Download Example 1
Fender Strat Bridge, Diamond Vol 8, Tone 12
Download Example 2
Fender Strat Neck, Diamond Vol 11, Tone 1
Download Example 3
Gibson SG Neck Pickup, Diamond Vol 1, Tone 1
All clips played into an Emperor 4x12" loaded with Weber C1625s and recorded with an SM57.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Diamond Amplification is probably best known for its high-gain, modern-voiced, EL34-powered amps. Given that many of those amps are distinctive, in part, for their expressive, articulate clean channel—something that’s quite uncommon among most of Diamond Amplification’s high-gain peers—it’s perhaps no surprise that the company would build a more compact and tonally varied amp like the Positron. This 22-watt, handwired, single-channel amp features a class A, non-Master volume design and was designed with the travelling guitarist in mind.

New Directions
Diamond Amplification’s founder, Jeff Diamant, recently expanded Diamond’s design capabilities by partnering with boutique amp guru Roy Blankenship of Blankenship Amplification. Blankenship established his reputation as a top builder with his 50-watt, EL34-powered VariPlex (which was modeled after a modified ’68 Marshall plexi) and his FATBoy combo, which is inspired by a late-’50s tweed Fender Deluxe. Blankenship had already designed a smaller version of his 21-watt, class A Leeds21, which he called the Leeds21 Carry-On, and it’s a fair bet that experience informed the design and execution of the Positron.

The Positron is about as streamlined in design as a head can be. It has no protective corners, which can mean increased risk of Tolex damage, but that also adds to the very clean and uninterrupted style of the case. The structural integrity of the box is impressive and feels amazingly solid. The amp rests firmly on quality rubber feet and includes a rugged metal-and-rubber handle. The black Tolex (burgundy snakeskin is also an option) is as smooth and seamless as any amp I’ve ever seen, and the backplate fits perfectly flush with a back grate that enables a view of the amp’s interior. Inside, two EL84s in the power-amp section form the backbone of the Positron’s handwired, all-tube circuit, which also features three 12AX7s in the preamp and a 6AC4 rectifier. In short, the Positron is a really well-built amp—though the most brilliant aspect of its design may be that you can fit all this tube-driven goodness inside something the size of carry-on luggage.

Positively Positronic
Evaluating the Positron was a matter of hooking up my Gibson SG and Fender Stratocaster and routing the Positron’s signal through an Emperor 4x12 loaded with Weber C1265s and an Avatar 2x12 with Celestion Vintage 30s.

The Positron’s front-panel controls are dead simple: There’s a power switch, standby switch, Tone knob, Volume knob, Input jack, and just about the brightest red jewel light on the planet—that’s it. Starting with the Tone at noon and the Volume low, the amp jumped to life with a sharp, brilliant, Vox-like clean tone—especially with my SG’s bridge pickup. AC30 fans should definitely give this amp a test run.