8/29/2014

c.1935/2014 RCA 2w Tube Combo Amplifier


I was originally using this as an extension cabinet for a different small amplifier but just the other day I decided to install the Fender Greta I've been using in an old B&H cab into this and also "hot rod" this cab with the big Jensen 12" that I'd been using with that amp. The reason is: that bigger brown B&H cab was re-purposed to hold our band's #2 big PA amp as the cab I had it in rattled too much at high volume. At the same this cool old box begged to be used more, anyhow... and now it's got all of the great sound I had coming out of the B&H configuration but with a bit more bottom-end warmth and power (to my ears) due to the closed-back construction.

If you want to hear what this amp sounds like on record you can hear it in use on basically everywhere an electric part comes in (all tracks) on my last album: Feeling Lousy. Those are all direct outs from the amp (a nice feature it has, by the way) but they're fairly accurate in describing the tone... which is very 40s/50s in nature -- simply, slightly warmed up in the trebles vs. a crisp clean modern sound, and easy to get warm drive at lower volumes.



Here's the cool RCA tag.


This has a metal grill for a 10" space... but then the back side of the front is cut out for an 8"! Weird, huh? I installed a 12" speaker behind all of that which takes up much of the front space in the cab. I also removed the original mosquito-wire metal "grill cloth" and replaced it with vintage amp stock cloth to cut down on the chance of rattles.


The volume and tone controls are conveniently located on the top and have 30s bakelite buttons installed.


This time around the on/off switch is clearly indicated...


The red light on the back only glows softly when powered up on a dark stage. This is because it's borrowing light from an LED burrowed into the back of the cab... but it works. I really just needed to plug up an old jack hole from when I used this as an extension cab.


Here you can see that heavy ply construction (a plus!) and the big Jensen stuck in there.


Don't mind the tape -- it's just holding stuff in place so it didn't move while I closed the cab back up.


I have a pair of nice JJ ECC81s in here. ITthat makes them both 12AT7 equivalents and the amp is actually rated for a 12AT7 "power" section and 12AX7 preamp. I like the 12AT7 in the preamp instead because it offers a much smoother gain as you crank the volume up. Think early blues and 30s swing-jazz gain or 50s rockabilly vs. a more aggressive gain.


Both the power cable and your instrument cable come out of this channel cut into the left side. In practice I just roll them up and stuff them under the handle to move about with the amp but if you were worried about snagging on stuff you could always just stuff both right into the amp's inside for travel.

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