How To Format A Source With 2 Authors Mla Style The Ultimate Tone – A Book Review of the Best DIY Guitar Tube Amplifier Series

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

This article is a book review of a six-book series that is the most comprehensive and lucid explanation of DIY guitar tube amp architecture, circuitry, tone, components, and construction techniques I’ve found. The review covers each book separately and it is recommended that you purchase them in a specific order to improve your knowledge as well as your building experience.

Kevin O’Connor of London Power has created a series of books under the main title of “The Ultimate Tone”. These books are truly unique and carefully tailored for the do-it-yourself (DIY) guitar tube amp hobbyist and boutique amp builder. The books also have a home-made “everything” to them…all illustrations are handmade and the books are photocopy printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and bound with plastic spines and clear plastic covers. There are now six books in the series, with the most recent being released in late spring 2008. You may want to buy the entire series at once and get a modest savings, but I think you should consider buying them one at a time. and digest as you go, building projects along the way. But one key point… you don’t necessarily want to buy them in numerical order. I recommend the following sequence:

  1. The Ultimate Tone Volume 3 – Tone Generations
  2. The Ultimate Tone Volume 5 – Tone capture
  3. The Ultimate Tone Volume 2 – Systems Approach to Stage Sound Nirvana
  4. The Ultimate Tone Volume 4 – Advanced Techniques for Modern Guitar Amplifier Design
  5. The Ultimate Tone – Modifying and building custom tube guitar amps
  6. The Ultimate Tone Volume 6 – Timeless tone built for the future today

The Ultimate Tone Volume 3 – Tone Generations

This is the most important book in the series for the beginning tube amplifier builder.

Chapters 2 through 4 lay the foundations for good DIY tube amp construction, filling you in on good electrical connections, grounding technique, wire dressing and other wiring techniques, and mechanical design, including mounting methods like strips of terminals, turret and grommet plates.

The following chapters each choose a particular “iconic” amplifier, each iconic amplifier being a prototypical example of amplifiers of its class, and are examined in detail in terms of circuit topology, the resulting peculiar tonal characteristics, and the fatal flaws that the product is notorious. stop Kevin provides the original schematics and then shows how you can apply the techniques detailed in previous chapters to improve icon performance and reliability without compromising tone. Schematics are redesigned, schematics are added, and mechanical solutions are worked on to make each chapter a complete, self-contained, build-it-yourself amp project.

This process is repeated for various variations of the Champ in Chapter 5 (this chapter heavily influenced my own single amp project), then in quick succession: the Bassman, Plexi, 800, Bull Dog, AC-30, Portaflex, SVT, The Bass Master, Custom Special, Guitar Mate, Herzog and Laney amplifiers.

If you can only buy one book for your DIY guitar amp hobby, I would recommend this one.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 5 – Tone capture

Volume 5 picks up where Volume 3 left off, with a project-oriented approach and some sophisticated DIY tube amp solutions for guitar and bass.

The book begins with a chapter on how the vacuum tube works called “tube tone,” followed by a chapter on guitar electronics and pickup characteristics.

The next two chapters are small projects: Sigma for switching effects and Triple-X for switching amps.

Chapters 5 and 6 are on transformers…important components but it made me yawn, sorry.

Starting with Chapter 7, all the stops are pulled out and you’re in project heaven… Major (200W), Soma 84 (EL84 amp), Standard (the 1995 London Power Standard preamp coupled to a 50W amp that uses four power tubes). ), Doppelsonde (mixing of power tube types), AX84 (discussion of the original aim of a very low output power amplifier), Kelly (50W from 4 6V6) and various other smaller scope projects.

One of the favorite projects I did was based on Kevin’s rework of the Matchless HotBox valve preamp pedal in Chapter 16. I built this pedal in true “point-to-point style” (ie terminal strips) in a tube pedal housing by Doug Hoffman, replacing a Baxandall tone stack and reworking the preamp values ​​to be more Dumble-esqe (non-HRM type).

What would you do to match an amp with the style of Yngwie Malmsteen? See Chapter 18, ‘Swedish’.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 2 – Systems Approach to Stage Sound Nirvana

Volume 2 is not project oriented. The bulk of the book, Chapters 2 through 5, deals with power supply tricks and an overview of power amplifiers, including tube, solid-state, and hybrid amplifiers. Chapter 3, on tube power amplifiers, has very practical information on modifications and corrections to Marshall and Fender bias circuits.

I like the first and last chapter of volume 2. The first chapter is a short discussion of sound stages and how you can set up your equipment on stage to get the best audience/band experience. The last chapter 6 is called “Pillars of Tone” and in this chapter the main tone contributors at the block level of a guitar tube amp system design are explained one by one and Kevin provides some very valuable information on setting up the tone throughout the preamplifier/amplifier.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 4 – Advanced Techniques for Modern Guitar Amplifier Design

This is the book you will want to buy if you feel the need to get deeply involved in the power scaling technology that Kevin has developed. Power Scaling, coined and branded by Kevin, is how you can incorporate aspects of power amp distortion (as opposed to preamp distortion) into your tone at bedroom volume levels. Volume 4 is not geared towards DIY projects, but explores the issues, including attenuation, power scaling (both down and up), roll-off and power management, addressed by modern guitar amp designers.

That said, the penultimate chapter in Volume 4 may be important to a wider group of enthusiast builders… design philosophy. In this chapter Kevin provides a hierarchical design process that can be used to make key decisions about how to approach your next project.

The Ultimate Tone – Modifying and building custom tube guitar amps

There is no volume number in the title of this book, it was the 1st. Personally, I bought it for completion. Specifically, I wanted the information on the “perfect effects loop”, although the loop itself is built into a project in Volume 5. TUT also has excellent material on reverbs and signal switching methods not covered in the other volumes . The first half of TUT introduces/describes tube amp systems, power supplies and grounds, then focuses on preamp and power amp mods for commercial amps (eg Marshall / Fender)… if you’re totally new in tube electronics, you might want to buy this. Volume 1 at the same time as Volume 3.

The Ultimate Tone Volume 6 – Timeless tone built for the future today

In many ways, Volume 6 is a continuation and extension of the material in Volume 4, where Power Scaling is introduced. Volume 6 introduces a new “direct control” version of Powerscaling, which was introduced in Vol. 4 but removed with complete circuits and applied to “sag” and sustain control also in vol. 6. The new scaling circuits have many advantages for a DIY Builder such as higher noise immunity and less design sensitivity, etc.

I applied the new DC Power Scaling to a Trainwreck clone project and was very impressed with the improved “playability” at lower volumes… the unmodified Trainwreck Express circuit is too noisy for home use, needing to be turned on to get the candy. tones he is known for.

One of the chapters in volume 6 is devoted to Dumble amps…something I was really looking forward to because a lot of my hobby projects focus on those circuits. I found this short chapter to be a good introduction to the general architecture of Dumble amplifiers, written from the point of view of the evolution of the first modified standard amplifiers that Alexander Dumble started making, but I felt that the chapter was not descriptive. some of the more important subtleties of later Dumble models.

Volume 6 also has a lot of other material, including a great tutorial on designing very high output power amplifiers and a great chapter on high-gain amplifier designs with referenced and detailed real-world circuits.

In short…

Kevin’s books have a very empirical approach. Encourage him to break convention in some cases or don’t be afraid to try tube combinations or even pull tubes and in all cases clearly explain why it’s okay and point out reasons why it wouldn’t be okay All examples from the books they are very practical and you surely have DIY in mind while you are writing.

Kevin’s work is truly encyclopedic in nature, and considering that, one feature sorely lacking in his books is any kind of indexing…this is compounded by the fact that Kevin constantly refers to previous writing rather than repeating himself in a new volume. , and it’s very hard to put your finger on the reference even with the other book in hand. Perhaps search engine technology, such as Google’s ability to search for protected content, could be leveraged in this case and provide a sort of “automatic index” on the web of all of Kevin’s books without actually giving away the book itself. Or better yet, how about an e-book format of all of Kevin’s TUT book collection… I think all e-book readers include search capabilities… and Kevin’s hand drawn schematics would probably scale appropriately and they would be very readable. in the electronic paper shows the function of these devices.

In the meantime, how do you get Kevin’s books today? The best way to get the books is to order them direct from London Power Press. They now have a shopping cart at http://www.londonpower.com.

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