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Simple 2-buss transformer box

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Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:46 am

I'm looking for a stereo, line level box with transformers - purely for the 'transformer sound' - to run mixes through.

I don't need multi-input summing, output to mic-input levels, compression or anything fancy... just +4 stereo line in and out through decent transformers (Cinemags, Lundahls etc).

Sounds simple, but does such a thing exist? Any suggestions?
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby 77raymondo77 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 4:10 am

One here or if you're handy with a soldering iron get a pair of these 23-112 Lundahl LL 1540 Transformers, they work well as ground loop hum isolators but I'm not sure you'll get that full on analogue ABBA sound, even though they're made in Sweden. I wonder if el cheapos, mixed in parallel, would give you more 'character'.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:50 am

Thanks for the reply...

I've found a few similar DIY solutions online – but surely someone makes a ready-to-go box?
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:16 am

THIS is still my favourite. Nice big solid transformers. And you can't argue about the price.

It's much more about recording good instruments, played well, in a nice room though. You can always turn the treble down a bit for a nice "mellow" sound.

Edited by James Perrett to fix link
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:08 pm

Hi Evie!

I know you're after a ready built solution, but have you read this entertaining thread on the DIY approach with plenty of examples?

www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php ... ber=897262

That Canford box could well be a little 'too' good if you want to add some flavour to your mixes - they quote '+/- 1.0dB, 40Hz-20kHz' and 'Better than 0.015% / 1% , 1kHz / 30Hz, +22dBu'.

I'd certainly be pushed to hear 1% of distortion at 30Hz in the context of a mix, and that's assuming that you can push the peak level up to +22dBu to achieve it


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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby JonathanRace » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:25 am

I know there was one made for the Api lunchbox which looked pretty good. Had switchable transformers as well for different 'flavours' can't remember the name of it atm though I'm afraid.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:14 am

I'd go with EW's ground loop isolator suggestion to start with - they're likely to be easier to saturate than a more expensive transformer though whether you like that sound is a different matter.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:08 pm

What design features would make a transformer easy to saturate?
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:59 pm

Transformer cores are far from perfectly linear and, in general, the smaller they are, the lower the current required to saturate the core. A decent pro-audio line level transformer is normally far larger than that Maplin box so I would deduce that the 2 transformers in there are fairly small and therefore saturate at a lower current.

As a youngster I remember messing around with small interstage coupling transformers from a cheap intercom - you could make some interesting sounds with them.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:45 pm

I must open up one of my Maplin units and see just what's inside. There's certainlt been no attempt to miniaturise. It may be absolute crap. It may just be than no-one told the manufacturer something competent deserved a higher price point.

It would also be interesting to test just what (if anything) is wrong with THIS. Don't forget we seem to be LOOKING for grunge, not a straight wire with ground lift.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:46 am

Not really looking for 'grunge' - this is the angle I'm coming from...

I have tried summing (including a pricey SSL setup) without being overly impressed. At the same time, number of equipment reviews have concluded that any sonic benefit from summing boxes can most likely be attributed to circuitry such as transformers, rather than the summing process itself. In other words, that processing a stereo mix (rather than a bunch of stems) is just as effective.

Back in 2006, the (largely positive) SOS review of the Audient Sumo said: "Personally I could hear very little difference between using the Sumo as a mixer and using it to process a stereo Logic mix. This being the case, perhaps there's a potential market for a two-channel unit for those of us who can't justify the cost of a Sumo? "

Eight years later, you'd imagine there'd be a few transformer-laden, 2-buss processing boxes on the market, promising to add all manner of 'weight', 'solidity', 'smooth highs' etc.

But where are they?
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Evie McCreevie wrote:Not really looking for 'grunge' - this is the angle I'm coming from...

I have tried summing (including a pricey SSL setup) without being overly impressed. At the same time, number of equipment reviews have concluded that any sonic benefit from summing boxes can most likely be attributed to circuitry such as transformers, rather than the summing process itself. In other words, that processing a stereo mix (rather than a bunch of stems) is just as effective.

Back in 2006, the (largely positive) SOS review of the Audient Sumo said: "Personally I could hear very little difference between using the Sumo as a mixer and using it to process a stereo Logic mix. This being the case, perhaps there's a potential market for a two-channel unit for those of us who can't justify the cost of a Sumo? "

Eight years later, you'd imagine there'd be a few transformer-laden, 2-buss processing boxes on the market, promising to add all manner of 'weight', 'solidity', 'smooth highs' etc.

But where are they?

It's unlikely that a gear-based magazine is ever going to QUITE come out and say "this is audiophool BS" (though, to SoS's credit they HAVE confirmed that most of us don't need master clocks and, whatever premium mic preamps may be about, they aren't much about detectable sonic difference when used "clean" - yes, my hobby-horse, but it obviously bears repetition.) They said "there might be a potential market...." Maybe the fact that there apparently wasn't should be telling you something...
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby James Perrett » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:25 pm

There are plenty of expensive 2 channel boxes with transformers but they tend to do other things like eq or compression as well. I doubt that most manufacturers would make a simple audiophile transformer isolator box at a sensible price either as the main market for such a device is people who would pay through the nose for the marketing BS.

However, there is one manufacturer that does make a sensibly specced transformer device at a sensible price. I'd suggest taking a look at the Orchid Electronics Dual Isolator.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby ef37a » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:35 pm

Hmm? All seems a bit R.A. to me.
In any case the better the transformer the less you will"hear" it. The BBC et al did not use such expensive devices for their sound but because they had to!

Tell you what. Build the box with some nice Cineies' whatever then clank it onto the back of a handy guitar speaker. You will then get some nice even harmonics!

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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:16 pm

purely for the 'transformer sound'


Can someone explain what this is to me? Cheers.
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby ef37a » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:46 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote:
purely for the 'transformer sound'


Can someone explain what this is to me? Cheers.

Certainly Huge...It's BOLLOXS!

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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:09 pm

ef37a wrote:
Huge Longjohns wrote:
purely for the 'transformer sound'


Can someone explain what this is to me? Cheers.

Certainly Huge...It's BOLLOXS!

Dave.

Yeah sure, it's all bollocks... Check out Hugh Robjohns talking utter shite:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb10/a ... warmth.htm

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/a ... 0208_2.htm
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby ef37a » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:17 pm

Evie McCreevie wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Huge Longjohns wrote:
purely for the 'transformer sound'


Can someone explain what this is to me? Cheers.


Certainly Huge...It's BOLLOXS!

Dave.


Yeah sure, it's all bollocks... Check out Hugh Robjohns talking utter shite:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb10/a ... warmth.htm

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/a ... 0208_2.htm


Quite! A reasoned and in depth examination of the subtle effects of various non-linear devices on sound quality.

Not "Bolt any old traff onto your line outs and get superb, retro warmth"!

Or! Put it another way? COMPLICATED BOLLOX.

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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:29 am

OK, thread back on topic...

Thanks for the suggestions so far, though it looks like some DIY/soldering is on the cards – unless anyone has any other ideas?
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:03 pm

Hi Evie,

It does look like DIY is the solution to me.

Why not add a post to that existing DIY forum thread I pointed you at earlier and we can discuss it further?

I've had an interest in doing this myself, but never got around to it. However, I HAVE amassed a good list of URLs with further info on other folk who have done it to good effect, with build details, examples of transformers used, and so on.

If you decide to post in that thread I'll be happy to provide you with my list.


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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Evie McCreevie » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:10 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Hi Evie,

It does look like DIY is the solution to me.

Why not add a post to that existing DIY forum thread I pointed you at earlier and we can discuss it further?

I've had an interest in doing this myself, but never got around to it. However, I HAVE amassed a good list of URLs with further info on other folk who have done it to good effect, with build details, examples of transformers used, and so on.

If you decide to post in that thread I'll be happy to provide you with my list.


Martin

Done!
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Re: Simple 2-buss transformer box

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:40 pm

And my list of links is now finally in place too

Hope it helps!


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