NAD: Tone King Imperial MKII

minjason

Member
Messages
464

After months of lurking around TGP for one of these, I finally pulled the trigger on a Tone King Imperial MKII. I've only spent a few hours with it, but I have to say that it is every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be. The cleans are otherworldly, and the reverb and trem are among the best I've heard. I've owned or played through almost every amp in the Tone King line including earlier versions of the Imperial, and I have to say the Imperial MKII might be my favorite Tone King to date. It sounds bigger and fuller than all of the vintage blackface DR's I've played and even though it's only 20 watts, it actually sounds as big as my old 1966 Vibrolux Reverb (which I foolishly let go about 6 years ago). It is amazing that Mark has created an amp that delivers so much in such a lightweight package. This amp might be lighter than my old Swart AST Pro, which I also loved but sold because I needed a little bit more headroom. Furthermore, I think all the gripes about the lead channel in previous models have been addressed in this version with the built in attenuator that can be bypassed on the rhythm channel to match volumes. With the mid-bite all the way down, I can set the lead channel to just add a little hair and act as a thickener to my rhythm tone (which is how I used to use the Klon). Haven't taken the Imperial out to a gig yet, but I'm pretty sure volume will not be an issue. Even at 2, this amp is loud and the cleans are still full and juicy.

As much as I love me some vintage Fender blackface tone, there have been times when the highs on my vintage bf amps got a little too brittle for my taste and the mids a little too scooped. I now understand what Mark means when he talks about the MKII as having more high-end chime rather than glassiness and fuller, chunkier mids while maintaining the tonal DNA that creates that beautiful, sparkly Fender clean we all love. Haven't tried it out with my board yet (it just sounded so good straight in), but will report back as soon as I do.

Mark has definitely hit a home run with this one! Can't get over how great this sounds!
 

jguitarslim

Member
Messages
1,387
Congrats on the amp, sure sounds like your digging it.
How's the low end?
Many clips I've heard seemed lacking in bottom end particularly in lead channel.
 
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dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,729
Congrats on the amp, sure sounds like your digging it.
How's the low end?
Many clips I've heard seemed lacking in bottom end particularly in lead channel.
My Meteor II has tons of bass, it can even be a bit too boomy. The cabinet design has a lot to do with it. The Imperials I've tried have been similar, maybe not quite as stiff due to the smaller iron, but still plenty of BF Fender style thump and thud.

The lead channel is just so mid heavy it might seem like the low end is diminished, but it's there.
 

minjason

Member
Messages
464
Congrats on the amp, sure sounds like your digging it.
How's the low end?
Many clips I've heard seemed lacking in bottom end particularly in lead channel.
I actually worried about the same thing having listened to a few of the Imperial MKII clips on youtube. That said, I can assure you that you will not have any issues with the low end both on the rhythm and lead channels. I'm used to setting the bass control on my blackface Fenders at about noon...I can get just as much bottom end on my Imperial with the bass control at about 10 o clock...and this was with my Tele.

On another note, I'm actually really surprised at how much I'm digging the lead channel on this amp. Having played older Imperials, I was always bummed that I couldn't bond with the lead channel the way I did with the rhythm channel. The Ironman II attenuator is an absolute game changer. With the lead channel attenuated two notches and volume at 10 o clock, tone at 11 o clock, and mid bite at 3 o clock, I can match the settings I have on my OCD...turn the mid bite back to about 8 o clock and I can approximate a Klon-like clean boost on the rhythm channel. I could definitely see myself taking just my guitar, the amp, and a delay pedal to a blues gig and have all my tones covered.
 

lustycourtier

Member
Messages
436
HNAD! I got one used in a deal recently, and its become my number 1 live amp (with a Weber Mass lite). Ive sold my Black Cat, Heritage ac15 and blues deluxe as the Tone king destroys them all.
 

remocity

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,260
HNAD! I got one used in a deal recently, and its become my number 1 live amp (with a Weber Mass lite). Ive sold my Black Cat, Heritage ac15 and blues deluxe as the Tone king destroys them all.
Why would you need a Weber Mass lite when there are attenuators built into the Imperial MKII?
 
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GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,305
Happy New Amp day... I got a Mk II about 3 months ago and I am still blown away by how amazing it sounds. I can echo nearly everything you said in the original post above.... The lead channel is definitely under control in this model with the attenuator, and i use it the same way you do. The rhythm channel sounds better than any vintage BF fender I've ever played... TONS of low-end for a 1X12 amp, and very balanced. Loves pedals, but it's also one of those amps that you can play without pedals if needed. The cleans are lush and full and with the right pickups, you can go from clean to mean with just pick attack and/or pickup switches.
 

emmanuelpuons

Member
Messages
37
any feedback minjason? of your mk2 w pedals? just got mine 4 days ago, it sound incredible, but i have to reconsider my pedal board, cauz it react completly different than my two rock sp 35 that i sold.
i want to know how the OCD sound with it ;)
 




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