resistor, you need a multimeter and preferebly if you want it biased precise/100% correct - a oscilloscope, then a step by step process follows.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzmus View Post
    Onboard (power amp pcb) has a trimpot/variable resistor, you need a multimeter and preferebly if you want it biased precise/100% correct - a oscilloscope, then a step by step process follows.
    Polytone amps (especially the ones with lm391) are thermally unstable, the transistor were mounted on the dissipators, I solved it..
    Could be a bit long work to fix bias, and crossover will happen again..
    Even Pat metheny used and loved polytone II , you can listen on the record with jim hall.
    A couple of issues...
    crossover distortion, preamp board buzzing, broken reverb unit, ground issues, bridge rectifier trouble, burn coil speaker, microfonic switch and after 30 years a partial recapping is a choice.
    That Pop sound when you turn “on” is sexy.
    But if you know where to put your hands, they are highlander!!

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopdream63 View Post
    Polytone amps (especially the ones with lm391) are thermally unstable, the transistor were mounted on the dissipators, I solved it..
    Could be a bit long work to fix bias, and crossover will happen again..
    Even Pat metheny used and loved polytone II , you can listen on the record with jim hall.
    A couple of issues...
    crossover distortion, preamp board buzzing, broken reverb unit, ground issues, bridge rectifier trouble, burn coil speaker, microfonic switch and after 30 years a partial recapping is a choice.
    That Pop sound when you turn “on” is sexy.
    But if you know where to put your hands, they are highlander!!
    Interesting. I never knew any of this about bias. Thanks.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town