Got a Vox DA5 lying around?
For those who came in late, it’s a small guitar amp which can be battery powered, and puts out 5 watts into an 8 ohm 6.5″ speaker. It sounds fairly good for what it is, but is obviously limited by the speaker size.
My Trademark 60 recently died on me, and I was mainly using it for clean tones in the studio. It’s not going to be a cheap and easy (or likely) repair job, and I needed something to use in the meantime. I had an unused 2×12 speaker cabinet lying around, and had read good things about mating external cabinets with the DA5. And it turns out they were right.
An external speaker jack is about the most massively useful modification you can make to the DA5. The sound I can get out of the “Clean 2” setting with the gain turned up is almost as good a clean tone as I would expect to get out of a Fender amp.
I say “almost” because occasionally I might like to tame the bass coming out of this cabinet a bit, and the single tone control doesn’t give a lot of flexibility there. There’s also an unavoidable loud “thump” when the amp is powered up (regardless of the volume control setting). But the 5 watts on offer here is more than enough to annoy the neighbours, and it’s really hard to justify using anything more powerful unless a drummer and a gig are involved.
I used a 6.5mm mono switched socket and intercepted the speaker wires so the internal speaker is disconnected only when the external speaker is plugged in. I think the Jaycar equivalent socket is PS-0160, but there are other ways you could achieve the same result. Best to use an 8 ohm external cab – I don’t know how the amp would handle 4 ohms. Probably fine, but I really don’t want to have to find out.
As always, my intention here is not to give out foolproof instructions on how to perform mods like these. Rather, it’s to let you know when I think they’re a particularly good idea.