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History of AX84
(By Chris Hurley- founder of AX84)

What is AX84, and how did it start? Well, it started with this post to the alt.guitar.amps USENET newsgroup:


Author: chrishurley
Date: 1998/07/13
Forum: alt.guitar.amps

I am coordinating a project to build a 12ax7+EL84 based guitar amp. The purpose of this project is to gather the information necessary to build a simple extensible guitar amp and make it readily available for other guitarists who are interested in the design. With a basic design in hand, various derrivative projects or extensions will be considered...

Fortunately, we must have had good timing because we quickly had a solid little group of people from around the world working in various ways on the P1. We had people with EE skills working along side people with no skills (me) and a variety of people that fell in between contributing ideas, build testing and just well wishing. Some of those folks are still around today!

Back to the original question- "What is AX84?" AX84 is intended to be a community where people can share discussions and ideas about homebrew amp building. Though this usually (and by design) revolves around our signature projects, all sorts of discussions related to amp building are welcome.

We have a core set of projects which are intended to be a good foundation for people to learn amp building and experiment. The P1, Hi-Octane and others make up these (now) "Legacy" projects which are well documented, reliable projects for anyone to build. We also now have a new series of projects (Core Series) which are intended to improve the mix/match-ability of our designs

What is AX84 NOT? AX84 is not oriented around building clones of classic amps. You won't find schematics of famous commercial amplifiers here. You won't generally find people talking about cloning an SLO-100 either, for example. While some of our designs may share design elements with some famous commercial amps, we try very hard to offer somewhat unique projects that lend themselves to experimentation more than just an end in themselves. We might discuss elements of commercial amps from the standpoint of education, but we try very hard to avoid the lure of simply cloning.

Why was AX84 started? A hunger for knowledge, and a suspicion that I was not alone. I found a non-operational Fender Champ in the trash (!) in 1998. With basically no electronics training and understanding only barely what resistors and capacitors are, I set out to repair it. I was amazed to see how little was actually in the Champ and so the thought that "I can build these- and build them like I want" crossed my mind and the dream was born.

Why weren't the other amp sites good enough? I honestly didn't know about them. If I'd seen them, I might not have started AX84. I'm glad that I did. We got help from Ampage in the beginning, which not only hosted our initial discussion forums, but also made the data available afterwards for us so that we could host it here. There are other sites worth your time, but the focus here has always been a little different with a definite lean towards our signature projects.

Who else is involved? Lots of people contribute to AX84 every day in the forums. Several people help maintain the site itself. Cliff Chappell is responsible for reworking our original projects into consistent formats, layouts, and naming (a huge effort!), as well as organizing, prototyping, managing and promoting our new core series projects. Pete Rittwage helps me to maintain the infrastructure and also works on the site management code which he also runs for his sites (including rittwage.com and the Commodore 64 Preservation Project).

I've made many great friends over the years through AX84. I hope everyone has enjoyed it as I have.

- Chris


This document is (c)Copyright 2007, Chris Hurley- All Rights Reserved and may not be saved, printed, or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the author.

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