This is TopHat's latest endeavor to produce the most outstanding, classically based amp that will make records for the ages. This amp really strives to reach tonal Nirvana. It was hard to find room for improvement on our best selling amp -- the Club Royale, which has been rated the best in the 2-EL84 class of amps.
The field is thick with this type of amp and a field tough to beat. We also wanted to provide this in an Aluminum chassis Head version, especially useful for those working in a studio environment. We found the Aluminum chassis brings a lot to the table, sonically. Much of this is very hard to put into words. Put simply, it is more alive or lively, presenting a more transparent sonic field.
There are two things that came onto the market that allow higher levels of correct breathing tone to occur. One is the EZ81 rectifier tube. This is the original rectifier used by 18-watt Marshall's and the Vox AC15 (which our Supreme Sixteen is based on) amps. This tube had been out of production for decades, yet very necessary to feed a 2-EL84 amp the right amount of current. The other item is the Celestion Blue Alnico. It is my personal contention, not verified officially by Celestion, that the Blue Alnico has been upgraded with the "glues, parts and pieces" used on the new Heritage Series speakers, also made with the "Blue", in England. This speaker has come along way from where it had been before that. It now allows more great things to happen, like the originals. This was a nice improvement! Since then, they've come out with the 90 watt cream Alnico with is a much fuller sounding speaker with a lot more bottom end and noticeably darker in the upper end. It's similar to many of the Scumback Alnicos that we also make available!!
When we went to drawing board to design this masterpiece, we started with what we believe is the best 2-EL84 platform of all time -- the early 60's AC15.
This platform is different than an AC30 and can only be reasonably done with 2 power tubes. We also believe this platform to be superior to the 18-watt Marshall design, for a variety of reasons. We then chose to provide the EF-86 channel (12AX7 option availble for the stock AC30 sound), with its' original fat/bright switch (available with a tone knob now, more useful IMO) and single volume knob along with a second channel that has the full EQ, master volume Club Royale preamp design, with its' fat-off-bright switch. To keep the head a portable size, we moved the cut knob to the back panel. This works on both channels, as it is in the power section of the amp.
Part of the magic of this design, is the far less common use of a large choke. Simply put, this coil affects the way the amp compresses and breathes. It causes a feel unlike any other. It is very hands and ear friendly. It also matches up with the Aluminum chassis and new found papery clarity of the Blue Alnico. The Aluminum chassis has welded corners and been fully powder coated and silk-screened on the outside, utilizing no faceplates. The head and speaker cabinets are finger-joined 12mm (15mm old styles) Baltic Birch plywood, covered in (two-tone option) vinyl with a V-section metal trim (Art Deco inlaid piping on old style) design surrounding the new style round, lit up logo.
Treble, Mid & Bass
Fat-Off-Bright Switch, back panel
Fat/Bright (optional tone knob)
Common cut knob, back panel