HH VS-MUSICIAN

HH Head with the legendary “valve tone” switch and magic electronic black box to make this amp sound exactly like a not-so-popular-with-HH-at-least heavy unreliable valve amp (at least that is what the HH boffins probably thought.

This one came to me with just has a few clicky pots and switches and is in very good condition. Upon inspection found that one of the PSU smoothing capacitors, the negative supply, had ruptured. You can see a picture below of the cap. At over thirty years old, that’s not bad wear and tear.  Sounds clear as a bell now – boy are these things are well made.

In terms of construction these things are nicely made.  They have wiring looms that dressed with military precision running all over the amp.  Good quality components and the all important faint green light up panel.  One thing that I did find a bit of a surprising let down is the connectors from the transformer to the bridge rectifier.  These are made using those 1.4″ blade (sometimes called lucar) connectors.  Nothing wrong in theory, but on this amp all the connectors were crumbling – I wonder if this a common issue.

Here are some pictures of the inside of the amp . . .

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “HH VS-MUSICIAN”

  1. Hey Mike,

    Does your echo send and return have lots of hiss with other pedals running in it like boss pedals? Even if a pedal isn’t engaged, I still can hear loud hiss. Thanks

    1. Honestly, I have never checked it in that scenario but a noisy effects loop could be one of several things. Either noisy drive or return circuit often caused by noisy internal components especially op amps. What might be more likely is that the connectors have lost their springiness and are not grounding out the signal since it hisses when not in use; try tapping it around the connectors and see if the sound changes. Another possibility is that the loop is intended for HH echo unit and perhaps the signal level is quite different to effects pedals,

    2. Mike,

      I am shocked. I nearly…got an electrical shock.

      I thought i am going to measure IF my speakers get any DC through the cable connected to the amp. Took my DVM and switched on the amp, found the ground on the nearby socket in my flat and tried to touch the positive (red) input at my speaker…dear Lord. A HUGE spark, and a noise out from my speaker…now this should not be normal….so this means I am getting a huge amount of power into my speakers?

      I am terrified…please if you can advise me on this would be awesome or shall I take this to an electrician?

      Thanks a lot!

      1. This does indeed sound strange, perhaps you incorrectly had the meter set to read current. From what I understand of the problem and the actions you have taken it definitely sounds like you need an expert to check it out before any expensive damage is done. Working with electricity is very dangerous business so I would recommend that you don’t take chances. So if you suspect your house wiring then you need an electrician and if you think the problem is only with the amp then an amp technician is what I would recommend.

        1. Thanks, Mike… the house wiring is fine I think..so amp technician will be the one..it is just strange as the amp is sounding nice with a little noise of course…my voltmeter was set to 250VDC …so definitely something not right there…

          It just looking so nicely organized and simple inside, I thought I could somehow finding or replacing something…

          Checking your pictures from the inside, i can see two different things which is not on your unit, but it is in mine….i am sure someone during the last 40 years tampered with…

          So, in my amp there are 4 very small square 10nf/400V silver capacitors installed where to the wires leaving the transformer and connecting to the rectifier with those shaky blade connectors…now these caps forms a round, all around these 4 connecting points.

          I have not seen this on your picture….also, there is a ground wire, a quiet black and loose somehow installed at the output connecting points coming back into the chassis ground…not sure why someone did that tho…

          i have tapped few components, the IC2 and the small ceramic cap reacting the tap gently, nothing major or popping….btw the pop has gone! I have changed the 22nF cap, the yellow one which was attached to the transformer. I only had 1.5uF (15000nF) I hope this is not created the problem???

          Cheers Mike!

  2. Hey,

    I know it is an old thread, but I found this after searching for this unit as I have recently found one in an attic. It is sounding super nice however looking at the same cap you also had erupted, the big blue ITT one, I also have it identically erupted in mine.

    The question is, would you advise to replace this? I am extremely careful touching old gears and replace components. The unit works fine, however in every 10/20 minutes I hear a huge POP sound. I have shaken the unit a tiny bit, then a HUGE spark and the whole house mains were off. Now is this happened because of that capacitor has dried?

    I would appreciate your advise on this…thanks so much!

    Best,
    Levi

    1. Hi Levi,

      Yes those ruptured caps need to be replaced on most of these old amps. They cost between £5-10 each and are readily available from CPC and other good suppliers at exactly the same size. In your case you should check for other issues as blowing the house fuse suggests something else. A common problem is also the connections to the bridge rectified (square metal block next door to the round transformer. Those push on connectors go brittle with age and are best replaced with soldered connection. Any other faults and then you should take it to a reputable tech as blowing fuses is a serious business. Please take care.

      1. Hey Mike,

        Thanks a lot for the info. I will definitely take your advice and replace these caps…I have noticed that one of the caps has been already replaced at some point by someone…when the house fuse was blown, the fuse in the unit wasn’t and it still works which I found a bit odd…thank God nothing major happened, maybe I should not have shaken the unit at all (i don’t know why I did actually stupid me). Thanks so much again for your advice, and all the best! L

        1. Hmm that does sound strange as the fuse comes immediately before the transformer meaning the unit was barely connected. Please check all wiring carefully. Perhaps there is a loose connection around the mains socket or the mains lead. Always play safe and if doubt refer to someone qualified to deal with electricity. It can ruin your weekend otherwise!

          1. Hey Mike,

            Hope you are doing well. Just a quick note on this again. I have changed the caps as you have suggested. Amp sounds really nice, but sometimes pop’s. These pops are not volume related, and it pops once or twice let’s say in every hour or so while the amp is constantly in operation. Sometimes, doesn’t pop.

            The other interesting thing I have noticed, the place where I am testing the unit is on the same electrical circuit as my kitchen fan is.

            The amp was on, and I have switched on the fan in my kitchen and the amp reacted to it. Each time I switch on and off the fan, the amp gets these actions and I can hear everything through the speakers.

            Is this a normal thing? I have tested with other supplies but only reacts to supplies with high wattages.

            Please let me know your thoughts on this if you can.

            Thanks a lot!

            L

          2. Hi Levi,

            The pops that you are facing could be a problem. If they are loud it could be caused by a loose connection in the amp especially connected with the power supply. You can test this out by tapping the amp with a plastic probe, a chop stick works best.

            If all ok then the popping could be from a noisy transistor / opamp. Then it is quite difficult to identify without specuialist knowledge.

            The noise from the fan is not unusual. High power items like power tools, refrigeration induce noise onto the mains and also into the airwaves. Other items that cause this are some types of dimmer lights. Some amps are more sensitive and the level of amp screening and mains conditioning can improve it.

          3. Hi Mike,

            Thank you so much for your reply. I did not manage yet to go inside the unit and tap the components, however, maybe, this also could add something to direct to the problem source.

            ALL the gain and volume knobs are down, and when I turn the switch on, it pops through the speakers HUGE…just like it does later on.

            Does that mean that the speakers get some DC? How can I hear pops through the speakers if the volume and gain are turned down?

            Thanks for your input, I am not switching the unit on until I am not sure on the power issue….my speakers are way too good to blow them …

            Have a great weekend Mike,

            Cheers!

    1. Hi Alan,

      Best way to find schematics is google. Just type in Amp name and schematic e.g. HH VS Musician schematic into google and use image search. I am sure something will pop up. Failing that go to MAJ Electronics who support HH and supply a nice book of all the diagrams for about a tenner.

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