We're compiling the best Holiday 2016 music gear deals. See them here.
This Twin Amp has according to Fender 40 watts, it features one normal and one bright input each with a high and low input. It has 2 5U4 rectifier tubes, 4 12ax7 preamp tubes and 2 6L6 power tubes. Each channel has a volume control and share treble, bass and presence controls. There are two Alnico speakers installed.
Due to the 2 rectifiers it sounds really twangy and sparkly at lower to medium volumes. But as soon as you put the amp up to 4-6 (depending on your guitar) you are getting a fantastic sounding overdrive, after about 4-6 it only adds distortion but it is more than loud enough for everything at that point. You cannot bridge the channels with a patch cable like on a ´59 Bassman or Marshall 4-holers, if you want to mix the channels you have to use an ABY-box. As the name suggests the Bright channel is really bright, but apart from the bright cap it is identical to the normal channel. Personally I prefer the Normal channel in all situations, although I really liked the Bright channel when I could turn it up to 9, but by then I knew I could never to that at a rehearsal or even a normal gig. The two controls (bass and treble) do really change the sound, but one has to keep in mind that true to the tweed tradition they are also adding gain to the signal. The effect of the presence control is subtle but still useful.
The speakers in this amp are Eminence AlNiCo speakers designed by Weber and are really glorious sounding once they are broken in. For fun I tried other speakers like the Eminence Cannabis Rex, Jensen C12N, Celestion G12M Greenbacks and Celestion Vintage 30a. Each speaker slightly shifted the tone of the amp into a slightly different direction, so there is a nice option for further tweaking the sound if one ever grows tired of this amp.
This amp works well with pedals and a nice reverb unit adds a beautiful dimension to the sound, but I feel that you would not miss the reverb with this amp if you are not a giant reverb fanatic. Like with most tube amps you have to turn it up a bit to hear its full potential, that way the amp itself and pedals really come alive as soon as the amp is on 3, which is already loud house or low to medium rehearsal volume.
I use it with Stratocasters (normal ones and a Clapton), Telecasters and Les Pauls. Most of the time I also use several pedals and never had a problem with the sound.
There a several ways to further tweak the amp´s sound and response besides speakers. First you could change the V1-3 12ax7 preamp tubes to 12ay7 tubes, this would give you an impression how the amp was originally designed to sound like. This also removes a lot of the available treble and makes the bright channel much more appealing at non cranked volumes. You could also remove one of the two rectifiers, this further softens the sound and gives you a little bit earlier overdrive and more compression. I tried all that and right now I´m back to the stock configuration, but I was happy with each way. Please keep in mind that it is useful to re-bias the amp when you change the type of the preamp tubes or remove a rectifier tubes as the readings of the power tubes will change.
I never regretted buying this amp, if it was still available I would gladly recommend it to everybody who like higher powered tweed tones.