VA-172 OAHU TWEED SUITCASE
Perhaps the most adorable of the four Vintage47 amps reviewed here, the VA-172 is based on a 1948 class A Supro circuit housed in a 1942 Oahu suitcase-style cabinet. Armed with my SG, I turned the amp’s Volume and Tone controls halfway up and was quickly rewarded with an aggressive bark that was enhanced when I really dug into the strings. Power chords snarl like a pissed-off Doberman and lead lines squawked with a vengeance when I really dug into the strings. There is also a lovely string-to-string clarity that works wonders with your playing dynamics. The 8" hemp-coned speaker coupled with super-low wattage gives off a whiff of lo-fi raggedness that I found cool for early- Kinks-type riffing and general garage-tone zaniness. High Volume and Tone settings can get a bit prickly in the top end, so be careful. The VA-172 pushes a good amount of air too, and all the while the low end stays audible and chords ring clearly without any garbled, fake-sounding, over-the-top gain. There’s also an extension speaker jack, which is an awesome touch. Is the VA-172 funky sounding? Yup. Is it for everybody? Probably not. But hell, it’s a great studio tool and you can even put a mic on it at the gig and have a powerfully portable and wild-sounding blues rig!
CONTACT Vintage47 Amps, (707) 480-6511;vintage47amps.com
MODEL VA-172 Oahu Tweed Suitcase
PRICE $495 direct
CONTROLS Volume, Tone
TUBES JJ 6V6 power tube, Sovtek 6SL7 preamp tube, NOS GE 5Y3 rectifier.
POWER 5 watts
SPEAKER Vintage47 Chicago Tone Classic alnico 8"
KUDOS A fun, classic-looking amplifier that imparts some wild and raw tones.
CONCERNS High Volume and Tone settings can get prickly in the top end.
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