#1
Hey guys,

Recently been upgrading all my kit and it has come down to the last piece, my amp. Which I know should have been the first piece but in reality I'm not gigging atm only playing at home and have a Laney LC15 on loan from a mate so I'm set for now.

I've been waiting for the VHT Special 6 Ultra to make it's way across the Atlantic and was planning a few mods for it (full tone stack, bright switch, mid boost etc.) to bring it up to spec for my use.

But recently I've really got into amp design and building and have been seriously considering building my own amp instead. I've started designing an 18W A/B amp with FX loop, 3x12AX7s and 2xEL84s, possibly a tube rectifier, and built in attenuation which is an important feature for me. To cut down on costs I would have to run the amp without an enclosure for a while and I would make my own 2x12 cab, and failing an eBay bargain cheap out on the speakers until I have more funds available.

But I honestly cannot decide which to go for. Do I build my own and get exactly what I want but run the risk of it sounding rubbish to begin with. Or do I get the VHT (if it ever actually makes it's way to this continent)
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#2
First thing I want to say is, 57 views and 0 posts - wudd up wit dat?!

But I honestly think the VHT may sound better, but you'd appreciate the amp you build more. It would be special, and If it does end up sounding good, and people ask, "Whats that" and you respond with, "I built it" - that's gotta be a good feeling. I would build one, personally. There's an ammount of pride that comes with it, plus it will give you insight onto how amps work, and you'd be more likely to be able to fix them. But enough of that moral talk. Build one, says I.
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#3
Well, cheers for my only reply :p

advantage of the VHT over home made: it already sounds good and replacing tone stack parts will be quite tricky to make a complete hash of as I'm getting quite good with my soldering skills, and it's heck of a lot less work.

advantage of home made over the VHT: I'd be making it more British voiced, which I prefer. I have made it myself. It would be more powerful, it would be Class A/B, I would have the option of having a tube rectifier.

obviously the home build has a lot of positives but it's a load more work and not guaranteed the same sound quality, but I'm not actually guaranteed to have better tone with the VHT either.

Maybe I need to run a price comparison to help me decide...
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#6
build an 18 watt with a good ppimv.

it will do bedroom or gig levels very well.

then you will be looking at your laney thinking, how could i have ever been happy with you?
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#7
Building something brings me a hell of a lot more satisfaction (when its done and working) than anything storebought ever would. I'd opt for building the 18W.
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#8
not my laney but yes :p

been running some figures.... and well, this is gonna hurt my wallet, but I can probably afford to do it up with Sprague caps ans 1% Resistors, might be able to scrounge some pine from one of my carpenter mates for the cab/enclosure. Not sure how I'm gonna afford speakers yet but hopefully God with bless me with some form of employment before I run out of guitars to sell.
Quote by gregs1020
build an 18 watt with a good ppimv.
Good tip, I hadn't thought of that. Just had my volume post-tone stack.

Question more bits of advice needed: I could considerable cut down my costs by using a solid state rectifier, how much does it really affect the tone of the amp, I've read a lot of high claims about tube recs but I'm not quite sure how much is myth and legend.

Another bit that could save me a fair amount of cash would be a filter choke, how helpful is it? Does having one or not affect the tone much?

Also does anyone know what the tone is like on the OT available from ValvePower?
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#9
Quote by GABarrie

Question more bits of advice needed: I could considerable cut down my costs by using a solid state rectifier, how much does it really affect the tone of the amp, I've read a lot of high claims about tube recs but I'm not quite sure how much is myth and legend.

well you get an immediate attack with a ss rectifier, you get sag with a tube rectifier when the amp is pushed.

it doesn't magically make a tube amp become a ss amp if you use a ss rectifier.

"but that's just my opinion i could be wrong". Dennis Miller
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#10
I read claims about tube recs increasing sustain but thinking about it mathematically the same claim also accounts for the sag, Think I'll just go for a solid state rectifier

p.s. finished that head shell yet? :p
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#11
Quote by GABarrie
p.s. finished that head shell yet? :p

i did fix the veneer so i can get some dye on it. after further review it looks good to go.

maybe some dyed pics later tonight, no promises.
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#12
considering leaving my head shell and cab as bare wood and staining/varnishing

will have to see how blue stain comes up on pine
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#13
If you want a low power amp, build a tweed or blackface Champ clone. The VHT is based on a blackface Champ with some extra stuff. If I was going to make a small amp, it would be a Champ with a switch between tweed and blackface and it would have power scaling. You could probably make that for less than $300 (US) if you make the cab.

But I'd only do the blackface Champ if I had to make an amp and didn't want to buy one. You can get an original 70s silverface Champ on ebay for the same price or even less than what it would cost to build one. The circuits in a blackface or silverface Champ are the same (one of the few amps that didn't change during the silverface era, most got different biasing circuits, master volumes, knobs that you can pull to make a noise that would kill a squirrel, etc). But I don't know about UK prices, I've heard that they are more expensive there.

Another option is a tweed Fender Deluxe (5E3), like what Neil Young uses. A kit for a Deluxe would cost a little more than a Champ, but it's double the power (12 watts instead of 6), has a bigger speaker, more versatile, can get louder, and can sound like a Marshall if you want.

Or a Marshall 18 watt. If I was going to make one of those I'd make the normal channel use an EF86, that gives it a Vox tone since it uses EL84 output tubes. Then the TMB or Tremolo (depending on which type you choose) channel could be the normal Marshall channel. And if you could add a channel, make it a TMB with a Hiwatt tone stack (like a Marwatt) and you'd have 3 amps in one! Add power scaling and it would be almost perfect (I say almost because it still wouldn't have a Fender channel, but you could add that too if you don't mind an extremely complicated build and if you can find a faceplate and chassis with enough holes). This would probably be the most expensive of the 3 that I've mentioned, even if you stick with just what's in the kit. You could save a lot of money finding the parts yourself, so if you know what to look for then do that.

And another thing that you could do: get a silverface Fender Bassman head from ebay (those are cheap too, at least in the US they are) and make the bass channel whatever you want and the normal channel keep the same if you like clean or if you want overdrive then mod that to whatever you want too. You would already have the head cabinet, chassis, board (they were hand wired, it's easy to mod them and keep the original board), transformers, and tubes (you might want to replace them, but they still could be good. You could just put a whole new circuit in it, maybe a normal blackface Fender circuit. There is a lot that you can do with them. This would be about as expensive as the 18 watt, but it's 50 watts and different voicing (you could probably make it have an 18 watt circuit, or any circuit, and have a a bit of Fender sound mixed with it because of the transformers and it would be 50 watts instead of 18).

Hope this helps.

EDIT: I missed the part where you said that you want it to be British voiced (I should have known, but I'm American and like Marshall, Vox, and Hiwatt, so I wasn't sure). You could build a Champ with a Marshall tone stack or something like that. You can do a lot with the Bassman heads, so you could give that a British voice too. Not sure about the Deluxe, since that just has a tone knob. Maybe you could use the tone knob from the 18 watt's Normal channel?
Last edited by plexi123 at Jul 14, 2011,
#14
I'm not trying to a clone an amp though, admittedly I am using the Marshall 18W Power Amp Section with a few modifications, like the recently suggested Post-PI-Master-Volume (cheers gregs) but I've designed my own single channel pre-amp section

currently it looks something like this:

  • Input
  • Boost Switch (consisting of a 1M resistor in series with a SPST switch going to ground from the signal path)
  • Preamp Triode
  • Gain Control (1M Pot)
  • Parallel Triodes
  • Custom Designed Tone Stack (Marshall based with mid boost switch)
  • Preamp Volume Control w/Bright Switch
  • Cathode Follower driving an FX Loop


the FX return runs straight into the phase inverter for the power section
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#15
if you know what you're doing, i would definately suggest building one rather than purchasing one. for 2 reasons :
1st : building your own means that you can do what you want and how you want
2nd : modding an amp voids the warranty and can damage the amp to the point that it is irreparable, thus putting you out of your hard earned cash
#16
well, I'm gonna convert this into my planning and build thread... so for those who are interested... 2nd draft schematic! (next post)

it's basically the 1st draft but with the addition of the PPIMV and component values, not that it really matters cause none of you have actually seen the first draft

here's an EQ read out for the tone stack


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#17
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#19
Quote by AcousticMirror
you don't have coupling capacitors before and after your fx loop.

You are quite correct sir...

Will have to wait till morning, in bed now
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