I'm blown away by my Ceriatone Creme Brulee (custom) amp that Nik made me

Here's the story, it's kinda long...

So, I used to be the proud owner of a Ceriatone DC-30 that Nik built me, but it was just too loud for the clubs I played at (even at half-power). The master volume was semi-usable, but the tone was so thin at the volumes they wanted me to use, that I sold it. However, I loved that amp more than any other amp I'd played at that time (including "real" Matchless DC-30's, lightnings, hotcat 30's, 18-watters, etc).

So, before selling it, I emailed Nik asking him if he could make me a 15-watt variation on that amp, and about 2 hours later I had an email from him asking the exact specifications I wanted. Here's what I requested:

I never used the 12ax7 side of the DC-30 since I loved the EF86 so much. So I requested the front end of the EF86 side of the DC-30.

I also wanted it to be 15 watts with a half-power switch
I wanted an effects loop
I wanted the 6-position tone-switch
I wanted a cut knob
a bypassable master volume

I got all of the following plus:
a switch to turn the effects loop on and off,
a boost switch for boosted gain (very very cool)
and a 3-position bright switch

Here are some pics:



We dubbed it the "creme brulee", and he's made several versions for other customers.

The end result: an amp that i like even more than my DC-30. It's not quite as powerful (which is good and bad), but the master volume is TOTALLY usable, the half-power setting doesn't sound anemic, and the full-power sound is incredible. It gets a great spanky clean, a smooth breakup (very voxy, but more hi-fi), and a very gainy crunch. I'm more than thrilled. I know this amp isn't for everyone, but it's the most versatile amp I own, and it sounds amazing on any setting. I usually only buy one-trick pony amps because they can never do anything else well, but this amp blew me away.

I've been meaning to post a video and sound clips of it, but I haven't gotten around to it. I knew if I started a thread on it today, then people would bug me until I got it done. So, the plans are to upload a video and some soundclips soon.

It's been 4 months with this amp, and the honeymoon hasn't worn off. I love this amp. I recently ordered a JTM45 and a vibrochamp off Nik as well. His customer service is incredible, and it goes to show that he doesn't just make clones well, he can build you your own custom amp (and it's super economical and very well built). You'll just have to wait 2 months instead of the usual 1, but it'd be worth a year's wait.

I hope this helps some of you.


Senior Member
Did Nik put a different type of master volume circuit in it or do you attribute how well the master now works to the amp's lower wattage?


Silver Supporting Member
The amps look different in the pics. The pic in the middle only has one 'bright' switch but the others have two...bootom pic has a glossy front and different labeling. Can you elaborate?
how "super economical"?

It was less than the DC-30 kit. i honestly don't remember the final price, but it was around $700.

Just email Nik, he'll get you a quote.

chickenlover, you don't miss a thing! When i first got the amp, the boost switch had a weird hum to it. I emailed Nik, and he immediately send me out a new switch free of charge. The switch I received wasn't a push-pull pot, it was just a switch, so I had to drill a hole and install the switch. it was great customer service.

I then decided that I didn't like the stick-on labels, so i wrote them on with a sharpie.

By the way, if anyone knows of anyone who can make me a CHEAP (doesn't even have to have tolex, just bare wood) cab, let me know. I can make my own, but they're always so hideous.


Pretty great sounding amp. What were you using for a speaker/cab?

Also, could you give some details on your guitars and pickups just for reference.

Thanks for posting, nice demo.
sure, no prob.

The cab is a 1x12 epiphone valve jr cab with a Celestion Alnico Blue in it.

I didn't use any pedals, it was all just amp, straight into the cab. it was recorded in a tiny bedroom with my digital camera, so the quality isn't amazing, but you get the idea. I'm actually really impressed by the tones and feel I get at lower volumes.

The seafoam green tele is a squier affinity with a string-through bridge and emg t-set pups

the white strat is a "stock" EJ strat that's been beat up a lot

the lake placid tele (with creme binding) is a japanese 62 RI with a texas special in the neck, and a DeArmond Goldtone humbucker in the pridge (i'm told these are similar to the PAF's). hope that helps.

it's a lot of work to post this crap, but I really enjoy the posts from other people, and I figured I'd do my little part to contribute.


Still breathing
Platinum Supporting Member
Ok, I am confused a bit. !5 watts and a hallf-power switch? So is that pentode to triode on a pair of EL84s? DC-30 half power "pulls" a pair of EL84s from a quad. Not sure how you'd do that with a pair of EL84s unless you operate them differently.

BTW, I had DC-30 (quad) and Lightning (pair) and loved them both, but DC-30 much "fatter" and more authoritative...

yeah, it's 15 watts with a pentode/triode switch on a pair of el84's. I just call it a half-power switch to keep things simple. It's not quite as savage as the DC-30, meaning it's not quite as hard to handle, but it still gets the same tones at a lower volume. the DC-30 was a lot punchier. Either way, it's a great amp, and I highly recommend it. On a side note I'm selling mine (not because I don't love it, but because i need to get out of debt) if anyone's looking for one.


Gold Supporting Member
I loved my Samson era DC-30 until I sold it this year for the same reason. Way too loud for the places I'd play. Master was enemic. Up at real volume, best...amp...ever...
Yeah, it was my dream amp too, that's why I had him build it for me. It'll compete with any drummer just fine, but it's not too loud when it starts giving up the goods.

it's for sale...
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