New Amp Build: V2 Caldera

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by V2, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    The amp sports a pair of EL34s (or whatever big-bottle octal tubes you desire) running in push-pull with a transformer set that delivers only 10-15W of power. Kind of like a hard-wired power scaling. :)
     
  2. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    OK, I just tweaked the power amp a bit after the OT swap. Now the amp sounds HUGE. I think I'll have to listen to this "little" 15W amp next to some 2xEL84 amps, like the Friedman offerings. I'm sure the Friedmans will sound amazing, but I can't see how they will match this Caldera in the low-end grunt.
     
  3. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    OK, I just reread the thread (hey, it rhymes!). I didn't realize when you alluded to a second one, that it was totally different--ie, 50 watts vs 10-15 watts.
     
  4. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    Yeah, the earlier posts were about the 50W Caldera, but recently I built (and posted about) a 15W version. The preamp is similar in the low-power model, and 2xEL34s are in both the low power model and the 50W model.

    Here's a very short snippet of the 15W Caldera, recorded with an iPad. Keep in mind that I can't play, record, or use an iPad. :)

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/v2-jmcd/caldera-15w[/SC]
     
  5. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    Very nice. There was a 10 second snippet and then a 44 or so second clip titled "V2 Cutter Sample 3". Was that the 15 Caldera? It appeared to be labeled as such, but I thought to verify.

    Any idea of the dbs? If not a specific db rating, how about a point of reference like "normal conversation speech" ?

    I'm now headed over to see if I can find your build thread on this 15 watter.
     
  6. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    - The V2 Cutter was a different amp (my 10W Phaez Daisycutter).
    - Unfortunately, there's no build thread on the 15W Caldera.
    - about 100 dB, measured 3 feet in front of the speaker cab.
     
  7. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    Another short clip:
    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/v2-jmcd/caldera-gold-unchained[/SC]
     
  8. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    Those sound cool! I bet that amp is so fun. :)
     
  9. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    A tale of two tube amps. Same overall topology but with different tunings. Top amp has a more vintage tone (ballpark of a JCM800, but with more versatility); bottom amp has a more modern tone (but still not too gainy). Eventually, I'll pick a design (currently favouring the more vintage one) and let these 'prototypes' go.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Marshall & Moonshine

    Marshall & Moonshine Senior Member

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    Fwiw, I'm all about the vintage version, from a 2204 owner's perspective. That way, I can step on a boost of my liking to goose it further up from what I consider to be "high-medium gain". It's a wildly different sound, between my Beano Boost and my CompCut pedal. I don't know that the difference would be as pronounced with a higher gain platform, but with that much gain on tap, maybe you wouldn't need a boost, although it would give up a little versatility. I guess it depends on what people want.
    My 2204 isn't the gainiest amp in the world, but it covers everything, from country to blues to classic rock, no problem. I can't speak for modern metal/rock as I don't play any.
     
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  11. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    I built the vintage version after I built a Ceriatone 2204. I really liked the tone, and so I wondered if I could get the Caldera into that ballpark with minimal tweaking. I think it turned out well. I can still flip the punch switch for some added gain (particularly useful when in the lower-gain mode). Anyway, I think it sounds pretty darn good.
     
  12. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    two Calderas have been listed in the classified section...
     
  13. Soul Tramp

    Soul Tramp Speaker Snob V.I.P. Member MLP Vendor

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    Outstanding! nice work, V2.
     
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  14. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks, Don. I think I'll make a 20W Caldera with 6V6s next...
     
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  15. Soul Tramp

    Soul Tramp Speaker Snob V.I.P. Member MLP Vendor

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    I took my EL84 Tremor and redesigned it with 6V6 tubes and additional gain stages. It is much nicer!

    The Beam Tetrodes are just smoother sounder than the Power Pentodes, and they don't suffer the nasty 3rd order harmonics when spiked.

    My guess is that you'll be very happy the 6V6 tubes.
     
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  16. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    ........Don & John. :love:

    :D

    The Calderas look great. :thumbs: :applause: :applause:

    :cheers2:
     
  17. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks guys.
     
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  18. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    So this past year was chaotic, and I didn't have much time to play or build. One of the Calderas - the one with chicken-head knobs - sat atop of my 2x12 speaker cab, so it was my go-to amp whenever I did have time to play. Yesterday, I plugged into the other Caldera (with the Davies 1510 style knobs that are on a bunch of amps these days). Wow it sounded great! Super tight low end, and a very focused tone with no hint of fizz. I didn't think much of it until I opened up the chassis to do some final cleaning of the parts board. At that point I realized/recalled that this Caldera was different than the other one! This one is closer to the usual Jose-type amps, especially the Friedman Smallbox. (although the Caldera has a little less gain on tap than most of these amps). With the preamp gain at 3:00 and the volume/master at 9:00, it is KILLER.
     
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  19. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    Hey V2 - any clips of the Caldera? Maybe I missed it?

    By the way great work my friend. Keep it up. Love to see people with a passion like yours. It's quite evident.
     
  20. V2

    V2 V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks for the kind words!
    No published clips yet, but I'm hoping to get some from some local guitarists who like the amp and want to play it some more... :)

    I did make a crappy recording of some crappy playing of the 10W Caldera. But my crap won't help sell amps :)
     

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