Price paid: $ 3495
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: The Bogner Ecstasy is a beautiful hand-built amplifier, I'm not sure of the year as I am the second owner. This 120 watt monster has 4 Svetlana c-wing el34's and six China 12AX7's. This amplifier has a colossal amount of features. It has 3 channels, clean (green), rhythm (blue) and lead (red). These are all switchable by a massive footswitch.
The back panel of the 101B can be a tad overwhelming when you first look at it. On the far left you have the send and return for the effects loop and the volume control for that. It also contains a new/old Switch. The old option actually kills certain parts of the power tubes giving you a Vintage sound throughout the whole amplifier, whereas the new allows for full use of the tubes. Next to that you have the speaker input which is switchable from 4, 8 and 16 ohms, and also the half power and on/off toggle.
The front panel is a much simpler layout. There is a massive row of chicken knobs that are split into their respective channels by colored lights on either end of the EQ's depending on which sound you want. The clean channel is mostly independent but the red and green channels share EQ's (apart from gain and channel volume). Each channel has its own pre-EQ option, which gives you a treble, mid or bass sound. The entire amp has a gain structure Switch, high or low. The clean channel contains an independent boost control while the rhythm and lead channels share a boost option. There is an entire excursion system, which basically gives you even further control over the sound coming through the speakers. Bogner refers to it as cone control. There are also assignable presence knobs which can be a tad confusing at first. There is also a plexi option, which is assignable to either the first or second channel. After just a day of tweaking, you quickly come to understand the layout of the Ecstasy. // 10
Sound: The sound is obviously the reason you buy such a high-end amplifier. All of the EQ's highly affect the sound of the amp. Every one of its seemingly useless features has an extreme affect on the over-all texture of the amplifier. All of the features work together in a glorious symphony of versatility that I have never seen before in any other amplifier. It's glorious
The clean channel can vary from a stunning bright glassy sound to a very bassy thick tone. You can also get a decent amount of crunch by using the boost and gain knobs as well. The rhythm channel might be my favorite channel on the amp. You can get sounds out of it ranging from a Mesa lone-star to a perfect Vintage Marshall sound; after a few minutes of tweaking I nailed down both Andy Timmons' and Jimmy Page's tone perfectly. With the boost option its ranges into early thrash Megadeth tones. The lead channel is just simply crushing. There are scary amounts of gain on tap with tons of headroom, while still never sounding sterile or cold. It sounds like there is a raging inferno built inside the amp. The boost option fits perfectly on this channel. Solos scream and rhythms are devastating. Its ranges from a perfect scooped Soldano to a flawlessly voiced, round, British Orange.
Every channel on this amp takes pedals extremely well, except for distortion pedals. I put my ds-1 both in the loop and in front of the amp as well, it just sounded terrible. I'm not sure if that's every distortion pedal, but it's defiantly the case with the ds-1. Also the plexi channel is kind of a joke. You have to turn it so loud to get any distortion from it, it just becomes unbearable. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I haven't had a chance to test this on the road, but it's built like a tank. The construction is very firm and it doesn't rattle around like a few other tube amps I have owned. I would for sure gig this amp without a backup. The chassis is a very solid single piece of metal. The tubes are set very sturdily into place. It has the quality you would expect from such an amp. // 10
Overall Impression: The Ecstasy truly lives up to its pedigree. It comes from a man whole truly knows his ART, and it shows. I got tired of buying amps that constantly broke down on me, so I saved my pennies and went all the way. It is quite possibly one of the sexiest amps I have ever seen, and it sounds even better than it looks. I would highly recommend playing one, and of course buying it. You get what you pay for, and in this case it's a lot. // 10