Fryette Valvulator GP/DI Guitar Amp

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Fryette Valvulator GP/DI Guitar Amp

Post by Dan Phelps » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:17 am

I'm pretty excited about this. I've been delving into the world of direct guitar recording, out of necessity, and I've found some methods that work for me, but this looks like a pretty comprehensive little box...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/917 ... ording-amp

I've been intrigued by Fryette's amps for a while, attracted by the sounds and build quality, but a 100 watt behemoth head just hasn't been very useful for me. This little guy looks like it would serve a ton of purposes.

I'm posted this here to share it, and also because I am backing the Kickstarter campaign and I want it to get fully funded! Please check it out.

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Post by kslight » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:58 am

Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.

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Post by vvv » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:44 pm

Demos sound very good.
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Post by Dan Phelps » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:17 am

vvv wrote:Demos sound very good.
I thought so, too. There's a bunch of new videos showing the reamp functions. It's a pretty cool box...I would sure love for it to get fully funded.

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Post by Dan Phelps » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:24 am

kslight wrote:Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.
I hear ya. I'm coming from several years of preferring small amps, nothing louder than 20 watts, and as few knobs as possible. Traditionally, stuff like the Fryette amps has made me go cross-eyed with options, and besides, when would I ever use 100 watts, let alone 50?

That started to shift for me recently...I got a nice attenuator and I started to get interested in the head room of higher wattage and bigger output transformers. And one of my favorite musicians, David Torn, is a big Fryette fan. There's been a handful of times that I wished I had a really tight, heavy sounding amp (again...my collection leans more towards the classic and lower-gain).

SO...when this Kickstarter came around I thought...AH HA! :D

Even for the list price, I think this thing has a ton creative possibilities. Direct recording, DI, re-amp, straight up guitar amp...

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Post by kslight » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:56 am

Dan Phelps wrote:
kslight wrote:Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.
I hear ya. I'm coming from several years of preferring small amps, nothing louder than 20 watts, and as few knobs as possible. Traditionally, stuff like the Fryette amps has made me go cross-eyed with options, and besides, when would I ever use 100 watts, let alone 50?

That started to shift for me recently...I got a nice attenuator and I started to get interested in the head room of higher wattage and bigger output transformers. And one of my favorite musicians, David Torn, is a big Fryette fan. There's been a handful of times that I wished I had a really tight, heavy sounding amp (again...my collection leans more towards the classic and lower-gain).

SO...when this Kickstarter came around I thought...AH HA! :D

Even for the list price, I think this thing has a ton creative possibilities. Direct recording, DI, re-amp, straight up guitar amp...
Yah I mean I go for what will get the most use and offer the most bang for buck. I've owned like 5 different amps in the last year, trying out different sounds. Finally settled on a 80s Carvin X100B with a custom 2x12 Celestion loaded Goodsell cab as my main amp...covers all the clean and heavy I could want. Even that head, though, I feel has too many controls. But I would have a hard time justifying $500 for this Fryette thing when I paid 2/3 that for the whole Carvin rig...



9 days to raise $20,000... If this doesn't work out have you looked into the Warmenfat? Similar idea.

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Post by Dan Phelps » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:19 pm

kslight wrote:
Dan Phelps wrote:
kslight wrote:Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.
I hear ya. I'm coming from several years of preferring small amps, nothing louder than 20 watts, and as few knobs as possible. Traditionally, stuff like the Fryette amps has made me go cross-eyed with options, and besides, when would I ever use 100 watts, let alone 50?

That started to shift for me recently...I got a nice attenuator and I started to get interested in the head room of higher wattage and bigger output transformers. And one of my favorite musicians, David Torn, is a big Fryette fan. There's been a handful of times that I wished I had a really tight, heavy sounding amp (again...my collection leans more towards the classic and lower-gain).

SO...when this Kickstarter came around I thought...AH HA! :D

Even for the list price, I think this thing has a ton creative possibilities. Direct recording, DI, re-amp, straight up guitar amp...
Yah I mean I go for what will get the most use and offer the most bang for buck. I've owned like 5 different amps in the last year, trying out different sounds. Finally settled on a 80s Carvin X100B with a custom 2x12 Celestion loaded Goodsell cab as my main amp...covers all the clean and heavy I could want. Even that head, though, I feel has too many controls. But I would have a hard time justifying $500 for this Fryette thing when I paid 2/3 that for the whole Carvin rig...



9 days to raise $20,000... If this doesn't work out have you looked into the Warmenfat? Similar idea.
I have seen the Warmenfat...I think I read a review in TapeOp? Seems cool.

I like your approach to streamlining your guitar rig...I probably need to thin the herd, too :D I've found it helps me to have a rotating soup of guitars, pedals, amps, etc... that is always kind of in flux... Keeps me interested and keeps me from always going back to stock sounds or personal presets.

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Post by dented42ford » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:43 pm

kslight wrote:Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.
You say too many controls, someone else says not enough...

:D

Hi, I'm Paul Schieffer, and I am the man largely responsible for the concept, feature set, design, name, and KS campaign for the Valvulator GP/DI. I don't actually officially work for Fryette, I am just a consultant who was brought in for an unrelated business reason who always wanted something like this and convinced Steve that it was worth pursuing. I'm doing the Kickstarter project pro bono, because I believe in it - I really want to see this product on the market!

I just wanted to say that "knock[ing] some fat off and [bringing] the price down" isn't realistically an option. There is a fundamental flaw in the thought "adding a feature = adding to cost" when dealing with electronics. The vast majority of the cost of a product like this lies in the case, transformers, and tubes. Basically, if it were just a Tube DI, or just a "1w Deliverance", it would have cost ~85% the same to build - so why not go nuts with the features, as long as they all serve a purpose? It couldn't really be any cheaper without sacrificing the quality that people expect from Steve's products - the margin is paper thin as it is.

$60k is what it will cost Fryette to get the thing into production at that price point and deliver the units - well, more like $55k, but Kickstarter & Amazon take around 10%. This is an American made product, thoughtfully designed and implemented by an extremely small company. It isn't a solid-state amp masquerading as a tube amp, unlike some other sub-$500 1-5w "tube amps" out there, and it isn't going to be made in some far-east sweatshop.

Its feature set isn't really comparable to any of the other ultra-low-wattage amps out there, either - most importantly, it is fundamentally one of the bigger amps miniaturized, not a redesign to cut down on tubes and part count. There are 4 tubes in the GP/DI, because that is how many tubes it takes to build it right - it is the full pre-amp from the Pittbull/Deliverance, not a corner-cut version designed to sell based upon marketing bullet points.

Speaking of feature set, where is the fat? People expect Fryette amps to have a certain number of features - since the GP/DI is basically a modified Deliverance pre-amp, it needs all the controls of the Deliverance to really be effective. If we were to cut down controls for the pre-amp, we would be doing so for aesthetics alone - it wouldn't actually cost less to build, but simply to make it seem less "intimidating". So that leaves the cab section controls - which I designed, and I've kept to the bare minimum number to make sure that it is intuitive to use (those three controls actually alter many variables) - and the output level control, necessary for its job as a studio tool. As to having the Tube DI built-in, that was part of the original concept - I wanted it to make it easy to record DI parts along with the amp's sound, as I have to do lots of recalls when working in TV composition and being able to re-amp with the same device which I used to record will be a massive time-saver.

@kslight: the "Warmenfat" may look superficially similar, being a hand-built "micro tube amp", but I can assure you that practically it is a very different thing. For one thing, name one "real" tube amp that only uses one tube for the preamp - even the simplest of the simple typically use two, one for initial gain stages and another for a phase inverter. The GP/DI is a real tube amp with the output scaled down, not just a mini-amp-for-the-sake-of-it. I'm not saying that other "micro amps" sound bad - far from it, I own several, which is part of the reason I wanted to get Steve to design the GPDI - it is just that existing ones are very limited in design and capabilities.

Oh, and price - the abovementioned product is $499 for a stripped-down-lacking-tone-controls amp. The GPDI is only $100 more for a full-featured amp. I'm only mentioning it because it underscores my argument above - neither company is "ripping you off", it just costs that much to build a product like this in the western world. Trying to compare spending $400 for a nearly-30-year-old half-stack to spending 50% more on a brand-new recording tool seems a bit silly, too - not exactly comparing apples to apples, as far as the value proposition goes.

Anyway, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the GP/DI, micro tube amps in general, recording, or anything else you care to ask. Right now I have to get back to making more videos - let me know what you'd like to see, and I'll try my best to deliver it. As long as it isn't "metal". I'm really not qualified for that, as it turns out! 8)

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Post by Dan Phelps » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:05 pm

Paul...thanks for chiming in and clarifying. I really hope that the Kickstarter campaign makes it!

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Post by kslight » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:40 pm

dented42ford wrote:
kslight wrote:Looks interesting, and it appears maybe they have learned a considerable amount from their previous Kickstarter campaign failure, but IMHO they still reign a hair ambitious in their funding goals and that may cause them to be unsuccessful again. While their amps have a heritage of having too many controls, I would consider this if they had knocked some fat off this and brought the price down.
You say too many controls, someone else says not enough...

:D

Hi, I'm Paul Schieffer, and I am the man largely responsible for the concept, feature set, design, name, and KS campaign for the Valvulator GP/DI. I don't actually officially work for Fryette, I am just a consultant who was brought in for an unrelated business reason who always wanted something like this and convinced Steve that it was worth pursuing. I'm doing the Kickstarter project pro bono, because I believe in it - I really want to see this product on the market!

I just wanted to say that "knock[ing] some fat off and [bringing] the price down" isn't realistically an option. There is a fundamental flaw in the thought "adding a feature = adding to cost" when dealing with electronics. The vast majority of the cost of a product like this lies in the case, transformers, and tubes. Basically, if it were just a Tube DI, or just a "1w Deliverance", it would have cost ~85% the same to build - so why not go nuts with the features, as long as they all serve a purpose? It couldn't really be any cheaper without sacrificing the quality that people expect from Steve's products - the margin is paper thin as it is.

$60k is what it will cost Fryette to get the thing into production at that price point and deliver the units - well, more like $55k, but Kickstarter & Amazon take around 10%. This is an American made product, thoughtfully designed and implemented by an extremely small company. It isn't a solid-state amp masquerading as a tube amp, unlike some other sub-$500 1-5w "tube amps" out there, and it isn't going to be made in some far-east sweatshop.

Its feature set isn't really comparable to any of the other ultra-low-wattage amps out there, either - most importantly, it is fundamentally one of the bigger amps miniaturized, not a redesign to cut down on tubes and part count. There are 4 tubes in the GP/DI, because that is how many tubes it takes to build it right - it is the full pre-amp from the Pittbull/Deliverance, not a corner-cut version designed to sell based upon marketing bullet points.

Speaking of feature set, where is the fat? People expect Fryette amps to have a certain number of features - since the GP/DI is basically a modified Deliverance pre-amp, it needs all the controls of the Deliverance to really be effective. If we were to cut down controls for the pre-amp, we would be doing so for aesthetics alone - it wouldn't actually cost less to build, but simply to make it seem less "intimidating". So that leaves the cab section controls - which I designed, and I've kept to the bare minimum number to make sure that it is intuitive to use (those three controls actually alter many variables) - and the output level control, necessary for its job as a studio tool. As to having the Tube DI built-in, that was part of the original concept - I wanted it to make it easy to record DI parts along with the amp's sound, as I have to do lots of recalls when working in TV composition and being able to re-amp with the same device which I used to record will be a massive time-saver.

@kslight: the "Warmenfat" may look superficially similar, being a hand-built "micro tube amp", but I can assure you that practically it is a very different thing. For one thing, name one "real" tube amp that only uses one tube for the preamp - even the simplest of the simple typically use two, one for initial gain stages and another for a phase inverter. The GP/DI is a real tube amp with the output scaled down, not just a mini-amp-for-the-sake-of-it. I'm not saying that other "micro amps" sound bad - far from it, I own several, which is part of the reason I wanted to get Steve to design the GPDI - it is just that existing ones are very limited in design and capabilities.

Oh, and price - the abovementioned product is $499 for a stripped-down-lacking-tone-controls amp. The GPDI is only $100 more for a full-featured amp. I'm only mentioning it because it underscores my argument above - neither company is "ripping you off", it just costs that much to build a product like this in the western world. Trying to compare spending $400 for a nearly-30-year-old half-stack to spending 50% more on a brand-new recording tool seems a bit silly, too - not exactly comparing apples to apples, as far as the value proposition goes.

Anyway, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the GP/DI, micro tube amps in general, recording, or anything else you care to ask. Right now I have to get back to making more videos - let me know what you'd like to see, and I'll try my best to deliver it. As long as it isn't "metal". I'm really not qualified for that, as it turns out! 8)
In the crowded tube amp marketplace, for example, I could buy a brand new American-made Carvin X100B head customized in different colors for the same retail cost ($599, right???) as the Fryette. Is it the same thing? No. But that is a lot more amp for the $, and you get two switchable channels, spring reverb, fx loop, cabinet voiced line out, built-in attenuator...

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/X100B

I'm not saying anybody is ripping anyone off, no reason to get all defensive about it... all I am saying is that at your projected price point, it is IMHO a bit of a hard sell. Like I said, In My Humble Opinion. If your campaign gets funded then obviously the majority doesn't share my humble opinion, which is fine by me.

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Post by Jim Williams » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:58 am

I heard them at NAMM and was not impressed. I still use my 1966 Fender Deluxe Reverb, (paid $160 for it used), and my pair of Fender Showman heads from 1965/1967. I paid $75 each for those.

Yes, I'm one of those consultants that has designed commercial guitar and bass heads. I still prefer the classics. After all, how many have replaced the Telecaster and Les Paul?
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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:19 pm

i like my fender deluxe too, but ms morespace would be very displeased with me if i fired it up at 2 in the morning.

this thing looks totally great, everything seems really well thought out. i hope the kickstarter's a success, and i'll likely buy one once they're in production.

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Post by Dan Phelps » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:46 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:i like my fender deluxe too, but ms morespace would be very displeased with me if i fired it up at 2 in the morning.

this thing looks totally great, everything seems really well thought out. i hope the kickstarter's a success, and i'll likely buy one once they're in production.
Weeeeeell, you could get one for $100 off now and help the Kickstarter reach it's goal. Wink wink.

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Post by Dan Phelps » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:57 pm

Jim Williams wrote:I heard them at NAMM and was not impressed. I still use my 1966 Fender Deluxe Reverb, (paid $160 for it used), and my pair of Fender Showman heads from 1965/1967. I paid $75 each for those.

Yes, I'm one of those consultants that has designed commercial guitar and bass heads. I still prefer the classics. After all, how many have replaced the Telecaster and Les Paul?
If you didn't like the sound, fair enough, but what do the prices of vintage Fenders have to do with anything? They're arbitrary in this conversation.

I own, use, and enjoy some classics, too. I wouldn't be looking to the Fryette to replace my '66 Princeton Reverb, just as I wouldn't ask a modern custom guitar to replace my old Jazzmaster. Different means for different ends. Sounds like this is not the means for your ends!

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Post by Gregg Juke » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:36 pm

Total aside/thread hi-jack here, as I'm unlikely to fund/buy one of these in the near future
(boutique amps will not make me sound any more like a guitar player, which is a fool's errand), but I just read through and wanted to say:

1) Great read; it's always cool when a designer/consultant/person involved with a product responds to a thread like this (not counting cheesey shilling; does that sort of chicanery still go on on the Internet?)

2) I am a David Torn fan as well; are you a composer (of the film variety), or just an afficianado of well-played Beck/Summers/Fripp/Manzanera/Holdsworth-y type soundscape stuff? I've dug Torn's playing since the Everyman Band, and enjoy his film work as well... (sadly, there's a Lou Reed connection there too).

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