Do I Need a Fancy Alps Blue Velvet Volume Pot For My Old Sony 808ES?

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Saw a guy selling a board on eBay that allows you to swap out the stock Sony pot and swap in a fancy Alps Blue Velvet. I've always heard that those Alps were the bees knees, but I hav no clue what that means in real world terms. The gent selling them seems to think it's more then worthwhile, but he might not be completely unbiased.

Is this something anyone has played with? Would it be worth doing?

The board:


What I believe is the right pot:

 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I think you do. There’s so much potential in that thing. I’m not sure where any more bottlenecks would be in it.
 

Redboy

Knobophobe
Saw a guy selling a board on eBay that allows you to swap out the stock Sony pot and swap in a fancy Alps Blue Velvet. I've always heard that those Alps were the bees knees, but I hav no clue what that means in real world terms. The gent selling them seems to think it's more then worthwhile, but he might not be completely unbiased.

Is this something anyone has played with? Would it be worth doing?

The board:


What I believe is the right pot:

Well...

That board calls for a motorized pot, and even has the part number printed on it (Alps Blue RK27112MC). Partsconnexion has some of those in stock, in 10K and 100K values.

Of course, you'd still have to populate the board -- "For Sell is the PCB Board ONLY." -- and no mention of the cost for those parts (or do you pull those from the original board?). You'd be ~$200 into the project with the board and the pot and the shipping costs alone, with more cost for parts and labor ahead...

Let's call it a $300 upgrade, if you want to retain all the functionality of the original assembly.

Now, a basic Alps Blue pot costs $20 at Partsconnexion. I do think you'd be happy with the Alps Blue if you'd paid $20 for the upgrade, but I don't know if you'd feel the same about it for $300.

My opinion only, of course.

Is your amp fully restored otherwise? I would think $300 would be better spent on a tune up, to replace the (30 year old?) capacitors and such.
 
In my opinion there are much more transparent potentiometers (of the metallic conduvtive plastic construction) than the blue alps, eg Toco Cosmo ,some later editions is said to have had problems with channel imbalance between channels at very low setting levels,but then on the other hand I newer listen at low levels!

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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
In my opinion there are much more transparent potentiometers (of the metallic conduvtive plastic construction) than the blue alps, eg Toco Cosmo (early edition) ,some later editions had problems with channel imbalance between channels at very low levels,but on the other side I newer listen at low levels!
Would this be a question of what works with the amp, as far as maintaining remote control operation? This amp in question actually used to reside with me and I loved it. For what it was, I found it to be about the best sounding $500 (at the time a few years ago, ebay) amp on the planet. That said there was a slight veiling of warmth over things, which was kind of speaker dependent as far as whether it was that noticeable.
 
My comments was on this pot in the picture in the # 1 thread!


#1
23444.png
And I use the Toco´s in all of my equipment ( and scraps the alps blue as soon as any shows up) ,as I find them (Toco´s) to be the "best sounding"(which is a personal opinion) pot for a reasonable amount of money! ( if you don´t want to go with the ladder type attenuators)
Come to think about it there is only one piece of equipment in my possession that still got an alps and that is the WHAMMY headphone amp,but I hardly listen to phones anyway,but this one is about to get an OP amp upgrade as well as a Cosmo pot upgrade in the near future!
 
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prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I think you do. There’s so much potential in that thing. I’m not sure where any more bottlenecks would be in it.
When I had my first one recapped by @bktheking , it added a nice but or air and sparkle, while keeping the MOSFET sweetness. We were careful in picking quality components without reinventing the wheel. That's a piece I wish I hadn't sold.....

A recap, (and repot?) likely wouldn't hurt this one either. It's certainly a piece that I can't see getting rid of. It is used literally every day, with the Shearwaters.

I sure @S0und Dragon or @Ds2000 would know where to send it to for a competent and sympathetic restoration.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Well...

That board calls for a motorized pot, and even has the part number printed on it (Alps Blue RK27112MC). Partsconnexion has some of those in stock, in 10K and 100K values.

Of course, you'd still have to populate the board -- "For Sell is the PCB Board ONLY." -- and no mention of the cost for those parts (or do you pull those from the original board?). You'd be ~$200 into the project with the board and the pot and the shipping costs alone, with more cost for parts and labor ahead...

Let's call it a $300 upgrade, if you want to retain all the functionality of the original assembly.

Now, a basic Alps Blue pot costs $20 at Partsconnexion. I do think you'd be happy with the Alps Blue if you'd paid $20 for the upgrade, but I don't know if you'd feel the same about it for $300.

My opinion only, of course.

Is your amp fully restored otherwise? I would think $300 would be better spent on a tune up, to replace the (30 year old?) capacitors and such.
The dude selling the board will do the repotting, if you send it all to him. Soit does appear that you pull the old stuff, which keeps the cost down. Be interesting to know what he charges for his work.

As @gegge mentioned, if we are repotting, do we even go for a better pot?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
When I had my first one recapped by @bktheking , it added a nice but or air and sparkle, while keeping the MOSFET sweetness. We were careful in picking quality components without reinventing the wheel. That's a piece I wish I hadn't sold.....

A recap, (and repot?) likely wouldn't hurt this one either. It's certainly a piece that I can't see getting rid of. It is used literally every day, with the Shearwaters.

I sure @S0und Dragon or @Ds2000 would know where to send it to for a competent and sympathetic restoration.
I had thought about sending it for a partial recap, knowing its filled with a certain quality of parts that age better than, say, what's in a '70s receiver. I regret selling mine as well :)
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I had thought about sending it for a partial recap, knowing its filled with a certain quality of parts that age better than, say, what's in a '70s receiver. I regret selling mine as well :)
I'll give you first right of refusal should I ever decide to sell it.
 
The pot would be a hard no for me, I’m not sure that the language of the ad on eBay is more than flowery. In other words, nonspecific.
I am behind new caps though, including the two mentioned on the volume board. Maybe Parts C or one of the top notch modification pro members here would be the answer.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
I may be in the opposite camp on this one. Though @Ds2000 has talked me off many a high ledge over a bottomless pit in Modification land. And I will attest that he is usually (Almost always) right. But if this is a keeper for life Item. And you are committed to the long and sometimes frustrating process of dealing with techs who have their own vision, ideas and personalities. And you understand that once these projects take off, they will always end upside down value wise and cost more than you budgeted. Than you just may be ready to tackle a restomod.
 
I got to thinking about all of this “mod squad” stuff and it brought me to a few items which cannot be gotten around easily. Gear is built to a price point, I mean it’s how these companies reliably stick around. Costs are known. In that, there are reasons for the materials used, I.e. stuff which keeps margins happy. So here’s a few things which cannot usually be addressed readily, these are as much a bottleneck as the caps, op amps, etc.

All to the original design costs aspect.

1. Cannot make better boards with thicker and outer traces. Boards of material more receptive to better components (like ML uses or mil spec with at least double thick 70uM pathways)

2. Cannot add pure copper eyelets to those non existent traces.

3. The internal cabling has to entirely be replaced, but to what end with the more economically minded boards In place?

Then one will need to change audio path resistors to at least Roederstein(sp), the reed relays in the panel button selectors may not be select enough (need gold plated leaves), etc.

And etc, etc, etc...the list becomes a redesign manifesto after a while, and still the base product remains.

That Sony is a price point amp, (lovely as it is) so stuff becomes magic mentality quickly. I can support caps only. Mainly for age, Sony ran stuff close to the edge.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have tended to run an "it is what it is" mindset to some extent with gear like this. In my use of the 808es I was happy with it. I detected a hint of veiling but nothing terrible, and it was in a bedroom system with speakers that were more dated in sound than it, so any improvement in it would have been lost in the dated and somewhat worn-out Spendor S-100s it was attached to. When I hooked it to my Harbeths, they revealed it's shortcomings more than the Spendors did, but that was only while I was moving into a house and then it found its way into another system where it was limited by speaker choice.

When it came time for me to get serious about finding a solid state integrated amp for main system duty, I ended up just buying something about 25 years newer and built to a better price point... not that the Sony was built cheaply. It was a very nice amp and still is, within context. Way better, in my opinion, than every single one of the vintage receivers I ran (for example).
 
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