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Guitars, Gear, Tone!
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PostPosted: Sun, Jan 06, 2019 7:48pm 
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Major swapping, selling, buying underway at the homestead. And I ended up buying a Goldfinger Superlead. I own the Phi already, but wanted to replace my Deluxe Reverb Reissue in my main amp room. I thought I'd post my impressions of the amp, as it does a lot more than I had in mind even when I bought it. All tests run through various 412 cabs with greenies, or v30s and 75s in an X, and shifted between TV to maybe volumes loud enough to keep up with a drummer.

Cleans: The Alpha channel. (Tested with Strat neck single coil) Sounds nearly identical to my Phi, which to me is my ideal clean tone. It can sparkle like a blackface, but has a very warm mids character, and an encompassing and overwhelming amount of bass, which can be dialed out if desired. I run the gain dimed which still leaves it very clean but under very heavy picking you can detect some warm delicious breakup. Punchy as all get out, I swear I can hear the pads of my fingers popping through the speakers when I finger pick. This clean tone just made me sell a lot of amps lol.

Overdrive/Distortion: The Omega Channel- 68 mode (tested with Strat Neck Single Coil). This amp uses 6v6 power tubes, but it does a very good Marshall impression to my ears. Not fully authentic, but very pleasing. The distortion was secondary to me, I'll use it more for blusey alternative vibey type stuff. 68 mode has slight breakup and can be put over the top with the boost feature (which works on all modes). This mode retained the most of the Alpha channel juicy character. 77 mode as you could guess adds some gain at the expense of clarity. Very great tones here as well. Messing with the "gain eq" knob takes this mode from classic rock to stoner/sabbath. 81 mode (tested with strat bridge humbucker and Wolfgang bridge w/ high output humbucker) gave the most compression and gain, complete with a volume drop. Tightens things up considerably and in this mode it really starts to sound like a Bogner. This will be met with varying opinions from high gain folks, but suffice it to say, if you like his brand of high gain, it's clear in this mode who made the amp. Boosting the 81 mode takes you to Van Halen and beyond levels of smear and distortion.

Metal: Omega- 81 with onboard boost. The main reason I wanted to review this amp, as this forum can be very metal oriented. Just messing about, I decided to put everything on full power modes, max the gain and boost gain, dime the presence, treble, and bass and slash the mids. I'm a child of the 90s after all and what's fun is fun. And Reinhold himself says to use extreme eq if desired, it's there for a reason. I wasn't expecting much, but it started to chug hard. Super hard, like I was copping some Pantera and Metallica justice/black riffs and they sounded appropriate. My dad and I sat with our jaws dropped. The WWII radio looking amp i bought for cleans has more chug than a lot of metal amps :lol: :LOL: What I read when I saw the name Superlead was "still classic sounding". What I realized upon getting it home was that this thing can get verrrrrrry heavy. Hard to describe the feel, but almost reminiscent of a very clear 5150. Not quite that much gain, but more of a smeary bitey mids chunk than say my Uberschall.

Spring reverb: Splashy as hell. Reminiscent of my backface fenders, but a little cleaner. A bit of hum when more verb is used, as is customary with tube driven circuits. The guitar tone seems to sit on top of the reverb rather than blend with it. A bit weird at first, but really helps with the clarity of notes and keeps the verb seated nicely in the background. Diming the reverb does give you a nice splashy wash however. No complaints.

Wattage modes: I have a lot of room left to explore with this, but found it to be consistent with other Bogner switchable circuits. Dropping watts does not cut tone. And in any combination the lower wattage seems to give a spongier, more forgiving tone. You have a lot of control over your sound.

Honeymoon periods are cute, and I know this amp is a day old. But I'm quite impressed. I prefer the cleaner sides of this amp and my blusey overdrive through an open back cab, but the high gain stuff was focused and well composed for a 6v6 amp. If needed, this head could give me just about any tone I need as a one stop amp. Not as controllable as say a Mesa or Engl, but if you don't mind some tap dancing and knob turning, this thing ended up being a great cover-all amp. One that I bought simply for the superior clean channel. Highly recommend, cheers!

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PostPosted: Thu, Jan 10, 2019 11:19am 
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Congrats on the amp! I've had the 1x12 combo since last summer. I swapped the V30 in it for an Eminence Maverick to make use of the attenuation feature even though the amp certainly doesn't need it, the master volume is fantastic and the amp retains its sound at nearly all volume levels.

The 77 mode has the most volume on the overdrive channel (slight volume boost from 68 mode) and to me it also has the most aggression. I prefer it over the 81 for high gain sounds because it's less compressed and overall just tighter feel. Both the 68 and 77 work great with boosts, either pedal or the built-in one. The "Gain EQ" knob is a "modern/vintage" control to me, seems to have mostly an effect on the lower mids and gain. Turned up it gets into Friedman territory, turned down it's more old school Marshall-ish.

The reverb for me is a bit too long, I think I might have liked a shorter tank here so I've opted to mostly using the reverbs on my Helix Floor. The reverb certainly sounds good otherwise.

The high/low power switch is more of a sag switch. It doesn't make a huge difference in volume but a marked one for feel. I like using it for bluesy sounds because it has more compression and give. The full/half power switch mainly has an effect on the low end (a bit looser at half) and a slight volume drop, maybe a notch or two on the volumes. I like the amp best at full power.

The effects loop is a bit overly complicated and I have to always check the manual which button is which. The -20db level setting doesn't seem to be useful for anything but the trimmer is good for matching fx loop on/off levels.

I originally bought the amp for its overdrive channel but the clean channel might actually be the true highlight of the amp. Bogner would do well to just release a cut down, smaller version with only the clean channel, it would make an amazing pedal platform. It's rare to have an amp that has a stellar clean channel and an equally good but distinctly different sounding overdrive channel.

Good tip about the extreme settings btw! Cranking the presence and treble gives it a pretty nice grind on the 81 mode.


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PostPosted: Thu, Jan 10, 2019 3:33pm 
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This is the makings of a very long book on this amp lol. I don't think they are getting enough praise, it may fall between a few markets but is perfect for my needs. I agree with pretty much everything you've typed here.

The Phi is a great one channel amp but certainly isn't much cut down. I'd honestly be happy if it were cheaper and didn't have the 6L6 tube options. But I love love love it. Very different amps in terms of what they can do.

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PostPosted: Thu, Jan 24, 2019 8:02am 
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I'd like to add to this a neat little trick: Swap the V1 and V2 tubes. Putting the V2 JJ ECC803S into V1 gives the clean channel a very pleasant chime and openness while moving the V1 Tungsol to V2 gives great grind to the overdrive channel.


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