Skip to content

L5 Preamp Drive Channel

Based On
Lab Series® L5 Preamp
Effect Type
Build Difficulty
Project Summary
A pedal adaptation of the second channel of the Lab Series® L5 amplifier from the late 1970s, often considered to be the best solid-state amp ever designed.
L5 Preamp Drive Channel printed circuit board

Printed Circuit Board

What's included?
PCB only. Build instructions and parts list can be viewed or downloaded from this page.


In stock

Complete Kit

Not yet available.
Kits are developed based on interest, so if you’d like to see one for this project, let us know.
Request Kit
69 people are interested.

Project overview

The L5 Preamp Drive Channel is an adaptation of the second channel of the Lab Series® L5 amplifier, originally released in 1976 and discontinued in 1981.

The Lab Series L5 amp was designed to compete with the Fender Twin Reverb, and the first channel was specifically designed to be Fender-inspired. However, the second channel was completely original from the ground up, with active tone controls, a parametric midrange, and a unique (and patented) multi-pole fixed EQ called the “Multifilter”.

The drive channel of the L5 was most famously used by Ty Tabor on the first four Kings X albums. (BB King also used these amps, but only the clean channel, for which we have a different project.)

This project recreates the entire signal path of the drive channel except for the multifilter—including the OTA overdrive, compressor and master volume. It also runs on the same +/-15V voltage as the original unit. The only change we’ve made is to convert the input stage from inverting to non-inverting. This reduces the noise, but the way we’ve designed it, the input impedance and frequency response are exactly the same as the original amp’s “Lo” input (the higher-gain mode designed for guitar).

The clean channel is available as a separate project, and like this one, it recreates the entire signal path of the first channel. The full L5 Preamp pedal is still available.