AP-22 review by Beltone

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (3 votes)
Beltone: AP-22

Price paid: C$ 250

Purchased from: Kijiji

Features — 9
The Beltone series of amplifiers were made in Japan in the mid-sixties and imported into Canada through Davis and branded as Beltone. Very simple controls - Volume, Treble and Bass and a wonderful tremolo (although not footswitchable) and four instrument inputs. There are not too many spec's available for these amps, but I am guessing it puts out about twenty watts of vintage tube sound, but surprisingly loud and beautifully clean. I have a pair of these that I run off my board in stereo giving a tone that has to be heard to be appreciated. This amp has enough power on its own for practice/jamming and can keep up without drummer before being mic'd.

Sound — 9
I play mainly classic rock and blues with this amplifier being a perfect match to that. I would believe that an amp that plays so well without the need for pedals would suit almost any style of music and instrument (single coil, HB) - I play it with Les Pauls, Telecasters and my Dano which the latter seems to be a perfect match - made for each other. Bright cleans, hint of jangle, right amount of bass with very little noise even when cranked. Having said all about cleans and no need for pedals, I am a pedal-guy, it takes pedals very well right through the front (no effects loop) - a good reverb pedal really enhances the sound and works with any OD/dist pedals with tube warmth.

Reliability & Durability — 8
As for reliability... both are about fifty years old and outside of normal tube replacement have required almost no maintenance or problems. I have had both amps in though to replace the two pronged plug with a grounded three prong for safety, other than that, all is original. They are daily drivers as I practice am minimum of one hour per day and these have been with me for gigs over the years with countless hours of use and enjoyment. They are basic mid-sixties department store tube amps imported from Japan in the hay day. Red tolex like covering, '60s stereo grill cloth with the controls and input out of the top. The one issue of concern is the white asbestos pad along the removable back cover to protect the cabinet from the heat of the tubes. Some say it you don't disturb the material you will be fine, however, I traced this cover onto a piece of 1/4" ply and cut out the center of that to make a frame where the "hole" was covered with a chicken fence screening and painted black with bbq paint. This does not affect the tone as the amp is an open back and I can store the original asbestos pad in a sealed bag.

Overall Impression — 9
Again, I play mainly classic rock and blues of which this amp performs extremely well. Got my first one about thirty years ago from a family member and purchased my second this past summer. I would definitely replace this amp if it were lost although one would have it pry it out of my hands. Classic '60s tube amp mojo that will definitely put you on the track of finding your tone. In a perfect world, this would have a footswitch for the tremolo, no asbestos and have more readily available tubes than the 6av6 bank, but with the sound it produces none of that takes away from this one.

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