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The Power Of The Power Supply_Information_Laptop adapters, Tablet PC adapters, Li-polymer batteries

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Your Position: Home > Information > The Power Of The Power Supply
The Power Of The Power Supply
moyestec 2011-03-03

 This article attributed to its original author or copyright owners, we copied it here only for study purpose.
 

The power supply is either an overlooked or a misunderstood system within a guitar amplifier. It’s a contributor to tone generation and is important enough to investigate when buying an amp. On the other hand, tone hounds that adhere to the “vintage design is the only way to produce hot tone” mantra often misunderstand it.

We at Mack Music consider the power supply to be a design consideration that critically affects our ability to provide rich tone at the lowest possible price.

First, some background. The power supply is a group of components that converts the alternating current electricity from the wall plug into direct current electricity used by the other amp components.

Rectification, one of the functions of the power supply, is the act of converting alternating current into direct current and is accomplished by a device or a series of components collectively called, amazingly, the rectifier.

Vintage amplifiers use a particular type of tube to perform rectification called a diode. A characteristic of a tube diode, or rectifier, is that when the amp suddently draws more current at high volumes - say for example, during the initial attack of a note or chord or when you suddently strum or pick harder - the voltage it produces instantaneously drops. This affects power tube operation resulting in a pleasing compression of the guitar signal. Guitar players call this “sag”. It’s a desirable attribute of an amp designed to produce blues and rock tone.

Note that sag typically occurs only at higher volumes. Typically, the only time sag appears in a guitarist's arsenal of tone modifiers is at stage volumes.

Don't overlook the power supply when buying an amp. If sag is beneficial to your desired tone and if you plan to play at or near an amp’s maximum volume, while maintaining safe volume levels (please protect your hearing!), its ability to produce sag may be a purchasing consideration.

Power supplies can be misunderstood when a player believes that only a tube rectifier will produce vintage-type sag. What many players don't know is that instead of using a tube diode to perform rectification and generate sag, solid-state (SS) diodes can successfully be used.

A SS diode maintains a constant voltage across it while conducting maximum current. Therefore, on its own it does not exhibit sag. However, the addition of a single resistor effectively simulates tube diode sag.

Although it is true that tube rectifiers behave differently than a diode/resistor combination when examined in detail, the practical performance difference in a guitar amplifier is negligible.

This means that a rectifier circuit made of a few 10¢ diodes and a single equally priced resistor can take the place of a costly tube and socket without negatively affecting the amp's ability to produce hot tone. The SS rectifier creates further cost savings by eliminating the labor required to mount and wire the tube socket.

That’s why every Mack amp uses solid-state rectification to produce vintage sag.

Rich tone at the lowest possible price.

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