NAD: Bogner Ecstasy 101B Classic

Shalafi

Member
Messages
94
I remember gassing and lusting hard for one of these amps around '02-'03 and never quite imagined I would own one due to the hefty price tag at the time. I was lucky enough to find this beast at a decent price and in pretty much mint condition which makes it even sweeter. This is the first Ecstasy i've ever owned and played as a matter of fact, however its not the first time I buy an amp purely based on reviews or clips online but man does it sound great in person.

My first impression is how silent this thing is, to me that always translates into how well built the amp is and how all of the internal components work together.

The clean "green" channel is simply amazing, really really love this channel. It reminds me a lot of the clean of my old silver chasis Shiva from what I can recall and can do that pristine fender-like clean but with a few changes on the excursion and EQ modes it can sound like a plexi clean or even a beefier clean. I haven't tried to run any OD's or distortion pedals yet since I want to enjoy the purity of the amp on its own for a while. This channel is simply a pleasure to play IMO.

The vintage "blue" channel is awesome! not a ton of gain but perfect for tight rhythm tones, really woody and 3D sounding. I'm still on the fence wether I like this channel more on B1 or B2, B1 seems to add a bit more high mids and top end while B2 to my ear makes it sound even tighter with more low mid emphasis. Ive been running the gain maxed out on this channel and it doesn't lose definition nor articulation. Now I see why most 101B owners rave about the famous blue channel.

The modern "red" channel is just a step above the blue in terms of extra compression and low end thump yet not extremely high gained either but thats ok, I typically go for dynamic mid-gained open tones anyway. I think I like this channel more on B1 because it adds that extra brightness.

Overall I'm really happy with this thing, it fills that void of not having a true multi channel amp with a dedicated clean channel as good as this one. There are tons of settings as most of you know (class A-A/B, excursion switches, old/new switch, etc.) so you can shape your tone however you want. As of now I have been running it half power mode, A/B, New style with excursion set to "T" at bedroom volume levels until I can take it to my next band rehearsal. The master volume works really good just like my Friedman.

Here are some pics! and if you own one a Classic please share your favorite settings!

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suparsonic

Member
Messages
3,825
Nice amp! I run my 100b with the eq around noon, Tight mode on the power section, B1 for Blue and Red and Modern on the rear, Presence about 10:00 or roll it back from 12:00 until the shrillness disappears. I run Blue gain around 2:00 and Red around 12:00.
 

Sherwood

Member
Messages
490
I also own a Smallbox and am considering getting one of these but on the fence between (101b and the 20th ed).
Are the distortions on the bogner as dynamic and have that clean string attack and note definition of our smallbox?
Am i wrong thinking the bogner sounds more "modern" in hi-gain voice than the Friedman?
 

Shalafi

Member
Messages
94
I also own a Smallbox and am considering getting one of these but on the fence between (101b and the 20th ed).
Are the distortions on the bogner as dynamic and have that clean string attack and note definition of our smallbox?
Am i wrong thinking the bogner sounds more "modern" in hi-gain voice than the Friedman?

I don't think neither the 101b Classic nor the Smallbox 50 are really "modern hi-gain" heads IMO. I mean yes, they are technically hi-gain amps but to my ears they are more of an organic, smooth and very refined vintage-inspired hi-gain. I have not tried the regular 101b nor the 20th ed. but i've read they are more compressed and a little gainier than the 101b Classic.

In regards to the string attack and definition, yes, the 101b Classic has that in spades as well. I think its got more of a low mid growl than the smallbox and even tighter attack. The smallbox to me is a little spongier on the attack with more bite. They are both amazing amps but sound very different overall and definitely a good combo.
 

Killcrop

Member
Messages
12,392
I'd love to hear a comparison to the Friedman.

I recently traded a 101b for a Classic. The Classic has less gain than the 101b but plenty enough in what I call the usable range of gain. The Red channel on the 101b had more gain than what was needed. Past 12 o'clock it looses some definition. The classic allows for full use of the gain. I think the 101b Blue channel is smoother and more compressed. More forgiving. Some may prefer that. The Classic Blue still has that signature Bogner chewy lead tone, just a touch more clear and open sounding. The Classic is billed as a more open sounding Ecstasy. I never had issues with the Ecstasy sounding congested but I can see how some could. The clean channel is also better on the Classic. The Classic does what it is billed as but the difference is subtle. I wish the Classic didn't have the chrome faceplate. I much prefer the black faceplate of the 101b. My Classic doesn't have the AB/A option but I didn't care. I couldn't really tell the difference in Class A mode anyway. My band took the holidays off so I am looking forward to hearing it with the full band.
 

Shalafi

Member
Messages
94
Nice! I can't wait to fire mine up in a band setting as well and see how it holds up at cooking volumes.
 

Killcrop

Member
Messages
12,392
I forgot to mention how great the Classic and the 101b sound with single coils. It sounds equally great with humbuckers.
 

flimz

Member
Messages
647
Nice! I can't wait to fire mine up in a band setting as well and see how it holds up at cooking volumes.
When I finally got the chance to crank up my 20th XTC in a band setting, I was astounded. Im sure you will be too! All 3 channels are perfect. Best amp Ive ever owned.
 

TNJ

Member
Messages
28,930
Just got a used Ecstasy Classic head on a trade with a fellow TGP'er. This is my 3rd one since they came out. Haven't played it yet, but it powers up just fine. I'm waiting for my wife to
finish her online lecture before I unleash hell. :D
Still have my old Bogner OS 212, so...again, I know what I'm in for.
Let the good times roll!

Sj
 

DiPa

Constant GAS
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,183
Just got a used Ecstasy Classic head on a trade with a fellow TGP'er. This is my 3rd one since they came out. Haven't played it yet, but it powers up just fine. I'm waiting for my wife to
finish her online lecture before I unleash hell. :D
Still have my old Bogner OS 212, so...again, I know what I'm in for.
Let the good times roll!

Sj
Very much a classic amp, Congrats!
 
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chillytc

Member
Messages
843
I have only played the 101B a couple of times, although in both cases it was with a band with a loud drummer (so not bedroom situations) through a Bogner 4x12. I have owned and played several other Bogner amps over the years (Shiva into Bogner 2x12 was my rig for several years and I'm currently the owner of a Mephisto - have also played the Goldfinger and Metropolis).

I also own a Friedman Dirty Shirley (40w) which is kind of my #1 with the band at the moment (bought before the Mephisto which I have yet to try with the band as a result of COVID-19).

My impression is that Bogner has a bit of a sonic signature across all of his amps - a richness in the low mids that makes his amp sound BIG and never thin. I have heard it in every Bogner I've played. My Friedman DS40 is supposedly one of the thicker sounding Friedmans and it has a lot of mids if you dial them in, but if the Bogner's tend to be rich in the low mids, the DS40 is about fatness in the low frequencies and it can get pretty scooped if you want it to.

I personally think Bogner's house sound is awesome - dialed in by great ears. But for those asking about the difference between the 101B and other similar amps - I think that's a key part of the answer.
 




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