Museum: Amplifiers

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Custom Filmosound 385 12" Combos

These amplifiers each started life as a Bell and Howell model 385 'Filmosound' 16 mm Film and Sound projector, and were manufactured between 1955 and 1961. Repurposing original Filmosounds into guitar amplifiers has become very popular thanks to the fame of the original 'Bernie' amps built by Berni Raunig of Hamilton, Ontario. The 'Bernie' amps are the stuff of legend among those in the electric guitar tone Illuminati, particularly here in Canada. Colin Cripps, The Tragically Hip and Sarah Harmer all make good use of their original Bernis. South of the border, Ry Cooder and Blake Mills are spreading the Filmo gospel.

The Filmosound 385 was built in two versions, one featuring 6V6 power tubes and the other with EL84s. We have one of each in the store, both the creations of Steve Moratto of Moratto Amps of Toronto. The chassis of both have been gutted, cleaned-up and point-to-point wired using the original transformers and high quality components to create 15 to 18 watt amplifiers. The retro-styled cabinets were custom built of dovetailed pine by Derrick Bell of Trenton, Ontario, and each is a lightweight, portable 112 combo.

The red tolex version features 6V6 power tubes and an Eminence Wizard 12" speaker, and the green and tan version features EL-84 power tubes and a specially- ordered Weber Legacy 12" speaker.

Both amps are tremendous, with amazing gain, clarity, presence, and dynamics. But the differences between EL-84s and 6V6s are very obvious, and the amplifiers really do lend themselves to different styles of music and player.

Red 6V6 $1699 Green EL84 $1799

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