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What does "handwired" really mean?
Old 14th May 2010
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
What does "handwired" really mean?

Soldered by hand as opposed to a machine?
Old 14th May 2010
  #2
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🎧 10 years
could mean point to point engineering, like not have printed circuit boards but rather having a board and making the connection yourself to every component....

suda
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
literally

It means its hand wired like the old fender amps. A guy sits there and soldered's each component. It can have circuit boards but the labor that goes into these amps is partly due to why they are so expensive.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
It's actually a point of some contention. The newer Vox Heritage Handwired series is components, soldered to turrets on a printed circuit board with pots and sockets attached by flying leads. I'd actually call that hybrid, d/t the PCB.

If traces are replaced by wires, then it qualifies as handwired in my book. The substrate it's wired too also becomes contentious. If it's called "point to point" it should be wired with components actually attached to sockets, pots and the chassis with no substrate. However, by convention, PTP is also used to refer to circuits hand soldered onto fibreglass or terminal strips (Matchless) or fibreboard (Fender), or turret boards (Hiwatt).
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
There are automated solder processes, including pick-n-place and wave soldering.

These are mainly for more recent SMT components,

many through hole and other discrete devices still utilize human hand soldering.

The automated processes are fairly robust, and when operating ideally can solder much better than most can ever dream to by hand.

The other side of the coin, If I'm carefully inspecting each solder joint for proper contact, flow, wetting and other standard solder practice I may catch failures that an automated process would not.

I prefer to build things by hand, vs commission a board house to build a bunch real fast for cheap.

If I was making pcb for a cell phone manufacturer, I probably wouldn't want to build them by hand...

If I'm building passive networks for microphone eq shaping, then I may hand select components and do the work by hand...
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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10 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbob1 ➑️
It's actually a point of some contention. The newer Vox Heritage Handwired series is components, soldered to turrets on a printed circuit board with pots and sockets attached by flying leads. I'd actually call that hybrid, d/t the PCB.

If traces are replaced by wires, then it qualifies as handwired in my book. The substrate it's wired too also becomes contentious. If it's called "point to point" it should be wired with components actually attached to sockets, pots and the chassis with no substrate. However, by convention, PTP is also used to refer to circuits hand soldered onto fibreglass or terminal strips (Matchless) or fibreboard (Fender), or turret boards (Hiwatt).
Yeah, it's an over-used and unregulated term. It implies that someone personally went through the time to dutifully solder each part together to make a sonically superior piece of gear. In reality, it can mean whatever some marketing department wants it to mean--like the Vox stuff. Okay, some of it was 'hand wired', but not like the title IMPLIES, right? Of course there are other things that people really do put the effort and care into to earn the title. The title has become a marketing buzz word though, like 'green' companies and products or 'organic' products--no one regulates or determines what those titles REALLY mean, at least not in the United States, so companies use trends to their own advantage.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
"Hand Wired" is greatly different from "Hand Assembled".

Be it Point To Point, Turret Board or Eyelette Board, true hand wired
construction generally means that the builder installed each and every component without the use of printed circuit boards.

Vox and some other hybrids of various quality, employ both PCB and
some hand assembly, but simply hooking up mass production PCBs
does not qualify in my opinion.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
Hand wired could mean about anything as long as "hands" are involved I guess.
It sounds like more of a marketing department or advertising department term.
It is obviously a way to evoke thoughts and association with older and vintage equipment.

The term that has been historically used is point-to-point wiring which was the wiring techniques used prior to printed circuit board designs.
Fender, Marshall, Vox and all tube amps until recently used this.
Yes, there was often a circuit board, but it was often a solder post type.

When I see the words point-to-point wiring I think of manufacturing that DOES NOT have circuit board mounted pots, tube sockets and large components.
In fact, I don't picture a PRINTED circuit board of any type.

The terms point-to-point or hand-wiring do not really signify any inherent quality or audio attribute.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #9
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DrFrankencopter's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's a marketing term for 'more expensive'.

Cheers

Kris
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Some totally hand wired amps do have proprietary PCB input boards, so
unless you are sure of the build, it's a good idea to get a clear gut shot
of any amp you are considering to see how it is constructed.

For the sake of consumer awareness, I think it's only fair that builders
properly clarify the build method as "hybrid" if PCBs are included in the
build.
Old 14th May 2010
  #11
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aclarson's Avatar
Re: What does "handwired" really mean?

Seems like most of the stuff dubbed "hand-wired" these days tends to have higher-grade parts and assembly. If a true expert sat there an wired it by hand, I suppose there's some virtue in that, but realistically, it's probably an assembly-line with a manual soldering process. I seriously doubt it's one guy sitting there building one amp at a time.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Village Idiot
 
Labs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFrankencopter ➑️
It's a marketing term for 'more expensive'.

Cheers

Kris
thumbsup
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #13
TRA
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson ➑️
Seems like most of the stuff dubbed "hand-wired" these days tends to have higher-grade parts and assembly. If a true expert sat there an wired it by hand, I suppose there's some virtue in that, but realistically, it's probably an assembly-line with a manual soldering process. I seriously doubt it's one guy sitting there building one amp at a time.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app


I bet that 99 times out of 100 it's a buzz word that the marketing team falls in love with. You can technically call anything that is soldered by hand on an assembly line "hand wired" even though that can be more shoddy than automated assembly. I'll take a properly maintained machine over someone who is dying to finish the last few products so they can take their lunch break.

When a company calls something "hand wired" I envision one person building the product start to finish. Unfortunately, I don't think that is ever really the case (except the really boutique-y one man operations). My vision of that word is what makes us justify that extra thousand dollars.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
This! heh
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What does "handwired" really mean?-hw.jpg  
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 ➑️
This! heh
That's point-to-point and hand-wired. (Nice BTW).
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Yep by hand.. We say building tone my hand..
We do everything by hand.. And amps are point to point.
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntax ➑️
That's point-to-point and hand-wired. (Nice BTW).
Right...
Point to point could be done by a machine..but not normally..
All my gear is hand wired by me, and some is point to point..meaning NO connectors between, for example Mic input/output cables are hard wired from PCB to XLR connector..No additional connections..

PCB or not has NOTHING to do with hand wired..
In my case hand wired also means all parts are hand selected and some matched..
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I'd like to evoke an even earlier time... like when "tape decks" had little blocks of wood glued to the insides, to hold certain components in place... I guess that would fall under the marketing term "Hand Glued."
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer Fish ➑️
'organic' products--no one regulates or determines what those titles REALLY mean, at least not in the United States, so companies use trends to their own advantage.
Actually, "certified organic" has been a federally regulated descriptor in the US for several years.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop
Old 14th May 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntax ➑️
That's point-to-point and hand-wired. (Nice BTW).
It's gorgeous work but I do see a terminal strip in there. So handwired but not truly PTP
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #21
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Faderjockey's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by drbob1 ➑️
It's gorgeous work but I do see a terminal strip in there. So handwired but not truly PTP
give me a break
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 ➑️
This! heh
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntax ➑️
That's point-to-point and hand-wired. (Nice BTW).
Nope. It may be hand wired but it's certainly not point-to-point. There's a PC board in there. Point to point would use a turret or eyelet board or terminal strips.
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
Nope. It may be hand wired but it's certainly not point-to-point. There's a PC board in there. Point to point would use a turret or eyelet board or terminal strips.
You can HAVE point to point WITH a PCB...I do it every day...
The name tells all...Point to point...NOTHING in between...JUST like I said above..
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #24
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Now it's time for the argument about which brands of solder improve the sound quality...
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein ➑️
Nope. It may be hand wired but it's certainly not point-to-point. There's a PC board in there. Point to point would use a turret or eyelet board or terminal strips.
John... we usually agree on stuff, but the pic of the bottom of that amp is point-to-point.
That really doesn't qualify as a PC board.
I don't think that it is even a Printed Circuit board because there doesn't appear to be any traces or evidence of a printed circuit.

Fender and Marshall amps as well as others had a board like that, but they only had solder posts where the point-to-point wiring was tied together.
The components are soldered to post and wires are used to inter-connect everything.
There is no printed circuit involved.
That type of construction also requires HAND WIRING 100% of the time.

Note to the other poster about terminal strips...
Point-to-point devices had terminal strips (solder eyelet type mostly) in many, many designs.
Old 15th May 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
well this sure counts as point-to-point & hand-wired to me.
the only thing in there is these.
and I'm in heaven with the sound, there is no other alike heh
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What does "handwired" really mean?-12.jpg  
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