Posts tagged ‘Les Paul Junior’

18/06/2018

Seven bridge P-90s and humbuckers played through an overdriven combo

The bridge pickups of seven different guitars played through a crunchy setting on a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo.

On the compilation track each guitar takes one turn with the order being:

Les Paul Junior –> Casino –> Kasuga –> Melody Maker SG –> G-400 –> Les Paul Standard –> Hamer

29/01/2018

Review: Bluetone Shadows Jr.

Following in the wake of their very popular Shadows Reverb combo, Finnish boutique makers Bluetone Amps have recently introduced a smaller sibling, called the Shadows Jr.

The Bluetone Shadows Jr. (combo starting at around 1,300 €) is a hand-built, all-valve guitar combo, whose sound is based on the classic Vox AC15. Instead of being a straight, slavish copy, though, the Shadows Jr. incorporates many of the up-to-date features that have made Bluetone such a well-regarded boutique maker.

****

The Shadows Jr. has the clean and business-like looks that active players truly appreciate. You don’t want to be slowed down on stage by a control panel that’s hard to decipher. The Bluetone is clarity itself.

This is a single-channel all-valve combo running in Class AB mode giving you maximum output power at just over 10 watts.

The Shadows Jr. is designed around a trio of 12AX7 preamp tubes and a pair of EL84s powering the speaker. The combo’s power valves are cathode-biased, which means that swapping tubes won’t necessitate a trip to your friendly amp technician.

Bluetone is one of the very few amp makers who use torroidal power transformers. These doughnut-shaped devices (the black thing in the upper left corner) are lighter and more dependable than traditional transformer designs, and they offer more exact tolerances. As a valve amp is highly dependable on a stable and electronically quiet power supply for superior tone, Bluetone decided on using torroidal transformers early on, and they’ve never looked back.

The Warehouse Guitar Speakers Green Beret is an excellent choice for a strongly Brit-flavoured combo. Bluetone break in all of the speakers they use with low-frequency sine waves.

Despite being a compact single-channel combo amp (weighing only around 10 kg), the Bluetone Shadows Jr. offers an amazing amount of different clean and gain tones, thanks in no small part to the amp’s PPIMV master volume and the three-step OPC-switch.

PPIMV stands for ”post-power inverter master volume”, which is the preferred way of master volume design at Bluetone Amps, because it eats up the least amount of an amplifier’s tone, when in use. And if you turn the master volume knob all the way up, a PPIMV design makes the master volume ”disappear” electronically, making it completely transparent.

OPC, on the other hand, stands for ”output power control”. On the Shadows Jr. you have a choice of three settings, giving you 0.2, two or the full 10 watts of power, respectively. The magic of the OPC circuit is that it will turn volume levels down very noticeably without changing the tonal character of your settings, while also leaving almost all of the dynamics intact. Many lesser output power designs will turn a clean setting into an overdriven sound when you select a lower output level. The Shadows Jr. will sound almost the same on ten, two or 0.2 watts – the small tonal differences are the result of the speaker being driven differently. With the OPC at the lowest setting you will get approximately 95 percent of the full ”Shadows Jr. experience” at bedroom/apartment block volume levels. That’s fantastic!

The back panel gives you a choice of using the internal speaker or an external 4- or 8-ohm cabinet.

Bluetone have also included their tasty buffered, switchable effects loop with a dedicated volume control. When the loop is not in use, the circuit can also serve as a handy lead boost.

****

Are you looking for a cool little tone machine with a strong Vox-y flavour, and no-compromise build quality? You should do yourself a favour and try the Bluetone Shadows Jr.

The Shadows Jr. ticks all the right boxes:

You get that classic clean tone with that sweet mid-range ”attitude”. A clean tone that is lively, but never glassy or brittle.

With the front-end volume near the other extreme you’ll get overdrive and distortion that is more gritty and dynamic – think later era Beatles, windmilling Townshend, or multilayered May – than creamy and compressed.

But don’t forget to check out the wide scope of break-up Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll sounds to be had between 11 and 2 o’clock on the volume (gain) control (depending on the guitar used). You’re in for hours of wailing soloing and chunky rhythms without ever needing an overdrive stompbox.

Here’s a Gibson Les Paul Junior on its own:

Demo track number one features two rhythm guitar tracks – a Fender Stratocaster (stereo left) and a Gibson Les Paul Junior (right) – as well as a Hamer USA Studio Custom on lead duty:

The second demo track features a Gibson Les Paul Junior (rhythm left), an Epiphone Casino (rhythm right), and a Fender Telecaster (lead guitar):

****

The Bluetone Shadows Jr. is a fantastic little tone machine for the Vox-inclined player, who likes warm clean tones, dynamic break-up sounds, and gritty late-Sixties/early-Seventies dirt.

The build quality is miles ahead of any mass-produced guitar amplifier – this is a handcrafted boutique-grade valve amp. Modern additions like the PPIMV master volume, the OPC circuit, and the switchable effects loop, also raise this amp above any vintage-style copies.

For many the crucial question with low-wattage amps is volume. How loud is the Bluetone Shadows Jr?

Let’s just say that if you’ve only ever tried 10-watt tranny combos before you’re in for quite a surprise! These are ten (-plus) watts of British-style valve amp majesty, with every last ounce of loudness wrung out of the power amp and speaker.

With the OPC and the master on full, this little chap will easily get you into trouble with your neighbours in your block of flats on clean tones alone. If you don’t need 100 percent clean tones, the Shadows Jr. will easily get you through many rehearsals and gigs in small venues. And there’s always the option to stick a mic in front of the speaker.

So, don’t expect a Heavy Metal-type volume onslaught, but be prepared for some serious business.

****
Bluetone Amps Shadows Jr.

Prices starting from 1,300 €

Contact: Bluetone Amps

Pros:

+ Handmade in Finland

+ Master volume

+ OPC

+ Effects loop

+ Sound

+ Value-for-money*****Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

25/01/2018

Bluetone Shadows Jr – The Kitarablogi video

Bluetone Shadows Jr.

• Handmade in Finland
• All-valve Class AB single-channel combo
• 10 W, 2 W or 0.2 W of output power (OPC)
• Diode recitified
• Two-band EQ
• PPIMV Master Volume
• Built-in buffered FX loop/booster
• 3 x ECC83 (12AX7) & 2 x EL84
• One 10-inch WGS Green Beret speaker (25 Watts/8 Ohms)

****
Demo Track

All guitars recorded with the Bluetone Shadows Jr. (no pedal effects used). Delay and reverb added during mixdown.

• Rhythm guitars: Fender Stratocaster (left channel) & Gibson Les Paul Junior (right channel)
• Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

Recorded with a Shure SM57.

Save

27/01/2017

Review: Brunetti SingleMan 16

brunetti-singleman-16-logo-2

Brunetti Amplification is an amp maker from the town of Modena in northern Italy.

Marco Brunetti’s team handcrafts a number of tasty and stylish guitar amps and effect pedals. In addition to custom orders Brunetti also manufactures a range of standard models, of which the SingleMan 16 is the smallest combo amp.

Brunetti-products are distributed in Finland by NordSound.

****

brunetti-singleman-16-front-straight

The main aim behind the Brunetti SingleMan 16 (1,348 €) is to come up with a compact, single-channel design that nevertheless offers a maximum of tonal flexibility for the working musician.

brunetti-singleman-16-front-angle-2

The elegant two-tone finish and the combo’s clear lines make the SingleMan a real looker.

brunetti-singleman-16-full-back

The combo weighs in at a moderate 20 kilos. Its open-backed cabinet is made of high-quality plywood.

brunetti-singleman-16-speaker-and-valves

The Brunetti comes loaded with Celestion’s famous 12-inch Vintage 30, which is known for its precise and multifaceted sound.

The SingleMan 16 is a genuine Class A valve amplifier. The preamp uses a pair of 12AX7 tubes, while the power amp is fuelled by two 6V6GTs.

The amp’s spring reverb unit comes from Accutronics. An on/off-footswitch for the reverb effect comes with the combo.

brunetti-singleman-16-electronics

The amp chassis is precision cut (by laser) from solid steel.

Taking a look inside, we’re greeted by top-drawer components and very crisp workmanship. In contrast to many large-volume manufacturers, Brunetti’s electronics are handwired, and soldered by real people, not robots.

brunetti-singleman-16-back-panel

The SingleMan 16’s back panel offers you jacks for external speakers, the reverb footswitch, and an effects loop (with a dedicated on/off-switch).

****

brunetti-singleman-16-control-panel

The tonal flexibility of Brunetti’s SingleMan 16 combo mainly comes courtesy of the amp’s six modes.

Three modes are provided in the preamp section (by a sturdy mini-toggle), called Tweed, Fat and Smooth. Tweed is the most angular of the three, offering up dry and very dynamic guitar tones. Fat conjures up a warmer, distinctly British palette of sounds. The third mode, Smooth, turns the SingleMan into a bonafide ”cream machine” that’s warm and a bit saggy. Depending on your chosen guitar, Smooth’s richness can be a bit of a mixed blessing. Dark sounding humbuckers might turn into a bit of a mush, here, but spiky single coils will surely benefit from this mode’s innate fatness.

Here’s a clip of the SingleMan 16’s preamp modes when played with a Fender Telecaster (’62 Custom Reissue). The guitar is plugged into the Hi-input, the Volume control is turned to 10 o’clock:

Here’s a similar clip featuring an Epiphone Les Paul Standard (with vintage-style EMG-HZ pickups). Right at the beginning of the clip I turn the Bright-switch from ”off” to ”on”. The guitar is plugged into Lo, with the Volume control still at 10 o’clock:

****

Brunetti’s SingleMan 16 also comes with three power amp modes, which see the power amp running at Full, Moderate (25%) or Quiet (6.25%) levels. Because the output power reduction is achieved by changing the internal voltages in the output valves, switching from one mode to another also has a direct bearing on the combo’s sound and dynamic behaviour. Compared to Full mode, Quiet mode is far fatter-sounding, far more compressed, and seasoned with a good helping of creamy power amp distortion.

Here’s a clip of the three power amp modes, when using a Fender Tele (Volume at two o’clock):

And here’s a similar clip with the Epiphone Les Paul (Volume at one o’clock):

****

The demo track features two rhythm guitars – a Fender Stratocaster (left channel) and a Gibson Les Paul Junior (right channel). The lead track was played on an Epiphone Les Paul Standard:

****

brunetti-singleman-16-front-angle-1

Brunetti’s SingleMan 16 is a fantastic-sounding and surprisingly versatile single-channel tube combo from Italy. It’s practically impossible to dial in a genuinely ”bad” sound, and the combo’s versatility – both tonally, as well as in terms of its output levels – means that the SingleMan 16 will feel equally at home on stage, in the studio, and in your living-room. For extreme clean headroom or bone-crushing amp stack sound pressure, you should probably look elsewhere, but I’m pretty sure most guitarists will find ”their” sound easily using the SingleMan 16.

****

Brunetti SingleMan 16

Current price in Finland: 1,348 € (incl. reverb footswitch and amp cover)

Finnish distribution: NordSound

Pros:

+ handcrafted

+ versatile sound

+ power reduction switch

+ great-sounding reverb

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

23/01/2017

Testipenkissä: Brunetti SingleMan 16

brunetti-singleman-16-logo-2

Brunetti Amplification on maineikas vahvistinpaja Pohjois-Italian Modenasta.

Marco Brunettin tiimi valmistaa käsityönä laadukkaita ja tyylikkäitä kitaravahvistimia sekä efektipedaaleja. Custom-töiden lisäksi Brunettin valikoimasta löytyy myös useita omia vahvistinmalleja, joista SingleMan 16 on teholtaan pienin kombo.

Brunettin tuotteita tuo maahan Pohjanmaalainen yritys NordSound.

****

brunetti-singleman-16-front-straight

Perusidea Brunetti SingleMan 16:ta (1.348 €) suunniteltaessa pääasiallinen tavoite oli toteuttaa mahdollisimman monipuolinen ja hyväsoundinen yksikanavainen kombo kätevässä ja kevyessä formaatissa.

brunetti-singleman-16-front-angle-2

Kaksivärinen viimeistely ja SingleManin selkeät linjat tekevät kombosta erittäin tyylikkään.

brunetti-singleman-16-full-back

Kombo painaa 20 kiloa, ja sen kotelo on tehty laadukkaasta vanerista.

brunetti-singleman-16-speaker-and-valves

Kaiuttimeksi on valittu Celestionin maineikas 12-tuumainen Vintage 30, joka tunnetaan tarkasta ja kolmiulotteisesta soundistaan.

Brunetti SingleMan 16 on aito A-luokan täysputkivahvistin. Etuaste pohjautuu kahteen 12AX7-putkeen, ja pääte on rakennettu kahden 6V6GT-putken ympärille.

Kombon pohjaan on asennettu laadukas Accutronics-jousikaiku, jonka voi kytkeä päälle tai pois myyntipakettiin sisältyvällä jalkakytkimellä.

brunetti-singleman-16-electronics

Vahvistinkotelo on leikattu laserilla ruostamattomasta teräksestä.

Kotelon uumenista löytyy kauttaaltaan erittäin laadukkaita komponentteja, ja työnjälki on esimerkillisen siistiä. Toisin kuin monien muiden vahvistinvalmistajien tehtaissa, Brunettin elektroniikka juotetaan käsin, eikä robotin avulla.

brunetti-singleman-16-back-panel

SingleMan 16 -kombon takapaneelista löytyy liittimet lisäkaiuttimelle, kaikukytkimelle, sekä efektilenkki omalla päälle/pois-minikytkimellä.

****

brunetti-singleman-16-control-panel

Brunetti SingleMan 16:n monipuolisen soundin mahdollistavat kombon tarjoamat kuusi toimintamoodia.

Etuasteen jämäkkä pikkukytkin tarjoaa kolme moodia – Tweed, Fat ja Smooth – joiden toiminta ulottuu pelkkiä EQ-käyriä syvemmälle. Tweed on moodeista kulmikkain ja kuivin, ja se tarjoaa hyvin laajan dynamiikka-alueen. Fat vie SingleManin soundia lämpimämpään suuntaan, joka on luonteeltaan selvästi brittihenkisempi. Smooth-moodi taas tarjoaa erikoisannoksen kermaa ja muhkeutta. Riippuu käytetystä kitaramallista, onko Smoothin kermaisuudesta hyötyä vai meneekö se jopa liian pitkälle. Yksikelaisilla mikrofoneilla Smooth kuulostaa taivaalliselta, mutta paksunsoundisella kaulahumbuckerilla soundi voi muuttua hieman puuroiseksi.

Tällaisilta Brunettin etuvahvistinmoodit kuulostavat Fender Telecasterilla (’62 Custom Reissue). Kitara on liitetty Hi-tuloon ja Volume-säädin on kello kymmenessä:

Tässä samantyyppinen pätkä Epiphone Les Paul Standardilla soitettuna (kitarassa vintage-tyyliset EMG-HZ-mikit). Pätkän alussa laitan Bright-kytkimen päälle. Kitara on liitetty Lo-tuloon ja Volume on kello kymmennessä:

****

Brunetti SingleMan 16 -kombon päätteellä on kolme eri tehomoodia. Tarjolla on Full, Moderate (25%) ja Quiet (6,25%). Koska tehon rajoitus on toteutettu laskemalla kombon pääteputkien sisäisiä sähköjännitteitä, muuttuu moodivaihdon seurauksena myös SingleManin dynamiikka ja soundi. Quiet-moodissa soundi on Full-moodiin verrattuna selvästi paksumpi, runsaalla kompressiolla ja kermaisella säröllä höystettynä.

Tässä on päätemoodien esittelypätkä Fender Telellä soitettuna (Volume kello kaksi):

Ja sama Epiphone Les Paulilla (Volume kello yksi):

****

Demobiisissä on kaksi komppikitaraa – Fender Stratocaster (vasen kanava) ja Gibson Les Paul Junior (oikea kanava). Soolo-osuudet on soitettu Epiphone Les Paul Standardilla:

****

brunetti-singleman-16-front-angle-1

Italialainen Brunetti SingleMan 16 on erittäin maukas ja monipuolinen tapaus yksikanavaiseksi komboksi. Se kattaa yllättävän laajan skaalan erialisia laatusoundeja, ja päätteen toimintamoodien ansiosta kombo sopii käytettäväksi kaikkialla, olohuoneesta studion kautta klubilavoille. Jos on suuritehoista stäkkiä vailla tai tarvitsee vahvistimeltaan ehdottomasti paljon puhdasta headroomia, SingleMan 16 ei ehkä ole paras vaihtoehto, mutta muille sillä on kosolti annettavaa.

****

Brunetti SingleMan 16

1.348 € (sis. kytkin kaiulle sekä suojahuppu)

Maahantuoja: NordSound

Plussat:

+ käsintehty

+ monipuolinen soundi

+ tehonpudotus

+ kaiun soundi

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

10/01/2017

Brunetti SingleMan 16 – the Kitarablogi-video

brunetti-singleman-16-control-panel

Contact: Nordsound

Save

Save

Save

04/01/2017

Now on SoundCloud: Brunetti Singleman 16

Contact: Nordsound

Save

10/05/2016

Review: Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel logo

Bogner Amplification has recently added a new member to its Goldfinger-family of guitar amps. In addition to the two-channel Goldfinger 45, there’s now also a single-channel amplifier available, called the Goldfinger 54 Phi.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full front

The basic idea behind the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi combo (current price in Finland: 3.091 €) was to develop the most versatile single-channel valve amp possible.

The 54 Phi’s starting point was the Goldfinger 45’s clean Alpha-channel. The new model is concentrating mainly on clean tones, and it is meant as the ideal combo for guitarists who achieve most of their sounds with the help of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full back

In its combo version – the 54 Phi is also available as an amp head – weighs in at about 26 kilos.

The cabinet is made from pine ply and it sports an open back construction.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – Celestion G12

Bogner’s new tube combo comes equipped with a Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker, which combines a modern power rating with a classic, Greenback-type tonality.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – footswitch

A four-button footswitch unit is sold with the GF 54 Phi, and it gives us some hints regarding the combo’s versatility and features.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel

Bogner’s Goldfinger Phi offers a lot of scope for adjustment, so that every guitarist can dial in the sound he or she wants. Due to its versatility the 54 Phi needs you to get familiar with all its features, before plugging your guitar in and wailing away.

Actually, you should start your sonic journey with this Bogner’s back panel! The GF 54 Phi comes with a slightly unusual split power amp that employs two pairs of power amp valves – a pair of 6V6s and a pair of 6L6s. Each pair can be switched on or off individually, while the front panel’s Hi/Low-switch makes it possible to use only a single power amp tube from each pair, in effect halving the combo’s output power. By using the Hi/Low-switch and the power amp switches you can choose from six power modes. The lowest alternative lets the Goldfinger Phi run at approximately nine watts (6V6, Low), while the highest power mode (6L6+6V6, Hi) will give you the combo’s full 66 watts of output.

As were talking about a valve amp here, choosing between pairs (or single) power amp tubes doesn’t only have a bearing on the 54’s power rating, but it also affects the amp’s behaviour, especially when it comes to clean headroom and power amp compression (sag). You need to find the ”right” tube and Hi/Low-switch mix for your own, personal tone.

The Gain knob is used to set the preamp gain, while Loudness is what Bogner calls their master volume controls. There are two signal boosts implemented in the Goldfinger Phi’s preamp, but their are placed at different points in the signal chain, which makes them work and sound differently. The adjustable Boost booster is placed in front of the Gain control, even making it possible to achieve some distortion, if necessary. Solo, in turn, is a fixed booster that sits right at the end of the preamp.

Bogner’s GF 54 Phi offers you two different EQ-configurations. You can choose from Bogner’s own, modern tone stack or switch to a vintage Baxandall EQ. Originally, the Baxandall circuit was designed for Hi-Fi equipment, but it found its way into some guitar amps from the 1950s and 60s. Due to the way a Bax EQ works, there’s a perceivable drop in volume when you switch over without readjusting the EQ controls.

The EQ-section is complemented by a separate Presence control, as well as two Expand-switches (one adding bottom end, the other treble).

It may come as a shock to some valve purists, but Reinhold Bogner has deliberately chosen a digital reverb unit for his 54 Phi. In his view this digital unit offers more depth of sound and lushness than the type of spring tray he’d be able to fit into the 54 Phi combo. The reverb type features a little bit of chorus-style modulation to liven things up even further.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – back panel

I’ve moaned about this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not the biggest fan of Bogner’s downward-facing back panels. Unless you know the exact position of all connectors and switches by heart, you are forced to lie on your back to make sense of it all.

Be that as it may, the Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi’s back panel gives you a wide array of different options for getting the most from your combo.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – teaser 2

I was only given a weekend to test Bogner’s new baby, which is why I didn’t have enough time to record more audio demos. I still managed to come up with two, stylistically rather different demo songs.

The first track was recorded with the 54 Phi combo running in in 9 watts power mode, which made it possible to achieve overdriven sounds without the aid of pedals, simply by running hot humbucking pickups into the Goldfinger. The lead guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Junior with the tone knob turned down halfway, while all backwards guitar tracks were played on a Gibson Melody Maker SG. I recorded the combo (in both demo songs) with a Shure SM57:

The second demo track was recorded with the Bogner running at full tilt (66 W), and with a Boss SD-1 overdrive and a Joyo JF-37 chorus pedal in front of the combo. All guitar parts are played on a Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid guitar with a neck humbucker and a Telecaster-type single coil in the bridge position:

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – front angle

Bogner’s Goldfinger 54 Phi is a prime example of the versatility and quality of sound a well-designed, single-channel valve amp can offer.

This is a combo for the sound aesthete, who wants to build a strong foundation for his or her sound, regardless of whether this tone comes from just the fingers or a range of effect pedals.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – logo

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54

3.091 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ versatile preamp

+ switchable power amp configuration

+ sound

04/05/2016

Review: Vox AV15

Vox AV15 – logo

Vox Amplification’s new AV-series comprises three affordable guitar combos. The Vox AV15, AV30 and AV60 – named according to their power amp wattage – are modelling valve hybrid amplifiers that combine the best elements of solid state and tube technology.

****

****

Vox AV15 – front view new

KitarablogiDotCom took the smallest of the trio, the Vox AV15 (street price in Finland approx. 269 €) for a spin.

The AV15 is a compact little combo (height: 37 cm, width: 45 cm, depth: 23 cm), weighing in at just below eight kilos.

AV15 cabinet construction

The combo’s cabinet has taken a big leaf out of the book of hi-fi speaker construction. Normally a guitar cab is meant to add its own bit of tonal modification into the mix, but when dealing with a modelling amplifier meant to imitate a number of different amp and speaker configurations, the more linear frequency response of a bass reflex cabinet is highly desirable.

Vox AV15 – back angle

Vox AV15 – back panel

The only thing you’ll find on the Vox AV15’s back panel is the connector for the amp’s external power supply unit (12 VDC, included).

****

Vox AV15 – control panel 2 LRG

The Preamp Circuit-switch lets you select one of the eight amp models offered by the Vox. The selection takes you from Fender Twin-style cleans, and Vox- and Marshall-type crunch, all the way to Rectifier-like high gain tones.

You can fine-tune your tone using the three-band EQ section. The AV15 also comes equipped with an effects section made up of three different effects – reverb, delay and chorus (called modulation on the front panel). You are free to choose any or all of the effects. Each effect allows you to control a second parameter (in addition to the effect level) by keeping the respective effect’s effect button depressed while turning the Effects-control. You can change the modulation speed of the chorus, the delay time for the delay effect, and the length of the reverb tail of the reverb effect. The effects are the only digital bits in the AV-combo’s architecture, the rest of the Vox’ signal path – including the amp modelling – is kept all-analogue.

Here are three short clips illustrating the AV15’s effects (Gibson Les Paul Junior, Shure SM57):

CHORUS (with a little added reverb)

DELAY

REVERB

It may seem a bit unusual, but the AV15 features three different ”volume controls”, which all have a different bearing on the combo’s sound:

The Gain-knob sets the signal level before the signal is sent to the preamp’s valve stage. Low Gain settings result in a clean sound, while higher Gain settings will lead to preamp break-up and (depending on the chosen amp model) distortion. The Volume-control adjusts the signal level right in front of the power amp’s tube stage. Lower Volume settings will give you a clean and dynamic signal, while higher settings will bring in some power amp compression and saturation (= distortion). The last volume knob – called Power Level on the Vox AV15 – determines the final volume level in your room (or in your headphones).

Vox AV15 – tube and switches LRG

While its bigger siblings – the AV30 and the AV60 – feature two valves in their architecture (one for the preamp, one for the power amp), the smaller Vox AV15 makes do with just a single tube for both pre- and power amp duties. This is made possible by the way the good-old 12AX7-valve is constructed, offering you two triodes in one single tube. This means, you can split this valve type to perform two jobs simultaneously.

This Vox’ Valve Stage-section features four small slider switches that you can use to modify the way the two valve stages react and sound:

The Pre Amp side of things sports a Bright-switch for adding sparkle to your top end, as well as a Fat-switch that will boost the bass response.

The switches labelled ”Power Amp” really do make a significant difference to this combo’s ”feel”. The Bias- and Reactor-switches let you select how much the power amp’s tube section is ”pushed” and how much power amp compression will be audible.

Listen to these two sound clips – clean and crunch – to get an idea of how the Valve Stage switches change the combo’s sound (Gibson Les Paul Junior, Shure SM57). Both clips start with all the switches in the left position. Then I put one switch after the other to its right position (starting with the Bright-switch, and continuing left to right):

Vox AV15 – front angle 2

****

Vox AV15 – front angle 3

Snobbism seems to be the fashion of the day – we’ve got cork sniffers, we’ve got vinyl snobs, and we’ve got valve amp anoraks.

But in our heart of hearts, most of us ”old farts” would have been more than happy, if we would have had such a great-sounding and versatile amp as the Vox AV15 when we started playing in the 1970s and 80s! The AV15 really wins you over with its array of inspiring tones and its affordable price tag.

The Vox AV15 is a real amp, not a plastic toy sucking all of the sheer joy of playing out of an eager novice. Vox AV-series hybrid combos can also serve more advanced players as fun living room amps, they can be used for backstage warm-up, and they also make a good figure as home studio amps (as you can hear in the demo songs).

BLUES demo

Rhythm guitars: Fender Telecaster (left channel) & Epiphone Casino (right channel)

Lead guitar: Fender Stratocaster

ROCK demo

Rhythm guitars: Fender Telecaster (left channel) & Gibson Les Paul Junior (right channel)

Lead guitar: Gibson Melody Maker SG

METAL demo

Rhythm guitars: Gibson Melody Maker SG (left channel) & Fender Stratocaster (right channel)

Lead guitar: Hamer USA Studio Custom

****

Vox AV15 – front angle 4

In my opinion Vox Amplification’s new AV15 is a fine choice as a practice amp, for guitar teachers, or for school bands. The affordable Vox AV15 is easy to use and sounds great.

****

Vox AV15

Finnish street price approx. 269 €

Finnish distributor: EM Nordic

A big ”thank you” goes to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the review amp!

Pros:

+ compact

+ lightweight

+ versatile

+ Valve Stage-section

+ sound

+ value-for-money

Save

28/04/2016

Testipenkissä: Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel logo

Bogner Amplificationin Goldfinger-vahvistinperhe on hiljattain kasvanut. Kaksikanavaisen Goldfinger 45 -vahvistimen lisäksi on nyt saatavilla yksikanavainen herkkupala nimeltään Goldfinger 54 Phi.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full front

Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi -kombon (3.091 €) idea on ollut kehittää mahdollisimman monipuolinen yksikanavainen putkivahvistin.

54 Phi:n lähtökohtana on toiminut Goldfinger 45:n puhdas Alpha-kanava. Uutuusmallin pääpaino on juuri puhtaissa soundeissa, sillä 54 Phi on tarkoitettu paljon efektipedaaleja käyttävän kitaristin unelmakoneeksi.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – full back

Goldfinger 54:n komboversio (54 Phi on saatavilla myös nuppina) painaa noin 26 kiloa.

Vahvistimen kotelo valmistetaan mäntyvanerista ja sen takaseinä on avoin.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – Celestion G12

Uuden kultasormen kaiuttimiksi on valittu Celestionin G12M-65 Creamback -malli, jossa nykyaikainen tehonkesto yhdistyy klassiseen Greenback-soundiin.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – footswitch

GF 54 Phi:n mukana tuleva kytkinlauta, jossa on neljä kytkintä, antaa jo ensimmäisen vihjeen uutuus-Bognerin ominaisuuksista.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – control panel

Goldfinger Phi pyrkii siihen, että jokainen kitaristi löytää kombosta juuri sen haluamansa soundin tarjoamalla runsaasti mahdollisuuksia muokkaukseen. Kombon monipuolisuuden vuoksi kannattaa tutustua 54:n ominaisuuksiin perusteellisesti ja rauhassa.

Oikeasti soundien maistamista pitäisi aloittaa tässä Bognerissa takapaneelista! GF 54 Phi:ssä on nimittäin hieman epätavallinen päätevahvistin, jossa toimii kahdet, kytkettävissä olevat putkiparit – 6V6 ja 6L6. Etupaneelista taas löytyy Hi/Low-kytkin, jolla päätevahvistimen tehoa voi puolittaa kytkemällä toisen kummankin putkiparin putkista pois päältä. Näin vahvistimen tehoa voi muokata kuudessa askeleessa yhdeksänwattisesta (6V6, Low) 66-wattiseksi (6L6+6V6, Hi).

Pääteputkien valinnat eivät kuitenkaan ulota ainoastaan Goldfingerin päätetehoon, vaan koko kombon käyttäytyminen muuttuu, etenkin puhtaan headroomin ja päätevahvistimen kompression (engl. sag) suhteen. Tämän perustan päälle rakennetaan sitten oma soundimaailma etupaneelissa olevien säätimien ja kytkimien avulla.

Gain-säädin on etuvahvistusta varten ja Loudness on Bognerin nimi master-volyymille. Säädettävä Boost-vahvistus ja kiinteä Solo-buusteri toimivat molemmat etuvahvistimessa, mutta niiden tarkka sijainti signaaliketjussa on eri. Boost vaikuttaa signaaliin jopa ennen Gain-säädintä, mikä tarkoittaa että sillä voi myös saada tarvittaessa särösoundeja aikaiseksi, kun taas Solo sijaitsee etuvahvistimen loppupuolella.

GF 54 Phi:ssa on tarjolla peräti kaksi eri EQ-vaihtoehtoa – Bognerin nykyaikaisen tone-stäkin sijaan voi nimittäin myös valita hieman erikoisen Baxandall EQ:n. Se oli alun perin taajuuskorjain Hifi-laitteille, joka oli kuitenkin käytössä myös joissain 1950- ja 60-luvun vahvistimissa. Bax EQ:n valinta laskee toimintaperiaatteensa vuoksi hieman etuvahvistimen signaalitasoa.

EQ-osastoa täydentävät erillinen Presence-säädin, sekä kaksi Expand-kytkintä, joista yksi lisää signaaliin diskanttia ja toinen bassoa.

Joillekin putkipuristeille tulee varmaan yllätykseksi, että Reinhold Bogner on päättänyt käyttää 54 Phi:ssä digikaikua. Mies on kuitenkin sitä mieltä, että hänen käyttämä kaikumoduuli kuulostaa selvästi paremmalta kuin GF:een menevä jousikaikutankki. 54-kombon kaikusoundissa on lisämausteena kevyt chorus-tyylinen huojunta, joka pitää lopputuloksen mukavasti elävänä.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – back panel

Olen sanonut sen ennenkin, mutta pidän takapaneelin sijaintia Bogner-komboissa hieman epäkäytännöllisenä. Lattiaa kohti osoittavien kytkimien ja liittimien takia kitaristin täytyy maata selällään, jos haluaa nähdä mitä hän juuri tekee.

Takapaneelinkin tarjoamat ominaisuudet kielivät joka tapauksessa siitä, että Bogner Goldfinger 54 Phi on aito pro-luokan putkikombo.

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – teaser 2

Uutuus-Bogner kävi testissä vain viikonlopun yli, minkä takia audiodemojen tekoon käytettävissä oleva aika oli tällä kertaa hyvin rajallinen. Ehdin kuitenkin äänittää kaksi, tyyliltään hyvin erilaisia demobiisiä.

Ensimmäisessä biisissä 54 Phi -kombo oli 9 Watts -moodissa, jolloin Goldfingeria sai humbuckereilla säröön vielä olohuone-volyymillä. Soolokitarana toimii Gibson Les Paul Junior (kitaran tone-potikka oli säädetty hieman alas), kun taas takaperin soivat kitaralinjat on soitettu Gibson Melody Maker SG -mallilla sisään (molemmissa biiseissä kitaramikkinä toimii Shure SM57):

Toisessa demobiisissä Bogner oli ns. täysillä (66 W) ja sen eteen oli kytketty Boss SD-1 -särö ja Joyo JF-37 -chorus. Kaikki kitararaidat on soitettu Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid -kitaralla, joka on kaulahumbuckerilla varustettu Tele-tyylinen soitin (testi tulossa):

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – front angle

Bognerin Goldfinger 54 Phi todistaa hyvinkin vakuuttavasti, kuinka monipuolinen ja moniulotteinen erittäin laadukkaasti toteutettu yksikanavainen putkikombo voi olla.

Tällä soundiesteetikon unelmakoneella voi luoda omalle kitarasoundille vankan perustan, riippumatta siitä tuleeko se oma soundi pelkästään sormilta vai onko käytössä hyvin varustettu pedaalilauta.

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54 – logo

****

Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54

3.091 €

Lisätiedot: Musamaailma

Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ monipuolinen etuvahvistin

+ säädettävä pääteteho

+ soundi