Fuchs Blackjack 21 MkII

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by aleiberman, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. aleiberman

    aleiberman Member

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    Just scored a Fuchs Blackjack 21 MKII Combo. I am pretty pumped. Does anyone have any experience with these and can give any feedback or pointers?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Scooter

    Scooter Supporting Member

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    I have a Full House 50, the bigger brother to your amp. I like it a lot. Really flexible amp - fantastic clean channel for big cleans, which also makes a great pedal platform if that's your thing. The OD channel is great too, cleans up well with the guitar volume, and there's even more in between tones to be found with the amp's boost footswitch. To my ears it doesn't get as "Dumbley" as some of the more expensive Fuchs offerings, and that may be good or bad depending on your tastes. I think I read that Andy voiced it to be more on the aggressive side on purpose. I do wish I could coax the "D" tones out of it a bit more. The OD tone control helps but doesn't quite get there. I've thought about trying a NOS Mullard but I dunno....

    Oh, and I think the reverb is very nice. It's digital but if something sounds good I don't care if it's digital or if it's made with old potato peels and rubber bands, as long as it sounds good.

    Overall the amp strikes me as a very solid jack of all (or most) trades platform. It's not a "niche" amp, but for me it's a solid all-arounder with a great sounding OD channel.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  3. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Thanks @Scooter : Yes, the idea was to make an affordable amp with a somewhat wider tonal range than a traditional D-style only. Yes, the topology in the Casino preamps is not unlike a stripped down ODS. The Mantis Jr Casino amps are more in the 'M' camp. Channel 1 is like a hot rodded 800 and the second channel is a hotrodded 900 style. Baby versions of the Mantis amps. Same price range but another flavor.

    In all Casino models, V2 in the preamp is the overdrive tube and the better quality it is, the better the OD. I love old Mullards or Amperexes, even used pulls from TV's and old tube stereos work well, as the circuit location is not too critical to noise or microphonics. Even an NOS RCA 5751 or GE 12AX7/7025 (or the new TAD 7025's which are excellent) work well and are still affordable.. Depending on age, we shipped with Chinese Ruby or JJ's, through most of the production runs so far.

    V1 is the clean preamp while V3 is the driver. They are less a factor to getting a little closer to a D-tone. The mid point on the OD tone pot is about average balance of smoothness and clarity. Lower is more "woman tone", darker and more vintage, while turning it up it gets more aggressive. Not quite plexi territory but close (obviously also depending on the clean channel tone controls. You can also use the OD channel as a boost with pedal boards, just run input gain low and output level where you need it and it's a semi-clean solo boost or adds a little hair to the clean side.

    Thanks for the kind words. Have fun !
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  4. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    Lucky 7 MkII here, same preamp as yours.

    They are pretty easy to dial in, but they get really loud quickly on the volume dial. If 6 o'clock were zero, 8 o'clock is too loud.

    To that end I purchased a Smicz TAC-1H, but it seems incompatible with the amp. Popped the EL34 back in and the amp is fine.

    I've got some more experimenting to do, I might end up buying some kind of tube loop to reduce the amp volume.

    I have a Celestion Neo Creamback in the mini-combo, to keep weight down.
     
  5. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Honestly I agree:; Yes, there is a $hit-ton of gain available in both channels. In a home environment the controls might be a little bit touchy with higher output pickups at the low end, especially if you are playing late at night or bedroom levels. In the real world (on gigs), I'm typically running 10-12.00 O'clock on input gains of both channels, OD master to taste without issue.

    The simplest solution is adding a volume pedal or volume control in the loop. I made a few "pot in a box" units for some customers, but for twenty bucks, these are available and work fine: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Volume-Box-...hash=item2ec81dffcc:m:mycy8lfb1kjFkRt0y2lRaVA

    At some point I might revisit the Casino design and look into a global master volume, but that's way down the list for the moment.
     
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  6. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    Eliminating the "jazz/rock" and other switches makes it easier to dial in.
     
  7. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    The whole idea was a stripped down ODS style circuit, so yes.
     
  8. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    Andy, I finally got around to using the loop in my Lucky 7. Works great with an old TC G Major, sounded like a wall of Dumbles. Really makes the amp a monster.
     
  9. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Sweet !!! :)
     
  10. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    One thing to note, I was using one of my least "sustainy" guitars, and I was able to hold a note for an unlimited time. Really, I got bored after 2 minutes! The guitar was an Eastman T184 (mostly) hollowbody. I'll repeat my experiment today with an R9 Les Paul.

    PS: Is there a internal gain pot for the effects SEND? The SEND voltage is on the high side, I had to turn the input pad of the G Major all the way down, when playing clean jazz stuff.
     
  11. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    Nice to try a good effects unit in the loop. You can dial in volume better and make the amp sound huge. Rack effects work best of course, with SHORT cable lengths you should not need a dumbleator-loop-a-lator type device. If you use pedals in the loop, you will need a loop-a-lator.
     
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  12. Scooter

    Scooter Supporting Member

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    Andy - this is interesting. So would a 5751 knock down the gain on the drive channel to yield those elusive "on the edge of breakup", not-clean-but-not-dirty kinds of tones? That could be cool, because then a boost or OD pedal could push that channel into more saturated territory. Or is this not really the intended design for the drive side?
     
  13. Sandman85

    Sandman85 Member

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    Any recommendations on an effects unit? Kleinulator? Plush FX Loop? Others? Or are we just splitting hairs, other than price?
     
  14. JunkGear

    JunkGear Supporting Member

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    I use a Fuchs Tube FX Loop with my FH50 and it works very well. It may be just me, but I think it sweetens the tone a little bit as well.
     
  15. Tele81

    Tele81 Member

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    Reviving this old thread. I’m possibly picking one of these up. What kind of clean headroom does it have? How saturated does the gain channel get? Could I pull of some high gain goodness with a boost? Thanks
     
  16. mackid

    mackid Member

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    I use an EB Tech Line Level Shifter with pedals in my loop and it sounds/works great! What a great little amp. I replaced the speaker with an EVM 12 L and am using an Ironman II mini, and this thing cranks! I can play this thing for hours. I have a lot of different amps, and this thing is special.
     
  17. direwolf

    direwolf Supporting Member

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    I had the MKI. It really sounded exactly like this solo (4:30) with a strymon flint.
     
  18. Kennybeeinfl

    Kennybeeinfl Member

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    I gig every week with one and l love it. Great clean sound and l love the reverb. Lots of overdrive options. The boost function is an added plus. It gives you 4 options that are foot switchable. My only issue and its a very minor one is that with humbuckers there isn't a ton of clean headroom. If you need LOUD clean headroom you may find it lacking. I don't use any pedals except maybe a chorus once in a while so l couldn't tell you anything about te loop. I've had mine for 5 years and no issues at all. Very well built. And it's light as a feather. Congrats on getting a great amp.
     

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