#1
So, seeing as how there was the other market research thread, I'm going to start my own, for one particular amp model I've had in mind for awhile now. Basically, I'm taking aim at the Epi Valve Jr / Blackheart BH5H and pulling the trigger...

The idea is something of a "pseudo-modelling low wattage push-pull amp". So, basically, it's about 2-4 watts. It has a rotary switch up front that switches between clean (think Fender Twin), Blues, Crunch (JCM+ gain levels), and 5150-levels. It's not a modeling amp in that it doesn't have a computer on board (think Line6), but that it just switches components out to change tones.

One issue: it wouldn't be an all-tube signal path. It'd have one, maybe two high-voltage MOSFETs in the signal path. They wouldn't clip at all like an Marshall MG does, just in there as a clean boost of sorts.

2nd issue: It'd be a shade more expensive than the Epi/BH amps. Figure $500 for a head, $625 for a combo with a 12".

It'd have a 12AX7 (maybe 12AU7) tube as a preamp tube and a 6SN7 as a poweramp tube (it's actually a preamp tube, but works well in poweramp situations).

So, given all the above, do people here think that that would sell?
Quote by kcdakrt
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#2
wut
Gear
Fender MIM strat
Epiphone G-400 in white (yeah i know, fuck you i like it)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Roland Micro Cube
EHX Big Muff
Danelectro Cool Cat Distortion
EHX Nano Small Stone
Boss DD-3 Delay
Vox V847-A Wah
Radial London Bones
#4
Quote by Sputnik1
i think this is pretty much been done...

Vox Valvetronix


Nope. Mine is more tube, less modeling.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#5
I'd consider buying it, sounds good if the crunch would have an all tube circuit, just use a SS type deal for the 5150 type gain circuit.
#6
If you can do it, and do it well, and still get it rather cheap and easy to use, then yes.

Otherwise, no.
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Guitar:
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- Fender 'Lite Ash' Stratocaster
- Fender '72 Deluxe Telecaster
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Amp:
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#7
Quote by kurtebirdi
I'd consider buying it, sounds good if the crunch would have an all tube circuit, just use a SS type deal for the 5150 type gain circuit.



Actually, every circuit would use the SS circuit...just use it to boost it to different levels. The tube would generate the distortion/OD character for all settings though.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#8
as long as it sounds good, and is reasonable priced...

so long as i had the money

i think id buy it.

but i already have a blackheart.

Epiphone Hummingbird
Epiphone Futura Custom Prophecy (Twin EMG)
Vox Valvetronix VT20+
Vox Wah
Boss MD-2
Danelectro Cool Cat Drive
Boss EQ


#9
Quote by Silver-spear94
as long as it sounds good, and is reasonable priced...



Is "reasonably priced" $500 for the head? That's kindof my big question...
Quote by kcdakrt
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#10
Quote by DLrocket89
Actually, every circuit would use the SS circuit...just use it to boost it to different levels. The tube would generate the distortion/OD character for all settings though.

oooh, sounds cool.

Won't this mean that the cleans can be cranked up relatively high and not get overdriven? I'm not too amp smart
#11
for a decent head, id pay £500GBP, which is about $1000ish USD i think, or it used to be.

Epiphone Hummingbird
Epiphone Futura Custom Prophecy (Twin EMG)
Vox Valvetronix VT20+
Vox Wah
Boss MD-2
Danelectro Cool Cat Drive
Boss EQ


#12
Quote by Sputnik1
i think this is pretty much been done...

Vox Valvetronix

Erm, that's a solid-state amp and has basically no resemblance to what he's suggesting.

Sounds like a really good plan to me, and quite honestly if it delivered on those ideas it'd probably be the perfect starter/practice amp.
I'd strongly suggest making provision for a future 10/15W version using EL84/6L6, that could take on the Vypyr/Spider/Cube market.

There's lots of little compromises you'll need to make for it to work though. SS or tube rectifier? What kind of speaker can do justice to all 4 different models? Also, I don't know that much about amp building but I suspect you'd be better using more than one 12AX7 (as well as the MOSFETs) so you've got an additional valve gain stage for the heavier models.

Better still, how about a 12AU7 and an 12AT7? Then the 'clean' model can use the AU7 for gain, the Blues and Crunch use the AT7, and both are used as gainstages for the 'lead' channel. Is that do-able?
#13
Quote by kurtebirdi
oooh, sounds cool.

Won't this mean that the cleans can be cranked up relatively high and not get overdriven? I'm not too amp smart



YEah, it'll go full clean...
Quote by kcdakrt
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#14
Quote by kyle62

There's lots of little compromises you'll need to make for it to work though. SS or tube rectifier? What kind of speaker can do justice to all 4 different models? Also, I don't know that much about amp building but I suspect you'd be better using more than one 12AX7 (as well as the MOSFETs) so you've got an additional valve gain stage for the heavier models.

Better still, how about a 12AU7 and an 12AT7? Then the 'clean' model can use the AU7 for gain, the Blues and Crunch use the AT7, and both are used as gainstages for the 'lead' channel. Is that do-able?


SS recto due to cost

Speaker would probably be a Weber "Silver Dog", a reasonably cheap but wide-ranging speaker

The gain thing...nah. Best sounding uber-gain (death metal) amp I've ever heard has 3 12AX7 gain stages. That's it. The 5150 has like 6. You don't need a lot of gain to get "gain", it's just in how you voice it. And the MOSFET in question can have a gain of a few hundred and it runs on the high voltage of the tubes, so it can swing 300 volts out if desired. No more gain is needed, I assure you.

12AT7 sounds like crap overdriven. I've tried.

The 12AX7 tube might end up being a 12AU7 or maybe a 12DW7 (a tube made by JJ that has a 12AX7 triode and a 12AU7 triode). The whole idea of 1 preamp tube is to keep cost down. More switching, tubes, etc, is easy to do, but cost goes up quickly.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#15
When you build a prototype, let us know by posting in this thread.

I'm very curious.
Sunn O))):
Quote by Doppelgänger
You could always just sleep beside your refrigerator.

Guitar:
- Ibanez S670FM w/ JB
- Fender 'Lite Ash' Stratocaster
- Fender '72 Deluxe Telecaster
- Arbiter LP Jr. Doublecut
Amp:
- Laney VC15

'72 Tele Appreciation Group
RIP DIO
#16
Quote by Simsimius
When you build a prototype, let us know by posting in this thread.

I'm very curious.



Cool, will do. Have a couple of other builds and whatnot, so I'm gonna work on getting this thing ironed in on the simulator first. First time I will have done a PCB amp actually, should be interesting (in a good way).

Cool thing is it should scale up well...meaning, I could put out a 20 watt version for $750 and a 50 watt version for $850 or so...

Also, when I do get around to prototyping this thing, it'll go in the gear building and customization area. I'll post here with a link to that thread. Don't expect it for a few months yet.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#17
very interested cuz my Blackheart sux..
and i need a new amp

so basically you are building a rival for the Blackstar HT-5 that is better sounding and has more versatility and has quality parts?
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#18
Quote by WTF!!is a TAB
very interested cuz my Blackheart sux..
and i need a new amp

so basically you are building a rival for the Blackstar HT-5 that is better sounding and has more versatility and has quality parts?


In a nutshell, yes.

Don't get too excited, this is a ways off. Unless you want to chip in a grand and subsidize the development work...
Quote by kcdakrt
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#19
Quote by DLrocket89
In a nutshell, yes.

Don't get too excited, this is a ways off. Unless you want to chip in a grand and subsidize the development work...

i dont have a grand tho
i wish i have........
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#20
i almost want to, too bad i don't have much money at this moment lol, If it has the cleans and the crunch you described i demand you give me a discount. I suggest a 30/15watt model, those are around ideal wattages especially if you want to work the tubes in the crunch and gain channels at home
Last edited by kurtebirdi at Jun 28, 2009,
#21
You claim the mosfets are simply being used as a clean boost, where though?
As I understand it, any 'boosting' - I.E. making the signal greater so the poweramp can work with it would surely be down to the preamp tubes. As such, this would not be all tube...

Couldn't you just use a tube that'll do the 5150 normally, and then add resistance before it for all the other models?


I maybe/probably am wrong. Just my opinion/suggestion, but I know nothing about amp design, so, not really a valid argument, just what I thought reading it...
Adam
#22
Quote by adzlee123
You claim the mosfets are simply being used as a clean boost, where though?
As I understand it, any 'boosting' - I.E. making the signal greater so the poweramp can work with it would surely be down to the preamp tubes. As such, this would not be all tube...

Couldn't you just use a tube that'll do the 5150 normally, and then add resistance before it for all the other models?


I maybe/probably am wrong. Just my opinion/suggestion, but I know nothing about amp design, so, not really a valid argument, just what I thought reading it...



The boost would be right up front. General idea would be that each gain setting would vary the amount of boost. Typical FETs, transistors, and whatnot only handle 20 volts or so...the LND150 can handle 450, so it can swing a LOT more signal out while clean.

Yeah, the amp was never meant to be all tube. But, in this case, you won't be able to hear it because the tubes will still do the distortion generation (unlike, say, the MG).

The adding resistance thing is definately possible. Basically, what it ends up being is do you want to vary how much you boost by, or do you want to boost the same amount and then vary the amount of cut? IMHO, varying the boost is better because you're not amplifying all the noise and whatnot and then cutting it...basically, varying the amount of boost will cause less hiss and static and whatnot. Good question though!
Quote by kcdakrt
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#23
So, update...I've done a lot of the preliminary design on paper and simmed a bunch of it. I'm really liking where this is heading, think this is going to be pretty sweet.

For those who just ended up here and haven't read the whole thread, basically what I'm looking for is comments regarding an amp I'm designing and would end up "mass" producing and selling. It's designed to be like an Epi Valve Jr or Blackheart BH5H but be a lot more capable. It'd be what I'm calling a "pseudo-modelling" amp, modelling because it'll be able to emulate a bunch of different amps but "pseudo" because it won't have a big computer chip running everything like a Spider or similar. It'll be 2 watts, with an honest to goodness 12AX7 phase inverter and push-pull poweramp, so it'll sound a lot more like a "big amp" and less like some vintage thing modified a bit to sound more modern (ie, VJr with the cathode bias SE poweramp). Projected retail is $495, all of them hand-built by myself.

I've been looking into things and am thinking that I'll be able to offer 6 different "presets". Here's my question to everyone: What presets would you think would be best? My tentative list thus far:

"vintage" - low gain, any OD is poweramp
"blackface" - clean, typical Fender
"top boost" - Vox top boost
"crunch" - JCM800 levels
"lead" - 5150-esque levels
"ultra" - more modern, higher gain sound

Does that do a reasonable job of rounding out what people would want? Anything I'm missing? Thanks in advance.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#25
Quote by fly135
I think it's already been done... BlackStar HT-5


kindof, but still not the same in a lot of ways.
Quote by kcdakrt
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#26
Quote by DLrocket89
I've been looking into things and am thinking that I'll be able to offer 6 different "presets". Here's my question to everyone: What presets would you think would be best? My tentative list thus far:

"vintage" - low gain, any OD is poweramp
"blackface" - clean, typical Fender
"top boost" - Vox top boost
"crunch" - JCM800 levels
"lead" - 5150-esque levels
"ultra" - more modern, higher gain sound

Does that do a reasonable job of rounding out what people would want? Anything I'm missing? Thanks in advance.


Seems like a good list.
Maybe remove ultra as the 5150 settings seems enough.
Sunn O))):
Quote by Doppelgänger
You could always just sleep beside your refrigerator.

Guitar:
- Ibanez S670FM w/ JB
- Fender 'Lite Ash' Stratocaster
- Fender '72 Deluxe Telecaster
- Arbiter LP Jr. Doublecut
Amp:
- Laney VC15

'72 Tele Appreciation Group
RIP DIO
#27
Yeah, if I had to remove one, that'd be it... *shrugs* thanks for the feedback!
Quote by kcdakrt
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#28
Quote by DLrocket89
Yeah, if I had to remove one, that'd be it... *shrugs* thanks for the feedback!

a soldano SLO is a better Lead preset IMO
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#29
Quote by WTF!!is a TAB
a soldano SLO is a better Lead preset IMO


Which is remarkably close to a 5150 schematically (at least the important preamp bits)

*shrugs* this thing isn't going to replicate the sounds exactly...it'll have exactly 1 preamp tube. I have some magic stuffed up my sleeve, but it's not going to be exact...just enough that the person playing in their bedroom or dorm room can say "yeah, this is good".
Quote by kcdakrt
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#30
wow i would seriously consider buying this. its exactely what ive been looking for.
good luck, sounds like one beast of an amp!
#31
I would look at the schematics for the Hughes and Kettner rack mount amps from the late 80' like the blues master and cream machine. They used 1 pre amp tube and 12AU7 as a power amp to get 1 watt output for the cream machine and the blues master used a EL84 for 5 watts or so output. The cream machine only had 2 knobs (pre gain and power amp gain) and had a hardwired EQ (not user adjustable). So taking that as a preliminary design with those 2 knobs and having a "mode" knob switch out different EQ/gain presets sounds like a recipe for success, and something i would pay over 500 bucks for. Also check out the Peavey Penta which had a similar "mode" knob, im not sure if those schematics are online though.

Good luck.
Gear:
Modded Steinberger Spirit (white) (SD-AH/EMG Select)
Modded Steinberger GP-2R (white) (EMG81/60)
Peavey XXL head
Hughes and Kettner Cream Machine
Hughes and Kettner Blues Master