Retro-King’s 45 watt combo is based on the famous Bluesbreaker 2x12 combo that was built during the 1960s. This amp isn’t a reissue—it’s more like a replica. It is all hand wired point-to-point on a vintage style turret board, unlike the reissued version of the Bluesbreaker, and it is built exactly like the original. It uses a double 32mf cap for filtering in the first cap and a double 16mf cap in the second, just like the original, and it uses an output transformer with a 6.6k primary plate load, which is perfect or the KT66 power tubes this combo uses. When it comes to great plexi tone and sound this amp delivers..
The 45 Watt Combo features two channels, a normal and a high treble. It has four inputs, a high and a low for each channel. Two volume, treble, bass, mid, and presence controls let you adjust exactly how your music sounds. Under the hood you’ll find two matched KT66 power tubes and 3 JJ 12AXY preamp tubes. The amp also uses a GZ34 rectifier tube. You can select between 4, 8, and 16 ohm modes. The amp is housed in a Baltic birch cabinet. The combo is priced at $1,895 while the head retails for $1,645.
The Divided by 13 SJT 10/210 head is similar to the FTR 37, another popular Divided by 13 amp. However, it’s slightly modified, has less wattage and a few exclusive features that make it of definite interest. It runs in either a 10 watt Hard Class A mode or a 20 watt Class AB1/A mode, depending on your preference. You can get a great 50’s style Tweed sound from 10 watt mode, which some players really love. The SJT 10/20 can access both channels via its two input jacks. In addition to these channels, you also have a dampening/flattening switch and a mid/gain boost. The SJT 10/20 head is quite versatile and is a great way of filling that 10/20 watt slot in your amp arsenal.
The first channel on this head features volume, treble, bass, and reverb. Channel 2 has its own volume control. The SJT 10/20 uses 12AX7 tubes for its preamp section and four 6V6GT tubes in the power section. For its rectifier tube, the SJT 10/20 uses either a 5AR4 or a GZ34. The head weighs 32 pounds, while the combo is 50 pounds. Both are suitable for taking to gigs or for using in the studio. The SJT 10/20 head retails for $2,300.
The Blackjack 21 was one of Fuchs best amps, but they weren’t completely happy with it. After some tweaks they upgraded the Blackjack 21 into the Blackjack 21-II, which was made available this year.
The Blackjack 21-II is a class AB amp that has two channels. Channel one features eq controls for low, mid, and high, a gain boost, and digital reverb. The reverb was modeled after the Good Verbrations reverb pedal and has its own level and decay controls. Check the demo video below for the sweetness of the reverb. The second channel has output and master volume controls. It also shares low, mid, high, and gain controls with channel one. The amp has a decent amount of clean headroom, though it definitely can go balls to the wall dirty too. The Blackjack 21-II sounds similar to other Fusch amps like the Train-45 and the Lucky 7, so you know it’s really great for all varieties of classic rock and harder styles. These amps are voiced to emulate classic vintage Marshall or Trainwreck style amps. However, this amp has a lot subtlety too, and you can get some rich bluesy tones out of it.
The preamp stage of the Blackjack 21-II uses two 12AX7 tubes, while the output is provided by two 6V6 power tubes. The amp can product 4 or 8 ohm outputs. The head retails for $1,230, while the 1x12 combo is $1,750.
While we've been covering a lot of the smaller boutique makers in the news these days, you can't overlook the Fender Custom Shop when it comes to vintage tone. Their Vibro-King Custom amp features everything you’d expect from a great boutique amp: point to point wiring, all tube power, and some great tone features. This 60 watt amp is something like a 1963 Reverb unit merged with a ’59 Bassman with some Vibrato and a custom speaker array thrown in. It’s very versatile and responsive, too. Pair it up with a Strat for some awesome clean to crunchy blues tones or with a Les Paul for something more edgy and meaty - like a Peter Green style sound or something in the vein of early Clapton.
The Vibro-King only has one channel, but that’s about all it needs. It has controls for speed and intensity on the vibrato, volume, and controls for the vintage tube reverb function (mix, tone, and dwell). Plus there’s a fat switch to change up your sound a bit. Three Jensen ten inch speakers with Alnico magnets bring the sound.
The Vibro-King features fix 12AX7A tubes in its pre-amp section and two 6L6 GE tubes for power. It also has a 6V6-GTA reverb driver tube. This is one of the heavier amps, weighing in at 72 pounds, so it may not be the best amp to take out to local gigs. It’s also fairly large. However, for pure power and full, rich sound, the Vibro King definitely delivers.
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Are you looking for a small amp that is perfect to take anywhere but still has the power needed to be heard above the din? Then you may want to take a look at the Lil’ 15 by Bad Cat Amps. This is a great two channel 15 watt amp capable of delivering a range tones suitable for any small to mid-sized gig. Channel 1, is the clean circuit, while with channel two you can dial in some nice crunchy overdrive. Channel one has controls for volume and cut, which is actually somewhat of a presence control. The second channel gives you master volume and gain to play with.
The Lil’ 15 uses two 12AX7s for the preamp on channel one and then brings it home with two EL84s. The second channel gets its hot sound from the EF86 tube that powers it. The amp uses hand would power and output transformers, which were used to determine just how big the Lil’ 15 is—the amp is only as tall as the transformers. The Lil’ 15 measures 14” long by 8.5” high by 7 inches deep. It weighs only 21 pounds.
The Budda Amps MN-100 Head is an innovative amp that sounds outstanding and looks pretty sharp too. This powerful and versatile amp was created in part by Mark Nason, who brings his signature style and design to the MN-100. Mark Nason is designer of Italian leather shoes for rockers who teamed up with Budda to create the unique look of the MN-100. This amp was designed to cover a range of sounds from a Fender Twin vibe on the clean channel, to a Marshall JCM 800 on channel 2 and a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier on the 3rd channel. This is one of Budda’s first entries in the area of modern multi-channel tube amps, and it’s also one of their most sophisticated amps to date. But while some amps become overly sophisticated to the point of losing sight of the most important aspect of any amp—its tone—Budda’s engineers always made certain that the MN-100 was focused on capturing a specific style and sound.
The MN-100 features three independent channels. The amp runs on 120 watts of power, although a half-power switch lets you cut it down to 60 if you prefer. Under the hood, the MN-100 uses five 12AX7 preamp tubes, a 12AX7 for the over-boost circuit, and a 12AX7 for the phase splitter. The main power section is run by four EL34s, although you can opt for four 6L6s if you like. The amp generally uses two 5U4 tubes in its rectifier section, but you can modify it to use either 5AR4s or GZ34s.
Budda claims that this leather-bound product is the best amp money can buy, and it certainly looks like it’s worth a million bucks. The final price tag for the MN-100 is $4,999. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.