A modern take on an obscure Vox gem.

   
 

Ratings

Pros:
Vintage Vox brillance. Taut lows and ample headroom. Lovely trem and reverb.

Cons:
A bit pricy for a 10-watt combo?

Street:
$1,995

Henry Amps SRT+
henryamps.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

The SRT+ from New Jersey’s Henry Amplification is inspired by an ultra-rare, mid-’60s Vox amp: the AC10SRT, or Super Reverb Twin. This amp has fascinated me for ages—or at least since yesterday, when I read about it for the first time. It was a head-only dual-EL84 model. (“Super” is vintage Vox-speak for amps with separate head and cabs.)

Henry’s SRT+ remains largely faithful to the original AC10SRT, both in circuitry and build techniques. But a few meaningful departures expand the amp’s range and make it more attractive to modern players. These are the “plus” in SRT+. Unlike the original AC10SRT, with its quirky trapezoidal head, the SRT+ head and combo both live in more conventional rectangular cabinetry. Henry offers the head at $1,695. But we reviewed the $1,995 combo with its terrific-sounding 12" Warehouse BlackHawk alnico 50-watt speaker—an upscale model that sells for $240.

Fizz Meets Fundamentals
The SRT+ resides in the same tone galaxy as a Vox AC15. Clean tones are articulate and bell-like. High-gain settings yield unmistakably Vox-y distortion, distinguished by fizzy, animated highs and high-cholesterol harmonic saturation.

It can be difficult to pinpoint exact tonal differences between Henry’s 18-watt SRT+ design and 15-watt Vox designs because much of the Henry’s personality stems from its speaker. While the Warehouse BlackHawk employs a period-correct alnico magnet, its relatively high headroom provides low-end punch and definition that you don’t generally associate with low-wattage Voxes.

The high headroom means you can smack the amp’s input with distortion and fuzz pedals without making tone oatmeal.

It’s almost as if some sonic mad scientist stitched together the taut low-end response of a blackface Fender with the edgy presence of an early Vox. Meanwhile, the high headroom means you can smack the amp’s input with distortion pedals without making tone oatmeal. This is a fuzz-friendly amp.

A light and resonant solid-wood cabinet disperses sound evenly. It’s a detailed, all-enveloping sound, and loud enough for small stages unless you’re playing in a noisy environment with an aggressive drummer.

Shaken, Not Splashed
The amp weighs 40 pounds, which may seem heavy for a 18-watter. But the hefty custom-wound Heyboer transformers and relatively weighty alnico speaker more than compensate in performance for the hassle of extra weight. The rectifier tube is an EZ81. Like the original, the SRT+ offers tube-driven bias tremolo—another quintessentially Vox characteristic. The trem’ rate doesn’t get unusually slow or fast, but it sure goes deep. Maxed out, it yields a hard, square-wave-like chop. You can really get lost in the dreamy modulation.

There’s also tube-driven spring reverb. The reverb tone is warmly inviting, but its effect is subtle compared to, say, 1960s Fender reverb circuits. Its somewhat dark tones sit tidily behind the dry signal and sound great at all settings. Just don’t expect over-the-top splashiness. Here, the original’s wet/dry control is supplemented by a dwell control which regulates drive into the reverb tank. There’s a rear-panel jack for activating the trem and reverb. You hear the full range of the trem and reverb controls over the course of the demo clip, online.

Small Controls, Big Drama
The second reverb knob isn’t the only new control. There’s also a 3-position toggle that trims varying amounts of low end at the amp’s input. Presumably, the low-cut settings are designed to manicure sloppy lows when using humbuckers. But I found all three settings useful with both my demo guitars (a ’63 Stratocaster and a DIY guitar with vintage-style PAFs). This bass cut switch interacts beautifully with the single high-cut tone control. These two simple tools can generate a remarkable number of tones. I certainly didn’t miss having a mid control or a bass-shelving tone pot.

The grayish “blackened catfish” vinyl on our review model echoes vintage Vox, as does the diamond-patterned grille cloth. White knobs on a reflective black control plate provide attractive counterpoint. The interior work is strictly traditional, with components hand-soldered on turret board and chassis-mounted pots and jacks. The wire work looks dependable, if not as fastidiously neat as on some ultra-premium amps.

The Verdict
What’s cooler than a lovely modern-replica version of a favorite vintage amp? Maybe a lovely replica of a vintage amp that’s flown under the radar? With its high headroom, stout 50-watt speaker, and simple-yet-effective tone controls, Henry’s SRT+ is no strict ’60s throwback. It melds some of the most beloved attributes of early Voxes with musically meaningful updates, not to mention extraordinary muscle for a 18-watt combo. Its tones are both familiar and fresh—and a pleasure to play with.

Watch the First Look:


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