Bogner Duende 30 - First Impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by radiohead, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. radiohead

    radiohead Member

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    Received my new Bogner Duende 30 last wednesday, and I've been waiting until I've at least taken it to practice and or gig to make my initial review. This weekend I got the chance to take it to both. Initial impression was that I was very impressed with the clean channel. I play with a heavy handed drummer, and the clean stayed clear when dialed at higher settings (gain at noon, volume at 2-3 o'clock). The tone shaping controls are just treble and bass on the clean channel (channel a.) with another master eq called "Air" and "Body" that controls both the gain (channel b.) and channel a. This is the simplest tone controls I've ever had, but surprisingly works very well. So far I'm not missing the mids control at all, as it's easy to dial the sounds I'm looking for with these two sets of treble and bass controls. I'm not really sure what to compare the clean sound on the Duende, as it's got its own vibe going on, but it's an amazing clean sound. With the bright switch pulled on the channel a. you can get a very Fenderish tone out of it. The reverb is lush and on the high settings, it's easy to get that surfer rock sound going on.. although I don't really play that genre.. but if you do, then it's available on tap in this amp. Another feature that the Duende has is a built in tremolo that is footswitchable. Now I've never been a tremolo player, but the tremolo on the Duende is really good. It doesn't color your tone or mess with your levels at all.. no matter how high you set the depth on this thing. I found myself starting to write songs that involve the tremolo a lot now. It's very inspiring and musical, and I'm beginning to be a fan of this effect. Now onto the gain channel. My experience with Bogner's gain sound is limited, as I've only played a Shiva before the Duende, but to me.. the Duende is a more open sounding gain than the Shiva. It's a bit less gain, but it's also not compressed like the Shiva. It's definitely its own vibe. I was worried at first that the Duende might not have enough gain for me, as I sometimes like to play harder rock, but when I initially turned it up at practice, my concerns quickly disappeared. It's not as high gain as I'm used to, but it works well. The sound stays clear and articulate even on higher settings, and it's very touch sensitive. It's very dynamic in that it gives back what you intended it to do.. Play hard and the gain gets mean.. play softer and it calms down and you get a cleaner gain with some grit. The Gain channel also has a pull boost which gives you a bit more saturation for lead playing. I wish that this feature was footswitchable.. Maybe later on, I can get the channel combine switch modded to engage the boost instead.. Oh yea, this thing has a cool clean+gain channel combination feature. It basically sends out the two signals in parallel for a 3D like sound. I found myself using this on certain parts of a song, like on a chorus to make it fuller. I haven't yet fully messed around with various settings for this pseudo third channel, so that's all I can comment about it for now. I'm not a fan of the Celestion Vintage 30, but it actually sounds nice in this combo. I still can't get over that mid-range spike that this speaker is known for, so I'll likely swap it for something similar, but with less emphasis on the high-mids (anyone have recommendations?). My previous amps that I've owned before the Duende were the Fender Blues Jr., Egnater Rebel 30, and Mesa 5:25. The Duende is hands down, the best amp out of these.. of course it is also the most expensive, but if you're looking for a great sounding, fairly light weight, combo that sounds big, full, and can cover Fender to Marshall like sounds.. get this and your search will be over.

    :aok:aok:aok

    [​IMG]
     
  2. dwoovre

    dwoovre Member

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    Thanks for the review. I am planning on adding a Duende to my Shiva in the near future, and this was exactly what I was hoping to hear. I will probably go with the 15w 1x12" combo, depending on what I can find on the used market. I assume the general vibe, aside from overall clean headroom, will be the same.
    There are no dealers within a couple hour drive, so as usual around here, it is "buy it before you try it" if you want to get most boutique stuff.
     
  3. gtrs

    gtrs Supporting Member

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    I had a Duende, 6L6 Shiva and an XTC all at the same time.
    That 15 watt Duende was quite possibly my favorite out of the bunch.
    They are all gone now, but I wish I still had that Duende.
     
  4. Steve Snider

    Steve Snider Member

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    Congratulations. Love my little 15 watter. Mine has an added global mid control which is cool as well as the footswitchable gain boost on the lead channel. The amp has tons of vibe to it. Can play it for hours and never get bored of the tone. Just a great amp!
     
  5. gtrs

    gtrs Supporting Member

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    Who did the mods?
    Bogner?
     
  6. Gnarlly

    Gnarlly Member

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    Glad to hear that you like the amp. I bought (and sold) a Duende 15 watter earlier this year. While I really enjoyed the versatile clean channel, reverb, and trem, I could never get the dark crunch channel to sound like I wanted it to sound (more Marshall brightness/upper-mids). The lack of dedicated EQ for the 2nd channel (global Air and Body controls) was a bit of a letdown in application for me, and I couldn't dial in the 2nd channel to be brighter without thinning out the clean channel too much.

    I also wished for an on/off switch for the reverb, and a dedicated solo boost (however, I was able to get a solo volume boost by setting the gain settings a certain way, and using the A+B switch).

    Tremelo was lovely; very swampy with a wide range. Bogner nailed the bias trem with this amp, and it is the amp's best feature IMO.

    It isa great amp if you like amps with a "soft" feel, but in the end, I preferred to use my Princeton Reverb + a stomp box for practice and small gigs, and my Shiva for large gigs (the Duende was also not as light/portable as I had hoped).
     
  7. Steve Snider

    Steve Snider Member

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    Jorg at Bogner.
     
  8. radiohead

    radiohead Member

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    I hear you man.. I only had the chance to play the Shiva and the Seco-Mojado before I took the leap.. I figured that the SM is close enough to the general vibe of the Duende 6L6, but I knew it wasn't going to be that similar. So far, I'm pretty happy with this setup.. We'll see how it is after the honeymoon phase though.

    Maybe the V30 in the 6L6 version has a lot to do with it, but when I had the amp at my gig, I actually thought the gain channel was a bit bright.. I had to dial the treble down a little. I never found it dark at all. I've set the master EQ on the gain channel first and when I find a good sound, I then adjust the clean channel EQ afterwards.. Coming from the Mesa EQ.. I find this to be so much easier to dial in a good tone on the fly. I'm pretty happy with how my EQs are set right now and they are mostly set at noon. It's not as moody as the Mesa EQ. I would love to own a Shiva someday, but it's just a bit heavy for NYC gigging.
     
  9. gtrs

    gtrs Supporting Member

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    That's how I dialed mine in too.

    I gigged a Shiva 1x12 combo in the city for a while.
    It was tough to do and my back definitely paid the price.
     
  10. radiohead

    radiohead Member

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    oh man.. even the Duende was a bit tough to haul this weekend.. luggin it up and down flights of stairs, in and out of cabs, and trying not to bust my ass on the snow and ice with my guitar on back, pedals in a bag, and the Duende in hand

    Hi Steve, does your Duende have the high gain mod? also, how are you liking the added mid control?
     

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