Alessandro Working Dog Doberman Mini Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by wrxplayer, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    I picked up one of these used recently. Since there doesn't seem to be much out there in these amps, particularly this model, I thought I'd post a mini review. I've only had it a few days and can't tell you all of the ins and outs of the amp. Mine has an upgraded speaker (Celestion Gold) and upgraded power tubes (Mullards). I don't know what the real differences in sound are b/t this and stock Jenson and stock tubes.

    The amp is 40 watts using 12AX7 preamp and EL34 power tubes as well as tube reverb. It has a built in attenuator that brings the output down from 40 watts gradually to 20 watts.

    I used it on Wednesday night at rehearsal. Here are my impressions:

    1. The amp can get LOUD. Setting it at 20 watts for the rehearsal it was still loud. It will fill up most rooms and cut through a loud rhythm section with ease.

    2. Tremendous headroom. This amp does clean VERY well. I am more used to amps with gain that comes on more quickly. If you're looking for lots of gain from the amp, especially at lower volumes, this ain't. it. Nor is it a bedroom amp. I've heard that the Working Dog Boxer makes a good "at home" amp. At higher volume, though, there is nice breakup. I think the sound is very good for classic rock or blues but would look elsewhere (or to reliance on pedals) for metal.

    3. Seems to handle pedals well. Or at least it sounded good with the pedal I was using, a Fuchs Xtreme Plush overdrive. This did give me sufficient distortion (but not a lot as this isn't a high distortion pedal) at practice volumes.

    4. I think the built in reverb sounds pretty good. I've read others don't like it. But I'm not a reverb expert and don't have much experience w/ classic Fenders, which I guess are the state of the art in that regard.

    5. The amp is a little short on options. What I mean is there's no speaker out or ohm adjustment. As George Alessandro said in an email to me, it's designed to be used as a combo amp. If you're looking for more flexibility/options, look elsewhere.

    6. Perhaps my favorite trait: IT IS LIGHT!! I think it weighs in at about 34-35 pounds. I don't know of another amp in this category that sounds this good and seems as well made and is as easy to lug around. Being 51 with bad elbows, this is huge. If my Industrial Amps combo weren't 55 pounds, I'd never have looked elsewhere.

    7. Build quality seems quite good. I'd never seen one of these before I bought it. I kind of expected the "feel" of the amp to be less than wonderful to keep the weight down. Not so.

    8. Price: The amp is very well priced, particularly when compared to other PTP boo teeks. MSRP on the stock amp is under $1500. There's currently a special going on where they can be had for 25% off MSRP w/ free shipping if you go to the manufacturers website. For $1100 delivered (+/-) it's a great deal, IMO, if this is what you're looking for in an amp.
     
  2. Mike Fleming

    Mike Fleming Member

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    Are you able to describe what it sounds like, as in comparisons to other amps maybe? Also how is the low end, does it hold together when you crank the bass or does it get farty? How useable is the eq? Thanks!
     
  3. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    Closest thing I've had that resembles this in sound is the clean channel on a Mesa Lonestar. Breakup doesn't really kick in until amp volume is at "5" and never gets dirty. There is no real master. Output control is an attenuator so you can't really manipulate it like a traditional MV and channel volume. Amp sounds pretty tight at all volume levels, including with bass turned up. EQ is effective, particularly bass and treble; middle less so.
     
  4. Mike Fleming

    Mike Fleming Member

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  5. tweedcab

    tweedcab Supporting Member

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    I feel the need to chime in on the mid control description. I wouldn't really say that it is "not as effective" as the treble and bass. It is actually the key to the crunch in this amp. It's hard to describe, but the more you turn it up the more the amp gives up the goods. It can get in your face and crunchy, but still remain tight. Turn it down and you can reel it in a good bit. Not sure if this really clarifies anything for those interested, but I'll say it again, the mid control is the key to driving this amp. WRX, try this if you haven't already and see if you can get this perspective. Turn the volume up to around 4 with the FOC at 100%, mid control about 9 o'clock. Jam a little. Now turn the mid up to say 2-3 o'clock with the same settings and it's a pretty dramatic change in crunch characteristic. Wouldn't you say?
     
  6. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    You are right; the mid control does assist in moving the amp from clean to a more broken up sound. Never gets saturated though, although I haven't opened it up at the 40 watt setting for fear it'd kill my pets. :BOUNCE
     
  7. tweedcab

    tweedcab Supporting Member

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    It's not the kind of amp that will ever get really saturated although it is quite thick. Moving that mid control up is more important in a band setting because in addition to giving the sound a little more edge, it also makes the amp cut through like a beast. That amp can get right out front. Better have all chops refined :)
     
  8. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    Either that or use a really saturating distortion pedal. :crazyguy
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Supporting Member

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    Does this model Doberman sound like his Black n Tan?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  10. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    Wish I had mine back. Does that count?
     
  11. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Supporting Member

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    Yes, that says a lot... 7 years later
     
  12. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    It remains a pretty unique amp. EL34 based combo with reverb providing great "English" tone in a 40-20 watt package weighing 35 lbs. Not high gain at all. I know of nothing that fits this. Plus when available they tend to be huge bargains in the used market. The newer ones Ive read are even more versatile w/ a better attenuator range and more compact to boot.

    There used to be a few live clips of Eric Steckel playing through a Doberman when he was 14 or 15 that sounded great but it looks like he pulled them down. Too bad.
     
  13. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Supporting Member

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    I just found a Doberman head here in the Emporium for sale... Just purchased it...... Very excited to play this out with the band. Lots of gigs coming up.....
     

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