Benson Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Creighton, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Creighton

    Creighton Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,951
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    Anyone own or played them? All the models I've heard sound fantastic. The Earhart was the first one that caught my attention but the Chimera sounds awesome too.
     
    Furilla likes this.
  2. Furilla

    Furilla Odd Bird

    Messages:
    760
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Big fan here...I usually comment on Benson threads so this won’t be any new info, but I have a Monarch and a Chimera and they’re both great. I’ve been playing the Chimera non-stop since I got it...it’s responsive, toothy, beautifully deep sounding. I find them a little hard to describe because they’re a unique sound - hard to reference the usual suspects. The best I can say is that my Monarch has 6v6’s so it has a little bit of what I think of a warmer, softer “American” vibe. My Chimera has EL34’s, so it’s firmer, toothier, lots of string definition.

    I have a ton of videos using the amps for performances and demos on my YouTube channel. It’s easier to just hear them than talk about them!
     
    Rossi163, ford, mumbleswitch and 2 others like this.
  3. Bessejenner

    Bessejenner Supporting Member

    Messages:
    305
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I have a Monarch and Tall Bird for guitar and a Gnostic for bass. I love them all. I'd love to try a Chimera and Earhart soon too.
     
    AustinIsPresent and Furilla like this.
  4. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Location:
    Boston
    I own one of the Chimera prototypes, and it's such a killer amp. @Furilla nails it when he says it's a little hard to describe the tone- definitely unique but also invitingly familiar to a player who is comfortable with 6V6s. Mine sounds amazing a low volumes, and breathtaking when cranked.

    Chris is also one of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with in this business. The next time I'm in Portland, I'm gonna give him a big man hug. Love what he does, love his ideas, love his whole aesthetic approach. Total package situation over there.
     
  5. paddywhack

    paddywhack Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,115
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Silverton, Oregon
    ..I too am a big Benson fan...as I've said before they sound like a lot of amps but are different from anything else...and they are the most solidly constructed amps I've yet to own...last week my Monarch head did a faceplant after a three foot free fall...(don't ask how it happened)...my heart stopped but there was literally no damage of any kind...the recessed faceplate kept the controls protected and the amp fired up and played like nothing had happened...amazing durability!!!
     
    garthb309 likes this.
  6. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Messages:
    18,814
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    No but I almost grabbed one on eBay. Love Howard Roberts!
     
  7. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

    Messages:
    21,054
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    I've been gigging a Monarch combo for two months and it's been a wonderful experience. I like it more in the American mode and, while it doesn't make me think, "Oh, that's a ______ tone," it absolutely communicates a vibe that is undeniably American voiced. Clear, warm, complex, swirl, vintage vibe...it has all of it.

    I was fortunate enough to hear another player use it at a gig in late December and it was actually one of my favorite club tones I've experienced. He was running a 335 style through it and it was just 100% legit old school sound. The guy is also an amp builder and he had high praise for when the amp gave him for his set.

    You really cannot go wrong with a Benson unless you are keyed in to a very specific vintage sound.
     
  8. Furilla

    Furilla Odd Bird

    Messages:
    760
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    The Earhart is great. Not a crazy departure from the Benson tone perspective but definitely colored in the Vox direction...tighter, punchier mids and open sparkly top. I think a stereo rig with one Monarch and one Earhart would KILL.
     
    wharris, ford, mumbleswitch and 2 others like this.
  9. AustinIsPresent

    AustinIsPresent Member

    Messages:
    1,680
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    My close friend has a Monarch combo. I've played it a ton. It's...amazing.

    If someone stole my Two Rock tonight, I'm honestly not sure if I'd get another Two Rock or if I'd get a Benson Monarch. The Monarch is beautifully simple, and it sounds just simply perfect.
     
    garthb309 likes this.
  10. erksin

    erksin Member

    Messages:
    23,101
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    To my ears, they're best sounding 'vintage' amps being made today.

    I hear the Monarch as a bit of a blend of old Gibson, Ampeg, and Supro - big (as in wide freq spread) and clean until you smack it and make the mids growl.

    I'm not usually a fan of EL84 amps at all, but that Earhart is a beautiful sounding amp too. It doesn't seem to have the typical shortcoming (IMO of course) of most EL84 amps of getting really smeared in the high end when you turn them up.
     
  11. neils

    neils Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,789
    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    @Furilla. What’s your YouTube channel please?

    Neil
     
  12. Creighton

    Creighton Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,951
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    Does the Chimera circuit differ from the Monarch, or is it more or less a Monarch but 30 watts 2x12 with a bass control added?
     
  13. Furilla

    Furilla Odd Bird

    Messages:
    760
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
  14. Furilla

    Furilla Odd Bird

    Messages:
    760
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    @chasbenson ?
     
  15. chasbenson

    chasbenson Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    The second one. :)
     
    JumpinBradFlash and mumbleswitch like this.
  16. mumbleswitch

    mumbleswitch Supporting Member

    Messages:
    666
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Location:
    SC
    Just saw this thread and thought I'd "CHIME" in!

    I've owned both the Monarch head/cab and Monarch Reverb combo for over a year now. I have done extensive cab/speaker/tube experiments and finally found "MY" perfect tone. As noted, Chris is one of the nicest guys in the business and has helped me numerous times over the years. I had Chris build me a 2x12 Chimera cabinet to house my Monarch last year, and I am running a mixed G12H30 (Stock) and Celestion Blue, along with a 5Y3 Rectifier and 1958 Bugle Boy 12AX7 in V1. First off, the amp running stock is glorious, with no need for mods, but I'm a tinkerer and love experimenting. I have been telling friends for years that the Monarch seems to me like a Tweed Deluxe that doesn't fart out and an AC15 with more balls!

    I've always loved the mixed g12H/Blue combination, and it really works with the Monarch. The 5Y3 reduces the wattage, adds that vintage sag and the additional speaker seems to add a little more sparkle. The BB 12AX7 smooths everything out!

    I'm considering adding another Benson to my arsenal, and deciding between the Chimera head/ cab and the Earhart to run in stereo.

    LOVE BENSON AMPS!!!!!
     
  17. BSOD

    BSOD Supporting Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    May 8, 2016
    How is the reverb @mumbleswitch ? Worth getting the combo with reverb? Or does the head do just fine with a pedal. I have two (Keeley Aurora, Topanga Spring Verb pedal). Thanks.
     
  18. mumbleswitch

    mumbleswitch Supporting Member

    Messages:
    666
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Location:
    SC
    If you currently run reverb pedals and enjoy them, I'd probably suggest going with the non-reverb model. However, I like the on-board reverb and the fact that the Monarch Reverb and Chimera Reverb chassis are both the same size. This allows me to swap between the 1x12 Monarch Combo cab to the 2x12 Chimera combo cab just by unscrewing a few screws.

    The Monarch and Earhart are both 15 watters, so they get pretty dirty/raunchy and the verb can get squishy. The Chimera has more headroom, and therefore I felt like the on-board verb is best on that model. Other than the external Tall Bird Reverb.

    Overall, its a great spring reverb circuit and useful if your going direct guitar to amp and run pedal-less....



     
  19. cocheese

    cocheese Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,547
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Upper Left Corner
    Right now, I am between the following combos: Monarch Reverb combo, Tall Bird Reverb / Monarch / 1x12, and Tall Bird Reverb / Chimera / 2x12. All setups have pros and cons and pulling two of the tubes on the Chimera make it to the half power switch on my old DC-30, which was convenient for smaller venues. I rarely used the full power setting in clubs.
     
  20. Chrosa

    Chrosa Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    I am thinking of getting a Monarch myself. I had a supro for awhile and while I liked it I thought for the money there were some cheaper components. Everything I read from Benson screams quality. I like a more vintage soundinbamp capable of cleans but with some nice dirt when cranked.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice