MOD 102+ DIY Guitar Amplifier Kit Review – A Must-Have for Guitar Enthusiasts

If you love DIY kits, then you’ll surely love the MOD 102+ Guitar Amplifier Kit

It comes fully equipped with everything you need to wind it up. You’ll only need to do some soldering, and you’re good to go. It’s one of the best equipment that you can add to your guitar. 

I reviewed the MOD 102+ DIY Guitar Amplifier Kit, so you can see for yourself what it can do.

Design & Assembly

While the MOD 102 has a classic design in an American circuit style, the manufacturers decided to step up their game with the 102+. The kit has a Class A output section in a British style. It’s similar to the Gibson Les Paul GA-5 circuit.

The assembly instructions of the MOD 102+ offer step-by-step tips for setting up the kit, unlike most amplifier kits that merely come with a layout. 

The manual includes a chart that illustrates the resistors according to their color banding. In addition, there are a few tips on how to easily attach the tube sockets. 

The developers didn’t leave one thing to chance; even the correct placement of the nuts is mentioned in the instructions.

If it’s your first time trying soldering, you may find it hard to set up the kit. The process requires some skills to go smoothly. You’ll also need some equipment for it. For starters, you should get a soldering iron. A 60-80W one will be ideal, but a 40W one will also do the job. 

On top of that, you’ll need a multimeter for testing resistance and connectivity. If you find one with alligator clips, it’ll be a bonus. You’ll also need a pair of pliers, screwdrivers, and wire strippers. As well as a solder sucker.

Controls & Tubes

The MOD 102+ has some impressive built-in features. For example, there are three push-pull controls labeled bass control, treble control, and volume control. When pulled out, the controls activate mid boost, bright, and turbo modes, respectively. This feature works by switching capacitors.

Moreover, the three-option toggle switch gives you the option to turn off the unit, keep it on standby, or power it up. It saves space on the kit instead of adding three separate buttons.

Instead of the regular 12AX7 tube that’s present in the MOD 102, the MOD 102+ has a long plate version of it, JJ ECC803S. This tube provides a wider range of tones; it’s especially recommended for its mid-range tones. 

This automatically means that the user has more control over the tones.

The main power tube of the MOD 102+ is the cathode-biased EL84. Moreover, the pre-amp tube is the ECC803S. They both stand on the chassis’ top. The unit also includes two transformers; a Hammond 269EX and a single-ended P-T31.

Furthermore, the filter caps on the MOD 102+ are just right. They won’t split out after using it for a while.

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Specifications

  • Weight: 5.55 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10” x 6” x 5.⅛”
  • Power output: 8 watts
  • Single-channel 
  • Push-pull controls 
  • One ECC803 tube
  • One EL84 tube
  • Solid-state diodes
  • Power-on indication
  • Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Power transformer: Hammond 296EX
  • Single-ended transformer: P-T31
  • Class A tube operation
  • Hand wiring
  • Polyester coupling caps
  • Steel chassis

The Pros: Why the MOD 102+ DIY Guitar Amplifier Kit is Worth Your Money

There are some good reasons why users prefer the MOD 102+; check them out here.

Screw-on Mounts

The MOD 102+ has screw-on mounts, so you can easily solder point-to-point. Each one has holes for the components and the soldering wires. This feature comes in handy when you need to do more than three connections. 

Clear Instructions

Moreover, the instructions are simply laid out and logically sequenced. There isn’t a single move that’s left out of the manual. Every soldered and unsoldered connection is included. You’ll be able to effortlessly put it together. 

Safety Tips

Furthermore, there are some safety tips so you won’t get hurt setting the unit up. The DC power output can be dangerous, that’s why you should handle the kit with care. 

The safety instructions include steps for bleeding filter caps and rules for preventing the current from reaching your body on its way to the ground.

The Cons: Why the MOD 102+ DIY Guitar Amplifier Kit Needs Some Improvements

Despite all the useful features, there are some aspects of the MOD 102+ that could use some improvements.  

No Speaker Included

The fact that the MOD 102+ doesn’t come with a speaker can be upsetting to some users. It also requires an 8-ohm speaker so your options are a bit limited.

Low Volume

Some users didn’t like the low volume of the unit. Although this can be an advantage to home users who don’t want to annoy their neighbors.

Safety Hazard

One more thing that’s considered a safety hazard is the fact that the circuit doesn’t automatically switch to the ground. Although, it should do that when there’s nothing plugged in the jack.

What Users Had to Say – Reviews & Complaints

Users loved the soft chime sound that the amplifier provides. The consistency of the sound quality through the different volume levels was also impressive.

In addition, the fact that all the hand wiring is point-to-point gained the approval of many. As well as the high-quality power transformer.

A lot of reviewers praised the lacquered cloth covering on the wire. Plus, they liked the chassis’ vintage design and thorough inside-out painting.

Furthermore, all users agreed that the manual of the MOD 102+ is a great added value. That’s mainly because instructions are the most vital feature in DIY kits.

Home users were able to play indoors without the fear of neighbors’ complaints. However, some users were annoyed with the fact that the volume is a bit low. It’s not suitable for outdoor use. 

Another downside to the kit is that a beginner can’t assemble it. It requires some basic skills that you won’t have unless you’ve tried soldering before. Additionally, it takes about 6 hours to put together, which is time-wasting.

Bottom Line 

The MOD 102+ is a prominent entry to the DIY amplifier kits world. Its low-power settings are ideal for practicing. Besides, its controls are easy and user-friendly. 

You should learn a bit about soldering before deciding to buy the MOD 102+. Aside from that, you don’t need any extra skills. The set-up instructions are plain and simple.

I hope you enjoy playing your guitar with this lovely unit!

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