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wateroftyne

The HandBox Amplification thread

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Hi all

As some of you might have realised, I like investigating stuff that's not generally known in the UK.

I've had the amp itch for a little while - I love my Walkabout dearly, but you know how it is - and while hunting for information on something else, I happened across a Polish audio company called HandBox. They do loads of stuff, including a line of amps - one of which, the R-400 caught my eye. It's 400w, fairly small & light, with a traditional power section and simple controls.

I exchanged a few emails with Leszek, the owner, who really seems to know his stuff. To cut a long story short, it landed on my doorstep this morning.

(Disclosure: I'm just trialling this amp. I've paid the shipping for it to come over here, and I'm just going to share my thoughts about it with the BC community. I could end up buying one, or if I decide to keep my Walkabout, I'll return it.)

First impressions:[list]
[*]It was very well packed. Even thought the amp itself is in a flightcase-style box, it still has a fitted case with pockets.
[*]I'm not sure what the flightcase finish is - it's cool looking with subtle distressed look (other styles are available), and a tactile feel.
[*]The amp's knobs are solid, with a little bit of a 'clicky' feel as you turn them (I'm not sure what the technical term is!).
[/list]

I have to dash out now... more soon...!

















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Looking at their website with Google translate, they have some intriguing looking amps. The rackmount 100 watt valve amp on their home page could probably tick a box on a few peoples wish lists.

[url="https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.handbox.pl%2Fcgi-bin%2Findex.pl&edit-text=&act=url"]https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.handbox.pl%2Fcgi-bin%2Findex.pl&edit-text=&act=url[/url]

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OK - the kids are safely installed in the softplay, so here's a bit more about it, mainly from what I've asked Leszek.

There's a drive switch at the input which bumps the signal for passive basses, and a bright / dark switch, too. I think we can guess what that does, but I don't know the specifics. I'll ask.

The EQ is a James / Baxendall tone stack, as used on the Ampeg Portaflex, etc. The lack of a mid knob worried me at first, but I did a bit of revision and I can see that it's possible to boost mids if needed by rolling back the bass and treble.

Leszek replied to say he didn't want to use any semiconductor filters on the amp (this is a bit technical for me, but it sounds like a good thing), and assured me that the mids were nice and clear in the first place, so apparently I needn't worry.

I asked him why there's no ground lift on the DI, and he replied that it's not needed as the DI is on the audio transformer, not an integrated circuit (again, I can't pretend to understand what this means).

As mentioned, there is a 120W valve version of this which is the same dimensions but 3U, and is (I think) 13kg. It sounds interesting.

The amp is available in a few styles, including a vinyl covering and a full flightcase.

I've got a gig on Friday, and an all-day rehearsal on Saturday, so I'll have lots of time to A/B it with the Walkabout...

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Oh, some more info from another email - there are three tubes in the pre (full-voltage only- there's no starved plate stuff) and the limiter is optically controlled.

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Yes, but what about the handles? And the feet?

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1460380812' post='3025161']
Yes, but what about the handles? And the feet?
[/quote]

Reassuringly solid :-)

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that looks rather nice, if you don't decide to keep it then I wouldn't mind a go with it, I had a look at the prices and they seem very good value (provided that my google conversion of the price was right!)

If you are going to keep he Handbox I might make a bid for your Mesa!

Matt

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[quote name='Matt P' timestamp='1460395169' post='3025366']
that looks rather nice, if you don't decide to keep it then I wouldn't mind a go with it, I had a look at the prices and they seem very good value (provided that my google conversion of the price was right!)

If you are going to keep he Handbox I might make a bid for your Mesa!

Matt
[/quote]

Of course - anyone around Newcastle who wants to see / try it is more than welcome. Just give me a shout.

Here's some more bit and pieces, starting with an EQ plot:





And here's the 120w tube version:

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That tube version looks VERY interesting... Edited by Bigwan

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I think I've found the website.

[url="https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.handbox.pl%2Fcgi-bin%2Findex.pl"]https://translate.go...-bin%2Findex.pl[/url] hopefully the translated version

any idea what the differences are between the amps shown are? some have pushbuttons, some toggle switches an there seem to be different layouts as well but they are all on the R400 standard page

a test of this amp would be ace, maybe if enough people want to try it we could book a couple of hours at a rehearsal room and give it a test with different cabs and basses, I'd be happy to chip in for the room hire.

Matt

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[quote name='Matt P' timestamp='1460461025' post='3025883']
I think I've found the website.

[url="https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.handbox.pl%2Fcgi-bin%2Findex.pl"]https://translate.go...-bin%2Findex.pl[/url] hopefully the translated version

any idea what the differences are between the amps shown are? some have pushbuttons, some toggle switches an there seem to be different layouts as well but they are all on the R400 standard page

a test of this amp would be ace, maybe if enough people want to try it we could book a couple of hours at a rehearsal room and give it a test with different cabs and basses, I'd be happy to chip in for the room hire.

Matt
[/quote]

AFAIK the differences are all cosmetic...

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...and here's what the switches do:

Bright / dark switch...
Off: flat
On: +3dB @ 100Hz / -3dB @ 750Hz / +2dB @ 10 kHz

Contour knob...
0 to -12dB @ 1kHz

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[quote name='Passinwind' timestamp='1460481647' post='3026113']
So what is the actual size and weight please? I couldn't find that in a quick look at the website.
[/quote]

It's 375 x 108 x 315mm, and 7.5kg..

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[quote name='wateroftyne' timestamp='1460483085' post='3026134']
It's 375 x 108 x 315mm, and 7.5kg..
[/quote]

Thanks, hope it works out well for you.

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