BWM blog

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Welcome to the Big White Monkey blog

We should start with a short potted history of BWM, a small company who started doing modifications to valve amplifiers,mainly the small powered versions such as Epiphone Jnr. After doing so many we decided it may be better to actually make our own with all the mods in place.

This was a long process and several failed attempts due to very bad quality control from several companies we dealt with. We finally found a company we were happy with and started production of our Chimp Class A single ended 5 watt beauty. The amp was to be different than all of its competitors, in many ways. First we made it quieter than all the competition, something that we had been doing for some time with Epiphones. We added a tone circuit which was another thing we had been doing with small valve combos. The circuit has the capability to take the unit from mild crunch to high gain.

Then we added the triode switch, a common request from valve amp owners, to decrease the volume whilst still allowing the player to run the valves hot. Not satisfied with that, we added a built in attenuator to lower the volume even further.

We stressed a 6L6 to be used in the power section as nearly all small combos go for 6V6 or ELs. This provides the ideal power ratio in this amp. Another benefit of our amps though is the ability to change to any valve that will fit without the need for rebiasing. To keep costs down we went for the smallest enclosure we could get. We have many requests for additions, I tell them "look at the board"(High Quality no PCB machined solder) there is no room inside the amp for anything else. We did however add a speaker out socket to enable people to extend to cabs.

These amps are half the price of the competition and yes they are made in China like the competition, but to our design specs. We are adding 3 more models in the near future and a range of pedals are in production at this very moment. We hope with continued support from like minded simians, we can beat the big guy and keep ourselves in the game producing top quality gear for budget prices.


Blogger David the Great said...


Are there any plans to put a 16 ohm speaker extension output on the amps?

31 May 2009 at 20:42  
Blogger reddog8u said...

Hi Guys
Your amps sound cool but i'm having probs getting some of the links to the Quick time sound bites to work and the PDF wont down load. Is this a problem with my browser or have I screwed something up?

3 June 2009 at 09:13  
Blogger Big White Monkey amps said...

Hi David the Great...

16 ohm output, eh? What are you looking to run from that? With a 5 watt output, we've found 8 ohm works best. That said, we are working on new models with a higher wattage that'll drive speakers with a greater impedence. At the moment, it's watch this space... What do you play at the moment? BWM

3 June 2009 at 16:33  
Blogger Big White Monkey amps said...

Greetings reddog8u...

Sorry you've been having some troubles with our site.

The page with the sound clips does take a while to upload (depends on the speed of your connection) because each of the clips is around 10mb. They do stream, so if the control panel is there (showing play/pause/volume controls) you can start to play the clip.

I've tested the PDF link on a couple of computers, using different browsers (IE and Firefox), and haven't had any problems displaying the file. Check to make sure your security settings aren't preventing files from downloading. Usually when you click on the link, a small panel opens up across the top of the browser asking whether you want to download. Right-click and say yes, and the PDF should display.

Hope this helps.


3 June 2009 at 16:45  
Blogger blindboy said...

Gday i have a Kong which i got a few months ago and i have a question about the tone knob there seems to be little if any difference in the tone from zero to full is this how it is or is there something wrong. apart from that its awesome
cheers Bill

15 September 2009 at 06:17  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi Blindboy,the tone pot is not very wide,you should hear some difference but not that much,if you cant hear any difference you have a problem,return it if you cant hear anything,we can have a look at it,as we say though the pot is not at all wide so there is only a minimal change,which is still more than you get with most of the competition.
Hope this answers your question.

16 September 2009 at 09:48  
Blogger big white monkey said...

We now have finally decided to enable all our monkey friends to extend to a cabinet that is worthy of the mighty Kong and Chimps.
The Cabinets are built to order and can be ordered via our website or on ebay australia.
They contain as stock the beautiful Lorantz greenback clone 30 watter.It is Aussie built the same as the cab covered in tweed to match your Monkey with an open back and a solo neutriks locking TRS connection.We can change the speaker upon request,which of course will vary the price.The start price for a 112 with the Lorantz will be $499 AUD + shipping costs,available on request.For a cheaper option we will produce a limited number of 10" cabinets handmade again in Australia which we hope will go for around the $399 mark,they will contain a 10" Chinese speaker or eminence,jensen you name it,price will vary due to speaker used.The cabs are MDF,yes MDF,why not ply? Well MDF is dead,it doesnt bring anything to the party nor take anything away,our prototype sounds absolutely the monkeys B*****s.If you are interested contact us via the website and we can sort out a very generous head and cab price for you.

24 September 2009 at 11:18  
Blogger Felix said...

Hey monkey chaps. I've been looking around for a decent 5watt head
and felt that anything decent was far too expensive to warrant getting one
over a power brake for me Marshall. Then I had the pleasure of playing
a chimp yesterday. It sounded so good across the board from clean to full
OD with so much punch and clarity that I've decided I must have a kong to
sit ontop of me 4x12. Just a couple of questions I wanted to ask, you've said you can put pretty much any valves in, I'm thinking specifically G+E 6550A. I'm not bothered if the tone nob doesn't do much, none of the ones on my jcm make any difference either. The qu was though, can I plug a 4ohm cab and an 8ohm cab in, at the same time (parralel issues making total Imp bout
2.something)? Thanks guys, felix

13 January 2010 at 22:56  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi Felix,thanks for your kind words,we know that our amp for price beats all competition,we have in fact a chap who bought,one of our Kongs and complained it was too noisy,we had a look and there was nothing wrong with it,we asked him to have a look at his cables etc,he asked for his money back(1st ever) we obliged,he bought an Ulbrick 5watt firebottle,4 times the price of ours,guess what? He sent us an email,ours was better,he was sorry he swapped.It must have been a grounding problem or something as our amps are very quiet,except when they are spanked.
Anyway enough of banging our own drum,the amp will power both 4 and 8 and should do the job admirably,if you want to go overboard you could also connect the XLR to mixer/Pa and go out 3 ways,why not?The KT88, dont know. may give off a lot of heat,they are really for high output amps and give off a hell of a lot of heat,we will check and see if we blow up one of our own babies first and we will post within the next few days,ok.

14 January 2010 at 09:57  
Blogger Felix said...

Bwilliant! fab news as i have an 8 ohm 4x 12 simms watts cab amd a 4 ohm 2x 12 celestion greenback cab that I was hopingto use in unison as I think they would sound fabulous together with one of your monkey beasts! It would be great to find out about the kT88 or G+E tubes as i like them an awful lot but I think I'll purchase a kong next week in any case.
Thanks again and keep at it. Very impressed.


16 January 2010 at 02:03  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi felix,after speaking to our tech,Dr Zeuss,he advises us that using a mismatched impedance will result in early break up,maybe thats what you are after?He does however state that he wouldnt recommend it as it will put strain on the transformer and other components.His words" At owners own risk"
He did say the same for the KT88, as we thought, there is too much heat for no significant tone changes,he would advise against this again,sorry for the confusion,we hope that you will still consider our amps and become a monkey owner.

18 January 2010 at 08:47  
Blogger big white monkey said...

We didnt test the KT88 on his advice as we are not in the evil scientist branch of science and couldnt bear to see one of our babies blow up.

18 January 2010 at 08:50  
Blogger Felix said...

Hi guys.
Thanks for the help and advice, I would still like to be able to be one of the lucky few who get to own one of these lovely creatures as I'm betting that the 4x12 is going to be quite enough speakerage. I'll use the 2x12 for smaller gigs etc. No bother bout the valve, was just wonderin, I think the amp sounds lovely just as it is.
Can't wait to get it.

19 January 2010 at 01:36  
Blogger big white monkey said...

It will be fine through the 4 x 12 hope you enjoy it.
As a further note to all monkeys we are building a limited edition 18 watt,12in combo with reverb,switchable to 9,then to 4 then to 1.
The amp will be point to point wired and will be restricted to 10 units,we need to guage whether these units will sell and interest before cracking on with them,they will be for sale,pre production for $1200,they will be totally Australian handbuilt including the cab,chassis everything,the price of $1200 is for a Lorantz greenback 50w,any other speaker of choice can be used,this will reduce or increase the quoted price.If you are interested contact us via the website or blog,we will only be making the 10 so get in quick.

20 January 2010 at 01:19  
Blogger Stewart said...

Hi, I'm the proud owner of a chimp Mk1. I'm currently using it as a practice amp but like the sound so much thinking about running an 8ohm 4x10 cab off it for gigs. In a rehearsal space it holds it's own (just) with a drumkit and 200w bass amp which is pretty impressive considering it's size! Just wondering what kind of volume I would get running the extension cab for small / medium sized gigs?

3 February 2010 at 03:27  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi stewart,the volume increase will amaze you and also the difference you will get in tone,these amps are absolutely unbelievable when they go out through a cab,why not just buy the KONG,they are going very cheap at the moment,we dont know how much longer we can knock them out at this price.

3 February 2010 at 03:50  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Stewart as an afterthought,you will have to switch the attenuator all the way down unless you wish to hear the onboard speaker as well.

3 February 2010 at 05:02  
Blogger fran said...

Hi I am almost about to Purchase one of your very fine Kong heads, However before I commit to a life of Tyre Swings, Narnas and swinging about I Just wondered if there were any plans for a higher output version maybe a 20 or 30 watt? I only ask as I would love a BWM for Gigging as well as for practising and Recording cheers


26 February 2010 at 14:51  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi if you look further back in the blog,you will see our plans for a larger output amp.

26 February 2010 at 21:08  
Blogger ckweir said...

I've just stumbled across these amps while looking for a low watt amp. I must say they look like a real front runner for me. I have been very tempted by the vox ac4tv series but I like the cut of BWM's jib. Question. In your about us page you don't say where you guys are from or where the company is based. That bit of history would be nice to know. I'm guessing OZ or UK.


21 March 2010 at 01:11  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi Carl,we are an Australian registered company,we do have a small but varied staff.We have a distribution network based in London with our Uk chimp,he delivers to Europe for us

21 March 2010 at 02:44  
Blogger ckweir said...

Looking forward to some more models. Although I'm mainly interested in low wattage amps like the Kong. Any plans to add a reverb to the kong.

15 April 2010 at 16:21  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi,this may already been done we however need to sell our old stock before we introduce new models which would leave us,high and dry.The larger wattage amps we will produce will be in the tiny terror range,so still low wattage models but with a bit more headroom for gigs etc.We expect some good news soon

15 April 2010 at 22:54  
Blogger CEE said...

Hey There Monkeys,
Just wanted to say thanks again for the US voltage version of the Chimp you guys organised for me last year. We took it all around the States, twice, and it never stopped rocking. I was using it alongside a Fender Deville 410, which for a couple of gigs was playing up so I just used it as a cabinet for the Chimp. Sounded fantastic! The amp was also brilliant for the radio shows, instore performances and acoustic things we did, and I got stacks of positive comments from people about its sound. Anyhoo, hope all is well with you guys up there in the canopy. Monkey on aye!
Youth Group

19 May 2010 at 02:12  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi Cam,thanks for the kind words,keep in touch.

19 May 2010 at 02:31  
Blogger James said...

Hi there,

I've had the Chimp for about a year now an am loving it..!!

Couple of questions have you guys ever thought of setting up a forum? I'm pretty sure there's plenty of people out there who would want to share info on how and with what they are using your amps... (more focus on BWM than diggin around on the Fender and Les Paul forums! :-))

Which leads to my next question... what pedals have people had good success at getting pretty transparent OD above the stock gain?

Cheers, Keepy

14 September 2010 at 10:24  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi James,we are too busy to set up forums etc,we arent exactly a big company.
Pedals,the best transparent OD on the market for price has to be the Danelectro transparent,this is a clone of a much more expensive pedal,we however would recommend a treble booster,the danelectro range now though is superb true bypass although I dont think they do a treble boost,come on Dano pull your fingers out.

14 September 2010 at 11:36  
Blogger Andrew Jory said...

Hi all,

I bought the 20 Watt Mandrill on eBay, and I can tell you this baby does it all, she is clean as a baby monkeys bum, and dirty as an old man Monkeys arm pit.
It can it has a pentode - triode switch with a high/med/low switch allowing me to choose (pentode) - 20w/10w/3.5w or (triode)- 14w/3.5w/1.56watt settings.... clean or with gain.
The tonal varients are amazing, I can get any combo I want to sound like anything from John Mayals Bluesbreakers (Clapton/Greeny)high gain riff to beautiful clears for rythm and blues or even Jazz.
Highly recommend these guys amps to anyone...

7 April 2012 at 06:28  
Blogger Damjan Trumbic said...

hi BWM!
I came upon your amps in a shop in London, intrigued to say the least, and after hearing the price I bought the Chimp. It's by no means a perfect amp, but I've had it for almost 3 years now. I use it as my home amp as the other one is a JCM 800. I have to say with the triode switch and attenuator it's really good value, still can sound loud though and my favorite tone is everything on 10! It's good with pedals and every guitar I used, I can't really compare it to anything else. I also love love the tone symbols! If you're A BWM that's what you want!

Am I sacrificing tone by running it on 2.5 watts with the attenuator on 1-2? I'm afraid I may be choking it, so would like to hear any advice of the makers on the BWM Chimp what's a good way to get the best tone out of it? I know it doesn't have too many controls....Anyway, my chimp has stopped me from getting other amps, as it's the perfect bedroom amp with pedals and I can even carry it around in one hand. I've gotten good comments from it when I crank it up to a full 5 watts!

12 December 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi,thanks for your comments.The amp being run at triode and with the attenuator engaged will sacrifice tone.The best way to run a chimp is through an external speaker,you will be amazed when you hear it,it becomes a different beast.Of course if you still need bedroom volumes you will always suffer with a tonal difference,we do supply passive attenuators(No tone loss)that go between the amp and external speaker.These are the last of these amps now as we have a new version coming out in a month or two and a relaunched website,take care of your bit of history.

13 December 2012 at 00:21  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very interested in the new product coming out &the new website! is that still in progress?

any plans for a higher wattage & same functionality yet?

19 March 2013 at 16:56  
Blogger big white monkey said...

The new site and new amps will be here very soon,we dont want to say anymore than that,to spoil the suprise.

19 March 2013 at 22:05  
Blogger Mike Cutrupi said...

Just bought a Chimp mk3. Whilst it sounds good I Was wondering if you think a 12" speaker would improve the overall sound and tone. Looking at a Jensen P12R, 8ohms and 25watts.i would transfer the Chimp into a bigger box to fit the speaker?

7 October 2013 at 03:21  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi,it will sound really different with a 12inch and we would have shipped with 12 inch but the cost,postage etc made them prohibitive.Thats why we included the extension out,the 8 inch is great for messing around but we recommend 12 inch Lorantz which is the aussie version of the greenback,,superb.This website isnt used anymore we are currently rebuilding if you want to contact us do it via facebook,,big white monkey page.Thanks.

7 October 2013 at 03:25  
Blogger Ian Robertson said...

Hi Monkey men

Looking at the 100 watt attenuators. I play a Rivera 1x12 combo with an external 2x12 cab, so using the internal speaker and the external cab.

Would I need to hook up 2 attenuators to both speaker connections?

29 July 2014 at 13:59  
Blogger sideshowbytheseashor said...

Hi,the internal should cut off when the external outputs are engaged,if this is not the case ,,its unusual and yes you would need to cover both pathways so yes you would need 2.

29 July 2014 at 22:34  
Blogger big white monkey said...

See the answer above,beat me to it

29 July 2014 at 22:39  
Blogger Mateo "Ramblin' Matt" GM said...

Hello chaps. Just congratulating you for The Chimp. Ever since I got my paws on it, I've been using it as my stage amp and also for recordings, I use an extra cabinet and If I need more watts, it works great miked up to the PA, but also the DI works very good. And it sure it's a looker, all my colleagues fancy it! Here's the link to the album that I recorded with it, live in the studio, like the old Sun Records takes, with not a single effect, only the amp crunch. I love it, and recommend it to all my pals.

4 December 2014 at 13:26  
Blogger big white monkey said...

Hi thanks mateo,we are very glad you like it as it was our first 2 incarnations as a Chimp,we like to think our new models are better but cant get away from how good the first lot were

4 December 2014 at 23:02  

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