Bands/Artists, The Moment Easily Missed in Live Shows

I posed two questions recently through social media and to my personal contacts.

One, what would you do with an extra $1500? The majority answered they would book studio time. (Cocaine and hookers were not an option.)

So I asked, where do you make the most sales of your recorded music? The overwhelming majority answered at live show merchandise tables.


When I start thinking about going to a show (of any size) these days, and think of the audience, what they are doing, and why are they here of all places… Some talking, most listening, some dancing or grooving, and some on their phones. There is no getting around the social aspect of going out, and just because your band starts playing it doesn’t mean that all the attention in the room is going to be on you and your craft.


Here’s what I want bands to think about. You have a website like everyone else… but there is a moment in your live show that we need to look at and design (or redesign) your presentation around. What is that moment? That moment is right when a person connects to the free wifi of the house.


So bands, imagine if you will, that the venue has a splash/landing/home page that they keep updated, and that you could to slap an ad-ready image link right on it. Where would you have the link go… to your website? Wrong answer, your website is probably too “busy” and will loose this type of viewer. You need to think stream lined… a page specifically made for live events.


What would this page look like? Well, I see a Facebook “like” button, I see a free song download in exchange for an email address. I see a link to your available on site merchandise, and possibly even your set list and lyrics. I can also see other possibilities for certain groups/types of music in the Oculous Rift future.


Why would this be to your advantage?

First off, you have a shot at grabbing attention before they get lost in the web while waiting around for the music to start.

You have a chance to grow your email list, and up your Facebook like count, right there on the spot. You can then use your email list to promote your shows, offer discounted downloads, show off new merchandise, get an initial bump in views on any videos you put out…You also give the audience a chance to know your music better with access to lyrics.

It will be better to say… “Just connect to (venue) homepage right now and click our link” rather then “It’s available on our website blahblahblah.com” that folks aren’t going to sit there and type in to the browser. (Clicks are good, drunk typing is bad.) This promotes action to be taken now.. false immediacy works very well.


If this sounds like a good opportunity to you, I would love to work with you to make this happen with venues in your area. I am currently working with venues in my area to organize their networks to better utilize the point of connection moment.

Send me a message,

Ryan

 

DIY 5f1 Champ Style Amplifier Cost Breakdown

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Full PDF Download Available @ Scribd

 

Amp Parts 5f1 Champ Style

There is no thrill like plugging in a guitar and playing through an amplifier that you put together yourself. You are building a piece to be passed on and with upkeep can be played and passed on for generations to come.

Perhaps this is project for you and your son/daughter/nephew/niece to undertake together. It could be science project, or just something you do out in the garage.

I’ve been assembling these small amps for a few years now. I’ve decided that these amplifiers sell better as a project than something already assembled. You just get more out of it, and you get to understand the signal process a little bit.

So what I am doing here is giving you a Buyer’s Guide. I am taking my knowledge, from all the hours I have spent tracking down the best cost options and sharing that work with you.

I am also pointing you to a few resources along the way. This report is not to be taken as building instructions, as working with high voltage discharge capacitors can be lethal and I do not want to own that liability.

But don’t let that scare you, just be safe and smart and you should have no issues.

I am showing you exactly the best places to purchase your materials, and how to get the most out of your dollar. As you will see, this knowledge can be worth $25 to $200 in savings. That may not seem like a lot, but let’s also give credit to the time you won’t have to spend looking around for parts… Hard to value that, as time is the most valuable thing we have.  

Please note that shipping charges may vary depending on your location. The cost given are what was priced to me living in the Midwest USA.


 

Warnings

These amplifiers are pretty much entry level builds, so don’t be scared.

Please pay particular attention to the Grounding Loop of the circuit and make sure the amp is grounded properly.

Electrolyte Capacitors have a + and – side, so pay attention that you solder them in correctly.

Please NEVER poke around inside your amplifier when plugged in. You can use wooden “chopsticks” if you need to move a wire, or check a solder point.

Please NEVER poke around inside your amplifier right after unplugging it. The capacitors still hold a charge. Wait 25 to 30 minutes for the capacitor charge to bleed off before sticking your hands, soldering iron, or screwdriver in there.

NEVER operate your tube amplifier without a Speaker Load.


 

Tools and Supplies

A general list for assembly.

Soldering Iron: 35 – 40 watt soldering iron with a small chiseled tip.

Solder: 60/40 or 66/44 Rosin Core Solder. (No Flux necessary.)

Screwdriver

Small Wrench

Wire Cutters

Needle Nose Pliers: Short and Long

Voltage Ohm MultiMeter: AC/DC and Ohm readings

 

 


 

 

Building Tips

  •     Take cardboard and poke holes for your 2 Input jacks, mount them on the cardboard, then solder all the connections between the 2 jacks.
  •     Double Check Polarity of all Electrolyte Capacitors
  •     Keep your wire runs short and neat.
  •     Consult the internet for amp building forums and advice
  •     Use your Ohm setting on your MultiMeter to check the value of resistors
  •     Do not go by color on Layouts, check your transformer information for which color leads are which voltage.
  •     Match your Output Transformer with Speaker – (example: 8 ohm speaker – 8k leads)

Check out this: Online Impedance Calculator


 

5f1 Schematics and Layout Links

5f1 Schematic

5f1 Layout

 

 

 


 

5f1 Option 1 – Cheap

Option 1:

  1.    Order a complete 5f1 kit from Mable Audio.
  2.    Order a Cabinet and Speaker from Weber Speakers.

Cost:

Mable – $203 (UPS shipping)

Weber – $244 (estimated $36 for shipping)

Total: $447 (all shipping included)

The lowest price all inclusive kit I can find is a MojoTone Kit available through a seller on Reverb.com.  It is $399 plus $50 shipping.

Total: $449 (all shipping included)

Here is the same MojoTone Kit listed for $465 plus $40 shipping

*Keep an eye out at Weber Speakers for their 15% off sale, this makes the Weber Kit the best buy in the cheap category.

Weber Speakers 5f1 Kit – $479 – 71.85 = $407.15 + $36 shipping = $443.15

Total: $443.15 (all shipping included)


 

5f1- Build Your Own Cabinet

  •     Build your own cabinet: Buy Pine, Birch, Wood Glue, and 3M Super 77 from your local hardware store.
  •     Order Tolex and Grill Cloth from an eBay retailer.

I am guessing you could build a cabinet for $100, provided you have the woodworking equipment. (Less if you want a plain wood cabinet.)

So that would make your Option 1 cost roughly:

Mable – $203

Weber – $50 (estimated $17 for shipping)

Home built cabinet – $100

Total: $353 (Or less if you want a bare wood cabinet.)


 

5f1 – eBay Kits

You can get many of these parts and incomplete kits on eBay, however why pay the middleman?

I could order an incomplete kit (needs tubes, transformers, speaker, and cabinet) from a popular eBay seller for $129 plus $16 shipping.

Then have to order tubes, and transformers, to get what I can get from Mable Audio for $203 shipped.

If you take the eBay route:

Incomplete Kit – $145 from eBay.

Transformers – $65

Tubes – $38

Total: $248 (for what you can get from Mable Audio for $203!)

 

So to complete the eBay amplifier:

Boothill Kit – $145 (shipping included)

Weber Cabinet – $175

12AX7B – Pre Amp Tube – $7.09

WY3GT Copper Cap Rectifier -$23

6v6GT – Power Tube – $7.62

Speaker  8 Ohm Ceramic (AlNico +$12) – $33

Power Transformer – $44.10

Output Transformer – $26.25

Sub Total: 461.06

Shipping – $39.95

Total – $501.01


 

5f1 Option 2 – Itemized

This is a great amplifier for the price. This amp features Sprague Atom Capacitors, Mallory Tone Caps, and a Magnatone – Classictone USA made Output transformer. An amplifier of this caliber should sell for $550 – $625 new, and good condition used $400 – $500.

5f1 Option 2 – Fasteners

These items can be found at fastenal.com

4 – Nut #8-32 w Washer

Mounting Speaker

4 -Nut and Washer #6-32×5/8

Various

8 – Bolt, machine, #4-40×3/8, with nut and star washer

Mounting Tube Sockets/Various

2 – #6-32×5/8 Nylon Stand-off with Bolts

Mounting Circuit Board

2 – 1.5” Bolt – Chrome w Washer and Nuts

Chassis to Cabinet

Approximate cost: $12

 

5f1 Option 2 – Weber Speakers

1 – 5f1 Cabinet – Finished – $175

1 – Speaker  8 Ohm Ceramic (AlNico +$12) – $33

1 – WY3GT Copper Cap Rectifier -$23

1 – 6v6GT – Power Tube – $7.62

1 – 12AX7B – Pre Amp Tube – $7.09

1 – Power Cord – $2.10

2 – Fuse 2A (1 and 1 spare) – $1.26

1 – Fuse Holder – $1.47

1- Pilot Light – $3.52

2 – Grommet 9/16 – $0.26

4 Spacer (mount 8 pin socket to chassis, flush) – $0.16

1 – Strain Relief – $0.37

1 – 1M Pot – $2.16

1 – ¼ Angle Plug Mono – $1.84

2 – Resistor 1.5k 1/2w – $0.22

1 – Resistor 22k 1/2w – $0.11

2 – Resistor 68k 1/2w – $0.22

2 – Resistor 100k 1/2w – $0.32

1 – Resistor 220k 1/2w – $0.11

1 – Resistor 1M ½ – $0.11

1 – Resistor 10k 2W – $0.19

1 – Resistor 22k 2w – $0.19

1 – Resistor 470 Ohm 5w – $0.37

3ft – Red Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Yellow Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Green Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Black Cloth Wire (Amp to Speaker) – $1.11

3ft – White Cloth Wire (Amp to Speaker) – $1.11

1 – Power Transformer – $44.10


Running Total:

Fasteners – $12

Weber – $310.34


5f1Option 2 – Mable Audio

1 – 5f1 Chassis – $18

1 – 5f1 Turret Board – $3.50

2 – Tube Socket Octal – $1.80

1 – Tube Socket 9 Pin – $1.30

1 – Tube Retainer – $1.05

1 – ¼ Jack (4 pcs – You will use 3 of them) – $3.60


Running Total:

Fasteners – $12

Weber – $310.34

Mable – $29.25


 

5f1 Option 2 – Watts Tube Audio

1 – ClassicTone Output Transformer -$25.99

2 – Capacitor 25uf 25v – $5.50

2 – Capacitor 8uf 450v – $4.50

1 – Capacitor 16uf 450v  (475v is ok) – $12.50

2 – Capacitor .022uf 630v – $1.58


Running Total:

Fasteners – $12

Weber – $310.34

Mable – $29.25

Watts – $50.07

Sub Total – $401.66

Shipping – $90

Grand Total – $491.66


5f1 – Tips on Option 2

  •     Build your own cabinet – Save $$$
  •     Order the 25uf 25v Cathode Bypass Caps from Weber Speakers instead of name brand from Watts Tube Audio.
  •     You can order a ClassicTone transformer bundle at Triode Electronics as a backup plan. This will be about $15 (after shipping) more than ordering the Weber PT and the Watts OT, however it will be a nice USA made transformer set, and more importantly, Triode never seems to be out of stock on it.

*Triode Electronics has a 5f1 Kit very similar to what Option 2 – 5f1 is.  

So let’s price it:

Triode 5f1 Kit – $199.95 (Needs Cabinet, Speaker, Chassis, Tubes)

Weber – $245 (Cabinet, Tubes, Speaker)

Mable – $18 (Chassis)

Shipping- $95

Total – $557.95


 

5f1 – Option 3 – Primo

This amp features a premium AlNico Speaker, Jupiter (handmade) Tone Caps, and Mercury Magnetics Power and Output Transformers. There is room for improvement in the tubes, I admit.

Option 3 is great if you want to go all out. It will have the highest resale value based on the brand name components. This is really comparable to something like a Victoria 518 that sells for $1149.

 

5f1 Option 3 – Mable Audio

1 – 5f1 Chassis – $18

1 – 5f1 Turret Board – $3.50

2 – Tube Socket Octal – $1.80

1 – Tube Socket 9 Pin – $1.30

1 – Tube Retainer – $1.05

1 – ¼ Jack (4 pcs – You will use 3 of them) – $3.60

Mable Audio – $29.25


 

5f1 Option 3 – Fasteners

These items can be found at fastenal.com

4 – Nut #8-32 w Washer

Mounting Speaker

4 -Nut and Washer #6-32×5/8

Various

8 – Bolt, machine, #4-40×3/8, with nut and star washer

Mounting Tube Sockets/Various

2 – #6-32×5/8 Nylon Stand-off with Bolts

Mounting Circuit Board

2 – 1.5” Bolt – Chrome w Washer and Nuts

Chassis to Cabinet

Approximate cost: $12


 

5f1 Option 3 – Weber Speakers

1 – 5f1 Cabinet – Finished – $175

1 – Speaker 8” AlNico – Vintage Series – 4ohm – $80

1 – WY3GT Copper Cap Rectifier -$23

1 – 6v6GT – Power Tube – $7.62

1 – 12AX7B – Pre Amp Tube – $7.09

1 – Power Cord – $2.10

2 – Fuse 2A (1 and 1 spare) – $1.26

1 – Fuse Holder – $1.47

1- Pilot Light – $3.52

2 – Grommet 9/16 – $0.26

4 – Spacer (mount 8 pin socket to chassis, flush) – $0.16

1 – Strain Relief – $0.37

1 – 1M Pot – $2.16

1 – ¼ Angle Plug Mono – $1.84

2 – Resistor 1.5k 1/2w – $0.22

1 – Resistor 22k 1/2w – $0.11

2 – Resistor 68k 1/2w – $0.22

2 – Resistor 100k 1/2w – $0.32

1 – Resistor 220k 1/2w – $0.11

1 – Resistor 1M ½ – $0.11

1 – Resistor 10k 2W – $0.19

1 – Resistor 22k 2w – $0.19

1 – Resistor 470 Ohm 5w – $0.37

3ft – Red Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Yellow Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Green Cloth Wire – $1.11

3ft – Black Cloth Wire (Amp to Speaker) – $1.11

3ft – White Cloth Wire (Amp to Speaker) – $1.11

1 – Mercury Mag. Output Transformer – $58.85

1 – Mercury Mag. Power Transformer – $85.95


 

Mable – $29.25

Fasteners – $12.00

Weber – $458.04


 

5f1 Option 3 – Watts Tube Audio

2 – Capacitor 25uf 25v – $5.50

2 – Capacitor 8uf 450v – $4.50

1 – Capacitor 16uf 450v  (475v is ok) – $2.25


Mable – $29.25

Fasteners – $12.00

Weber – $458.04

Watts -$12.25


 

5f1 Option 3 – Vintage Amp Repair

2 – Capacitor .02 – Juipter – $11.90 (replaces .022 caps)


Mable – $29.25

Fasteners – $12.00

Weber – $458.04

Watts – $12.25

Vintage Amp – $11.90

Sub Total – $523.44

Shipping – $95

Option 3 Total – $618.44


 

  • Order a Weber Signature Series AlNico Speaker instead and this build could cost you $584
  • Build your own cabinet and this amp could cost around $540
  • Build your own cabinet and get a standard AlNico Speaker and this build could cost around $508.

 


 

 

5f1 Pricing Recap

Complete 5f1 Amplifer Pricing as of February 2016, with all shipping included:

Weber 5f1 kit – $443.15 (Only during the 15% off sales)

Option 1 – $447 (Generic Components, Weber Speaker)

MojoTone Kit from Reverb.com – $449.00


eBay Kit – $501.01 (Generic Components, Weber Speaker)

Option 2 – $481.25 (Name Brand Output Transformer, Name Brand Capacitors, Weber Speaker)

Triode Kit – $555.95 (Name Brand Transformers, Name Brand Capacitors, Weber Speaker)

Watts Tube Audio Kit – $593 (Name Brand Transformers, Name Brand Capacitors, Weber Speaker)


 Option 3 – $584 or $618.44 (Sprague Atom Capacitors, Jupiter Condenser “Vintage Tone” Premium Capacitors, Premium Mercury Transformers, Weber AlNico Speaker or Premium Vintage Series AlNico)

Triode Kit – $658.75 or $693.03 (With Mercury Transformers and Weber AlNico Speaker or Premium Vintage Series AlNico)


 

Keep in mind, the shipping costs could vary depending on your location.

 

 

My Favorite Studio Microphones

These are my favorite studio mics to work with. It’s not always that I get to use them all, but these are my want list for most any studio projects. What are your favorites?  Feel free to comment below.

Classic Shure SM57

 

Shure Beta 52a

Shure SM81

Sennheiser 865

AT 4050

Sennheiser 906

Neumann U87

Neumann TLM 102

Audix SCX1

Audix D6

Audix D2

Sennheiser 441

Sennheiser 421

EV RE 20

Crown PZM 30

My First Acoustic Guitar

I’m not sure this was the exact model, but I know I had an entry level Yamaha acoustic guitar. I’m sure this is very similar to what they where selling over 20 years ago.

I put this guitar through hell, and it stood up to it and laughed at me… even asked for more. As a guitar, it was decent enough to learn and practice on. It ended up being a nice beater to have around the house. It also was the guitar that you could let your friends play on when they came over to hang out. “Oops it fell”, was no big deal.

At one time, towards the end of its’ life, I wrapped it in duct tape. For what reason, I don’t know… I guess I wanted a grey guitar that I could write and draw on with magic marker.

I ended up smashing this guitar at my hang out spot at Monroe Lake – just outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Pretty much right across the street from John Mellencamp’s house… which, by the way, isn’t little nor is it pink.

Yamaha F335 Acoustic Guitar Natural

Modifications/add ons:

Shubb GC-30 Deluxe Acoustic Guitar Capo – Stainless Steel

Seymour Duncan 1150030 Woody Series SC SA-3SC – Single Coil Acoustic Guitar Pickup

3M Utility Duct Tape 2929 Silver, 1.88 in x 50 yd 5.8 mils

On Stage XCG4 Black Tripod Guitar Stand

Any Old Cheap Guitar Strap

Total cost now – $232.85 (without duct tape)

 

My #1 Electric Guitar – Maggie May

For the price, I love this guitar. It’s been with me for 25 years. I remember buying it mail ordered from those old magazines we use to get. Sending the money order and waiting…

What I like about a cheap guitar is that I could modify it and really make it my own. I found that beer bottle caps fit wonderfully over the speed knobs. I really liked the high powered pickup to give me some nice harmonic rich feedback. The paper in oil caps didn’t really seem to make much difference except in my mind, just knowing they are there makes me feel like I am playing a high dollar guitar.

I had a plexi glass pick guard cut and added it. I also burnt the line from Rod Stewarts Maggie May “Find yourself a rock-n-roll band that needs a helping hand” into the back.

Epiphone G400 – $319

Modifications:

Seymour Duncan – 59 Neck Pick Up – $63.99

Seymour Duncan – SH 15 High Output Bridge Pick Up – $82.95

Wiring Harness CTS 500K Pots Switchcraft PIO Caps – $59.99

Strings:

SIT 1046 Nickle Light – $4.19

So it looks like I could put together a 25th Anniversary version of my #1 for about $535. I actually might do this just for fun.