Format: 1x12 combo
Preamp Tubes: Three 12AX7s,
Controls: Hi/normal inputs with
bass, treble, volume, and reverb knobs
and sand-off-surf reverb selector
Additional Features Effects
loop, two speaker outputs with impedance
selector, slave output with level
control, and footswitch input
Speaker: Budda 12
Price: $1,799 street
Budda’s Verbmaster first appeared in the ’90s,
and this latest incarnation stays faithful to the
design that first made it popular among early boutique
amp aficionados. In general, the Verbmaster
has a heavier voice than a lot of smaller EL84
amps, and it’s a great tool for rowdy rock ’n’ roll.
Locke: This is a good, crunchy, high-gain
amp if you play humbuckers or play a lot
of power chords or leads. The clean channel
can sound a bit dull at times. Even with
the treble way up and the bass way down, it
seems a bit dark and woofy and doesn’t have
as much of that chimey, bell-like tone that a
lot of EL84 players look for. But it has more
bottom end than I would ever want.
The footswitch changes between the
sand and surf reverb settings, but there’s no
light to indicate which is which—and both
modes sound a little similar. A footswitch
to go between normal and high-gain channels
would’ve been useful.
Derrico: I like the milkiness of
the Budda for lead stuff on the high-gain
channel—that’s really cool. Rhythm
sounds can get a little floppy on
the low end. That’s good for
some things—like Hendrix-y
sorts of sounds. The bass-heaviness
is nice on the lower-gain
channel for rhythm stuff, too.
Channel switching would be nice
when you want more gain for
shredding, because on the lowergain
channel, there’s not quite as
much as you want.
Trovato: The first thing I
like about this amplifier is that the
top is recessed a little bit so that
when I’m onstage looking down, I
can lean down and see what the settings
on the knobs are clearly. Both
reverbs sound good, but they can
be subtle, so it’s harder to get over
the top of a band in a live situation.
It sounds like a nice Fender spring
The amp has that Vox top end,
but the low end is nice and tight.
It’s obviously a smaller sound
than a 4x12 cabinet, but you still
get that big, tight bottom end. So
you can play full chords with it,
using open strings, low strings,
and it still sounds good.