Posts tagged ‘valve combo’

11/10/2018

Vox AC30S1 – the Kitarablogi-video

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

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The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

01/10/2018

First Look: Vox AC30S1

VOX AC30S1

• Single-channel design inspired by the AC30’s trademark Top Boost

• All tube design featuring two 12AX7 pre-amp tubes and four EL84 power-amp tubes

• Equipped with a single Celestion-made 12-inch speaker, specially voiced for the AC30S1

• Effects send/return and external speaker output are provided for pairing with pedals or external cabinets

• Equipped with digital reverb that simulates a classic spring reverb

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The demo track features my covers of four classic Vox AC30 tracks – ”Wonderful Land” (The Shadows), ”I Feel Fine” (The Beatles), ”We Will Rock You” (Queen), and ”Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (U2).

• Wonderful Land – Fender Stratocaster

• I Feel Fine – Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Epiphone Casino, Tanglewood TW28-CSN (with Seymour Duncan SA-1 pickup)

• We Will Rock You – Fender Stratocaster

• Pride (In The Name Of Love) – Fender Telecaster & Stratocaster

Mics used: AKG C3000 & Shure SM57

Delays added during mixing.

27/09/2018

Testi tulossa – Review coming soon – Vox AC30S1

23/08/2016

Review: Blackstar Artist 15

Blackstar Artist 15 – logo

In a way Blackstar Amplification’s new Artist Series breaks new ground for the British amp maker.

Until now most of Blackstar’s designs were based on the typically British tones of EL34 and EL84 power tubes, often associated with Marshall designs.

The new Artist combos feature power amps built around 6L6 valves, as used in many of Fender’s classic designs. According to Blackstar the new Artist amps are designed to combine the best bits of the typically British Class A tone (with two ECC83s in the preamp section) with the dynamic range and chiming top end of a 6L6 power section.

Kitarablogi.com was given the opportunity to take the smaller Artist model – the Blackstar Artist 15 (current price in Finland: 799 €) for a spin.

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Blackstar Artist 15 – full front

The Blackstar Artist 15 looks like a typical Blackstar combo – black vinyl covering and a dark grey grille cloth.

For a combo that comes equipped with a single 12-inch speaker the amp’s cabinet is rather large. The reason for the cabinet’s size becomes clear when you look at the Artist 15 from behind.

Blackstar Artist 15 – full back

The combo’s Celestion V-Type G12-speaker has been placed deliberately to one side of the combo. Blackstar doesn’t tell us exactly why this configuration has been chosen, but I’d wager that the idea behind this is to harness the benefits of a large, stiff front baffle and a larger cabinet – namely: a crisp attack, and a warm, full bottom end.

Blackstar Artist 15 – Celestion V-Type speaker

Celestion’s V-Type comes loaded with a ceramic magnet. According to Celestion this speaker combines a classic tonality with a modern power rating.

Blackstar Artist 15 – back panel

The Blackstar’s back panel sports a whole array of connectors for things such as external speaker cabinets, a speaker-emulated line out, an effects loop, as well as the channel footswitch that comes with the amp.

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Blackstar Artist 15 – controls 1

Blackstar’s Artist 15 is rated at 15 watts of output and features two preamp channels:

Channel 1 is the so-called boutique channel, designed to put the least possible amount of components between your guitar and the speaker. This channel sports only two controls – Volume and Tone – before the signal is sent on to the master section.

Channel 2 gives you the full Blackstar-experience – you’ll find separate Gain and Volume knobs, a three-band EQ section, as well as Blackstar’s proprietary ISF-control. Setting the ISF knob to zero will result in bright and sinewy Fender Blackface-style sounds, while ISF at full on will give you muscular, Marshall-type tones from this channel.

In addition to the Master Volume control, the Artist 15’s master section also includes the level control for the combo’s very nice digital reverb.

Channel 1 clearly has a much rounder and warmer basic tonality than the (more versatile) second channel. With clean settings Channel 1 will give you a fuller mid-range compared to the more Fender-like, chimey Channel 2.

Here’s what Channel 1 sounds like played clean with an Epiphone Casino (first clip) and a Gibson Melody Maker SG (second clip):

…and here’s Channel 2 played with the same guitars:

The Artist 15’s channels also differ in the amount of gain they offer:

Channel 1 will take you from clean all the way to Rockbilly-style breakup and traditional Blues overdrive, while Channel 2 offers more than enough dirt for chunky Rock tones.

Here’s Channel 1 at full gain (Casino and Melody Maker SG):

…and here are two clips of Channel 2 with Gain full up:

The rhythm guitar tracks on the demo song have been recorded with a 1970s Japanese ES-335 copy (made by Kasuga; left channel) and a maple-necked Fender Stratocaster (right channel). The lead is played on the Kasuga:

Blackstar Artist 15 – angled

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Blackstar Artist 15 – pilot light

The new Blackstar Artist 15 isn’t your typical two-channel combo, which offers you a clean channel and a dirty channel. This is a valve amp that’s all about choices and flexibility.

Blackstar have noticed that pedalboards are becoming en vogue again, which is why their new Artist combos offer enough headroom for clean tones in both of their two channels.

For pedal users the big advantage of the Artist 15’s architecture lies in the fact that the combo offers two high-quality clean variants in the same amp. Channel 1 is a back-to-basics boutique-/AC30-style channel, while Channel 2 offers a much broader range of clean tones, all the way from Fender to modern Marshall.

Of course, you’re free to use the Blackstar Artist 15 in the traditional channel-switching fashion, too, which will give you a top-notch clean sound from Channel 1, and a very versatile array of quality overdriven and distorted tones from Channel 2.

Either way – the Blackstar Artist 15 hits bull’s-eye, in my opinion, and I can only recommend checking one out for yourselves.

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Blackstar Artist 15

799 €

Finnish distribution: Musamaailma

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ clean headroom

+ versatile amp sound

+ great reverb

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27/05/2016

Testipenkissä: Blackstar Artist 15

Blackstar Artist 15 – logo

Blackstar Amplificationin uusi Artist-sarja on tavallaan uusi aluevaltaus firmalle. Tähän mennessä Blackstar-vahvistimilla oli vahvat sukujuuret Marshall-perinteessä, mikä tarkoitti että päätevahvistimet on rakennettu EL34- tai EL84-putkien ympäri.

Uusissa Artist-komboissa taas päätevahvistimen perustana toimivat monista Fender-vahvistimista tutut 6L6-putket. Uutuuskombojen perusidea on valmistajan mukaan ollut nimenomaan yhdistää brittiläisen A-luokan soundi (etuvahvistimessa kaksi ECC83-putkia) kahden 6L6-putken dynamiikan ja helinän kanssa.

Kitarablogissa kävi nyt testissä Artist-kaksikon pienempi malli – Blackstar Artist 15 (799 €).

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Blackstar Artist 15 – full front

Blackstar Artist on ulkonäöltään tyypillinen Blackstar-kombo – musta keinonahkapäällyste, sekä tumman harmaa etukangas.

Vaikka kyse on ”vain” yhdellä 12-tuumaisella kaiuttimella varustetusta kombovahvistimesta, Artistin kotelo on suhteellisen iso. Syy tähän paljastuu kääntämällä koko komeus.

Blackstar Artist 15 – full back

Artistin Celestion V-Type G12 -kaiutin on sijoitettu etuseinän reunalle tyypillisen keskipaikan sijasta. Blackstar ei kerro tarkkaa syytä tähän, mutta veikkaisin että tässä haettiin jäykän etulevyn ja ison kotelon soundillisien etujen yhdistämistä – siis tarkkaa atakkia ja lämmintä bassotoistoa.

Blackstar Artist 15 – Celestion V-Type speaker

Celestion V-Type on keraamisella magneetilla varustettu kaiutin, jolla on valmistajan mukaan klassinen sointi, mutta nykyaikainen tehonkesto.

Blackstar Artist 15 – back panel

Blackstar-kombon takapaneelista löytyy mm. liittimet lisäkaiuttimille, linjatasoinen lähtö kaiutinmallinnuksella, efektilenkki, sekä liitin vahvistimen mukana tulevalle kanavanvaihto-kytkimelle.

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Blackstar Artist 15 – controls 1

Viisitoistawattinen Blackstar Artist 15 on kaksikanavainen kombo:

Ykköskanava on kombon ns. boutique-kanava, jossa kitaran ja kaiuttimen väliin on sijoitettu mahdollisimman vähän komponentteja. Ykköskanavassa on ainoastaan kaksi säädintä – volume ja tone – ennen kuin signaali lähtee eteenpäin vahvistimen master-lohkoon.

Kakkoskanavasta taas löytyy täysi Blackstar-kattaus – erilliset gain- ja volume-säätimet, kolmikaistainen EQ-osasto, sekä firman kuuluisa yleisluonteen säädin (ISF). ISF-säädin nollassa saa esiin kakkoskanavasta Fender Blackface -tyylisiä kirkkaita ja jänteviä soundeja, kun taas täysin avattuna ISF antaa kombolle Marshall-tyylistä potkua ja tukevaa botnea.

Master-lohkoon on sijoitettu master volumen lisäksi vielä Artistin digitaalinen kaiku.

Ykköskanavan perussoundi on selvästi pyöreämpi kuin Blackstarin kakkoskanava. Puhtaissa soundeissa Channel 1 on lämpimämpi ja alamiddleä tuhdimpi kuin Fender-tyylisesti helisevässä Channel 2:ssa.

Tällaiset ovat ykköskanavan puhtaat soundit Epiphone Casinolla ja Gibson Melody Maker SG:llä soitettuna:

…ja tällaiselta kakkoskanava kuulostaa samoilla kitaroilla:

Särösoundeissä Artist-kombon kanavia erottaa myös tarjolla oleva gain-määrä:

Ykköskanava menee puhtaasta kevyelle Rockabilly- ja Blues-särölle, kun taas kakkoskanavasta irtoaa täydellä gainella jo hyvin lihaksikas Rock-särö.

Tässä ykköskanavan soundit täydellä gainella (Casino ja Melody Maker SG):

…ja tässä kakkoskanavan vastineet:

Demobiisin komppiraidat on soitettu Kasugan ES-335-kopiolla (vasen kanava) ja Fender Stratocasterilla (oikea kanava). Soolo-osuudet on äänitetty Kasugalla:

Blackstar Artist 15 – angled

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Blackstar Artist 15 – pilot light

Blackstar Artist 15 ei ole ihan tyypillinen kaksikanavainen kitarakombo, jossa ykköskanava on puhdas ja kakkoskanava varattu pelkästään särösoundeille, vaan tässä on kyse monipuolisuudesta ja valinnanvarasta.

Blackstar on nimittäin huomannut, että isot pedaalilaudat ovat nykyään muodissa, minkä vuoksi firma tarjoaa Artist-sarjallaan kaksi komboa, joilla on kummassakin kanavassa riittävästi headroomia clean-käyttöön.

Artist 15:n arkkitehtuurin etu on, että pedaalien suurkuluttajille on nyt kaksi laadukasta puhdasta kanavaa käytettävissä. Ykköskanava on pelkistetty boutique-/AC30-kaltainen vaihtoehto, kun taas kakkoskanavasta irtoa laajempi kirjo clean-soundeja Blackfacesta nyky-Marshalliin.

Blackstar Artist 15 toimii toki myös perinteisellä tavalla, jolloin kakkoskanavan monipuolisuudesta on myös kombon omissa, laadukkaissa särösoundeissa todella paljon iloa.

Kannattaa kokeilla.

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Blackstar Artist 15

799 €

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

Plussat:

+ työnjälki

+ puhdas headroom

+ monipuolinen soundi

+ kaiun soundi

25/05/2016

Perjantaina: Blackstar Artist 15

Blackstar Artist 15 – controls 1

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

20/05/2016

More sounds: Blackstar Artist 15

blackstar-artist-15-detail2-970-80

• Two-channel valve amp
• 15 Watts
• 2 x ECC83
• 2 x 6L6
• Channel 1: Volume + Tone
• Channel 2: Gain, Volume, 3-Band EQ, ISF
• Master Volume
• Digital Reverb
• Speaker-emulated line output
• Single 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker

• Guitars used: Epiphone Casino (with Göldo pickups) & Gibson Melody Maker SG
• Recorded with a pair of Shure SM57 microphones

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

12/05/2016

Now on SoundCloud – Blackstar Artist 15

blackstar-artist-15-detail2-970-80

• Two-channel valve amp
• 15 Watts
• 2 x ECC83
• 2 x 6L6
• Channel 1: Volume + Tone
• Channel 2: Gain, Volume, 3-Band EQ, ISF
• Master Volume
• Digital Reverb
• Speaker-emulated line output
• Single 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker
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Demo Track
• Rhythm guitars – Kasuga ES-335-copy (left of centre), Fender Stratocaster (right of centre)
• Lead guitars – Kasuga ES-335 (Japanese ”lawsuit copy” from the Seventies)
• All guitar tracks recorded with a Shure SM57

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Maahantuoja: Musamaailma

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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Bogner Goldfinger Phi 54

3.091 €

Finnish distributor: Musamaailma

Pros:

+ workmanship

+ versatile preamp

+ switchable power amp configuration

+ sound

09/05/2016

Tulossa === Coming soon === Blackstar Artist 15

Maahantuoja: Musamaailma