Alchemist 212 review by Bogner

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (18 votes)
Bogner: Alchemist 212
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Price paid: $ 1200

Purchased from: American Musical Supply

Sound — 7
The sound is phenomenal, with unlimited versatility. I play a Parker P-44 so I can get everything from sparkling cleans to Hendrix dirt to Satriani sustain. I play mostly blues and fusion rock, but metal sounded pretty good as well. A more suited guitar would give better metal tones though. My favorite part of this amp's sound is the touch sensitive leads. You can get very nice dynamic and expressive solos. The only gripe is the effects. This amp's effects are made by Line 6. The reverb is actually quite nice until you reach 2 o'clock. After that is just gets messy. The delay isn't bad either, but since there is an effect signal and a dry signal, which Bogner claims keeps the true tone, phase problems are introduced. With delay playing single notes has a sort of "Satch scream" sound in the background. This is just annoying. I've read the reason for this is the parallel effects loop, but I'm no electrician so I'm not sure a series loop would be better. My pedals sound better with this amp, however my separate delay pedal has phase issues, though not nearly as bad as the onboard effect. Plus, when using my delay pedal, switching from dirty to clean channels while the pedal being on gives a huge spike in volume; quite a pain. An amp of this price and quality should not have these problems. But all in all, a great sounding and versatile amplifier that I know I'll be happy with for a while.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Bogner Alchemist. The versatility and sound quality is perfect for me. The problems are there, but manageable. I was testing this, a mesa/Boogie express 50, and an Egnater renegade 65. The Bogner had the best lead sounds and versatility in my opinion. Great amp.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I must say the build quality is pretty top notch. Everything is crafted well, from the handle on top to the Bogner logo. My footswitch has a bad pot for the reverb switch. However I pretty much keep it on all the time anyway, so it hasn't bothered me at all. Still, it shouldn't happen. But I could absolutely gig with this.

Features — 9
This a 40 Watt 2x12 combo with two channels. Both the clean (gold) and dirty (mercury) channels have gain, volume, bass, middle, and treble controls. Gold channel has Clean/Crunch, bright, and deep switches. Mercury channel has punch, bright, and mid-shift switches. There's also a boost switch for both channels. The amp has built in delay and reverb. The delay mix and repeats controls with a tap tempo button and a switch for analog, tape, and ducking type delays. The reverb has a switch for plate, spring, and hall reverb. The Alchemist 212 is a 40W amp but can be switched to 20W. There is a parallel effects loops with level control which I'm not quite fond of for reasons I'll explain later. There are 5 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 6V6 power tubes. The amp is equipped with a Celestion G12M Greenback and Celestion G12H 70th Anniversary speakers. Footswitch includes buttons for channel, boost, delay, and reverb. Incredible versatility with this amp and good components.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ippon
    The stock Celestion G12M Greenback and G12H Anniversary  speakers are perfect for this little beast.  
    RocknRollRay
    I tried this out at best buy and was disappoint. The tone this thing out is dirty. Of course I didn't spend a hour fiddling with the nobs but I did expect more cooperation from the amp. Maybe if I had put an od pedal or a layer of compression on it I would have given it a little more hope. 1200, no maybe 800-900
    Chris Schementi
    The^Unforgiven wrote: I wouldn't pay $1200 for an amp I only rate 7 sound-wise.
    Well I love the sound, it's just those issues that I didn't give a higher rating. But for pure sound quality I feel it's top notch. UPDATE: playing around with the fx level control on the loop and the dry/wet signal on the pedals, I was able to amlost completely fix the phase problems. Sound much much better now!
    AngryGoldfish
    I don't know why everyone says this amp is expensive. It's a 20-40 watt, two channel amp with separate EQ boards, designed by Bogner. It has a set of uniquely-voiced speakers, effects, effects loop, and switches on each channel to alter the tone. What's the big deal? I think it's a great amp.
    Himelnator
    AngryGoldfish wrote: I don't know why everyone says this amp is expensive. It's a 20-40 watt, two channel amp with separate EQ boards, designed by Bogner. It has a set of uniquely-voiced speakers, effects, effects loop, and switches on each channel to alter the tone. What's the big deal? I think it's a great amp.
    It is bro, I have one, but A few days ago I got MXR fullborne metal distortion pedal, and i haven't been able to get back to the distorted channel unless I start off so.
    AngryGoldfish
    Himelnator wrote: AngryGoldfish wrote: I don't know why everyone says this amp is expensive. It's a 20-40 watt, two channel amp with separate EQ boards, designed by Bogner. It has a set of uniquely-voiced speakers, effects, effects loop, and switches on each channel to alter the tone. What's the big deal? I think it's a great amp. It is bro, I have one, but A few days ago I got MXR fullborne metal distortion pedal, and i haven't been able to get back to the distorted channel unless I start off so.
    What do you mean? It is what?
    dan_onlytwice
    The rockshop in New Zealand leant me one of these to trial as my back up amp. They sound awesome at room volume but the moment you crank them up, all the bottom end disappears and they become quite thin. I REALLY liked the tone i got out of this when it was quieter though, and ended up recording a number of tracks on my band's ep with it. When it's loud though... different story. Good review though. People on here seem to punish people for giving fair reviews - $1200 for a 7 isn't bad really.
    shwilly
    RocknRollRay wrote:Of course I didn't spend a hour fiddling with the nobs but I did expect more cooperation from the amp
    Fiddling with nobs, haha So um, yeah, this is a pretty damn great amp, especially within this price range. Of course it doesn't look as hardcore as a half stack with similar specs, and it's a shame a lot of people don't give these amps a try just because they're combo's. I'll take a Bogner Shiva over a Mesa rectifier any day...
    Chris Schementi
    UPDATE II: After switching out both the Parker stinger pickups for a PAF pro and a FRED, the phase problems completely went away- and I mean COMPLETELY I give it an 8-9 rating sound wise after another month playing. Still very pleased.