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Thread: Anyone have experience with the Ceria Tone DC30 board or build?

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    Anyone have experience with the Ceria Tone DC30 board or build?

    Anyone have experience with the DC30 board or build? I have been thinking about building one. Whose transformers did you use? Who made your cabinet?

    Any experience with this let me know.

    Thanks.

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    Dc 30

    Built a non reverb DC30 some years back. For that purpose I would prefer to (and did) use the 30 watt set Dave West has (Westlabs.com). If you want to get other trannys I'd suggest a little overkill.

    Maybe a PT with secondaries at 265-0-265 vac at 350 ma, 5v at 4 amp (for the single/double rectifier option) and 6.3v at around 6 Amps. I like my PTs flux banded FWIW.

    The OT probably should be something along the lines of a 40-50 watt/4K pri-Z OT with multiple taps (4&8 or 8&16 should get it but all three would be nice). I'm certainly no expert but I like my OTs interleaved & laminations (EI is OK with me) made from M6 oriented steel. Dave Allen (Allen amps) has some really nice pieces along these lines.

    Built my own head & cab & I don't know anyone, other than perhaps mojotone, who does or would do a one-off of a matchless cab. Even still you'd have difficulty finding a chassis to fit.

    It is a great circuit! As an alternative you could build it as a head only. That way you could use something like a Weber 6A80 chassis (with some minor modification) & I'm sure you could find a head cabinet to fit that. You could make your own faceplate design in Corel Draw & have it laser cut at BNP lasers (Jeanne Kangas).

    The reason I suggest that chassis is, although I've not used it, that it looks as if you could shoehorn in the trannys with room to spare and still leave you with 2 octal & (using adapter plates) 8 nine pin sockets.

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    Philip Morrison

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    Thanks for the info. I do amp repair and got a Randall SS Head that is full size and the cabinet is in good shape for fairly low $$$ (the amp was torched, but it was a POS anyway). It has adequate size, vents, handles, and seems it will be fine. So I got the measurements on the ceriatone chassis and can place it in the cabinet. I would then just need to create a face and rear piece to cover the amp chassis as the ceriatone chassis is not as wide as the width of the openning for the randall chassis. I might use a hardwood and stain it to dress it up a bit.

    I do like the idea of a kit since Nik will have done much of the hard work sourcing the parts (except the trannies). I looked at several tranny option and probably will try the west labs as you and others have suggested. Nik says this will bolt right up to his chassis.

    Even with all of this I still will have a LOT of money into it - at least $1000 - and if I didn't already have the cab it would be closer to $1200. I know it will be less (a lot less) than a real matchless. But that still is a large chunk of change for me and for an amp that is just a head. Will it sound like a matchless? How happy are you with yours? Have you compared yours to the real deal? I could save a bit on the trannies, but that is something I don't like to skimp on.

    Also I don't skimp on tubes, I choose them carefully. What EF86 do you recommend? Sounds like the only new option is one made by Sovtek. What EF86 should I buy? Should I search and pay for NOS? I know the EL84s, GZ34s, and ECC83s quite well - but the EF86 is not one I have much experience with.

    I don't have any Matchless amps, nor do I have any EF86 amps - but I have played, worked on, and built a TON of other amps.

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    Bummer, I realize now that the chassis is made to hang (like a fender blackface era amp) rather than sit with the tubes upright like a marshall head. Bummer. I will have to modify the cab or to make different front and rear panels for the amp chassis because they will be upside down.

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    You don't have to skimp on the trannies!

    First get your trannies. The West set is under $300 last I looked and BTW they ARE the real deal. Exact, Dead On & CLONE come to mind when describing these trannies (plus it has the correct choke!). If thats too pricey use Heyboer (probably around $200) to get the specs I mentioned in the earlier post.

    Then get your chassis! Take a look around on the I-net. Would the one at Weber I mentioned before fit in the Randall Head? I'm sure someone would have one that would accomplsh the task. That should be around $100.

    Tubes & sockets should cost around $100. As for other parts well where are you located? Are you in the US, Europe etc. etc. There are plenty of guys on this forum from all over & some of them have accumulated mucho gobs of parts. I dare say you've got some standard value stuff too. The values used in the DC 30 are pretty standard. I think you could source the remainder of needed parts fairly cheap. Having the head already I think you could do this for $800-900 easily & maybe less.

    I've actually built three. Two DC30ish (one had the top boost circuit only) & one Lightning 210 (in each case I used the West iron). I used some 'modern' innovations on each like 1 watt carbon film resistors throughout (except for in the power rail & P-tube screen resistors. (I know its heresy but I couldn't help myself!) In comparison with the real thing in each case the owners of the real amps thought mine sounded just as good (better in the case of the Lightning) & one of them got pissed off! One friend of mine liked them so well that he bought one & still has it & uses after several years. I kept the lightning.

    The other 30 watter (top boost only version) has travelled a bit. Another friend begged for a trade before he moved to Nashville & swore he'd keep it. Blah Blah. I traded him for some stuff & he took it to Nashville and, after about 6 months promptly traded it off to a fellow who sold it on Ebay to a fellow from a Christian Rock band who then sold it on Ebay to a Lawyer in Hawaii. I know because my name has been bandied about on Ebay and these people keep contacting me to find out the 'history' of the amp. They all seem to like the amp though so I guess it's all good.

    I did nothing special on the Lightning but on the DC 30s I split the plate of the top boost initial stage so I could get about a 1/4 to a third gain reduction for certain types of songs. I liked the outcome of that experiment & so I put it in the second one. I don't know anything about new production EF86s so I wouldn't be a good Judge. Maybe start another thread over in the main forums & attract Shea's attention because he has a lot more experience with them than I.

    Reflecting back on the build notes I find that the Master Volume does very little to float my boat. YMMV. Additionally I used a G10/FR4 eyelet board & had five ground points. (1- AC cord safety ground; 2- PT secondaries CTs + 1st filter; 3- 'star' ground 4- OT grounded through out jack Fender Style & 5- Switchcraft In Jack grounded by chassis contact.) My Lightning amp was quieter than the original (I believe because of this grounding scheme) but we couldn't tell with the 30s.

    Other than that the only other thing I'll mention is that I used ceramic sockets for some reason on the power tubes & I think they worked out quite well as did the fan I put in there. Email me at the above addres & I'll see if I can dig up a parts list, board layout and a Schem for you if you don't have one.

    Caveat! These amps, whether 15 watt or 30 watt, are way loud when set up right with efficient speakers. Good Luck!

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    Philip Morrison

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    Thanks for the additional info.

    I am still considering nik's kit and getting the west labs trannies. I expect it will be loud. I am thinking of a head actually rather than a combo. I have a friend that might help me with the cabinet build if we just do a head. If I do a combo, I will have a pro build the cabinet for that.

    I just read a year old Tone Quest article online on Peter Stroud's (guitar player for Sheryl Crow - he is a great player and has awesome tone) London 65 amp and it sounds a lot like the DC30 with into 18W (2)EL84s to me. That is some further validation.

    They use the Sozo caps. I have been happy with the inexpensive newer mallory (and similar yellow) caps that are widely available in both the Fender and Marshall inspired builds I have done recently. They worked well for those builds. I don't always like the orange drops that a lot of folks can't live without.

    I don't have a parts list, but I do have two layouts and a couple schematics. I am thinking again of getting Nik's kit - I am expecting him to get back to me with a total for the parts i will get from him. I can build it and decide on the cabinet while I build it. If it turns out great and is cost effective, I will build more.

    I am in a pretty good mood in that I had put an old build aside about a year ago - and just dug into today and got it going. It is a marshall-inpired circuit pushing 4x6V6s. I can't get over how loud this thing is... my ears actually are ringing and hurt! I never heard 6V6s sound this forceful - with so much punch. It is very interesting. I have to do some more work on it to make sure i am not totally going to blow something because I am operating so far out of spec - so far it looks and sounds pretty good. LOTS of sustain. All of this is in a little chassis I bought from weber that looks like an old 40s PA system. Funky.

    TTYL

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    got some of the parts in

    The ceria tone chassis arrived today complete except for the trannies. It has AWESOME build quality. I have worked on MANY amps over years of repairs, and this is truly one of the best build qualities I have seen and seems to have good quality components as well. I don't have the West Labs trannies I ordered in yet, nor do I have my EF86 in. But this is a quality build. I am working on getting a cabinet made as well.

    Right now I have two Celestion Silver series 60w speakers. I likely will be changing them to something else later (not that the silver 60s are bad, they are good speakers but I may want others more). I will use what I have first.

    After talking to west labs they say there will be a substantial cost increase soon on their transformers. Just a heads up.

    I will be reporting back when more information is available.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorny
    After talking to west labs they say there will be a substantial cost increase soon on their transformers. Just a heads up.
    Hey, if I try that will you all buy more stuff from me?

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    Bruce

    Mission Amps
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    Ha!

    Yeah, Bruce! You ought to do that. Announce that you will have a huge increase and buy it now before prices go up.

    I was pretty set on the west labs or I would have tried Mercury, OEI, or Heyboer. I know you like Heyboer - and they make good stuff from your recommendation. I do have one of their 18w OT but have not built anything with it yet (but I will).

    Anyhow, do you have a favorite set for these types of amps? You don't have anything like that do you? I figured it pretty well is an AC30 set, but I don't know for certain.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    I think those West Lab trannys are all salvaged lot TMI transformers if I'm not mistaken.
    Bought for very very little money in one of those "buy it by the pound" kind of deals.
    In it's day, TMI made great transfomers.
    They probaly still do but over the last few years they got pretty big heads and were getting hard to work with so I switched over to Heyboer.

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    Bruce

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    Matchless Trannies

    These are the guys that make the matchless trannies.
    http://transformerdesignandsupply.com/

    I'd send them an email or a phone call, Bob is real nice and I don't think I paid a penny over $100 for a 15watt PT, OT and Choke set.

    They are the same ones that Westlabs sells, but a lot cheaper

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    Thanks all! I have it working!

    I appreciate the information and checked out the web site. I will talk to them when I build some more. I already ordered the Westlabs and they arrived yesterday. It was waiting for them, so I wired everything up last night and it works! It was too late to really try it out well, but so far so good. Also, I don't have my EF86s in yet so I could not test that channel. I have ordered 3 NOS mullards from England for it (expensive but I hope are worth it). I also ordered some of the EH EF86s from New Sensor but they were out of stock when I ordered. I considered the new tungsol (newsensor) EF806 but I thought they were too much and bought the real mullard instead. Anyhow - I need one but will have 5 when all is said and done. But I tend to do that, and I probably will find a use for them with all the builds and repairs going on. I don't have any experience with this tube so I have been asking a lot of questions.

    Does anyone know what tube they ship in their amps? Flying C? I have not heard anything good about that tube. I have not had a real (vintage) vox come in here. Dr. Z also has a few amps that use the EF86 too - but all the Dr. Zs I have seen around this neck of the woods are MAZs or Ghias (no EF86s in those). I wonder what he uses too. I expect they ship with something current from one of the Newsensor companies. Anyhow, I will have some to experiment with and see what kind of trouble I can get into!

    Thanks everyone.

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    Got Mullards - sounds good

    Got the mullard EF86s in and the amp sounds good - never got the EH ones in as they are backordered.

    It is more of a distorted amp than what I expected. This is not a bad thing- it just it rocks in both channels and I didn't get quite the headroom I expected with a dual humbucker equiped guitar. I am using a single rectifier too, have not tried a dual yet. Clicking the master in and out is a nice feature. All in all it is a very nice amp. Now I need to get a cabinet built for it, and it seems I am going for a "head" cabinet for now - not a combo.
    Thanks all for your help and input.

    Thorny

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    Is there an IEC code number set on the trannys from West Labs?
    I'd be curious to see if the guys from TMI were telling me stories a few years ago about building all those trannys for Matchless.

    Note that in Bob's Ebay auctions he doesn't say they "made" the old Matchless trannies but his father designed them...
    subtle but a clue

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    Bruce

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    PT 1052 0010
    OT 9960601
    CH 1052 013

    So 1052 and 996? who are they?

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    996 is from a company called Cortron who also made Fender replacements and designs for other companies. It hasn't been in business for something like ten years. The owner sold me his entire back stock a couple of years ago.

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    Senior Hollow State Tech Bruce / Mission Amps's Avatar
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    I think 1052 is either TMI of Chicago or Pacific Tansformer of Anaheim California.

    not sure who 996 is/was

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    Bruce

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    Thumbs up dc30 amp build

    Thorny, I built a dc30 clone on a gibson GA30 chassis using the original iron. I built the ef86 stage and the 12ax7 stage on an eyelet board and managed to install all within the inside of the u shape chassis. Output side uses 6V6's though not el84's and 5ar4 or 5y3 rectifier. (can't remeber) . I have ran the amp through celestion, JBLK120,s and a reconed fender speaker. Can't recall model#'s ( I'm at work right now). The dc30 has great harmonic distortion on the 12ax7 side , widely varying tone range. The ef86 side is OK not great I prefer the 12ax7 side. This amp with a Strat and tube screamer for just a slight boost is Fabulous. Humbuckers sraight in with the preamp dimed is very good as well. A/B channels through a switch box is kind of cool. Nicely voiced amp.
    Cgiff.

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    Thorny, I built a dc30 clone on a gibson GA30 chassis using the original iron. I built the ef86 stage and the 12ax7 stage on an eyelet board and managed to install all within the inside of the u shape chassis. Output side uses 6V6's though not el84's and 5ar4 or 5y3 rectifier. (can't remeber) . I have ran the amp through celestion, JBLK120,s and a reconed fender speaker. Can't recall model#'s ( I'm at work right now). The dc30 has great harmonic distortion on the 12ax7 side , widely varying tone range. The ef86 side is OK not great I prefer the 12ax7 side. This amp with a Strat and tube screamer for just a slight boost is Fabulous. Humbuckers sraight in with the preamp dimed is very good as well. A/B channels through a switch box is kind of cool. Nicely voiced amp.
    Cgiff.[/QUOTE]

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    That sounds awesome. So it sounds basically you did the preamp of the C30 using the guts from the Gibson.

    I must have done something right - a guy is buying my amp. I am in the process of getting a cabinet made for it. I have been using it without one.

    Thanks all for the advice. I may build another when time allows again. I also am thinking of some of the trainwreck designs too. I like a more conventional look though - so if I do I will have some plexi panels made for it - maybe even experiment with some changes.

    But first thing first. I have several builds yet to finish.

    Thorny

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    I've built (and sell) the Lightning and I second the Westlabs transformers. If the transfomers at http://transformerdesignandsupply.com/
    are the same, then I would definitely check them out too, since the Westlabs transformers are relatively high-priced transformers.

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    Loy Dockery
    Dockery Amps
    [URL="http://www.dockeryamps.com"]http://www.dockeryamps.com[/URL]

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    finished product

    This is how it turned out

    http://members.sigecom.net/jthornburg/rc30-1.jpg

    I can build cabs too for the Ceriatone chassis in either fingerjointed pine or birch ply. Let me know.

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