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Unread 06-29-2010, 04:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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kustom defender 5h many pics











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Unread 06-29-2010, 04:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

You going to Mod that?
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Unread 06-29-2010, 04:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics








this amp sounds much better than any of those clips.
I have no idea how they managed to screw that up.
It's quiet. Not quite as loud as a vj. It's got a bit less mushy lows.
It's tiny, hard to get bigger caps in there on the B+, might have to be choosy about size if you wanted a new OT. I suggest MPS010 from MatnDonna on ebay but check dimensions.
Lotta 1/2 W resistors, tiny caps, brown import caps, a few better resistors. Overall,
they save cash on the PT and chassis/cab combination
Very clean design really, and well done.

GC was FAST and the amp is well worth the money in my view, period.
For a modding platform, a bit more problematic than the VJs, and certainly not as nice as their cab. You could probably fit this into the vj cab.

Glad I bought it, will be fun to mod.
For non modders, I think this is one solid introduction to tubes, and a very nice home/rock jam amp.. enough cleans for church guys!.. and pretty darn nice consdering the money alone. But nice in general in my view.
I'll stick some JJs in there and A/B it with some different speakers.

with an 8" speaker I bet this is near perfect for bedroom use.. that would cut the volume enough that you should be able to get dirty and not get yelled at.
in an apartment, not so much.
with a 12", the way I ran it, it's pretty loud, but not as loud as a vj. On the other hand it's got a slightly better low end -- to my ears and in a pretty quick test.

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Unread 06-29-2010, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

interesting. thanks for taking one for the team and letting us know what you think about the amp
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Unread 06-29-2010, 05:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Too cheap to pass up, Ben!

LPjr. Most likely, as soon as I get caught up on my work.
I need to figure it out a bit, it's not identical to a vj but very very close.
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Unread 06-29-2010, 05:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Cool! I was curious about those.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 04:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Personally, I like the look of the Defender's chassis better than the VJ Cab. The VJ just looks like a waste of space, while the Defender stays small in style. I know that the smaller Cab calls for smaller Caps, and smaller Transformers, but if TWANG gives it such a good review off the bat, than it must be better than a stock VJ.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 12:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I can't agree there.
First off.
the VJ has a better Power transformer. Ships with better tubes.
The chassis on the kustom is all metal and light, but it's also vented like mad to make up for that.
One spill and you're in big trouble.

The parts inside as you can see are much smaller... those may even be 1/4 watt resistors.
the smaller caps look like they belong in a pedal. and not an expensive pedal.

the amps volume is not as great, and the layout is slightly different.. dont know exactly the changes, need time to look closer.
but the reason the lows don't mush like an epis probably has to do with the way it compresses so much more when cranked, and the way the volume is less

Overall, I'd say this ought to make a decent platform for mods.
It's near toy like in some aspects, the single ended design and tubes saving it from that category.
I like it, just fine, and will have some fun with it.

The vj cab.... well that's taste. that's a LOT of cabinet and well made for the money.. and by a lot, I mean a very good deal.
It's safer, for sure. You could spend a hundred bucks just getting someone to build a cab like that.

The KD5H has other smaller issues in it's design but I do say.. I think it's worth the money.
And if you have some experience with modding you'll have a lot of fun and a nice amp when you're done.

Better than a modded vj? nope. as good sounding, I'd say yes.
But you'll have to work a little harder, and probably spend a tick more here and there.
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Unread 07-01-2010, 12:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I totally agree with the VJ cabs being great for the money. I run 2 of them, and am very happy. If you want more out of them, just change the speaker.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 07:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I put a 12AU7 preamp tube in it..
lots less power in these.
clean almost all the way up.sounded really nice, too.
don't put a sovtek or other power amp tube in.. you have to change a resistor value first.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 08:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Hey, Twang, thanks for the info. I was that close (holding fingers close like Maxwell Smart) to getting one with the GC 20% coupon. But, I had to pass since I already have an Epi Valve Sr., a Marshall Class 5, and a Blackstar HT-5. But, I am still very tempted. :-)
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Unread 07-04-2010, 02:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I'm modding mine already.
Put in a few caps and changed one resistor.
Looks like 300v at pin 9.
haven't checked all the voltages or bias calc.yet.
But it sounds better!

I need to get a 12AY7 tube, don't have one and want to hear that.
the AU7 is nice but not enough volume.

Still glad I bought it! In fact, at that price should have gotten another one to do later.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 04:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

new tone pot
conjunctive filter new caps
new resistors
gain pot but not hooked up yet.
moved logo to bottom
got 319 at the plate.. actually a little less when calc. bias.
panels dirty..
will add a master volume control to the right of the other aluminum knobs.
nobody seems interested in this much lately so I'll forego additional posts.
sounds really good.. love the tone control..


before cf and tone


after cf and tone
drag the amp likes this.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I'm interested, TWANG. I've been watching the progress. I just haven't posted as it is a bit beyond my capabilities.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I can't wait to see how you rate it compared to your modded VJs.
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Unread 07-07-2010, 07:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by firesgt911 View Post
I totally agree with the VJ cabs being great for the money. I run 2 of them, and am very happy. If you want more out of them, just change the speaker.
Isnt the speaker WELDED into place on the VJ cab?
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Unread 07-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Ok good. glad I'm not alone.

I'll get the gain pot in over the weekend. And probably the lo input for dual input.
Maybe a master volume.. I'll try that without drilling a hole and see if I like it.. then I can put a gain or bright switc in if I don't.

Right now.. the main difference between this and a vj modded the exact same way is pretty small.
The KH tends to want to feed back if you stand real close to it..
but hey.. it's neat feedback. with tone! So that's kinda cool.
I don't think it takes pedals nearly as well as the vj... it's got a slighlty different front end, so the lo input is going to not only cure that but be a really good thing to have.
I'm starting to like the look of it. I think with four aluminum knobs on the front
with standby toggle and extra matching input, it will look pretty serious.

The last thing I'll do after fuse holder on the back is rig up an NFB on a three way.

I'm doing one for another guy, so I think if mine sounds good, I'll leave it as it is at that point. His will probably get the big Weber OT or a Hammond.

I like the way you can see inside the thing.. all the big orange caps look like fire from outside. *L*
---------
vj speakers aren't welded into anything. I don't know how you got that idea.
I've changed speakers in mine several times.
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Unread 07-09-2010, 03:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Standard 64 View Post
Isnt the speaker WELDED into place on the VJ cab?
Huh? How would you weld steel to plywood I wonder?
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Unread 07-09-2010, 08:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Huh? How would you weld steel to plywood I wonder?
More like Super Super Glue.
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Unread 07-09-2010, 09:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

When I bought my VJ head/cab I did quite a bit of research and never heard anything about the speakers being hard to remove.

For the price the K5 sounds tempting - too .bad I'm still infatuated with my VJ someone modded up for me .
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Unread 07-10-2010, 11:56 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

The kustom I am finding as I go along, is just not the vj.
it' hasn't got as good a power tranny.
the ot seems to be bigger, but not better.
it really likes to feedback with pedals in it.. the vjs I've done for
somebody
aren't like that.
(I used a digitech hardwire and a fulltone fat boost)

the cabinet is way cheaper being all metal.
and a little dangerous holes in the top for air cooling mean you better be careful with your soda.
and woe betide he who spits when he talks!

The basic layout is nice. but it's not got the tone of the stock vj.. to my ears.

right now I have tone master volume conjunctive filter and some serious other mods inside.
It like the 12AY7 tube where the vj can handle the AX7s with much greater ease.

It's nice. and can be built up to much better.. but it's got some quirks.. and really I"m not quite sure about those. is the feedback it tends toward from the trannys or the circuit?

I like it, don't doubt that.
But I don't know that I can get as much out of this as a VJ.
The vj gets a bigger ot for example, to give it a fuller richer sound.. better lows, especially..not to cure a feedback problem..
no vj ever needed a different power tranny

this is a different amp. it's definitely a home use amp only to my mind.
I like it best so far, as a clean amp.
with the ay or maybe even an at preamp tube.
full gain monster tones are better in the vj.
and the vjs cleans are certainly not less.

this is a nice small inexpnsive amp that dead stock is worth the 80.00 I paid for it for sure.
and it can be improved.
I am trying to do all the mods I can to my first one.. as cheaply as possible.
so I can really assess what the amp is. I know what a vj is.
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Unread 07-10-2010, 01:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Good to hear your honest, objective opinions Twang. Some of these cheap amps are just a little too cheap IMHO. I think the VJ is made better.
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Unread 07-11-2010, 12:24 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Well I do have to say that the defender sounds pretty good. It's nearly as loud as the vj.
assuming they both have a stock pt.

The mods turned out fairly easy, so the board, though a pain sometimes, holds up ok.

I did the internal stuff and got the voltages ok bias ok.. voicing is better.
conjunctive filter helped smooth it out, esp. overdriven.
helped with the kinda harsh trebles, too, I think.


I made two mistakes. I dropped a screw into the humidifier.
and I used an eraser to get rid of the lines I drew on the panel to line up the new knobs.
which seems to have not done the paint any favors.
Since it's mine I think I'll pull it apart, repaint it, clear coat it, relabel it and stick the logo back on.

I like it, no doubt about that. It's small and light. It's go a wide range of uses, now.
Maybe not quite gigworthy. but vjs aren't noted for loud clean either.
the overdrive to distortion is good. I think the price difference between it and the vj is justified, but it doesn't make this junk by a long shot.
I have a weber OT coming and a 6V6 power tube, so that will go into the next one.
And I expect that to really be on a par with a vj.


the new controls are: tone, I think it needed that. VJs do, too, esp. after mods.
Master Volume, this is pretty handy. At first I thought it wasn't too hot, just kinda.
But when I put the gain in, everything became better.
The tone really works well to warm or bright whichever way you choose to use the other three. The gain and master volume let you have dirt a lower volume.
and the three tweaked one way or another gives a wider variety not only of volume but of character, clean or dirty.
It's a better sounding wider ranging amp and it didn't cost much at all.
I'd say...use alpha minis.. keep as much of the stock board as possible.. get the voltages right and you have an amp that's better than the stock vj for just the same money or a little more.

I did switch the big blue cap you see above back to a 22uF small cap.
I couldn't get the gain pot in with that thing there.
I'll put in a 47uF instead, as I can find them in a shorter version.

One small weakness. The feet aren't tall enough to let the screws on the bottom of the chassis clear a spkr cab handle.
I'll get either bigger feet, or longer screws and some rubber washers.

Overall, I'd say this is a good buy. It's not bad out of the box. better with not expensive mods. and I'll find out soon if it can be really pushed with bigger iron.
If you're on a tight budget, defender is not bad. probably last for years,and always have a use for you.
with a 12" speaker of decent sesitivity, even small gigs. church.. etc..and if miced up for sure.
It's pushing at the vj, but it's not pushing past.




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Unread 07-11-2010, 03:24 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I think the 6V6 will change things up. It's my favourite tube for its distortion charateristics.
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Unread 07-12-2010, 12:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I wanted to put in both.. but the pt wont handle them.
also I got that logo a bit off center trying to cover the word 'tube' along the bottom
so

today I got in some new shorter caps... later I'll put them in.
and I'll mask off the panel and paint over the 'guitar amplifier' line completely and recenter
the logo.

in fact I may just paint the front panel all a different color..
heh.
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Unread 07-13-2010, 02:08 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

So you have a Gain, Volume, and Master control on the front. How does this work out? I'm confused, as usually, a second gain knob is used for a drive/3rd gain stage IIRC.
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Unread 07-14-2010, 09:18 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

I just hooked it to a resistor which is usually a fixed value. now it's variable
I went from .. I think it was 100K or 120K.. to a 250K pot.
So you are modifying the second stage of the preamp which drives the
el84.

what happens is you can now lower the gain.. not drive the power tube as hard..
plus limit the volume.. this means clean can be way up on the normal volume, with the gain down..
and you can use the master to decide how loud it is..
same with gain up.. you can control the amount of gain with gain and with volume.. then how loud it is with master volume.
that means you have a wider variety of gain.. say you want loud blues gain. with the stock amp you get the early breakup at ONE volume setting.. and only one kind of early breakup.. with this, you can dial it what you want. Within the ability of the two tubes, of course.

I finished it up except for the standby. This is as far as I'm going with the amp having stock OT and PT.
I centered the logo. and added a white pearl plate...
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Unread 07-17-2010, 08:49 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

sold it for 130.00 cost of parts plus shipping.
someone got a killer five watt for cheap.
started another.. adding a 6V6 power tube.
new gain and master volume design.
maybe switchable between power tubes, haven't decided yet.
also lo/hi inputs. and NFB on a three way switch.
boy will that thing be packed.
fun!
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Unread 11-25-2010, 02:52 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Just got one. sounded good for a hundred bucks! I liked it better than my old epi vj. just put an Engl ecc883, and paired it with a small, half open back 12" cab, with an old jensen C-12N. Havent done a power tube for it yet. Does Mercury Magnetics do a tranny kit for it yet?
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Unread 11-25-2010, 03:06 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: kustom defender 5h many pics

Would anyone be interested in a fitted Tuck 'n Roll DIY kit, in all original colors, for the "bald looking" Kustom Defender 5H?

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