Calor Amplification Force 20 review

Discussion in 'Reviews of amps and cabs' started by Ed DeGenaro, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Back story is that about 5 years ago one of my former students had a custom channel switcher, clean for pedal platform/gain built.
    I had all forgotten about that when 3 years ago the builder cam to put a dog and pony show at the college I ran/taught a production course.
    Of course with my background I was looking forward to rip him apart, I mean there was no way he could bring me some amps that would hold up to what I was used.
    Boy was I wrong.
    The amps he brought were harmonically complex with the overtones in phase, simple to use either as channel switcher or straight up clean with pedals.

    At that time he made a 30, 15 and 5 watter. All based on EL84s.
    All of which I used.
    I took the 5 watter were I had him put a load in for last years 50+ date Sailing Conductors Euro tour.
    And it worked like charm.
    After that at my suggestion he did a few 3 channel 100 watters but demand for that big of an amp just didn't warrant putting it in production. Next was the Force 20 and 50.

    The Force 20 is a 3x12AX7, 2xEL84, dual channel (shared EQ) 1x10 combo.
    It's lacquer gloss black finish looks stunning and is a nice departure from tolex. Thankfully it comes with a padded carry cover, I'm no stickler for keeping gear pristine but this one just looks too cool not scuffed up.
    Comes with foot switch for channel select and loop on/off.
    The loop is tube buffered serial with send and return controls, I tried ith with the Fratacl FX 10 in 4 cable hook up and it sounded worked great that way. Especially since the return control lets you smack the power amp harder if you want your delay to get dirty.

    The speaker is a proprietary 10. Now I'm no fan on anything but old Oxford 10s, Celestion L10 or THD Longhorns 10s.
    And usually I prefer my trusted Vintage 30 or any Celestion 12 to about anything.
    But that DV10 in there does not sound as nasal as I've come to expect from a 10. To a mic it acts as "reasonable" as a V30 even.

    The layout of the amp is simple, 2 volumes (on the clean the first volume is defeated).
    So it kind of is rather than a two channel a single channel with a defeat-able gain stage.

    So far we got an amp that other than competing on price is like one in many.
    But that's when we get into playing the damn thing.
    EQ is a modified Baxandall tone stack before the power section.
    What makes this useful is that even tough you have a mid control, (which isn't the norm for a Baxandall since the setting of treble and bass usually affect the mids enough in that design, here when you turn the bass and treble down you get a mid hump that is akin to the way in the old days we hit Marshalls with a EQ pedal with the 600-800 Hz pushed.
    The Dumble and the Rock guys will love that.
    It makes the amp sing enough that I run the preamp gain at 1 o'clock and the first input volume (the extra gain stage) at 10:30. And that's with single coils.
    With the same setting turning the gain stage off (switching the channel if you will) it'll do Ford type comping, turn the bright switch on and itll get spanky, but never ice picky even on a Tele or Strat bridge pickup.
    Where this amp excels to me is Burning Water era Landau with the Matchless and pedals thing.
    It really is an ispiring sounding amp that makes you want to play your guitar, without worrying about anything but plugging straight in, and once you add "sauce" oooooeeeee watch out.

    The guy that designs that stuff and I have had many converstions about overtones and their effect on timbre and this amp sows that you can have a rich, complex sound without the overtones being a phasey mess.

    Here's the web link to it

    Did I mention that it costs less than a HR Deluxe?

    Their youtube thing...

    Some of what I've done with their amps...

    northfortyrecords likes this.

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