Building Nordström 5E3 kit, speaker choice, and some workbench equip

BlueX

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Note: Please make sure you understand the risks with high voltage and charged components in tube amps before doing any work in them, and follow good safety standards when building!

Just got a 5E3 kit from Nordström Audio in Sweden (https://nordstromaudio.se/). This is my first amp build, and I’ve checked around quite a bit for info and offers. Found this one from a small business here in Sweden, with good reviews and a reasonable price, and thought I might take a chance and support local business.

You can see the components in the pictures, but trafos and tubes are:
- PT: Hammond 290BEX
- OT: Hammond 1750E
- Rectifier: Sovtek 5Y3GT
- Pre-amp: JJ ECC83 S (x2)
- Power amp: EH 6V6GT (x2)

The kit comes with instructions (in Swedish), wiring diagram, and specifications for the trafos. Nordström Audio supports during the building. I like the helpful info on resistor values. Hint: If you find it difficult to read the colour codes on resistors, measure the value instead. Then you have done a QC at the same time. I sort the small components in sample bags (always good to keep a selection of such bags).

Price for the kit (incl. trafos and tubes) SEK 5 300 (4 240 ex VAT), about USD 430 (345) or EUR 450 (360).
Any comments, e.g. on the components?


Still haven’t decided on speaker. I have a 12”, 8 Ohm Seventy-80 in an otherwise empty Ibanez combo that I will use to test the amp when ready. The other options I have looked are these (I’m looking for Tweed Deluxe voice):
- Jensen P12R (Alnico Vintage 8 Ohm), price at Thomann: SEK 1159 (USD 95, or EUR 100)
- Jensen P12Q (Alnico Vintage 8 Ohm), price at Thomann: SEK 1544 (USD 125, or EUR 130)
- Weber 12A125A (8 ohm, 30w, standard dustcap, light dope), USD 140 + shipping USD 130 and possible taxes => SEK 3 300

The P12Q sound better than the P12R in the demos I’ve watched, but the Weber seems to be the best (of these three). Unfortunately, the ridiculous shipping cost makes it as expensive as an EVM12L from Thomann.
Any comments on speakers?


I plan to build the cab myself, using drawings from e.g. Modulus Amplification, covered with Tweed and gold-striped oxblood grill cloth. Found this video by Uncle Doug, where he demos a ’51 Tweed Deluxe. Might do something similar, with a “TV shaped” front. Would look cool next to a worn Tele, Strat, or Special (just need to get a worn Tele, Strat or Special also).



Some workbench equipment I bought or put together in preparation for this build;
- PeakTech 1400 Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSO), 2CH, 5MHz, 100MS/s, math functions, USB ports for computer and data storage device, etc. Brand new for SEK 1 800 (USD 145, or EUR 150). Used oscilloscopes are between USD 70-120 around here. Thought it made sense to buy this new one instead, with warranty, technical support, full documentation, all accessories, and modern functions.
- Light build limiter, and a selection of light bulbs. There is a standard light switch (double pole, breaks both Live and Neutral) as an easy-to-access kill switch.
- Amp cradle, based on drawings from Modulus Amplification but modified (as I usually do).


Here are some of the internet resources I have used:
- Robrobinette.com (https://robrobinette.com/Amp_Stuff.htm)
- Uncle Doug (YouTube)

I have also followed some recent 5E3 build projects here on “Other Amps, and troubleshooting under “The Workbench”.
N-5E3 - 001.JPG N-5E3 - 002.JPG N-5E3 - 003.JPG N-5E3 - 004 PeakTech 1400.JPG N-5E3 - 005LPL and AC.JPG
 

neikeel

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Looking forwards to your build. Are you familiar with using the testing toys or going to learn how to use them as you go?
 

BlueX

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Looking forwards to your build. Are you familiar with using the testing toys or going to learn how to use them as you go?
Thanks!

Fair question. I've got a MSc in Engineering Physics with the relevant theoretical knowledge, and experience with electronics and electrical applications. Not specifically with amps though, and I haven't used an oscilloscope for many years so I'm refreshing that knowledge.

Could be worth pointing out that oscilloscope is not like a computer that you can just re-start if you did something wrong. On this instrument, electrical power input and both measurement channels share common ground. This means that you cannot measure the same electricity that powers the unit. Also, you cannot use the channels to measure different objects with different electrical potential.

I guess this instrument is not absolutely necessary, more because I'm interested.
 

Chris-in-LA

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My kit came with a Jensen MOD speaker, never sounded right, too loose in the low end. Tried the Weber 12A125, was a little better. Ended up using an old Celestion Vintage 30 and that really tightened up everything and is louder than the Weber. I’m sure you can get a V30 much cheaper than a Weber over in Sweden.

BTW, all those .1 coupling caps add to the looseness of the amp. You might try using .022 caps on the phase inverter, that’s what Fender does on their Edge signature version. That will remove some of the low end and tighten things up as well. On mine, I only used .022’s on V1 but another member here used all .022’s instead of the .1’s. Experiment, My 5e3 sounded like crap until I made a few changes.
 

paul-e-mann

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Note: Please make sure you understand the risks with high voltage and charged components in tube amps before doing any work in them, and follow good safety standards when building!

Just got a 5E3 kit from Nordström Audio in Sweden (https://nordstromaudio.se/). This is my first amp build, and I’ve checked around quite a bit for info and offers. Found this one from a small business here in Sweden, with good reviews and a reasonable price, and thought I might take a chance and support local business.

You can see the components in the pictures, but trafos and tubes are:
- PT: Hammond 290BEX
- OT: Hammond 1750E
- Rectifier: Sovtek 5Y3GT
- Pre-amp: JJ ECC83 S (x2)
- Power amp: EH 6V6GT (x2)

The kit comes with instructions (in Swedish), wiring diagram, and specifications for the trafos. Nordström Audio supports during the building. I like the helpful info on resistor values. Hint: If you find it difficult to read the colour codes on resistors, measure the value instead. Then you have done a QC at the same time. I sort the small components in sample bags (always good to keep a selection of such bags).

Price for the kit (incl. trafos and tubes) SEK 5 300 (4 240 ex VAT), about USD 430 (345) or EUR 450 (360).
Any comments, e.g. on the components?


Still haven’t decided on speaker. I have a 12”, 8 Ohm Seventy-80 in an otherwise empty Ibanez combo that I will use to test the amp when ready. The other options I have looked are these (I’m looking for Tweed Deluxe voice):
- Jensen P12R (Alnico Vintage 8 Ohm), price at Thomann: SEK 1159 (USD 95, or EUR 100)
- Jensen P12Q (Alnico Vintage 8 Ohm), price at Thomann: SEK 1544 (USD 125, or EUR 130)
- Weber 12A125A (8 ohm, 30w, standard dustcap, light dope), USD 140 + shipping USD 130 and possible taxes => SEK 3 300

The P12Q sound better than the P12R in the demos I’ve watched, but the Weber seems to be the best (of these three). Unfortunately, the ridiculous shipping cost makes it as expensive as an EVM12L from Thomann.
Any comments on speakers?


I plan to build the cab myself, using drawings from e.g. Modulus Amplification, covered with Tweed and gold-striped oxblood grill cloth. Found this video by Uncle Doug, where he demos a ’51 Tweed Deluxe. Might do something similar, with a “TV shaped” front. Would look cool next to a worn Tele, Strat, or Special (just need to get a worn Tele, Strat or Special also).



Some workbench equipment I bought or put together in preparation for this build;
- PeakTech 1400 Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSO), 2CH, 5MHz, 100MS/s, math functions, USB ports for computer and data storage device, etc. Brand new for SEK 1 800 (USD 145, or EUR 150). Used oscilloscopes are between USD 70-120 around here. Thought it made sense to buy this new one instead, with warranty, technical support, full documentation, all accessories, and modern functions.
- Light build limiter, and a selection of light bulbs. There is a standard light switch (double pole, breaks both Live and Neutral) as an easy-to-access kill switch.
- Amp cradle, based on drawings from Modulus Amplification but modified (as I usually do).


Here are some of the internet resources I have used:
- Robrobinette.com (https://robrobinette.com/Amp_Stuff.htm)
- Uncle Doug (YouTube)

I have also followed some recent 5E3 build projects here on “Other Amps, and troubleshooting under “The Workbench”.
View attachment 116231 View attachment 116232 View attachment 116233 View attachment 116234 View attachment 116235

You probably read my threads, I just built my 5E3 this summer, if not I recommend reading them I have all the answers from the gurus here.

I tried several Celestion and Vox speakers I had and they all sound good, but I found a good deal on a Jensen P12Q and I'm glad I did I really like it. I dont think the speaker is nearly as important as getting the component values right. I replaced all the .1uF caps with .022uF, it tightened and brightened up the tone just right. I recommend build the amp stock to see how you like it and tweak from there. The other mods I did was remove the standby switch and installed a PPIMV. Now its an entirely usable amp for any situation and music type.

Tools I found absolutely necessary are the light bulb limiter, and masking tape to use as a third hand. Secondary was a variac, I used to power up the transformers to identify the wires, also to form the caps on first amp power up. Also under the absolutely necessary list is the Rob Robinette guides, follow his startup guide and troubleshooting guides, I couldn't have done anything without it.

Lessons learned, have spare tubes and fuses available. Put duct tape inside the chassis beneath the board for shielding. If I could do it over, all wires underneath the board need to be routed to the top and wrapped on the turrets for soldering so no chance of wires falling out of the turret bottom.

I ended up with a great sounding, light weight to carry, grab and go amp! I built my own cabinet with tolex, looks and sounds great!
 
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Chris-in-LA

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I got rid of my standby switch as well, the amp made strange noises when I used the standby to turn the amp off. No master volume. I found that I can plug in to channel 1 and turnimg up the other channel over 10 causes the volume to drop. This doesn’t work if you are using a jumper between the channels.

i used an eyelet board, ran the B+ wires underneath, between the two boards. This is what it looked like stock, before the mod to the v1 caps and speaker and a few other things.

3B7E390E-FB7D-4314-8BD7-0D145CF4A810.jpeg
 

BlueX

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My kit came with a Jensen MOD speaker, never sounded right, too loose in the low end. Tried the Weber 12A125, was a little better. Ended up using an old Celestion Vintage 30 and that really tightened up everything and is louder than the Weber. I’m sure you can get a V30 much cheaper than a Weber over in Sweden.

BTW, all those .1 coupling caps add to the looseness of the amp. You might try using .022 caps on the phase inverter, that’s what Fender does on their Edge signature version. That will remove some of the low end and tighten things up as well. On mine, I only used .022’s on V1 but another member here used all .022’s instead of the .1’s. Experiment, My 5e3 sounded like crap until I made a few changes.
Thanks for comments on speaker and caps. I will probably build with the supplied components first, and change after that so I can compare.

V30 is of course more reasonable.
 

BlueX

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You probably read my threads, I just built my 5E3 this summer, if not I recommend reading them I have all the answers from the gurus here.

I tried several Celestion and Vox speakers I had and they all sound good, but I found a good deal on a Jensen P12Q and I'm glad I did I really like it. I dont think the speaker is nearly as important as getting the component values right. I replaced all the .1uF caps with .022uF, it tightened and brightened up the tone just right. I recommend build the amp stock to see how you like it and tweak from there. The other mods I did was remove the standby switch and installed a PPIMV. Now its an entirely usable amp for any situation and music type.

Tools I found absolutely necessary are the light bulb limiter, and masking tape to use as a third hand. Secondary was a variac, I used to power up the transformers to identify the wires, also to form the caps on first amp power up. Also under the absolutely necessary list is the Rob Robinette guides, follow his startup guide and troubleshooting guides, I couldn't have done anything without it.

Lessons learned, have spare tubes and fuses available. Put duct tape inside the chassis beneath the board for shielding. If I could do it over, all wires underneath the board need to be routed to the top and wrapped on the turrets for soldering so no chance of wires falling out of the turret bottom.

I ended up with a great sounding, light weight to carry, grab and go amp! I built my own cabinet with tolex, looks and sounds great!
Yes, I have followed your threads with big interest. Thanks for the hints, and I will revisit during my project!
 

paul-e-mann

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Yes, I have followed your threads with big interest. Thanks for the hints, and I will revisit during my project!
I absolutely had a blast building and learning, I hope you do too! :yesway:
 

BlueX

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@BlueX have you started your build?
Thanks for asking! The delivery was not complete, but I sorted that out now with the supplier. Arranged my soldering gear, etc., so expect to start this weekend (evenings getting really dark now). I will take my time, but will post up-dates with pictures as I proceed.
 
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paul-e-mann

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Thansk for asking! The delivery was not complete, but I sorted that out now with the supplier. Arranged my soldering gear, etc., so expect to start this weekend (evenings getting really dark now). I will take my time, but will post up-dates with pictures as I proceed.
Youre gonna be surprised how fast it goes together, I thought it would take longer but it was done in the blink of an eye! :yesway:
 

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