Custom Built Recording Amp Project

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by FFTT, May 12, 2007.

  1. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #1
    I've spent months looking, researching and listening to all kinds of guitar amps and decided that I wanted something special in sort of a Vox-Fender hybrid.

    That led me back to Doug Stalters at Vintone Circuits.
    http://vintone.com

    What we're doing is making a very special guitar amp using a true hand wired, point to point '64 Vox power section with 4 EL84's only with a half power switching option for either 30 or 15 watts class AB.
    The pre-amp section will be based on a Dumble Overdrive Special adding
    a black face Fender tube reverb circuit.
    We're pulling out all the stops on this one adding Doug's Paragon upgrades
    which include sealed, stainless military spec pots, the best caps, filters, you name it.
    On top of that, the cabinet will be made of fine grade mahogany with a very special piece of burl maple for the front plate.

    Here's a mock-up showing the actual burl maple front panel.
    The only difference is that the photo he used for the mock-up was taken in poor lighting at the mill, giving it that reddish hue.

    [​IMG]


    As you can see from this photo, this seriously tripped out piece of wood is much lighter.

    [​IMG]

    This one of a kind amp carries a LIFETIME warranty.

    It's looking like it will run me just a smidge under $3,200.00
    for the head and roughly $1,300.00 for the matching convertable 2X12 speaker enclosure loaded with alnicos.
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    sweet!

    just to clarify, you've having it custom made, and you're not involved in assembly, right?

    i keep telling myself, someday, i'll start building gear from kits, like the gyraf ssl or one of these amps.

    you know, after i finish mixing my band's album, and complete my novel, and learn ruby on rails, and get a job, and....

    please keep us posted on progress and pics and sound files and stuff. sweet!
     
  3. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #3
    Doug can build you just about anything you can think of, taking the best traits of those "best of" hand wired amps and improving on it.

    You don't have to go nuts to get great tone either, well maybe a little...

    I mean listen to this clip from Doug's amazing little SimpleX
    class A with a single 8" alnico.
    http://vintone.com/mp3s/SimpleX/Main_Song/SimpleX_Master.mp3

    At first I was just going to have him build me an AC30 TB, but I decided that I wanted something even more versatile.

    This is no kit. It's all custom built to order and Doug is a one man operation
    so there's only one person to answer to on quality control.

    He's also a master cabinet builder.

    He should be sending me progress photo's as things progress.

    Eventually, I'll try to take the head by a better local studio, hoping to get
    a few worthy sound clips with much better gear than I have.

    I'm aware this is a total splurge, but what the heck, you only live once.
     
  4. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #4
    Because we're dealing with a real piece of wood, I'm going to have to make
    some tough decisions on the layout.

    Doug sent me another layout proof this morning showing the creature on the left. While it's very cool, it does seem to throw off the symmetry of the
    overall scene and we'll have to fill the circular knot over to the right if we
    go for this layout.

    Already decided I prefer the black lettering or maybe very dark blue to the oxblood.

    Even the shape of the nameplate is a tough call.

    The curved rectangle seems to work better considering the shape of the handle and the rectangular shape of the amp itself.

    Decisions decisions.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
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    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #5
    For me, it's all about gradually building a worthy sonic arsenal.

    Earlier this year, I grabbed a great deal on this beauty.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #6
    Until now I've been working off the CAD design drawings.

    It's certainly exciting to see the real deal coming together.

    [​IMG]


    The " Reflex " logo plate and the sample control plate are both being
    custom laser engraved and will be colored to match the real aluminum
    as closely as possible.

    The head is running me about $3,200.00 but I have a good $1000.00 in
    cosmetic and military spec component upgrades in that price.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
  8. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #8
    Fortunately, the amp is almost completely paid for, but I still have to save up for the matching mahogany Convert-A-Back cabinet.

    Still deciding on speakers, either 2X10 or 2X12 and
    still considering a pair of Tone Tubby Alnicos or one TT Alnico and one Weber Thames ceramic for the way they blend.

    The cabinet also has to be tough enough to handle my Bad Cat 100R, so
    it will be rated at least 100 watts. That's gonna set me back about $1,300.00
    IF I go for two Alnicos.
     
  9. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #9
    The red stained mahogany Convert-A-Back cabinet shown here is a diagonal mounted 2X10 with Tone Tubby Hemp Cone Alnicos.

    Mine will be similar only stained to match the Reflex amp head.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #10
    Well I just sent Doug enough to cover the final balance and shipping thanks
    to some OT at work.

    No hurry really, but I'll be very happy to see the final results.

    No instant gratification here, but lots of time to think over options and details
    which is the coolest part of having something custom built.


    Now to begin saving for the enclosure.
     
  11. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #11
    Graphics plates in

    I'm all grins! :D

    New progress photos came in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The chassis is next!
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
  13. FFTT thread starter macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #13
    This is the chassis to Doug's IKIRU model which shares the same basic
    pre-amp, only mine will be powered by 4XELK84's and mine also adds
    a Fender Black Face Reverb Circuit.
    The IKIRU is inspired by the Dumble O.D. Special

    Note the Rosewood tag board. Is that cool or what?

    [​IMG]

    Vintone IKIRU Display Model
    [​IMG]
     

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