Rooted in Demeter’s feature-packed
legacy TGA-3 amplifier (still available by special
order from the Demeter Custom Shop), the
TGA 2.1 goes for a simplified and more streamlined
design than its predecessor. It’s a handsome
amp, with classic lines, a vintage-style
woven speaker grille with white piping, and a
slightly angled front panel for increased upward
sound dispersion. The classy ribbed knobs, too,
contribute to the amp’s retro-modern design,
and the rugged handle is comfortable and solidly
attached, which is a good thing given that
this 1x12 combo weighs a substantial 51 pounds.
Inside, the handwired amp is also a thing of
beauty, with all components and wiring organized
neatly and all workmanship well executed.
As detailed on Demeter’s website, the TGA
2.1 may be ordered in several configurations (22
to 110 watts, class A or AB, various tube complements,
with or without a toroidal power
transformer, etc.) and is available as either a 1x12
or 2x10 combo, or as a head. The 1x12 combo
reviewed here produces 22 watts via a pair of JJ
6V6 power tubes, with four 12AX7s—three Mullard
and one Electro-Harmonix—in the preamp
section, along with a Triode TF110-48UL Deluxe
Style Ultra-Linear output transformer and a ClassicTone
40-18066 power transformer.
The TGA 2.1 is a 2-channel amp, with two
variations on the second channel, resulting in three options: Clean, Edge, and Solo—but these
are only general designations. For example,
cranking the Clean Gain control on the Clean
channel results in impressive Fender Deluxe-like
overdriven sounds (and pulling the control
knob up for Bright provides additional bite). The
Edge setting was designed to deliver brighter
and higher-gain overdriven sounds, a little like a
pumped-up ’60s-era Marshall, and the Solo setting
increases the gain yet further, while adding
overall girth. The amp comes with an FS-2 Dual
Footswitch for toggling between Clean/Dirty
and Edge/Lead (but don’t break or lose it, as a
replacement will set you back $149).
Switches on the Edge Gain (pull/Boost),
Solo Gain (pull/Dark), and Channel 2 Master
(pull/Boost, with midrange emphasis) controls
present even more gain-staging and tone-coloration
options, and although the Treble, Middle,
Bass, and Presence controls are global, personally
I didn’t find that to be a significant limitation.
(Note: according to Demeter the tone
controls are boost/cut, with the center position
being essentially flat).
There is also a Triode/Pentode switch on the
rear panel that decreases the power by 50 percent,
as well as altering the amp’s overall character
and responsiveness, and a tube-buffered
effects loop, with front-panel Send and Return
controls. A Voltage Selector enables the TGA 2.1
to run on either 110 or 240V, to facilitate globetrotting
users, and there’s a choice of 4Ω, 8Ω, and
16Ω speaker outputs. Conspicuously absent is
an onboard spring reverb, which is ironic given
that Demeter makes two of the best standalone
spring reverb units available.
I tested the TGA 2.1 with several guitars,
including a PRS Custom 24 Brazilian, a 1969
Gibson Les Paul Custom, a ’70s Fender Stratocaster,
and a Danelectro 59 Alligator with lipstick
pickups. In general, I preferred the bolder
tones I got with the humbucker-equipped guitars,
though the Strat and Dano sounds were
also superb, particularly the clean and slightly
overdriven ones. The amp’s four tone controls
are beautifully voiced, with wide ranges,
and they were definitely useful when sculpting
tones for specific purposes or compensating
for the room generally—but after several hours
of experimentation I wound up leaving them
more or less straight up, which worked well for
all three settings.
In other words, I was able to dial in all the
variations I needed—from gorgeous, full-bodied
clean tones to vibey crunch and overdriven
sounds to searing, super-saturated, over-the-top
distortion—just by adjusting the gain staging,
engaging the Bright switch on the Clean channel,
and toggling between Triode and Pentode operation.
Classic and modern rock, blues, country,
jazz—you name it, the TGA 2.1 can handle it. And
when pushing a 4x12 cab, the amp even does a
respectable job of bringing the metal fury. The
TGA 2.1 is also pedal friendly, particularly when
run clean. Hit it with a little boost and it saturates
smoothly without losing definition; blast
it with an overdrive or a nasty fuzzbox, and it
maintains its sonic integrity.
The TGA 2.1 delivers a huge array of spectacular
sounds, features well-designed and
easy to use controls, and despite its boutique
qualifications, its solid construction should
make it highly roadworthy. That’s why it earns
an Editors’ Pick Award.
TGA 2.1 INVERTERCONTACT demeteramps.comPRICE $2,599 retail/$2,099 direct
SPEAKER 12" Jensen Jet Special EditionPOWER 22 wattsCONTROLS Channel 1: Clean Gain (pull/
Bright), Master; Channel 2:
Edge Gain (pull/Boost), Solo
Gain (pull/Dark), Master
(pull/Boost); Treble, Middle,
Bass, Presence, Send, Return.TUBES 2 6V6 power, 4 12AX7 preampEXTRAS Triode/Pentode switchWEIGHT 51 lbsBUILT U.S.A.KUDOS Excellent sound and workmanship.
Solid construction.CONCERNS No onboard reverb.
Meters Bass Legend George Porter Jr. to Perform at Aaron Neville’s 75th Birthday Celebration
Fodder Presents Shop Talk: An Evening With Matt Garrison
Ernie Ball's Buying Guide: How To Choose Electric Bass Strings
Alternate Mode Releases New Triggering Powerhouse, DITI 2.0
Sample Logic Releases Cinematic Guitars Organic Atmospheres
Roland Hybrid Experience Summer 2016
Cakewalk SONAR 2016.07 Update Introduces Theme Editor
MOTU Ships Digital Performer 9.1
George Harrison: A Gallery of His Most Celebrated Beatles-Era Guitars
Blues Great Ronnie Earl Announces New Album, ‘Maxwell Street’
See Lost Beatles Footage in Trailer for Ron Howardâ€™s New Fab Four Film
Trap Them Premiere New Song, "Hellionaires"
Epica Premiere New Song, "Universal Death Squad"
King 810 Premiere New Music Video, "I Ainâ€™t Goin Back Again"
Gabriella Quevedo Breaks Down Stereotypes, Talks Gear and More
Rik Emmett Announces New Album, 'RES 9'
Review: Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Brent Hinds Flying V Custom Guitar
Copyright ©2016 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470