Special 6 Ultra Review

manufacturer: VHT date: 01/28/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
VHT: Special 6 Ultra
This is a pretty barebones amp. No reverb and no effects. It has a tube driven effects loop, 2 inputs (clean and ultra, not footswitchable).
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 8.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Features: 7.7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) pictures (3) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.8
Special 6 Ultra Reviewed by: andrerist, on july 12, 2011
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Price paid: $ 340

Purchased from: Pepperell Music Center

Features: This is a pretty barebones amp. No reverb and no effects. It has a tube driven effects loop, 2 inputs (clean and ultra, not footswitchable). Push pull volume boost, 3 position "texture" switch, depth (lows), tone, ultra. On/off Switch and a standby Switch that features high power, standby, and low power. Cool feature of the amp is its variable wattage control that allows for bedroom volumes but still getting the cranked amp sound. The amp comes standard with 2 12AX7's and a 6V6. You can also daisy chain this amp to as many cabinets as you wish if you need it for a gig. But for 6 watts, its pretty damn loud. // 7

Sound: I use my Schecter C1 Hellraiser with active EMG's into my Crybaby 535Q>MXR Fullbore Metal> amp. I play mostly metal so I really like a very high gain tone. With the amp cranked and on the ultra channel, it can get a nice crunch but not quite the crunch I need which is the reason I put the MXR in front of it. It accepts pedals very well and sounds amazing. The cleans r pristine with very little breakup at higher volume. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I have yet to have any issues with the amp so as far as I've owned it (about 3 months) it has treated me very well. // 10

Overall Impression: Its a good amp but I really wish it had a 2 channel, single input with a footswitch. The MXR pedal does not clean up and I have to use it over the clean channel. With some songs, I would like to be able to go from a "balls to the wall distortion" to just a crisp crunchy tone. A reverb would also be very nice, I feel like it just needs that extra "body". I am going into my senior year of high school I am intending on selling this amp by the end of the year for something that has more of what I'm looking for without having to put a bunch of pedals in front of it. But for the money, it is a really nice amp and has been a stepping stone to get into tube amps at an affordable price. // 7

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overall: 8.3
Special 6 Ultra Reviewed by: R_Gallagher_Fan, on march 23, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 222

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: I mainly play blues, rock 'n' roll and hard instrumental rock. When cranked it gives a really nice classic tone that's good for rock. It has two channels, two speaker out connections and a tube driven effects loop. It doesn't have reverb, treble, bass or mids controls just a tone control for the three. I can easily be heard over my band at practice, the amp can be micced for gigs. I find the low/high power switch and watts control good when I'm practising at home. // 7

Sound: I'm playing with a Cort G260 and lots of different pedals (always changing). I find in the ultra channel it's quite muddy and doesn't keep the original tone. I use DOD250 or a colour sound power boost for my main distortion and overdrive, these work really well with the amp. I think the amp fits all the styles I play really well. On the clean channel its starts to distort around 2 o'clock. I think this amp sounds a bit dark buts fits very well with my DOD250. I like the clean setting because it's very clear. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I wouldn't gig with a backup because this amp is built like a tank. I've had the amp for over two months and haven't come across any problems with it. // 10

Overall Impression: If the amp was stolen I would probably buy a new louder amp but what voiced like this one, such as the 12/20 watt one. Over all a very good amp for all the styles I play. // 9

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overall: 8.5
Special 6 Ultra Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 28, 2013
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Price paid: € 140

Purchased from: www.kytary.cz

Features: This handwired A-class all-tube head was probably made last year in China. It does not, however, have any impact on the quality, sound or the overall impression. It is really well built and seems very solid. I use the head just for the home practicing, plugged into 4x12" ESH cabinet with Eminence speakers (not sure what type). It has a bulit-in attenuator and triode/pentode switch that can reduce the output power from 6 to 3 W. What I really appreciate is the overall simplicity - no unnecessary knobs, useless features or complicated settings. You just plug and play. The Special 6 Ultra has 2 separate channels accessible through independent inputs. The first one is a regular Special one, with nice clean sounds and sweet crunch. The second one called Ultra provides more juicy distortion. The channels cannot be switched, on the other hand, you can use included footswitch for a boost of a channel that you currently use. I personally do not see it as a disadvantage - if you know, how to use your tone control, one can almost instantly go from heavily distorted sound to a nice clean crisp. Oh, by the way, this amp has a tube-driven effects loop, although reverb is missing. A lot of people think that 6 watts is not enough absolutely false statement. I play at 25 % attenuated volume for a comfortable practicing. Please, consider the fact, that I have this VHT plugged into 4x12" cabinet that needs more power to be properly "fueled" than a regular 1x12" speaker. Because of its class A architecture, it provides incredibly loud sound and I am quite sure that you could play with it in a band without the risk of being "oberbeaten". // 9

Sound: I mostly play 80s hard rock and traditional heavy metal music Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Accept and so on. Occasionally I also try some blues for improvisation practices. The VHT Special 6 can handle those styles very well, if you know, how to set it up and how to use your right hand properly. To be frank, at first I was quite disappointed about the VHT's sound, it sounded very muddy and not articulately at all. Then I experimented a bit with amp's controls and got a sweet tasty tone just put the attenuation slightly up, decrease the "volume", turn "ultra" knob to approx. 80 % and put "texture" switch to very left position. Now you have ultimate tone for Judas Priest's "Tyrant" or "Grinder", Iron Maiden's "Phantom Of The Opera" or Accept's "Midnight Highway". Just don't be afraid to attack the strings really hard. By the way, I use my Japanese Ibanez RG450 fitted with RM Custom pickup in bridge position and original Ibanez p-ups in middle and neck positions. The sound is not strictly "Marshalloid", but in my opinion, is quite similar to those models produced in 80s. However, if you want to play thrash metal or other very heavy genres, you might feel disappointed. In this case, you would have to use additional effects or boosters. From my point of view, it is "barbarian" having solid-state pedals in front of a tube amplifier. Does the clean channel get distorted at higher volumes? Well, it is a tube amp, so you cannot expect to have brilliant clean tones if you use e.g. the DiMarzio Super Distortion. The more powerful pickups you use, the more distorted the clean sound will be. Switch to neck-positioned single coil and you will get what you want. From my experience, the amp does not get noisy, unless you use low quality pickups or have a lot of other electronic stuff plugged nearby. But this applies to all amps without exception. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have been using this amp for quite a short period of time approx. A month. I do not play with band anymore, so I have no intent of moving it out of my room. The amp seems well built, though, so with a proper handling, no problems should be expected. Just like other valve amps. I got a 3 years warranty from my Czech music shop, so I do not know, how well VHT customer support works, and also no issues have occurred. The simple construction of the Special 6 Ultra promises relatively durable and reliable functionality. // 8

Overall Impression: I have been playing electric guitar for 3 years so far and owned various solid state amps and one 50W tube combo. In my opinion the VHT Special 6 Ultra is the best all-tube amplifier that you can get for this price. It does not have many great features as a reverb, channel switching, independent equalizer corrections etc., but, honestly, do you really need them? As I mentioned before, I prefer simplicity and efficiency. The only thing that really matters is sound quality and tone both are handled by VHT very well. If somebody had managed to have it stolen from me, I would buy it again and put a spiky cactus into the thief's anus. If my information is correct, this is one of the few real-all-tube-amps available. All other competitors (Blackstar HT-1R, Fender Superchamp XD, Ibanez TS5 and so on) use solid state elements and circuits that in my opinion - have a potential impact on the sound quality. What I like: sound quality and tonal variety, PRICE!, simplicity of settings and use, attenuator and power-switch. What I don't like: missing reverb. Please, take into account that my rating is based on the "price:value" ratio and the Special 6's comparison to similar amplifiers from the same price range. Of course you cannot compare it to high-end models as Marshall JCM 800, Vox AC30 or Mesa Boogie. // 9

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