The 3 Monkeys Amps Orangutan is a powerful amp that serves up a serious dose of classic 70s rock tones. While it’s not a super high-gain amp, it gives a really diverse range of overdriven to clean tones. It definitely has a vintage sound but with it's very own distinctive character, and it’s both great for playing gigs and for recording. The Orangutan is powered by four 6V6 tubes that produce between 30 and 36 watts. There are three ECC83 preamp tubes in the amp. The transformers are all custom-wound and are designed by 3 Monkeys Amps to specifically work with their amps. The sockets, jacks, pots, poweramp, and preamp are also all hand-wired.
One of the unique controls on the Orangutan is the six position voice switch. This switch changes the gain structure and the tone of the amp. This is really where magic happens with this amp as the voice switch interacts with the volume control to create smooth overdrives and shimmering cleans. The treble control acts like a cut, while the bass functions like a global low frequency control. Using the lift switch will disable the bass control and give you more clarity and boost. Then there’s the room control, which acts as a focused reverb. The reverb on this amp is perfect for rock, in that it's really subtle and kind of trails off behind the notes rather than watering down the overdrive.
The Orangutan is fit in a solid birch ply cabinet that is a little different than most—it’s not just another square amp. Instead, it tapers towards the bottom. The faceplate is crushed glass with industrial silkscreening. All Orangutans are hand-made in the U.S. and weight about 34 pounds. The amp retails for $1,999, or a 2x12 cab is available for $899.
Cornford Amplification’s Harlequin is a fantastic 6 watt recording amplifier. If you're unfamiliar with a recording amplifier does, it is basically designed to output a range of killer overdriven tones at low volumes. This makes them an ideal home practice amp too. Another benefit to laying tracks with a recording amp is that they tend to be built as hiss and hum free as possible, which is the definitely the case with the Harlequin.
What makes the Harlequin a better recording amp than many others? There are several things. It’s pretty good-sized, for one thing. Recording amps don’t have to be small and portable, and the Harlequin isn’t. This means you’ll get all that great big amp sound without resorting to many of the little tricks people use to get big sound from small amps. The Harlequin uses a 12-inch Celestion vintage 30 speaker in a large combo, so you won’t hear that boxy coloration you often hear when recording with a small amp.
The Harlequin uses a six watt, single-ended class A valve output stage. This allows players to really turn the volume up so they get exactly the amount of distortion and compression they want. This means there’s less spillover onto other mics. The amp uses two 12AX7 tubes and an EL84. You’ll find two input jacks, volume, treble, master, and bass controls on the Harlequin. The Harlequin is a great amp for recording, especially since it is fairly versatile and has a character all its own.
If you just love the tone of a classic 1960s blackface Fender amp, but find the price tag a bit too steep, then you may want to look into Tube Tone amps. Tube Tone Amplifiers has created some really sweet blackface clones using the exacting methods originally pioneered by Leo Fender. Of course, there are a number of different blackface recreations on the market, but many of those use printed circuit boards that have very thin signal traces. These amps fail fairly quickly, especially with a lot of use. Tube Tone's point of difference is that they refuse to settle for these quick and easy production methods. Instead, all of their amps are hand soldered using lead free silver solder and cloth covered solid wire.
Tube Tone Amplifiers also hand picks components such as JJ power and preamp tubes, Mallory 150 caps, Carling switches, and more to deliver a superior product. Magnetic Components provides all the chokes and reverb transformers, and Heyboer constructs the output and power transformers.
The engineers at Tube Tone carefully studied all of Fender’s amps to get the best signal to noise ratio. They are very true to the original, but they’ve also added a few modern things here and there to bring the amp into the 21st century. One such addition is a line/record out jack. Another is that they use a separate bias adjustment pot for each power tube. This way, you never have to purchase matched sets of tubes.
Tube Tone produces a number of different Fender blackface recreations, in models that emulate the Super-Reverb, Twin-Reverb, Vibrolux-Reverb, ’59 Bassman, and the Deluxe-Reverb. Listen to the sweet demo of the "SuperVibe" below.
3 Monkey Amps began when Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Ossie Ahsen of Blockhead Amps, and Greg Howard, Brad’s tech decided to create a company to produce original amps with sounds rooted in classic rock. Unlike the Fender, Marshall, Vox or Dumble clones, they wanted an amp that was simply unlike anything else in production. The amp was thoroughly vetted by a wide range of pro players, who provided enough feedback to refine the test models into an amp that sounded amazing while still being affordable. They created a 30 watt head with four 6V6's, built with an interesting six voicing toggle to tweak the gain and resonant peaks.
Current Production Models
The 3 Monkeys Orangutan is an incredibly dynamic amp that features a six position rotary voice switch. This lets you change the gain structure and the tone. Changes to the volume control interact with the rotary voice for shimmering cleans and smooth tube overdrive. Just toggle through the voices for a huge range of sounds. The amp features Four 6V6 Power Tubes and Three ECC83 Preamp Tubes and comes with a foot switchable boost switch. The 3 Monkeys Orangutan is inspired by the tones of classic 70's rock, while still having its own distinctive sound.
The 3 Monkeys Grease Monkey amp, on the other hand, specializes in high gain and a more aggressive sound. However, it is still super touch sensitive and has a nice dynamic range. This 30-watt amp features four EL84 tubes in the power section and three 12AX7 preamp tubes. It's a rare amp that roars like a Marshall but cleans up like a Fender, and that's one of the features that makes this amp so special. It also features a "cut control" switch that varies the amount of presence in the power amp section of the amp as well as Treble, Bass and Volume knobs. The volume controls the level of loudness and gain from the preamp. This amp kills it for slide - check out the demo video below.
The innovative features of these two amps make it clear that 3 Monkeys Amps is just getting started, and many players are anxiously awaiting future offerings.
RedPlate Amplifiers is owned and operated by Henry Heistand out of his workshop in Phoenix, Arizona. Heistand focuses on creating small, compact amps. There’s definitely no judging these little models just by their size, because they are designed for a big sound. This is due to Heistand’s technique of creating hand-wired, compact amps that have no oscillation problems. The likes of modern blues greats like Elvin Bishop, Kid Andersen and Tommy Castro are now using Redplate amps. Heistand's creations blend together components of the circuits from classic Fender blackface, Tweed and Dumble amps to serve up a serious tone.
Heistand's first build was a speaker cab designed in 1969 using six speakers recycled from old TVs and stereos. He later started repairing amps during the 70s, as well as playing guitar full time until 1979, when he enrolled in electronics school. He continued to make a living repairing gear, eventually becoming part owner in a repair shop. That led him to creating Music Mechanix, a company that did warranty work for major brands. However, after five years of working incredibly long days, Heistand was burnt out, so he sold the business and moved to Arizona, where he started RedPlate Amps in 2006.
The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” holds true for Heistand. The first small RedPlate amp was built because he needed a small amp that he could carry in one hand and fit behind the front seat of his car. Flying with equipment is also an issue for many players, so small, lightweight amps are highly desirable. Of course, it’s harder to build great sounding amps that are so compact, but Heistand spend years perfecting his craft, even though he had to go through many trial and error periods.
If you want a new amp that does a great job of capturing a real vintage amp sound, then you want to check out Resonant’s Trophy Wife 30. This amp doesn’t just copy the circuits of vintage amps. Instead, it takes what makes those amps unique, distills it to its purest form, and offers it up in a brand new amp. The Trophy Wife 30's unique alchemy blends a bit of metal-panel Marshall grind, a little AC30 chime, and the growl of a JTM45 to create a really versatile combo amp.
The Trophy Wife features two channels which Resonant likes to call the Blonde and the Brunette. The Blonde is very raw and bluesy but thick where it needs to be. It was inspired by the first wave of British amps. The Brunette, on the other hand, is articulate and aggressive with a tight low end, and in general has a wider range of subtlety to play with. It’s easy to get some sweet overdriven tones out of this amp, especially with its very intuitive control set. Just check out Wes from Resonant demo the Resonant Trophy Wife 30 at the bottom of this post.
Like all of Resonant’s amps, the Trophy Wife makes use of their engineering-first approach to creating circuits. It features top quality tubes, transformers, cabinets, and more to make an amp that not only sounds great but is also very sturdy. You won’t have any trouble hauling this amp around for gigs, but it also sounds great set up in your living room.
The amp comes with stock with EL84’s but you have the option to go with 6V6’s. It includes a two way output stage switch for Pentode(30 watt) and Triode(10 watt) and each channel features Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume, Gain and a dedicated FX loop. Boost and EQ bypass are available on the Blonde channel only.