Tweaker review by Egnater

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (27 votes)
Egnater: Tweaker

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.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Noobie here. I just bought a Tweaker combo today. Actually I was quite impressed as it "sounded" better to me than the Blues Jr Nos that I didn't like. I've played mostly through solid state, but had really spent time playing through all digital, hybrid, and tube amps to really get an idea of what I wanted out of an amp tone wise. I don't play alot of heavy stuff at all, no metal, AC/DC type stuff is prolly the hardest I'd do. (i guess I'm gettin' old! lol) But I've played long enough (around 25 yrs off an on) to have that "particular tone" in my head. Admit it, everyone's got a certain sound in their head they try to achieve. That's how all these companies stay in business. I tried the thought of "if I like the way this guy sounds, then I have to buy this amp, etc that that guy uses. then i find out that some of those guys are taking their stuff to guys like Egnater to modify them to their tastes! Not fair!! Here we've been buyin all these amps, pedals, modelers, so on and so on - and still can't nail that sound in our head !! What's up with that? Anyway, back to the Tweaker. I bought the BJr thinking that was the ticket being I like blues, and it's a Fender. Well, honestly, it just didn't compare (to me and MY ears) to the Tweaker. Great Speaker, and the bonus of being able to "tweak" the tone one way or another towards the style of amp you're thinking of. Big plus for me was it wasn't an amp that was trying to be a clone of the other "big 3". It is an amp that has it's own characteristics, that has the added bonus of leaning towards one way or another. Even better is that it absoulutely is not a digital computer chip, effects parameter adjusting, bank preset memorizing, button pushing, knob turning nightmare. Set your metal switches, adjust your eq to taste, and just let 'er rip. BTW, this thing sure seems like it has some ballz for only 15w. And you get an extension jack for whatever cabinet you want, and line out. Jr Nos didn't have that capability. No offense to anyone, just my opinion. An ol' guitar man told me (like it was written in a holy book somewhere) that the sound in your head is the only sound you should worry about, not someone else's. And whatever brand or style, tube or ss gets you there, that's where you need to be. Again, just my .02
    The Tweaker takes a lot of time to get used to. They have a set up sheet and that helps. Ive had the best luck if I turn the Treble Mid and Lows all the way down before I crank the volumn. Then I move them up as needed. It gets a lost more head room that way and you can notice the different sections more clearly. I bout my 15 watter thinking I was going to send it back. boy was I wrong! I fell in love and now have a full stack. I have a hand wire AC15 and I still enjoy play it, but I think the egnater is the perfect 2nd amp. I also played a Blackstar ht-5 and think its the best bedroom amp on the main stream market. Its probably my next purchase.
    If you use the effects loop you can do pretty damn much what you want .. and accomplish everything you are trying to. BUT you are going to have to find a set of tubes to your liking.. The ruby tubes are in there just to get it to work.. they are cheap and are pretty much a generic tube.. not bad.. not good.. Change em out with JJ if you want it brighter or tung-sols 6v6gts if you want that 50s vintage tone (warm with bottom end) It truly makes a world of difference.. I use a rp1000 and I can get this thing up in volume too.. It is a good amp a tube change and it phenomenal. BTW i had an blackstar ht-5 it was a great low-watt amp just a bit too low watt.. also own a blackheart handsome devil its a great but requires a lot of add-ons (pedals or processors) to get the sound you want. It is perfect with a rp1000 .. even without an effects loop
    One of the BEST and Most Versatile Amps I have ever owned. I also own an AC15C2 with 2 Celestion Greenbacks and Tremolo and Reverb and it has been sitting with the cover on it since I got my Tweaker. It has the ability to gie you a huge selection of voices. My only Question is why these guys paid so much frekin money for the Amp.Yes they sel for $599 new but you can pick up a very good used one for under $300 which IMO makes it the best buy for any tube amp you can buy. KILLS a Blues Jr and everything close to the price range. If your looking for a REALLY GREAT Tube Amp then don't pass this by. You can find them on Craigs List for under $300 and even less used at Guitar Center and you'll find it's your go to amp.