Tone King Imperial - suitable for home practice?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Adelbatross, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Adelbatross

    Adelbatross Member

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    Been thinking a lot lately about picking up a Tone King Imperial. Everything I've heard of the Imperial sounds great, and by all accounts the quality is great too.

    Realistically, I can only afford the original model without the built in Ironman attenuator, since the 20th Anniversary model is $1000 more than the standard.

    My concern is being able to use it at home. I found with the DRRI I used to own I could only get to about 3 before it was too loud for the bedroom. I've heard that the Imperial is pretty loud for a 20 watt amp, but would it be suitable for playing at home? I'd love that attenuator, but $1000 extra is kinda pushing it.

    Also wondering if even the older standard model is worth the $3000 price tag.

    *Note: There's only 1 retailer in Australia (where I live) that sells Tone King, and the store is 700 kms (+400 miles) away so hard to try it out first.
     
  2. Shadow Puppets

    Shadow Puppets Member

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    I'd say it's OK for home use. I've used one at home for the past few days, but it really depends on whether you want to practice "clean" or practice with it in it's sweet cranked spot? If the latter, you'd really need either the 20th Anniversary or the new MKII.
     
  3. Hwy14

    Hwy14 Member

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    To use the original effectively, it has to be turned up. If you're intending to play it at whisper bedroom level, you might as well get something cheaper. The tone king has to get turned up a bit to starting cooking...
     
  4. d2_racing

    d2_racing Member

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    The standard Imperial is really loud IMOO.

    I tested in the past the Imperial 20th LE and the attenuator is a must if you want to have a nice crunch.

    If you play only clean stuff, then you don't need the attenuator.

    I hear that the MKII model has a better attenuator, but I didn't test it, so I cannot confirm.
     
  5. ClassicLP

    ClassicLP Member

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    Andertons have done a namm review of the amp. The new attenuator sounds great.
     
  6. d2_racing

    d2_racing Member

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    Mark added 2 switchs and I must say that it sound awesome.

    A 2000$ amp must sound killer :p
     
  7. FreeBlues

    FreeBlues Silver Supporting Member

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    I use my Imperial at home full time. For clean, heavenly blackface tones it is beyond addictive. Everyone here talks about getting crunch and such, but I find the clean tones so marvelous that I often forget abut cleans altogether!

    But, it also takes pedals quite well.

    So, if you want the best clean tones ever produced AND you are okay with getting OD tones with pedals, by all means get and Imperial. If you want to get crunch tones from the amp itself, you'll need an attenuator of some sort.
     
  8. d2_racing

    d2_racing Member

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    From the toneking website, The Imperial is now mark as MKII.

    The standard and the LE edition are not available.
     
  9. davidespinosa

    davidespinosa Supporting Member

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    Is that $3000 USD new?

    In the TGP Emporium, used Imperials seem to go for $1500 USD.

    The Imperial is very similar to a Deluxe Reverb in terms of volume and tone.
     
  10. psyandy

    psyandy Member

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    The amp is super loud. I couldn't imagine using it to full capacity in a home without attenuation. I've owned nearly every TK made and I needed attenuation as a primarily home player. Great amp though.
     
  11. archtop

    archtop Member

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    I'm in Australia too, and the prices seem high here. I was lucky to buy a used Metropolitan for a great price, which has power scaling, and is really useable at home. I noticed one in the emporium here for $1895. You could import one and get a stepdown transformer.
     
  12. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    The "good" news; The Imperial (non-20th), sounds as amazing, (and better than the 20th IMO), as a modern BF Amp could ever want. Killer, killer tone....period.

    The "bad" news; If the Deluxe Reverb was "too" loud at 3.....the Imperial will be too.

    Now....as an alternative, go buy yourself something like the Mesa Boogie "Cab Clone" to fit on your DRRI, and you can then use Headphones, crank it up to your hearts desire, (and what's safe for your ears), and only have to spend $300 +/- (depending on Australia pricing.
     
  13. TimH

    TimH Member

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    look...any amp above 1w is "too loud" if we're talking about natural tube overdrive...
    However I'd also say that any amp is "just fine" if you plan to use pedals. Its true of EVERY amp that they sound better when they're louder but these threads about "is this a good home amp" the answer is always "yes" as long as you don't expect stage volumes at bedroom volumes.
     
  14. dB

    dB Member

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    I think for it to hit its sweet spot for cleans, it is way too loud for home use. Even louder if you want to use the lead channel. I've had everything from blackface Princeton Reverbs through Twin Reverbs, and they all sound great as clean amps at about 3 or 4...which is fine for home (for me at least). I found the Imperial had to be running noticeably louder to hit a comparable sweet spot.

    Incredible sounding amp, otherwise.
     
  15. Oz Hofstatter

    Oz Hofstatter Gold Supporting Member

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    TK Imperial MKII = Yes!!!
    Cheers,
    Oz
     
  16. SRQGuitar

    SRQGuitar Member

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    :aok
     
  17. davidespinosa

    davidespinosa Supporting Member

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    I've found that Princeton Reverbs don't sound good until 3-4.

    So I tried the standard model Imperial at a shop, to check whether it sounded good at 1-2.

    My conclusion was that it sounded fine. YMMV.

    BTW, my guess is that the volume control on the Princeton introduces too much series resistance when it's turned down. I don't think I'm overdriving anything at 3-4. But that's just a guess -- could be wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  18. FreeBlues

    FreeBlues Silver Supporting Member

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    I often run my Imperial at 1-2 at home, it sounds great!
     
  19. kickstrat

    kickstrat Member

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    It is an excellent amp for home use in my opinion. I run it at 2 and it sounds good enough for me.
     
  20. Sammy

    Sammy Member

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    Agree, I have an early original Imperial and IMO its not that great as a home amp, but turn it up for a gig, even just at a reasonable volume, we are not a loud band and its the best valve combo I have ever played live, throughout my many years. It just comes into its own.

    I did mention this to Mark Bartell and he sort of agreed with regard to the original Imperial, but he suggested playing it at home with the speaker facing me. To be honest I have never actually tried that as I do have another amp for home use, plus if if I am playing at home I don't really want to be looking at the back of the amp and also having to fiddle around looking over the top to change the settings!
     

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