Tone King Imperial MkII or 20th Anniversary

Budman2k

Member
Messages
972
Anyone here had a chance to play both of these ?? Is the Ironman II that much better than the attenuator in the 20th anniversary model? I know there were a few threads discussing these but I'd like to hear some opinions since I can't try them out locally.

Thanks!
Budman
 

kbgear

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,127
Unless there's a significant price difference or you want a somewhat limited run amp, I'm pretty sure the MKII rolls in the goodness from the 20th, plus its own features. The MKII sounds better than all of the Imperial MKI and 20th clips I've heard, though granted that's just virtual.
 

GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,318
The one thing that I think set's the MKII apart from the 20th is the "Attenuator Bypass" function. The Lead Channel on these amps is hard to tame sometimes and needs the Ironman attenuator. I can't speak for the difference in the attenuator between these two, but my MKII attenuator kicks major @$$. It also has the Bypass function, so you can attenuate ONLY the lead channel if you wish while leaving the Clean channel alone (max headroom). The attenuator on the MKII also has (not sure if the 20th does, as well) the HF Comp switch to add hi-end back in if you attenuate heavily. I can tell a big difference if I am at the 3rd increment or higher on the attenuator.

Mark claims that the new board layout on the MKII yields some significant "sonic benefits" (shorter wire runs, component placement, etc), but I can only tell you that my MKII is probably the best amp I've ever played for gigging in small to medium venues. The cleans are just the most amazing you'll ever hear.
 

ur2funky

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,019
I love my Royalist 45 too!

I have the 20th Anniversary and want to have the IronMan bypassed on the clean channel. I recommend the MKII !!!
 

Budman2k

Member
Messages
972
The one thing that I think set's the MKII apart from the 20th is the "Attenuator Bypass" function. The Lead Channel on these amps is hard to tame sometimes and needs the Ironman attenuator. I can't speak for the difference in the attenuator between these two, but my MKII attenuator kicks major @$$. It also has the Bypass function, so you can attenuate ONLY the lead channel if you wish while leaving the Clean channel alone (max headroom). The attenuator on the MKII also has (not sure if the 20th does, as well) the HF Comp switch to add hi-end back in if you attenuate heavily. I can tell a big difference if I am at the 3rd increment or higher on the attenuator.

Mark claims that the new board layout on the MKII yields some significant "sonic benefits" (shorter wire runs, component placement, etc), but I can only tell you that my MKII is probably the best amp I've ever played for gigging in small to medium venues. The cleans are just the most amazing you'll ever hear.
Thanks! That helps. The ability to only attenuate the lead channel was one of the differences I was concerned about.
 

GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,318
It's very nice. You can attenuate both channels if you want, but I find that I only need to tame the lead channel. The rhythm channel sounds great no matter where it's set on the volume, so I generally get the lead channel to the level and amount of crunch I want, then just match the clean channel to it.
 

redgold

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,926
I was finally able to play a MKII very briefly. It is not as bright as the original version (going by memory), but a bit brighter than the Anni. I think the Creamback of the Anni gives it a different flavor overall than the other two versions...less blackface, fuller in the mids and less strident high end. The Tone King 33 speaker on the original and MkII sounds like a ceramic Jensen style to me. The ability to bypass attenuation on the clean channel with the MkII is useful as you can switch between slightly dirty cleans and gnarly lead while balancing the overall volume. I preferred the attenuation of the MkII with the eq switch set to normal...just sounded fuller and more natural to me. It was my impression that the reverb on the MkII was less present than the other two versions...more in the background and less enveloping (but this could be my imagination as Bartel does not mention changes to the reverb).

My favorite is still the Anni and I will probably pick one up at some point.
 
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Guinness Lad

Senior Member
Messages
15,860
If the speaker is darker as you stated then the reverb would sound less intense. I have the original version but from 2012 or 13, it also isn't as bright as the original ones, maybe it's speaker changes (manufacturing?).
 

redgold

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,926
If the speaker is darker as you stated then the reverb would sound less intense. I have the original version but from 2012 or 13, it also isn't as bright as the original ones, maybe it's speaker changes (manufacturing?).
I think the speaker in the original and MKII is the same. The Anni has the Creamback.
 

GenoBluzGtr

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,318
I had not paid much attention to this, but after a few weeks of gigging and home-playing, I've noticed that the reverb is much stronger on the Rhythm Channel than on the Lead Channel. At first I just thought it was a perception thing... the EQ of the mid range just didn't accentuate the 'verb very well. I'm pretty convinced now that it (the reverb) is DEFINITELY more attenuated when on the Lead Channel compared with the Rhythm Channel. Not scientific, but when using a pedal to drive the Rhythm channel at about the same EQ and gain level as the Lead Channel the reverb is still strong and has a noticeable "tail" to it. But even set very clean, the Lead Channel reverb seems to drop significantly compared with the Rhythm channel.

For me this is a GOOD thing!! I MUCH prefer less 'verb on my overdriven tone and one of the reasons I've always favored Fender - Flavored amps... the footswitchable Reverb. This amp just seems to do it automatically.

The more I play this amp the more it impresses me. One of the best, if not THE best amp I've ever played.
 

remocity

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,260
The reverb on the lead channel is attenuated a little........it's in the manual.
 






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