Mercury Magnetics’ Sergio Hamernik… Good Iron is Hard to Find

I have always had a passion for music and audio. Guitar tone through an amplifier aroused my curiosity early on because many of the design rules for hi-fi equipment didn’t apply to producing great guitar tone. In the case of vacuum tube amplifiers, transformer design has a significant influence on the characteristics of tonality. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of reference material available and many of the original designers have either retired or passed away. In the early 1980s my partner and I purchased Mercury Magnetics, a transformer design and manufacturing company, from one of the early pioneers who founded this company in 1954. Our close proximity to the Los Angeles recording industry gave us access to studio technicians and many well-known musicians. Out of necessity, and to meet the demands of this level of clientele, we had to develop precise, “no compromise” methods of documentation and assembly techniques to rebuild and replicate these transformers to exacting specifications. A past example of this was when a legendary guitarist sought our services to help solve a frustrating problem. A technician had replaced the original output transformer in his amp with a generic copy, which resulted in completely changing the character of the amp. Several breakthrough albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s were recorded using this particular amplifier, and the sound of that amplifier really had helped define his signature tone. Needless to say, most musicians are very concerned about maintaining the character and unique tonality of their amplifiers. We ended up rebuilding his original output transformer and we provided two additional clones as backup.
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