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Thread: Amp build: Allen Sweet Spot

  1. #1
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    Default Amp build: Allen Sweet Spot

    I've been looking around at smaller Fender "Blackface" era amps (Deluxe Reverb, Princeton Reverb) for a while, hoping to find one in good condition and (preferably) with all original parts, with the exception of the tubes and filter caps. But after missing out on a couple of good deals and seeing a mixture of amps that were either (1) stunning vintage examples and priced accordingly, or (2) more reasonably priced but with less desirable pedigrees, I decided it was time to scratch the Blackface itch in some other way.

    I started looking around at kits, and the name of Allen Amplification kept coming up. As I understand it, it's a one man operation run by David Allen, and has a reputation for top quality amps based upon the classic vintage Fender designs, but with some more modern design improvements. In addition to selling completed amps, David also offers his various designs in kit form. I was looking for a reasonably low wattage amp with both reverb and tremolo, and I found that his Sweet Spot amp, based upon the Princeton Reverb, fit the bill perfectly. Allen's amps and kits are certainly not the cheapest available, but they have a great reputation for quality, design excellence, customer service and--most importantly--great tone. I placed my order on Wed. Apr. 29, and the chassis kit was delivered last Friday, May 3. I went with a 1x12 combo, but the cabinets are built to order and take about 6 weeks.

    The Sweet Spot is what David calls a "bares bones" kit, so it does not come with detailed, step by step instructions and is therefore intended for reasonably experienced builders. The kit documentation included a parts list, schematic, layout diagrams of the main eyelet board, filter cap board and chassis wiring, assembly tips, and operating instructions. Going through the kit contents, I found that there had been one oversight--a bag full of hardware had been left out. I contacted David by e-mail on Saturday and received a response within a few hours, and the missing parts will be on their way on Monday. Now, that's the kind of customer service I was hoping for!

    Even with the missing hardware, I still had plenty I could work on. I populated both eyelet boards, including connecting the "flying leads", mounted the control pots, input jacks, tube sockets and several other parts on the chassis. I also wired the resistors into the input jacks and power tube sockets, did most of the wiring between the control pots, and connected the bright switch. That's pretty much as far as I can go now until the missing hardware arrives. Here are some photos of the progress so far:














    And here's a special graphic for Rev Rawk:

    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  2. #2
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    Hehehehe. Looks like it's a serious amph! I can't imagine trying to build one without a lot of hand holding.
    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  3. #3
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    Wow........you da man Vood. Sweet looking build. Looking forward to the completed amp and how it compares with your Champlifier. What gets jettisoned with the new kid coming into the fold?? lol

  4. #4
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    Default Amp build: Allen Sweet Spot

    Sweet! I would love to have such an amp. After someone has built it though
    The Law of Gravity is nonsense. No such law exists. If I think I float, and you think I float, then it happens.
    Master Guitar Academy - I also teach via SKYPE.

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    Dang, the Sweet Spot is the Allen I've been GASing over the most! Allen's are supposed to be incredible, so you should really like this one.


  6. #6
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    Wow, DVM skillz.... ironically, I was looking at these recently, then common sense took over.

  7. #7
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    Received the missing hardware on Wed. and dove back in. Finished wiring it up on Thursday evening, but too late to test. Plugged her in last night, and son of a gun--everything worked the first time!

    It'll be a while until the cabinet & reverb tank arrive, but that won't stop me from playing through the "naked chassis" until then! I've only had a few minutes through it at this point, but what a gorgeous, Fenderesque tone! More on that after I've logged some significant time on it.

    Here's a bunch more photos:





    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  8. #8
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    More:











    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  9. #9
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    Awesome, DVM!

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    Damn.........you do some NICE work Vood.

  11. #11
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    Axen: Jackson DK2M, Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster, ESP LTD Surveyor-414
    Amphen: Jet City JCA22H and JCA12S cab, Acoustic B20
    Effecten: "Thesis 96" Overdrive/Boost (aka DVM OD2), Hardwire DL-8 Digital Delay/Looper, DigiTech Polara Reverb, DigiTech EX-7 Expression Factory and CF-7 Chorus Factory, Danelectro CF-1 Cool Cat Fuzz
    "I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!"--Carl Brutananadilewski

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnold View Post


  13. #13
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    Geez, this thing sounds great! For a fairly low wattage amp (18W with 6V6's, ~25W with 6L6's), it has a beautiful sounding bottom end--great taut, thumpy bass even through a single 12" speaker. I've been playing it quite a bit through my 2x12 cab with a pair of Greenbacks, and it sounds just huge. Not surprisingly, the amp really excels at cleans--just great clarity and bell-like tones. I was a bit concerned that the highs might be a bit piercing, but that doesn't seem to be a problem at all. The bridge pickup on my AmStd Strat can be pretty ice-picky through a couple of my amps, but it sounds great through the Sweet Spot (so maybe I'll use it more!). The "middle/raw" control is very cool--acts like a simple mids control up to about 3, and then starts to add gain and dial out the effect of the tone stack. Basically, you're adding back in the signal that would normally be bled off through the tone stack.

    I really haven't been able to crank the amp up enough to check out its overdriven tone in my small "cave", but I'll try running it through my MiniMASS attenuator and check that out before too long. In the meantime, I'll use pedals, which the amp seems to take very well. Unfortunately, David tells me that there are nine cabinets ahead of mine in his production queue, so it's going to be a few weeks before I get to mount it into the cab with the Weber 12F150T speaker I picked up on eBay for it. No big deal--will just continue to run it through one of my two speaker cabs in the meantime....
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by piebaldpython View Post
    Wow........you da man Vood. Sweet looking build. Looking forward to the completed amp and how it compares with your Champlifier. What gets jettisoned with the new kid coming into the fold?? lol
    yes?? What does get Jettisoned???

    Remember, PBP, that Champlifier now calls Chicago home, and gets schlepped from cave, to class, to bar, to cave...weekly. Gets lots of love. And keeps me checking for DVM clearance sales regularly.


    If I could get the tone of this Champ a small venue giggable volume.....well, that'd be it.

    just this past Friday night....

    One pedal one amp, both DVM builds.



    Mic'd the Champ with a SM-57 and ran it through the PA.
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been" - Eliot

    Guilars: '02 Heritage H-535 ASB; '04 Larrivée LV-03 w/Fishman Blend; '95 Washburn/Bourgeios D-55SW Cherokee
    Amphs: Boogie DC-2; DVM/BYOC Tweed Champlifier; Marshall AS50D
    Currently on Board: Ditto Looper; Boss TU-2; EB VP Jr; crybaby; DVM Spring Fever; DVM Mini Klone, Brena Effects Cali-Tremor tremolo; Strymon El Capistan

  15. #15
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    Bad news for you gear vultures--the Sweet Spot is exempt from the "one-in-one-out" rule (special circumstance, don't ask). So nothing planned to go on the block at this point. Sorry to disappoint....

    Sounds like you could use one of these, TK: http://byocelectronics.com/amps-cabs...oyalcombo.html
    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  16. #16
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    "Special circumstance".....what kind of crappola is that? lol

    Tio, yes I know the Champlifier is in Chicago. But I figured that since DVM is NOT yet a doddering-old-coot, lol, that he would probably remember (or have sound clips) of how the Champ sounded and be able to compare/contrast his 2 hand/built amps.

    Yes, I saw the link....and NO you, or anybody else for that matter, do not want me near a soldering iron. Plus, the money I thought I would have for one never materialized. SIGH!!! Still, it's nice to dream about having one.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by duhvoodooman View Post
    Bad news for you gear vultures--the Sweet Spot is exempt from the "one-in-one-out" rule (special circumstance, don't ask). So nothing planned to go on the block at this point. Sorry to disappoint....

    Sounds like you could use one of these, TK: http://byocelectronics.com/amps-cabs...oyalcombo.html
    Yep, I couldn't agree more, and I was hoping that's exactly what you might have thought about moving. Rather have one "from the bench of DVM".

    speaking of which (before you forget how it sounds, with the Sweet Spot coming online....) How are you feeling about that Royal?

    Last night at class, I forgot my Klone at home somehow, so I had to turn the amp up to 7 to get the breakup, played my RS-2, bridge, and TORE through a mash up of Dear Mr. fantasy/Can't you see/Dear Mr. Fantasy....good lord I just love this box, vood. Really. I know it's getting old, but it's arguably the most satisfying purchase I've made since embarking on this journey.
    "It's never too late to be what you might have been" - Eliot

    Guilars: '02 Heritage H-535 ASB; '04 Larrivée LV-03 w/Fishman Blend; '95 Washburn/Bourgeios D-55SW Cherokee
    Amphs: Boogie DC-2; DVM/BYOC Tweed Champlifier; Marshall AS50D
    Currently on Board: Ditto Looper; Boss TU-2; EB VP Jr; crybaby; DVM Spring Fever; DVM Mini Klone, Brena Effects Cali-Tremor tremolo; Strymon El Capistan

  18. #18
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    The 1x12 Sweet Spot cabinet arrived today, and I mounted the chassis and a Weber 12F150T speaker I picked up on eBay. I was out of the house most of the evening, so I really haven't had a chance to play it in the cab yet, except for a quick functional test & confirmation that the reverb works (it sure does!). Also installed a pair of SED "Winged C" 6L6GC power tubes and got them properly biased, so looking forward to making some serious noise tomorrow.

    Pics of the finished amp:





    DVM's Ever-Expanding Gear List:

    Guitars - '05 Gibson Historic '59 RI (R9); '11 PRS Studio; '08 Heritage H-555; '12 Fender Am. Std. Strat; '89 Fender Strat Plus; '02 Fender Telecaster '72 Thinline RI; '15 Gretsch G5420T Electromatic; '97 Godin LGX; '12 G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Bluesboy SH; " Kwik-Keef Konvertible" '09 Squier CV '50s Tele; '10 Squier CV Tele Custom; '13 Cabronita Thinline Tele; '14 Squier CV Strat HSS; '15 Squier CV "Humcaster" homemade Strat; '15 Squier CV "Lipstick Fiesta" homemade Strat; '10 Agile AL-3000; '12 Xaviere XV-890HSS; '09 Hagstrom Ultra Swede; '15 Slick SL60; '16 Slick SL-57; '16 SX Ursa2 MN5 Bass; '05 Martin HD-28; '12 Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE; '71 Yamaha FG-300

    Amps & Cabs - Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 head; Mojave Coyote head; Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Lacquered Tweed Ltd. Ed.; Allen Sweet Spot kit amp; BYOC Tweed Royal kit amp; Homebuilt 1.5W Firefly Head; Epiphone Valve Jr. combo + mods; Drive 2x12 cab / Celestion G12M Greenback + G12H30; AB Custom Audio 1x12 cab / Celestion Alnico Blue

    Pedals/Effects - ZILLIONS, including DVM's Home-built Pedals - See some HERE and HERE, TOO!

    DVM's Gear Photos
    Visit MY WEBSITE!



  19. #19
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    It looks great! I like the bias jacks being so convenient.
    It has been said that Allen amps do Fender better than Fender. Inquiring minds want to know.

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