BC Audio uses true point-to-point wiring in all of their amps, with no turret, eyelet, or printed circuit boards connecting components

The Presence control was effective for brightening the tone—particularly with the 40-year-old Celestions in the Marshall cabinet. And the Celestion proved to be an excellent match for the No. 8, which delivered a wide variety of vintage Marshall-like tones. One welcome difference, however, is BC’s use of octal preamp tubes which give the No. 8 a rounder, thicker character than any of my Marshalls, which tend to cut more and have less bass.

With a Fender Stratocaster in hand, I backed the Drive way down set the Volume at around 2 o’clock. With bright single-coils pushing the BC, it was easy to capture chiming clean tones. And with just a little push of the Drive, I found myself in an ideal zone for lead work. One of the big benefits of simple circuitry is that each guitar’s voice comes through loud and clear. And the complete sonic signatures of the Epiphone’s humbuckers and the Stratocaster’s single-coils were audible in stark detail. While some modern and modeling amps I’ve played through tend to “homogenize” the sound and erase the fine characteristics of the guitar, No. 8 did just the opposite.

To test the No. 8 in a high gain environment, I used a Godin Redline HB with a DiMarzio Super D in the bridge position and dimed each of the three controls on the No. 8. The added gain of the Super D made the BC sound a little too raspy, but backing the Presence way down and pulling the Drive back to around 3 o’clock sweetened the tone considerably. Notes exploded off the pick with an aggressive authority, and the amp felt like it was ready to blow any moment—a great JCM 800 vibe that inspires energetic playing.

The Verdict
Bruce Clement has another winner on his hands with Amplifier No. 8. Not only does it offer huge tone in a small package, the simple amp enables a player to add heaps of high gain with style. It works well with a variety of cabinets (BC now offers both 1- and 2x12 Celestion-loaded cabs) and can easily keep up with a full band—even with a 1x12. The workmanship and build quality is worthy of a museum piece. And while features are few, it’s easy to get a great tone with any guitar you choose to plug into it. Whether you’re gigging or recording, the No. 8 is an amp you can count on.
Buy if...
you value simplicity and quality and want big tone and gain in a small but powerful amp.
Skip if...
you need channel switching and an FX loop.

Street $1895 - BC Audio - bcaudio.com