Experiences with 'cheap' clones...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JimH, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Most definitely not a troll or flame thread....

    ...I've noticed more and more people building clones of popular and classic amps at a reasonable price with seemingly decent components - are there any catches to this?

    Obviously you need a reputable guy doing a good job but why not - I mean they're often not THAT complicated right?

    ...Is there any major reason why we can't have a good slice of classic tone at a reasonable price? Or are costs cut on trannys etc - for example. - surely the name badge isn't the only diff between a matchless and 1/3 price?

    Any thoughts appreciated.
     
  2. PRNDL

    PRNDL Member

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    The difference is in the details of both components and build.
    Here are some comparisons to consider:
    - electrolytics: Sprague-Atom vs. Illinois vs. No-name
    - coupling caps: Mallory vs Orange Drop vs No-name
    - Resistors: carbon comp vs metal film
    - Cabinets: pine vs plywood, glue and screw vs finger joints

    The secret to a popular overseas kit builder is using quality components that are put together very well, at a reasonable price.

    In general, it appears that the profit margin has become extremely slim for amp builders, and component costs have increased dramatically in the last few months.
     
  3. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Thanks - and of course if you are going to have a simple amp you totally defeat the object if poorly put together.
     
  4. Trout

    Trout Member

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    I added a few components that are very commonly seen..

    Other things include,
    -Transformer; Mercury vs Heybour vs other.
    * Orange drops are brand and type dependant(6PS vs 715P vs 716P)

    Actually, it is easily accomplished.
    One popular argument suggests that a certain 1957 RI was specially voiced based on a selection of vintage amps.
    Though the maker may or may not of actually did this, The proof is inside.

    Absolutely nothing special, Garden variety caps, carbon film resistors, and mercury transformers and common re-issue Jensen speaker..
    The guys that play/own them swear the nameplate sounds better:D

    Interestingly, most of the cottage industry builders use higher quality parts, and do a much neater job building them as well as having a done a lot to improve reliability.
     
  5. sdgvintage

    sdgvintage Member

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    Some of us guys building sell direct to customers so theres no dealer overhead, and some of us work other jobs and just do amps on the side, so there's real money coming in to cover things like rent, bills, health insurance, etc.
     
  6. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Nah, the amp sounds better, not the nameplate.
     
  7. Trout

    Trout Member

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    As I said, The proof is inside.

    Absolutely nothing special, Garden variety caps, carbon film resistors, mercury transformers and common re-issue Jensen speaker.. They exact same parts everyone else uses, the same +/- 10% tolerances. and close attention to following the original schematic.

    Not a single part or combination of parts not being offered by others for less.
    The " Fender" is without a doubt a good sounding amp, but can it be built for 1/3rd the cost as the "OP" asked? Absolutely.
     
  8. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Again, not the nameplate. I played other brands...did an A/B with one...the Fender sounded better.
     
  9. Trout

    Trout Member

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    Gee,, and what do you attribute the difference to? Seriously +/- 10%
     
  10. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

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    I've owned 2 Marshall JTM45 reissues and one Ceriatone clone JTM45. The Ceriatone was built better and sounding much better than the Marshall at about 1/2 of the price. :YinYang
     
  11. aman74

    aman74 Supporting Member

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    Not all those options are improvements though.
     
  12. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    The Victoria "Deluxe" I A/Bed against my reissue had less volume, less punch. The other two guitar players in the store agreed. I have no idea what I would attribute it to...not the point for me. The Deluxe sounded better...period. Sounded better than my vintage Deluxe too. My point though was that you inferred that those of us buying the Fender did so due to the nameplate...it was the furthest thing from my mind when I bought it and thus why try to speak (wrongly) for me? I bought it due to the tone, the size and the pricing I received. Gee, anything else?
     
  13. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    My homebuilt Hiwatt DR504 clone sounds better than my Hylight DR504... But they both have Hiwatt nameplates on them, so that explains it! ;)

    It was not real cheap though. It cost me about $1100 to complete and I built it myself. I went with quality stuff all the way through. I could have saved a little on trannies (I used Heyboer Partridge clones) and the head box (I had Jeff Swanson build it), but it is perfect.
     
  14. aman74

    aman74 Supporting Member

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    Sound nice, show it off with some pics!
     
  15. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    Here it is.........

    I put the plates on it......

    Sitting on top of the Swanson 2-12.........

    [​IMG]

    Guts. Not up to Dave Reeves standards, but it's been working great since last October with a ton of use at band volume....... I use the real Hiwatt as a backup.......

    [​IMG]

    Sitting on top of the '79 cab.

    [​IMG]

    Rear...... The knob on the left is a dual gang pot that i was going to use for a PPIMV, but never put it in. The pot is still in there though! the locking pot is the bias pot.

    [​IMG]

    Holding up her older step sister....... a '79 2 holer......

    [​IMG]
     
  16. aman74

    aman74 Supporting Member

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    Thanks. You should be proud man, it looks great.
     
  17. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Member

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    I've built "cheap" clones for my own personal use. I currently have clones of a matchless spitfire, 50/20-watt plexi and 5E3 tweed deluxe. None were kits; they all sound great to me.
     
  18. Tripower455

    Tripower455 Member

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    I am very happy with it. It's killed my amp gas. well, almost! I'm gonna build at least 1 more......
     
  19. mcgriff420

    mcgriff420 Member

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    If a hi-end builder is using the same circuit and components as a value priced builder doesn't alot of the magic come from the subtle tweeks and final voicing the amp gets?
     
  20. amp boy

    amp boy Member

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    Trippower455, where did you get the lowdown to build that Hiwatt ??
    any info would be appreciated.
    I wonder if i can build me a custom 20.....that'll be nice.
    reeeeeeeeeeeal nice.
    thanks.
     

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