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Suhr Hombre and Cutthroat Audio Down Brownie - Modern Day Brownface Fender Deluxes

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
I recently picked up a new Suhr Hombre after being hot for one since they were announced. Killer amp in every way, beautiful package, light weight, nice cover and footswitch, 2 very awesome channels with THAT sound.
I played it loud n proud, and quickly discovered it was too much volume for my tiny music room. It would be perfect with a band, but too much for me at home. I used the Suhr Reactive Load in parallel with the V-Type Celestion to knock off some decibels. Still too loud. Took it into the larger living room and dining room to let it breathe. Better, but still more than I could handle at home. I found that I could get my DRRI into similar tonal territory when I compared both amps thru the Suhr RL into IRs.
So, sadly, I chose to flip the Hombre rather than mod it with master volume.

Then I started keeping my eye out for a Cutthroat Down Brownie, highly recommended to me for a while by TGP friend @Gallery.
I'll admit, when the Down Brownie came out, it captured my interest, but didn't entice me enough to commit. Hefty price, somewhat gimmicky with all the tricks, not a known brand, no way to try before buying...
On the other hand, the Hombre was the right bait that got me to go for it. I've lusted for Suhr amps and guitars for a while, never really having the opportunity to check them out. The Hombre was the right amp at the right price for me to bite. And I'm so glad I did. The quality of build and sound was everything I expected. And...it led me to the Down Brownie.

My Down Brownie has a Celestion Gold.
Celestion Gold vs V-type in the Hombre, I have to admit, the V-type is good for the $, and suits the Hombre well. The Gold I think has more upper end detail, and creams out a bit at max volume while the V-type stays somewhat stout.
Impressed by the V-type. Digging the Gold.
My first experience with the Hombre was cranked at home in a tiny music room.
My first experience with the DB was in the country, in a big ol metal shed for tractors.
My first thoughts after playing the DB in that environment were, the Hombre seemed to be more stout, have more gain, feel more direct. The DB seemed a bit tame, but vastly more versatile with all the tricks, i.e. 3-way nfb switch, British channel, channel blend, tube/ss rectifier, and most importantly, the ppimv.
I ended up spending about 4 hrs playing the DB that day, before I gave my fingers a break.
Both amps have the same tone on the bright channel, same tremolo, same weight, same look, same qualities in general that would please a person going for this type of amp.
I was eager to get the DB back home and have a more fair comparison.
Once home, it quickly became evident that the Down Brownie was more suitable for that environment than the Hombre.
I've had a ppimv on several different Plexi type builds, including Germino, Rockitt and a homebrew 2x6v6. I much prefer a good master volume to an attenuator, or reamper like the Fryette Power Station.
The ppimv on the DB is easily the best I've used. And I don't say that lightly. Ppimv on the plexis always comes with a compromise in overall presence and girth. On the DB, freaking fantastic. Maybe it just works better with this circuit, dunno. All I know is I have any tone I expected, plus many more, out of this amp at comfortable home volumes that don't hurt the ears or reach the neighbors. For reference, both a 1974x and the Hombre at cranked volumes generated comments from said neighbors.

So, I was happy I could get that gnarly 6g3 gain at house-friendly volumes. What I didn't expect was how very pleased I ended up being with the British channel. It's like this perfect compromise of everything I like in the Germino Masonette, Marshall 1974x or Retro King 18 and the 6g3 channel. At house friendly volumes. Wow. And then you pull the channel blend knob and add some 6g3 girth...yep. That's the sound. The feel. You can find all shades of breakup in the amp, from barely cracking to pretty damn heavy. Plenty of 60s-70s amp sounds you dig are in here. ZZ, CCR, Stones, Eagles, Led Zep, ACDC, add a pedal for Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden.
One negative thing I have to say about the DB, and the Hombre, is when I back off guitar volume to clean up, the sound gets muddy. Unlike the Plexi or 1974x, both of which get chimey clean, this amp darkens and dulls with less guitar volume.
It must be something with the circuit. If so, I wouldn't change it, because the drive tones are so so good.
A couple of ways I've found to get around this are a treble cap on the guitar volume, and the Stomp Under Foot Cherry Bomb treble booster. Both options retain treble and even brighten up when you roll back that guitar volume.
Speaking of the Stomp Under Foot Cherry Bomb...
This treble booster kills with this amp. It's like it was made for it. I can get a fuller sound with more gain and a tighter attack for anything from violin-like leads to metalish riffs, and back off guitar volume into bright cleans with exceptional clarity.
I've had and flipped the Diamond Marquis and Fulltone Ranger. Dunno if there is something special with the Cherry Bomb, but it will always be a pedal I use from now on.
Other pedals like a Klon KTR or Tube Screamer tighten the attack and add more mids, leading to a very direct sound. I can't believe how versatile this amp is. I can do almost anything with it and a pedal or two. Sure, it won't fill a room like or sound as big as a 100 watt Marshall.
It doesn't sound as small as my DRRI at most volumes.
It actually sounds more energetic than bigger amps under the mic at home, probably because I can work the power tubes some compared to a 50-100 watter.
A little bit of post eq, and it doesn't sound so small, rather impressively big.
The only thing I wish the DB had is an effects loop. I don't know if that's a possibility without affecting the tone. It would be great for delays and loopers. Not a deal breaker at all, though. There are ways around that.
I've had plenty of amps since finding TGP. I've said more than once that a certain amp is a keeper, only to flip it some time later.
I've never once said this is my "desert island amp."
I'm saying right now, if there ever was one that I would consider to be a "desert island amp", this could very well be it.

Here are some clips I didn't plan on sharing, was just discovering what the amp was about.
First one, what's the basic crunch like? Obviously, I wasn't thinking about making a shareable clip:

Next, can it do 80s thrash metal type stuff with a pedal pushing it, in this case the SUF Cherry Bomb? Seriously, a Celestion Gold and treble booster into a Fender amp at home volumes. Just think if it were a V30 with a Timmy or TS pushing it at healthy volume. Killer amp!

That treble booster again, another sound I found:

One last thing. I'd have kept the Hombre if I played with a band at full volume or had a bigger place where I could let it do it's thing and not worry about my ears or the neighbors. It sounds so good, it's light and easy to carry, just has this "it" factor that exudes cool. I'd probably never have checked out the DB if the Hombre had a master volume.

Fact is, most of my playing is at home, my hearing is already compromised, and I can't comfortably play a cranked 20 watter on a regular basis. Non master volume amps don't work in my situation.
The Down Brownie does. And does it with a raw, organic, 3d type sound that I haven't experienced in other amps.
 
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JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,273
Congrats!

You’ve quickly discovered how great treble boosters work with this amp. I don’t think I’ve found a pedal that it doesn’t like.

It really is extremely versatile. It’s pretty much my number one when it comes to recording.
 

cycler

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,325
I have been considering a Brown Deluxe style amp for awhile now, however, like you, I have compromised hearing. Wear 2 hearing aids, and at 70 yrs old, do not want to play out/gig in bars, etc. I was concerned however, as even the Allen Hot Fudge at 15 watts, with 6v6s, would be too much amp for home use. My current music room is not very big to begin with, and the neighbors are pretty close by. Was starting to think about 5 watt amps, but, your thread is certainly interesting, and I will probably spend some time researching the CDB. Thanks for the informative post. I will check out the sound clips later today.
 

Killcrop

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,606
Nice review Bobby. I can use all those tones you recorded. I had a 62 Princeton for a while. The Brownface amps sound just a little different but posses a familiar tone that is so useful in so many situations. The DB takes it to another level it seems. It also sounds like it has a large sonic footprint, which you don't always get with a 1x12 combo. Thanks for sharing.
 

ajoel32

Member
Messages
387
The more time I spend with this amp, the more I’m finding just how nuanced it is. At first, I thought it sounded similar enough to my Swart to be redundant, but that’s not true at all. In fact, the DB makes my Swart sound like a clean amp, and the Swart is not a clean amp.
The DB reacts to the slightest volume changes in the guitar more than the Swart. It’s a very touch sensitive amp. But, cleans it will not do. It’s just a mid-heavy aggressive amp that doesn’t clean up super well. And that’s ok. I embrace it for the thing that it does, and that is amp drive. I’m particularly fond of pushing it with a Greer Lightspeed, which seems to add a little clarity.
I am mainly recording and mainly using a Suhr RL IR for silent recording (gotta make do with being stuck at home with the fam). The Swart is a sweeter sounding amp, for sure. But when you want gnarly, the DB is the one. I don’t know if it would be a desert island, one and only for me, just because I can’t get it to clean up much.
I’m in the hunt for chimey clean. Probably a Princeton type amp or something. But Incan get the Swart AST to clean up pretty well. Really love that amp.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
Great review and glad I could be of assistance! :beer

Bobby and I have been TGP friends for years and have influenced each others gear purchase decisions many times, shared recorded clips and just shoot the sht. We know each others tastes very well. My one regret has been that I just couldn't convince him to try the Down Brownie. I knew it was right up his alley having shared so much gear talk over the years. I mean common! He's from Texas and digs ZZ Top!!! Really, I mean you couldn't find a better candidate for a 6G3.

When he was looking at the Hombre I was very torn. I love Suhr and all their products. I own a bunch of his stuff including guitars, amps, and recording gear. John has even helped me out personally in the past unrelated to his product. There was no way I could live with myself trying to convince him against the Hombre. So I was just happy he was FINALLY discovering the 6G3 after taunting him for so many years.

He loved the Hombre, but was disappointed that it wasn't working out for him due to the volume. Here's where I saw my window without feeling too guilty. I finally could push him over the edge on the Brownie. You can't imagine how happy I was that he finally gave it a shot, AND was immediately enamored with it.

I've been saying since day one back in March 2017 when I received my Down Brownie that it is THE BEST master volume implementation on a vintage amp circuit that I have every experienced. Kudos to Ron and his vision. As a means of reducing volume to home friendly levels, it's better than any form of attenuation I've tried with the amp including Aracom, Fryette Power Station, Tone King Ironman, Fluxtone Speakers, Eminence FDM, the Jim Kelley attenuator and a few others not worth mentioning. If you want brown panel vintage Fender tone that you can play at home without disturbing family and neighbors, the Down Brownie is very much worth trying. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it would be a mistake not trying the DB.

As far as the muddy clean up, I can identify with that especially using humbuckers. It's not so much an issue with single coils. However, I found that there are two great ways of making the Down Brownie a two channel clean/dirty amp. The first is an A/B switch that allows you to make the British channel your clean channel and the Brown channel your dirt channel. The other is using a clean boost or EQ (much the same way LPmojoGL used the Cherry Bomb) to cut the bass while also cutting volume much the same way you would with your guitar volume knob. I've used a Timmy, a Klon, EQD Tone Job, Benson Preamp, KOT and Kingsley Page all to do this. The Timmy and Page were probably my favorite for the task. Turn down the gain and volume, cut a bunch of bass, boost the treble and you have an instant clean channel when you stomp on it.

I agree wholeheartedly on the effects loop. The DB with all it's preamp gain would benefit greatly from a good transparent loop. I know Ron was working on this at one point. If it ever happens, I will send mine back for an update in a heartbeat. I would love to run some delays and reverbs in a loop after the preamp gain of the Brownie. It's already a desert island amp for me, but the loop would just make it even more incredible.

Finally, I have a lot of other amps and the Brownie doesn't get as much play time as it used to because variety is what really inspires me to play every night. But you know how the saying goes about the one thing you would grab if your house was on fire... well, the one amp I would grab would be the Down Brownie. Coincidentally, the second amp I would grab is the Friedman JJ100 and can you guess which TGP'er was the one who convinced me to buy the JJ in the first place??? And so it comes full circle.

So glad that you reallly dig the DB Bobby! Hope it stays a keeper for you.

Post script and EDIT: The Cutthroat Audio Francene shares a lot of DNA with the Down Brownie and it is available with a metro loop. I foresee one of those in my future if Ron is doing head version and a loop isn't in the cards for the Brownie. I've been saying that for a while. Next year may just be the time.
 
Last edited:

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,009
I guess I'm fortunate in that I can regularly turn up my 20 watt amps. It definitely is not too loud for regular use. At the end of the day though, you found something that you are happy with and that inspires you and that is all that really matters.
 

Echoplexi

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,400
Great review and glad I could be of assistance! :beer

Bobby and I have been TGP friends for years and have influenced each others gear purchase decisions many times, shared recorded clips and just shoot the sht. We know each others tastes very well. My one regret has been that I just couldn't convince him to try the Down Brownie. I knew it was right up his alley having shared so much gear talk over the years. I mean common! He's from Texas and digs ZZ Top!!! Really, I mean you couldn't find a better candidate for a 6G3.

When he was looking at the Hombre I was very torn. I love Suhr and all their products. I own a bunch of his stuff including guitars, amps, and recording gear. John has even helped me out personally in the past unrelated to his product. There was no way I could live with myself trying to convince him against the Hombre. So I was just happy he was FINALLY discovering the 6G3 after taunting him for so many years.

He loved the Hombre, but was disappointed that it wasn't working out for him due to the volume. Here's where I saw my window without feeling too guilty. I finally could push him over the edge on the Brownie. You can't imagine how happy I was that he finally gave it a shot, AND was immediately enamored with it.

I've been saying since day one back in March 2017 when I received my Down Brownie that it is THE BEST master volume implementation on a vintage amp circuit that I have every experienced. Kudos to Ron and his vision. As a means of reducing volume to home friendly levels, it's better than any form of attenuation I've tried with the amp including Aracom, Fryette Power Station, Tone King Ironman, Fluxtone Speakers, Eminence FDM, the Jim Kelley attenuator and a few others not worth mentioning. If you want brown panel vintage Fender tone that you can play at home without disturbing family and neighbors, the Down Brownie is very much worth trying. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it would be a mistake not trying the DB.

As far as the muddy clean up, I can identify with that especially using humbuckers. It's not so much an issue with single coils. However, I found that there are two great ways of making the Down Brownie a two channel clean/dirty amp. The first is an A/B switch that allows you to make the British channel your clean channel and the Brown channel your dirt channel. The other is using a clean boost or EQ (much the same way LPmojoGL used the Cherry Bomb) to cut the bass while also cutting volume much the same way you would with your guitar volume knob. I've used a Timmy, a Klon, EQD Tone Job, Benson Preamp, KOT and Kingsley Page all to do this. The Timmy and Page were probably my favorite for the task. Turn down the gain and volume, cut a bunch of bass, boost the treble and you have an instant clean channel when you stomp on it.

I agree wholeheartedly on the effects loop. The DB with all it's preamp gain would benefit greatly from a good transparent loop. I know Ron was working on this at one point. If it ever happens, I will send mine back for an update in a heartbeat. I would love to run some delays and reverbs in a loop after the preamp gain of the Brownie. It's already a desert island amp for me, but the loop would just make it even more incredible.

Finally, I have a lot of other amps and the Brownie doesn't get as much play time as it used to because variety is what really inspires me to play every night. But you know how the saying goes about the one thing you would grab if your house was on fire... well, the one amp I would grab would be the Down Brownie. Coincidentally, the second amp I would grab is the Friedman JJ100 and can you guess which TGP'er was the one who convinced me to buy the JJ in the first place??? And so it comes full circle.

So glad that you reallly dig the DB Bobby! Hope it stays a keeper for you.

Post script and EDIT: The Cutthroat Audio Francene shares a lot of DNA with the Down Brownie and it is available with a metro loop. I foresee one of those in my future if Ron is doing head version and a loop isn't in the cards for the Brownie. I've been saying that for a while. Next year may just be the time.
He and I have enabled each other’s amp purchasing over the years too, I can relate haha.

Glad to see a 6G3 in his arsenal now, they are badass amps. Miss my 62’ dearly.
 

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,038
Nice write-up! I've been wanting to pick up a DB, but I would need to move my SS Overdrive Deluxe to do it and I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe someday. It will certainly remain on my radar.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
I guess I'm fortunate in that I can regularly turn up my 20 watt amps. It definitely is not too loud for regular use. At the end of the day though, you found something that you are happy with and that inspires you and that is all that really matters.
I can't crank any of my 20 watters in my music room for more than it takes me to record a song. Any longer would definitely result in hearing damage. Even just a song leaves my ears ringing. My tinnitus is bad enough already. I usually close the door and stand outside the room to play or use closed back headphones. Some people are fortunate enough to have big rooms with some air breath and space to move far enough away from the speaker. My kids stuff takes precedent over my toys, so I get a small room in the basement. But make no mistake, with long term use a cranked 20 watt amp indoors, even in a large room, is causing you hearing damage whether you know it's happening now or not.
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,009
I can't crank any of my 20 watters in my music room for more than it takes me to record a song. Any longer would definitely result in hearing damage. Even just a song leaves my ears ringing. My tinnitus is bad enough already. I usually close the door and stand outside the room to play or use closed back headphones. Some people are fortunate enough to have big rooms with some air breath and space to move far enough away from the speaker. My kids stuff takes precedent over my toys, so I get a small room in the basement. But make no mistake, with long term use a cranked 20 watt amp indoors, even in a large room, is causing you hearing damage whether you know it's happening now or not.
My space isn't large; its only 14'x11' but there is some acoustic treatment in there so its not super lively. For me, I can easily open up an amp in this range and regularly use my Hombre, '59 Deluxe, '62 Princeton, Top Hat Club Royale, or Marshall PA20 without attenuation. Of those, the Club Royale is the only MV amp I own.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
My space isn't large; its only 14'x11' but there is some acoustic treatment in there so its not super lively. For me, I can easily open up an amp in this range and regularly use my Hombre, '59 Deluxe, '62 Princeton, Top Hat Club Royale, or Marshall PA20 without attenuation. Of those, the Club Royale is the only MV amp I own.
I'm not suggesting you're young, but I did that through my teens, 20's and 30's and I'm definitely paying for it now in my 40's. Trying to protect what I have left. Be safe.
 

soundbee

Double Platinum Member
Messages
1,282
OP - dig your British Metal clip. Will have to try that.... Very happy (recent) DB owner here and agree on all your points = well said. So much so... I've now got a Francene on order (w/ Celestion upgrade) ... plan on running these two lil beasts in stereo = mmmm. Can't wait!
 

Valveampguy

Member
Messages
334
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with volume issues regarding my recently acquired Hombre, as shared in a separate thread yesterday.
I'm playing in my office sized music room in a detached house, so my own comfort level is my limit.

With a phone db meter, I'm comfortable tapping out around 95 db, maybe high 80s on average, at about 4 to 6 feet or so away.
My Tone King Gremlin attenuated gives me amazing results, best ever, with the above levels.

I couldn't comfortably get the Hombre past 2 or 3, and 3 is already crazy loud tapping out at way over 100-110 db, so that's way beyond healthy and becomes physically uncomfortable for me. And there's of course no breakup yet.
I tried pedals and the Origin Revivaldrive gives okay results, but not more than okay. It's just no fun fiddling with the volume knob at 1/100th of an inch to find a bearable level.
I knew beforehand breakup without pedals wasn't possible, but the results are disappointing. Even though I do love the amp's clean sound, but I only play my Strats super clean.

So yeah, attenuators seem to be the next try.

What I don't get is how some of you seem to be able to play non master 20 and more Watt amps in such a setting?!? Am I such a wimp?
 

mdrake34

Member
Messages
18,350
One negative thing I have to say about the DB, and the Hombre, is when I back off guitar volume to clean up, the sound gets muddy. Unlike the Plexi or 1974x, both of which get chimey clean, this amp darkens and dulls with less guitar volume.
It must be something with the circuit. If so, I wouldn't change it, because the drive tones are so so good.
Killer and thorough review, but this is a bummer. I love rolled back, chimey cleans.
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,273
OP - dig your British Metal clip. Will have to try that.... Very happy (recent) DB owner here and agree on all your points = well said. So much so... I've now got a Francene on order (w/ Celestion upgrade) ... plan on running these two lil beasts in stereo = mmmm. Can't wait!
You will be thrilled with Francene. I also got the 10’ Gold/Greenback combo.
This is an absolutely amazing amp and the Celestion upgrade is great. I haven’t even considered any other speakers.

Wait till you hear how massive it sounds! Great plan to run both!
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,336
Killer and thorough review, but this is a bummer. I love rolled back, chimey cleans.
I'm picking up a Down Brownie this weekend and this popped out at me too. Three things make me not worry about it. 1) I have very good unpotted low wind pickups in one LP with 50s wiring and solid 500k pots, and I haven't had an issue rolling down and getting chimey cleans with any amp using that guitar, including my 18 Watt Marshall, which I should be able to nearly mimic with the DB; 2) I have a fuzz pedal and no matter what I plug that into, it gives me "roll back chimey cleans" all day long; and 3) I can always plug in a Strat and clean things way up (mine has 5.7k late 60s type scooped pickups in it).

I'll report back once I pick it up. I'm going to get it Friday evening, should be able to give a solid tone report by Saturday morning or afternoon.
 

mdrake34

Member
Messages
18,350
I'm picking up a Down Brownie this weekend and this popped out at me too. Three things make me not worry about it. 1) I have very good unpotted low wind pickups in one LP with 50s wiring and solid 500k pots, and I haven't had an issue rolling down and getting chimey cleans with any amp using that guitar, including my 18 Watt Marshall, which I should be able to nearly mimic with the DB; 2) I have a fuzz pedal and no matter what I plug that into, it gives me "roll back chimey cleans" all day long; and 3) I can always plug in a Strat and clean things way up (mine has 5.7k late 60s type scooped pickups in it).

I'll report back once I pick it up. I'm going to get it Friday evening, should be able to give a solid tone report by Saturday morning or afternoon.
Whoah! Used or new?
 




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