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has anyone heard of this power amp that eddie van halen and tony iommi use with their live rigs (i assume) the H&H V800, does anyone know the basic topology of it, whether it's tube, what kind of solid-state, etc.


moonbaby Tue, 05/01/2007 - 07:20
The Macs I cited were from the '60s and the '70s. The 2105 was a basic stereo 105w/channel transistorized amp, the M60s were mono tube (60w) (6550s). I also had a 275, a stereo tube amp that is highly coveted today. Hindsight is 20/20, eh? Those Macs were beautiful-sounding, in that even the s-s versions used very complex output transformers ("autoformers"). When I went to replace them, it took so much more power to generate what they could produce. The Crowns I was referring to were the DC300,BTW. These were very reliable workhorses, but their actual fidelity was..."grainy" and not that "musical". But in an era of new technology power amps, where it was the "wattage war", a stable power amp that wouldn't DC and take some speakers with it was hard to find. Enter Phase Linear....
The 700 was a nuclear warhead, just waiting to meltdown when the load was "right". The 400 was a bit more stable, but had the balls of a gnat.
They were early designs of "high powered" amps, meant for the serious home audiophile who was jonesin' for the dynamics found from tube amps. It was quickly learned that if you wanted that "punch" the 60-watt tube amps gave, you'd have to have 300 watts solid-state. But a lot needed to be learned before these designs would handle the live sound market.
And as far as EVH and "output attenuators" are concerned, I was thinking "Hot Plate/Power Brake/Power Soak (OMG, those things...)", the type between the amp and the speaker, which is something that EVH obviously didn't use. He has spoken about using the Variacs to "starve" the amps, which will eventually kill them, to get that "brown sound" like DD stated.

Davedog Tue, 05/01/2007 - 16:29
One of these days I'm gonna take me a trip down to Gator country and have a beer with Mr. Moon. We're gonna talk about power amps and laugh about silly crap we've seen happen on stage.....It'll be fun!

And, we'll discuss the relative merits of this 'grainy' sound from those old Crowns.....

Yes, its become a power war. Unfortunately it hasnt become a fidelity war. Thats okay most of the time since a lot of amp setups are bi-amped/triamped and so forth. The power amp isnt asked to reproduce a lot of the bandwidth so the lack some may exhibit on the bench cant be heard in a realtime usage situation.

Moon didnt mention the WINNER of the early power wars....BGW.

Storytime......I was running a PA on a show that had a nice 4way system powered by the incredible sounding and VERY dangerous to operate Phase Linear. Four 700's , four 400's on the mains and six 400's on monitors. Monitors were stage left/right and left/right wedges. The subbins were dual 15's with 2220's, the low mids had a small scoop with E series JBL's, the upper mids were a combo of 10's in pairs and a 2" throat JBL with a cheese cutter and the highs were all JBL with 1" throats and cheese cutters. Nice sounding rig, two hours in and out.

Okay....we're going along and the band is really getting it done....the audience was jumpin and things were sounding great. Theres a hippie guy hanging by the subbins which are eye-level on the stage...(every show has one of these guys)...One of the PL 700's goes DC and an arc of flame literally 8 feet long or so spews out of this bin right past this guys head.......

Hes like....." Duuuuudddeeee......KOOOOOLLLLL!!!"... I'm like..."Oh Fuk....." and the crowd goes crazy....they think its part of the pyros....

Two 2220's ...frames BENT from the heat....One Phase Linear 700...Slag....The askeral from the transformers melted into the amp below it in the rack. Think Hiroshima on a 19" scale.

The next show had all BGW in the racks. I took home two of the 400's and used em in my studio for years and years...and on my home stereo.

If you really want some dynamic sounding stereo power amp for the guitar rig, look to the soecialy amps that are out now. Mesa, Marshall...just a couple ...there are several more for this application.

If this is for monitors in the studio, then look to the Hafler . While not new any longer they sound great and are very honest with the power ratings as well as the fidelity. I still own and use an older 220 and have owned several 500's. These are old-skool and sound great.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 05/01/2007 - 16:39
what other hifi tube amps are there? and how would you say in terms of hi fidelity the phase linears standup?

i take it also that you are implying that none of the crowns really stand up either to the amps we are discussing? its weird because on crown's little history timeline they indicate all kinds of recordings their various amps have been on

if you answer back, you don't really have to discuss much of the power handling because i'm not really wondering in terms of live sound but more hi fidelity studious applications

hah that was a great story, yeah i know i shouldn't have put this topic in the guitar and bass section, it's more for general audiophile studio use

moonbaby Wed, 05/02/2007 - 08:24
Great story, Dave ! Yeah, I'm sure a couple of old sound guys will have
plenty to talk about over beers. Roadies trying to 'catch' Marshall cabs falling off forklifts, PL700s flaming out stage wedges, dogs falling off stages (and subsequently being 'put down' on the spot!), Julio Inglesias'
all-Brit/all-hash-head production crew 'losing' their truck, krypton-gas lasers blowing up because a water line was pinched by an amp case, the laughs will go on!
As to modern hi-fi tube amps, MANLEY has a nice line. And Conrad-Johnson has a great rep, plus tons of 'boutique' amp makers. Go to the Stereophile website and scroll through their listings.

Boswell Mon, 04/30/2007 - 02:29
andshesbuyingastairway wrote: is h&h made by either the same company or in the same format as hafler amps?
andshesbuyingastairway wrote: and also is it possible that EVH used this amp with his master volume-less amps as well in the recording studio as a form of attenuation? could that work if you saturated your marshall and then just barely drove the power amp accordingly?

moonbaby Mon, 04/30/2007 - 08:32
The reason that I referred to McIntosh was that it took the HHs to replace the Mc power amps (2x 2105s and a pair of M60 tube chassis) to get even close to their fidelity. Crowns didn't do it, Yamaha P2200 didn't , either.
Those HHs sounded real good, in fact that Mos-FET design back then was heralded as "tube-like", in terms of their harmonic distortion characteristics.
As many times as I've seen EVH in concert, I never saw an HH in his rig.
And he was LOUD, no output attenuators on his amps that I could tell.

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 03/23/2008 - 19:27
OK , saw this feed and had to pipe in.
THe H&H V800 is a vetical mosfet amplifier .
I have 2 which will be FOR SALE in roughly 2 months.
THe vertical mosfets where designed by Hitachi in the 70's who did some really neat S(*&T with fets in general. One of thier higher end home amps used a single complementary pair of hockey puck sized fet's that thier chief designer came up with , only problems , they where the only ones building this device.(read impossibly expensive to replace if you blew the outputs, and then wait 8 months for them to come from Japan) THe H&H V800 uses 4 complimentary pairs of these a side for 400 watt rms /4 ohm output per side hence the V800 moniker .
These transistors are exceptional in thier fidelity capabilities , all the best PA's in "the day" (Read 70's) used H&H V800's if they could get them , production number on this amps wheren't many and they usually went to the top studio guys first.
If any of you would like to check back with me in roughly 2 months , I have 2 H&H V800's that Im currently rebuilding , the problem with old amps is lots of things , first in the 70's they didn't know about good wire , good caps , and fast caps . next the old vertical MOSFET's tended to get leaky if abused , thats why all new amps are using a different MOSFET output transistor type (typically trenchfet or hex) type design , the new FET devices are much more robust . My rebuilt V800's will not be cheap as all the output's are being replaced with much more robust modern version of the vertical mosfet and these amps will probably have another 6dB of power top end once Im finished.
The other tweeks I will do is replace all the internal capacitors with new better value , also most of the old carbon type resistors will go , being replaced with flameproof metal film (sounds much better) , the list of tweeks for improvements is extensive and somewhat pro=prietary to me , but once finished these amps (once broken-in) should sound better than some of the best amps out there, including some very high end audiophile stuff (read mucho denero's) anyway check back with me in 2 month's if interested.
Regards...R.Allan the AmpMaster

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 03/23/2008 - 19:38
A reply to demented chord's little quip about flame linear.
FET amps or amplifiers using MOSFET's where typically called flame amps , they tech accronym for FET in the eraly days of FETs was Flame emitting transistor . cause one they went past breakdown mode they almost always burst into flames . Even todays amps can do this if you took out all the protection . Blew one up 2 years ago on aHalloween gig , funniest thing I ever saw , 2 foot flame coming out of the back of the amp.
reall cool but real expensive as it took out 4 15" expensive AUDAX drivers.

Davedog Mon, 04/30/2007 - 15:57
The 'output attenuators' you must be referring to are most likely what he used in the studio. And these are actaully voltage attenuators as in a Variac. This goes between the wall voltage (120vac in Amerika) and the source plugged into its outputs. It is essentially a transformer with a variable voltage tap. My sources indicate that EV ran his anywhere from 90 to 96 volts, depending on whos info you want to believe. I do not believe he needed to do this live as they were, and are, LOUD AS HELL.

The intended interaction of this setup is one of causing the transformer and thus the output stage to work really hard to reproduce the tone and the volume being called for. It cant, so it goes into a brown type of distortion without much effort except in the case of the internal components which tend to eat themselves rather quickly when used like this.