Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

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knave101
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Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:53 pm

Hello,
I'm new to this forum.

I'm trying to upgrade the output transformers on my Peavey VMP preamp and input and output transformers on my VCL2 Compressor. I've already completed upgrades on all the caps and tubes. This has been covered a bit in various forums over the years, with some great input from some knowledgeable people...but I'm trying to find the concise correct output transformers for the VMP and VCL, as well as the correct input transformer for the VCL. The VMP input trans change is covered well in other forums.

Now, I understand there is direct bypass for the transformers...but I still would like to maximize the trans performance.

VMP:
The correct input transformer upgrade is Jensen JT 115k, "be aware that the stock grid load resistor is 470k ohms, that needs to be changed to 150k ohms to match up to the Jensen". I've already completed this.
Output Trans: Marked DB 338. I found this on a forum. "BE-338-A-X VMP-2 Ouput Transformer. 30k:600 ohms, 70.7VRMS:10VRMS, 3267T:463T

So what would be the correct VMP2 output Trans for this? Jensen has the JT-10k61 1M, which is 10k:600 ohm, while cinemag has a similar CM-9589 which is 10K:600ohm, and Cinemag has a CM-9661A which is 30k:600ohm.

VCL2:
The input trans is marked. "70511562", info on a prior post states 10k:10k, turns 1:1, 20hz max is +16db.
The output trans is marked "DB 348". I have no info on this.

Has anyone already done these mods, and if so what exact replacement VMP out trans did you use, and what VCL2 input and output trans did you use? How did it work out?

Thank you.

knave101
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:27 pm

Well, I'm replying to myself:

The transformer is the place where corners seem to be cut...even on the VMP/VCL products. I own several of each.

I took out the input and output transformers on my peavey VMP2 and VCL2. I sent them to David Garren at Cinemag. He is an extremely kind and helpful man. He tested them, ran them on his scope (I have the traces if anybody wants them) and found that the stock output transformers on the VMP2 and VCL2, are the same, and are pretty horrible. The Cinemag OEM Replacement for both the VMP2 and VCL2 Output transformer is 7:1 Cinemag 27101. The boutique upgrade is the 9661AL or 9661AH. The AH is hi nickel, lower distortion, and fairly expensive. The upgrades are night/day difference. I didn't find much difference between the 27101 and the 9661AL...they both sound incredible to my ears.

The input transformer on the VCL2 was quickly identified as being stock Reichenbach (Cinemag), thus it doesn't need changing. The input transformer on the VMP2 is Peavey, and can be replaced with the either the Cinemag CMMI-10 (or the Jensen equiv JT115k)

The 27101 fits directly into the VMP2 without any changes or drilling...the mounting holes line up. There is a small clearance issue in the VCL2, but can be modified easily to fit. THe 9661 series is a larger transformer and needs 2 holes drilled to fit in the back of the chassis on the VMP2. The 9661 series do not fit into the VCL2 as they are too large.

Thus, for the VCL2, modify with the 27101, as there is no room for the larger 9661 series output transformers. For the VMP2, you can choose 27101 or the 9661 series.

After changing most of the coupling capacitors, the tubes, etc...the transformer swap yielded the semi-pro to pro improvement....it's pro gear now. I installed all three output transformers to have a few different sounds to choose from.

I wish to thank David again for his time, assistance, and transformer guidance.

colliedogboy1
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by colliedogboy1 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:26 pm

Thanks for posting the info.

knave101
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:32 pm

You're welcome.
I think the VMP2 and VCL2 are great units, with some cost shortcuts taken that make them easy to modify and easy to improve the sound quality, yet still cheap to come by. The 27101 is slightly deeper than the stock OT's. The 9661 is wider and deeper and heavier than stock. It comes as AL and AH models. The EOM 27101 has more steel, the 9661 AL has 50/50 steel/nickel, and the 9661 AH has 20/80 I believe. David Garren can confirm if you need it. Some saturation can be a good thing and some of the most highly regarded stuff out there uses 27101 EOM class OT's from Cinemag.

I can provide some MP3's for comparison before and after the change is anyone is interested.

Denus
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by Denus » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:30 pm

This is KILLER info... a couple questions, as I have a VMP that needs some servicing and upgrading. Something keeps crapping out in mine causing a channel to go dead (any ideas welcome, never been modified, been serviced 2 or 3x and it still happens - dont remember if it's the same channel or both... it's NOT the tubes or output trannys)

1) input tranny from Cinemag is CMMI-10. Do you need to swap load resistors (as mentioned in your first post with the Jensen)?

2) you said you installed all 3 trannys for sonic options... did you find room in the chassis for all 3 simultaneously (allowing you to just swap connections)?

I'm a total dunce when it comes to electronics... trying to change that. Thanks for this post!

knave101
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:59 am

I do not know exactly the answer to your first question, but my guess is yes. You'll probably have to swap resistors. that info should be on the Cinemag site.

Well, since it's just one channel that craps out...that means it's likely the channel and not something more ominous like the power supply. can't tell exactly. sometimes i'll open up the unit and poke around with a plastic or wood stick to see if putting some pressure on the circuit board (while its running) has some intermittent effect. Then you can locate the bad solder joint. It could also be a tube, but not likely in my opinion. Older joints go bad somewhat frequently during the heat up/cool down cycle...as solder, tin, fiberglass all have different coefficients of heat expansion...and the repetitive stress causes joints to crack to relieve the stress...that would be my guess. of course if you touch a dc charged capacitor it could ruin your life...so be careful. Remember that defibrillators use DC....thus, touching the wrong thing with a finger could "fibrillate" you...and that is simply that! So don't do what i mentioned unless you're a pro or really comfortable. and use one hand only to touch the unit...decreases the risk of sending your heart into fibrillation (death).

When you call David Garren to order your transformer, ask about the load resistor. He'll tell you what the resistor should be. Its likely the same.

there is no room for all 3 trannies. just one. My first advice would be to go with the 27101. it's an easy swap, sounds as good as the others i mentioned....and is half the price. swap out the coupling capacitors....(the big yellow ones) with as nice a replacement as you can afford. Don't worry about the eq circuit because it is much more involved to change, and you can simply not use it....and record without eq...with is preferably anyways.

I just used my VMP today with the upgraded trannies. Compared to the units before, the same voice, same mic, is simply thicker, and more present. I love them.

Denus
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by Denus » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:19 am

Thanks man... great info.

Is the EQ circuit the vertically placed PCB immediately behind the control face? I've also reached out to Carnhill to see if they have some iron xformers that would work. DG at Carnhill got back to me immediately when I emailed him about the resistor (answer is yes).

I don't know a thing about capacitors and such... what specs do I need to look for as a suitable replacement. Tubes I get, you just buy another 12ax7 or 6L6 whatever... electronics components however... just don't know enough about them and their designations.

I already have too much invested in the VMP2 to ever sell it, so I might as well hotrod it and get some use out of it. It was my first studio purchase, and a totally accidental early morning "buy it now" on eBay.

knave101
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:08 pm

I would get one of the transformer i have recommended unless you have some reason to prefer Carnhill or another producer....but you have to know if they fit. I wouldn't mess with an unknown if you are not sure. I've already done the work....and it fits perfectly. I can send you a photo if you wish of which wires go where. In the 60's transformers contained more steel. modern high end ones have more nickel. the nickel decreases the saturation, particularly at lower frequencies. If you just get one of the input and output transformers you can then compare to the other side that you leave stock. this works great for vocals or things you're recording in mono, for comparison...and not good for things you're recording in stereo...(acoustic, piano...etc.). For input transformer you'll have to get the one with the wires coming out of two spots on the bottom...not the threaded or PCB mount.

The EQ board is directly behind the knobs indeed. but it's a little more involved to pull out the capacitors from it and the replacements can be found at Mouser. If you have a nice mic and preamp...you don't need eq on the input...and shouldn't use it. You can use the LF rolloff on the mic if you need it. You can tweek eq on 'mix down' from the DAW. I would also save your money on the tubes until the last part. I have 100's of various 12ax7's, including telefunken tubes to modern tubes...i find little 'amazing' difference between them. Yes, there is a difference...but usually not night and day in my opinion. But it's the first thing people change because it is so easy to just unplug one thing and plug in something else...and then talk about how the whole sound "opened up" from a tube. If your input and output transformers stink...you'll always and only be polishing a turd...no matter what you do to other components. You can't eq 'stink' out of a turd. you can bypass the output transformer by going direct out the 1/4" output....but I firmly believe that the output transformer is "part" of the sound and allows you to pleasantly saturate the sound if you have the right one. And output transformers lend the most character of any tube product...guitar amps, hifi amps....and your VMP.

In the world of audio there are several main costs...the chassis, the transformers, and the capacitors. 1 MF 250-630 volt capacitors can cost from 5 to 1000 dollars....depending on what you want to spend. I wouldn't get capacitors rated at less than 400-450 Volts, though they only carry about 250 volts max. If you type "capacitor review" on google you'll immediately find what i'm talking about. Some however, can be very large (like teflon capacitors)...larger than there is space for on the circuit board. Capacitors are used to 'couple two different stages of the circuit without allowing DC to pass. the value of the cap determines which AC frequencies are allowed to pass. So they are used in EQ circuits and for coupling different stages of the circuit, as well as other things. I went cheap and used JB premium metallized polypropylene.....but they only cost several bucks....the ones peavey used cost several pennies. I'll upgrade those soon. The Peavey originals are about 1.5" long with yellow tape around and have some odd values. Pick the replacement capacitor with the value as close to the originals as possible. You'll have to remove the main circuit board to get to them from the back. But since you have a problem already, you'll likely find the problem when you take out the board. some people like to mount a bypass capacitor as well...which is taking a second capacitor of roughly 10% value of the first and wiring it in parallel. This is unnecessary in my opinion, unless you're putting the final shine on a masterpiece. The input trannies I've discussed usually cost around 70. the output is also 70. the caps....about 5-15 each. I wouldn't go too cheap on the coupling caps if you can afford it. But make sure they are the no too large...you have 1.5" to work with. Thats it!

Maybe just do one channel first and see how you like it and record some tracks on both for all of us to hear the difference. Then you can do it for the other channel using different transformers, the same transformers, or whatever you like. and you'll get a different sound.

Cheers!
Last edited by knave101 on Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

knave101
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by knave101 » Wed May 31, 2017 2:35 pm

I've posted some recent songs I've completed of a young local artist who I think is very talented, using the VMP-2 / VCL2 chain on vocals. (not guitar)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hc-aE27tAU

Chain: Rode Classic II (a good mic in my humble opinion) into VMP-2 with 9661AL output transformers, then into a VLC2 compressor with the upgraded 27101 output transformer, then into a Antelope Orion 32 A/D convertor. Input on the VMP is a Jensen, and on the VL2 is the stock Reichenbach. All have upgraded coupling capacitors metallized polypropylene. EQ is bypassed. All tubes are various old stock...mostly british or german varieties.

radioburning
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by radioburning » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:23 pm

I bought the suggested Cinemag output transformers, but the wiring is different colors, and there's a ground wire in the Cinemag that is not there on the stock transformer.

Does it matter which way I wire it, and should I snip the ground, or bolt it to the chassis where the transformer mounts?

bboykin539
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Re: Peavey VMP / VCL2 Transformer Information

Post by bboykin539 » Mon May 30, 2022 10:54 am

Digging up this old thread. So I have two different versions of the VMP-2 and one VC/L-2. The older version of the VMP-2 has Reichenbach input transformers as evidenced by them saying “Reichenbach RE 115k-E60”, however, the 2nd VMP only has the numbering “70511560L” written on them and VC/L-2 appears unmarked. Can anyone confirm the later models are Peavey part numbers for the Reichenbach trannies? It seems the original poster wouldn’t have had to send them in to Cinemag for testing if they had “Reichenbach” written on them as my older model does.

Thanks,

Brian

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