Who is Aiken Amplification?
Who is Randall Aiken?
In high school and college, I made money repairing guitar amplifiers, and as word got out, musicians all around the area started bringing me old Fender and Marshall amps for repair and mod work. I always had an apartment full of guitars and amplifiers in various stages of repair. By that time, I was in a few bands, and was playing clubs in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia on weekends. Somehow, with all this going on, I still managed to graduate college with my first engineering degree.
I currently hold two engineering degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE), and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (BSET), both from Clemson University, in South Carolina. I have worked for various companies since 1983, in both design engineering and manufacturing engineering, and have worked as an engineering consultant to several companies, designing broadcast television and video equipment, avionics, and medical electronics equipment, among other things. I still do consulting engineering for an avionics company, designing video and audio interfaces and multi-format LCD displays that go into the cockpits of military, law-enforcement, and commercial aircraft. I do analog and digital hardware design, microcontroller design, switchmode power supply design, software, PLD and FPGA design (Xilinx), video hardware/firmware design, including analog composite/component, SDI/HD-SDI/3G-SDI digital video, and ARINC-818 optical video transceiver design, printed circuit board layout, mechanical design, and, of course, vacuum tube circuit design. Aiken Amplification is the culmination of all that experience, combined with my intense passion for vacuum tube guitar amplifier design.
I have gotten a lot out of this hobby/profession, and thoroughly enjoy passing on the knowledge to other people interested in building their own guitar amplifiers. Vacuum tube amplifier design is becoming a lost art, with most companies just copying old designs and blindly changing a few components here and there by trial and error. I try to make it a point to educate others as to the inner workings of the circuits, and the reasons behind the tonal differences in amplifier circuits. To this end, I have started the Tech Info section of this website to share the knowledge I have gathered from years of study and experimentation, in the hope that others will benefit from it as I have.