New Fargen Dual Classic: First Impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mountain blues, May 26, 2005.


  1. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    I went down to Sacramento earlier today to visit Ben and pick up my new Dual Classic head and cab setup — my second Fargen amp — and now, having had more than a few hours to get my bearings, I thought I'd share pics and first impressions.

    I love this amp — no question, another Fargen masterpiece. The Dual Classic is a sleeper in Ben's amp line, and worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a killer BF Fender/Tweed/Early Marshall 'all-in-one' amp (if the cranked JTM45 style of OD floats your boat — a pedal would also take this up into later era tones).

    This is a two 6L6, true dual channel amp with reverb — Ch. 1 is Ben's signature Blackface circuit with single volume and treble/bass, Ch. 2 is a hybrid Tweed Bassman/JTM45 with gain and master volume, and treble/mid/bass. Channel switching is achieved with an A/B/Y box. The 2x12 cab holds a V30 and G12H30 — a great setup for this amp.

    This is a truly superb amp in every respect: the woodwork and construction, Ben's excellent circuit design and the flawless PTP wiring, killer looks, and of course, the amazing 3D tone that I love about Ben's amps.

    The Blackface channel is the best Blackface you'd want to hear — rich and detailed, with great headroom and wonderfully saturated breakup when pushed. Ch. 2 is a versatile MV channel that can go from a straight Tweed Bassman to overdriven Tweed to a rockin' JTM45. Fat, tight, and punchy overdrive that soars, sings and growls.

    I am already totally happy with this amp. It does everything I hoped (and knew) it would, and gives me a very versatile, incredibly toneful amp. I'm already calling it my "RSB — Ronnie–Stevie–Billy" amp, cause it can give me Ronnie Earl, SRV, and Billy Gibbons all in one amp — pretty dang cool. And it is a Fargen — Ben's amps overall have a very unique and soulful voice that I (obviously) can't get enough of. There is at least one more Fargen amp in my future...

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    Ben Fargen with my Dual Classic:
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    The rear of the amp. Ben's brother Jeff does the superb cabinetry work — I love the sound port design on this cab:
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    The impeccable work that Ben did on the chassis:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Chrissy

    Chrissy Member

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    That's cool that you posted about this amp. I shall be playing my friend Seegs' Dual Classic Combo again this weekend and listening to it with some new Eminence speakers he has in there which I look forward too.

    I'm set on getting a Dual Classic head and cab setup and I'm curious about your second channel (with MV). the amp I've played has a tweed bassman type circuit without MV for the second channel - can you elaborate on yours and the tones you're getting from that channel? That could influence my choice...

    Many thanks!

    Chris
     
  3. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    [​IMG]
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    Hi Chris,
    Here's a shot of the controls set up to get a sweet Bassman tone on channel two. The Master basically controls the overall volume, and Volume 2 controls the amount of gain. As it is set in the pic, if I simply bring Volume 2 around the clock from 1 to 6, I go from Bassman to Bassman in overdrive to JTM to JTM being pushed hard. Playing with the mid control on the right adds all kinds of subtleties to the color and amount of gain you can get from this channel. From bluesy, jazzy warm breathy Bassman to balls to the wall ZZ Top, getting a killer tone is not a problem on channel two.

    This amp is freakin' AMAZING. Ben, you are Da Man!!

    In both channels, it blooms, swells and pulses on every note, every chord... sustains effortlessly... holds the harmonics and definition in overdrive beautifully... the reverb is gorgeous... harmonics are rich and detailed, and they just awaken from the amp... can go from clean to mean just by the pressure of your fingers on the neck as you play.

    If you are thinking about getting one, do not hesitate. This is easily one of the most incredible and versatile amps I have ever played. Like I said above, you get exquisite Blackface, Tweed and JTM45 in this amp. I am officially blown away. Guys, I kid you not — I have some really good amps in that list below, but this one... it is a *very* special amp. Thanks Ben.

    :dude
     
  4. DestroyAllGuitars

    DestroyAllGuitars Member

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    Mountain Blues,
    Best of luck with your new amp. It looks like you have a real
    special creation in your hands. I had the pleasure of meeting
    and spending some time with Ben this past weekend in NY. He
    is quite a wonderful person and a technical genius. I'm very
    excited by the fact that he will be building an amp for me. We
    decided on a single channel 2x6L6 based head that will start
    with Ben's signature Blackface tone and gradually morph into gobs of big thick creamy smooth sustain and gain. I've had this sound
    in my head for many years, with many missed attempts at
    getting into an amp. It took Ben a very short time to sort the
    design out and I'm 100% positive that he will deliver the goods
    plus a great deal more. When this amp is built, I will post up a
    report on it.
     
  5. Chrissy

    Chrissy Member

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    Thanks for the details man! I'm into JTM tones in a big way too, so that sounds like a very sweet channel to have alongside the Blackface. Have you blended the 2 channels together yet? I know we got some nice tones out of Seegs's DC that way for sure.

    Chris

    PS Of course, that Custom Shop logo takes the cake too! ;)
     
  6. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Hi Cliff,
    Thanks! And congratulations on the amp Ben is going to build for you. He was describing it to me yesterday — it is so cool to see how in his mind, it is a done deal — and it sounds like it will be another one of his masterpieces, to be sure. Greatly looking forward to your report.
     
  7. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Chris,
    Most welcome. As soon as I can find that crappy Morley A/B/Y box I almost threw away, blending the two channels is next up on getting to know this amp. Time for a Lehle or Framptone. I know it's going to sound great. And I agree — the Custom Shop logo is perfect.
     
  8. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Wow that looks really cool...I have had my DC Combo since 2001 and to the best of my knowledge it was the first one of its kind...I have played it and gigged it to death and it keeps sounding better with age...I did however have to try quite a few speakers in the amp as the original ones it came with were damaged in shipping and as I have a mismatced 10 &12" in my combo it took a bit of experimenting and awhile to narrow down which 10&12" blend together the best...I am almost finished!!

    I wonder what the amp has evolved into as your insides look totally different than mine but of course I have no MV or reverb...!!

    I have always wondered how Ben got two different preamp sections to run off of a shared a power section and yet sound so different??

    And how does he get a BF to sound characteristically BF without a Negative feedback loop...??

    I know top secret info...but anyway congrats and enjoy the amp...I know I still do after 4 years...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  9. illinimax

    illinimax Gold Supporting Member

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    That is one nice looking rig. any idea how long Ben's bro has been doing the cabs?
     
  10. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    wow!

    that interior is stupendously clean. more than enough room to eat yer peas. :D

    great review, MB. Ben seems to be pullin' some great mojo these days.
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I was very impressed with the Fargen amp that Procos brought to my studio a while back; it sounded great.

    Glad you found another one for your stable!
     
  12. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Thanks guys. Ben's brother Jeff has had a woodworking business for some time, and came on board to do all of Ben's cab work this last year. He is good. This cab, by itself, is one of the best-sounding cabs I've encountered. Great stuff. Ben is definitely playing in the big leagues now.

    This is the amp I've been looking for for a long time — it has the tones and response I've had in my head for many years. All my other amps, which are excellent, beautiful amps, have big pieces of that vision, but it all just comes together perfectly in this amp. Might sound hokey, but the Dual Classic feels like a soul mate. My other Fargen, the Epic 30, has been my #1 amp the last few years and I have a great bond with it, and yet the Dual Classic is on another level — this amp is alive. I don't know how Ben does it. Sometimes I think he's part Keebler Elf or Gandalf or something...
     
  13. kingink

    kingink Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow, cool review! MB, have you experimented with running both channels together simultaneously? Just curious as to how this sounds.

    I missed my chance to buy a Fargen from Ben when they were "cheap" (not that they're out rageously priced now, though). The biggest problem for me was that I only had one, brief opportunity to
    test one out.

    Your DC seems like a great amp. Enjoy!

    David
     
  14. valcotone

    valcotone Supporting Member

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    hey mb,

    Nice Fargen! :dude

    How would you compare the tones and response of this amp to your Vicky Bandmaster? I've got an amp like that so a tonal reference would help... thanks!

    cheers,
    Sean
     
  15. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    David,
    It is a huge, richly layered sound — fantastic. All the sparkle and clarity of the Blackface kinda floating on top of the Tweed overdrive. Very, very cool tone. And, there is a sweet jump in volume that would serve as the perfect lead boost. Nice.





    Sean,
    I just compared them side by side — in Channel 2, the Fargen is *very* similar in response, as well as in the clean and overdriven tones, to the Bandmaster. The Fargen has more swirl and bloom in the tone, and the Bandmaster already has a very sweet swirly quality when pushed. Wow!! Thanks for asking so I could try that out.

    This amp just blows my mind...
     
  16. valcotone

    valcotone Supporting Member

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    Thanks Geoff. One of the things I really like about the 5E7 Bandmaster circuit is how interactive the tone controls are for defining the drive characteristics of the amp at different volumes... does the DC have that kind of versatility?

    cheers,
    Sean
     
  17. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Sean,
    Definitely yes on the versatility. The interactivity isn't exactly the same in defining the shape of the EQ, but between the two volumes and the three tone controls, you get a very similar versatility as with the Bandmaster in dialing in gradations of the drive.
     
  18. abnerfm

    abnerfm Member

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    Hey Montain Blues, do you still have this amp?
     

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