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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A few months ago, I found someone locally (a guy named Tom) who said he would build a ss guitar amp for me and I was (and still am) psyched :metal:

I met with Tom and we ironed out all the details of the amp. Upon meeting, he realized that my design was a little more complicated than he thought (I wasn't able to communicate all that I wanted clearly via email because I'm not an electronics engineer).

Here are the specs I wanted (along with some kick-ass suggestions from members at SevenString.org):
Here are the features so far:
-The design is based off a few common favorite ss amps that are specifically good for METAL (such as the Ampeg VH-140C [LOOSELY, that is]) plus the addition of extra controls and features (such as a "Depth/Resonance knob, plus a high-mid knob and low-mid knob for each channel)
-150 watts
-----I was skeptical about just having 150 watts but Tom assured me he knew
what he was doing and that this could compete with all the other
instruments in a metal band. I guess it's one of those quality of quantity
type of things.
-----He also said if I wasn't completely satisfied then we would tweak it until
I was or I didn't have to pay him. That works for me :D
-Two inputs: High gain and Low gain
-Two channels: Clean, and Distorted (plus a Boost switch for the second channel for soloing, getting even more gain if you are doing straight up grindcore/noise, etc).
-An "Edge" switch (adds more brightness)
-Volume for each channel
-Two output jacks
-Stereo or mono switchable output
-Direct line out
-MIDI
-Headphone jack
-Footswitch jack
-Effects loop (with level controls and foot-switchable)
-Master reverb (because everyone knows you sometimes just need a little bit)
-----This will also be foot-switchable
-Master volume
-Cup holder (thank you 7 Strings of Hate for this kick-ass idea :))
-Small storage compartment for cables, footswitch, etc
-Top hat handles, as well as a recessed handle on top of the head. I hate straps :noway:

My overall goal is to create a high quality solid state amp that is specifically for METAL \m/ (and that includes all sub-genres).

If anyone can think of any other "must-have" features then please let me know! This is still in the design stage so there is time to include them.
 

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Dream Crusher
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How much are you paying him? That's a pretty serious feature set, especially when you include MIDI implementation and the fact that this is a one-off.
 

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Yeah. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone ordering a custom solid state amp.

Eh, if the end product sounds good, I guess... :shrug:
 

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NSLALP
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This could be very cool if you're actually dealing with a smart engineer type. Otherwise... results may not be as expected. >.>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How much are you paying him? That's a pretty serious feature set, especially when you include MIDI implementation and the fact that this is a one-off.
It was $400 to start the project and it will be $400 when it's done and to my liking :metal: However, the MIDI may end up costing me more and if that's the case (depending on the amount) I may not include it.

Tubes. :scream2:
I knew someone would say this :D but the whole point is that I want a good-sounding ss amp that doesn't use tubes :nono:

This could be very cool if you're actually dealing with a smart engineer type. Otherwise... results may not be as expected. >.>
Before I paid Tom the first $400 I met with him in order to discuss the design. We ended up hanging out for about 3 hours talking about the design, ss amps, and general guitar stuff. All in all, I trust this guy and he seems to really know his stuff. Also, I paid via PayPal so in case he does the unthinkable, like running off with my money (which I'm sure he would never do), I could always file a claim with my credit card.

This is a bit nerve-racking, I must admit, because I'm having to put a lot of trust in a complete stranger but you never know until you try, I guess :metal:
 

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Seems really cheap..like too good to be true for only 800 dollars. If things are as they seem it'll be great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Seems really cheap..like too good to be true for only 800 dollars. If things are as they seem it'll be great.
We shall definitely see. Luckily, I can always file a claim with my credit card if things go awry.

Might be a guy who just likes to build electronics, if that's the case the price isn't unreasonable.
That is definitely the case - building and repairing is not this guy's full-time job (he just does it on the side to pull in some extra cash) so that is why I'm hoping the price is so low. Unfortunately, the only downside with this is that it has taken a long time to get the amp to this point; however, the patience is worth the hefty discount imo :metal:
 

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Les Paul Nut
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Sounds pretty sweet to me but I dont need anything that powerful since i'm not in a band.
 

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200 watts might be a bit overkill imo, My crate has more then enough with only 120 for live. Although i guess that depends on the quality really since some need even 300 to be heard :nuts:

I'd add the overdrive eq with a 'responsive' 4 band one. low, lo-mid, high-mid, high.

I'd make the reverb switchable aswell with the footswitch, comes in handy at times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sounds pretty sweet to me but I dont need anything that powerful since i'm not in a band.
Oops - I meant to write 150 watts. Also, I'm planning on having a switch in the back that can change the output to as low as 25 watts for practicing in your apartment without pissing off the neighbors - similar to the Peavey XXL :metal:

200 watts might be a bit overkill imo, My crate has more then enough with only 120 for live. Although i guess that depends on the quality really since some need even 300 to be heard :nuts:

I'd add the overdrive eq with a 'responsive' 4 band one. low, lo-mid, high-mid, high.

I'd make the reverb switchable aswell with the footswitch, comes in handy at times.
I also forgot to put that the overdrive channel will have that eq and that the reverb is foot-switchable - I'll fix that right now :)

This whole thing with wattage is confusing. I originally told Tom I wanted 300 watts since that's what my Crate Shockwave has and I could hear it over the drums with the group I used to play with. Tom explained to me that companies have a way of fudging the labeling of how much wattage amps can put out so that, plus varying quality in components, is why there is that discrepancy you described. In order to remedy this, Tom and I are using all high-quality components and starting with 150 watts and we'll adjust the design depending on whether we need more or less wattage :yesway:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My crate is modded so the cheap crap is out & it sounds killer now. mainly the capacitors that are questionable in quality.
That makes a lot of sense - I thought about having that done with my Crate Shockwave but then I thought "Why not make this as complicated as possible?" lol. I figured it would be a cool experiment to build an ss amp with quality components from the ground up :yesway:

Speaking of which: Tom emailed me the transformer he found that we would be using. This thing is nine pounds - it's a beast:metal:



 

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Dang dude, 100 watts will be more then enough if you use stuff like that :lol:

It really becomes obvious with SS amp quality if you use higher ohmage cabs. I don't really loose anything noticable on my crate hooking up a 16ohm cab (head being 4ohm).

Think one of the worst SS amps ever made in terms of quality was that marshall mode four. Supposedly a 300 watt amphead but the actual power it gives on a full stack was about 50 ...

If you're making a 150 watt head at 4 ohms you should be able to retain 130-140 no a 16 ohm cab with around 100 on full stack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A big day has arrived!

Just thought I'd let everyone know that the LM3886T's and TDA7293's came in the mail. Due to the overwhelming amount of recommendations we will most likely be using the LM3886T's, but we decided to buy some TDA7293's just for the fun of it :yesway:

Here are the LM3886T's:



Here is one of the TDA7293's:


Tom and I have decided on a small simple circuit to use for a mini-prototype of the amp (basically, we will be building a practice amp version of the beast). Hopefully, we will be blowing stuff up within the next few weeks! :metal:
 

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How about adding a switchable boost in front of the preamp?

Since tons of ppl use tubescreamer like pedal in front of their amps it would be awesome to see that on an amp. Could pretty much copy the Tubescreamer circuit for that.
 

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Mutes the Meat
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How about adding a switchable boost in front of the preamp?

Since tons of ppl use tubescreamer like pedal in front of their amps it would be awesome to see that on an amp. Could pretty much copy the Tubescreamer circuit for that.
Eh...it's solid state. The purpose of the Tubescreamer is to drive tubes.
 
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