Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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.
Reliability & Durability — 10
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.
Features — 8
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.