Cutthroat Audio Down Brownie

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,999
@Gallery, I'm probably not changing the speaker anytime soon because I'm in love with this amp as-is. But tell me more about the Scumback M75 in this amp if you don't mind.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,530
@Gallery, I'm probably not changing the speaker anytime soon because I'm in love with this amp as-is. But tell me more about the Scumback M75 in this amp if you don't mind.
What speaker is in yours? If it’s the stock Weber speaker, that is a great option. It’s based of the old Oxford or Jensen from the same era of the amp. The Scumback M75 is a vintage Greenback clone that sounds much closer to a broken in Greenback from the 60’s than the current Greenbacks. The first few JTM Marshall Bluesbreakers came with a Celestine Alnico Silver, but after that the Greenback was used and it dominated the Marshall lineup contributing greatly to the Marshall sound of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The M75 gives the DB a bit more of that British flavor.

Ron once said to me, the Weber is Rock n Roll and the Greenback/M75 is Classic Rock. I found that description to be 100% accurate.

If you want to make your DB even more of a mini Marshall late 60’s Classic rock machine, switch to an M75. If you prefer the early 60’s sounds then stick with the Weber. If you love both, my suggestion is the Celestion Alnico Cream which IMO offers the best of both worlds. I’ve tried all three and the M75 is my favorite, but the Cream was pretty darn awesome too. I’ve swapped speakers in my DB quite a few times and I plug my DB into my extension cabs a lot. All three of those speakers are great matches for the DB and I enjoy them all, but the M75 gets used with most of my amps (Friedman, Benson, Germino, Cutthroat). I own 3 of them.
 
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David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,999
I've had a chance to use this amp a lot recently, not at a rehearsal yet unfortunately, but I have come to a few conclusions.

1). Nearly everything everyone here has said about it is accurate. The MV, the channel jumpering, the ability to dial in a multitude of tones, is absurd.

2). The use of this amp as a low volume practice and recording amp is a game changer for me. I recorded a clip a few days ago with my wife asleep in the very next room. Didn't bother her and it sounds like a cranked up amp.

3). This to me is by far the most important, the dynamics of this amp are incredible. People say it isn't a clean amp, and that's right. It breaks up early and often, and it is the most Marshall-ish non-Marshall type amp I've ever used on the brown channel, and it is more so on the Brit channel. But the killer thing about it is you can set it up where if you pick light it is dead clean, and if you dig in it is very crunchy, and that is an underrated feature in an amplifier. What it means is you can cover a multitude of tones just by varying your pick attack. My favorite setting is 6g3 NFB, tube rectifier, brown channel, master volume on full, volume on 7, tone on 10. It's amazing.

If you want a recorded demonstration of number 3, listen to "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" by AC/DC. Note in the intro how the cleans sparkle and are very nice, but when he digs in you get some bite. That was likely either a JTM-45 or a hundred watt Super Lead Plexi. It sounds like a Plexi to me. This amp is capable of that kind of dynamic range, and the amazing thing about that is that literally everything sounds better. The cleans, the mid-gain, the crunch -- all of it just sounds unreal with this amp. If it makes sense, the amp reacts more like an acoustic guitar. Less compression, less squash to the gain -- your right hand controls what sort of tone you get. The amp seems more "alive" to use a less-than-optimal term.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,999
Question for those who have had theirs a while -- what pedals are you using?

I'm really streamlining my large main board into two smaller boards because this amp just doesn't need pedals much. I still love my BC183 Sunface with a Strat, and I'd like a good boost. My thinking is "if it works with a Marshall it will work with this." I've never tried a treble booster so I'm thinking of ordering another BC183 Sunface so I'll have one for each board and a Beano Boost.

So far, of the pedals I use, only the Tumnus Deluxe sounds great into this amp. The Hybrid Fuzz Driver can be set to sound great, but it's in general too trebly and thins the tone out too much, which is odd because that's the opposite of what it does into a Deluxe Reverb (where it strikes me as dark and thickens the tone). I think part of that is the Skreddy is acting more as a Marshall in a box in my setting, and Marshall into Marshall is just too much of all the good stuff. I haven't had a chance to try my trusty old Fulldrive 2 because my singer has it at his house right now. On my main board I also have a wah that I will likely just use as needed, and an Echoplex tape delay that this amp just doesn't need at all. To my ears, the cabinet on this is so big and full sounding, it's like it has its own reverb. Which is crazy considering how tiny the amp is. I've had the same observation about tweed amps (specifically a Victoria 35310) before, so I think it has something to do with the all pine construction.
 
Messages
8
Speaking of pedals, I just ordered a Black Arts Toneworks Black Sheep. I was wondering if a pedal like that would be capable of pulling doom tones out of this amp? I'm so close to picking one of these amps up, thanks!
 

RPKennedy

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
47
Well folks, I just finished reading through this entire thread.
Took me 4 days.

Still not entirely certain if I'll buy this amp or not. And as @halcyon alluded to, I've been disappointed many times before.
I live in a thin-walled apartment building, and I've tried a lot of different attenuators, each of which did not work out.

I bought a Tone King Imperial MKII thinking that it would be the ideal amp. Again, disappointment. I have sold or returned more amps than I can count, because I need apartment volume levels, but have come to realize great tone at apartment-friendly volumes may be the ultimate oxymoron.

I have reveled in all of the favorable comments about the Master Volume on the Brown Downie, yet there is frequent mention of a Power Station and /or Suhr Reactive Load. Hence my concern.

Ideally, I would be seeking "Wind Cries Mary" cleans and not anything heavier than AC/DC or ZZ Top for crunch. I often play along with Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters on YouTube as well.

Lots of posts indicate you don't need pedals with the Down Brownie, but maybe an overdrive or fuzz can help get the dirt at low volumes.

My main guitar is an HSS Suhr Classic S, if that helps anyone gauge my situation.

I welcome any and all further insight.
 
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Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,530
Well folks, I just finished reading through this entire thread.
Took me 4 days.

Still not entirely certain if I'll buy this amp or not. And as Halcyon alluded to, I've been disappointed many times before.
I live in a thin-walled apartment building, and I've tried a lot of different attenuators, each of which did not work out.

I bought a Tone King Imperial MKII thinking that it would be the ideal amp. Again, disappointment. I have sold or returned more amps than I can count, because I need apartment volume levels, but have come to realize great tone at apartment-friendly volumes may be the ultimate oxymoron.

I have reveled in all of the favorable comments about the Master Volume on the Brown Downie, yet there is frequent mention of a Power Station and /or Suhr Reactive Load. Hence my concern.

Ideally, I would be seeking "Wind Cries Mary" cleans and not anything heavier than AC/DC or ZZ Top for crunch. I often play along with Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters on YouTube as well.

Lots of posts indicate you don't need pedals with the Down Brownie, but maybe an overdrive or fuzz can help get the dirt at low volumes.

My main guitar is an HSS Stratocaster if that helps anyone gauge my situation.

I welcome any and all further insight.

As long as your volume restrictions are above the lower limits of a 12" guitar speaker dictated by the physics of sound and the construction of the speaker... then the Down Brownie will deliver the goods. I apply this disclaimer because I do believe there many people on this site who ask about/discuss low volume playing without understanding that the actual speaker itself has a volume threshold that must be passed in order for it to work properly and in order for the sound to be received by your ears properly and sound pleasing. Below a certain point it actually becomes more productive to go to a smaller more responsive speaker in a smaller space (ie. headphones) to get the sound pressure your ears need to perceive the tone as pleasing. So in my experience, if the Down Brownie can't please you at the volume you require, then no amp through a 12" guitar speaker will please you (assuming you like the inherent tone of the Down Brownie). Beyond that, I don't think you will learn anything new that hasn't already been said in this thread.
 

RPKennedy

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
47
I'd been (on paper) attracted to the Down Brownie for a couple years now, fueled in no small part by this thread. Two weeks ago I finally threw down and grabbed one from The Amp House (in stock, and no tax collected on sales to CA!). More often than not, I feel that guitar/amps/pedals disappoint on delivery when compared to expectations. That was NOT the case with the DB, however -- not for me, anyway.

The DB is one of the best amps I've ever heard in my life. I knew I liked Brownface Fenders after having had a 6G3 on loan for a few months, but I never thought they could rise to such heights. And, to be fair, I guess they never did! It took Ron's interpretation of the 6G3 coupled with all the great mods and the British channel to really elevate this amp.

Anyway, color me impressed. It showed up on Saturday and I think I've put 12 hours on it already (it's Monday evening). I can find no fault with this amp. It plays and sounds spectacular.

What are those two pedals atop?
 

Coli

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,300
fantastic tone, great song and vocals-well done!!! I wish I could sing like that; really dig it
 

ebenezer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,145
fantastic tone, great song and vocals-well done!!! I wish I could sing like that; really dig it
Thanks! It really is so much fun to record with the Down Brownie, because there are sooo many good tones in it. You can go cleaner and stout on the British side, then go more gainy and squishy on the Brown side. Plus there's messing with the recifier and the NFB switch that makes for so many tones. But alas, I'm preaching to the choir here, as most of you already know this. But for those on the fence, this is an incredible live and recording tool.
 

Texas

Enthusiast
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
84
I notice that some DBs have a Mercury Magnetics plaque on the back and others don’t. I also see the website says Heyboer now. Any significance to the spec change (or diff sound or feel)?
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,148
I notice that some DBs have a Mercury Magnetics plaque on the back and others don’t. I also see the website says Heyboer now. Any significance to the spec change (or diff sound or feel)?
I spoke to Ron about this after I too saw that on the site. He said it had to do with the way MM does business as far as buying in quantity. Apparently they offer nothing in the way of discount so he got Heyboer to make them and was very happy with the results. I’d like to play one with new ones to see if it’s different or better. I have DB 0017 so it’s pretty early on and obviously MM.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,530
I spoke to Ron about this after I too saw that on the site. He said it had to do with the way MM does business as far as buying in quantity. Apparently they offer nothing in the way of discount so he got Heyboer to make them and was very happy with the results. I’d like to play one with new ones to see if it’s different or better. I have DB 0017 so it’s pretty early on and obviously MM.
Do we have the same MM transformer? I know Ron mentioned there was a transformer change shortly after mine (#007) that offered slightly more headroom, but I don't know at what point he switched over. So this would be the 3rd transformer. Would be interesting to compare all three.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,999
Mine is no. 0023, a 2017 model. It has Mercury Magnetics. I haven’t played one with the Heyboer transformers but when I was looking Ron PMd me. I’ll let him explain the details, but the gist is the new transformers are made to spec, and result in a smoother breakup with more definition. The impression I got was they are (slightly) closer to vintage.

I love mine as is so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. But if I bought new I’d probably want to get one with the newer transformers. Mercury didn’t go out of business so if Ron thought they were better he could still use them. I trust his ears.
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,148
Do we have the same MM transformer? I know Ron mentioned there was a transformer change shortly after mine (#007) that offered slightly more headroom, but I don't know at what point he switched over. So this would be the 3rd transformer. Would be interesting to compare all three.
Yes we have the same original ones. I think it was in the low 20’s where someone requested the “higher headroom” tranny. I don’t know that it became standard or it was a one off or optional.
Would be cool to play it with the Heyboers though or all 3 as you said.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,999
Do we have the same MM transformer? I know Ron mentioned there was a transformer change shortly after mine (#007) that offered slightly more headroom, but I don't know at what point he switched over. So this would be the 3rd transformer. Would be interesting to compare all three.
I thought the beefed up transformer was an option. I could be misremembering, and even if I’m not I don’t know which one mine has. It doesn’t seem to have more headroom though. It’s breaking up pretty good on 3. It’s more like my 18 Watt Ceriatone than my Deluxe Reverb in regards to headroom.
 




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