#1
Would a few of you more knowledgeable tech-junkies mind suggesting a couple of books to get me started with tube amp design/construction?

I'm looking for a project to work on this summer and the more I think about it, building an amp seems like it would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately I am pretty much clueless when it comes to the ins-and-outs of how an amp really works. The farthest I've gone, tech-wise, was building a 212 cab two years ago; needless to say though, cabs aren't the trickiest build.

So if you know of any book(s) that explain the basics of capacitors, diodes, etc., along with how they contribute to amp design, please post!
Currently reading:

Crime and Punishment
The Age of Reason
Little Dorrit


"Illegitimis nil carborundum"
Last edited by Johl at Jun 29, 2009,
#2
The Guitar Amp Handbook by Dave Hunter is a great one. It has all the basics, but goes in depth as well. If you're just getting one book, make it this one!
#3
Awesome. I'll check it out on Amazon right now.
Currently reading:

Crime and Punishment
The Age of Reason
Little Dorrit


"Illegitimis nil carborundum"
#4
Also nice is this website:

http://www.valvewizard.co.uk/

Check out the triode gain stage for an awesome massive, indepth explanation of triode preamps. Rest of the site is great too.

edit: I just noticed that guy released a book. It's probly very good, if the site is anything to go by.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

Bugera Users Militia. We are horrible people. With a sprinkler fetish.
~ BUM: For all things extinguishing

Rackmount Tube Amp Project <<< Updates!
Last edited by Kanthras at Jun 29, 2009,
#5
Quote by Kanthras
Also nice is this website:

http://www.valvewizard.co.uk/

Check out the triode gain stage for an awesome massive, indepth explanation of triode preamps. Rest of the site is great too.

edit: I just noticed that guy released a book. It's probly very good, if the site is anything to go by.


Merlin's book is awesome, highly highly recommended.

Also, if you see any Kevin O'Conner stuff, stay far far away...
Quote by kcdakrt
DLrocket89 makes my ug experience better!


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Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#6
+1 on Blencowe's (Valvewizard) site and new book. O'Connor (London Power.com) isn't bad, in fact his books contain a wealth of information, but because they are a series of books you need them all (expensive - read very expensive) and assume you have a basic knowledge of solid state devices which he uses extensively for power supply control.
Richard Kuehnel http://www.pentodepress.com/ has writen three excellent books on guitar amps, they are written in REAL engineering style, and assume reasonable electronic and mathmatical literacy.
If you are beginning in electronics check out the NEETS stuff on the net (http://www.tpub.com/content/neets/), it will take you though tube technology (and solid state) from the start, most modern methods no longer do so.
If serious about design do all of above, except perhaps O'Connor until later, and also get F Terman's seminal text Electronic and Radio Engineeering 4th ed 1955 and The Radiotron Designer's Handbook also 4th edition.
Then get a job with Fender or Mesa Engineering.
- edited spelling (- twice - doh!)
Last edited by R.Christie at Jun 30, 2009,
#7
My problem with KO'C is that he makes stuff up and passes it off as fact. Stuff that's blatantly wrong.
Quote by kcdakrt
DLrocket89 makes my ug experience better!


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

Kit Amp Building Tutorial
#8
Quote by Johl
Would a few of you more knowledgeable tech-junkies mind suggesting a couple of books to get me started with tube amp design/construction?

I'm looking for a project to work on this summer and the more I think about it, building an amp seems like it would be a lot of fun. Unfortunately I am pretty much clueless when it comes to the ins-and-outs of how an amp really works. The farthest I've gone, tech-wise, was building a 212 cab two years ago; needless to say though, cabs aren't the trickiest build.

So if you know of any book(s) that explain the basics of capacitors, diodes, etc., along with how they contribute to amp design, please post!
imho, you're not even close to being ready for tube amp design/construction.

1 - Get a basic electronics text and learn:

- resistive networks, ohms law, etc.
- passive ac circuits: capacitors and inductors. reactance/vs/frequency. rc and rl and rlc network analysis.
- diodes.
- active devices: bipolar transistors, FETs, valves. in that order.

2 - Read free shiz available on the net.
I recommend:
Max Robinson
R. G. Keen
Randall Aiken
(google them)

2 - Build some simple overdrive or fuzz pedals to gain experience in basic construction skills.

3 - Build a clone of a simple Fender tube amp like a Champ or Princeton or Deluxe. Or a Vox AC15 or Marshall 18watt.

4 - Learn to analyse the architecture in existing amps. Modify component values to taste. Steal from one design to graft a section into a circuit you (mostly) like to begin with.

5 - Experiment with variations on tonestacks, both TMB and Baxandall. Also look into interesting variants like the one-knob controls like the one used in Big Muff Pi.

6 - Experiment with alternate designs for voltage amplifiers: Cascode, Pentode, etc.

7 - Learn more about different types of Phase Inverters: Paraphase, Long Tailed Pair, Williamson, etc.

8 - Learn about how different aspects of circuits affect harmonic distortion. Saturation, cutoff, push-pull vs single-ended, odd vs even order harmonics.

9 - Read about power scaling techniques.

10 - Start with a clean sheet of paper and what you've learned thus far and design your own shiz.
Meadows
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#9
Quote by mr_hankey
The Guitar Amp Handbook by Dave Hunter is a great one. It has all the basics, but goes in depth as well. If you're just getting one book, make it this one!

That's the first one I got and it's a great place to start. Just like you said it's informative for a beginner but it does have it's more in depth parts. I also like it cause Dave is clearly a player, I enjoy how he talks about tone.

The other good part of that book is the great interviews at the end. Lots of really cool tube guys in that (Ken Fischer, John Harrison etc). Bit of bullsh it from them *cough cough* Dr. Z but all in all a good read.

I agree with SYK start with a basic elec book. Learn about the basics then get into AC amplifiers both voltage and power then look into FET circuits. It is easier to understand tubes if you know FETs I find.

This is a great short article that got me started...
http://www.diystompboxes.com/pedals/tubedummy.html
#10
Quote by DLrocket89
My problem with KO'C is that he makes stuff up and passes it off as fact. Stuff that's blatantly wrong.

On occassion, yes, some can be put down genuinely held opinion. It helps to have an understanding of the field to be able to sort it out. A bigger concern to me is that given there are occassional errors and typos there no errata pages available, even from his website. I also find his terminology rather loose and prone to jargon, so I prefer style of more rigorous engineeering texts such as Kuehnel. That said, there is still a wealth of information in the TUT books.

The group of published texts I supplied are all tube and/or tube guitar amp specific. I agree with other posters that OP needs to cover basic electrical theory as well. Many good modern texts will do this but the NEETS course does that with tubes, the area of interest.

But as OP's interest is clearly tbe amps he/she can get into building tube gear and to some extent design without having to know the intricices of active solid state devices.

Many people enjoy building existing designs without in depth knowledge of the technology. It's often only when design (especially) and inevitable tweeking and troubleshooting are called for that more advanced knowledge really shows its worth.

Never go into a tube amp without thorough appreciation of the safety issues involved.
Last edited by R.Christie at Jun 30, 2009,