I feel that I should tell you about my new Magnatone Varsity again-

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bbutler123, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. bbutler123

    bbutler123 Member

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    I do NOT work for Magnatone and I do not know anybody there or anything like that. I'm not looking for you to respond and say, "Wow, cool amp man" or anything, because it's not about me this time. It's about some of you.

    I think there are probably a lot of you out there looking for an amp this good, and hardly have the slightest idea that Magnatone exists. I poo-pooed it before I heard it.

    And I certainly would not expect anyone to buy one without playing it, and I don't know how easy they are to find.
    To start with, in my world, the honeymoon phase with an amp doesn't often take very long, and STILL, after a few months, this amp is probably the best amp I've ever played.

    I currently own or have owned a 1964 Fender Pro, had a couple Dr. Zs, a few BadCats, a British DSL, a DRRI, an 80's JCM800, a Twin RI, and others. I've played Matchless, Top Hat, Carr, Blackstar Artisan 30 (wow), Savage amps and others.

    This Magnatone is U.S. made, 15 watts, 1x12. Just Bass, Treble and Volume. It has EL-84s and is tube rectified. I always thought that EL-84 were too thin-sounding for me, but I found out different with this amp. It is a very full-sounding and that's a BIG deal to me. Often a 15 watt amp can sound fabulous, but fullness is not often found so much in just 15 watts,--not until you get to a 40 or 50 watt amp or more. You 100 watt Marshall owners know what I mean. This amp has GREAT bass (if you like that-or you can tune it out). I always look for big bass potential.

    The clean just can't be beat, from my experience. It's just perfect. It gets dirty as it goes up, with what I'd call the perfect personality in dirt. It's not a heavy metal amp, of course.

    The amp is amazingly loud for a 15 watt amp. I play two amps at once, (one carrying the rhythm guitar backing, the other one lead), and there have been times I had to turn it down a little because it was too loud to be able to clearly hear my 50 watt DSL or 40 watt Pro, and I didn't want to push the two big ones into crap by turning them up farther.

    One of the most amazing and beautiful qualities of this amp is that it is so unbelievably light. It just isn't a chore to pick up and carry. I think it's 33 lbs. and 33 just doesn't seem like much when I lift it.

    It is hand-wired, and not only that, but I'm confident that it is what you call ACTUALLY point-to-point. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that it sounds better than an amp with green circuit boards, but it makes me happy to know how simple it is inside.

    I think they're $1700 new. (I bought it used for $1200- oh my gosh, what a buy!--actually, I traded a perfect condition $2300 BadCat straight across for it) I'm speaking for the Magnatone Varsity, and the ones built since the company has been sold and rebought since it began in the (1930's I believe it was)!!! I haven't played other Magnatones.

    I would leave sound samples, but I don't seem to be able to record well enough to illustrate how good this amp sounds. I've tried. Sorry. :)

    Well, here are some pics again.

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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
    Peppy likes this.
  2. analogsystem

    analogsystem Member

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    I once owned a vintage Magnatone from the "M" series which looked like a weird plastic televison set. I believe it was mid 1960s. The pitch shifting vibrato was incredible. The vintage Maggies have had a cult following for many years. I'm glad to see that the brand revival has been done with care. Your amp looks amazing. If I could afford one, I'd love to check out these new Maggies. Enjoy!
     
  3. van5073

    van5073 Member

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    Looks and sounds by your description , that this amp is worth taking a look into.
    Also , in your post you mentioned having a Blackstar 30 followed by (wow).
    Do you mean wow as incredible or wow as in I can't believe I actually have a Blackstar ..lol
    I ask because I am probably one of the few here that likes what Blackstar has to offer.
    I've been gigging an HT Stage 60 and have an HT 5 mini stack for at home play and really like the tones I'm getting out of these. I have been looking into the Artisan 30 and thought I would ask your thoughts , since you mentioned it. I'm sorry to side track your post but would appreciate any input on the Blackstar 30 . Thanks
     
  4. bbutler123

    bbutler123 Member

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    No prob. I wrote 'wow' so someone would notice. The 'wow' is SUPER-positive.

    I only tried that Artisan once, and didn't want to spend so much as an Artisan 30 costs, so later I bought an HT series Club 40. It was so good I took it back within 30 days to Guitar Center, got my money back and immediately ordered a Stage 60 2x12. That was so dynamite that in addition, I bought an HT 100 watt head. I later bought an HT 5 watt. Those HT series are great amps. Just great. The clean is almost boutique-quality, I think the build quality is outstanding and the dirty is smooth.

    I did get rid of them all finally and bought some higher end amps, but in my opinion, Blackstar is probably the best guitar amp for the money that there is.

    But the Artisan 30, wow! :) As I remember, it was much better yet, than the HT. (I only tried it once while trying to compare 2 Les Pauls.-the tone of the Artisan was so good that I couldn't make a good judgement on the guitars since the amp sounded so good. I actually unplugged and went to use another amp so I could decide which guitar I wanted. :)

    For a few years I thought the Artisan 30 was the best amp I ever played. I don't remember it well enough to compare it to my Magnatone, but it COULD have been as nice or nicer.
     
  5. van5073

    van5073 Member

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    Thank you Brian ... I really appreciate the info .
     
  6. DV52

    DV52 Member

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    That is a loud mefr if it has more umph than a DSL or a Pro.
     
  7. Lost_Cause

    Lost_Cause Member

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    I had an SMF 15 Watter (sold it to my bud to keep it in the family) that was also EL84 and it has that great low end and is far from thin. It is louder and has a presence that many higher powered amps cannot compete with so I understand where you are coming from. It gets great thick clean tones and Amazing reverb. Unfortunately the SMF weight is a serious drawback because the chassis is made of serious metal. I will have to search out one of these. Last time I was at Killer vintage in STL they had a couple new Magnatone amps but not that one.
     

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