Hello, Will. Ralph's proven he's one of the better people in the industry, and I feel confident he'd help get you where you need to be.
Coincidentally, high-end audio manufacturers of less ethical nature leave their customer base in a very bad way by having taken on this "proprietary" position of their components in the past generation. Having seen the number of high-end audio companies who go belly up obviously correlate with the sad reality of all too many folks wind up with a multi-thousand dollar door stop because they can't find folks to repair their components, it's become a huge issue in my thinking. People invest in complicated solid state amplification and digital components with eye watering prices from the sort of tiny boutique manufacturers that represent this industry. What happens to their purchase over time, especially, if the company's long gone?
Not sure if this current effort will succeed, but I'd love to see our community glean benefit from those leading the charge in the larger consumer sphere, a major provision of which would be a return to the days when manufacturers published meaningful service manuals / schematics: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmqa49/washington-right-to-repair-iphone-cpu-throttling
As the current service department for Nagra, and former service tech for dCS, Musical Fidelity, NAD, Arcam McIntosh Labs and several others, I guarantee that none of those companies ever allowed schematics to be distributed to customers or non-authorized service companies.
Most manufacturers require signing a non-disclosure before sending the tech their manuals.
I totally agree with this philosophy; keeps all the hard earned R&D costs in house.
Trelja, This is a problem with some in the High End audio sector.
I own a Response Audio Bella Extreme 100 watt mono block amplifier and needed the schematic for a technician to do service. Multiple requests were made to company owner Bill Baker who promised to send a copy but never followed through with it. Very frustrating.
try talking about how the intellectual property of many designers is stolen from them and sold as cheap knock-offs from small Chinese companies, on eBay. Where some people buy these ’copies’ to the tune of hundreds of examples.
Where the circuit itself is the LEAST of the aspects that makes the gear perform as well as it does.
Nevertheless, hundreds of the bad copies are sold....to people who do not understand these aspects. Thinking they are getting something for nothing. A quick search on ebay will show many dozens of re-sellers of cheap copies.
For some enlightenment on this subject, do a search and you will find much discussion on this at the audio site ’DIYAudio.com’. Some of the designers will share their experiences. Quite the horror stories.
Essentially, is it any wonder at all that some don’t share their schematics, these days?
I had a very good friend one time.....His name was John Bedini.....He wouldn't share schematics either and I'm not sure that is the way to go.....There is a lot of fine equipment that either gets repaired poorly because of the lack of good information or is not repaired at all.....I see it every day with the Bedini amps.......I also respect Ralph's view-point......But I would like to do something with this little pre-amp and I would like to do it to Ralph's quality........Will
I wouldn't want people to mis-understand me......I have nothing against Ralph, its his property and if he wants to keep it , that's OK with me.....I'm sure he doesn't mind me looking somewhere else for it......I've worked with Ralph before and he is a very nice person to deal with........This forum doesn't need to get carried away with this.......All I need is a schematic for my UV-1 M/M project Will
Ralph I would hope that the work could be a little more technical than the description over the phone.....But what do I know........Why is there never a simple answer to a simple question........I will spend more time trying to get a schematic than I will ever spend doing the work........Who is served ??
We simply don’t have schematics that look at that good for public consumption.
As some of you may know, the UV-1 is based on the mods/updates we would do to a Dynaco PAS-3.
So the phono stage is very similar to that of the PAS-3. The differences are as I explained to Will:
1) we don’t employ the cathode to cathode feedback resistor
2) 12AT7s are used instead of 12AX7s
3) a cathode bypass cap is employed on the 2nd stage of gain
4) only one output coupling cap is used and the feedback is connected to the output of that. A 10K resistor is then in series with the output of the circuit.
So if you can find a PAS-3 circuit online and apply these changes, then you can build this circuit.
Well, For Myself, I'm a speaker guy and can follow anything that has to do with a speaker, follow direction draw schematics, make changes, repairs etc... Amps, pre's, not so much, but I can look at and follow a schematic and make changes as needed. If Ralph told me to change the cathode bypass cap.... I'd say Huh, well maybe not, I understand the cathode for tubes.... My point is or question is: Do you understand what Ralph is saying or are you more like me and need a schematic to follow along? I can tell you that after 8 or 9 years on this forum, I've never seen anyone more helpful than Ralph Karsten.
As predicted, Ralph provides the kind of service that helps those needing it...
Consider the days when these audio / video circuits and designs were actually cutting edge, SAMS Photofacts and the like published the requisite detailed component documentation. As a former chemist / material scientist, I can easily reverse engineer most formulations through the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), but the means exist for a company wanting to protect itself against it. No one wants government involvement and the hassle it brings along less than I do. The industry evolving to the current state makes it clear the balance toward consumer protection will not happen without some higher entity involving itself
I would like this to be text book wired, otherwise it is unacceptable to me......If you can't do it correctly , then don't do it.......There is much more engineering in this than is being made out......For those who don't get it, its not necessary to advise.......And it is becoming much more trouble than it is worth..........Thanks for all the comments, good and bad....Will
Where would we have been in the repair business without the people like Howard Sams and all the companies that provided schematics.....I was in the TV repair industry half my life and it wouldn't have been possible without provided schematics by the electronic industries.......The only thing you get out of that is poorly repaired equipment, repaired by uninformed repair people........Who benefits from that ?? No -body ............Will
I can't believe I can get so many answers , that have nothing to do with the problem.....It would take all of 5 minutes with a diagram....Most of the people answering this thread have never even worked on a tube amp , much less tried to modify one.........The reason Ralph can sell one of these for so much money , is there is some engineering involved........I have a better idea, I will sell you this thing and you can work on it tell the end of time if you want.......That way you might learn something and then be able to help others instead of suggesting reverse engineering something that is not complete.......When I started this project I though it would be very simple to get a diagram and complete this in a couple hours but I probably won't live long enough to get a diagram.......I think I'll get rid of all of the Atma Sphere stuff I have.....I can put it with the VPI stuff I can't get parts for....That will take care of two problems.....Watch on Audiogon for the Atma Sphere sale......Please no more suggestions on this , I'm done with it all.....Thanks
I don't know how they compare, but since Ralph says they are similar:
Frank Van Alstine at one time, and perhaps currently, offered an update/mod for the Dynaco PAS (2 and 3) pre-amps. Very reasonably priced, and a nice, very quiet, little tube pre. Better imo than some later, much higher-priced, "High End" tube pre-amps.
It seems to me that:
1)Ralph has provided as much information as he can, within the bounds of practicality and reasonableness.
2)What he has provided is a lot more than what most manufacturers would have provided.
3)What he has provided is all of the information needed to readily create a schematic.
4)It seems extremely unlikely that anyone else has created a schematic.
5)A lot of the information you indicated is necessary beyond what Ralph has provided, e.g., "parts placement for low noise problems," would not be included in a schematic anyway. (The Sams "schematics" from days of yore, that were referred to earlier, were a good deal more than just schematics).
Those are the facts which must be dealt with, as I understand them. Why those facts should result in a reaction such as "I think I’ll get rid of all of the Atma Sphere stuff I have" is beyond me.
I just paid Atma Sphere 2000.00 to repair a MP-1 .....I'm not asking for anything but a schematic.....It's not like I'm a bad customer.....My entire Atma Spheresystem is for sale.....It will be listed on Audiogon..........The best way to fix the problem is get rid of it.....Then I don't need a schematic or any service.......Problem solved.......Will
Very understandable. Not all manufacturers will go to the trouble and cost of producing user engineering schematics and maintenance manuals. In fact very few do. ATC have sent me specific circuit diagrams and board layouts (two separate pieces of info about the same circuit board) in the past. ATC don’t have a problem with this because they are an engineering driven outfit that expects and anticipates that professional users will need to sometimes make onsite repairs on damaged gear (misuse being a common occurrence in a professional facility that is leased by various producers and musicians regularly).
The cost of proper professional documentation (engineering diagrams) and revision tracking is not surprisingly very costly and it is often hard to justify in a boutique market. In a boutique market, personal notes and hand written schematics are more than sufficient for a small manufacturer to produce great quality gear. Unfortunately this is not suitable fir dissemination to repair technicians....
Is the goal to be able to add phono as a source? Rather than operate on the device yourself, see if Atmasphere can do it for you. Or maybe just add an external phono pre-amp?
Would either of those work for you?
In general, though some may be equipped to do so in some cases, I think it’s not reasonable to expect a vendor to provide info needed to make mods to a device. There is no way for the vendor to assure good results cost effectively.
Why would the vendor care?? I am trying to put in the stock phono circuit, so the pre-amp will be like the factory model.....I don't want to do anything else.....I phono modification is simple, but I would like it like the factory model........I could send it in to Ralph and pay 500.00 or more to have it done, but the UV-1 isn't worth that much , so I was going to do it myself........(I have build , designed, and modified hundreds of these ).....I will get rid of every piece of Atma Sphere equipment I have as soon as I can find a buyer....
We have schematics for the M-50 and MP-1, Will.
You asked for a schematic, not internal layouts. We don't have a schematic that is all that neat as I mentioned before. But apparently even if I had provided it, that would not have solved the problem, which is you also want the layout.
I did point out to you on the phone that we use several terminal strips, the largest being a 3-place terminal.
You told me that you have one of the blue units, which is from the first run of 10, nine of which are hand wired, and 3 of which had the phono circuit. We don't have any of those on hand (only a few were built that way) as a reference; all the units we have on hand employ the circuit board.
Since the circuit is simple, and I have laid out its characteristics, it follows that it will be easy to service in the event that we go out of business. All of our equipment was built to be serviced; I put myself through college by servicing consumer gear and got quite tired of fixing equipment that was clearly not intended to be serviced after the sale.
So here is what I can tell you about the layout, which is from memory as we don't have internal photos of the handwired units. The 3 position terminal is located to the front of the unit, where the output coupling caps are located. The inputs were thus towards the rear, and tied directly in to the phono so that only the output is switched; and is adjacent to the input selector switch. The chassis is equipped with pressed through studs for mounting the tube sockets (this was done to minimize visible hardware on the outside of the unit). There are extra pressed through studs that aren't used for the tube sockets.
They are meant for terminal strips. Unlike some companies, we don't use hot melt glue to hold things in place. We use Keystone terminal strips as they are accessible and easy to get. The Keystone part numbers used are #810 for the 2-position strips used on either side of the sockets, and #813 for the 3-position parts which are mounted on the studs not associated with the tube sockets. They and the tube sockets are secured by 4-40 KEPS nuts (KEPS nuts have a captured lockwasher). I was attempting to tell you this information at the end of our phone call. If you'd stayed on the phone longer I would have told you more, and still will if you care to pursue this project.
One thing I forgot, we use stopping resistors in series with the grids of each stage. The value is 300 ohms. This allows the phono section to be stable and so reduces ticks and pops that would otherwise become audible due to short-term oscillation. This is why you will hear more ticks and pops on a PAS-3 (they missed the second stage of gain) than you will on the UV-1.
Regarding the power supply: you should have at least three filter caps in your line stage at present- two 33uf parts and one 100uf part. For the phono section, two 22uf caps are added, one for each channel. So there are two resistors of 22.1K that feed those 22uf units from the 100uf unit. Both stages of the phono run off of the 22uf part.
We never generated layouts for the initial run; what you may not know is that the preamp was originally commissioned by a third party, and we were uncertain at the time where exactly the project would go. When that party backed out of the project, we already had the first 10 chassis sitting on a shelf, where they sat for a couple of years until we realized that there actually was a market for the preamp and so we built some up. We did try to keep all the handwired units looking the same internally but as there were only three built with the phono and since it is a fairly simple circuit, no-one here thought to document the layout, since the intention all along was to put the whole thing on a circuit board.
I'm sorry this has caused you such distress; we do support our products to the best of our ability.
Thank you for your e-mail, but It would have served us all to be clear at the beginning.....I am offering all my Atma Sphere equipment for sale, I am no longer interested in listening to it .......Or having to deal with it in the future........I was trying to make the modification to a high standard, its to bad that others don't see it that way.......It can be someone eases problem ...Will
Will, I was very clear about this on the phone.
Who are the 'others' that 'don't see it that way'?
It seemed quite clear on the phone that you were interested in doing this yourself, and you've made it clear to me in past phone calls that you have the technical ability to do so. So with that in mind, I knew that I had given you all the information you needed, but now somehow I feel like you're making me out to be the bad guy in this.
I don't know how I could have been more clear or how I could have done this better; perhaps you could explain it to me. I don't have your number, but you have mine- just give me a call; I'm not upset and you know that I'm easy going. I would just like to understand this.
Will, I think you are absolutely correct, this stuff must be crap and you shouldn't have it.... I feel bad for you, so I will pay the shipping to Ralph. Ralph, if you would please, Repair anything that he sends, then send me the bill and when I pay it, ship all of that terrible equipment to me. I'm going to suffer listening to it, just for humanity sake!
I am willing to take this off Will's hands....
Your sentiments are correct in a perfect world... Obviously Ralph is willing to help. It seems that if Will doesn't get the info exactly the drawn out for him that he won't be happy and will continue to Slam Ralph and Atma-sphere. Ralph is being a gentleman about it and has offered 1 on 1 help, but he has a guy that doesn't understand enough to take the direction as given and make it work. I can empathize because in this case, I would also need a schematic. He told Ralph that he has the technical ability to do the work, but that doesn't mean that he has the technical ability to de-cypher what needs to be done from a slightly different schematic, which I posted a PDF link in an earlier post.
Well, I suppose he will endeavor to make the change with info Atmasphere can provide, send it to Ralph to do, or sell and take a different path. His choice. He wants a phono and the pre-amp does not have one. I agree Ralph is doing what he can to address the issue and try to make a customer happy which is the most important thing.
Ironically, as I write this, I am similarly working with a customer to help him get a piece of software I provided to do some things he now wants that it was not originally designed to do out of the box. Irony!
+1 timlub & gdnrbob
1. The info you want is rarely openly available. Just because some of those units had an MM stage installed at the factory does not mean that the manufacturer has ANY obligation (legal, moral, ethical, etc.) to assist you in building and installing one in yours. In fact, most manufacturers would tell you to pound sand, after they reminded you that you would be voiding the warranty.
2. Ralph has given you (as far as a non-tech person like me can determine) pretty much everything you asked for and is offering his time (which has value, to be sure) to assist you further.
If your aim is to trash him, you've failed. IMO, he comes off as bending over backward to be helpful and you come off looking like a cranky 2 year old who missed his nap! Just my $0.02.
+2 Swampwalker. The thing that surprises me most is how generous Ralph has been in trying to accommodate a troublesome owner. Ralph’s emails in this thread contain enough information for anyone experienced with tube preamps to build a close cousin to the Atmasphere phono stage. Would it be identical? Of course not. The types of resistors, capacities and even wire make a difference, a big difference, but Ralph has pretty much told you the circuit details. That is more than just about any other mfr will do. By the way, the OP apparently bought his preamp second-hand; he isn’t an original purchaser so the mfr owes him nothing!
autospec can you elaborate on what required fixing on your MP-1 that cost 2k? I'm in the market for a used MP-1 and would like to know what might go wrong.Will found what was apparently the 3rd MP-1 ever built in a shop near his house. It needed some work (being about 28 years old: someone had tampered with the power supply as well) and we installed a number of updates to insure it working properly. It was a treat to have such an early example in the shop- haven't seen one of the original Mk1s in over 20 years.