Alembic Report - Traynor Amp By Jim Furman, Guest Reviewer
The Traynor YGL3 is another in the series of "Twin" style guitar amps that the Alembic Report has reviewed. The Canadian made Traynor, however, does not offer new gadgetry or new wrinkles on the old familiar twotwelvesplus 100wattamp theme, but instead offers a pretty conventional set of features at a reasonable price. This amp is also known as the Traynor Mark 3.
The YGL3 is a tubetype amp, with two channels, one of which offers reverb and tremolo. There is a master volume control as well, allowing for preamp overload distortion at any volume level. The master volume affects both channels. Each channel has its own volume, bass, middle, and treble controls, and treble boost switch. The tone controls are of the gardenvariety passive type. The boost switch is the kind where the effect obtained depends on the volume control setting, so that with the channel volume full on, the switch has no effect at all.
The Traynor cabinets are solidly constructed of 3/4" plywood, not particle board, and are tough enough for the road. They are covered with black Tolex, and the side panels are encircled by rubber bumpers for impact protection. The top panel overhangs the knobs and protects them, but at the price of making the knob settings rather difficult to see unless you bend over and look at them straight on. A sloping front panel would solve that problem.
The YGL3 is very well set up for servicing. The top cover of the cabinet is removable, so that the wiring can be exposed without needing to remove the chassis from the cabinet. Furthermore, Traynor provides a schematic diagram attached to the inside of the cover, where it will be right at hand should repairs be necessary. We'd like to see all amp manufacturers do this.
The chassis itself is steel, considered essential in heavy amps for ontheroad use. The wiring technique is only medium, with some parts damaged and insulation melted by careless soldering. There was no wire bundling and too many parts dangle in midair, supported only by their leads, making vibration breakage a possibility. We also found that one of the power supply filter capacitors, rated at 450 volts, actually had 458 volts across it (measured with a 121 VAC line, which is usual in San Francisco). Exceeding a rating like this seems to be asking for trouble.
We found the performance of the YGL-3 to be completely typical for tube amps in its class. Maximum power output, measured at clipping with a I KHz tone, was 76watts RMS with a 4ohm load (i.e., the impedance of its own two speakers). If additional speakers are plugged into its Extension Speaker output, there is no adjustment to compensate for the different impedances, so the power drops to about 60 watts at either 2 or 8 ohms. Harmonic distortion varied from 4.6% at full output to 2.7% at 10 watts, also typical.
The working of the reverb and tremolo seemed quite adequate but be warned that although there are phone jack hookups for footswitch control of these functions, no footswitches are supplied. The user is left to his own devices to make or purchase the appropriate switches elsewhere. The newest Traynors, we found, don't have ground polarity reverse switches, as did older models. We don't see why this was eliminated, especially since the threeprong AC cord can't be reversed in its socket without using an adaptor to defeat its safety function. An improvement, however, is the use of a circuit breaker, rather than a fuse.
The YGL3, by and large, is an unexceptional amp, but it does cover the common features needed by most guitarists. It is roadworthy, uses good quality components, and has enough power and versatility to satisfy most requirements, unless you are looking for special sounds or special effects. Its best feature, perhaps, is that it can offer that much at a very competitive price.
List Price: $540.00
Equipment for testing courtesy of Guitar Center, San Francisco.