The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier  Series

The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Series

This write-up is a e-book assessment on a sequence of 6 books that is the most extensive and lucid clarification of guitar tube amp architecture, circuits, tone, components and construction strategy for DIYers I have at any time identified. The critique offers with just about every e book individually and recommends paying for them in a specific purchase to expand your information in action with your setting up working experience.

Kevin O’Connor of London Ability has established a sequence of textbooks below the primary title of “The Top Tone.” These guides are definitely distinctive and cautiously customized for the Do-It-On your own (Do it yourself) guitar tube amp hobbyist and boutique amplifier builder. The books have a household-built ‘feel’ as perfectly… all the illustrations are carried out by hand and the publications are photocopy-printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and certain with plastic spines and crystal clear plastic covers. There are 6 books in the series now with the most the latest staying produced in the late spring of 2008. You may well want to obtain the overall sequence all at when and get a modest savings, but I assume you must think about shopping for them a person at a time and digest as you go, developing assignments alongside the way. A essential position while… you will not essentially want to invest in them in numerical buy. I advise the subsequent sequence:

  1. The Final Tone Quantity 3 – Generations of Tone
  2. The Supreme Tone Quantity 5 – Tone Capture
  3. The Greatest Tone Volume 2 – Methods Method to Phase Audio Nirvana
  4. The Ultimate Tone Volume 4 – Superior Techniques for Fashionable Guitar Amp Structure
  5. The Ultimate Tone – Modifying and Tailor made Building Tube Guitar Amps
  6. The Greatest Tone Volume 6 – Timeless Tone Crafted for the Future Nowadays

The Final Tone Volume 3 – Generations of Tone

This is the most important ebook in the series for the starting tube amp builder.

Chapters 2 through 4 lay down the basis of superior Do it yourself tube amp design, filling you in on fantastic electrical connections, grounding system, guide gown and other wiring tactics, and mechanical layout which includes assembly solutions like terminal strips, turret and eyelet boards.

The subsequent chapters every choose a specific ‘iconic’ amplifier, every iconic amplifier currently being a prototypical illustration of amplifiers of its class, and they are examined in detail as to the circuit topology, peculiar tonal properties that consequence and fatal flaws that the product is notorious for. Kevin gives the original schematics and then displays how you can utilize the tactics detailed in the previously chapters to improve the overall performance and reliability of the icon with no harming the tone. The schematics are redrawn, layouts are supplied and mechanical options are worked out to make each chapter a finish, self-contained, build-it-by yourself amp challenge.

This procedure is recurring for many variations of the Champ in chapter 5 (this chapter significantly affected my personal solitary-finished amp venture), then in quick succession: the Bassman, Plexi, 800, Bull Doggy, AC-30, Portaflex, SVT, Bass Grasp, Customized Particular, Guitar Mate, Herzog and Laney amplifiers are dealt with.

If you can only invest in one particular e-book for your Diy guitar amp passion I would heartily advocate this a single.

The Supreme Tone Volume 5 – Tone Capture

Quantity 5 picks up exactly where Volume 3 remaining off, with a task-oriented tactic and some refined Diy tube amp methods for guitar and bass.

The e-book starts off with a chapter overviewing vacuum tube operation called ‘tube tone,’ adopted up by a chapter on guitar electronics and pickup properties.

The subsequent two chapters are small assignments: Sigma for results switching and Triple-X for amplifier switching.

Chapters 5 & 6 are on transformers… vital components but it created me yawn, sorry.

Setting up with chapter 7, all the stops are pulled out and you are in challenge heaven… Key (200W), Soma 84 (EL84 amp), Standard (the London Energy Conventional Preamp from 1995 coupled to a 50W amp working with 4 ability tubes), Doppelsonde (mixing electrical power tube styles), AX84 (discussion on the initial goal of a quite low output energy amp), Kelly (50W from 4 6V6s), and several other jobs of lesser scope.

A single preferred task I did was dependent on Kevin’s reworking of the HotBox tube preamp pedal from Matchless in chapter 16. I created this pedal in a really “legitimate stage-to-issue style” (meaning terminal strips) in a tube pedal enclosure from Doug Hoffman, substituting a Baxandall tone stack and remodeling the preamp values to be a lot more Dumble-esqe (non-HRM variety).

What would you do to match an amplifier to Yngwie Malmsteen’s design and style? See chapter 18, ‘Swede.’

The Ultimate Tone Quantity 2 – Methods Solution to Stage Seem Nirvana

Volume 2 is not venture oriented. The bulk of the e-book, chapters 2 by 5, promotions with electricity offer tricks and a in depth overview of electricity amplifiers, which include tube, sound-state and hybrid ability amps. Chapter 3, on tube electric power amplifiers, has some quite sensible details on mods and fixes to Marshall and Fender bias circuits.

I like the 1st and very last chapters of Quantity 2 the best. The very first chapter is a short dialogue of seem phases and how you may setup your gear on stage for the greatest audience/band knowledge. The very last, chapter 6, is termed “Pillars of Tone” and in this chapter the main contributors tone at the block-stage of a guitar tube amplifier procedure design and style are talked over one by 1 and Kevin supplies some extremely valuable insight into tone shaping throughout the preamp/amplifier.

The Greatest Tone Quantity 4 – Superior Strategies for Modern day Guitar Amp Layout

This is the guide you will want to acquire if you truly feel the require to get deeply involved with the energy scaling technological know-how that Kevin has produced. Ability Scaling, coined and trademarked by Kevin, is the way you can get factors of ability amp distortion (as opposed to preamp distortion) into your tone at bed room volume stages. Volume 4 is not Do it yourself challenge oriented but explores the troubles, like attenuation, ability scaling (both equally down and up), sag, and electric power administration, tackled by fashionable guitar tube amp designers.

That said, the 2nd-to-past chapter in Quantity 4 may be crucial for a broader group of fanatic builders… structure philosophy. In this chapter Kevin gives a hierarchical design and style approach that could be utilised to make important selections on how you solution your upcoming project.

The Top Tone – Modifying and Personalized Constructing Tube Guitar Amps

There is no volume quantity in the title of this book, it was the 1st. Individually, I acquired it for completeness. I especially desired to have the ‘perfect outcomes loop’ information, though the loop by itself is included into a venture in Volume 5. TUT also has some great substance on reverbs and signal switching solutions that is not defined in the other volumes. The initially 50 percent of TUT introduces/overviews tube amp programs, electric power supplies & grounds then focuses on preamp and power amp modifications to industrial amplifiers (e.g. Marshall / Fender)… if you are completely new to tube electronics you may perhaps want to acquire this 1st volume at the exact same time as Volume 3.

The Greatest Tone Volume 6 – Timeless Tone Built for the Long run Now

In many strategies, Volume 6 is a continuation and extension of the product in Quantity 4, the place Electricity Scaling is launched.  In Volume 6 a new ‘direct control’ edition of Powerscaling is showcased which was launched in Vol 4 but flushed out with comprehensive circuits and used to ‘sag’ and sustain manage as effectively in Vol 6.  The new scaling circuits have lots of pros for a DIY builder like increased noise immunity and much less sensitivity to format, and so on.

I used the new DC Power Scaling to a Trainwreck clone challenge and was seriously amazed with the enhancement in ‘playability’ at decreased volumes… the unmodified Trainwreck Categorical circuit is just far too loud for domestic use, needing to be cranked to get the sweet tones it is renowned for.

A single of the chapters in Quantity 6 is devoted to the Dumble amplifiers… something I was genuinely wanting ahead to given that several of my hobby projects aim on those circuits.  I identified this small chapter to be a good introduction to the over-all architecture of the Dumble amps, created from the level of check out of the evolution from the early modified normal amps that Alexander Dumble commenced out executing, but I felt the chapter fell short in discussing some of the much more crucial subtleties of the later on Dumble designs.

Volume 6 also has a lot of other material in it, such as a fantastic tutorial on creating genuinely high output electrical power amplifiers and a fantastic chapter on high obtain amplifier patterns with authentic-globe circuits referenced and comprehensive.

In Summary…

Kevin’s guides have a incredibly empirical method. He encourages you to established apart conference in some cases or not be worried to attempt combinations of tubes or even pulling tubes and in all circumstances clearly explains why it is o.k. and factors out any reasons why it wouldn’t be o.k. All the illustrations in the textbooks are quite practical and he absolutely has the DIYer in head as he is crafting.

Kevin’s body of operate is truly encyclopedic in nature, and taking into consideration that, one function sorely lacking from his publications is any variety of indexing… this is aggravated by the point that Kevin continually refers to prior writings rather than repeat himself in a new volume, and it is pretty hard to put your finger on the reference even with the other ebook in hand. Probably research engine engineering, like Google’s potential to look for shielded written content, could be put to good use in this case and provide a sort of ‘auto-index’ on the world-wide-web of all of Kevin’s books without essentially offering absent the book by itself. Or much better still, how about an e-e book format of Kevin’s whole collection of TUT guides… I think all of the e-book visitors include searching capabilities… and Kevin’s hand-drawn schematics would likely scale sufficiently and be pretty readable on the e-paper displays these gadgets function.

In the meantime, how do you get Kevin’s books right now? The ideal way to get the guides is to specifically order them from London Ability Push. They now have a buying cart on