TopHat Ambassador 50 Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by rawkguitarist, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Since this amp isn't one that get's talked about much (even by TopHat fans), I thought I'd give my first impression having had it for the last 5 days. BTW, I picked this up from The Gear Page Emporium. My first larger purchase and what a cool place to find gear!!

    Amp: 1999 TopHat Ambassador 50, using 2 6L6’s and 4 12AX7’s, solid state rectified pushing about 50 watts. The Ambassador is supposedly based loosely on a Blackface Twin. Speakers are a Weber ceramic Silver Bell and a ceramic California. This is also the only TopHat that has onboard tube driven reverb. Controls are Pre Volume, High Cut, Treble, Mid, Bass, Master Volume and for the reverb Dwell and Depth. Also has a toggle switch offering either a Bright setting or a *LOUD* mid gain boost. The Mid control I’ve read as being based on a Dumble tone stack, which is completely non-interactive with the Bass and Treble controls.

    To my relief and surprise this amp is still rooted in what I've found to be the TopHat signature. It actually has many of the same traits that have made me monogamous to my Club Royale. Characterized by a tone that's a unique mix between a great Vox and a great Plexi Marshall, but something all its own. I can now say whatever amp Brian Gerard designs will always have this "signature" to it. But the cool thing is that mixed in with this signature TopHat sound is a touch of Blackface Fender, meaning a slight scoop in the mids and a slightly raspy upper mid/treble. But there's still a nice full midrange and the nice airy top end (not really associated with Fenders) I've come to expect from TopHat. I hear this Fender character only as if you had a magical effects loop that allowed you to mix in a hint of character from another amp, into your favorite staple amp. Quite cool!

    My main requirement in getting this amp was to have something available much louder than my Club Royales and stay clean doing it. This amp easily get’s twice as loud as my 20 watt Royale 2x12… and that’s with the volume halfway up. Suffice it to say, it’s a LOUD amp!

    I’ve never bought an amp without trying it first. Took a chance on getting this one… it turned out to be amazing!
     
  2. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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  3. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    Ps Arron This is a mistake a lot of people make. These Amps needs to breath!
    They sound best away from the wall and up off that reflective linoleum surface, just some friendly advice!

    GR
     
  4. openbar

    openbar Silver Supporting Member

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    Color me jealous.
     
  5. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Aaron, I had an Ambassador 50 2x12 combo for a while. I concur with your analysis.......'TopHat Base Tone' with a touch of Fender.

    Congrats on the amp!!!
     
  6. 5E3

    5E3 Member

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    Excellent! :AOK
     
  7. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    It really is one hell of a great amp! Aaron brought it over to my house for the full on test drive (no wife and kids at my place). Very impressive!
     
  8. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Very nice! Congrats!
     
  9. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Thanks guys! It really is a special amp. And it's been taken care of too. Pretty much is a brand new amp. This is my first 6L6 amp, I'm loving the different flavor. I'll try to do some sound samples soon. :dude
     
  10. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8206684654304390801&hl=en

    OK, here's a quick little demo. I know it doesn't really give a great example of what the amp sounds like, but still it's something...

    The Ambassador is set with the pre vol at 1 oclock and the master at 10 oclock. Starts with the Eternity set for a med crunch, then ends with the BJF DRD.

    I may never need an amp that's louder than this and it's not even turned up halfway! It's raw power and low mid bark remind me of the Komet 60 I played at Eddies in St. Louis. This is a really smoke'n amp guys!:AOK
     
  11. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    criminally few top hat clips on the net, please do a demo with a guitar with humbuckers , id really love it hear it dude.

    Bryan
     
  12. openbar

    openbar Silver Supporting Member

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    Well I can see you've already grown tired of it. But don't worry - I'll be glad to take it off your hands.
     
  13. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Nice vid clip! Tone and playing!
     
  14. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Thanks Sickboy79!

    I'll try to make a humbucker clip later... I had made that clip when my wife and son were gone...:confused:
     
  15. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Aaron's good people, and has some really fine chops. Got to hear him at the TopHat Tone Fest in Chicago in 2006; he sounded great through the prototype Vanderbilt 33.

    The Ambassador is a nice snag. Congrats!
     
  16. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Thanks Fred! It sure was a memorable experience getting all those TopHat and just plain guitar fans together in a great shop to hang with Brian Gerhard. This Ambassador has some of the same low mid thump that the Vanderbilt had. I'm pretty stoked to have a "big bottle" amp, the power in those larger tubes does make a big difference.

    I have to say though, my Club Royale is still my favorite amp. One things for sure, I ain't lugging this 80 lb beast to my gigs unless I have to. The 48 lb Club Royale still fits the gig requirements for 90% of my dates.
     
  17. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    Congrats on the Ambassador 50. I remember you were trying to decide
    which direction to go on that other thread a few weeks, ago..

    I [finally] got my hands on a '99 Ambassador 100 head a few months ago,
    and it continues to satisfy.
     
  18. celestion101

    celestion101 Silver Supporting Member

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    I sold Ambassador 50 to my singer....stupid me, I miss it!!! :D
     
  19. mcalldp

    mcalldp Member

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    Yep, great amp, my favorite of all time. The brown one listed earlier is mine. I've got to sell because of money issues, very sad. I've got a friend that just purchased a new Marshall JVM205H and after playing my TH is trying to find someone that will trade him one for the Marshall. Once someone plays a TopHat they get it but it's just not a super hyped amp and the Ambassador seems to be the least well known of the TH models. I've also owned the King Royale and CLub Deluxe, the Ambassador 50 is the more versatile for me. Put it with some Eminence RW&B and it gets into even more Fender areas, and a nice strat doesn't hurt. I'm playing mine with an Erici Johnson Strat and a Barber Trifecta Fuzz and it's the thickest sound in the world.
     
  20. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    mcalldp, I did notice that was your Amby for sell. I've seen your ravings about this amp all over the web and I'm sad to hear you have to get rid of it. Hopefully your situation turns around so you can pick one up again.

    And yes, most of my friends that are serious about tone after playing my TopHats, they usually get one for themselves. They are unique amps and sound amazing. They don't jive with some people, but they are definitly "me".
     

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