Do NOS components really make a difference?
Absolutely! Many NOS components used in Fat Jimmy Amplifiers come from a time when overall quality was held to a higher standard. NOS components sound different than modern components. NOS Allen Bradley carbon comp resistors are generally considered to be the best carbon resistors ever made, and yes, they do sound different than modern carbon comp resistors. They are warmer and have a different ‘texture’ to their sound quality. This holds true with signal passing resistors as well as power handling resistors. They have proven to stand the test of time, have better made, stronger leads, and have a longer life expectancy than modern carbon resistors.
NOS capacitors also follow these same general rules of thumb. The NOS capacitors used in Fat Jimmy builds are unrivaled in sound quality and performance. They have a special clarity and texture simply not found in modern capacitors (although the Jupiters certainly do come very very very very close)! In any given Fat Jimmy build you might find NOS paper/oil caps, Blue Molded caps, Mullard Mustards, Good-All, Cornell Dublier, ‘Circle D’ and Fast, to name a few.
Are Fat Jimmy Amplifiers all NOS?
No. We use an assortment of modern, vintage, and NOS components, specifically selected for their sound and performance in any given location in the circuit. The fact is that we simply do not have enough NOS capacitors to fully load every amp! The cost of doing so would also raise the price point of the amp considerably. We have an excellent balance of NOS vs. modern components. The modern components we do use are the best available, and specifically selected by Mike after extensive a/b comparisons and field testing.
Transformers: paper vs. plastic. Is there really a difference?
Absolutley. Those ‘Holy Grail’ vintage amplifiers all used paper wound transformers. Paper layer transformers have a very different sound than modern plastic wound transformers. To our ears, plastic bobbin transformers lack a certain clarity, detail and texture found only in paper wound transformers, and in our opinion the plastic trannys don’t hold a candle to them (regardless of what the manufacturers of the plastic trannys claim). Plastic trannys do have a modern sound to them. We are aiming for true vintage sound in our amplifiers. We have performed extensive comparisons where we listen to both paper and plastic transformers in the same circuit, even blind tests with musicians. The paper transformers come out on top. Every single time. The paper wound transformers used in Fat Jimmy Amplifiers are made to vintage specs on the same machines used by Schumacher to make the transformers found in vintage Fender amps of the 60s and 70s! These same Schumacher transformers can be found in many Dumble amplifiers.
What is the purpose of dual inputs?
The two inputs are wired to have different amounts of gain. This is a remarkably useful feature often overlooked by musicians! Input 2 has a lower input level than input 1. If the first input is too hot for your humbuckers, or breaks up too soon, input 2 might be just what you need to tame it. This can be very useful when using multiple guitars at a gig.
What is the purpose of the standby switch?
A standby switch gives the tubes time to warm up before being slammed with high voltage. If hit with high voltage when the tube is cold, a phenomenon know as ‘cathode stripping’ can occur, which reduces tube life. 30 seconds to a minute is all it really takes to heat up the tube to proper operating temperature.
Does Fat Jimmy build custom ‘one off’ amplifiers?
Yes. We will work with you to make *almost* anything you might need in the amp world! Most of our circuits are available in head or combo form. We can make custom speaker cabinets, combos with different speaker configurations, etc. We are also currently offering a special ‘Vintage Series’ – any vintage Fender circuit in head or combo form! Feel free to contact us with any questions!