Thanks for seeking out my website. I've enjoyed building, repairing, refreshing and tuning guitar amps for over thirty years. These amplifiers and cabinets are a result of these many years of experience and experimentation in my quest for tone. Take some time to browse the site to learn more about my products and services, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

A. F. (Pete) Cage, Owner

   

Built to Last

I build all CAGE amplifiers to standards that can only be reached in a limited-production, hand-assembled product. Cabinets are constructed from Tolex-covered, 13-ply Baltic Birch plywood. Metal corner protectors and oversized rubber feet help absorb typical road-use handling. Each amp and cabinet includes a custom-fit Tuki Deluxe Prosoft Plus padded cover for additional protection during transport and storage. The chassis are made from steel or 0.090" TIG-welded aluminum , and major components are mounted with Avex structural rivets, Stainless Steel and AN hardware, Jetnuts, Nylock fasteners and thread locking compound for vibration resistance. Tube sockets are ceramic, with upgraded silver-plated phosphor-bronze contacts. Components are at least 2x derated and are hand-assembled on custom 1/8" G-10 fiberglass eyelet boards. The circuitry is wired with Teflon-insulated, silver-plated wire and silver solder. Critical components are hand-selected and matched as necessary. Larger components are mounted with structural adhesive to reduce stress on the solder connections, and all tubes are physically retained in the chassis. I use custom-wound transformers which are built to my exact specifications. The power supply is double-fused, and an MOV protects the circuitry from spikes in power line voltage. The extra-long line cord is a standard IEC removable type for ease of replacement.

Customer Comments

"This thing is huge! That 'in-between' zone is where I spend most of my time, and this amp just loves it there. The responsiveness is just incredible - it's like an extension of my playing" -Mark Williams, Jonasay (18/30 112 Combo, Mark One custom combo)

"The Cage 18/00 amp is one of the most responsive amps I've ever played through. It feels like there's nothing standing in between me and my music. The amp has an incredibly expressive dynamic range and it helps me to play that way. I've done sessions with this amp where it took me literally five seconds to get the exact sound that was needed. No poking around with EQ switches and gain buttons. This amp has everything you do need and nothing you don't need, especially when the clock is ticking. And the speaker cabinets are absolutely ridiculous. I love this amp - I am astonished at Pete's attention to detail, his commitment to customer satisfaction, and his enthusiasm in accepting input from his customers. I cannot recommend his products more highly." -Matt Scannell, Vertical Horizon (18/00 head, 112 cabinet; Scan-O-Plex custom, 212MS and 412MS custom cabinets, Backstage Pass practice amp)

"I got the amp today, unpacked it, plugged it in, and just stood there in awe of the glorious sound coming from that little thing! I've never plugged straight into an amp before and had that great of tone come back at me. You definitely created something special here. I can't wait to get into the studio and get some of this on tape. It's difficult to describe my excitement in an email, but man, I am truly one satisfied customer. Once we get the CD done I'll be interested in the 30-watt rig for live performance. Thanks so much for your quick work and this killer amp." -Dave Brown, The Gathering Field (18/00 head)

"When I first contacted you, I thought that I was looking for a particular tone, and while I couldn't describe it, I knew that I would know it when I heard it. Now that I've played through [an 18/00 Series], I realize that I wasn't looking for a tone, but for a responsiveness to my playing. This is just fabulous!" -John Bardi

"As with most guitar players, I use different guitars to achieve different sounds and textures. On live dates and in the studio, my 18/30 reacts to every guitars' personality and vibe. I've worked for years on my slide guitar tone, and have never found the perfect amp for that 'singing' sound I was searching for... until now. Thanks, Pete!" - RCA Records artist Marc Copely.(18/30 head, 2x12 cabinet)

"I just wanted to tell you how awesome my amp is. I've been touring with it, and it has been so great. It is louder than my 2 by 12 Bandmaster rig. Every tour we've done, all the other bands are so jealous. Finally I got something that works all the time. Thank you so much." -Aaron Perrino, The Sheila Divine (18/30 head, 1x12 cabinet)

"A nice harmonic structure. A very BIG sound, gutsy. A good overall punch. Sounds like it has a solid power supply and it doesn't blink when hit hard. It was very difficult to find a way to drive the amp into a "bad zone". Even dimed, it leaned more towards a singing rather than screaming or getting rude or obnoxious. It has a surprising low-end kick too. I like the ability to change the voice of the amp by balancing the channels. It has a nice grind as well." -Andy Fuchs, East Coast Shootout II -> Read the other CAGE amp comments from the East Coast Shootout II

"When pushed, this amp had the perfect grind, that to me, was very smooth. Excellent chime and harmonic content." -Kevin Miller, East Coast Shootout II -> Read the other CAGE amp comments from the East Coast Shootout II

"I'm a studio engineer, and I'm completely in love with the 30-watt CAGE amp. Amazing detail between the two channels. Any setting between the volumes and tones is a completely useful and killer tone." -Roger Lavallee

"Indeed, the 18/00 sounds very smooth and does not have an obvious break up point. Clean sounds are very warm and detailed. There's not a trace of harshness. Highs are ringing and have very refined quality but not overly present. When both volumes (with link switch on) and guitar volume are cranked the sound becomes even smoother and richer. The version we had for this shootout was outfitted with a 5751 in both 1st gain stage and phase inverter, so maybe substituting 12AX7s for them could increase gain and produce some nice crunch. Even at full volume you could hear some undistorted 'acoustic' presence to each note. I think it would make a killer choice for an electric guitarist playing in a band with an acoustic guitarist." - Oleg Tomashevsky, independent reviewer (Bay Area Shootout)

"The Cage is an amp that I would like to use for pop gigs. It has a Vox-like character. This amp sounded particularly good with my Tele clone." - Brian Hill, independent reviewer (Bay Area Shootout)

"It is very musical at all settings, but I agree that it excels in subtlety and refinement. To my ears, the sonic signature of the Cage is clear, ringing, articulate highs and solid, but not pronounced, lows. The second channel with another volume and tone control make the Cage more versatile. The link switch enables you to set each channel to sound best with your guitar and then balance the volumes to get your palette of tones. This added versatility makes this amp a great choice for the guitarist who needs a wide variety of tones without the hassles of a Swiss army knife amp. "Refined", "smoothly controlled", "detailed" and "musical" apply to the Cage 18/00." - Scott Weaver, independent reviewer (Bay Area Shootout)

"There's a cliche that says you'll know whether or not you'll like a particular amp within the first few seconds of playing it. I know what they're talking about. With my Cage amp it was "love-at-first-strum." The best part is that, over time, I have only become more and more satisfied with my choice. Don't let the lack of knobs on the control panel make you think there are not many "sounds" in this amp. On the contrary, they are there and they are quick and easy to find. You can't go wrong with one of these amps." - Andrew Spencer (18/30 112 combo) Read the rest of Andrew's user review on Harmony Central

"The bottom line is this thing really responds to what you put into it and that's what makes it versatile... Truly, you have to try hard to get a bad sound out of this amp." -Bill Dennis (18/30 head) Read the rest of Bill's user review on Harmony Central

"I'm getting awesome vintage Marshall tones and couldn't be happier." -Dorian Dyer (Scan-O-Plex w/loop) Read the rest of Dorian's user review on Harmony Central

"Though it wasn't supposed to be part of the official shootout, we also played with a 50 watt Cage Scan-o-Plex, based on a Marshall Plexi but with a few tweaks. We did not spend a whole lot of time with this one, but we did not have to. It was just excellent from the word go. I'm not ordinarily a Marshall guy, but this just nailed that kind of grind and again, like the other Cage amp, the top end was smooth rather than biting, making it very easy to listen to, as long as you've got the space to open it up." -George Waldmann, East Coast Shootout II Unofficial Remarks

"First amp I've ever plugged into where I thought the tone was so good it actually scared me... Overall, this was probably the best-sounding amp I have ever played." -Dave Charneski, (Scan-O-Plex demo amp, comments from Ampage)

"Pete basically turned my mediocre-sounding master-volume/reverb/tremelo PCB amp into a pure and simple tone machine. The amp now has two channels (normal channel, and a top-boost channel), is wired PTP with high quality components, and has a new MM OT. The workmanship is outstanding, and the tone has a great harmonic complexity..." -Steve Miller ("Lucky Skunk" custom AC15 RI conversion)

East Coast Shootout II Excerpts


Scott Baker

This is Pete's take on an EL84 quartet amp. It has a very simple layout with two inputs on the left ("like Leo meant for them to be!" per Pete) for a Normal and a Bright channel. These can be bridged with a LINK switch located by the inputs. Neat idea! There is a volume control and a single tone control for each channel. By linking the channels you can dial in the amount of bright and dark you want and tweak the sound with the tone controls. The tone controls are designed to affect different frequency ranges for each channel, so you have additional flexibility in dialing in your own sound. The amp has a half-power switch for those so inclined. (At full power the amp had more punch and bite than at half power but really not more volume.) Kevin got some good AC/DC tones with his PRS. A P-90 equipped guitar with the volume rolled off a bit got some of that clean Hendrix sound (think Wind Cries Mary). The amp cleans up slowly as the guitar volume is rolled down so you have more control over the transition from clean to distortion. It got a nice not-quite-as-overdriven sound with my Strat (guitar vol on 10) compared to the humbucker-equipped guitars. At full volume, the amp started losing definition of individual notes in a chord to my ears. In the Bright channel only, P-90's were certainly bright but not piercing or ice-pick-like. And PRS humbuckers were brighter in this amp on the bright channel than in any of the others to me.

Andy Fuchs

In the continuing battle of the lower end of the Boutique market, Pete Cage may rock the DR-Z boat. [This is a segment of the market I have thought of entering, but with competitors like these, It would be a hard nut to crack !] At $ 1,100.00, the Cage 18/30 is an excellent alternative to the DR-Z RT-66. The amp features 2 5751s , 4 EL84s, and a two channel configuration. The two channels have their own inputs and two very distinct voicings. By using the link switch (it connects your guitar to both channels without needing a Y connector), and lets you tune the sound by setting each channels level control. I wished I had my ES-345, with the stereo cord to see how I could use this to best advantage. It seems like this combo could allow some pretty good tonal range from this type guitar. I've always liked the sound of the two pickups feeding separate amps or channels, instead of being tied together through a Y connector or feeding two inputs on one channel of an amp. The cabinet is small and manageable in size, and fit and finish is very good. Each channel has a separate volume and tone controls. The first channel is warm and creamy. When pushed hard, using the Heritage 335 it can approach 'woman tone' with humbuckers. Low position chords have a lot of force. Using WeberVST speakers (which Pete uses in modified form), it sounds its best. It clearly sounds more powerful than 30 watts has a right to be. It can hang a note nicely. The amp and guitar react well against each other, more organic, more so than I could get with the RT-66. With a PRS Equipped with P-90s the amp demonstrated a nice articulation and 'spank'. When driven hard, the brite channel has a nice 'British' almost metal-style edge to it. A nice harmonic structure. A very BIG sound, gutsy. A good overall punch. Sounds like it has a solid power supply and it doesn't blink when hit hard. It was very difficult to find a way to drive the amp into a "bad zone". Even dimed, it leaned more towards a singing rather than screaming or getting rude or obnoxious. It has a surprising low-end kick too. I like the ability to change the voice of the amp by balancing the channels. It has a nice grind as well. The main cabinet we tested with was a Matchless open back, with Weber's (modified to Pete's specs) in a 2 X 12 configuration. Even when used on other Webers, or my EV-12-L ported/closed back box, it maintained a tight responsive characteristic. I applaud Pete for having the testicular fortitude to jump into a tight market segment ($1-2k) and to produce an excellent value in this price range. As a manufacturer, I know how hard it can be to produce a low end product that can both perform and make enough money to make manufacturing it worth doing. I wish Pete success with this product, and encourage potential customers in this price range to try to test drive this baby.

Kevin Miller

This amp was equally good with both humbuckers and single coils. Very natural and balanced, with a slight "acoustic" property to it. Bluesy tones were there, along with a nice mix of English vibe - the EL84s were immediately identifiable. In addition to liking both dual and single coil guitars, this amp also liked all pickup selections within the guitars - neck pickups were not mushy and bridge pickups were not brittle. Responded very nicely to picking dynamics and it responded well to rolling off the guitar volume. Once again, Scott's Callaham strat just sounded "Bell-a-Riffic, Baby"! Also, Scott did a finger-picking exercise on this strat which really brought out those "acoustic" type tones of this amp. Think Vox, but less "throaty". In addition, Andy's HBI sounded very acoustic and stringy. When pushed, this amp had the perfect grind, that to me, was very smooth. Excellent chime and harmonic content. About the only thing I could think of knocking on this amp was it's overall lack of gain. Don't get me wrong, this amp did put out, and the AC/DC tones were almost there; but, I prefer amps with a bit more gas. This amp would be perfect for Classic Rock, Blues, and Modern Rock (just not the heavy stuff). I just might have to sell my Carman Ghia in order to purchase one of these.

George Waldmann

The 30 watt Cage 18-30 looks like a Marshall head, but sounds much smoother. This was another terrific amp, with two channels (Normal and Bright) but a total of only four knobs, one volume and one tone per channel, and a "link" toggle switch that runs them in parallel if you want. With the two channels linked, you can get an amazing variety of tones out of this thing by twiddling the four knobs. Set up the normal channel to taste, then bring up the bright channel's volume and tone to sweeten. Or do it the other way around. Allowed you dial in a wide sweet spot between clean and breakup, or push it beyond. Overall, this one sort of fell in between tweed and blackface. The overdrive was tight and well muscled, but the high end was smooth so you could listen this one loud without a lot of ear fatigue.

All comments copyright (c) 2000 by the respective authors.