Marshall Amplification celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. To honour the occasion the company is releasing five small anniversary models, produced in limited numbers. Each model of these one-Watt all-valve heads and combos has been designed to represent one era in Marshall-history, both in looks and in sound.
The JTM1C-combo (current street price in Finland approximately 700 €) nails the look of early JTM-models perfectly. Just like the famous Bluesbreaker-combo, the JTM1C sports a golden nameplate with the old-style block lettering and the famous salt-and-pepper grille cloth of yore.
Valve purists will be delighted at the sight of just one volume- and one tone-control – nothing stands in the way of pure tone.
Even though the anniversary models aren’t wired point-to-point in the vintage style, the electronic…
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“Egnater Tweaker-112 – The Valves Strike Back!” – If Kitarablogi were a tabloid, the headline would read something like this, because this is what Bruce Egnater’s new combo is all about: The Tweaker is designed to give the guitarist something akin to the extreme versatility of digital modelling amps or software in a genuine all-valve package.
The compact Tweaker-112 (current price in Finland: 656,44 €) is a 15-Watts valve combo, equipped with a single 12-inch Celestion G12H-30 Vintage -speaker. The design comes from the USA, but the amp is built in China to reassuringly high quality standards.
The front grille is an Orange-style weave, with the cabinet finished in black, textured vinyl.
The cabinet’s back is almost completely closed, which helps with achieving stack-type tonalities using a compact combo.
One of Celestion’s most well-known speakers…
All the Tweaker’s connectors have been placed vertically above the back’s opening…
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In Europe Jeff Diamant’s company Diamond Amplification is still a new name in the amp business.
Each Diamond amp and cabinet is hand-made from start to finish at Diamond’s factory in Houston, Texas.
Diamond amps are thoroughbred, hand-soldered valve amps, but this doesn’t mean that Jeff Diamant and his team are stuck in the past. The company’s products are modern amplifiers designed for maximum reliability.
In this video Premier Guitar goes on a factory tour:
Kitarablogi.com tested a Diamond Del Fuego -head (current price in Finland: 1.750 €) and a matching Open Back 1×12 -cabinet (current price in Finland: 650 €).
The Del Fuego is a 22-Watts class A amplifier with a vintage two-channel layout. “Vintage” means there are two channels – one with tremolo (Ch 2) and one without (Ch 1) – but you cannot switch between channels on-the fly, unless you use a separate A/B-box…
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Over the last decade Bogner Amplification have achieved a legendary status among fans of boutique amps.
Bogner’s best-known design is probably the Uberschall-model, which is aimed squarely at the connoisseur of high-gain amps. But the company also build several vintage-inspired amps, one of which is the Bogner Goldfinger combo.
Bogner’s Goldfinger 45 1×12 (current price in Finland: 2.946 €) is quite large for a 1×12”-combo. Its dimensions are in a similar league as the 2 x 12 Vox AC30. The reason behind the large and deep cabinet lies in the fatter tone it produces.
The Goldfinger’s preamp section has been designed around four 12X7- and one 12AT7-valve, with the main amplifier running a quartet of 6V6-types. The combo is rated at 45 Watts, but its power can be reigned in using the front panel’s Standby/Hi/Low-toggle, as well as the Full/Half-switch around the back.
The top-drawer valve amplification…
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Blackstar is one of the hottest guitar amp companies around at the moment. Their first Series One -heads have found their way into many a professional’s back line, due to their muscular tone and extreme versatility. Their more recent sweet little HT-5 and HT-1 combos can already be found in many studios and living-rooms around the globe.
New from Blackstar comes the HT-Venue-range. This series promises to offer more affordable amps that still aim to give you the full “Blackstar Experience”.
The whole Blackstar range is engineered in the UK, but built in South Korea. The Venue-half-stack looks very stylish, with somewhat more of a vintage-type charm compared to Series One models.
Workmanship is top-notch…
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British company Blackstar Amplification have earned a reputation for producing versatile, reliable, no-nonsense valve amplifiers for the modern player. Their ever-growing roster of endorsers from a wide variety of different musical styles is an irrefutable testament to this.
This time Kitarablogi will take a closer look at the Blackstar HT Club 40 combo (current price in Finland 694 €), which looks like the perfect workhorse for the gigging guitarist.
As indicated by its name, the Blackstar HT Club 40 is a 40-Watt valve combo. The preamp is designed around two ECC83-valves, while the power amp uses a pair of EL34s.
This made-in-China combo is a two-channel affair and comes equipped with a single 12-inch speaker.
One of Blackstar’s trademarks is the clean and crisp, unfussy look – the HT Club 40 means business, and it’s ready to go.
This mid-sized combo weighs in at about 24 kilos…
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Digital amp-modelling has come to stay, no doubt about it. But while some form of amp-modelling is used almost daily by many guitarists, the good old valve amp isn’t really fading away. On the contrary – it seems that these days especially low-powered valve amps are experiencing something of a renaissance.
A good example of this type of all-valve amp is Ampeg’s new GVT15-112.
The Ampeg GVT15-112 (current street price in Finland: 620 €) is a relatively compact 15-Watt valve amp, which can also be used at home, thanks to its half-power power amp mode.
Made in South Korea, the combo’s cabinet seems very well made, and the amp’s looks have a stylish retro touch. Our test sample receives a small cosmetic mark-down, because the decorative metal rail below the control panel sits slightly askew.
The clean and understated look carries over onto the Ampeg’s back…
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