Though Albion was launched only this year, the joint venture between Steve Grindrod and Richie Onori
has plenty of history behind it. For those who may not
be familiar with Mr. Grindrod, he was the Chief Engineer
and Director of Research and Development at Marshall
Amplification for long enough to have designed everything
from the post-plexi models to the JCM2000 series. Grindrod
also served as Vox’s Managing Director and Chief
Designer until 2008. On the other hand, Richie Onori is
a member of the multi-platinum group Sweet, and also
has had extensive experience in the musical product field.
Albion owns the factory in Shenzhen, China, where
the amp line is produced, and Grindrod even lives next
door to the 2,000-worker facility, which gives him unfettered
ability to oversee the design and manufacturing
of the entire product line. Despite his abundant experience
with Marshall and Vox amps, Grindrod says he
took a blank slate approach to designing the Albions,
which—particularly in the TCT series—have some uncommon
features, such as identically voiced channels (which
differ by having pre- and post-gain tone stacks), as well as
feedback and phase-reversal switches, and a footswitchable
channel mix function (TCT 50 and TCT 100). The
construction gets high marks across the board, and the
TCT series models also feature hand-wired tube sockets
for ruggedness and ease of servicing.
The models on review here cover the range of the
Albion line, from the small 10-watt AG10 to the EL34-
powered TCT 50. Due to the unavailability of an Albion
speaker cabinet, the TC T50 head was run through a PRS
Stealth 2x12. We also tested a TCT100 head, but since
it has identical controls and features as the TCT 50, it’s
really just a louder version of that amp. We auditioned
the Albions with a Gibson Les Paul Historic, PRS SC58,
Fender Stratocaster, and an ultra-limited-edition Seymour
Duncan Thirty Five.
CONTACT Albion, (818) 888-4820; albionus.com
PRICE $149 retail/$99 street
CONTROLS Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Gain, Drive switch
TUBES 12AX7 preamp
POWER 10 watts
EXTRAS External Loudspeaker output (8Ω-16Ω, disconnects
SPEAKER 8" Albion AMI-G815-8
WEIGHT 15 lbs
KUDOS Loud. Relatively versatile. External Loudspeaker output
allows use as small amp head. Super affordable.
CONCERNS Stock speaker somewhat harsh and boxy sounding
at medium and higher volumes.
PRICE $539 retail/$349 street
CONTROLS Volume (2), Gain (2), Treble, Middle, Bass, effects
Select, effects Depth, Normal/Overdrive switch
TUBES 12AX7 preamp
POWER 40 watts
EXTRAS Digital effects processor with16 presets, 1/8”
Aux In and Headphone Out, External speaker jack
(8Ω-16Ω, disconnects internal speaker)
SPEAKER 12" Albion AMI-G1240-8
WEIGHT 27.7 lbs
KUDOS Flexible. Good dynamic response.
CONCERNS Noisy on high-gain settings
PRICE $1,079 retail/$699 street
CONTROLS Gain, Drive, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume (channels A and B).
Global controls: Edge, F’BK (feedback) switch, Reverb, Master
TUBES Four 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 6L6
power tubes, diode rectification
POWER 35 watts
EXTRAS 100 percent/33 percent power switch. External speaker jack
(8Ω-16Ω). Series effect loop w/bypass and level switches.
Two-button footswitch (channel A/B, reverb) included.
SPEAKER 12" Albion 80-watt
WEIGHT 48 lbs
KUDOS Excellent features. Happening overdriven sounds.
CONCERNS Clean tones are a little flat.
PRICE $1,109 retail/$719 street
CONTROLS Gain, Drive, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume; Shift,
Smooth, Tight switches (channels A and B).
GLOBAL CONTROLS Master, Balance, Reverb, F’BK (feedback)
switch, Reverb, Deep, Edge, Phase switch
TUBES Five 12AX7 preamp tubes, two EL34
power tubes, diode rectification
POWER 50 watts
EXTRAS 100 percent/33 percent. External speaker jack (8Ω-16Ω).
Series effect loop w/bypass and level switches. Threebutton
footswitch (channel A/B, mix, reverb) included.
WEIGHT 39 lbs
KUDOS Excellent features. Happening sounds. Channel Mix function.
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