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Simms watts story...

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Muziekschuur, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Muziekschuur

    Muziekschuur

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    Simms Watts seems to be some of the great forgotten heroes of the '70's. Who were the people behind the company. Are they still around. And if not. When did they stop being Simms Watts. Any information about their productrange...

    AP200, and a 100 watt head. What cabs?
  2. Edword

    Edword

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    I've got no idea, but I'll be monitoring this thread. Love that stuff.
  3. Bassmec

    Bassmec

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    Disclosures:
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    I have a 1971 AP 200 and a 100 they where massively built ultra linear designs like the old marshall major or bassman 70/135.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The AP 200 super had one of the biggest output transformers
    that Partridge made and at 671 plate volts in ultra linear mode had huge output before distortion.
    In fact heir PA amps where considered among the best you could get back in the day, in fact they where the first sound contractor to the Glastonbury Festival.
    Cabs wise they had Fane cast frame speakers:
    [​IMG]
    the same as hiwatt used, or sometimes RCF divers in their more expensive PA cabs.
    The parent company made aircraft instruments originally,
    the recession at the end of the seventies put paid to many of the great old tube amp manufacturers including Hiwatt, Orange and Roost.
    They tried making bass guitars called Ned Callan:
    [​IMG]
    then they tried moving into modern transistor pre amp designs with the GE 100 graphic eq amp but kept the 4 X EL34 output design.
    Simms-Watts Tube Amplifier Heads
    I had one, not as good as the old all tube amps.
    They where expensive and like the similar Dan Armstrong amps failed to be universally popular.
    :bassist:
  4. Muziekschuur

    Muziekschuur

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    When did Simms Watts go out of business?
  5. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

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    Some history in the link below. It seems as though the company only lasted four or five years at most. Don't know what the downfall was, but there was a lot of competition in the UK making tube amps, at this time in history (Selmer, WEM, Carlsbro, Impact, Sound City, HiWatt, Marshall, VAmp, and probably some others I don't know about) :
    Simms-Watts

    Schematics of the 100 watt models:
    Guitar Tube Amp Schematics

    YouTube Demo of the AP 200 (although this guy is not cranking it up anywhere near its limit, so it seems tamer than it is in person...the mic on his video camera would have been overwhelmed anyway):
    Simms watts AP200 amp demo - YouTube

    Mine works perfect with no hum or hiss..very low noise floor and no cooling fan. It is unbelievably loud and stays clean long before breakup. I put NOS GE 5751 tubes in the V1 sockets of both channels because the gain was so intense with the NOS Phillips JAN 12AX7A tubes I originally tried out. It takes effects pedals very well into its input. There is no effects loop. 7.5 and 15 Ohm output taps only (close enough to 8 and 16 to be of no concern, and easy to use with a series connection box for a pair of 8 Ohm cabs) Big head case at 29" across, and it weighs around 75 pounds:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I would love to do a comparison between this amp and other 4xKT88 amps, like HiWatt 200s, Marshall Major, Trace V4 and Hexavalve, Sound City 200, Sunn 2000S, Orange 200s, and old Matamps, Webers, Reeves 225, Meat Smoke, Electric amps, or a Traynor YBA-3A Super Custom Special, but where, when and how will I ever find even two of these amps side by side? I would be shocked if there exists a louder, 4xKT88 amp ever made than this amp with its ultra-linear output configuration and really giant transformers (notably larger than those in my SVT-II non-pro). I drive a Bag End 410 with it, which is an efficient cab even though it can take 800+ watts. LOUD and CLEAR but still distinctively power tube sound. It has jumpers at the mains transformer that can be easily reconfigured for Voltages/Frequencies in the US or Europe. Made to be used around the world.

    These amps are so rare, that there is only one other TB member (Bassmec, who posted above) who has one, and he is in England. The close-up picture he shows of the power valves is actually my own picture of my amp, but so what? He knows a lot more about them, and about electronics in general, as he is an audio engineer with his own pro studio. His is a slightly older version that says "Super" where mine says "Pow!" on the plexi front faceplate. I think they are schematically the same as each other. I wonder who else in the US might have one of these? Seems like there are more of the 100 watt versions (4xEL34 power tubes) around, compared with the 200 watt beasts.
  6. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Disclosures:
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    There are quite a few 100w SW amps about, not seen any 200s on the market. My Matamp Slave 300 runs in UL with 4 KT88, so there should be a reference point, has bigger trannys too. I have an SC200 also. Thing is, since I have a cab that is loud enough to cause pretty serious upset to neighbours of the industrial estate where I was practicing with 70w, I have trouble finding their limits.
  7. Cirk

    Cirk

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    Thanks for the great information, folks. I'd love to crank one of these up and hear it for myself!
  8. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

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    Does that Matamp actually produce 300 watts with 4 KT88s ? Is that possible? The 4 x KT88 (JJs) Simms-Watts above was measured to put out 241 watts on my repair tech guy's scope (whatever that means, and at a level of distortion unknown to me). But whatever the number is, the AP 200 is loud, really loud. Like nearly as loud as my SVT-II non-pro (with Sovtek 6550WEs), but with a clearer, chiming sort of tone, with lots of mid overtones. Would really like to A/B compare it with a HiWatt 200, because my guess is that they would be similar sounding.
  9. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

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    Here is a representation of Simms-Watts bass tone, with consideration that this is the 100 watt EL34 tube PA100 head, played through a Rickenbacker with flats using a pick.....and who knows what else in the signal chain that produced the tone heard in these videos. And I guess depending on whether one likes Franz Ferdinand, this tone may or may not impress.

    But it is the basic tone, clean and round:

    Franz Ferdinand - The Dark of the Matinee (Reading 2004) - YouTube
    Tell Her Tonight (Reading 2004) - YouTube
  10. Calaverasgrande

    Calaverasgrande

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    YBA-3a was not a 4 KT88 amp. It was running 4x 6KG6A TV vertical hold tubes for output.
  11. lfh

    lfh

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    Happy New Year Everybody!

    I bought myself a P.A. 200 for Christmas and I've read this thread with great interest! Much to my surprise I haven't found an unofficial homepage for Simms-Watts, so during the holidays I've started building a modest one (wiki and forum). You're all more than welcome to join if you wish!

    Unofficial Simms-Watts Homepage

    To get it started, I took the liberty to use some of the nice pictures posted here -- I hope this was ok! I'd be glad to add proper photo credits (or remove the pics again if you prefer).

    I intend to add a little information every now and then as time allows (more pics are in the pipe). A catalog from the 70:s would help, so if someone has this (or other relevant documents) I'd be glad to buy it or a copy thereof.
  12. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Disclosures:
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
  13. lfh

    lfh

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  14. sven kalmar

    sven kalmar

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    hehe i remember those...another one was "London City" a monster rig 200w and a big cabinet..green. our bass player had it back in the 70s.rickenbacker too...
    we had hiwats, Geloso, telrad, acustic..sound city, etc etc
  15. lfh

    lfh

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    Ok, so I've added a couple of more product pages and incorporated the pics from Mr. Foxen.

    Boot Soul (thanks for your permission to use your pics, too!) or Bassmec, perhaps you could briefly check the dimensions of the A.P. 200 and compare to those based on my P.A. 200 as given here? I'm pretty sure the amps have the same dimensions (and weight), but I'd rather be sure before posting.

    Oh, and this pic I found (maybe you've already seen it) is too good not to be brought up here:

    [​IMG]

    :eek:

    That's an impressive wall of sound!

    :hyper:
  16. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Just remembered, there is a variant of the PA200 which appears to only have 100v line out as an option, rather than impedance selection. A guy was in touch with me regarding it, and I told him that this rendered it a bit useless for instruments, then knowing this, he sold it to another guy claiming ignorance, other guy also got in touch with me and I recognised the amp.
  17. Bassmec

    Bassmec

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    That wasn't very honest of him was it. it will cost the new owner an arm and a leg to get a new UL OP transformer built for the beast.
    Where would you source that Mr Foxen?
    My only Idea would be to get Sowter here in Ipswich to custom build one.:bassist:
  18. lfh

    lfh

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    Ouch! :( :rollno:

    Thanks for pointing this out, Mr. Foxen (and for the newsflash on the blog)! I've amended this important info.
  19. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    I'd get John Chambers/John Beer to rewind it. The guy still has it, offered to sell to me, but I have a ton of amps to restore that don;'t need such major work. Doesn't need to be UL, not a major circuit change to run without, and might be bit more 'musical' rather than clean. PM if interested.
  20. MAMMOTHvolume

    MAMMOTHvolume

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    ooer look at those poor JJ's!

    I want a ap200 so badly!

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