Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by guitarjazz, May 13, 2019.
The new VG has a great article about Jim Kelley amps, with lots of pics.
Clips of the amp in this thread first post.
Is there on online link to the article?
The new article is also written by Dave Hunter. This is as close as I can come:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vintageguitar.com/26793/jim-kelley-facs-reverb/amp/
Oh yeah. I guess the new one will be posted online in a month or so. Magazine copy only at moment?
Which month is this issue? Thanks!
The most current one, with Peter Frampton on the cover. I'm guessing July. Their website is a month behind.
James Kelley is one of my ”idols” in amp design. One of the first innovators in concept of power amp attenuation and producing power amp distortion at controllable volume levels (channel switching with integrated attenuator) as well as of “tube amp emulation” in general (“Line Amp”). He was also expanding the concept of channel switching at the time when most amplifier manufacturers were merely at the verge of discovering the concept.
Though looking like Mesa amps (which was the popular thing at those times) his designs were also actually rather unique. Not particularly clones of anything made by Mesa, Marshall, Fender, Vox, etc. Kelley was practically adding solid-state clipping diodes to his amps at the time when everyone else was clipping them away, and focusing on characteristics such as “power amp distortion” when most were figuring out how to produce distortion in the preamplifier stage. And at the time when it was popular to advertise tube amp tone with BS such as “soft clipping” and “even order harmonics” he was proudly doing the contrary: He was actually introducing designs that REALLY replicated the glorified tube power amp characteristics, which are actually based on hard clipping and odd order harmonic distortion. While doing so he was one of the forerunners in “tube amp emulation”, even though he initially emulated tube amps using vacuum tubes.
After mastering that he switched into solid-state design in agreement with assessments that FETs actually have virtually identical current/voltage characteristics to pentode tubes and that it’s not the device type that really matters, but what one builds around the device. Basically he discovered that vacuum tubes are not necessary to generate certain type of operation.
If he wasn’t Jim Kelley, a famous amp maker, I’m sure plenty of people on this forum would STILL be in furious disagreement with his views as they go against the usual myths about tube amps and even solid-state technology. Nevertheless, Kelley has never seemed to shy away from stating the FACTS instead of parroting self-perpetuated myths. Totally one of my idols.
His tube amps are interesting but I’d be happy to know more about amps such as the “JK Stereo 100”, which was solid-state design and one of the forerunners in emulating tube amps (both power and preamp) with solid-state circuitry. A lot of talk about FACS and single channel amps, almost nothing about these amps even though (prior to late reviving of his amps) they were basically culmination of his career (with amps) and pretty much the last product the company released before it had to dissolved due to financial problems. They were very proud of that product.
I read it and was impressed.
It's interesting that he auctions off his newly built amps.
@70' s Tone