Egnater Tweaker

December 1, 2010

gp1210_gear_2178_nrDespite its diminutive size, the aptly named Tweaker is endowed with a big sound and extensive tone-crafting capabilities. It cranks out 15 watts of power via a matched pair of 6V6GTA power tubes configured in a cathode-biased circuit. The Tweaker’s attractively appointed birch cabinet is solidly constructed and the front panel controls neatly and logically arranged. On the back panel there is a buffered serial effects loop, an extension speaker jack, and a voltage selector for a choice of 100-, 117-, or 220-volt operation, in addition to the standard speaker output and ohmage selector—all of which are nice touches.

Along with to the Master and Gain level controls, and well-voiced Treble, Middle, and Bass equalization, there are five mini switches for further modifying your tone. A three-position USA/AC/BRIT switch lets you choose between blackface Fender-style, Vox AC30-style, and Marshall-style tone stacks. Similarly, the Vintage/Modern switch toggles the power amp response between a flatter, old-school sound and a fuller and slightly brighter one (+4dB at 120Hz and 3.6kHz). The Bright/Normal switch does what you would expect, providing up to 8dB of boost at 4kHz, depending on how the Gain control is set. The Tight/Deep switch reduces low-frequency muddiness on the Tight setting, and adds richness and girth to clean tones on the Deep setting. Finally, Hot/Clean adds 9dB of boost for pushing the Tweaker into distortion.

gp1210_gear_2197_nrI tested the Tweaker with various Gibson, PRS, and Fender guitars, and although I experimented with a Dr. Z 4x10 cab containing proprietary Dr. Z speakers and a Rivera 1x12 cab loaded with a Celestion G12H 30, most of my testing was done using a matching Egnater 1x12 cab (also containing a G12H 30).

As a point of departure, I dialed in the nine suggested settings illustrated in the concisely written Owner’s Manual, all of which were spot on. For example, “Shimmering Clean (AC),” “California Clean (USA),” and “British Clean (BRIT)” really did deliver the essential flavor of those classic tones, and “Searing Solo” was in fact searing in a cranked vintage Marshall sort of way. And by adjusting the three tone controls and five mini switches in various ways, I was able to craft a huge range of sounds, including all varieties of crunch tones—from a slightly overdriven Deluxe to a grinding Hiwatt. The Tweaker was less successful at producing supersaturated modern metal tones, though I was able to get in the ballpark, and less extreme classic ’70s metal tones were easily obtainable. And, engaging the Tight switch successfully tightened up the bottom end even with the Bass and Gain controls cranked in Hot mode, which is exactly what it was designed to do. And speaking of the Hot setting, the Hot/Clean switch was so effective in jumping from clean to distorted tones that I repeatedly found myself wishing there was a corresponding footswitch, which would greatly expand the amp’s live performance capabilities.

That quibble aside, the chameleon-like Tweaker proved to be a remarkably versatile little amp, capable of blending into nearly any musical environment, and loud enough to hold its own in the company of a full band. It would also make an ideal amp for recording studios, where killer tones, ease of use, and maximum flexibility reign supreme.

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