Oxygen amps got its start in September 2008 when Cam and Joe got together and started kicking around the idea of building electric guitar amps. Joe is a player and electronics buff who had built his own amp. Using Joe’s amp as the prototype, they began the build. The amp was originally conceived as a three channel design incorporating a clean, a cream and a crunch channel. The concept was to build a high-quality, hand-wired, point-to-point tube amp that would deliver unmatched tone using only the best components. To that end they sourced the best transformers, speakers, capacitors, tubes and components available. Nothing but the best went into the amp. But the amp needed to stand out from the “crowd”. Cam decided that it not only needed to sound amazing but that it needed to be unique in its look. It had to be able to stand out in an amp room full of gear. It had to catch your eye and make you want to plug into it and play it. So as a result of dozens of design iterations, the “Thong” look was born. The result was a modern version of a retro-looking design that incorporates a graceful curving aesthetic deco and a two-tone tolex scheme to deliver a visually stunning look. Many players have told us that “It’s a thing of beauty.” So Oxygen Amps was born.
But this was only the start. Cam and Joe decided to part ways and Cam was left to complete the project and bring it to market. A long and winding process resulted in a chance meeting between Cam and Cory Davies from Davies Audio. Cam began dialogue with Cory about the idea of getting involved in the project to help complete the original design. So with just a couple of phone calls and emails it was decided to team up to complete the original Oxygen Ozone 18W amp. And in 2011 the project was back on track. To add to the challenge though was the physical distance between Cam’s facility in the Vancouver, BC suburb of South Surrey and Cory’s shop outside a little town in the interior of British Columbia called Castlegar about 8 hours drive away. So the prototype was boxed up and shipped to Cory on the Greyhound bus. Once the prototype was received, Cory decided that he liked what Cam was trying to build and a working relationship was struck.
With his more than 40 years of experience in RF electronics and electric guitar tube amps, Cory took the original concept and modified it extensively to deliver improved sound in a much simpler and more reliable design. Gone was the 3 channel amp in favour of a simpler 2 channel unit. The new amp still delivers three distinct sounding channels through the new design which incorporates a boost function in the clean/crunch channel. Also gone was the complicated switching circuit that just added more components to clutter up the signal path. The result is a quiet amp with bright, clean tones, warm rich cream sounds and a punchy overdrive channel that appeals to a wide range of players and musical genres.
The prototype was “shopped” around to many local musicians, producers and friends in an effort to get feedback and support for the project. Roy Salmond (Whitewater Productions) introduced Cam to Roc Bubel (Radial Engineering) who was at that time pursuing his own projects. Roc with his vast experience in the music industry with many years heading up Canadian sales with Fender, contributed greatly to the project and helped to refine the Oxygen aesthetic and sound to deliver something that was better than the original. Two more prototypes later and the 18W Ozone was ready for market. So in January 2014 the Oxygen Ozone 18W line was launched at the NAMM show in Anaheim. The product garnered rave reviews and generated a lot of interest with players and dealers and it was there that we sold the first amp to Buzz Feiten. Oxygen Amps were now in the game!
Cory still refuses to come to the “big city” but yet he continues to build his custom, hand-made creations in his shop 30 minutes outside the little town of 8000 people in south central BC. That’s the only way he wants it. He would just as soon be alone in his shop auditioning different capacitors or tubes or transformers to achieve that perfect tone he is seeking. In fact, as soon as someone comes into his shop he stops working….he needs to be totally focused on his builds. He actually prefers not having to deal with people. Isn’t that the kind of craftsman you want building your amp? The results speak for themselves. Audition an Oxygen and you will see the difference craftsmanship can make. We do really build “Masterpieces of Tone”!