#1
I'm thinking on starting up an amp company, so I've been crunching numbers to see if I can make it profitable.

2 things that I've figured I will definitely have to outsource are head cabinets, and chassis.

I'd appreciate any links to builders of chassis blanks, and empty head cabinets. And anyone who builds cabinets for a living/hobby feel free to PM me if you can do at least 10 cabs/wk.
#2
your username is the Atomic Ass and you want people to take you seriously. just kidding man hope it really gets going...if its good enough i might buy off you.
Oh Hey look at my signature
#4
GEHHH... Oh wow Ted charges an arm and a leg for those cabinets.

The Mouser chassis are decently priced, though. Now if only I can find one that is even close to the right dimensions... There's 60 pages of just aluminum chassis.
#5
Quote by BlackDog55
your username is the Atomic Ass and you want people to take you seriously. just kidding man hope it really gets going...if its good enough i might buy off you.


Not really. My amplifier brand is going to be Elle Oh Elle.
#6
ask a local joiner or carpenter maybe? that'd be cool - you could go into buisness thegither.
#7
Quote by jimRH7
ask a local joiner or carpenter maybe? that'd be cool - you could go into buisness thegither.


If only I knew any local carpenters.
#8
Quote by The Atomic Ass
If only I knew any local carpenters.


look up yellow pages and the like?
#10
Check out Ceriatone, they have chassis and empty cabinets for heads and cabs, although the chassis are pre cut out for the specific amp. Try an electronics store?
#12
Quote by guitarcam123
Check out Ceriatone, they have chassis and empty cabinets for heads and cabs, although the chassis are pre cut out for the specific amp. Try an electronics store?

Looking them up now. But electronics stores around these parts deal with consumer electronics, not the hobbyist/low quantity production type.
#14
Quote by DLrocket89
Try Dagtone woodworks. Nice guy, great to work with...

That I'm afraid I will have to relegate to custom orders. Those prices would fairly well put me out of my price goal.

Not to give away any trade secrets, but the first amp design I'm working on is basically a 2 channel Valve Jr. clone, with enough gain to achieve metal territory on the second channel. I figure something like that shouldn't sell for more than $500, so a $275 cabinet would be a bit much. That Mahogany head cabinet is giving me a woody, though.
#17
Have you built a guitar amp before?

a two channel amp is probably going to run you about $500 in parts, regardless of the cabinet. So...yeah. Unless you get PCBs mass made in china, expect to ask at least $1000, prolly more like 1500 for a hand built amp.

I'm part of an international amp building coalition (to make a long story short), what we've settled on is $1500 for a single channel amp and $2000 for a dual channel. To build an amp right takes anywhere from 40-60 hours. If you can somehow get your cost down to say $400/amp, you're making $2/hour. No good. If you make it even less, you're using sh!t components and they'll blow up right away and you'll be w/o business.

Not trying to walk on your dreams or anything here...just that I've been working on this for 3 years now, the costs are higher than you'd imagine.

Also, gotta factor in insurance in case the amp lights on fire (which would be cool in its own right), so that they can't sue you out of house and home. That means starting an LLC, which is $500-$1500 depending on what state you incorporate in, then insurance on top of it (prolly about $200/amp), and yeah. Just trying to help you out from my experience.



Like I said, it's great that you want to do this, just trying to help. Best of luck with it, PM or reply back here if you have any other questions.
Quote by kcdakrt
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Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#18
Quote by DLrocket89
Have you built a guitar amp before?

a two channel amp is probably going to run you about $500 in parts, regardless of the cabinet. So...yeah. Unless you get PCBs mass made in china, expect to ask at least $1000, prolly more like 1500 for a hand built amp.

I'm part of an international amp building coalition (to make a long story short), what we've settled on is $1500 for a single channel amp and $2000 for a dual channel. To build an amp right takes anywhere from 40-60 hours. If you can somehow get your cost down to say $400/amp, you're making $2/hour. No good. If you make it even less, you're using sh!t components and they'll blow up right away and you'll be w/o business.

Not trying to walk on your dreams or anything here...just that I've been working on this for 3 years now, the costs are higher than you'd imagine.

Also, gotta factor in insurance in case the amp lights on fire (which would be cool in its own right), so that they can't sue you out of house and home. That means starting an LLC, which is $500-$1500 depending on what state you incorporate in, then insurance on top of it (prolly about $200/amp), and yeah. Just trying to help you out from my experience.



Like I said, it's great that you want to do this, just trying to help. Best of luck with it, PM or reply back here if you have any other questions.


Built an amp from scratch? No. I'll admit I have not. What I have been doing for a long time though is modifying tube circuits. Not for money, more for my own amusement. I have several record players and reel machines which do things now they were never designed to do.

I'm not going into mass-production, so PCB's are pretty much out. It would take me more time & effort to make PCB's than to just go with turret boards. Not knocking PCB's, they have their place, but they're not for me.

Plus so far, I've calculated using reasonable components (not cheap junk but not esoteric tone/wet dream expensive, either), and so far my grand total for all electrical components, are about $150 for the design I've got in mind. That's for all components for a head, minus cab & chassis. Yes, it includes the Power and output transformers. I didn't forget them. Also, I just got a quote from Lopoline, (who makes head cabs now), and they quoted me $114 at a rate of 10 cabinets, for a cabinet that matches Watts Tube Audio's smallest chassis, which is $34. Tubes add about $30, depending on brand. That's ~$330 for parts, leaving $170 for other expenses. All the prices go down as I ramp up quantities. Perhaps your numbers are for larger amplifiers than I'm attempting to build?

As for build time, what exactly are you doing in those 40-60 hours? I could completely desolder every component on my Valve Jr.'s circuit board, (which is a task in and of itself), throw them into a pile, blindly pick the components out and resolder them to the board, decide I'd had it with the board, pitch it into the garbage, order a turret board with separate components, with next day air, have it arrive and piece it together, slap it into the chassis and be playing in 60 hours. Ask me how I know this. I reasonably anticipate needing that much time and perhaps more to DESIGN AND TEST a circuit, not assemble it. Once I've got a design solidified I would expect to take no more than 8 hours to fully assemble and test it.

Also, $200 PER AMP for insurance? I have no doubt an insurance company would try to charge that. No doubt whatsoever. But I think I would rather design my amps so that they DIDN'T catch fire. Just better business that way. Also, I'll add requisite legal speak into my instruction manuals.

"I set my amp on top of the stove and it caught fire! Help!!"
"You set it on top of the stove. What were you expecting to happen you dumbAss?"
#19
Cool, glad to see you've done your homework. The biggest amount of time I spend is drilling/punching/etc chassis...actual soldering and whatnot is about 10 hrs our so (you'll come to hate heater wiring btw). I also think your design is significantly smaller than what I have in mind...

The insurance is actually incase someone opens it up to see what's inside and they fry themselves and die...always a concern. Think I'm going to go put big stickers on the back and then have ppl sign something saying that they won't open it up and won't sue if they do...

*shrugs* Good luck!
Quote by kcdakrt
DLrocket89 makes my ug experience better!


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list

Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#20
Quote by DLrocket89
Cool, glad to see you've done your homework. The biggest amount of time I spend is drilling/punching/etc chassis...actual soldering and whatnot is about 10 hrs our so (you'll come to hate heater wiring btw). I also think your design is significantly smaller than what I have in mind...

The insurance is actually incase someone opens it up to see what's inside and they fry themselves and die...always a concern. Think I'm going to go put big stickers on the back and then have ppl sign something saying that they won't open it up and won't sue if they do...

*shrugs* Good luck!


Basically, my initial design is a single-ended, diode rectified, EL84 or 6V6 powered dual 12AX7 amp. I can see how prices scale up, the transformer I bought for my Valve Jr cost $35, the push-pull ones I've seen start around $70 and go up FAST.

I intend to sign my amps on the inside with "DON'T ELECTROCUTE YOURSELF DUMMY!"

As for the chassis, I live in an apartment, and don't have access to the tools needed for punching. I talked to my father, and he said he could drill all the holes in under an hour, once set up to do so.

Also, I don't think heater wiring should be that bad. I'd much rather deal with a well smoothed DC heater than a twisted AC wire anyday. About $3 in parts more over AC heaters, but worth the effort, IMO.
Last edited by The Atomic Ass at Jan 27, 2009,
#21
If you go DC heater, do it right...bad DC heaters sound WAY worse than AC heaters.

Yeah, your price point it about right for what you have planned...

If you want a good place to start w/ your poweramp, go w/ a JJ 6V6. It's like auditory sex for a guitar amp. EL84s are like icepicks in the ears.
Quote by kcdakrt
DLrocket89 makes my ug experience better!


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list

Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#22
Quote by DLrocket89
If you go DC heater, do it right...bad DC heaters sound WAY worse than AC heaters.

Yeah, your price point it about right for what you have planned...

If you want a good place to start w/ your poweramp, go w/ a JJ 6V6. It's like auditory sex for a guitar amp. EL84s are like icepicks in the ears.

I'm assuming that if I use a good rectifier, with a sturdy capacitor, (say 1,000uf), and still keep the wires segregated I shouldn't have a problem. Any unforseen problems I might want to look out for?

Also, are 6V6's really that different from EL84's? I'm definitely going to have to try that out first then.
#23
So question... How would an amp that comes standard with Speakon/Powercon connectors be viewed?
#24
You can build one! I build my own speaker cabs, but it does take some sort of work area. You can always check eBay for tons of empty head cabs. You should check eBay.
#25
Quote by The Atomic Ass
I'm assuming that if I use a good rectifier, with a sturdy capacitor, (say 1,000uf), and still keep the wires segregated I shouldn't have a problem. Any unforseen problems I might want to look out for?

Also, are 6V6's really that different from EL84's? I'm definitely going to have to try that out first then.


Yeah, 6V6s are completely different. 8 times out of 10 they sound better for the task too.

Ideally, you'd put an active regulator in on the filament supply. That'll cut down on the noise getting through by and order of 100. Only problem is that you'd need a separate filament transformer, because a regulator needs more than 6.3 volts to regulate to 6.3 volts...
Quote by kcdakrt
DLrocket89 makes my ug experience better!


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list

Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#26
Quote by DLrocket89
Yeah, 6V6s are completely different. 8 times out of 10 they sound better for the task too.

Ideally, you'd put an active regulator in on the filament supply. That'll cut down on the noise getting through by and order of 100. Only problem is that you'd need a separate filament transformer, because a regulator needs more than 6.3 volts to regulate to 6.3 volts...


I can always get custom transformers if needed. Heyboer seems to have reasonable prices in quantity orders of custom stuff.