Tone King Imperial or Swart AST

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Ryguy, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Ryguy

    Ryguy Member

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    I have been eying both of these amps for a while, and have the chance to pick up one of the two. I owned a TK Comet that I liked, but hought was way to loud on the lead channel. I have tried a Swart at Ludlow Guitars in NYC, and loved it. I am leaning towards the TK because of the two channels. While I am mostly a Tweed guy, I like the idea of having a nice blackface sound in the same amp. I play a Tele and an Es-330.

    Has anybody tried both of these that can tell me how alike the lead channel on the Imperial and the Swart's tone are?
     
  2. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    The Imperial is going to be loud like the Comet. Great sound on the lead channel, though. I haven't tried a Swart.
     
  3. Ryguy

    Ryguy Member

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    I guess it isn't just a volume question; the Comet didn't sound to me like a low powered tweed at low volumes, it was too stiff, and only loosened up at higher volumes. I was under the impression that the Imperial had smaller transformers that the Comet, and that the lead channel woud have slightly lower volume, and maybe be a bit spongier.
     
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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  5. Ryguy

    Ryguy Member

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  6. Z-Rider

    Z-Rider Member

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    Hi,
    From riffmeister's soundlink you can hear pretty much what the Imperial can do. Just listen to them guys react when the channels are changed. The lead channel really has a "voice", you either like or not. From tweed Deluxe to Marshally, there are a lot of different tones depending on how you adjust the volume an mid-bite knobs. You have to turn it up, though, 20 Watts isn't that loud! For me it's my dream amp; I wasn't really looking for it, but got it in a trade. If it says anything, I sold my '66 Vibrolux Reverb half a year after I got the Imperial.
    The clean channel is also great for amplifying acoustics. Reverb and tremolo are among the best you can get. Mark Bartel seems to know his stuff, his attention to detail is painstaking and he's also making the Imperial again.
    Sorry, I never played a Swart.
    Z
     
  7. doyle o'brian

    doyle o'brian Supporting Member

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    I'm reviving this thread to see if anyone can make a direct comparison between the imperial and the AST. I have played the AST and have been thinking that it will be my next amp, but I would like to familiarize myself with other amps of this style first. I want something in the 10-20 watt range that has a vintage tweed vibe but with tremolo and reverb. The Imperial seems like a top contender. Anyone out there have experience with both?
     
  8. amp boy

    amp boy Member

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    why not look at a Clark Tremoux, ya i can't spell, get the add on reverb with it, and you got....tweed....trem.....verb.
    TAKES IT TO THE HOLE..........IT'S IN THE CAN !!!!!!!!!!!!
    hahahaaa...
     
  9. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    The Imperial is absolutely not as loud as the Comet plus, because the 3rd lead gain stage and trem circuit share a 12AX7, you can replace it with a 12DW7 (one side is a 12AX7, the other a 12AU7), and significantly reduce the volume and total available gain (when mid-bite control is maxed) that way (may require - as it did for me - minor rewiring of the leads into the tube's socket to switch the sides).
     
  10. ryhlick

    ryhlick Supporting Member

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    I have played both, and for me I would take the Swart in a second. It has a rounder sound that is its own thing going on. The Swart has a more organic feel and a sweeter tone, while the Imperial has a harder more strident feel to it. Both have great reverb & trem, however the Swart's tremelo is second to none and has a more swampy feel. I will give the nod to the Imperial for reverb, it sounds like really great fender reverb. It was a newer model I played, there was just something in the high end that was not very pleasing to my ears. Which ever way you go you will end up with a great tone.
     
  11. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Clip the treble bleed cap on the Tone King's volume control - takes a second - and goodbye "strident" to those not wanting it (many do). I had Mark lower the value of mine to 33pf and it up to a minitoggle. If you clip just one side of the cap, you can at any point resolder it in seconds to restore the "stock" tone.
     

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