The Portia Street Stomp is a swiss army knife for tone shaping born out of a late night session with Dylan Ely, owner of the Portia Street Studio in Los Angeles. Dylan does a lot of work at home and at other studios and wanted a portable solution to give some weight to a signal. The Stomp was our solution.
Distortion in transformers can produce complex, rich tones and is a product of the inductance of the transformer and the source impedance presented transformer. Larger source impedance or lower inductance windings produce more distortion at a given signal level. The load on the transformer also contributes to the response of the iron. Changing the load impedance also has an effect on the driving amplifier.
The Portia Street Stomp uses a wonderfully low inductance steel core transformer with quadrifilar windings (four identical windings). This allows for a variety of configurations to get a wide range of tones out of the both the transformer itself and the driving circuit.
The Portia Street Stomp allows you to vary the tone in three ways:
The transformer “Ratio” switch selects between four configurations. Two configurations are effectively 1:1 but use 1 or 2 windings to increase or decrease the total inductance (which will enhance the behavior of the “Primary” knob). In 1:2 and 2:1 mode there will be a 6 dB step up or step down respectively, and the load being presented to the source amplifier will also change.
The “Primary” knob allows the source impedance presented to the transformer to be changed continuously, which increases the harmonic distortion of the passive circuit and slightly changes the frequency response.
The “Secondary” pot allows the load across the transformer secondary to be varied. This will change the current drive of the source amplifier. A higher load will increase the current demand at a given signal level, which will cause more distortion from the source amplifier. The load pot will also interact with the transformer windings to change the overall tone.
Each channel also has a true bypass in/out switch and a ground lift circuit between the input and output.
Through the IAA Custom Shop, we also offer a variety of transformers and other features to give you the sound you want. Reach out to us to whiteboard your idea!