Can you mod or customize your amps or use different transformers, speakers, colors, grill cloth, etc.?
YES! We only have options for some popular color options for ease of ordering. If you have some different ideas for your particular amp we’ll be happy to discuss, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. No automatic response here…we’ll get back to you immediately!
What transformers do you use?
We use only transformers that are built solid and are best designs for our amps. The Select Amp uses Hammond brand output transformers, and the Express uses a Weber brand output transformer that has selectable impedance output.
What is the difference between cathode and fixed bias?
There are two parts to this answer – the technical difference and difference in tone and feel. Technically cathode bias is non-adjustable and adjusts to the tube itself and the circuit. Cathode bias is classified as “Class A” and tonally introduces even harmonic distortion. The biggest payoff of cathode bias is the ability to transition easily between clean and crunch by giving more or less input. Cathode bias is great for small to lower powered single channel amps since it can only be in Class A. Famous cathode bias amps: Vox AC30, Marshall 18 watt Plexi, Matchless DC30, Fender 50’s Tweed Deluxe, Blackface Princeton, and many 5 watt heads.
Fixed bias is adjustable by the technician to get tubes at optimum performance. Once adjusted, it is fixed at that point. Fixed bias allows for adjustment to from class A, A/B and fully Class B operation for maximum power and efficiency. Fixed bias is used on higher gain amplifiers for this reason. It transitions much harsher into distortion since it begins clipping as soon as above its potential and usually has more headroom before distortion. Famous cathode bias amps: most high powered tube amps including Blackface, Silverface, and Marshall EL34 amps.
For a deeper explanation about bias, check out this page: http://www.aikenamps.com/WhatIsBiasing.htm
Why have a bright switch on the Express Head? Can’t you just turn the tone up?
Yes you can, however a tone control on an amp does not work like a tone control on your guitar. Straight up at 12 o’clock the eq curve is flat. When turned clockwise it increases or boosts the treble frequencies. As you turn back towards the left counterclockwise past 12 o’clock it boosts the low frequencies. You can achieve a slight scooped out sound if you dial in a little bass and use the bright switch together. Also, the bright switch boots at a higher frequency point than just the tone treble boost, so it can add more sparkle to darker sounding guitars or passes. So the bright switch is an added feature of tonal versatility all around.
Why is the Select Head only slightly less than the Combo?
For the combo or the head, the parts and labor costs are almost identical. There is no speaker and a smaller cabinet for the head, but there is a different output transformer which almost offsets the cost. We do charge the same for shipping and that is why the price of the head is $100 less.
Will you make the Select Amp with reverb or tremolo?
Yes. We do plan on introducing this as a model in the future. Stay tuned.