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

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,009
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?
Using a phone app, I did register peaks above 110db when it was dime. I think the sweet spot for me is 7-8 and then using the guitar's volume pot to adjust the level of drive and it doesn't seem excessive to me. Using a Suhr RL in parallel cuts the output if I need to just fine. I've put fuzz through it, and I've experimented with a bit of boost but generally I'm getting plenty of what I'm looking for straight into the amp.
 

mountain blues

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,226
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?
I have moderate tinnitus, so I am sensitive to high dB levels and don't want to risk doing any more damage, so I use the Suhr RL/IR in parallel with mine and that brings the volume down appreciably. I can hang out with the bright channel around 7 with that. I also have a Crate Powerblock that I am going to use as a reamping setup to really tame the volume so I can crank it into all the sweet spots. I asked John about attenuators when I first got my Hombre about a month ago, and he strongly recommended the RL/parallel and reamping solutions over an attenuator.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
Using a phone app, I did register peaks above 110db when it was dime. I think the sweet spot for me is 7-8 and then using the guitar's volume pot to adjust the level of drive and it doesn't seem excessive to me. Using a Suhr RL in parallel cuts the output if I need to just fine. I've put fuzz through it, and I've experimented with a bit of boost but generally I'm getting plenty of what I'm looking for straight into the amp.
Not to sound like the volume police, but at 110 db damage begins to occur within about 2 minutes to cause hearing loss. At 120 you are causing instant ear damage.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
Killer and thorough review, but this is a bummer. I love rolled back, chimey cleans.
We are probably making it sound worse than it is. It's not bad, but doesn't clean up and stay as chimey as some amps. It oozes chime before you hit the edge of breakup on the amp volume dial. With light to medium dirt you still get great clean up. But lets face it, if you have an amp like the Down Brownie that sounds incredible gained up to 7 or 8 on the dial, you want to play it there and at that volume it doesn't clean up to a perfectly chimey clean tone. So it may not be the fairest comparison. For example, my Benson Monarch will clean up incredibly well and clean note ring like a bell, but at full throttle it doesn't have nearly the gain of the DB. So it's not a fair comparison. Do not let that sway you from the amp. It has the British channel and all you need is an A/B footswitch. Or just don't crank the amp to 8. There's generous dirt at 5 and the clean up is still great.
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,273
Yeah this is the first time I’ve even really thought about it’s ability to clean up. This is a non issue for me. This amp has great cleans. It really does but it’s the driven sound that makes it truly special.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
Thanks everyone for chiming in!


I'll address two issues that seem to be a common concern so far in the thread.

First - Volume Loudness
My music room is small. Tiny. 10'x10'. My 3 bedroom house that was built in the 60s is less than 1100 sq ft. I can get away with louder than apartment volumes on a regular basis. I can occasionally crank something like the 1974x, Germino Masonette or Suhr Hombre for a good session. Every great once in a while I can crank a 50-100 watt Marshall for a few seconds.
The Suhr Hombre is no 50-100 watt Marshall. It's about even with a cranked Deluxe Reverb. Which, in my house, is not something I can do very often.
I can play the Down Brownie for hours using the ppimv 1/3-1/2 of the way up, without any hearing discomfort, in that tiny music room.
If I were Suhr, I'd move forward with a head unit and add a defeatable master volume. That would probably sell a good number of amps.

Second - Clean up with guitar volume
With my Strat, which has a treble bleed cap, the DB at full master volume and the 6g3 channel cranked, I was able to roll back to one of the most beautiful clean tones I've had. The thing is, I usually have to turn down my Strat tone knob to keep the sound from thinning out when lowering the volume knob. In this case, I left the tone knob cranked.
That's it. With my darker humbucking Explorer and no treble cap, I utilized the Cherry Bomb, much like a Tonebender or Fuzz Face, to clean things up and retain the clarity or brightness.
Is it as pretty as a Les Paul rolled back on a cranked Plexi? Nah. But my SG with treble cap in the neck pup gets pretty nice sounds with the guitar volume dialed back without being muddy. So it's workable.
And that Strat clean with the amp at full volume and guitar dialed back, was gorgeous.
 
Last edited:

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
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.
You can play this at whisper volumes. And it sounds good.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
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.
I played a Brownface Princeton. It was on the verge of greatness for me. Just loud enough to be too loud, sounded just a bit small. The DB remedies both issues and does a whole lot more.
If you have the space to crank it, so does the Hombre.
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,860
You can play this at whisper volumes. And it sounds good.
:dude Yep. When mine arrived I had a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn in the house and a hyper volume sensitive wife who wanted those babies to sleep every chance they could... The Down Brownie (and also a Suhr RL) got me through that period. I could play in the basement at whisper volume and actually enjoy myself. This was after owning all of the big name attenuators out there. The MV on the DB was better than using any of them.
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,009
I played a Brownface Princeton. It was on the verge of greatness for me. Just loud enough to be too loud, sounded just a bit small. The DB remedies both issues and does a whole lot more.
If you have the space to crank it, so does the Hombre.
I really love my '62 Princeton which I've had for 6 years now. Its a good amp, but as you say, its the volume isn't that much less. Compared to a 6G3 though, it lacks some of the balls and a lot of the bottom end.
 

Valveampguy

Member
Messages
334
It seems odd to me compared to most posts in this thread that it seems to be my own comfort level in terms of loudness, which is holding me back from cranking the Hombre.
I live in a detached home, music room is large enough, neighbors aren't too close by. However, anything past 90-95 besides peek levels seems uncomfortable to my ears.

A built-in power scaling feature as in the, as in the Tone Kings would be so great.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
It seems odd to me compared to most posts in this thread that it seems to be my own comfort level in terms of loudness, which is holding me back from cranking the Hombre.
I live in a detached home, music room is large enough, neighbors aren't too close by. However, anything past 90-95 besides peek levels seems uncomfortable to my ears.

A built-in power scaling feature as in the, as in the Tone Kings would be so great.
I had to see what the Hombre was meant to do right off, then worked towards making it work for me in my situation.
It'd be perfect if I lived outside of town and had a huge shed like my dad. There'd be a corner just for amps like the Hombre! I'd be able to play loud, comfortably and without any hearing concerns or upset neighbors.

I found that the Hombre sounded great from like 2-3 on the dial all the way up. Perhaps with a long guitar cable to get you away from the speaker, a pedal or two for different gain levels, and something like the Suhr RL as partial load, you could find a happy volume. I believe Andy Wood was playing through one at a guitar show with his pedal, and the amp just barely cracked. Sounded good to me.
 

Valveampguy

Member
Messages
334
Thank you for your insights. I believe you're right - even though my music room isn't tiny, playing it in a bigger room, maybe a barn or studio would be very different.

I have found a manageable sound I like - volume on 2,5 with my Origin Effects Revivaldrive set to a Fender style crunch or my Zvex 59 Sound (Bass amp in a box style). It's lacking bottom end that way compared to my other 1 x 12" combo amps like the Tone King Gremlin, but it sounds great with a Strat or especially a Tele.

With a 335 or LP, I feel it's lacking overtones and complexity in overall sound that way.

Next up are my attenuation attempts.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
Thank you for your insights. I believe you're right - even though my music room isn't tiny, playing it in a bigger room, maybe a barn or studio would be very different.

I have found a manageable sound I like - volume on 2,5 with my Origin Effects Revivaldrive set to a Fender style crunch or my Zvex 59 Sound (Bass amp in a box style). It's lacking bottom end that way compared to my other 1 x 12" combo amps like the Tone King Gremlin, but it sounds great with a Strat or especially a Tele.

With a 335 or LP, I feel it's lacking overtones and complexity in overall sound that way.

Next up are my attenuation attempts.
I loved the Hombre with my SG. You could play lightly or dig in and it would respond accordingly with shades of overtones. The guy I moved it to is a much better player than I, and he made it sing with the volume a shade less than noon. Perfect clean to drive snap on these tasty blues/country/classic rock licks. So much so I asked if he'd teach me some those licks, and expect to compare the DB and Hombre side-by-side in the near future, while getting schooled.
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,113
I just compared the Naylor Duel 100 to the Down Brownie through a Bogner OS2x12.
My ears are ringing.

The DB at 1/2 up on the mv is starting to move some air. All the way up is loud! Really, I've never needed more than that in any band situation. Funny how 20 watts on different amps means different loudness.

The 100 watt Naylor sounds bigger and louder, but with the awesome presence knob, can also sound remarkably similar to the DB.
It's tighter, gainier, more precise. The DB is more open and raw.
DB is like driving an old school muscle car, the Naylor is like driving something a bit more specialized, powerful and less forgiving.
The DB with channels jumped and volumes cranked sounds huge for a small amp, and really has enough gain that I probably wouldn't need a pedal jamming with a band for classic to lighter 90s stuff. Impressed.

I noticed that my SG bridge pup didn't suffer the roll back to clean darkness on the DB that my Explorer did. The Explorer has the original Gibson pots in it. I wonder it that has something to do with it. The rolled back cleans on the Naylor were more sparkly, but the DB was not bad at all, and especially good on the neck pup that has a coil tap and treble bleed cap.

Two very great amps.
 

Valveampguy

Member
Messages
334
I think my issues are down to the amp needing to be cranked more. I will tinker with that again tomorrow.

I will play around with amp position in the room and my own position, moving back farther.
 

ToneProspector

Senior Member
Messages
319
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.
To the OP - thank you so much for such a detailed review. I've been debating between the Hombre, DB, and Headstrong Corduroy. Leaning towards the DB at the moment..
 

ebenezer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,166
I won’t sit here and rave about how good the sound of the DB is, this thread is full of that, and I agree, it sounds amazing. What I will say is that the master volume is the best I’ve heard on any amp, period. It’s just stunningly good. At 1/3 to halfway up the amps is more than tolerable for small practice rooms, and looses almost nothing in tone.
 




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