I'm sure someone could find some features they'd like to see in addition, but I can't image what those would be! This thing rocks. My least favorite aspect of this amp is that the heat ventilation for the CMOS electronics is on top of the unit, where my rack unit goes. My favorite is the primary second channel with medium distortion. Wow, how responsive this amp is!
I stole this unit from this guy. But he was kind enough to sell it to me for what it cost him originally. This was a very kind gesture, and I sure appreciate it. This amp retails for so much more: in the $2000 range.
If any of you have the chance to pick up one of these babies, go for it!!
You won't be sorry.
Model Year: 1996
Where Obtained: Individual
All preamp and output stages are valve (tube). There are two power output tubes, switchable between biasing for EL34's and 6L6's. There are a total of five 12AX7 tubes used in the preamp circuitry. CMOS logic circuitry is used in switching relays or FET's between features.
Although it has two channels, it really has more than that. The clean channel has Vol, Treble (with pull-switch to increase its range), Mid and Bass controls.
Channel 2, in addition to the same tone controls, including the pull-bright switch position, has gain and level controls. Just as if it had a third channel, within this channel is a preamp style select switch places an extra 12AX7 valve into the circuit when selected for even more distortion possibilites.
The master control section features two Master Volume levels, so in effect you can have two different overall volume settings for all three preamp configurations giving six sounds in all. Within the master control section is an effects loop off/on control. The effect loop is switchable between parallel and serial operations. Both the send and return levels of the loop are variable.
Both channels, pre-amp style, effect loop on/off, and both Master Levels are footswitchable.
There is a Presence control that works in conjuntion with an Output Damping control. This works as a tone control in the feedback loop of the power stage in the conventional manner, so it controls the overall brightness of the amp. It's interactive with this control, so the further clockwise the Output Damping is set, the less effect the Presence control will have.
The Output Style switch enables you to select between Triode and Pentode operation. Or in other words, approximately half and full power.
This combo unit comes with a 16 Ohm, 12" Celestian speaker. There are two-1/4" speaker jacks with a switch that can make this amp configurable for 4, 8 or 16 Ohm speaker combinations.
I use a Les Paul with a Tech 21 CompTortion (compressor/distortoin) pedal. In the effects loop, I run a Yamaha SPX90 rack unit. In the past, the main voice I used was reverb, but suddenly I have much greater possibilities. The amp comes with a Belton spring reverb which is gastly!! This on-board unit was replaced in later model years by a three-spring Accutronics unit. I've replaced the Belton with the Accutronics and the reverb sounds much better. This unit is within the effects loop. This will free up my Yamaha for other effects (any type you can think of is available. Well, ok, no voice box or theremin-type sounds available!).
I also have an Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer, but it really sounds like trash used with this superior amp. The tube screamer is better suited for a metal player, of which I am not (or rarely do I play that style).
I mainly play rock and classic rock styles. The distorion is really, really excellent sounding on this amp! Probably not quite heavy enough for metal, although because it's a superior sounding amp, the right distortion pedal or preamp conditioner would probably be a good fit with a metal player. But it has plenty of great sounding 'clean' distortion. More than I would normally use or need.
The clean channel is the cleanest I've ever heard! It's magnificent! The higher the volume, the more responsive it is to my playing dynamics, and it will go into the sweetest overdrive I've ever heard.
I think this amp would suit most every style out there, with the possible exception of metal.
The sound of this amp may be comparable with other tube amps. I don't know. I haven't heard too many! I can tell you this, next to my Lab Series L11 solid state amp, this one has much more in the way of tonal possibilities and tonal/overdrive repsonsiveness.
This is a really quiet amp. The only time it makes any noise at all is when the heavy preamp style (max distortion) is put into the circuit. And even then, that noise would be completely acceptable under live playing circumstances, I would think. The noise is really only noticeable when the heavy preamp is selected and the gain and the level is past 12 o'clock. There's not much gain difference when these controls are past this point, in my opinion.
It's got plenty of distortion for me. And I can include even more tonal possibilities using the Tech 21.
I don't necessarily care for the sound when using the 12" 16 Ohm Celestian speaker, for the stuff I'm playing live right now. I prefer the sound when I hook up my 4x10 4 Ohm Acoustic cabinet because the Acoustics seem to give the overall sound more of an 'edge'. The Celestian really sounds great, it seems that it really 'amplifies' the 'squishiness' of the EL34's. Great for heavy and loud distortion. Kinda gives it more of that Marshall sound.
This is not a programmable amp. It's just a straight forward British rock amp. Very easy to obtain the tones that I'm looking for. Even with all the possibilities, it doesn't take long to discover the range of the controls, which offer very excellent choices.
Very sturdy. It's got the original EL34 and 12AX7 tubes in it. Tubes are like light bulbs. How ya gonna know when one needs replaced? Maybe Germ can tell me! Never heard anything but praise for Trace Elliot stuff. Trace Elliot is now owned by Gibson. I've had excellent customer support from them so far. I've ordered the reverb unit and the footswitches, and they arrived promptly.