Background info about the ‘We Will Rock You’ theatrical production AC30s: the London WWRY production has been successfully using Dave Petersen’s custom made amps since 2002, whilst the productions in Australia, Japan, Sth Africa, Sth East Asia, Canada, USA, Germany, Zurich and Austria have used Greg Fryer’s handmade amps.
The Petersen and Fryer amps share several similarities but also have other differences in concept and circuit, and have been developed independently of one another. Both amps use Dave Petersen’s idea (borrowed from the early AC15) of having the whole HT B+ supply filtered by the choke, although Greg and Dave have pursued different ways of approaching the running of the EL84 power valves and are using different voicings and drive levels for their preamps. Both amps also use different methods of safety cutout for when the EL84s become overstressed.
Greg felt it important when he was developing his amps in 2003-4 to also develop high quality handmade mains, choke and output transformers for the WWRY amps and the later Brian May AC30s in 2005. This was because of the reliability and quality problems that had been experienced with the mass produced UK Drake and Dagnall transformers from the 1994-2004 Vox AC30 TBX series.
After many thousands of hours being played loud in the WWRY productions around the world and with Brian May on stage during the Queen + Paul Rodgers 2008 World Tour, these special handmade transformers have proved to be very reliable and also very good sounding. The transformers have been developed in Australia with the valuable assistance of several experienced amplifier and transformer specialists from Sydney and Melbourne, and are made in similar ways to the great old Vox transformers of the 1960s and 70s.
Particular attention was devoted to the development of the output transformer so that it produces the right tonal and distortion characteristics, with several variations being trialled and assessed by Greg Fryer during 2003-04.
(9th November 2009: please note that our custom transformers are no longer available for sale. We recommend that you consult your amp tech about suitable replacements if needed or contact Mercury Magnetics in USA, Heyboer dealers in USA, or Dave Petersen/Shere Sound in UK)
Please also see the vintage amps forum at http://vintageamps.com/plexiboard/ for an excellent source of Vox and other amp info.
Photos of Greg Fryer’s Brian May and WWRY amps:
Photo credit: Amanda Thomas
Photo credit: Frank Rohles
Photo credit: James Barber