andy474x, on june 13, 2011 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: I have the head version of this amp, purchased new in 2010. Versatility is the name of the game with this amp, as you can emulate several classic amp sounds. The front panel includes a full tone stack, volume and gain, and the 5 "tweaker" switches. The back panel, which is also very impressive, features a series effects loop, voltage selector, and 2 speaker outs with a 4/8/16 ohm selector - this is one of the few micro heads that can power a pair cabs of any ohm rating simultaneously! The effects loop, unfortunately doesn't work well with most pedals, some people say this is a design flaw, but I've owned other tube amps with the same "problem", I think it has more to do with the level of the signal that goes through tubes is much hotter than then instrument level input. Some pedals do work, like my Holy Grail reverb, and most rack units are designed for higher level signals and seem to work too. The head enclosure is small and portable. Inside, the preamp uses 2 12AX7's, with a third for the fx loop, and the power amp can accept 2 of 6V6, 6L6, or EL34 tube types (6v6 are stock). Also, the power amp is cathode biased, so tubes can be interchanged with no need to bias, which makes things a lot easier. I would've liked to see reverb, a footswitchable Drive channel, and a carry case like rebel line has, but other than that, a fantastic unit. // 8
Sound: First off, I think I've had a different sonic experience than most Tweaker owners. The 1x12 cabinet I use with the Tweaker head isn't the matching Egnater cab. My cab has an Eminence speaker with a much higher power rating. A buddy of mine has the combo, and I've noticed that as you start to turn it up, the combo's speaker starts to fart out. Honestly, I think this is what turns a lot of people off to the Tweaker. With my setup, the Tweaker gets LOUD and sounds even better at high volumes. I can easily keep up with my band (a Peavey Classic 50 4x10, bass, and a loud drummer) at about 1/2 on the master volume with a single 12. It definitely has plenty of power on tap, despite being "only" 15 watts. Granted, the clean headroom is limited somewhat, but if you want to rock loud with a decent amount of gain, the Tweaker head won't disappoint. Anyways, enough with my speaker rant. Normally, I don't like any kind of modeling, etc., but the thing about the Tweaker is there is no modeling, when you select an amp type (USA/AC/BRIT switch) you're actually changing the control circuit to match that kind of amp. And you can definitely hear it - if you didn't know you were hearing a tweaker, most people would think they were hearing a Fender, Vox, or Marshall. The other Tweaker switches can take the effect even further. Every Switch has definite function, it's not one of those deals where you hardly hear a difference. The Drive sounds are very nice, and can do anything between clean and a hearty rock distortion. Also, Egnater says that the CLEAN/HOT Switch is a 9dB boost, but I have a sneaking suspicion that something in the tone circuit changes when you go to HOT mode as well... I have no idea what it is, but it sounds good. The clean channels also accept pedals very well, which helps to make up for their not being channel switching. // 9
Reliability & Durability: You can tell this head is really made well. The Tolex is nice and thick, it has a sturdy handle, and the metal grill and chassis are thick and sturdy too. The transformers are good and heavy as well, much more than you would expect in an amp this size. I think it would take some serious abuse to damage these amps. Probably one of the best build qualities I've seen in a made-in-asia amp. Other than normal tube maintanence, I've had no problems at all. // 10
Overall Impression: Usually I start to discover things I don't like about my gear with time, but I honestly haven't had any problems with the Tweaker. It's a winner in every category when it comes to small tube heads. Most importantly, the tone is great. The build quality and components are first rate, and its features are simple but incredibly effective. And the versatility is also hard to beat - I could play a rock show at the bar Saturday night, church Sunday morning, and the only problems I would have would be theological. The Tweaker probably won't nail any one specific brand and model amp sound 100%, but then again if you want to sound like one specific amp, you're just going to buy that amp in the first place. But if you're looking for an amp that's loud, portable, and can cover a lot of styles, I can recommend nothing better than the Tweaker. // 9
fenderstrat6485, on october 01, 2010 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: The Egnater Tweaker was released earlier in 2010. It is a single-channel, 15-Watt, Class A tube amp, and an absolute tone monster. Ranging from the sounds of a Marshall JTM-45, to a Vox AC-30, all the way to a Fender Bassman, this amp is perfect for blues, jazz, and classic rock. Featuring five "Tweaker Switches", a variety of tones are available. The "Tweaker Switches" are as follows: VINTAGE/MODERN (Voicing), USA/VX/BRIT (EQ), HOT/CLEAN (Gain Level), BRIGHT/NORMAL, and TIGHT/DEEP (both are additional tone controls). With a 3-Band EQ, Master Volume, Gain knob, and 12-in. Celestion G12-H speaker, the Egnater Tweaker not only has enough volume for gigging, but versatility as well. Another awesome feature, is the additional 1/4 jack for external speakers, with switchable impedance (4-Ohm,8-Ohm, 16-Ohm). Because of this, the Egnater Tweaker head can handle most any type of cab (1x12, 2x12, 4x12) in case you need that extra volume. The head also boasts a buffered effects loop, and the cab contains dual 1/4 in. 16-Ohm jacks for multiple heads. Metal fans will be slightly disappointed by the amount of gain this amp is capable of, but the Celestion easily handles a distortion pedal, at moderate volumes. Overall, this amp is great from the bedroom to the stage at a smaller venue. The only thing it really lacks is a Power Grid (Similar to the Egnater Tourmaster) for variable wattage. // 8
Sound: If the player is looking for a sound ranging from Clapton, to Hendrix, to Vaughan, or even the Beatles, he or she will be pleased. The Tweaker has virtually no noise, unless external distortion/overdrive pedals are used. Being mostly a blues player, I was incredibly satisfied with the tonal range this amp has, from a Fender Twin Reverb, to a Marshall Bluesbreaker, and most everything in between. Hard rock and metal players had better count on using an external distortion effect, however. I am currently playing this amp using a Fender Standard Stratocaster with Seymour Duncan pickups or a Jackson Dinky with Seymour Duncans, a Boss Noise Suppressor, a DigiTech DF-7 Distortion, a Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion, a Dunlop Cry Baby 535 Q wah, and a Vox Tonelab ST multi-fx. Again, it sounds fantastic for blues, but could use more gain, and at times, doesn't handle volumes past 1:00 very well. Overall, however, it is more than worth the price. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This amp is very dependable, but like most tube amps, requires servicing. Be sure to replace the 6V6 power tubes after about a year of daily use. However, It is built with quality, as most Egnater amplifiers are. I would not, however, use it on a gig without a solid-state backup. // 7
Overall Impression: Overall, this is a fantastic amplifier for the money, and blows other micro stacks (Vox Night Train, Marshall Haze) right out of the water. The only things I wish it had are more wattage, a wattage selector, and maybe a bit more gain. I have been playing for about five years, and I have played some truly fantastic amps, such as the Fender Bassman combo, Marshall JVM stack, and the Vox AC-30 Handwired combo, and this lives up to the legacy of those great amplifiers (On a much smaller scale, of course). If it were stolen or lost, I would buy it again, as it is hard to come across a Class-A tube amp of this quality. // 8
jreikes, on march 23, 2011 2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 575
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: The Tweaker Combo checks off just about every box you can hope for in an all tube amp near this price point. It has four little switches that control vintage/modern, US/British/VOX voicing, tight/full bass, and bright/normal treble. With all those switches and the 3-band EQ, you can get a very wide range of sounds out of the amp. Also, the G12- Celestion speaker gives it a bit fuller sound than some of the other small tube amps, many of which use 10" speakers. It also has an effects loop, which is not common in amps of this category, *BUT* the loop is basically useless due to a defect in design (more on this later). The Blackstar HT5 has a similar list of features, but I felt it was a mediocre sounding amp by comparison.
At 45 lbs, this amp is bit less portable than something like the 25 lb Marshall Class 5, but much more portable than a 90 lb Mesa combo (though a 90 lb Mesa combo amp will sound much more like a big amp). // 8
Sound: I'm using this with an Ibanez S-series with DiMarzio pickups and an American Standard Strat with Lindy Fralin pickups. Overall, the amp sounds very good. The Marshall Class 5 is hard to dispute as the best sounding amp in this segment, but it's also the least versatile or usable in the real world. The Class 5 is a non-master-volume amp, so it only really does clean and quiet or REALLY loud and crunchy (much, much louder than you would expect from a little 5 watt combo). By comparison, the Tweaker doesn't have any one sound that's quite as cool as the Class 5 with the volume all the way up, but it still delivers a wide range of good sounds and can do so at much more reasonable volume levels. I hooked the Tweaker up yesterday with a 4x12" Mesa cabinet. At only about halfway up on the master volume, it (surprisingly) put out enough volume to keep up with my band. That said, even with a full size cabinet to help it out, this is still a $500 amp. It doesn't hold a candle to the tone I get out of my full-size amp (a Marshall Vintage Modern half stack). Using just the built-in speaker, it sounds good for a little 1x12 combo amp, but comparisons to big amps are just not appropriate. // 7
Reliability & Durability: The switches and the cabinet all feel solidly put together. The tubes don't rattle around at high volumes or while carrying it, so that's also a plus. HOWEVER, there's a defect in the design of these amps. The effects loop does not send a normal effect loop signal level. As a result, it overwhelms most pedals you'll use in your loop and makes them sound like garbage. My MXR Carbon Copy delay sound muddy in the loop. My M-108 EQ blinks to warn that it's clipping unless I pull my volume pedal (at the beginning of my chain in the loop) about halfway back. Also, my ISP Decimator G String seems less able to stop feedback (I'm guessing it's struggling to fully attenuate the signal down to nothing). This issue appears to be well documented on the internet. I read there was a fix in the works several months ago, but I don't know where that stands now. I've emailed Egnater twice and they've never responded. I've also tried calling them during normal business hours, but no one answers the phone. Unfortunately, that means my confidence in Egnater is not only shaken with regard to them being able to properly design an amp, but also with regard to the chances they will stand behind their product if there's a problem (which there certainly is with this). I'm keeping the amp anyway because I don't plan to use the effects loop often, but I'm sad to see this issue got through to production and they're not fixing it. // 2
Overall Impression: I play a wide range of music including jazz, blues, classic rock, glam rock, and metal. I generally use pretty high end equipment for a non-professional musician.
I find the low to medium gain settings for this amp are my favorite spots for it. The high gain settings are good enough to let you practice hard rock and metal, but that doesn't mean it does those genres well.
Please see the comments above regarding the effects loop problem and Egnater's lack of any customer support.
I looked at the Marshall Class 5, Blackstar HT, and Orange Tiny Terror (both the 10" and 12" versions) before buying this amp. I was primarily looking for an amp that would be my practice amp. The Class 5 sounds amazing, is cheap, and is lightweight. It's also made in the UK (most of the other amps in this segment, including the Tweaker, are made in China). But (as previously mentioned) the Class 5 is not useful as a practice amp because you need to turn it up to VERY high volume levels to get that great Marshall crunch out of it. The Blackstar HT5 only sounds good on paper. In person, it's very underwhelming. The Orange Tiny Terror is a great sounding little amp and I gave it a long look. In the end though, the Tiny Terror is not really at the same price point (especially if you go for the 12" version). At $869 (Guitar Center price), the Tiny Terror 12" combo might sound a touch better than the Egnater, but it's too expensive for just a practice amp. Also, though the Tiny Terror is somewhat versatile, it's not nearly as versatile as the Tweaker.
If I had it to do over again, I might go with the Class 5 instead. Given the lower price, I would have had enough left over to buy a an overdrive pedal to keep dedicated next to the Class 5 and that would have given it much more of the versatility it lacked when compared with the Tweaker. However, I'm not so convinced that that's the better option that I would go so far as to sell the Tweaker and replace it with a Class 5. Which means that, overall, I'm happy with the Tweaker. // 8