N5X to AX84 L2L Amp Build

Update: See this new post on what I turned this build in to. This build had too much gain and was too unstable.


Goal: The ultimate living room amp. Guitar + cable + amp. No pedals. Enough distortion to cover 90s rock / grunge.

Background: After building my AmpMaker N5X, a lovely amp in itself, I still had the need for more gain. I was ending up using a boost or overdrive/distortion pedal in front to get a heavier sound. So I set about adding an extra 2 gain stages, creating a “N5X2“.

Outcome: Below are some pictures of the build and a sound clip. A bit more tinkering may be needed to get the best out of it. But it sounds great to me.

Build Pics

Audio clip

Recorded using a US Std Strat (with Seymour Duncan Everything Axe pickups: mini humbuckers neck and bridge, and a duckbucker in the middle), straight into the amp. Speaker is a 12″ Tayden True Brit. Mic’d using a Samson USB condenser mic, straight in to GarageBand. No EQ / effects / compression etc.

Valves used were 2 Sovtek ECC83s (borrowed from my old Hot Rod Deluxe) and a JJ EL84.

essential