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  1. Davide says:

    Amazin job! Love the layout you use for this preamp. True insipiration.

    I did a Soldano preamp based on a pcb and miniature tubes 6n17b and SMPS power supply with a class D power amp

    • bancika says:

      Cool. I always loved submini tubes but didn’t do much with them yet. Do you have any pics, clips of the build?

  2. Argee G says:

    After years of playing through different amps I’ve found that I like open back cabs the best. However, the ‘pinched’ sound of a small open back cab like a Princeton Reverb or one of those small Mesa Boogie 1-12″ combo amps does not sound good to me. I think an open back cab is sort of like an open baffle for hi-fi. You want a lot of baffle area so the back wave doesn’t cancel the front radiation too much. I’d like to try an open back cab with a couple of 8-inch speakers, but with a nice large baffle. Like Twin Reverb sized, but with two 8’s and not so heavy.

  3. Kicos!
    I stumbled on to your website, and I am enjoying reading it very much! Thanks especially for your review of the Blackstar 3… I’m on a LONG 7-week stay in a hotel room, and I brought my fretless… unfortunately, my iRig won’t work (both my computer and my phone are too old) and the only way I can practice is through my old Tascam GT3… it works, but it isn’t ideal. I don’t have time to build anything, though I DO have an idea that I’ll work on when I get home. Anyway, it seems like the Blackstar 3 would be perfect for my current situation, I’ll hunt around for a deal somewhere.

    But the rest of the site is so very filled with good ideas that I can’t WAIT to try out… I especially like the idea of recycling old electronics into guitar tone experiments… SUPER cool!

    By way of a more tangible thank-you… if you’ll email me your mailing address, I’ll send you a few transistors from my stash that you can experiment with(if you want them). Way back when, I found an old ebay seller who sold me a bunch of transistors that he bought as surplus. I bought up just about everything that he had. Many of these transistors are housemarked new-old-stock. I don’t know what, if anything, they would be good for, but I can provide test info from a simple tester. I have a feeling, though, that your stash is far bigger than mine and you’ve got enough transistors to last you a lifetime… if that’s the case, it’s totally cool, but if you’d like a small sample, just let me know!

    Note- because I’m out of town working, it’ll take at least six weeks before I can ship them to you.

    Thanks again, BG

  4. Foam Nayr says:

    hi,i wondering is the drive must be installed on neck position?will it work well if i put it on mid position?

    • bancika says:

      Must be neck position. Otherwise it takes much more energy to get the strings moving, the closer you get to the bridge.

  5. Skepiock says:

    Hi Bancika, Great job there!
    I would like to get your experience regarding the heater.
    I already built a Slo Replica, and I intend to build another hi gain amp with a Direct Coupled Cathode Follower.
    I notice that the heating is not the same in the Soldano preamp MK2 as the Black Box one.
    My thougth was to build preamp heaters fed in DC and also elevated. A kind of what you did with the Black Box. What is your thougth about it, according to your experience? Is it worthwhile also, to include the valvewizard mod for Direct Coupled Cathode Follower?
    Thank you for the answer.

    • bancika says:

      No need to elevate if you are going with DC…the whole point of elevation is to avoid AC from heaters bleeding into the signal path. Without AC, no need to elevate.
      I went with elevated AC for this build because I had overheating issues with the previous build. The regulator would overheat without proper heat management. Granted, it was fine once I added thermal paste and fixed it to the chassis, but the whole bottom of the chassis would become warm…Elevated AC works quite well and requires less components, that’s why I ultimately used that. Both are OK approaches.

      As for cathode follower…sure, Valve Wizard mod shouldn’t hurt.

  6. Thomas says:

    Hi. Thanks for your documentation to this project. I got a few questions. I built the circuit according to your schematics on the PCB, although it does amplify (and surely sound like a mesa mark), the amplifier oscillates severely at high gain. How do you improve the stability of the amplifier?(I mean practically on the board layout) Should I connect the ground planes with vias? Should I place the components as compact as possible or should I separate them?

    • bancika says:

      Hey. I intentionally build my version on a larger board to leave some space between gain stages and components to avoid oscillations. Your board looks neat and packed on a small footprint but that can be problematic with such a high gain circuit.

  7. dan says:

    did you attempt to bias the pt2399 chip hotter, perhaps improving the tonality. the jfet is a good reasonable mod. any room for this in the cab? lobed in half.

    • bancika says:

      hmm, not sure how biasing PT2399 hotter would improve anything, or even how to bias it hotter. It’s a digital chip.
      As for that preamp, I doubt it.

  8. Luis Parker says:

    Great DIY guide! This is very helpful to a lot of people especially to those musicians, who don’t need to hire someone.

  9. Serg says:

    The blue color XLR3 – is it correct? According to the scheme – XLR2. Which is true??? Thanks.

  10. Eric Kelley says:

    Where did you purchase the raw material from?

  11. Charlie says:

    Hello, thanks for the amazing catalog of designs you’ve documented on this site! What would be a suitable voltage range for the filter capacitors on this board. I’m thinking 40V but don’t know a whole lot about power electronics, is that enough headroom?

  12. Dheer Chhabria says:

    Hi, do you have the PCB files or eagle files for this project

  13. Tommy Annefalk says:

    Díd you ever do the boost/gain stage mod? if so, how did it turn out?
    I find your projects very interesting and inspiring i am thinking about building a SLO clone soon and this mod is something that i would like to have, like having a built in Tube Screamer, awesome;)

    Peace from Sweden!

    • bancika says:

      Hey Tommy. I haven’t integrated a boost because that way I have flexibility of choosing different overdrive/boost pedals in front of the preamp…but it could be convenient to keep everything in a single package.

  14. Kenneth Ibanez says:

    Hi, do you still have the vector for the jpm picasso graphics?

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    The idea behind this site is to share my experience with Do It Yourself approach to guitars, amplifiers and pedals. Whether you want to save a couple of bucks by performing a mod or upgrade yourself instead of paying a tech, or want to build your own piece of gear from scratch, I'm sure you will find something interesting here. Also, this is the home of DIY Layout Creator, a free piece of software for drawing circuit layouts and schematics, written with DIY enthusiasts in mind.