The Artec Guitar Amplifier Board is one of three pre-built amp boards that I have used in some of the amplifiers I have built. The cost is about $20.00 for the board. This amp board has the gain pot mounted right on the PCB so you only need to have one control (volume) on the amp. I have used this technique on some of the custom amp boards I have built so I can fine tune the gain of the amplifier chip and leave it there eliminating the need for an additional control knob on the amplifier. This works well if your intention is to use something like an iPhone, iPad or similar device running an amp simulator as a preamp into your amplifier. You can then use Garage Band, Amp Kit or a similar application to dial in your tone and effects. This board also works well as a small music amplifier for your MP3 player or other audio device.
Sometimes I find that having gain control mounted as one of the amp controls can be a real benefit. I find that the gain control on these small amplifier boards can really affect the tone of the amp and that tweaks to the gain and volume controls really allow you to contour the sound of your guitar. Also, since every guitar is different, it is nice to have both volume and gain controls readily accessible for adjustments. The trim pot on the Artec board can be replaced with a wired gain pot so this board is flexible in that respect.
The sound of this board is on par with other similar amp boards. With the gain cranked up, this little board rocks! Reduce the gain, and the amplifier cleans up considerably but you also get a significant drop in volume which is typical for these kinds of circuits. As always, I find that most of your tone will come from the speaker you have selected and the cabinet-enclosure the speaker resides in.
This amp board can be a good basis for your battery powered amplifier, especially if you don’t want to build your own circuit board. These boards work best if you are driving the amplifier with a electric guitar that has magnetic pickups or an acoustic guitar that has active electronics. Most of these small boards don’t have enough gain to work well with a cigar box guitar with a Piezo pickup.
In summary, the 2.5-watt Artec amp board features the following:
- Good for small homemade guitar amplifiers
- Easy to mount in a cigar box or other enclosure
- Runs off a single 9V battery
- Gain control mounted to PCB
- Pre-wired with 12″ leads for ease of installation & hookup
- Optional headphones and output jack hookups