Moving on to the audition, I couldn’t wait to let that Wolf out of its cage. This amp comes from the “less is more” tradition that most of us old vintage cats admire. I used multiple guitars with multiple styles of single coils and humbuckers to let her howl. I must say that we (my neighbors and I) were impressed. I didn’t find much use for the dark channel on humbuckers at clean, normal volumes. As I started to get into Strat and Tele territory, I found myself adding some dark channel to fill out the bottom… superb for pluckin’ that chicken. When I ventured into mild overdrive territory by turning up the gain and backing down the master, I basically got lost in one of the nicest classic blues tones my mini-humbucker Tom Anderson Cobra Special has ever generated. About three hours later, I decided to give my ears a rest before putting the pedal to the metal.
Turning the gain(s) and master up produced some very smooth and singing overdrive. The compression envelope of the power tubes, rectifier, and output transformer provided good attack and note definition along with that sweet song. I did not get up the nerve to dime both gains and master; I was sure something (other than the amp) would be damaged—like my aging ears. Here I want to reiterate that the preamp signals are additive, so things can get loud in a hurry—and when I say loud, I mean LOUD. These are 18 of the biggest watts on the planet, thanks to the straight-ahead circuitry, the huge output transformer and power section, and two growling Celestions. As with most amps (but not all) the louder volumes sounded best, and I think there is more to it in this case than the Fletcher-Munson effect (look it up). This amp was born and bred to be played in medium-sized clubs.
The effects loop worked well, as expected, using distortion, reverb, etc., and flipping the pentode/ultralinear switch—which actually converts the EL84s to triodes—lowered the volume and “browned” the sound a bit. At rehearsal the other night our harp player, who is an amp builder, modifier, and general fanatic, spotted the amp in the studio, plugged in and, using the dark channel, produced some of sweetest “Walter” tones at some of the highest volume (without feedback) ever to grace a small room. Not only is this a fine guitar amp, but as an added bonus, thanks to the dark channel, an A1-choice harp amp.
You love the sound of EL84s singing their hearts out in a roadworthy amp in medium sized clubs; and you can deduct or depreciate the cost; or price is no obstacle.
You don’t dig the sound, need more watts, can’t afford it.
MSRP $3050 - Lone Wolf Amplification - lonewolfamps.com