Price paid: € 1799
Purchased from: Thomann
Features: This is a 3-Channel, 100-watt, all-tube amp head. Each of the 3 channels Clean, Crunch and Lead has a 3-band equalizer as well as Gain, Volume and Presence controls. It also comes with an effects loop, an integrated MIDI interface, two switchable Master volumes, a Deep control, and speaker impedance settings of 4, 8 and 16 ohms. It uses 5x ECC 83 by JJ, 4x EL 34 by Electro Harmonix (selected quartet) Valves, with Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence controls for each channel and Volume control per channel. A Deep control is a great addition to set the amount of low end in the power amp stage, particularly as this has uddles of bass already, as is the Master 1 and 2, switchable by footswitch - which needs to be purchased separately. This amp is heavy and very large in size with a weight of 20 kg and dimensions of (W/H/D): 0, 72 x 0, 28 x 0, 26 m.
It is a Germany made amplifier, and was made in mid-July, 2005.
This amp is extremely diverse and is powerful enough to cope with any style of music. It's clean tone is punchy, chiming, resonant, and articulate, making it perfect for bands that use minimalistic effects such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, Weezer, The White Stripes, Biffy Clyro, Billy Talent, Black Sabbath, Gojira, Faith No More, etc.
The Crunch channel then can be utilized for anything from Neil Young to Alice In Chains to Tool with more than enough gain and clarity. The following Lead channel then applies a little more punch, and of course, more gain, leading it into Heavy Metal zones, reminiscent of acts such as Meshuggah, Mudvayne, Mastodon, Pantera, Death, Deftones, Slipknot, Rammstein, or Killswitch Engage Who I believe actually used Framus amps for their records.
There is nothing I would of asked for, except maybe for a reverb function. But adding that would bump the price up even further and may not be achievable with the tubes that are currently equipped. This really is an amp designed for anything.
The numerous knobs do make it a little OTT, but, for this money, it's what to expect. There is no point buying this wonderful piece of kit if you only ever use a basic clean tone and a basic Drive tone with a single EQ.
I bought this as my first top of the range amplifier, replacing my Vox AD30VT. I was hoping to use it for both gigs, bedroom practise, and rehearsal. With 100 watts, this will never lack in power, particularly with it's accompanying Framus Angled 4x12 cabinet stocked with Vintage 30 speakers. // 9
Sound: I play a Maverick F-1, an Epiphone Les Paul Custom - all with stock pickups, a Tele with John Birch humbucker pickups (low output) and a Squier Strat with factory pups.
My main genre of music is Alternative Heavy Rock. I don't play other peoples music, I write my own. But, if I was to, I would most likely be playing Deftones, Biffy Clyro, Interpol, Circa Survive, Kings Of Leon, Mastodon, Tool, with a little Paul Gilbert, Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater thrown in for practise. There is No Doubt in my mind that it would suit those bands perfectly. This is a high-gain amplifier, but with boutique qualities, thus allowing it immense amounts of clean headroom which was a great change from my Vox. But, unfortunately, it doesn't quite suit my band very well. To explain, I play in a three-piece that plays weird, alternative, progressive, heavy stoner-style rock with elements of Hardcore Punk, Death Metal, Indie and Melodic Post-Hardcore Rock. We call it Metal cow-pat as a joke, of course. The Framus Dragon is a particularly bassy amp, that shines with one string riffs and solos, but, because I tend to use a lot of weird, exposed chords to fill the sound up as we lack another guitarist or keyboardist the sound tends to muddy up slightly. Now this is the crux, when you crank the amp, that muddiness disappears. Totally. This thing thrives at loud volumes. It yearns for it. At 6 o'clock (1) it fizzes and hisses, and never feels "right". It's only when you open the Dragon up that the flames start to roar and burn. Which is a real shame, as this is the single most epic and astonish amp I have ever heard.
If you want an amp that you can both play at low volumes and gig with, look at 50 watts or below, not this beautiful lizard. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Germany has had one of the best reputations for making trustworthy and sturdy amplifiers or any musical gear for that matter - and this is no exception. Framus has really done themselves proud, and I encourage anyone to try this beauty out for themselves.
Although I have now sent the amp back, I did put it through it's tests while I had it. In all fields that were possible to be screened, it came out shinning and begging for more action. As mentioned, this is fashioned for the working musician; the guy who plays shows twice a week with his band in the local and neighbouring counties, and earns good money for it. It is also perfect for the studio, as all of the controls are entirely responsive to your touch and I imagine they will remain that way for a long time - if only I kept it =[. The tubes are also allowed plenty of fresh air to cool down in all that fire-breathing intensity.
I would of depended on this, certainly, particularly as I wouldn't have the money to buy another one as a backup. This is built to last a lifetime and, if I had the money, I would have been overjoyed for the opportunity to really test it and see how long this Dragon can survive for. // 9
Overall Impression: As I previously cited, the Dragon has too much power and bass for my needs in a three piece. But still, there's no denying that this is a triumph of a beast. With an exquisite clean channel; drop A-tuned, high-gain riffs, staggering in power; and force that only 4x12 V30 speakers hitting you square in the chest can surpass, there really is very little in the way of comparisons. Overall, it equals to ominousness. It reminds you of the days when you were standing in the front row of Korn, moshing in a tidy club in Dublin City. It makes you smile every time you power it up. It winds you every time you stand too close. It's natural feedback pierces your soul and never becomes overly noisy; controlled insanity.
I hate comparing amplifiers as it's like comparing personalities they're all totally different - You need to respect them all and know where they should be placed. A Brunetti XL-R EVO or an Engl Powerball are about the only amps that I can even dare compare this to. Both of which are also fantastic amps, just in a different league. The Engl is more compressed and digital, while the Framus is more boutique and natural. The Brunetti shares the Dragon's love of bass, too!
In some ways I wish I had the chance to try it out before I had purchased it, but in others, I'm glad that I got the chance to witness it's glory. You really are seeing a wonder of creation, and there's no way I'd change things. I'm glad it's gone, but I sorely miss it at the same time. I guess it's like owning a real Dragon; you know you love it to bits, but it just won't fit in your attic for long. It needs to breathe. It needs to be let out. Please don't confine this amp to your bedroom or your shed. Place it alongside Deftones at Reading this year and listen to it roar. // 9