“Do you make a combo?” At pretty much the first amp demo I ever gave, that question cropped up. In the years since, I have heard it often, always resisting – unable to reconcile the constraints of traditional combo design with personal sonic preferences and a desire for maximum flexibility. Inevitably though, a couple of years ago curiosity got the better of me.
The journey of research and refinement entailed targeting and conquering many inter-related problems. Although at some points the spectre of ‘re-inventing the wheel’ loomed, we persevered and truly I believe we have refined an innovative take on a decades-old, backline stalwart.
Conceived to be very simple, and therefore revealing single-channel amps with minimal controls, the Combovers were primarily intended for (but certainly not restricted to) playing shows. Based on the success of amps I made for The Cure and Queens of The Stone Age, I opted to use a single-ended KT88 output stage, whose clarity and brilliance seemed ideally suited to the task. The result is an amp whose cleans are laden with sustain and overtones. Hitting a chord sounds more like the peal of huge silver bells; each note carrying an inspirational weight and fluidity. Clean transients are crisp and concise and as you begin to push the amp, break-up is smooth and the low end remains focused. Homing in on and fine tuning a solid core sound takes next-to-no-time regardless the amount of grit, and one aspect of the Combover which really helps converge on that sound relates to the speaker enclosure. It was always going to be tricky but this was a feature of our cabs I was determined to carry over onto any combo we made; the ability to use it open or closed back. Because the two states sound very different, particularly in the bottom end, this facet opens up yet more avenues for exploration, making the Combover an even more flexible proposition.
Other than the output power and differing speaker configurations the two models are essentially the same, with the preamp circuitry and controls common to both, and of course, the fact that they are hand built with love and care at our workshop in West London.
Time passes, new models are released and it is great to see amps we make find uses in places I would never have imagined. At the birth of the Combovers I look forward to seeing what kinds of lives they will lead once they get out into the world and trust you will get as much pleasure out of playing them as I have had seeing these come to fruition.
17 Watt/ 34 Watt single ended, class A guitar amplifier
Nominal Output Impedance: 4/8/16 Ohm
ECC81 and ECC83 preamp valves, 1 or 2 KT88 output valve(s)
Celestion Greenback Speaker(s)
Bright Switch, Hi/ Lo gain input selector switch
Gain, Bottom, Middle, Top
Off/ Standby/ On switch
Stack, Power (KT88 headroom control)
Mains Power Requirement:
230V @ 50HZ, 500mA
Voltage switch fitted as standard, switchable to 115V @ 60Hz, 1A
Dimensions Approx Excluding Handle and Feet:
620mm x 315mm x 580mm (W x D x H)
24.5″ x 12.5″x 23″ (W x D x H)
Weight: 35KG (77lb)
Specifications and features are subject to change without notice.