Epiphone Electar 10 all-tube amp
1998 NOS Epiphone Electar 10 all-tube amplifier bought in 2000 with solid state rectifier rated at peak 10 watts, withRMS closer to 6 watts; powered by a 6L6 power tube and a 12AX7 preamp tube.
The cabinet is a closed back, though the 8" Electar speaker and electronics are easily accessible by removing a few screws.
The electronics include a PCB with tubes wired to the PCB via flying leads rather than being directly socketed to the PCB. Supposedly, this helps with heat dissipation, this lengthening the life of the electronics.
Note the metal corners and cool plastic emblem on the front. As many of you may know, the Electar sub-brand of Epiphone has been in the amp making business from the 40's. Of course, the new Electar amps are made overseas while the Electar PA equipment is supposedly made in the US.
The features of this amp include:
- tube power and preamp
- SS rectifier
- stand-by switch
- detachable power cord
- gain knob for overdrive at low volume
- 4 ohm, 8" speaker
- speaker out jack to power a larger 4ohm cabinet
- line out masquerading as a preamp-out jack
- 5 year warranty
- foot pedal jack to turn off overdrive
- 3 band EQ
- switchable US/EU voltage modes
- top-mounted, chicken-head knobs
Now to the tone...
I a/b'ed my 1979 Fender Champ amp and my new Epiphone Electar 10 amp. For the record, I used my Aria TA-62 (ES335 copy) with a SD '59 PAF (7.7Kohms) in the neck and a SD JB (15.2 Kohms) in the bridge.
Part 1 - All stock Electar vs Champ with WeberVST 8CSS speaker replacement
Champ wins hands down! Electar max volume is same a "6" on the dial of my Champ. Champ sounds like a mini-stack compared to Electar which lacks the Champ's definition and clarity.
Electar overdrives much easier than the Champ and sounds OK at lower volumes. Champ has to be dime'd to sound best.
Part 2 - Electar w/stock speaker and tube replacements vs the Champ
* GE12AX7 replaces Electar's stock 12AX7WA - much more overdrive, slightly louder seemingly at the expense of a little more tube noise.
* RCA 6L6GC replaces Electar's stock Sovtek 5881 - no change, I even liked the 5881 better, so I put it back in
Part 3 - Electar with WeberVST C8SS speaker and tube replacements vs the Champ
* I hooked the output leads of the Electar to the Weber speaker mounted in the Champ cabinet. Wow! Much more volume and obvious compression! As loud as the Champ, but not as bassy. A touch brighter than the Champ seemingly.
Summary of findings
This amp is a great deal if you want real tube overdrive. I don't recommend it for jazz clean, but for R&R and Chicago Blues, it'll work just fine.
Better hurry to MusicYO before they are all gone as it appears that Epiphone is dropping tube amps from its lineup of products (probably in deference to Gibson's new tube amps, Epiphone overstock and other Asian manufacturers like Karera kicking Epi's butt on price).