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Brunetti Single Man Head Review

June 25, 2014
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Marco Brunetti made his first valve amp when he was 14, subsequently progressing to designing and building pro audio equipment. He now designs every Brunetti amp, which are “handmade” using top-quality and custom-made components. The amps are constructed, burned-in, shock tested, and sound checked in Modena, Italy. Check the website for a full list of international dealers.

Some modern amp manufacturers achieve impressive versatility without resorting to multiple channels and gain stages, or complex EQ. The Single Man is a case in point with just three tone switches augmenting the Volume, Bass, Middle, and Treble controls. Brilliant adds 10dB of boost at 8KHz, Thick lifts the low mids by 6dB at 300Hz, and Smooth cuts the treble response by 3dB at 5KHz. There’s also a Tweed/Fat switch.

Though rated at 50 watts with the TAD 6L6 power tubes pushing and pulling in Class AB tetrode mode, a Power Limit switch reconfigures the 6L6s to triode mode for 15 watts in Class AB. There’s also a 2-watt triode setting with a single-ended 6L6. Two speaker outputs are provided, along with sockets for the reverb footswitch and a true-bypass effects loop that’s buffered by solid-state components.

The Single Man is not designed for crunchy rock or metal tones. Full power produces a solid, room filling sound that remains fairly clean until the volume control passes one o’clock. Beyond this point overdrive builds gradually, with all the tubes working in conjunction with the speakers to produce thick, gutsy overdrive. The power supply is robust enough to resist sag, and the tone retains punch and well-defined bass.

Full power is ideal for players who need loud clean and semi-dirty tones—and those who prefer to get their distortion and sustain from pedals—while the overdrive and compression are more pronounced on the 15-watt and 2-watt settings.

The switching options not only enabled the Single Man to sound great with the various humbuckers and single-coil pickups in our test guitars, but they take some of the strain off the tone controls, allowing them to respond in a gentle and refined way. In particular, the Thick switch has a big influence on the Middle control and there’s more overdrive when it’s engaged. In fact, it does the tweed thing more effectively than the Fat/Tweed switch.

Even when you’re not using the effects loop, keeping it engaged provides more level and bass. We tried a Roland Space Echo in the loop and the Single Man responded in a manner that would delight Brian Setzer fans: snappy lows, chiming highs and all twang you could need, with surfy on-board reverb too. In essence, the Brunetti Single Man recalls medium-power Fender piggyback amps from the old days. It doesn’t do modern crunch or the chewy rawness and full ferocity of a true tweed, but it excels in sonic transparency, and is versatile enough for gigging, studio work, and home practice.

MODEL

Single Man Head
CONTACT brunetti.it
PRICE $1,400 street

SPECIFICATIONS

CHANNELS 1
CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Reverb
POWER 50/15/2 Watts
TUBES Two Tung Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes, two TAD 6L6 power amp tubes
SPEAKERS Tested with a Brunetti CW212 Cabinet ($800 street) with two 12" Celestion V30s
EXTRAS Brilliant, Thick, Smooth, and Tweed/Fat switches. Effects loop. Spring reverb.
WEIGHT 22 lbs (head), 55 lbs (cab)
BUILT Italy
KUDOS Big, loud clean tones. Smooth overdrive. Works well with pedals. Versatile. Stylish looks.
CONCERNS PCB construction at a handwired price. No FX loop footswitch. Tolex covering a little untidy around the corners.

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