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Across the great Atlantic and Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by caillean, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. caillean


    Mar 2, 2008
    east anglia
    I'm kinda needing some advice - and thought here was a great place to start!

    I'm going to move from the UK to Canada, and, am wondering whether it's better to sell my amps here and buy over there, or to bring them with me. I have a little basic Hartke, and a Trace Eliott. Are they the same specs electricity wise there? (We have 240 current, as opposed to 110v!)

    Obviously, moving costs are going to be rather expensive, so, whatever I can move is probably going to work out cheaper, especially in this current climate where everyone is out to get the best bargain they can force you down on ........

    I hope that someone can give me some advice :hyper:

  2. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    Unless you own vintage Hiwatt, Vox or Marshall there's not much point
    in paying the cost of shipping and import duties on more current production amps unless you won't have the funds to replace them once you arrive.
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    ^^^^ This sounds very likely to be the answer.

    I think the only way to know for sure is do the sums. How much would it cost to ship the amps, compared to what you could sell them for over here and replace them for over there? If there's little difference either way and you think you could sell them easily, then that's probably less hassle than shipping them. It shouldn't be too hard for you to come up with some ballpark comparison figures, though.

    AC supply over here is 230V, 50Hz. Canada is 110V, 60Hz. You should check to see whether the amps have switchable transformers (my Hartke 5000 head has - I bought it in the USA and it works fine here). You'll also need new power cables (duh).

    EDIT Thinking some more - as you say, used gear prices here are poor for sellers at the moment, but on the other hand replacement prices will be a lot cheaper over there than here. I think it's likely that the shipping and importation won't be worth the hassle. Become a supporting member and you can sell them here on TB! ;)
  4. I'd say it depends on what else you're bringing. If you're shipping other large boxes, then throwing in a medium sized amp probably isn't a big deal. I can't see having to pay duties and such since it's something you own, like your clothes and furnature, but I may be wrong.

    The voltage is different, yes.

    Personally I'd probably sell everything and buy new stuff over here. If I was moving from here (Canada) to the UK, I'd sell all my stuff (except maybe my Ric) and then buy new stuff over there, as you guys have cool bass shops in London :)
  5. Sorry guys your specs are wrong. Canada runs at a nominal 120V 60Hz.At least here in Ontario we do. At my home it tends to be around 126V.

    Caillean, you need to discover if your current amps are voltage convertible. Does it have a voltage switch or taps on the inside. If they don't don't bring them.

    If the amps are basic, practice and the like, they are probably not worth the cost of shipping. However the choice is yours. Are you immigrating into Canada and to what area are you heading? When I brought my family here in late '73, we were allowed a huge weight on the plane. We discovered that we we so much below that limit that I could bring an amp and a speaker with me. I took the back off the cabinet, put the amp chassis inside and stuffed it with a lot of the stuff we were going to leave behind. Brought the lot on the plane with us. Memories!

  6. Depending on which city you are moving to, there is generally alot of stock on the used market via Kijiji etc... plus if you need shipping within canada would not be as bad as importing from the USA. (duty,brokerage, etc..)
  7. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Well, yes, many of us in the US say "110v" when we mean "120v." We also say "220" when technically the power is at 240v.

    I've seen equipment marked 110v, 115v, 117v, and 120v in the US.
  8. caillean


    Mar 2, 2008
    east anglia
    Thanks all for your advice - I am going to find out if they have switches - especially the Trace, as I've checked out prices on both sides - and - well, that would be worth putting in the shipping container if it will fit!

    I'm heading for Manitoba - something about -40C that just really gets me!!!!

    Thanks again :)
  9. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Yes, I can confirm that normal house electricity supply is 120 volt-60 cycle. Some of your gear might be able to be switched easily. Yoi'll have to check the owner's manuals.

    We have some good amps available here in Canada, pretty well all the brands available in the USA. Also we have Traynor, made in Canada and they make a large range of guitar amps, bass amps and keyboard amps. Good and reliable gear with a great warranty and good prices.

    I don't envy you in Manitoba though. I think it's bad here in the winter in southern Ontario. Manitoba is brutal in winter- then there are the spring floods and summer black fly season.
  10. I moved across the pond, from UK to USA, myself - and here's my experience.

    First, you can either run your UK gear here using external power converters (such as this http://www.voltageconverters.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=VC500W) for not much $$ at all. I am still running a pair of Marshalls like that. If you choose to have your gear modified, send it to British Audio Service (http://www.britishaudioservice.com). They charged me about $60 (5 years ago) to convert my Trace Elliot to US voltage and turned it around in under a week.

    Second, tastes and availability vary greatly from one side of the pond to the other - that's why the British bands sound British and the American bands sound American. You'll find that your British/European gear attracts a great deal of attention - I was quite the curio when I showed up with my Warwick/Trace because all the rock bassists here seem to play Spector/Ampeg. You'll also find that American stuff that was off your radar, or out of your price range, is now readily available. I have since added Mesa/Boogie amps and PRS, Gibson and Martin guitars to my collection.

    As for the cost - it's the speakers that will kill you. Consider dumping them and bringing just the amps.

    Good luck.
  11. OH BOY! You are in for quite a surprise and trust me it can get colder than -40C. You have got to add in the wind chill factor! Most of the time though it's a dry cold that doesn't seem too bad. It's only the really bad storms that you have to leave your home by digging your way out of the bedroom window! ;)

    Good luck with your move and in your new home. This is a great country even if it can't make decent politicians but that's another story!


    P.S. Don't forget your mukluks :)
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Canadian politicians are every bit as corrupt as any other country. They're just a little more polite.:)

    I'll join you in welcoming caillean to Canada. One big advantage is he'll be able to get a real cup of coffee. Tim Horton's coffee is a way of life here. None of that sissy Starbucks swill for a real Canadian.
  13. She'll be able...
  14. caillean


    Mar 2, 2008
    east anglia
    LOL - I'm already a fore-sworn fullly fledge Timmies addict - even to the point of having it shipped over here by willing(?!) friends!!! I know it's not quite the same - but - will have to do for a few months!!!

    So far - I'm avoiding the Red River - whilst getting fully insulated barns for the horses! I was told though - you can always tell a Brit in their first winter - they are over-dressed for the weather and collapsing with heat exhaustion!

    Folks will probably think I'm a bit weird anyway with my equipment - I came to bass guitar via being too idle to take the double bass everywhere - and - I came to that because I was the only cellist at school at a point of being able to play both! I'm also bringing several Andalusian horses with me ............!!!!!

    And - thanks for the welcomes - I'm really looking forward to the move (when not terrified!). I'm not 100% sure when exactly during the next year it will be - but - can't wait really!
  15. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Sorry for calling you a "he" caillean. I just checked your profile. :oops:

    You're already aware of Timmies. Great. I think you'll enjoy Canada. I hope you find some good gigging opportunities.
  16. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Now if you had a pack mule, some of the bass equipment could be moved on the back of the animal.

    Do the horses go by ship?
  17. caillean


    Mar 2, 2008
    east anglia
    Hehe - yup - the pack mules could swim - and pull the Midget behind them too!

    Naw, they all fly in - probably to Houston, primarily coz I've used that agent before - and they've said I can fly with them as a groom :hyper:

    Thanks again for the good wishes - and - yup - I'm a female!!! Caillean means "a lass" in Scottish gaelic;) (thereby giving my nationality away too!)
  18. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Though this step-up transformer will work in many situations, I'm concerned about its 500w capacity; this may be somewhat limiting for many bass amps, which can occasionally pull high peak current from the AC mains. It's also another 8.376lbs (3.8kg) to lug around!

    If the equipment can be switched for 120v operation, that's the way to go. Some amps have switches, while others (e.g. Eden) can be rewired internally to select voltage.
  19. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Both Hartke and Trace Eliot amps usually come with transformers that can be switched operate at either 240 or 120 volts. At the very least, you will need to set the amps to operate at the proper line voltage (on some amps the user can do this simply by flipping a switch, some amps require that the power transformer's primary be rewired), and buy new IEC power cords with the correct outlet plugs on the ends, and change the value of the fuses.

    It is possible that your amps, depending on the model or age, do not have these type of transformers. It would be best to contact the manufacturers directly to check.


    PS: I'd worry more about the mosquitoes than the cold...
  20. But there are advantages to this! Mossies really like fresh British blood therefore they might leave us seasoned old Brits alone! :)


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