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Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

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Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Katie Bush » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:29 am

Hi all,

I wonder if anyone else has noticed a trend on a certain web-based auction site toward the gutting of 16mm cine projectors for their audio amplifiers? I've seen several projectors being offered as "spares or repair" after having the amps removed, and then the amplifiers being listed elsewhere on the same site.

Are projector amps really any good for any "serious" or practical audio applications? It just seems to me that if it has valves, it has to be worth money.

Marion

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Cathovisor » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:10 am

It's just the usual source is drying up. There has long been a movement in Germany for "Klangfilm" amplifiers for audio use; indeed, at one time recording on film was seen as a high fidelity alternative to disc recording.

Quite often you find tape recorders are missing EF86s and ECC83s when you buy them.

Also, I believe the modular amplifier units of some Ferrograph machines are sought after too.

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Refugee » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:00 pm

when I came across cinema amplifiers being chucked away the scrap man had gone off with the projectors leaving the amps as they had electrical bits in them and were worth less money.
I am still running them as a domestic hifi.
With the latest trend they appear to be stripping the transformers out to be put into new builds.

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Dr Wobble » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:20 am

Old projectors are essentially useless, or should I say no longer useful to someone. not many people have old films anymore, and if they have it's probably degraded. So i can't see a problem re-purposing the amp's out of them. After all re using amp's or valve's out of record players etc has been going on for years. Think of all the old valve's out of radar or military gear that got re-used.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHgo--dETz0 . He's a bloke who know's what he's doing and who's opinion I respect, so yes, theyre worth converting.

Andy.

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Katie Bush » Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:40 pm

Hi Andy,

Ooh, oww, ouch.... That's a bit like saying it's okay to make coffee tables, bookcases and fishtanks out vintage tellies!. There are some "out there" who collect and restore vintage cine cameras and projection equipment, in much the same way we collect radio, audio and TV equipment. :)

However, I can see now why these amps have a degree of desirability about them.. I'm surprised at 18W output, and in push-pull, and even more surprised that the amp's designers went to all that effort, only to limit the frequency response to little more than "telephone" quality (big telephone mark you, but telephone range of frequencies nonetheless).

It is my recollections of these projectors at school, and the weekend film shows at the village hall, that made me question their use in serious audio applications - purely because they never did sound "Hi-Fi" enough for anything else than a film about how tea is made, where rubber comes from, or a few Tom & Jerry cartoons on a Saturday morning.

Marion

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Cathovisor » Sat Jul 02, 2016 5:10 pm

Katie Bush wrote:That's a bit like saying it's okay to make coffee tables, bookcases and fishtanks out vintage tellies!. There are some "out there" who collect and restore vintage cine cameras and projection equipment, in much the same way we collect radio, audio and TV equipment. :)

Just looking on the 'Bay recently there were a pile of 9.5mm films and a projector.

They sold for between £40 and £150; the projector made £100+.

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by wd40addict » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:24 pm

As the owner of a few cine projectors I can say that the amps, whilst good, are more akin to PA rather than Hi-Fi. Since deep bass and high treble aren't required the output transformers are normally fairly small. Low weight being more important than primary and leakage inductance.

It also applies to the speakers, often 12", which get sold nowadays for guitar use! Given these speakers are rated at no more than 15w I don't predict a long life!

Regards,

Paul

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Lucien Nunes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:07 pm

I agree that most 16mm amps are unuitable for many applications. As mentioned above their source material was predominantly speech band, although 16mm soundtracks could manage maybe 100-6000 Hz. Worse was the typical signal to noise ratio, with maybe only 35dB available from the film. Starvation conditions were sometimes used to get maximum gain from a small number of stages, as a noisy amplifier wasn't really a problem. As a starting point for a DIY project, it can only be as good as the OPTX, but there seems to be a hunger for small practice-amp type constructions so that might not be much of a deterrent to those who fail to understand the pivotal significance of this component.

I'm not quite in agreement with the suggestion that 16mm projectors are essentially useless. Although there is nowhere near as much interesting 16mm print out there as say 30 years ago, there is still a vast amount in excellent condition and people do now realise the value of keeping it. I don't count myself as a fillm collector as such but even I have about 100 reels of interesting material* and a selection of projectors to show it on. There are certainly many projectors in the hands of people who have no use for them, it is a similar situation with organs that are parted out - there are not enough people who even know how to operate one to make use of all the available examples.

A problem I see with raiding the amps, even if there is a surplus, is that the people who do this do not tend to have a knowledge of the significance of the rest of the projector. They might not know whether they were breaking up a trivial, commonplace unit with worn-out mechanics, or a rare and interesting piece with its mech in excellent condition (often the best-kept units have worn-out mechs because of heavy use, and the derelict-looking ones are abandoned low-hours machines with good remaning life). One man might be struggling with a degraded photocell while a breaker chucks a decent one away (stupid, useless valve - hasn't even got a heater!).

This is just another facet of the general downward spiral in which every interesting and unusual piece of valve equipment is re-purposed into yet another clone of a basic DIY guitar amp. It has been going on for years, assisted in the early days by projector owners 'upgrading' their machines to solid-state, being more concerned with performance and reliability than originality.

*Interesting to us, anyway. E.g. the work of the Building Research Establishment, how beer is made (in 1956), the benefits of the (enormous!) Xerox 9200 copier and most appropriate of all, how to give a good quality exhibition with your 16mm projector.

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by wd40addict » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:21 pm

Totally agree. I used to roll my eyes every time I read yet another article about someone 'improving' his projector by fitting some Maplin module whilst junking the valve original. All this ignored that the valve amp was designed for cine sound, and its foibles, whereas the new amp had a Hi-Fi type response. I think it was Harry Garlick who said "the wider you open the window the more muck flies through it".

An associated issue is that a lot of projector enthusiasts lean towards mechanics rather than electronics. A new Maplin module will sound better than a valve amp full of leaking caps.

I also plead guilty to owning several projectors and a Hammond T-500!

Regards,

Paul

 
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Re: Does 'audiophoolery' know no bounds?

Post by Lucien Nunes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:56 pm

No need to apologise! I know that there is disdain in some circles for any valve application outside the modern percieved 'spiritual home' of the valve in esoteric HiFi and musical instrument amplification. If the projector is considered oddball, and it most certainly is by some, how about rolling-mill variable-speed drives, spot welders, power station boiler firing equipment? For a guitarist, these erstwhile important but now long forgotten applications are simply and a waste of good bottleware (is that a word?). For us non-guitar playing industrial controls enthusiasts, there are similar misgivings with distorted 3-chord rock. The substandard projector sits somewhere in the middle, with its own small but devoted following but subject to external economic pressure from the 'mainstream'. The full-size cinema amp unfortunately is a lost cause, with only a handful in preservation in cinematic applications and environments, the remainder having entered the HiFi arena probably never to return.

The lack of familliarity with the historical diversity of valve applications was brought home to me when I discovered a young 'valve enthusiast' who had no knowledge of valves having been used in TV. He had not considered that the valves in a radio actually handle the RF as well as the AF amplification, simply because of the limited scope of the field in which he has been exposed to valves i.e. stage amps. I expect that many like him would rather get up on stage and make some noise, than watch a 16mm B/W documentary on the uses of clay, or bask in the radiant glow of a nicely tuned PID controller. Odd, that.


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