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How hard is it to build the amp I want?

Started by Jakedog, December 01, 2017, 12:22:07 AM

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Apologies if this has been covered here a lot, I'm brand new. I have come here because I have questions about SS and hybrid amps, and how to build one.

I'm a pro player. 30 years on the job. I have never been happy with tube amps. If they have enough headroom and Dynamics, they're too big and heavy. I have an aversion to things most guitar players like. Stuff like sag, compression, splatty low end breakup, etc.

Lately I have been using an early 00's Marshall AVT 50. It's not perfect by any means, but I like it far better than anything else I've tried recently.

It got me thinking- How hard would it be to homebrew a better version? Or at least comparable, but simplified and with more power.

I need one channel, with a tube driven pre, and just basic Gain, hi, mid, low, and master controls. That, and a loop is all I need. I'd like to couple that to a 100-200 watt analog SS output section.

I've soldered inside guitars for 25 years. But I have no knowledge of electronics or building or repairing amplifiers. Totally clueless.

How do I figure it out? Or is it better to find somebody who already knows what they're doing?



Well it's not a simple task but it can be rewarding though don't expect it to work perfect first go. Best bet is to build a small circuit first, google "Ruby Amp" it's a half watt chip amp and simple to get working.

A couple of Q's for you.
Do you use the OD on the Vt50?   If not then that will simplify the circuit.

Do you use pedals? If you do, you may not need an FX loop in the amp,
you just plug into the front end.

You can always tweak the VT50 to improve tone. *From Experience* I've found it easier to tweak existing circuits (preferably the older 70's 80's era).  Most of the newer stuff is   a nightmare to modify due to too much add-on digi crap and tiny tracks.

you can turn the AVT50 into a head (to save space and weight) then send the DI output to a high wattage rack power amp powering a passive speaker box.

Or a speaker box with a built in large wattage power amp.
All of that will save a lot of hard work and get you there a lot quicker. 8|

Don't forget to try different speakers as they make quite a difference to the sonic result.
HTH,, Phil.


QuoteI need one channel, with a tube driven pre, and just basic Gain, hi, mid, low, and master controls. That, and a loop is all I need. I'd like to couple that to a 100-200 watt analog SS output section.

Other than adding in a tube, you have just described most SS amps, and many tube amps as well for that  matter.  For all the things you don't want, I have to ask why you want to stick a tube in it?  That just complicates things, if nothing else the two more power supplies it requires.

I think my favorite SS amp was the Fender Princeton Chorus.   When I closed my repair shop, the one SS amp I kept was a G-K "head".  Imagine an old 250ML, just the amp chassis, no combo speaker.  It is strong, small and light, has chorus and delay.

Guys like to build tube amps because of their macro nature.  They can wire it point to point or on an eyelet board.  SS amp really is going to need an involved pc board.  This is an added level of difficulty.

I agree you should build some smaller projects first just to get the hang of building things.  Build a pedal, build a little battery operated amp like a 386 project.

And then ther is the "more power" thing. I assume you mean louder.  Power is not loudness.  If you double the power from an amp, it is only 3 decibels louder.  That is not much.  The speaker makes a tremendous difference.

Taking an existing amp and tweaking it to your taste makes a lot of sense.  If nothing else, it makes you identify just what you don;t like and want to change.


If you want to power the tube with high-voltage, there are these DC-DC Boost modules you can get for the job:
This one is a bit overkill at 40 watts of maximum output power, but you can probably find others more suitable to what you want to do. Or you could simply build one of those "nixie SMPS" with a 555 timer and a MOSFET.

For the power amp, you could try a Class D amplifier board. There's a lot of them to choose from, they're compact, they have A LOT of protection circuits built-in, and they can easily get pretty loud.
Here's an example of a cheap 30 Watt module board that works from 6 to 18 volts DC: