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Steve's Corner - Amplifier Differences

The Rhodes Suitcase Pianos used three basic amp systems over the years. They were referred to as the:

  • Jordan System (50 Watt)
  • Peterson System (80 Watt)
  • Haigler System (100 Watt)

All three had Vibrato, with the 80W and 100W systems being stereo. The Jordan was the first, used from 1966 to 1969. It had a very electronically delicate power amp and used a standard 1/4" stereo cable that went from the power supply/power amp in the speaker enclosure to the preamp. Most systems sold used the 80W and the 100W systems, with the 80W version being the classic model.

All Suitcase systems had the power amp and the system's power supply housed in the speaker enclosure. In the Jordan and 80W systems, the power amp and the power supply were in separate chassis. The 100W system had both on the one big heatsink mounted to the side of the enclosure.

Preamp Control Layouts

The Jordan and 80W systems used rotary controls for Volume, Treble/Bass and Vibrato Rate/Depth. The 80W system had the Treble/Bass and Vibrato Intensity/Speed as concentric (one inside the other) sets of controls. The 100W system had Volume as a rotary knob, and Treble and Bass were left-to-right slider controls. The Vibrato was turned on by a switch, and Speed and Intensity were rotary controls.

Preamp Cables

The preamp cable for the 80W system used a 4-pin DIN cable (sometimes the center rivet is confused as a 5th pin). The preamp end of the cable was a right angle Switchcraft connector (German PREH). The power amp side was originally a four blade Cinch-Jones connector and was later changed to the straight Switchcraft connector (with locking ring).

4-Pin Layout

  • 1 = +25V DC (red)
  • 2 = Channel 1 preamp output (green or clear)
  • 3 = Channel 2 preamp output (green or clear)
  • 4 = Ground (black)

The preamp cable for the 100W system used a 5-pin cable with a right angle Switchcraft XLR connector on the preamp end and a straight Switchcraft connector on the amp end.

5-Pin Layout

  • 1 = Ground
  • 2 = -15V DC
  • 3 = Channel 1 preamp output
  • 4 = Channel 2 preamp output
  • 5 = +15V DC

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