Tone King vs Pure 64 vs Bruno!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by riffmeister, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    As most of you know from my repetitious posts, I really like my Tone King Meteor II 1x12. I've never had an amp work so well with my pop-rock-blues band. It has a slight mid-scoop so it sits in the mix incredibly well when I'm playing rhythm guitar behind vocals, and it has a slight amount of OD at 'the right' volume level when I hit the strings hard, and it fattens up nicely with a Fulldrive when I play leads. Also, the upper mids seem to mate perfectly with my guitar, I can dial them in to just the right level, depending on how I want the guitar to sit in the mix, with the tone control on the guitar. So between pickup choice (s/s/h Strat-type Suhr), guitar vol & tone controls, and just a couple of pedals, I've got a versatile 'rig' that suits my needs really well.

    Despite that, I read these pages and continually feel like I need to try more amps. With some extra cash coming in I had enough to pay the tax man and try two new pre-owned amps, a Pure 64 "The 64" and a Bruno Underground 30. I just finished a mini-session comparing all three amps. I played them all through the Meteor II 1x12 cab and an open back 1x12 cab with a G12H. Conclusions:

    1. Meteor II ain't goin' nowhere. This is still my favorite amp (see above).

    2. Pure 64. A very nice sounding Fender-ish amp, the curve control takes you many places, from more mid-scooped BF Fender to more mid-heavy JTM45-ish tones. Great feel on this amp, and the OD starts happening at a very good volume for my needs. However, this particular amp needs some work, there is a bit of rasp when it goes into OD. The builder, Mark, is VERY accessible; even before I received the amp from the previous owner, he contacted me and said he would be happy to go over the amp free of charge. I had a good chat with Mark on the phone after I received the amp, and he diagnosed the problem with the rasp (hopefully he's right!), offered to re-voice the amp slightly as per my needs, and darken the reverb a bit (also as per my needs). Customer service just doesn't get any better than this......it is clear that Mark aims to please! I look forward to getting the amp back!!

    3. Bruno Underground 30. Beautiful amp. Fully deserving of the accolades it has received for many years. This is my third Bruno amp and there definitely is a characteristic "Bruno Tone". It is a fat rich mid/lo-mid tone, and it sounds great. The reverb on the amp is also spectacular, as is the OD sound which is nice and smooth and happens at a 'good volume' for me. Many have said that the amp works best with G12H speakers. In my case, I much preferred the sound through the Tone King speaker and cab, it sounded too mid-heavy through my 1x12 cab with G12H. Based on previous experience, though, I don't think the voicing of the amp will be the best fit for my needs with the band, but I'll give it a try at the next rehearsal.
     
  2. james russell

    james russell Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks Riff,

    Love your post about amps. You're saving me some money.

    Still lovin' my Meteor II, though I did pick up a used D'Lite a couple of weeks ago, and it's so different than the Tone King, that I'm having a blast with what it can do. I'm contemplating a two amp rig with the two of them. Ugghh! the schlepping.

    James
     
  3. TRW

    TRW Member

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    Did you not try the Blueverb?

    That Pure64 is climbing on my list of cool amps to try for sure.
    Lots of good talk about those amps.

    Wish there was a UK distro.
    -T
     
  4. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Riff, I definitely agree with your ears when it comes to Fender-inspired stuff. Good post. Like the posted above me said, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Blueverb and the MII if you ever get a chance to A/B them.
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Hi James, been there, done that (clean amp + dirty amp). While it is a lot of fun, my conclusion is that pedals are much lighter. :)

    .
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    TRW, Jarret, I haven't played a Blueverb. Maybe one of these days if a used one comes up for sale.....
     
  7. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the review, I was interested in your thoughts since I a/b/c tested those three about a year ago.

    I'm not surprised you like the TK cabinet and speaker. At one point I had the Tone King 2x12, what a monster! Somehow sounded great with both the TK head, and a Soldano Avenger...never played a cab that worked so well with such different amps.

    Re: the Bruno, try using the treble control to shape the mids, and then use the presence to get to your final top end flavor - the treble is very much like a thin/fat control.

    I think you'd like the Blueverb as well - since you run the bright switch on the TK off, you'll find the BV 'standard' voicing to have a nice smooth top end - though of course you can have a BV custom tweaked to your specs.
     
  8. ryhlick

    ryhlick Supporting Member

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    Peter,
    What a great time you must be having with all those great tones. I have had the great opportunity to taste all the flavors you are currently enjoying. Tone is a beautiful thing and we are so lucky to have some of the great builders we have. When we reach the level of tone that you are dealing with, for me it comes down to the tone and the feel of the amp for our needs. I agree with you on the Bruno, and the Tone King has it own thing going on and I think has the best reverb of them all. For me wanting a fender inspired tone that can have that classic feel and tone and so much more I enjoy the Pure 64 for my needs. For me and my likings I would rate them as 1. Pure 64 Mean Street Classic w/ his cabinet 2. Tone King M2 3. Bruno UG 30 4. Blueverb. If this is all we had to choose from we would be in a great place. If you get a chance check out one of Mark's cabinets with his head, I think you will find some more magic. Give the Bruno a shot with one of his cabs as well, mine sounded the best through his 1x12 with the Silver series speaker. Thanks for your thoughts and your detailed objective review of these amps , you are a great asset to TGP. Enjoy and keep us posted.
    Cheers, Brad
     
  9. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    I knew you would dig the Bruno! What a KILLER amp! I see headroom problems in your live setting though. Can you now see how I am dumbfounded when guys say the UG30 never breaks up?? It makes no sense!! The amp starts over driving with Humbuckers at about 10 oclock on the volume knob!
     
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Hi Riff,

    I enjoyed your review of the three amps. We have similar tastes so I always like reading your posts. I'll be curious to hear your report of the '64 when you get it back.

    I'm still diggin' the Siegmund Midnight Special!

    Wayne
     
  11. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Hi Lou, I am very familiar with that approach--it's how my TopHat Club series amps work, too. I was running the amp with the treble between 3-4 oclock to get the lo-mids about where I like them. On that note, I really like how Tony implements the tone controls on his amps......very "linear" and useful range from zero to dimed on each control, which makes his amps a snap to dial in. I've listened to several of your clips with the UG30, and I always hear "Fender", while when I was trying the amp last night, I heard more "Vox" the way I had it dialed in. The function of the treble control leads me to think that the preamp circuit is like that of an AC30.

    I am glad you added the "et" in the last sentence. :D Yes, Mark spent some time describing his cabinets to me when we spoke on the phone. He is obviously very happy with the results, as are you and a number of other folks here on TGP.

    Tag, my amp responds like yours, I hear a bit of OD starting at around 10-11 oclock on the volume control when I'm using the bridge humbucker on my guitar. I think the volume at which the breakup occurs is just about perfect for my live work, I'll find out for sure at rehearsal. And I am not at all surprised at how nicely the amp breaks up, it's like a Dairy Queen Smoothie!! :D

    Glad that amp has found a good home. Chris is a genuine craftsman, innovator, and Tone Freak! :D I'll post some more thoughts on the Pure 64 when it comes back to me. It's a really nice amp, for sure. The control over the voicing and the overall feel are what make this amp special, IMO.
     
  12. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    Probably a function of how I dialed it, and speaker choice. Ken told me to use G12H30s for Fendery tones, and Vox Blues for Vox tones. I usually ran my treble and bass around noon, with the presence around 1:00. Add the G12H30s and a strat and I was getting some nice Fendery tones.

    Fun amp, I miss mine already.
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    It's been transformed into a Fuchs, right??

    ;)
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Lol! :D


    If you can try it with single coils and a Fulldrive II, the overdrive is like finely crushed glass.
    :BEER
     
  15. picnic

    picnic Supporting Member

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    Riff, Great post Thanks! After I bought your Allen Accomplice, I used your recommendations on how to set it. The ideas you had were very helpful. That was a sweet sounding amp.
    You bought your TK right after I bought your AA. Immediately, I'm seeing a TK in my future. This post moves the timeline up. You are probably the only player I know who get me to consider sell my Metropolis to make room for a TK.
     
  16. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    lol
     
  17. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    Guys, I share your enthusiasm for all the amps mentioned above. They all make me drool like Pavlov's dogs. I mean, TK-M II, Blueverb, Bruno, and Pure 64...mmmmmmm!! I might add my current favorite to the list - my new Louis Electric KR-10/12. I just last week ordered a Louis Electric Tremblelux. They're both tweed based amps with tone for miles. I just wish it was possible to hear all these amps in the same room or in a gig situation. And there are sooooooo many other really great sounding amps. I also have a 40 watt Allen Encore that just kills. And Mark Baier and the guys at Victoria are turning out some superb amps. That's not to even mention the vintage amps. So many wonderful toys and so little money. Excuse me while I wipe my mouth.:drool:drool


    Tom
     
  18. Blueser

    Blueser Member

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    I own a Bruno UG30, and feel it is the best amp I have owned to date (and I have owned many). That said, I tried the Louis KR112 the other day, and was completely knocked out by the tone! What a great sounding amp. It had so much lush low end, that I was looking for port holes in that tweed cabinet. LOL!! Great sounding amp! I wonder how it takes pedals, considering it is a master volume design?
     
  19. davebc

    davebc Member

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    With Lou's separate 4 way gain stages and the master volume, and the negative feedback pot you won't need a pedal:nono :D
     
  20. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

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    I do have some boost pedals but would you believe I've had my Louis for about 3 months and I haven't tried any pedals through it yet? It just sounds so good I hate to mess with the tone. But I'll try some of the boost pedals I have (Red Snapper, Banzai Cold Fusion, Bad Monkey, Z-Vex Super Duper, Nobles ODR-1, and Keeley modded Sparkledrive, just to see how it takes pedals and report back.
    By the way, my Louis KR-10/12 started out as an EL-34 powered amp and I had Lou convert it to 6L6 power. The top end is just a little smoother but it sounds killer either way. I'd love to try a Bruno UG-30 or something from the Cowtipper series. The Bruno website clips sound luscious.


    Tom
     

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