Dean Markley Spectra 80A

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by mjr428, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    I found this on facebook the other day for $10 so I bought it.

    74664520_2533691060053856_3432794302575542272_n.jpg

    I was looking for a possible practice amp for my daughter (I plan on building her a short scale guitar) and I figured for $10, why not... there is not a whole lot of info/video on these but in my short time checking it out when I got home late, it seems to have a decent clean sound, but I didn't really get to test it out. I need to clean the pots as they are all very scratchy. Because of that, I didn't get to play it through it's speaker because it was late and didn't want to wake anyone, but it appears everything works. I also was looking for an amp to mess around with to learn to fiddle with/possible mods etc. I'm thinking about making a new cabinet for it and putting in a cheap 10" speaker that I also got for free... Thinking on making it look like this...

    Spectra_Amp Cab_Design.jpg
    Anyone have any experience with these amps?
     
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  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Have zero experience. Looks like typical 80's era SS practice amp. But - I did come across an advert that seems to imply that Nancy Wilson advocated for the use of this amp.
    DM spectra Nancy Wilson  s-l1600.jpg

    that being the case, you now have full permission to locate and purchase the matching appropriate telecaster:
    Nancy Wilson.jpg

    ...you're welcome!
     
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  3. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

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    You may be pleasantly surprised if you put a decent speaker in that old SS amp. There are not that many chips around so many amp builders go with a decent chip which isn’t that expensive. They go cheap on the speaker.
    So put a decent speaker in it and you may be surprised at the sound quality. I’m talking about a SS amp for acoustic or clean low powered electrics.
    Good luck,
     
  4. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Afflicted

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    Cool project. I am a sucker for people rocking out with little old SS amps rather than dismissing them as starter junk. So of course I checked this thread out when it popped up.

    I still have my first amp from Junior high school...an early 80s Peavey Audition 20. I still use it for certain just-past-clean electric guitar sounds, and it sounds great with my six string lap steel too.

    Good luck on your project; please post updates and maybe some sound clips!

    I’ve posted this here before so don’t shoot me, but if it serves as inspiration, here’s me and a band I used to be in on a rough demo recording where I was having fun with the Audition 20, a pawnshop DOD compressor pedal and a ratty Melody Maker:

    https://alonetone.com/benniven/tracks/bleach-bald-snow-tires
     
  5. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    I had one a few years ago that was in w/ a bunch of stuff that a local shop was going to toss. It was as mentioned a typical ‘70s practice amp. Not that is necessarily bad, sometimes a straight ahead amp w/ a pedal or two is just the ticket.
     
  6. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Love your cab design!!! ... The amp might not be worthy of such a swank abode ... Or it may sound glorious ... Are you feeling lucky ???
     
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  7. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    I don't have any experience with your particular amp but I have a Dean Markley K75 50 watt solid state amp that I bought for $40.

    I really like that little amp and I have used it at small gigs and band practices. My bass player has one and his was my first experience with one. We were doing a gig in his home town with some guys we weren't familiar with so a few hours before the gig we met up at his house to run through a few songs. So instead of unpacking my amp, a classic 30, I just ran through his little Dean Markley K75 and I couldn't believe how good it sounded, even better than my classic 30. So I asked if I could take it to the gig and I did and loved it. So I was on the hunt for one and found mine at a thrift shop for $40.

    Sure a PV Bandit is a great solid state amp and I have one but that Dean Markley amp is all over it in my opinion. Great little amp. Using it tomorrow in fact!
     
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  8. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    I just like making stuff, so no biggie! At least it'll look cool if nothing else

    Sent from my LGMP260 using Tapatalk
     
  9. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    I actually saw a video of Joe Bonamassa playing a small DM practice amp (k20?) and it sounded great! Granted, it was JB playing (probably a '54 strat or something) but it intrigued me... I believe it was a bass amp as well. It was the first time I actually heard someone playing through a DM amp...

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  10. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    The first amp I ever bought was a Spectra. It was a tube amp though, with white tolex. It wasnt a bad amp at all. I have no experience with the ss variants.
     
  11. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    10 years ago or so they/somebody reissued a couple of their small tube combos. While not high on my wish list I always regretted not picking one up.

    There was a laundry list of players who used the DM tube amps back in the 80s. Even Eric Clapton and Gary Moore.

    While not a DM amp I think Gary Moore originally recorded "The Loner" with a solid state Gallien Krueger amp.

    DM built amps here in Salina Kansas once upon a time and I'm not exactly clear how it happened but in the early 90s there was a guy putting together some of the last solid state models in Chanute, Ks (home of Kustom). I tried to get a job for him but he told me once he used up all of the parts his job was completely done. That is where my bass player acquired his.
     
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  12. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    So tonight I got some time to actually play the amp through the speaker. First off, the pots weren't really a problem tonight, so that was good. Everything seems to work including the foot switch jack. The clean channel is decent but a little too trebly for my tastes... Needed to back it off. The drive channel is not too bad either, in fact I think I liked the dirty channel best just playing straight into the amp (I don't really have any pedals). The clean channel starts to break up at around 7 but I can get the same kinda tone at lower volumes on the dirty channel and backing off the volume. In fact, I'm surprised at how dynamic this little amp is. It responds quite well to how you play... Much better then my other amp (mustang I). I wouldn't say that the tone is great ( plus no reverb) but I think with a new speaker and cab, it could be a decent little amp. I mean the tone is not bad with the stock speaker but I think there's potential with a better speaker.

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  13. mjr428

    mjr428 Tele-Meister

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    Ok, I got sparked and picked up some pine to start on the cab.
    [​IMG]

    Don't know when I'll have time to get started on it, but hopefully soon

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  14. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

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    I had one of those around 88 or 89. I really liked the sound of it.
     
  15. skunqesh

    skunqesh Tele-Holic

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    I had a Spectra 180 (12" combo, w/ on board Chorus effect) back in the 80s. It was great a great workhorse.

    Have fun with the new project - it looks awesome!
    Hope to see what the final version looks like.
     
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