LATEST NEWS – December 2010
Interview with the now legendary Terry Bateman (Ex Roost employee) – Click here.
Guitarist Magazine July 1977 review (Road Test) of a Roost Session Master (Thanks Terry) – Click Here.
Updated some of the info surrounding the transformers used on Southend Era Roosts – See below
Roost Sound Equipment was started back in 1972 by Brian Roost (hence the company name) and Ron Bailey, who were both local musicians based in Southend-On-Sea, Essex. They were also at the time repairing amps for local music shops and bands. Some of the original employees (Brian, Ron and Terry Bateman) are still based around the Southend-on-Sea area (as far as legend tells us), and occasionally post on the Roost Amp forums.
Around 1980 the Roost brand was sold to FAL based in Leeds, hence the terms: ‘Southend Era Roost’ and ‘Leeds Era Roost’ that you may well see or hear about. The original Southend amps used Partridge, then Electro-Voice and later Drake transformers, but the Leeds era amps seemed to change to other transformers which may alter the sound. Whether that sound change was for the better or not is debatable, but I’ve seen several Leeds era Roosts with Partridge transformers (or at least identical looking to Partrigde trannys) so there’s some conflicting information out there about the pros and cons of the Southend vs Leeds era amps. The Electro-Voice transformers are also in the mix, and seemed to have made some identical spec transformers towards the later Southend Roost days (perhaps they are the ones that look like Partridge’s). I have it on good authority about the ordering of Partridge, EV and then Drake tranny’s on the Southend Roosts but again there’s little physical evidence of these amps now, so an A/B test would be hard to carry out. If you’ve got a Roost amp, any model, and in any condition, please feel free to email me by clicking HERE with the details of your amp and the history of it, and maybe even a few photos and I’ll post the info on my blog.
The Roost forum still occasionally sees posts by Terry Bateman (ex Roost employee) but unfortunately the Roost forum isn’t frequented by many people very often, so I decided to pull together some of the information in another place and also add some more information myself. Obviously this page will never replace the Roost Amp website or forum (as they are an excellent place for Roost information and collaboration), but it will serve to keep the Roost dream alive and spread the word.
As we’re on the subject of other sites: There’s lots more information available on the Roost Amps Site and German Roost Site (Remember to use Babelfish to translate individual pages if you’re not German speaking) so I won’t bother copying it to this site as it’s well presented over at those sites.
HOW MUCH IS MY ROOST WORTH
One question asked is “How much is my Roost worth?” Well that’s a hard one to answer. In the last 6 months I’ve seen four 80’s era Roosts sell on eBay (all were SR20 or SR50 models, which are 50 watt heads). The first sold for £280 including a Roost 1×15″ speaker cab. The 2nd sold with a 2×12″ cab and a flight case for £385. The 3rd was non-working and sold for £140 (which I bought and needed some new tubes, capacitors, and a general check over to make it sing again). The 4th went for its starting bid of £200. I also saw a great condition Session Master 50 watt with original speakers sell for £258 on eBay recently… and another fail to sell for upwards of £300 only to be relisted at £200 in October 2010. I’ve seen Southend era Roosts sell for similar money too. So basically Roosts are there to be had for a bargain, but most will probably be in average to good condition. Ultimately because of their age they will all likely need a good service and re-tube, so add £150 on top of the amp price as a guide to how much a full amp service will cost with some good tubes.
ROOST LOGO REPLACEMENT
Earlier Roosts had Traffelyte logos (it’s a 2 colour plastic, and shows the 2nd colour where it’s engraved, much like an early HiWatt logo). Later logos were made of a transparent plastic with the black and white logo stuck to the back of the plastic. Obviously the engraved logos are more like Hiwatt’s logo, and seem to be more sought after. These have been lost on some amps (including my Southend Era SR50), so I have taken it upon myself to gather as much information as I can, and to design a logo graphics file that you can use to have a new logo manufactured by any company who can make one off signs using Traffelyte. I have used make-a-sign.co.uk to manufacture a couple for me, one in the standard black and white, and the other in red and white. Both were really great and cost under £23 for both including delivery in the UK. If you’re in the US, then BNP Lasers are a good company to use and are very helpful.
Here’s a gif image of my redesigned logo (click to see the full size version):
Make sure if you’re going to have this made into a sign that you open this gif in a paint program so you can see the full logo. The border is hard to see when viewed on a white background, as there’s a white then thin black then white border, and the outer white border isn’t visible on a white background.
If you actually want to have this logo made into a new sign from Traffelyte, find a company to make it for you (www.make-a-sign.co.uk in the UK or BNP lasers in the USA as mentioned above) and you’ll need a vector graphics file. I won’t go into the reasons here, so Google it if you want more info on what a vector file is. Most places can use Adobe Illustrator v9 vector graphics files so I’ve created the graphics file in that version which is available to download HERE if you want to get a logo made up. Just right click and save target as, and make sure you rename the file extension to .ai from .pdf, as WordPress won’t let me upload .ai files. If you’re unsure how to change a file extension it’s almost as easy as renaming a file, but Google it if you’re stuck. Lastly, please do not contact me asking for the graphics file in another format, as I don’t have the ability to do this. I used a friends computer to draw this in Illustrator, and I no longer have access to this.
This vector file is the same as the gif image just above this paragraph. I made the Gif from the vector file to show you what it looks like. Just so you’re aware, I made this graphic based on information I found on the internet, and measuring the holes that are from my amp’s logo screws. I’ve no actual old Traffelyte logo to measure so these logos may not be quite the same size as the originals, but they should fit. The measurements are 202mm wide, 69mm tall and the screw holes (grey circles) are 15mm from each side (172mm apart). Obviously you can have this made to any scale you like as long as the aspect ratio stays the same (or unless you have Adobe Illustrator or another vector package so you can edit the logo. Please be aware that if your screw holes in your amp aren’t exactly 172mm apart, and you screw at an angle, the Traffelyte WILL crack as the screw thread tries to turn while pushing against the side of the screw hole. So If you need to re-drill your screw holes in a slightly different place, get an old match stick, cut the head off and jam it in the old screw hole, then use a 3mm drill to drill another small pilot hole. I used black Pan Head self tapping screws, 3.5mm diameter (That’s a No6 screw in old money) with a length of 5/8″ (approx 16mm). You can use whatever screwsyou like, but I suggest no larger diameters than 3.5mm (No6, or 9/64″) to avoid damaging the Traffelyte logo.
ROOST AMP PHOTOS
I’ve been trawling the Internet to gather all the Roost photos I can, and I’ve collated them on a Flickr Photostream. Check it out by clicking HERE.
ROOST AMP VIDEOS
At the moment, there are not many videos or clips of Roosts in action, so I’ll be making some YouTube videos in the future (once my amps are rebuilt) for your viewing pleasure. For the time being, here are some videos that are already on YouTube, with some other happy Roosters playing:
ROOST AMP MODEL INFO
Southend-on-Sea Production: 1972 – 1980
FAL Leeds Production: 1980 – 1984
Original Component Values:
Early Series (circa ’72-’74)
The early amps had the black engraved front panel made from Traffelyte (similar to Hiwatt) and was a smaller logo to the later amps. The circuit was based on tag boards partially, but later on PCBs. Tag boards would signify a very early amp. Some of the very early amps had master volume on the back of the amps and a studio/boost toggle switch. These amps would have had partridge transformers, and the power lamp on the front panel would have been orange. The 50 watt head was the SR20 (sometimes referred to as ST20) the 100 watt head was an SR/ST22. Combos were called SM50, or maybe SM20 and SM100, or maybe SM22 (SM for Session Master. Any model with an R after the model number meant it had reverb, e.g. SR20R or SM50R).
Mid Series (circa ’74-’78)
This series had metal switches, and the new white and made of transparent plastic logo (similar to a car number plate design with the logo stuck on the back). These amps would have probably had partridge or Electro-Voice transformers but now have a red power lamp on the front panel. The model numbers changed in the middle of this mid series, from the numbers described in the early series to SR50/SR100/SR150 for the 50, 100 and 150 watt amps. Also SM50 and SM100, and reverb varients of combos and heads were available too.
Later Southend-on-Sea/Leeds Models:
Late Series (circa ’78-’84)
This series had the newer look to the amp, with more modern tolex covering, and no horizontal white piping under the logo on the front, and no piping on the top of the amp. The transformers were probably either Electro-Voice or Drake (or possibly another manufacturer after moving to Leeds). But it would seem to be Partridge and Electro-Voice in Southend, then Drake started in Southend and then moving to Leeds.
ROOST AMP CONSTRUCTION
The amps were very well build, and very sturdy. With steel chassis and large transformers, these amps were also VERY heavy. All early series amps had 4 preamp tubes (annoyingly the 4th, which is the phase inverter isn’t the furthest from the input, it’s the 3rd from the input in the early amp I’ve worked on) and 2, 4 or 6 power tubes (for 50, 100 or 150 watt amps respectively). The later amps only had 3 preamp tubes. Reverb early amps had an extra preamp tube and a seperate PCB just for the reverb cirtuits.
Some amps called the Slave 200 were built for the German market only, and only had 6 power tubes so were essentially the power section of the SR150 (150 watt amp). Terry Bateman would likely have been the man who assembled these Slave 200 amps.
Some of the earlier amps had some output transformer problems. Mostly caused by the wire insulation not aging too well.
Speaker cabs were also made, and Roost used Fane and later Celestion speakers (as well as Electro Voice were available as a special order) in 2×12, 4×12, 1×15 and 2×15 speaker cabs. I’ve seen a few Roost speaker cabs for sale recently, from £70 for a 4×12, so keep your eye out for a bargain. Often the speakers in the 50 watt combos were 50 watt speakers, and in the 100 watt combos, were 65 watt speakers.
ROOST EX EMPLOYEES
Ron Bailey: RoostAmps.de recently did an interview with Ron Bailey (via email in October 2009)… Link coming soon….
Terry Bateman: Interview coming soon.
Andrew Scrimshaw used to work as a “wire tech” for Roost in the late 70s. Here’s some information I found on the internet about Andrew Scrimshaw aka ‘Scrim’:
“Well I used to live in Hockley and I first met Terry [Bateman] as he lived next door to a bloke who I used to fly model aeroplanes with sometimes on a field at the end of their road.
This was about 1976. Terry was then messing about fixing things – like a television which he got working and sat watching in the garden with the washing line being used to hang the aerial on. We kept in touch as we both became bass players in local bands Terry was in one band with a chap called Colin Dench who had a brown and red stripy Telecaster and matching ugly t-shirt. I recall them doing a version of albatross (Fleetwood Mac song) in the now long demolished (and much loved venue) Queens Hotel in Westcliff.
I used to go there and have a great night out for 2 quid which included train fare (return) entrance to gig (3 or 4 bands playing) and 3 pints of Worthington E. Strangely enough there were great bands at the Kursaal [Ballroom, Southend-on-Sea] I saw Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy (twice) there and ( ticket price around £1.30). Now at Chandler’s I work alongside Brinsley Schwartz whom I first saw playing Hammond with Graham Parker and The Rumour who were supporting Thin Lizzy the 2nd time I saw them there.
Anyway i ended up working for Roost around 1977 -78ish, wiring up amps etc. Terry used to pick me up on Hockley High Road in the mornings and we would go off to Roost.
I can remember looking out of the bars on the window staring at the sky and wondering whether it was time to go home. But we did make some nice amps.”
More info: Andrew Scrimshaw used to sign his name on the Roost inspection cards in a very distinctive way, here he give a background to his special inspection signature:
“The sticker inside was about 2″ x 3″ where we had a space to sign for wiring testing etc. I signed it scrim and put the 2 triangles sign inside. These stickers probably have long turned to dust with the heat from the amp; but you never know. They were stuck inside the chassis underneath in a corner of the amp nearest the front of the amp either right or left side”.
Andrew Scrimshaw now works as a luthier at Chandler’s Music in Gunnersbury, near Kew in London (one of the most amazing guitar shops in London). He now manufactures a range of custom instruments which are incredibly gorgeous (and pricey). An ideal companion to a Roost!
Please see the link at the bottom of this page to check out some of Andrew Scrimshaw’s work.
ROOST AMP PHOTOS
I will upload any photos I find from the internet of Roost amps to my Flickr page. Check it out HERE. If you have any photos you could give to me, please message me via the comments box at the bottom of your page with your email address. I have to approve all comments so I won’t post your email address on this site. Sorry for that, but I get lots of spam when I post my email address on this blog, etc.
ROWBI’S ROOST AMP REBUILDS
I’ve completed 2 Roost amp rebuilds recently. One on a non working Leeds Era SR50 (hardly any volume from the amp, even when turned up to max). The other on a working, but shabby Southend Era SR50.
Leeds Era (circa 1980-84)
Here are the tubes I used from Watford Valves:
2 Specially Gain selected Harma ECC83 RETRO in V1 and V2
1 Specially Gain selected & Balanced Harma ECC83 RETRO IN V3
2 Selected and matched EL34 Svetlana Winged C in a matched pair.
I used F&T can caps (330uF 450VDC to replace the stock 400uF cans (these are 200uF on the schem). then stock value 32uF cans + other F&T axials for other on PCB uses. I also installed some 1Ohm 3watt resistors from the power tubes pin1 and 8 to ground, so I could take bias readings. Some of the higher wattage resistors were replaced too. I ran around 430volts at the tubes, and biased to around 39mA per tube. I also replaced the strap handle (the old one was very rusty) and gave the amp a good clean.
Leeds Era Photos (after rebuild): https://rowbinet.wordpress.com/roost/leedsroost
Southend Roost (circa 74-78)
I used Sprague 715P caps for tonestack and coupling caps, used F&T can caps (330uF 450VDC to replace the stock 400uF cans (these are 200uF on the schem). then stock value 32uF cans + other F&T axials for other on PCB uses. replaced and rebuild whole bias circuit + replaced other ages resistors, expecially the high wattage resistors. I installed some 1Ohm 3watt resistors from the power tubes pin1 and 8 to ground, so I could take bias readings. I ran around 448volts at the tubes, and biased to around 37mA per tube. I also replaced the strap handle and metal corner protectors (the old ones were very rusty) and gave the amp a good clean, and repaired a few rips and dings. I also had a logo custom made (see further up this page).
Power tranny is from a Marshall 2550 Silver Jubilee (made 1987-1990) or JCM800 2204 or 2205, the JCM800 series was from 1981 to 1989.
Transformer part number: 1202-324
I managed to get some transformer specs from Drake transformers:
PT date code: ‘1.89’ in the number gives the the week and year of manufacture.
The general specification is:
Secondary: 0-3.4-6.8V @ 4.5A & 350V-0-350V @ 290mA (these are open circuit readings) (on load 0-3.15-6.3V & 326-0-326V)
Output transformer looks to be Drake, with code 784-315
JJ E34L power tubes, which I’ve had outputting up to 62 watts with a real sine wave signal into the amp! WOW
V1: Specially Gain selected Harma ECC83 RETRO in V1
V2+V4: Harma ECC83-STR
V3 (PI): Balanced JJ ECC83S
Southend Era Photos (after rebuild): https://rowbinet.wordpress.com/roost/southendroost/
ROOST AMP LINKS