Review: Egnater Tweaker-112 -combo

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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.

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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. This is probably a little unusual, but by no means a bad solution.

The workmanship looks reassuringly crisp both inside and out.

Like in many modern compact valve combos (the Vox AC4 TV and Marshall Class 5 spring to mind), the Tweaker-112 also has its valves placed above the speaker, facing forward, which makes valve changes a wee bit complicated. You have to take of the small back grille, and then fish for the correct valve you want to replace, while at the same time trying to get a visual clue, as to what you’re doing, by peeping through the combo’s small ventilation grille. Not my favourite way of handling this…

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”Tweaker” – the name says it all. If you like to twiddle knobs and throw switches on the road to sonic nirvana, then this Egnater is just the amp for you.

Situated next to the input jack the first two mini-switches let you choose between a big or a tight bass end, and between a normal and a brighter basic tonality. By using the Clean/Hot-switch next to the gain-control you can coax the whole range of clean to heavily distorted tones from this single-channel combo.

Another mini-switch has been set aside to tweak the amp’s EQ-section. You can select from three options – Brit (Marshall-type), AC (Vox-type) and USA (Fender-type). The last switch is situated in the master section and gives you a choice between a vintage style quasi-linear frequency curve and a loudness-type metal setting.

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Putting good descriptions to sounds is always rather hard – so take a listen to the soundbites I recorded for you, using my Fender ’62 Telecaster Custom -reissue, as well as my Hamer USA Studio Custom. All delays and reverbs have been added at during mixdown.

Hamer – warm clean

Telecaster – jangly clean

Hamer – Blues-overdrive

Telecaster – ”…Foxy…”

Hamer – fat distortion

Telecaster – overdriven lead

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In my opinion, Egnater’s Tweaker-112 is a great little package, and I found it hard to give it back. Its biggest forte lies in recording work, where the combination of this combo’s huge variety of sounds, combined with different instruments and microphones can yield spectacular results. At 15 Watts (and equipped with a master volume control) the Tweaker-112 is also a perfect choice as your living-room amp.

You cannot, and should, not expect 100 percent authenticity from such a compact combo – especially when it comes to amp stack tones – still, I feel that the Tweaker offers you a kind of organic interactivity, especially in its dynamic range, which is still hard to emulate with digital amp modellers.

If you stick a mike in front of the Egnater Tweaker it can also be your partner on stage, but then I’d recommend using a few pedals in front of it for instant sound changes.

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Egnater Tweaker-112 

Current price in Finland: 656,44 €

Finnish distributor: Nordsound

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Pros:

+ highly versatile

+ easy to use

+ laminated birch cabinet

+ sound

+ low weight

Cons:

– valves a bit hard to get to

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