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Old 05-08-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
XgamerGt04
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Guitar Amp PCB

Alright so I know there are a lot of people on the forum that want to build and amp, and I bet many of you are probably scared to do a lot of the wiring and what not. Well that is where my latest project comes in.

First of all, I do PCB designs for the company that I work for so the actual design won't be a problem for me, and I have access to some pretty fancy software that can run test on how the traces will interact with each other.

Second of all some information on what I am going to do, regardless of the answers that I get here. Tubes and potentiometers will be board mounted. That being said, the tubes will also be reinforced quite well so that flex won't be a big problem. The board itself will also be quite robust and will have at least 2 oz copper. There will also be a silkscreen and solder mask, so this will be a high production quality board.

I've got a number of amp designs that I want to put into PCB form, but many of them are quite complex so I want to start somewhat simpler. Thing is... I don't know what amp or amps I want to do for my first few boards. That is where you guys come in. Tell me some of the amps that many of you would like to build, but are too afraid to deal with all of the layout issues.

A few notes. I will not make boards for any current production amps, so that is out of the question. I am also open to making modifications to the circuit, such as changing the output section or building in a section for VVR.

So let me know what kind of amps you guys want and I'll get to work on the layouts. If I do decide to buy the boards I will be willing to sell them to anyone from UG at cost plus shipping.

Thanks Guys,
Matt
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:17 PM   #2
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18 watt TMB would be a great one to do first.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:34 PM   #4
XgamerGt04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyLink07
Would you be willing to do pedals too? and what would prices be?


I would do pedal layouts. They won't be as high of a priority though, so it might take me awhile to get them going.

As far as prices go, i'll elaborate a bit more on what I mean. I'm not going to charge time mark up or anything like that for the boards. But if I order a run of boards for 800 dollars and I have 40 people that want boards then the price would be 20 a board plus shipping. The place that I order from tends to give steeper discounts the more boards you order though, so if I had 100 people order i could probably get the boards for closer to 10-15 a board, or even less. It all depends on the board itself.

Same rules apply to pedals

I will not do any current production pedal.

Surface Mount pedals would be much much cheaper too, but as I'm sure not many of you have much surface mount soldering experience so through hole will most likely be done.

All boards will be two sided with plated through vias, soldermask and silkscreen

Last edited by XgamerGt04 : 05-08-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:15 AM   #5
lil PopTart kid
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I think you should get a nice marshel amp to make. That is just an amp that everyone wants. This is the only way you will get 40 people to want just one amp model. I would be down for that.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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I'm not necessarily looking at having 40 people order the boards. But I do want to know what kind of amps people would like. If I end up doing the design and have no one else want one then I'll still order a good number of boards (just because I can get 50 for probably about the same as 5)

The thing is that i'm not really looking for any specific amp at the moment, but I want to know what people would like to see. I've been thinking about doing an 18 watt TMB without the tremolo for now. Since I'm doing pcb layouts I might also throw in modern protection methods for some stuff.

Like if I make a pedal i'll put a MOSFET switch in to protect against negative polarity.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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I hear all this stuff about Dumbles, but would a pcb kill it? I know point to point hard wring has less induction than a pcb right, can a good amp be recreated on a pcb successfully? I vote Engl Fireball if we gotta pick
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blandguitar
I hear all this stuff about Dumbles, but would a pcb kill it? I know point to point hard wring has less induction than a pcb right, can a good amp be recreated on a pcb successfully? I vote Engl Fireball if we gotta pick


I'm sure a PCB could capture most of the sound of a Dumble amp. There may be some stuff that is lost due to the point to point wiring, but a well though out PCB layout should capture the tone quite well.

As for the ENGL Fireball, its currently on the market so its out of the question.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:20 PM   #9
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Ah I skimmed over the current production part. Fair enough, but I'd be interested in a Dumble still.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:02 PM   #10
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As long as it's low enough wattage to be a reasonably simple build ( the people afraid to do ptp or turret board wiring aren't going to want a complex build) and isn't yet another 5w model, I'll be interested.

Personally, As popular as the 18w TMB clones are, I'd really like to see an 18w tremolo kit available somewhere. I love old-school built in tremolo and think it would be especially great on a pretty dark sounding 18w build.

I don't know a whole lot about these things, that's just the thought I've been having as I cruise through various amp kits and lower-priced clones online.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:38 AM   #11
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I'd definitely be interested in the 18 watt TMB or something smiler, maby modified to have a little more gain on tap. I found a clip of someone who modded theirs so by flipping a switch the normal channel ran into the TMB channel adding an extra gain stage. Interesting idea I thought.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blandguitar
can a good amp be recreated on a pcb successfully?

Depends on what you define as a good amp. There are a lot of good amps that have always been made on PCB. PTP/Turretboard is nice for boutique or vintage remakes etc, but there are a lot of amps that would be too complex for it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:10 PM   #13
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How about a 1960s Supro?
Simple design to start with, and would likely be popular.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XgamerGt04
I'm sure a PCB could capture most of the sound of a Dumble amp. There may be some stuff that is lost due to the point to point wiring, but a well though out PCB layout should capture the tone quite well.

As for the ENGL Fireball, its currently on the market so its out of the question.


Im all for a dumble Ceriatone OTS
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:22 PM   #15
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So what do you guys think about a TREX Marshall 18watt? Its an 18watt with higher gain, I'm pretty sure the TREX channel is actually a lot like the Trainwreck front end.

I might do a Dumble PCB later in the future, but for now its on the back burner. I'd rather get a few simpler amps under my belt before I try that. The place that I order from will do single boards without the silkscreen and soldermask cheap for early testing so I would be testing the boards before I finalize the design.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XgamerGt04
Tell me some of the amps that many of you would like to build, but are too afraid to deal with all of the layout issues.

I hate to rain on your parade dude, but in all honesty I don't think I'd want to do a build I couldn't point-to-point. That might be different if board material and eyelets/turrets were really expensive, but I'd rather go through the extra work of a point to point deal for $15-$20 and know that I did it and had to lay it out myself than pay a similar amount for something often (though maybe not necessarily correctly) associated with cheap amps.

As for the pedals, I'd either want a clone of pedal or if I had a unique design of my own I'd want it as my own "secret weapon" or to pursue as my own business venture.

Again, I'm not trying to be a prick, but I thought I should share my take on it. Either way, good luck.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xstillspinninx
I hate to rain on your parade dude, but in all honesty I don't think I'd want to do a build I couldn't point-to-point. That might be different if board material and eyelets/turrets were really expensive, but I'd rather go through the extra work of a point to point deal for $15-$20 and know that I did it and had to lay it out myself than pay a similar amount for something often (though maybe not necessarily correctly) associated with cheap amps.

As for the pedals, I'd either want a clone of pedal or if I had a unique design of my own I'd want it as my own "secret weapon" or to pursue as my own business venture.

Again, I'm not trying to be a prick, but I thought I should share my take on it. Either way, good luck.

point to point is better for mods and changing damaged components.
A good pcb build can be better and a point to point especially when it comes to highgain.
To the ot if your interested in doing a design that is currently not in production why don't you make a amp or pre amp based on any channel of the Bogner fish preamp.
If you made the strato/brown channel I'm sure you could sell at least 100. Oh and another vote for a dumble pcb.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:11 PM   #18
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understand that people seem to see it as "cheap" but thats why I tend to put the specs that I will be using for the circuit boards out there. And to be honest, with most of these amps that people build they just copy the layout anyway. PCB amps are much more reliable in the long run, especially if you use a good quality PCB.

Most guitar amps use circuit boards with 1 oz copper. I use at the minimum 2oz.

Most guitar amps use circuit boards that are 1/16th of an inch thick. Mine are always 1/8th

Most guitar amps are only one sided with no ground plane. My boards are 2 sided, often with nearly the entire top set just for the ground plane.

Most guitar amps use boards that don't have plated through vias. Mine have plated through vias.

In the end you end up with the same amp that you could get if you built it point to point, having put a lot less time into it. You know whats its going to sound like when you build it. With Point to Point the exact layout of the wires can affect the amp.

This is basically a way for people that want to build an amp themselves, but don't want to go through all of that hassle, to get a decent quality amp that they hand built themselves. Due to using the pcb a few part choices are going to be limited, but as long as you can get it to fit into the two holes you can use it

With plated through holes you will also have a much easier time changing components due to the fact that you won't be pulling traces off of the board very easily.

As for the Dumble board, like I said, that may come but its not what I want to do first. I have the ability to do a layout for it, but I want to do something smaller first to get an idea of what I need to do for the best possible layout. Thats why I was thinking a Marshall 18watt or maybe some older fender or other brand amp.

I'm not necessarily looking to make money off of this anyway, I want to help others build amps they want while at the same time building my knowledge and skill in pcb layout for tube amps.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:02 PM   #19
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Sounds interesting if shipping to the UK isn't too much. I'll have a look at which amps you decide to go for and consider it.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XgamerGt04
understand that people seem to see it as "cheap" but thats why I tend to put the specs that I will be using for the circuit boards out there. And to be honest, with most of these amps that people build they just copy the layout anyway. PCB amps are much more reliable in the long run, especially if you use a good quality PCB.

Most guitar amps use circuit boards with 1 oz copper. I use at the minimum 2oz.

Most guitar amps use circuit boards that are 1/16th of an inch thick. Mine are always 1/8th

Most guitar amps are only one sided with no ground plane. My boards are 2 sided, often with nearly the entire top set just for the ground plane.

Most guitar amps use boards that don't have plated through vias. Mine have plated through vias.

In the end you end up with the same amp that you could get if you built it point to point, having put a lot less time into it. You know whats its going to sound like when you build it. With Point to Point the exact layout of the wires can affect the amp.

This is basically a way for people that want to build an amp themselves, but don't want to go through all of that hassle, to get a decent quality amp that they hand built themselves. Due to using the pcb a few part choices are going to be limited, but as long as you can get it to fit into the two holes you can use it

With plated through holes you will also have a much easier time changing components due to the fact that you won't be pulling traces off of the board very easily.

As for the Dumble board, like I said, that may come but its not what I want to do first. I have the ability to do a layout for it, but I want to do something smaller first to get an idea of what I need to do for the best possible layout. Thats why I was thinking a Marshall 18watt or maybe some older fender or other brand amp.

I'm not necessarily looking to make money off of this anyway, I want to help others build amps they want while at the same time building my knowledge and skill in pcb layout for tube amps.

an 18 watt pcb has been done before, here http://guitaramplifierpcbs.com/default.aspx
If you want to raise your build skills build one of those.
I still recommend that you do any channel of the bogner fish preamp.
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