Welcome to the blog ! This week we are taking a brief look at a relatively obscure amplifier here in Australia: the Evans – designed & manufactured by Evans Custom Amplifiers of the USA. This is not to be confused with a much cheaper Evans amp of Asian origin, possibly from the 1970′s.
Evans Custom Amplifiers are still being built in Burlington, North Carolina, and appear to be a small operation with an emphasis on quality products for specific applications in the guitar playing scene. We can definitely relate to that ! The Evans amp is obviously primarily designed for the pedal-steel player, and also jazz & country music players. The designs are 100% solid-state and offer a very clean sound with a lot of headroom.
This particular example is the JE 1×12 combo, presumably of 1980′s manufacture, judging by the syle of assembly. Our customer brought this amp to the workshop for a general service, the jacks & pots were cutting in & out, and so on. The amp chassis is very well laid out for service & reliability, in the 1980′s style, and different modules within the amp can be isolated from each other in the case of a major repair. Very few solid-state amps are made like this these days !
This amplifier is rated for 200 watts into 4 ohms, or 250 watts into 2 ohms. Very powerful and weighs half a ton ! With all this clean headroom and powerful EQ, an obvious contender for the pedal steel. The internal 4 ohm 12-inch speaker is responsible for most of the weight. The magnet is huge. The speaker appears to be an OEM design from Eminence, and would have to be rated for 200 watts.
We replaced all the front panel jacks & cleaned the pots with Faderlube. There is a potential electrical safety issue with older USA amps which incorporate a ground switch, or, as in this case, a 3-way on/off toggle switch which has two x on settings & a centre off position. The two ‘on’ positions switch in a capacitor from either active or neutral, to ‘ground’, ie to the chassis. This arrangement might be OK at 110V AC (?), but is extremely dodgy here in OZ, and does not comply with Workcover NSW regulations. This ‘ground’ capacitor should automatically be removed from any such amps.
Sure enough, when we initially plugged the amp into the 240V socket, our workshop RCD device tripped, shutting off the power. This indicates there was some current flowing to earth (ground), probably the ’ground’ capacitor was faulty. We ripped out the 3-way on/off switch & the ground cap, and installed an industrial quality double-pole 2-position (DPST) on/off toggle switch. Subsequently the amp was tested for electrical safety to the Workcover NSW standard successfully. The amp passed its power output test & final play test with ease. Many thanks to Andrew W. for his custom, & for supplying the subject matter for this week’s blog. IR.