Kingsley ToneBaron!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by rrhea, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Simon has emailed me the magic numbers... UPS tracking. :D I am hoping it will be here in about a week or so. It usually takes UPS a while to get things from the west coast all the way out here to TN, let alone Canada... so I don't know how long it might take.

    I ordered some really cool features in this amp, and I just can't wait to play it. I got the head version and I'll be running it through my Bogner OS 2x12 closed-back cab with Emi GB12 (Greenbacks).

    Full review and detailed pant wetting to come when it arrives! :RoCkIn

    Here are a couple of random photos from Simon during the build:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  2. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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    That looks impressive. Two independent channels---what else can you tell us about it?
     
  3. farlowhigh

    farlowhigh Member

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    WOW, that looks really great!! I can't wait to hear the review of it!

    what are the extra features you ordered? I can see you have a global master volume...what is the deal with the parallel/series switch on the end? how will that affect the tone? are there other switches beyond those on the Deluxe 32? I assume there is eq lift, bright switches on both channels, and maybe a gain switch on one or both channels...what else did you get?

    you are a lucky dog! that looks to be a fantastic amp!

    Eric
     
  4. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Member

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    Congrats! You're gonna love it. The tone baron I played at the LA Amp Show sounded great. I think the one I played was using a CL80 blended with a Celestion Gold.

    To answer farlowhigh's question, Series/Parallel is a great feature....one benefit is that you can have the two independent channels when needed, and when put into series a compensated gain channel (compensated for the fact it feeds into another clean gain stage) feeds the clean channel, so you set the clean channel as desired, and set the gain channel for the added gain/tones you want when it's cascaded into the clean channel. One benefit here is that then the gain tone feeds into the cleans with reverb, so you get reverb on your gain signal. It also gives you the possibility of essentially a 3rd sound..i.e. independent clean and gain, and then cascaded gain/clean. another Benefit yet is that since Simon makes ch. 1 the gain channel and Ch2 the clean, you can insert digital effects like delay after the gain but before the cleans...so you won't end up distorting the delay. A very well thought out capability that sounds glorious for leads.

    I imagine other switches would include the bright, 3 way gain and perhaps EQ LIft as mentioned, but also Mid Smoothing.

    Did you have any channel switching done, or have EQ lift made as a variable control foostswitch? The channel switching he put on my D32 recently works like a charm without any popping or clicks to speak of. A great implementation of channel switching. The variable EQ Lift control is awesome as well.

    All that, with the tube options, with a very high standard of build quality, congrats on a great amp with some of the most incredible options for tonal flexibility that you'll find on the market.

    Can't wait to hear about your amp when you get your hands on it.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

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    Congratulations! Looking forward to your review after you've had a little time with it. I talked to Simon also but I am still waiting on the AXE-FX and if it doesn't meet my wants/needs I think I'll order a ToneBaron and populate it with 6V6's.

    Option wise I know Simon offers channel switching which means you wont need to get a looper pedal to change channels. I think he also makes a foot switchable boost and EQ lift. I love the clips on the Kingsley Tonebaron page.

    Again Congratulations!

    Jeff
     
  6. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Thanks guys! ;)

    The ToneBaron is a two channel amp, clean and od with a series or parallel mode of operation (the little toggle switch you see there in the photo). Parallel mode is one or the other of the two channels, whereas series runs the od channel through the clean channel for a different feel and sound. This mode works much like a distortion or od pedal would in front of a clean amp.

    The series mode is also what makes the simple fx loop possible. There is a stereo 1/4" jack in the back that is the send/return for the fx loop (tip is send, sleeve return)... I have a stereo to dual mono cable that I will use to insert effects like delay, chorus or whatever in the loop for post effects. The stereo jack setup is a variation of what Simon describes on the website... this feature and the footswitchable channel option I special ordered also eliminate the need for two input jacks on the front, so Simon used the extra space of the eliminated jack to give me a midrange knob for the clean channel (which normally doesn't have a mid knob).

    I also ordered the EQ lift to be added to the od channel, but via a footswitch. So I still have EQ lift on the clean channel (with the normal toggle on the front) and I'll also have it on the od side with a footswitch. Pretty cool.

    One last minute decision Simon and I made was to trade the ability to mix and match power tube types for a cathode/fixed bias switch. I can still run any tube type, I just can't mix 6v6s with 6L6s, for example. If I run all four tubes they have be run in quads of the same. But, I gain the ability to fix the bias if I choose to. Simon added a trim pot under the chassis to make bias adjustments. I should pick up close to 20 watts extra and get a punchier sound when using the fixed bias mode vs cathode, according to Simon. A very nice option! ;)

    The channel footswitch and od EQ lift are both housed in one pedal, which I think is very convenient. It requires a single stereo to stereo 1/4" cable.

    Channel 2 (clean) has the following knobs: reverb, bass, middle, treble, volume and the following switches: gain, eq lift and bright.

    Channel 1 (od) has the following knobs: bass, middle, treble, volume, gain and the following switches: mids, bright, gain and footswitchable EQ lift.

    Then there is the amp master volume and global or master "tone" knob (presence).

    In addition to all the regular features these come with, I think I listed everything. Simon did say that this particular build sounded good from the start and didn't need any excessive circuit tweaking or coaxing. I thought that was pretty cool. :)

    I just can't wait to get it!

    Ryan
     
  7. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    Hey bluessyndicate! just had the chance to actually read your post and didn't see it until after I posted my response. Your explanation of the series/parallel channel operation is excellent! Much better than my feeble attempt. :)

    I mentioned you in a phone conversation with Simon regarding your cabinet design (I might like a 2x12 designed vertically like yours at some point). Simon spoke fondly of you and is very proud of your amp. ;)

    As you can see from my previous post I got a lot of stuff on this thing. I guess I could have gotten everything footswitchable (reverb, both EQ lifts, etc.) but at some point you just have to stop going nuts :D I might regret not having gotten the clean boost. But maybe it would be a simple upgrade kit Simon can send to me as a DIY project. I'll ask about it. He might consider putting together some kits like that for sale... might be of interest to Kingsley and non-Kingsley DIY'ers.

    If time permits I plan to do a good, full on review for my blog with video and sound clips galore. ;) It's going to be fun (but not for my wife) :D

    RR
     
  8. studiodunn

    studiodunn Member

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    Man, that is sweet and those clips on the Kingsley sight are some of the tastiest bits to be heard via .mp3.

    Congrats!
     
  9. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    Interested in the review. :drool

    As for the pant wetting... :nono

    Congrats. Kingsley's are one of a very few amps I lust for.
     
  10. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Member

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    I'm glad my explanation was accurate...I've put my foot in my mouth a few times on other non kingsley related technical things. I'm glad Simon speaks fondly of me, I really can't say enough about working with him, he is so helpful and polite and accommodating, and it required a significant amount of his time to collaborate with me on my goals for my amp, I was worried I would wear my welcome out, and it's a testament to his patience that I did not. It is a great sounding amp! It has received great reviews in terms of how it sits in the mix in live band contexts. I'm playing it at home every night, and last night it was giving me a convincing Jeff Beck Blow by Blow Cause We've Ended As Lovers. The vertical cabinet has worked out very well for me. With a Celestion Gold in it, I actually prefer it over my Bruno 2x12 pine open back with Blues in it. Simon notices it emphasizes bass response more so than his standard dimension cabinets which emphasize more midrange. As a result I have removed one of slats on it, so it's more open than partially opened and it helps bring back some of the mids, and I think still sounds better than the Bruno 2x12 with blues. So, while it looks better to me as a vertical cab, you'll want to know going into it that it might have a different eq response than Simon's std cabs. He can fill you in on that in detail.

    I understand about compromise...at one point we simply had run out of chassis real estate and I had to likewise make choices about what was more important, similar to you.

    It's amazing to me how many people read the gear page and will glance over a Kingsley post, and will never have the chance to actually get their hands on one, given they are made to order. I hesitated about 3 years until I could actually try one, but in retrospect I say if anyone is inclined, do not let that be a cause of delay, especially given his policy for standard amps. To the majority it probably just seems like all the other amps with gushing reviews....and they'll never get what an experience it is to interact with Simon and play his amps and appreciate the tonal flexibility and build quality. Short of excursion control, I'm putting his amps on par with something like a Bogner Ecstasy in terms of tonal flexibility, yet they are hand wired amps, and have more flexibility in terms of tube changing options. They are also not just a jazz/blues players amp...I am able to get some seriously aggressive classic rock tones as well.
     
  11. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    :) Thanks for the cabinet advice, I'll certainly keep that in mind when ordering my 2x12. Simon certainly is fantastic to work with, such a nice guy and very accommodating. I just don't know how he could be so understanding and patient with a customer like me asking so many stupid questions. :)

    I'll still probably regret not getting the clean boost, but who cares? I'll have an amp that will likely outlast me and might show up someday in the distant future on a show like the Antique Roadshow. :) These amps are a work of art and I am certain I'll treasure mine.

    I can't speak to the last paragraph of your post until I have my amp and experience it... but based on what I have read from many Kingsley owners (including you) these amps are truly special and I am sure I will be inspired to play mine for many years to come.

    RR
     
  12. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Member

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    Well the good news, if I'm not mistaken, is that the boost is approximated by setting the gain switch up a bump...so in effect you do have clean boost, but it's just not foot switchable. Since the amp is so responsive to guitar volume, you essentially have it.
     
  13. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I'm waiting for the Goddess of Fortune to smile on me so I can get a ToneBaron too.

    I'm glad so many more people have had the chance to meet and work with Simon.

    I've been so spoiled with my D32C's ability to run pairs of different tubes, that I'll definitely have that option on my TB.
     
  14. Robal

    Robal Supporting Member

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    I heard the ToneBaron at the last LA Amp show. Amidst all the noise there, that amp really stood out above the rest for me. Not only was it incredibly versatile, it did everything exceptionally well from clean through overdrive into distortion. I was knocked out by it. Simon was demonstrating it and he was very informative and a really nice guy.
     
  15. cryptozoo

    cryptozoo Member

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    I'm taking delivery today of a Celestion Gold for my Kingsley D30C 1 x 12". Can't wait to get off work!
     
  16. tybone

    tybone Member

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    Congratulations. The Kingsley amplifier is one of the best things to come of Canada in a long time. I need one of these amps.
     
  17. rrhea

    rrhea Member

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    It's finally here! Yeah!! :RoCkIn

    I got it yesterday afternoon and played it for about 5 hours straight (I only had a couple of momentary distractions). I got up this morning and played it again for a few hours and then off and on all day for a couple of hours at a time.

    My first impression was, yep, this thing sounds just like it does on the website. :D Which is good, 'cause that is why I wanted one in the first place. I will be posting an in depth review on my blog complete with good photos and maybe even a video or two. But for now I can say that it sounds so good and so organic (for lack of a better word). It has a lot of natural compression, or sag (maybe?)... which I could hear clearly in the OD clips on the web, but wasn't sure how much it would come out playing it in person (it does). I really like this sound... it almost "folds in over itself" in manner of speaking. Very cool, indeed.

    The cleans are gorgeous... very fat, round and sustainful. I was really impressed with how loud I was playing without ear fatigue. Eventually my ears were like, "ok, that's enough!" :) But only after hours of playing. This amp gets loud without seeming loud, if that even makes any sense.

    There are so many tones and options for sounds on this thing that it will take me a while to explore it all. Add to that how different it reacts (as you would expect) to different guitars with different PUs and you've got a recipe for lots of long weekend afternoons chasing tone. :)

    I do, however, have a pretty good grasp on the main features of the amp and the controls, so I'll be ready to do a full review soon. I have gotten to hear it in the mix playing with some backing tracks and some of my own stuff and it simply sounds amazing with accompaniment. It is also a very easy amp to record.

    More to come as I continue to dig in. ;)

    Here are some photos of the experience:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/ryandrhea/KinglseyAmp

    RR
     
  18. tybone

    tybone Member

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  19. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Member

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    Awesome and congrats! I know just how you felt that day.

    How does the amp sound on that bogner..I have that cab as well (with scumbacks H75/H55) and have never moved gear around to try the D32R through it.

    enjoy, looking forward to your review...and to making my complete review sometime soon.
     
  20. The Whiz

    The Whiz Member

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    I've got to find a way to get a Kingsley Deluxe 30. I tried one a few years ago (I live pretty close to Simon) and I've got a Kingsley 2x12 cab. The Deluxe 30 has always haunted me. The eq is amazing. It was so easy to dial in happening tones. So nicely voiced.

    I love my Hayseed, which was half the price of the Kingsley, but the Kingsley is the one that still haunts me.
     

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