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5E3 or 18 Watt?

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,238
If you were going to build a clone amp which one would be your first choice and why?

Can you make an 18 watter without tremolo?

Is there another circuit worth considering?
 

loverocker

Member
Messages
814
Yes - you can make an 18W without trem. There are proven schematics and layouts at 18watt.com. And it'd be no more complex than a 5E3, so just choose the one you like the sound of best, I guess.

I've done a trem-less 18W, and it's a lot of fun. :) But I'll eventually get around to a 5E3, too... :rolleyes:
 

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,238
Thanks guys. I want to make a head. No bells or wistles just the basics. I am not familiar with the 18 watt. But the 5E3's I have played sound great except they are a bit flabby in the bottom end. That is why I was looking at the 18watt. I have also looked into a 5F4 wich looks like it would fit the bill.

So how ambitious a project is this?
 
Messages
606
Originally posted by Boogie92801
Thanks guys. I want to make a head. No bells or wistles just the basics. I am not familiar with the 18 watt. But the 5E3's I have played sound great except they are a bit flabby in the bottom end. That is why I was looking at the 18watt. I have also looked into a 5F4 wich looks like it would fit the bill.

So how ambitious a project is this?
The beauty of building your own, is you can fix the flabby bottom end. It's just a couple cap size reductions and the right speaker.

I've built both and love both.


Jeff
 
Messages
606
Originally posted by Boogie92801
Jeff,
Can you describe the diffrences in tone between the two?

Which one is easier to build?
Ones a Marshall the other is a Fender. Tighter, crunchy aggressive vs Fat smooth saturation. Now this is just my opinion.

5E3 is much simpler to build.
 

daveS

lefty dude on hiatus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,798
I would build both in 1X12 combos and amp switch between the two them using the 5E3 for clean & clear and the 18 watt for distortion & gain :D
-Dave
 

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,238
Thanks,

I am leaning toward with one of those or maybe even an Ax84 for the first time.

The 18 watter I was looking at was the 18 watt lite (without trem) and it appeard simular in parts quantity and such at the 5E3. Why is the 18watter "more dificult"?

If I do a 5E3 it will need a multy tap opt fro a 4ohm cab; I noticed that the 18 watter has a switch for this.
 

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,238
Never mind!


A used Carmen Ghia is the same price as a kit and it's a plug and go situation and I am sure that the Dr. can make a better amp than I can.

What was I thinking?
 

r9player

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,842
Just finished building a 5E3 Kit from STF electronics (did a "review" search STF)
Bottom end seems just fine by me, I think if I plugged it into my Detuned cab, bottom end would sound pretty big.

5E3 is very simple and straightforward, excellent way to start out with, I think my next project actually will be an 18W ...

As for getting different sounds, since my kit/design was a cathode bias style, you can swap out tubes. 5881, 6V6, EL34, 6L6, KT66, KT88 ..
pre-amp could be swapped to a 12AT7 vs. AX I think, not so sure if the rectifier tube can be changed, but I think it can be as well ..
 

raz

Member
Messages
743
Originally posted by Boogie92801
Never mind!


A used Carmen Ghia is the same price as a kit and it's a plug and go situation and I am sure that the Dr. can make a better amp than I can.

What was I thinking?
I dunno, but unless you're thinking "I'd really like to build an amp!" it would be pointless to build one. It doesn't save you money, especially when you factor in the value of your time.

I built a GDS 18-Watt, I'm very proud of it, I dig the hell out of it, and it's all good. Sure, I saved money compared to buying a real Marshall 18W or a Watkins Dominator. But considering I could have bought any number of used 18 Watt clones for the same price or less AND saved the time (my time is valued at between $30 and $50 per hour) and the cost of pizza for the guy who helped me build it.

That said, a Carmen Ghia is NOT an 18 Watt or 5E3. It's a great amp, and there definitely are tonal relationships among the three, but the CG is still its own thing. So make sure that's what you're looking for.

R
A
Z
(Carmen Ghia and GDS owner)
 

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,238
Well, first thank you very much fro the information.

I love to tinker and I know a little about electronics. My time is very valuable as well; I am a corporate director, a parent and a musician. The truth is that for the money and the time the Ghia is probably a far more realistic and wise choice.

That said I have a few amps that cover my live music situations but I need a small head or combo that can get some dirt at lower volume than a bandmaster or a boogie. For practice and friendly jams.

Since you own the Ghia and an 18-watt, can you describe some of your experiences about their tone and volume differences? How much sooner does the 18-watt break up than the Ghia and is it crunchy or smooth? Is it as loud as a Ghia?
 

Robal

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,297
I used to own a Carmen Ghia, I own a Watkins Dominator 18 watt, a 63/64 JMI AC-15, and I built my own Marshall 18 watt clone, that I later modified to have an EF86 channel like my AC-15.

IMHO, the Ghia was nice, but it was the least interesting of all those amps. There was no clean sound to speak of and the overdriven sound was kinda flat. The Ghia also had ghost note problems that Z could not get rid of when I sent it back to him to check out.

The 18 watt Marshall was a lot better sounding amp, to my ears, and I enjoyed the experience of building my own. Perhaps my Ghia was a lemon, it was one of the early ones when Z was still using Hammond organ chassis and transformers. With so many used 18 watt clones out there, home-made and professionally made, you have some good options in a 2xEL84 amp. I simply ike other Z amp models much better than the Ghia.
 

r9player

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,842
One thing that is nice about building your own is the hobby aspect. To me it was very relaxing as well as rewarding to build my own, even if it took me 2 months to do about 1 days of stuff :)
 

loverocker

Member
Messages
814
The coolest thing is when - even after some bug-fixing - you plug it in and decent tone comes out of the speaker. "Wow, I did that?" :)

Of course, the tone is thanks to the original amp designer, and most of us are just monkeys with soldering irons... ;)
 




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