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Which amplifier to build first?

Started by rockaffe, March 06, 2023, 01:59:49 AM

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rockaffe

Hi everyone!
I'm a novice amp builder and for about a year now I've been building guitar effects and small amps (little gem, noisy cricket etc.)
I don't have great knowledge of electronics, but I'm trying to catch up by studying as much as possible.
My welcome question would be this, if anyone has the time and willingness to help me: if you were to recommend to a beginner a first amplifier a little more "serious" than those mentioned above, what would it be?
And if you had to indicate suitable readings for the beginner himself, what would they be?
I thank all those who will spend a few minutes to give me a hand.
(And pardon the English, translated thanks to Google)

HI!

joecool85

Welcome to the forum!  If you are interested in a small amp, the SSGuitar Honey Amp is a great little unit.  It's going to have the same output as the Little Gem, but has an actual preamp circuit with tone control and more functional gain control as well.  I'm working on version 2 right now, so the original is on sale: https://store.ssguitar.com/product/honey-amp-kit/

If you want something bigger, I would want to know "how big" you want to go.  Eventually I will be selling a proper separate preamp as well as 20w power amp that you could purchase and assemble - this is honestly probably a year or two off though as I have a lot of projects going right now.  There are certainly others out there, but it depends on how much you want to do yourself vs buying a kit.  Not a lot of solid state kits out there for guitar amps worth building.
Life is what you make it.
Still rockin' the Dean Markley K-20X
thatraymond.com

Tassieviking

Are you going to build it with vero board or are you after a PCB to build the amp ?
Are you able to make your own PCB ?
Are you going to want reverb ?
Are you after clean tones or overdriven like Marshall etc?
It all depends on what sort of music you like to play.

There are some pre-amplifier pedal kits around if you want to go that way.
You would need a separate power amp pedal to go with the pre amp pedal.

You will need to provide a little bit more information so we know what you will like to build.

And lastly, welcome to the forum. :)

There are no stupid questions.
There are only stupid mistakes.

rockaffe

Quote from: Tassieviking on March 06, 2023, 12:02:32 PMAre you going to build it with vero board or are you after a PCB to build the amp ?
Are you able to make your own PCB ?
Are you going to want reverb ?
Are you after clean tones or overdriven like Marshall etc?
It all depends on what sort of music you like to play.

There are some pre-amplifier pedal kits around if you want to go that way.
You would need a separate power amp pedal to go with the pre amp pedal.

You will need to provide a little bit more information so we know what you will like to build.

And lastly, welcome to the forum. :)



Thanks for your answers guys!
So, I'd be interested in learning how to build everything by myself, without the aid of kits. At the moment I build on perfboard, waiting to learn how to make pcbs well.
I mostly play rock and blues music, so I'd like to work on something that has the ability to have both a clean and a distorted channel.

Loudthud

The most difficult thing to deal with is the potentially DEADLY Mains wiring. What country are you in ? It's best to have a mentor that can look over your shoulder and keep you safe while you "learn the ropes".

rockaffe

Quote from: Loudthud on March 07, 2023, 02:22:24 AMThe most difficult thing to deal with is the potentially DEADLY Mains wiring. What country are you in ? It's best to have a mentor that can look over your shoulder and keep you safe while you "learn the ropes".
I'm from a very small town in Italy, not so easy to find a mentor. BTW, I do my own repairs on a tube amp, so I'm already aware of risks and how to avoid them.

Loudthud

OK, I'm glad to hear that you have experience on tube amps so you know how to be safe.

Do you want to build a tube amp, or will you be building a solid state amp ? With tube amps, you can use techniques of old Fender or Marshall amps with eyelet or turret boards and chassis mount tube sockets. For a solid state amp, options are different. PCBs simplify things if you can find one for the circuit you want to build. I recommend you have at least three boards. A preamp, a power amp and a power supply board.

For a preamp, you can use the technique used to build a pedal. I like to use eyelets for any wires that go off the board and a one pad per hole type board for the rest of the circuitry. I hate vero board. I use a similar board for the power amp but use more eyelets for power transistors and large resistors and caps. For the power supply I mount almost everything on eyelets on either blank FR4 or a board with big holes on a large pattern. For most amps, you need to be able to drill and tap holes on the heat sink.

Using an IC power amp is usually a challenge to hook up on a proto board. It would be wise to look for a PCB.

phatt


I agree with Loudthud, Vero is not ideal, only use for very simple circuits with small part count.

Regarding home made PCB;
If you have a laser printer then this will open up some simple ways to make PCB's at home.
But Breadboard test the circuit before you make a pcb otherwise you will end up making landfill.
You will of course need to use a CAD program to print the Circuit.

https://www.instructables.com/Laser-Printed-PCBs-Perfect-and-Easy/

There are likely many utube vids of guys showing how they do it.
Phil.

rockaffe

Thank you all for this informations, they're very helpful.
Just one last question: I've tried to follow all the "beginner links" in other forum threads, but a lot of them (almost everyone) not work anymore. So, do you guys have some beginner resources to link?
Thanks again for your time.

phatt

Well this site is not really setup to give a start up course on audio electronics,,
but try this site; https://www.sound-au.com/articles.htm#begl
Scroll down to *Beginners' Luck*

Main page is here; https://www.sound-au.com/index.html

There is a so much info on this site I doubt I'll ever be able to read it all in one lifetime. ;)

Sorry but it's all in English. Phil.

Loudthud

#10
The original question in this thread was never answered. What amp to build ? I don't know if there is a solid state amp that people want to build. Maybe the Randall RG100 comes as close as anything, but I don't know that anyone has done it. There are a couple of threads about the Marshall Lead 12. Even some PCBs offered for sale.

Link: https://www.ssguitar.com/index.php?topic=5164.0

What you really don't find is a good layout. I mean a layout so you can build say a power amp  or preamp on some kind of proto-board. I used to use a PCB program to do layouts, but that software died so now I just do a 2X pencil sketch on graph paper.  For help drawing circles, I use a circle template. Attached is a scan of a layout for a power amp. I use three sizes of eyelets. Sometimes I use turrets to mount power resistors up off of the board.

You cannot view this attachment.

Tassieviking

If you are up to it the Lab series of amps like the L5 is supposed to be a nice amp that's all solid state, you can buy the PCB for a stomp box build for a dual channel one or each single channel separately.
https://aionfx.com/project/l5-preamp/
https://aionfx.com/projects/
Just look up Preamps and the schematic is usually in the build documents.

There are a number of Marshall solid state amps you could try, but the mosfet ones you would most likely have to make a different power amplifier as the 2SJ49 & 2SK134 mosfets are very hard to get.
Orange Crush 20 looks like its fairly simple.
Roland Cube 20 might be ok.

If you want to learn to make your own PCB's I would suggest KiCad software, it is free and there are no restrictions on what you can make with it.
https://www.kicad.org/
There are no stupid questions.
There are only stupid mistakes.

Loudthud

Maybe just a power amp small enough to fit on a pedal board would be a good project. There are lots of preamps build into pedals so you are not stuck with just one preamp. If you need more or less power, you can just get, or build another power amp.

Tassieviking

I cheated when I made a power amp in a 125B pedal for the bench.
I got a 3116D2 mono amp module ($8) from E-bay and stuck it in a 125B box.
I got a 5v fan from Tayda and a 7805 voltage regulator to drive it and 2x6.35mm sockets as well.
It can run at 4.5v to 26v and can put out 100 Watt of power at 24v.
I can run it on 9v on the bench, 12v from the car, it's very versatile with a pre-amp pedal in front of it.
I run mine on an old Dell laptop 19.5v power supply.
If I make another one I will add a 7809 regulator and a 2.1mm socket so it can power the pre-amp pedal as well.
There are no stupid questions.
There are only stupid mistakes.