This morning I got up early to grab digits out of the bank, and got my but down to the shop to buy a brand new 12 volt slave amplifier. It was from an auto shop. Boy racers have very loud car stereos, which is done with booster amps.
I got one that is so low powered that it wasn’t even on display, but it was only $89 brand new. So within a week I replaced the 10 year old red Sony X-Plode. The new black amp is called a Fusion Encounter EN-1502.
The way that a musician rates watts of power is very different from the numbers printed on the box. The first issue is peek power .v. RMS (root mean square) or the average power output. The other issue is the rating of the speakers in use. Many car speakers are only 2 ohms (a measure of electrical resistance), where as the old JVC speaker I am using is rated 100 watts at 8 Ohms.
The old Sony had 250 Watts painted on it, but with my 8 ohm speaker I rated it as being about 45 watts RMS. The new amp is rated at 1000 watts, but I rate it no more than 50 watts RMS, but it has a lot more bass than the old amp. I was still running it at about half power settings when I took it out busking at lunchtime. I bridge the stereo amp into Mono to get twice the power (using both channels together).
Rebuild the Pre-amp
At first with the set-up, I had a bit of trouble getting it to make any sound at all, because of a few loose connections with the pre-amp again. So this time I upgraded one of the leads and make them fit a lot more snugly and tidy. Replace a skinny wire with a length of proper guitar lead. So I completed the upgrade by spending the rest of the day with a soldering iron. Now every connection is working perfect and wiggling the wires does not cut out the sound.
So I have not paid most of this weeks bills and I also spent my food budget to buy a new amplifier. I hope the rain will stop so I can use the rig to make some cash.
The new amplifier also has a little fan on it. In summer the old amp would often get very hot, so the fan might make this one last longer. The pre-amp rebuild looks smarter and should be more reliable. Too bad I have to spend that much this week but the show must go on. After the upgrade the rig will be better for the summer.
It is quite fun to play along live with the new songs (and backing) I’ve been recording for the Mark and the Mp3s Show. To get this quality of sound from a professional busking amplifier would cost about $3,000 to get it in 1 box. It just takes me a bit longer to set up up. To get quality sound with the backing band, takes practice to get it right. I made another mix of the 3 new original songs adjusting for the new sound, I had to turn down the bass guitar track in the mix.
Just when I might get to think that the upgrade is over. The next time I went busking, the sound rig was working just fine. Although the wind was high and it was a Sunday, there were a few shoppers about and nobody begging for a few hours. The rig was working well as I learn to adjust volume levels for the new amplifier. I need the practice.
After 2 hours, a big gust of wind caught the boom microphone stand and it hit the deck. I tested the microphone and that was still working. but as I went to pick up the mic stand, it broke apart in my hand. So I packed up and took it home to try and super-glue a bracket back together.
I got this boom mic stand in 1998 so it has lasted well. At one stage the washers got worn out, then a drummer advised me to make replacements by cutting-out leather to match. That did the trick and the washers never wore out again.
Super glue did not work, so I filed the glue residue off and will have to get that bracket welded back together again. Just as well that it is not critical, I can still do the show without the boom on the stand until it gets repaired.