Branston Amplifiers

Our range of hand crafted boutique valve amplifiers. Each amplifier is unique - e.g. by choice of gain stages, tone control, effects, speakers, valves, covering, varnish, magnetics, capacitors, potentiometers, and internal layout design. Each one has been named, along with its serial number. There will never be another one like it. Not only will you have a beautiful unique amplifier, but also its test results, a list of parts used, and photos and videos and recordings made during its production and testing. These are all collected together into a booklet and DVD, so that you get the full history of the the amp, and it can be kept in tip-top condition throughout its working life. Each finish is designed to look good from the start, and improve with wear and tear.

The Mistress range

Based on Tim Branston's own Mk1 Watkins Dominator, which came in for repair autumn 2013. After only a few minor repairs - mainly replacing old Hunts capacitors with modern equivalents - it sounded immense. The basic design is based on 3x ECC83 pre-amp valves, and 2x EL84 12W output valves. An EZ81 valve rectifier gives it the classic valve "sag" we expect from early 60s and 70s British blues recordings. The production chassis are formed from laser cut aluminium, and the cabinets are hand assembled from CNC'd FSC 9mm birch ply. The cabinets are then hand profiled and finished, before they are intoduced to their speakers and chassis. Several variations will be available, including a switchable gain front end, TMB tone control, a choice of phase splitters, and high powered, or single-ended (even harmonically rich) 6L6GC power stages. We even offer the more traditional vinyl coverings, if you're into that kind of thing.

Click on the images below for photo galleries

Donna-Lee

Serial number 0003

Shaking some of the tradition, this one has been built using more modern design principles. It has only 2 ground points - one for the pre-amp & oscillator & 1 for the output valves. This means it has really low noise levels, and is more suitable to a studio situation. The inputs are back to how the original Dominator was laid out and it's easier to jack from the swell channel to the normal channel to give more tone options.

Donna-Lee fascia, side on
Features:
2 input Normal channel
2 input Swell channel (tremolo)
Single tone control on each channel
Footswitch for Swell oscillator defeat
1970s vintage Celestion T1927 10" drivers, fitted with Pulsonic cones.
VVT custom magnetics
JJ (Slovakia) ECC83MG / EL84 valve set
Shielded thermoset valve bases
Sprague signal line poly capacitor set
1KV Ceramic oscillator cap set
Song Huei volume and tone pots
Varnished fabric covering
Point-to-point construction
Shielded signal wiring
"Modern" (1970s) low noise single ground point pre-amp wiring methodology
Chicked head and precision knobs
Rugged & rattle-free carry handle


Due to the heavier Pulsonic cones, the top end isn't as bright as on the earlier builds. However these cones give great mids and bass. This is Gary's favourite. It's smooth & oozes the blues.

Cherylyn

Serial number 0002

Cherylyn was built with transparency in mind - covered in sheer fabric so you can see the construction, and the speaker baffles are not painted so you can see where the speakers are. Construction lines and cuts are visible, as are the laminations of the plywood. The tremolo speed, valve clips and closed construction are similar to the original Watkins spec.

Cherylyn
Features:
2 input Normal channel
1 input Swell channel (tremolo)
Single tone control on each channel
Footswitch for Swell oscillator defeat
Celestion 7442 NIB cone 10" drivers
BLS magnetics
Tung-Sol (Russia) 12AX7 / EL84 valve set
Ceramic valve bases with spring clips
Poly and ceramic capacitor set
Song Huei volume and tone pots
Sheer fabric transparent varnished covering
Tag board construction
Shielded signal wiring
Chicked head and precision Eagle knobs
Rugged & rattle-free carry handle

This amp has a clarity of tone that just has to be heard, mainly due to its Celestion 7442 NIB coned speakers and closed construction. If you're into funk, give this baby a listen.

Betty Sue

Serial number 0001 (Sold Feb 2015)

Betty was built as a production version of Rosie. The main improvements on the prototype are the CNC cut cabinet, laser-cut slimmer chassis, using 2mm aluminium, laser-etched fascia, and much tidier wiring. It has the same Elac 10N/94 vintage speakers, same valves, resistors and capacitors. The fabric on the outside was also cut differently to prevent premature fraying and peeling.

Betty fascia
Features:
2 input Normal channel
1 input Swell channel (slow tremolo)
Single tone control on each channel
Footswitch for Swell oscillator defeat
Elac 10N/94 10" drivers
BLS magnetics
Tung-Sol (Russia) 12AX7 / EL84 valve set
Shielded thermoset valve bases
Poly capacitor set
Citec UK volume and tone pots
Varnished fabric covering
Tag strip construction
Shielded signal wiring
Mesh breather allows viewing of valves
Chicked head and precision knobs
Rugged & rattle-free carry handle

This is a full sounding amp, with a crispness and clarity to its tone. I'd say this is one for the British blues revivalists.

"I LOVED it!" Gwyn Ashton - http://www.gwynashton.com/


Rosie

Serial number 0000

Rosie was the prototype. She has a hand cut and crafted cabinet, a thin, wide aluminium chassis made from an oven tray, hand cut by angle grinder, and finished with a file. The holes are cut with drills, the fascia is hand-written, and the wire goes from point to point. It has the Elac 10N/94 vintage speakers, Tung-Sol valves,and whatever resistors and capacitors could be found. The fabric on the outside was stretched between lengths of lath to make sure minimal bubbling occurred.

Rosie from back
Features:
2 input Normal channel
2 input Swell channel (slow tremolo)
Single tone control on each channel
Elac 10N/94 10" drivers
BLS magnetics with over-voltage HT
JJ ECC83-S / EL84 valve set
Shielded thermoset valve bases
Poly & ceramic capacitor set
Commercial grade  pots
Varnished fabric covering
Tag strip construction
Shielded signal wiring
Mesh breather allows viewing of valves
Chicked head and precision knobs
Rugged & rattle-free carry handle



 
Rosie's lovely, and she's mine. She's currently running with a JJ valve set, with the ECC83S high gain pre-amps. Currently being re-fitted with new chassis, jacks and pots (Feb '15).

Listen: Gary Williams on his Asher Dual Tone, through Rosie, recorded on a Royer R101 ribbon mic.

"Yes! Yes yes, yes! You've got the sound! You've got it!" Tim Branston - (on iTunes) (on YouTube) http://www.timbranston.com/music/

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