THIS GUY’S LITTLE FOR SURE—HE CERTAINLYWON’TDOMINATE THE TOP OF YOUR 4X12 CABINET—BUT he’s no pint-sized sissy boy. The Krankenstein Jr. is more like a mafia “junior”—the kind of brutish namesake that keeps dad looking over his shoulder because the kid is gunning for control of the family. It’s quick on the trigger, too. Click to the Stein channel, and you’re instantly pummeled with ferocious overdrive, and every knob tweak brings on more fury—from bratty Nazareth-style crunch to mondo, Cradle of Filth-approved saturation. The Clean channel is “Metallica Clean”— as GP Associate Editor Matt Blackett put it—delivering a tight, bright, and articulate shimmer that has enough punch to make every pick attack feel like a hearty slap on the back. If you dig a bit of hair on your clean sound, you can add some edge by cranking the Volume, but you’ll likely deal with a fairly high decibel level, as there is no Master Volume on this channel.
The tone controls are voiced for pure macho power. Either way you twist a knob, there’s a definite kick or cut to the chosen frequency range, and the controls are so musically interactive that you can dial in anything from a low-end wallop with a midrange punch to a piercing highend that’s as sharp as a sushi knife. I had a blast spinning the knobs and basking in the results. The Jr. also includes one of the most aggressive Presence controls I’ve ever heard. While testing the Clean channel, I barely turned the rear-panel knob, hit a chord, and got a blast of high mids that sliced into me like a pissed-off hitman wielding a scimitar. That was a shock, but after working with the control, I was won over by its tone-shaping options. For example, I could craft a super-saturated Stein-channel sound, and then dial in the Presence until each chord rang with clarity and impact. Or, I could turn down the Midrange and Treble on the Clean channel, and then carefully bring in the Presence to craft a warm foundational tone with an almost three-dimensional sparkle. It’s really a potent tool, but as it’s also a global control that’s active on both channels, plan to do a bit of low-volume referencing between your Stein tone and your Clean sound to ensure neither tone roars from the speakers like a banshee shriek (unless that’s what you want). All in all, this is a marvelous plug-and-play head that is almost incapable of delivering anything but fantastic hard-rock tones. —Michael Molenda
(888) 572-6548; krankamps.com
MODEL Krankenstein Jr.
PRICE $999 retail/ $769 street
CONTROLS Clean Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass; Stein Channel: Sweep, Bass, Midrange, Treble, Master, Gain; global Presence control, channel-select switch.
POWER 50 watts
TUBES Three Ruby 12AX7AC5 preamp tubes, one 12AT7 (half for preamp, half for effects loop); two Sovtek 5881/6L6WGC output tubes
EXTRAS Tube-driven effects loop with volume control and FX Boost switch, onebutton footswitch with LED, two speaker outputs w/impedance (8Ω,16Ω), voltage switch (230/100 and 240/120).
SPEAKER Krank 4x12 w/Eminence Legend V-12 speakers: $999 retail/$699 street; also available: 1x12 poplar cab, $399 retail/$279 street
MAXIMUM MEASURED VOLUME 120dB
WEIGHT 23.8 lbs (head)
MAX VOLUME 120dB.
KUDOS Awesome overdrive and distortion tones. Ballsy tone controls.