Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 20 Sep 2013, 19:57

If you want to find a bottom line for the moment:

I have all of them except the last one. They reach increasingly into power scaling, and although there are a few very useful information snippets here and there and I would not want to miss them, those are not elementary.

If I were to recommend one or two, I would recommend TUT and Principles of Power in that order. These are the first ones I bought and they are more than enought to hot-rod or modify an amp. I also bought the speaker book and made two of them very good sounding enclosures.
Leaving the money question aside, I do not regret a second buying them, although the later ones are very academic for my purposes, "good read" so to say.

I did not spot any obvious mistakes and did not find the often quoted self-indulgence too unbearable. Later issues I had the impression grew increasingly into an advertising platform for the kits they sell.
E-mail requests were responded to promptly and to the point. Until one day something must have happened where the man grew downright mad and very very impolite. No attempts to clarify the situation were fruitful. So, as I said, this well has dried out for me.

One thing I noticed, I incorporated many options into an existing tube head, just to see how they sounded. In retrospect, those were all useless.
You can hot-rod your amp into an monstrous overdrive machine that has endless controls for everything on it, tube type switching, sag, power scale, channel switching and all that and your amp will still sound the same. Those things do not make a marshal out of a fender or anything like that. Don´t let the impression mislead you.

One day I will throw out all that stuff and restore the amp to its original simplicity.
There are a lot of things you can do to make your amp more silent, eliminate design flaws that were buck-driven decisions, install an fx-loop if needed, restore it to its original force and leave the amp tonally as it is. This is a far more sensical approach IMHO.
The two books do all that and you don´t need any of the others.

He says himself that everything can be done in the signal domain (preamp) [or: my opinion: before] and then he continues pages and books worth of how you do it in the power amp. But as anybody prefers.

I will let you know how the Merlin books fits in here once I get it.

have fun

-helmut

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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby tip142 » 20 Sep 2013, 20:50

What say?
I Totally agree with your dissertation.....
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 21 Sep 2013, 13:24

tip142 wrote:I Totally agree with your dissertation.....
:thumbsup

Thank you so much. :mrgreen:
I´ll file my application soon.

One thing one should mention, (and no one of the tube guys does in the heat):

You go and hot-rod or build your tube amp into an all-singing-all-dancing neck breaking monster, and attach all sorts of bells and whistles.
They describe how to do that. I have done that.

After so many years of experience of sorts and observations with my fellow musicians I notice, that the older you get (even measured in "stage years"), the less you are willing to haul around amps and gear of brand "super-hernia 2000", which tube amps belong to no doubt.

I either play unplugged or small venues where a small amp is all you need or bigger venues that have PA-reinforcement anyway. The times of amplifier walls are over (unless you are a rocker, where this is of paramount importance for the image...). Even KOC speaks of the ampless stage in the foreword to another tome.

Yes I have a tube amp and with a detuned cabinet, but besides a (say) lunch-box type amp that is hardly bigger than a 12" speaker it looks bad. Of course, if you compare them side-by-side, the tone is better, but isolated, on a gig, if you get a decent tone out of a small combo, who cares?

I also noticed that the tone I have been honing at home, lasts for the 10 seconds you noodle before the other players set in. Then all controls go to the english position (all full) so that you can cut through.

In such a situation, what you need is a good basic amp sound and versatility, which is exactly what is limited with any amp. It is even more limited the more specialized it is. I thus rather prefer an amp with a good basic tone (I even used old transistor amps that have good clean tone) of any size (the lighter the better) without bells and whistles.

Look in the past, first reverberation got into fashion. Today, that spring reverb is a curiousity, lousy by today´s standard. And who needs a front control wasted for tremolo these days? Have your resonance control, or presence control, how much are you twiddling those knobs?

Later chorus was a must-have. They all installed those inferior bucket-brigade effects into their amps. Today you get 100 average useless effects into the bargain just because DSP`s cost nothing, except there is no comfortable way of performance control. So you stay with reverb#17 and you get sick of this soon.

You get the swing? None of this is needed IMHO, except maybe a good effects loop switching. Everybody has their own set of stomp-boxes anyway.
Yes but how about tube tone you may ask? This is why we guys hereabouts tripped over tube amps the first place.

I modded my Twin into an overdrive machine and I did not like the distortion it produced. I tried all sorts of tubes and it changed, but no to my like. There is no such thing as the tube tone and you are not guaranteed to find that easily just because you use tubes.

I found my tone heaven using good pickups, a good overdrive (which I found hereabouts in this abundance), a good clean amp and a good speaker.
And - a good day. Because one day I like that sound, one day I hate it.

So, nobody tells you this and musicians don´t easily admit to that. Tip142, the epilog to my dissertation.

have fun,

-helmut
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby tip142 » 21 Sep 2013, 16:39

Well it is true what you say,in reality we discover so much time to find ?
........
One day is good the other not so much,i' perfectly understand;maybe a musicians is more sensitive people;the guitarist is maybe the worst.....?

I have purchased an Impressive second hand Lab Series L5,this SS amp is for me the better amp the i've ever played ,but watch how a cat go to search another peace of meat.

Mr. Merlin Blencowe knocking at my door........
This is the story
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 22 Sep 2013, 20:59

having said all that about the Fender I have hot rodded...

Today I had a guy in the workshop with a Fender Twin Amp (one of the modern ones with dual channel). He has some unbearable hum on it, two guys were not able to fix that.

He plays very loud to really crank the amp. The high gain section just sounded awful to me. Any stompbox does this better :(
We compared this to my hot rodded twin reverb - and lo and behold, mine compared more than favourable in the distorted section.
Note: this was playing at levels that I never would use at home.
It should not go without mention that I played over my usual mosfet amp where distortion is made by stompboxes.
Needless to say- no worse.

So it seems tube amps want to be played loud if you want decent compression and distortion.

So much for my experience and advise. So go ahead guys. Read what has been said and make your own decision. :thumbsup
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 27 Sep 2013, 10:01

As promised, I will reflect on the Blencowe book once I have it and compare it with the Londonpower series.

I bought the "Designing Valve Preamps for Guitar and Bass, Second Edition" book. I did not scrutinize every page, but went through the tokes rapidly, because most of them were familiar (but not all). (Note: I do not want to create the impression that all of this
has gone to my flesh and bone :D )

First thing that springs to mind, the Blencowe books are much smaller in format, for those who seek a buck per paper weight benchmark.

Blencowe has a more academic approach, there are pages and pages of how to do calculations for correct biasing and load lines, which will suit those who want to build an amp from scratch rather than using proven schematics (this is not to say that those schematics are always the best. Many of those are influenced by financial considerations rather than sensical engineering...)

Many of the subjects are just touched upon, whereas O´Connor really goes into them.

Example1: signal switching

Blencowe just tells the basics while O´Connor spends pages and pages on different solid state methods, different practical
transistor circuits and methods he incorporates in his line of amplifiers.

Example2: DC Heater

Blencowe a small chapter to this subject, wheras O´Connor goes into all the pro´s and con´s and different practical circuits.

Blencowe does not excurse into contemporary solid state electronics, whereas this is an essential part in O´Connors amps, where it does not contribute to or distract from tone. I was able to apply many of those concepts to modern stomp box devices. There is a huge amount of information in those books on MOSFET circuits, solid state current mirrors and the like.

Blencowe does nevertheless strike upon a few subjects that I cannot recall reading in the O´Connor books, such as avoiding the forward gate current choking in Fender amps if they are overdriven.

In short, those books are not really in conflict with another. Neither do they cover the same information.
They nicely complement each other.

If I were interested in the basics of tube operation and all the math around it, I would like the Blencowe book.
If I were new to modifying a given tube amp, I would probably be better off having the O´Connor series of books, at least the two volumes I mentioned earlier in this thread. For the high price claim, there is much more information contained in the londonpower books, so you get more, you pay more.

Be aware however of the later volumes though. Some of those are dedictated to the powerscaling technology, which might not be everybody´s taste, and one is entirely full of commercially successful amp schematics with associated improvements which may only be of interest to somebody who wants to build one of those or owns one of those.

With the O´Connor series of books I felt quite empowered to start modifying a given architecture, with the Blencowe book I probably would not. Again: I am strictly speaking of the above mentioned book.

Both series of books seem to be written with care to detail. Both are of much greater use to builders that other books I have, whose authors
left the impression that they want to endorse their line of amps and create the question whether they want to boost their tube sales or egos.
They usually just reprint a couple of popular schematics with their doubtful mods and improvements :scratch: so you sort them out soon.

One thing I particularly like as a teacher and circuit develovper about the O´Connor series of books it his approach to a good technical solution.
He usually starts off with an intuitive circuit, which then gets refined in several stages until a well working contemporary circuit is there.
Sometimes he is a bit hasty there in the rush, so you are left scratching your head upon a step he makes. Usually those things are easily resolved
in an e-mail, unless you have worn out your welcome like I did, probably with a small setback for the ego due to an uncautious remark :hug: .

I hope this helps somebody.

-helmut

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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby freq67 » 27 Sep 2013, 11:35

OK how many Karma points do I get if I scan TUT4 and upload it here???
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby snofla1900 » 27 Sep 2013, 13:17

Don't reckon on any from Kevin !
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 27 Sep 2013, 19:29

Another point; with a book format as small as Merlin Blencowe has chosen (or been granted...) it will be close to impossible to cover all those things like tube basics, preamp topologies, switching methods and all other weird and courious things you can do with a preamp tube in one volume so thoroughly, that people have all the tools to make deviations or take their own routs.

This reminds me of my favourite solid state HiFi-guru, John Linsley-Hood (god bless his soul) who used to write wonderful articles in now hard-to-find magazine reprints. He produced two book volumes that exhibited the same strange effect. Knowing his true potential, I found that the books were merely touching upon the surface or cookbook recipes that lacked the intermediate thoughts that enable you to make decisions.

You can either cram recipes into a small volume (catch fish for people) or stay on the surface, but you would have a hard job going basic enough as to educate people how to catch their own fish.

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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby tip142 » 28 Sep 2013, 20:04

Hey ,i only noticed now that you have your Site......
Compliments,it has so much information!
I must admit,that is very interesting.
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby vami » 30 Sep 2013, 14:20

I have them all. They are expensive but tube amps are my hobby, people spend much more on some other hobbies.
I have Merlin’s first book and I like it and will probably buy others. Their (Kevin’s and Merlin’s) approach is different, and it’s not easy to compare their products. Merlin is more geared towards beginners while Kevin covers everything from the ground up. I mean everything. No wonder that Merlin is more popular in the DIY circles, he seems to be a nice down to earth guy with a good credibility at forums while Kevin is more of a crazy scientist.

As the books go, Kevin has much more experience and has built so far more amps than Merlin will ever do in his life and that shows. Merlin is a bit like me, academic. I’m not sure if he has even tried all ideas he’s writing about in practice. For example, he has a great chapter on tone stacks with nice graphs etc., but when I actually tried to implement one of the ideas it sounded like crap. Still a good and entertaining chapter though.

Where Kevin falls short is his writing style; he’s terribly opinionated. Like his preference for 6L6 over EL34. Well, this happens to be my preference too, but I’d never beat the dead horse over it. Also his musical tastes are annoying; I don’t care about freaking guitar gods from the ’70 and ’80 and care about their “tone” even less. (It's okay to like whatever you want except that Swedish virtuoso with a white Strat -JK)
For a guy who knows about tube amps probably more than anyone else on the planet, for someone who devoted his life to them as a writer he often misfires but I strongly recommend his books.

On the subject of copying: Kevin can’t be making much money on his books at all. It’s all done by hand, half of the cost is in materials and time he needs to put in to make them, he makes actually very little on his intellectual property. And he can’t be selling too many. Copy someone from rich people, leave the poor guy alone.
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby aquataur » 01 Oct 2013, 07:44

You said in fewer words what I tried to say. 8)
vami wrote: people spend much more on some other hobbies.

Exactly.

vami wrote:Merlin is more geared towards beginners while Kevin covers everything from the ground up.

You can view this exactly reversed too. With little theoretical understanding but practical guidelines á la KOC you can start hot-rodding, while Merlin starts from scratch with load lines and such. Both ways are true dependent on your perspective.

In Merlin´s book I found a few totally new ideas, such as the spectral impact of waveform symmetry during distortion. Lo and behold, I managed to apply this knowledge to one of my stomp boxes and immediately improved it.

vami wrote:Where Kevin falls short is his writing style; he’s terribly opinionated.

Yes and he gets very angry if you address this.

vami wrote:Kevin can’t be making much money on his books at all.

Very likely true. However what drives me increasingly sick is the endless reference to his kits.
Sometimes he makes two steps in evolving a circuit and you may have a blind spot. If you write to him the answer more or less drives towards buying a kit.

There is this ominous powerscaling website that is supposed to clarify things, which he is not directly affiliated with but writes the most. I tried to apply for membership to clarify a few questions with other members but I never received any response despite all trials.
[just see that they eliminated that. Well... I am not too surprised...]

I bought this small book on speakers. He is very clear about the mechanical part (woodwork) but remained very evasive about speakers, which is a very vital part. So some issues left me wondering what to do and could not be resolved.

Like the question on acoustical lenses (dispersion) to avoid beaming. He claims that is so and so and there is nothing to be found on the web. So, when a question arose about that, there was no answer. As you said, very opinionated.

vami wrote:Copy someone from rich people, leave the poor guy alone.

´Nuff said.

-helmut
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby okgb » 01 Oct 2013, 17:25

this site seems to have allot of " free " info to start

http://www.ampbooks.com/
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby tip142 » 02 Oct 2013, 20:24


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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby drbob1 » 31 Oct 2013, 16:05

Hotrodding big amps to make all-singing, all-dancing channel switchers just seems like such a bad idea now. In fact, I can't see any better solution than the Randall/Egnator "preamps that plug into a power amp" solution. Learn to mod the modules to get the sound you want and make the power amp a little more reliable and you're done... For all other situations, stick with one good sound and use pedals.
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby okgb » 26 Jan 2014, 22:43

Or, change things slowly , one at a time so you can learn what you like and can hear and get he amp you want
[ or dream of ] part of the vibe here is learning , and that can happen rapidly by d.i.y. and experimenting, now
if you have a vintage piece with value , you may want to leave it alone and look for a silver faced 70's bassman.
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby pinkjimiphoton » 20 Apr 2014, 04:37

ummmm.... sorry, but i have read tut's. i don't recall seeing ANYTHING i'd call "original".

surf the web, you'll find everything. may no be written by kevin, but it's out there.

now... as to sharing... all the info he regurgitates is stuff he learned from others and his own experimentation.

don't EVER listen to someone tell ya what's "right"... look at stuff, learn from it, make it your own.

while i respect a person's right to make a living, i lose respect when someone presents someone else's work as "original" unless it IS.

i've only seen very few truly original ideas. most things are regurgitations.

my 2c

also... FWIW, when i had emailed kevin o'connor with some questions, he was extremely gracious and kind to me.
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby sinner » 26 Dec 2014, 19:19

Mr O'Connor is out of the fucking mind

I was going yesterday to order 1th TUT. Over $60 for it. Ok. I can deal with it, but almost $30 shipping that takes "up to 3 months" to deliver? That's almost $100 for 1 of 11 books he offers, and it would arrive after such a long time...

Anyway... anyone in UK willing to part with theirs?
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby sinner » 27 Dec 2014, 00:57

Just to make it clear. I want to buy this thing. I can pay the asking price (minus the silly shipping costs). Any condition acceptable as soon as there is no pages missing
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Re: Any Kevin O'Conner books on PDF??

Postby pinkjimiphoton » 16 Feb 2015, 17:30

i bought "tonnes of tone" recently on ebay, as the price was right and i was very interested in checking out some of kevin's work. i'd emailed him about some
amp stuff probably 20 years ago,and he was wicked cool.

unfortunately, i found the book to be kind of a huge let down myself, as it really doesn't contain anything i haven't read elsewhere (in this volume, anyways) many times before for free.
i got more useful information from the torres book.

personally, tho they are informative and well written, the entire series should be in ONE book for ONE price imho... way to milk the fuck outta the readers. if it were a couple years ago before the nazis here took over the internet, i'd scan the fucker and post it. but it's not worth the potential hassle to do so.

i mean, the book is advertised as effects projects for guitar and bass... there's like nothing in it. a guitar preamp, a bass preamp, an experimenter's power supply, and a power amp and that's pretty much it. if i could have returned it for a refund, i would have.

now.... the good thing? they are extremely digestible, and he explains it in very easy to follow terms. but for the price charged i feel like i've been ass-raped.
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