Magnatone Giveawya

August Issue
more... GearAmpsSound SamplesTube ComboReviewsEL84Class A/BMarch 2009Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf Outlaw Review

Lone Wolf Outlaw Review
Lone Wolf Outlaw
Download Example 1
Clean setting with Volume 1 at 8 o'clock and Master at 12 o'clock. Volume 2 at zero.
Download Example 2
Blues setting with Volume 1 at 1 o'clock and Master at 9 o'clock. Volume 2 at zero.
Download Example 3
Overdrive setting with Volume 1 and 2 at max and Master at 8 o'clock.
Recorded with a Tom Anderson Cobra Special-S. For all clips, non-specified controls were at noon.
The Lone Wolf Outlaw is a dual-channel, 18W amp head and separate twin-12” speaker cabinet with some unique features and a very high-quality build profile (it’s also available as a 1x12 combo). The dual channel setup differs from most amplifiers in the sense that there is only one signal path available to the output section, as opposed to dual channels where there are two optional paths, usually regulated by a channel switch of some type. The two channels consist of two preamp sections (bright and dark) controlled by separate pots labeled volume 1 and volume 2, respectively. The two channels seem identical except that the dark channel has the highs and upper mids rolled off sharply before the signal hits the tone stack, which consists of the usual Treble, Mid, Bass and Presence—which in this case is called “brilliance.”

The bright channel runs a full-range signal. The two “channels” are then added together with a summing circuit, and from there on to the output section, which consists of two EL84 pentodes running in class AB (pushpull) configuration, and a very beefy output transformer. The power section uses a 6CA4 (EZ81) tube rectifier and a likewise very beefy power transformer. Other front panel features are two 1/4” input jacks, one labeled “high,” the other, “low” (both feed both preamps), an On/Off switch and a Standby switch. The rear panel reveals an IEC power plug jack (for the separate power cord), two fuse receptacles, a three-way 4/8/16-Ohm speaker impedance switch, two speaker jacks, a “pentode/ultralinear” switch (more on that later), effect send and return jacks, and a plugged hole labeled “footswitch” to be used on a future model. The chassis top shows us three 12AX7s (the first two being preamp tubes and the third the phase inverter), the previously mentioned output and rectifier tubes and transformers, plus a major-sized choke and two very large filter caps.

The chassis interior reveals very neat point-to-point and turret board solder joints. All small components, including the tone circuits, are mounted on the turret board, a nice reliability touch. The caps are high quality, and the resistors are low tolerance. The CTS pots are full size and have the look and feel of good quality units. The cabinets are sturdily built from multi-ply Baltic birch plywood with dovetailed corner joints and covered with black Tolex accented with white piping. The grill is an attractive woven fabric. There are heavy metal corner protectors on each and every corner. A large, Plexiglas Lone Wolf (howling at the moon) logo graces each cabinet, with the top one being back-lit at the flip of the power switch—too cool!

The speaker cab is loaded with two 12” Celestions: one Vintage 30 and one GH-12, both with 50oz ceramic magnets and 1.75” voice coils. Add the weight of the cab and the head and we come up with a total amp weight of 79lb. Before talking about the sound of this specific amp, it might be good to gain a bit of historical perspective. Back in the late fifties, Vox released the first amp designed for rock and roll: the AC15, which utilized, you guessed it, the EL84 output tube. They wanted to get away from the country and blues amps so heavily favored in the US and come up with something different for the burgeoning rock market. The EL84 has a tight (but not necessarily punchy) bass, a chimey mid, and sparkling highs—and when pushed, sounds downright raunchy.

Post a comment to this article