Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Custom amp and preamp builders in Europe?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Finbase, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Hello folks!

    I’ve tried to find some info on the topic, but couldn’t…

    I’d like to get a preamp with custom specs, short of a hybrid of Aguilar db680, Mesa Big Block 750 and Ampeg SVP… Nevertheless the specs are quite demanding to engineer but not impossible. But it’s hard to find a right guy to build such a cunning pre!:help:

    Could you please help me out and recommend some names in Europe (And preferably in EU countries), who could possible be skilful enough to handle demanding tube-preamp requests, and are building fully custom? I don’t mind if the builder isn’t famous or pricey (don't tell this to my wife...:p), as long as he or she is reliable and proficient!

  2. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam
  3. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Thanks! Anyone else? :)
  4. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Maybe it helps, if I show you the specs:

    General Specs:
    -Aguilar DB680-styleish input (Passive/Active-switch, 12db pad)
    -Input Gain
    -DI out, and per-and post-option
    -FX loop (before the EQ section)
    -Mute switch (immediately after the input gain)
    -Ampeg SVP/SVT-styleish drive control

    EQ: (+/- 12db)
    -Bass (Tube Driven, Shelving, 90Hz)
    -Treble (Tube Driven, Shelving, 10kHz)
    -Mesa Big Block 750-styleish Passive Mid! I really LOVE this single function in Mesa BB 750!!
    -2x fully parametric "tube driven" EQs (in the spirit of Aguilar 680db, but with slightly different Hz ratings) 1) 100Hz-800Hz ja 2) 700Hz-16kHz

    And ZILLIONS of tubes!!:p

  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    The Aguilar uses ICs for the parametric section, doesn't it? All tube fully parametric EQ is typically a pretty expensive proposition. You'll definitely end up with zillions of tubes if you choose that route !

    I can't help any as far as EU builders, beyond saying to ask a few respected tube amp manufacturers who they would recommend. There are plenty of guys in the US that I could recommend if you end up warming to that possibility though.
  6. gillento


    Oct 15, 2005
    Luxembourg, Europe
    Nordstrand pickups
    This might be something for Reußenzehn


  7. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Matamp will build whatever you want and probably make a few very good suggestions of their own.
    Beautiful quality! that one belongs to a member here called Taystee
    Can't really buy a better made amp today their hand wiring is of the very best.
  8. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Although I would heartily recommend the Matamp for building the tube amp and associated tube pre, don't you think that it would be handy to have the two parametric EQ's separate for their many other studio uses and I would heartily recommend you try out an original Pultec EQP1a or one of the many Pultec EQ clones there are available today.
    That's 4u of rack space in its self, no sense trying to incorporate that in a head case.:bassist:
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    I'm with you mate.

    The Manley tube-based version of the EQP1a is also priced at around $2300 MSRP, as I've had to explain to friends of mine who wanted me to build all tube PEQ into one of my humble DIY tube preamps. My sand powered Orban or Ashly units will just have to do for now, I guess...;)
  10. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    10k treble control?
  11. I'vw been tempted by this in the past to, but i've gone back toward smaller powerful tonestacks
  12. bassophil


    Jan 17, 2009
  13. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Just depends. This is my current favorite:


    The actual measured shelf is at 20K or so (this graph is a sim without the input and output transformers), but I would spec it at 6.8K, the halfway effect point. A 10K shelving high pass can easily spec at 3-4K using that methodology. There's a nice discussion of this here.
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

  15. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Those ICs make sense. Every builder in my home country that I've asked about the parametric section has been horrified, and they are quality builders! I just wanted to scan some possibilities inside the EU marketing area, since we are one big family now! (Especially by sharing the common problem of the corrupted bankers...)

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    I have had the sincere belief that Aguilar's EQ's ARE tube driven, but it seems like I've been astray...

    Maybe I'll just have to tame my one-pre-does-it-all daydreams and do some re-thinking!
  16. Finbase


    Oct 12, 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Yes, IME it's usable Hz rating. For adding some "air" to the tone, or for cutting off the fret noise. No more "clack-clickety-clack", but without loosing any high-mid edge.

    Of course you can "tune" the treble lower, but one likes the mother, one likes the daughter...
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    There are some cool possibilities dating way back to literature from the 30s and 40s, for instance the Radiotron Designer's Handbook, which one can find for free online. I spent a lot of time contemplating this, and came up with some computer sims that looked pretty do-able, but semi-parametric certainly looks a lot more reasonable if you just have to go with an all tube signal path. In the end, financial realities led me to do something simpler that I knew would still sound nice. For now at least...:cool:

    Best of luck!
  18. Energy


    Jun 20, 2006
    Glockenklang also does custom jobs. Not sure if they ever used tubes, though, or are even willing to.....
  19. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Jule Amps ships all over the world.
    Many of his customers are pros throughout Europe.
    You get point to point hand wiring.
    Rich fat tube sound.
    Add the Demeter class D power amp within and you've got it all.
  20. jsbarber

    jsbarber Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    There's a guy in Santa Barbara named Roger Modjeski who is a world class tube designer. He designed some of the famous Conrad Johnson audiophile amplifiers, and has his own line of audio amplifiers (Music Reference). I'm not sure if he'd take on a project like this, but if he did you'd be lucky. He has a website http://www.tubeaudiostore.com He is the purveyor of the famous RAM tubes.

    Good luck, (getting Roger to build you a custom preamp is not going to be cheap, but you will end up with something truly special),