Fratus Amplification repairs tube amps and other audio gear.

Tube Amps and More in Houston

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Our Mission: Keep the music playing!


Trident S20 Mic Preamp Repair


A friend brought me his Trident S20 microphone preamp. It had a whole lot of noise for something rated so highly for sounding like the Trident mixing board's pre. It popped when you turned on the Phantom Power. Noisy gain control. Noise when you switched channels... Really not a nice sound at all.

So I studied the circuit for quite a while, and found out that it was pretty much a standard circuit straight from the chip manufacturer's example circuit. But they had done some seriously dumb stuff that crippled this potentially fine piece of gear. I will repair these and other problems in your Trident S20, and you will be delighted at the change! FINALLY it will sound clear and dynamic like the mixing board's preamp.

Just email or call me for directions on how to get it to me. It is a pretty small and light unit that should ship very well. You will get it back in a very short time. See my Services page for details about how I run the repair cycle.

My Newest Distortion/Fuzz Box

The demo for this Box was done by Michael Anthony Shanks, a really great-sounding and informative YouTube video.

Excuse the appearance... This is the most-recent pre-production model.
It has a 3-position distortion level control, a tone control, and an output level control. The latest model has 4 levels and a Fuzz switch for those who want lots of fuzz. Plus, always True Bypass and operation on standard 9V battery or standard stomp box power supply.

The new 4-Level Fuzz Version is in production! Available for $185.

Introducing Mudbone Amps

I have finally started a separate amp-building effort under the name "MudBone Amps." All the other names were taken.
They are intended to be simple amps that are reliable and usable, and of course, affordable - without looking like cheap junk. The amps will be made here in Houston, and will be customizable for tone. Check out the new site at MudboneAmps.com and follow the progress.

A relatively unknown cause for an amp to stop putting out sound or to put out really nasty sound is shown in this YouTube Video. If your amp has an effects loop, please watch the video. You can save yourself some trouble.
OK, so you know your controls are scratchy... how hard can that be to fix? Well, it depends.
First, don't pull off the knob and spray some lubricant onto the pot shaft - that won't do a thing that is good, and may put whatever you are using inside the control. Especially don't use a "no residue" spray, as that just washes off the lubricant that belongs there.
Here's what you do: (follow all safety rules in doing this) Open up the cabinet and pull out the chassis to gain access to the BACK of the controls. That is where the working part of the control is. (Most controls are able to be cleaned, but some are sealed or just not able to be cleaned.) Then use a search engine to find a video about how to clean controls. (Really, that is the best thing. My point is that you can't simply spray stuff in the front of the control, and it isn't necessarily easy.)
Sometimes the control is so bad that it needs replaced. See this video of me replacing a volume control in a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Its 4x time-lapse, so a 20-minute job takes 5 minutes.
And, sometimes its not the control at all, its a cap allowing voltage to get to the control. In that case, you need a technician.

We repair, design and build Vacuum Tube Amplifiers and effects, pedals, vacuum tube microphone amps, instruments and so on. While not a tube snob, I do find that tubes provide a much more musical and natural sound than most solid-state gear. If I do make solid-state amps, I will strive to design them to be natural-sounding and not sterile.
Although Guitar Amp Repair is our main business, you are welcome to ask about other vacuum tube devices.

Take a look at the Amps and other products that I build.


A new product is an EF86 tube converter, which lets you use quieter tubes in the EF86 position, because most all EF86 tubes I find are terribly microphonic.
Or, if you are thinking of a new amp, look at my Custom Amp Estimate page to get an idea of what a custom amp from me could cost. New formula on 4/15/2015! (Closer to reality, I think.)
For repair services, look at Repair Services for more information.
Want to build your own amp? See Amp Kits page.
Did you find something you liked here? Use my Tip Jar!

For your enjoyment and for a chance to see something new, see these Videos. Many are local bands, but there are also some tutorials and demos.
If you are interested in lots of opportunities to learn electronics for audio there is a page for that, as well.
And, finally, there are Links to lots of stuff, from electronics references to stores and parts suppliers. Also, sources of schematics for your equipment.
Call Mike at
1-713-874-1483
9AM-6PM, Monday-Friday.

Now available!

If you have a Vox or another amp that uses the EF86 tube for vintage sound, you probably know that this tube is notoriously microphonic.
Its hard to find a current production or even an Old Stock tube that is not microphonic. I have a solution for that. My new EF86 Tube Converter will plug into the EF86 socket and allow a quieter 6AU6 tube to be used. The first units are now available. Call for pricing.

Secondary Mission: Provide information for musicians.

Its hard to depend on somebody to take care of your equipment as carefully as you would.

That is, if you knew how. You know how important it is for stuff to work. I think that everyone should know at least a little about the equipment they use all the time. Even if you only learn some basics, it will help in the long run when deciding what to do about problems or when selecting new equipment. I prefer to have some idea about what is inside some "mystery box" that I use all the time, or at least have a vague idea of how it works. Eventually I will probably open it to see what makes it tick. There are lots of places on this site to learn anything from the basics to advanced electronics, or even how to solder properly.

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Serving the areas in and around Houston, such as Alvin, Angleton, Baytown, Bellaire, Clute, Conroe, Deer Park, Dickinson, Freeport, Friendswood, Galena Park, Galveston, Humble, Jacinto City, Katy, Lake Jackson, La Marque, La Porte, League City, Missouri City, Pasadena, Pearland, Richmond, Rosenberg, South Houston, Stafford, Sugar Land, Texas City, The Woodlands, West University Place and all the Greater Houston Area.
If you are up to the drive, serving Austin, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Corpus Christi, Bryan, Round Rock, Georgetown, Huntsville, Beaumont, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Victoria.
Receiving UPS, USPS, and FedEx shipments of amps from all around. It is cheapest to ship "return shipping paid" to get a better shipping rate.
Some Amplifier Brands:
Acoustic, Alembic, Alesis, Allen, Ampeg, Ashdown, B-52, Bad Cat, Andrews, Ashton, B.C. Rich, Blackheart, Blackstar, Bogner, Bruno, Behringer, Carvin, Crate, Crown, Diezel, Earth, EBS, Eden, Burgera, Carr, Diaz, Divide by 13, Cornford, Elmwood, Framus, Garnet, Electro-Voice, Epiphone, ENGL, Fender, Fuchs, Gallien-Krueger, Genz-Benz, Gibson, Hartke, Hiwatt, Hoffmann, Ibanez, Johnson, Heritage, Hughes & Kettner, Koch, Matamp, Mojave, Naylor, Kendrick, Korg, Krank, Kustom, Laney, Legend, Line 6, Marshall, Matchless, Mesa-Boogie, Metaltronix, Orange, Peavey, Randall, Reeves, Rick-Tone, Ross, Selmer, Session, Sewell, Soultone, Rivera, Rocktron, Roland, Silvertone, Soldano, Sound Research, Sovtek, Squier, Sunn, SWR, Tech 21, Top Hat, Trace Elliot, Stephenson, Straub, Suhr, Supro, Synaptic Amps, THD, Tone King, Trainwreck, Traynor, VHT, Vox, Yamaha, Yorkville Sound, Two-Rock, Valco, Yerasov and more.
Interstate Batteries.com
Entire site Copyrighted by Mike Fratus, webmaster at TubeModules.com 11/26/2015 - don't snag! Leave email with suggestions or requests at: webmaster@tubemodules.com
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