New Pawn Shop Special amplifiers present a cool, unconventional take on amp design by evoking the enjoyably esoteric finds you might discover in a pawnshop or second-hand store.
Nine watts, one 6L6 power tube, two channels, class “A” circuitry and a single 12” Special Design speaker never sounded so good. Ramparte’s “cool” channel is pleasingly voiced from warm and clean to moderately gritty. But that “hot” channel—man, with that kind of mild-to-wild overdrive, might be best to keep a twenty on you to slip the cops when they show up.
As if all of the above isn’t enough, Ramparte imparts a wealth of other fine features including separate ¼” input jacks and volume controls for both channels, ¼” internal speaker disconnect for external enclosure use, “chicken-head” control knobs and a vintage-style leather strap handle.
Fender’s Vaporizer amp blasts you like a ray gun back to the 1950s-’60s golden age of the Space Race, when everything was colorful and flashy, when garage bands blasted off everywhere, and when amateur musicians who couldn’t swing pro gear bashed away with electrifying abandon on department-store guitars and amps.
You might wanna stand back. Vaporizer’s dual 12AX7 preamp tubes and dual 6BQ5/EL84 output tubes send 13 watts of rocket fuel through two 10” Special Design speakers. The full, drenched sound of the spring reverb circuit makes it sound like a moody late night inside a secret spy-plane hangar, and the included single-button footswitch launches “vaporizer mode,” which bypasses the volume and tone controls for full-strength overload indicated by a separate red jewel light.
Oh, there’s more. The internal speaker disconnect lets the amp’s ¼” output be used for external 8-ohm speaker enclosures. You also get two inputs (normal and bright), the coolest retro-style volume, tone and reverb control knobs a rocket scientist ever laid eyes on, trapezoidal wood cabinet construction and a stylish handle.
To say nothing of its admirable tone and power. The 13-watt Excelsior elegantly encloses a single 15” Special Design speaker, with a bottom-loaded primary chassis and top-loaded control chassis for operating convenience and low noise (powered by two 6V6 output tubes and two 12AX7 preamp tubes).
Distinctive features include “guitar,” “microphone” and “accordion” inputs that each have individually optimized circuitry; tremolo circuit with speed control, bright/dark tone switch (for treble or bass emphasis), volume control and 1/4” internal speaker disconnect that lets the amp drive an external speaker enclosure.