VHT Special 12/20 is great!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jimbo13, May 12, 2012.

  1. jimbo13

    jimbo13 Member

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    So I picked one of these up based on the really impressive feature set and tube options and could not be happier. After looking at all of the tweed deluxe kits and boutique 20 watters and owning BF Princeton Reverbs, Deluxe Reverbs, 50's tweed Pro and tweed Deluxe, Brown Vibrolux , Princeton, etc. this VHT does what all of those do and then some.

    The voicing is in the same ballpark as a classic Fender but the additional tone shaping addresses a lot of the issues I have always had with some of the tweed and brown era designs. Being able to run 6V6 for the more traditional Deluxe vibe is cool but running it with 6L6 takes the amp to a real giggable level with more headroom and low end capability without losing what is cool about the 6V6 tones. I've been so happy with the 6L6 that I have not even tried running it with EL34 yet, which is supposed to up the output a little more.

    My first impression of the "watts" control was that it was not very useful. However, I finally used it last night for lower level playing as it is intended and it is great. I think it is a type of power scaling and really gives you the feel of a cranked amp at very low volume. I had to force myself to stop playing last night at 1:30 am because I was able to get the feel out of the amp that I usually only get when practicing with it cranked. The depth and texture controls in addition to the tone control really allow you to dial the amp in exactly where it needs to be depending on volume and tube type etc.

    I've spent way more on amps and gotten way less than what this VHT delivers. The stock speaker is actually pretty good so I may not bother putting the Celestion Gold that I was planning on installing in it.

    I cannot recommend this amp enough for anybody who is considering a tweed deluxe or similar amp. I was prepared to drop the cash on a much more expensive amp after watching the Greg V. demos but really feel this VHT is giving me the same performance and then some.

    I cannot recommend this enough!
     
    ziobrandy likes this.
  2. SeeMoore

    SeeMoore Member

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    That's great !! But I thought you wanted an RT ??
     
  3. jimbo13

    jimbo13 Member

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    Sorry, it is an RT. Identical to the regular 12/20 except for the added reverb and trem.
     
  4. zeoy

    zeoy Member

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    Happy NAD!
    I'm very interested in this exact model. Can you tell us more?
    How's the reverb and tremolo? Brighter or darker than a BFDR? Can it give good "edge of breakup" sounds at low/reasonable volumes? How would you describe its clean and overdrive tones?

    ... and ... where are those clips?
     
  5. jimbo13

    jimbo13 Member

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    I think the verb is a little too pronounced for me (Im not a huge verb guy to begin with). I'm hoping this is where the modability of the handwired assembly comes in. I'm going to try to tweak it with some component changes and a tube swap. It's got a 6V6 driving it like a Fender reissue reverb and I think the Fender benefits from swapping the stock tube with a lower gain version. I'm going to try that first. The tone is good and not pingy at all, it just needs less of it overall for my taste.

    The trem is cool because it goes nice and slow as well as fast using the switch to select the two speed ranges. It's on par with my BF Princeton but I wish it had more depth. I'm sure I can tweak it to give more though.

    The shortcomings with the RT part of the amp don't effect my impression of the amp at all. It performs in every other aspect well beyond its pricepoint and most comparable amps costing way more don't even offer either feature anyway.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  6. jimbo13

    jimbo13 Member

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    I forgot to mention that the pull boost on this works great. It gives you the tweed voicing by reducing the classic BF Fender notch. Leaving it in gives you more of a BF Fender voice and its footswitchable. Obviously, it adds gain as well when bypassing the tone stack but it is perfect for quickly revoicing the amp. Even when in boost mode the tone knob still works as do the depth and texture controls. The more I mess with this amp the more cool stuff I find it can do.

    Its obvious they put a lot of thought into the features and are doing things that you would expect only from a small boutique company. One of the main things a boutique builder traditionally had in their favor was being able to put very specific features in their amps that appealed to discriminating players that mass market companies never bothered with because it added cost that the average guy really had no appreciation for or would be confused by. VHT seems to be a company that can offer the benefits of mass production but has people involved in the design that can appreciate the finer points that need to be addressed. I myself have owned more vintage Fenders than I can recall, Brown Note, Budda from when Jeff owned the company, vintage Standel, vintage Traynor, Naylor from the Detroit era and have played through many Two Rock and Krinard builds and a Dumble ODS. This VHT is as much fun to play as any of them.
     
  7. zeoy

    zeoy Member

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    Thanks for the detailed response. It'd be great if you could post some clips whenever you can (although I'm almost ready to pull the trigger once I sell some other stuff).
     
  8. sgguitarzz

    sgguitarzz Member

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    This is the first I have heard of these. Anyone out there using them. Looks very interesting
     
  9. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic Silver Supporting Member

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    I got the Special 12/20 non-reverb model just before the R/T one came out. With the exception of any R/T reference, I can say that it is everything that Jimbo13 says. I find it to be very close to a PR kind of voicing. It's nice & warn in tone and perfect for the classic R&B/Soul/Blues band I'm in now. I use the hot 9v outlet at the top-back of the amp to power a Verbzilla and use either a Fulltone Supa-trem or a Demeter Trem pedal on my boards - done and done. Great tone, amazing value, built like a tank, hand wired so any tech can work on it. With a coupon I paid well under $500. (that was my first on-line anything gear purchase). I had an orig. VHT Pitbull 45 when they came out in the mid 90's - I know that the company (the VHT Brand Name) was sold by Steve Fryette; the new guy also is seemingly putting a lot of thought into the design and functionality of his amps. Yes, it's assembled in China, and yes the workmanship looks as tidy and solid as work done anywhere else (better than some even). So if your globally-minded inclined, and that is the kind of tone/functionality/value your looking for, it might work for you - if your not, do what ya gotta do. I originally got it thinking of using it primarily at rehearsal, but I would not hesitate for a min. to grab it and take it to a gig. I have yet to do the 6V6 to 6L6 tube swap-out for more power - not needed at rehearsal, if we gig, we mic. so it might be a while before curiosity gets the better of me on that - also need the time to mess with it. They are nice amps that sound real good.
     
  10. grizdeluxe

    grizdeluxe Member

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    Ive owned a Sp 6 combo and currently have had a Sp 6 Ultra head for over a year. I love both of them and it sounds like they continued the excellent voicing to the 12/20. I might have to pick one up some day.
     
  11. Electric I

    Electric I Member

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    Plan on owning the reg. 12/20 head someday. If you're a pedals-into-amp player (am), it has all the right amenities.
     
  12. Gretsch&Vox

    Gretsch&Vox Member

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    [​IMG]

    Looks like it is cathode biased so you can plug and play 6L6s or EL34s without having to rebias.

    Congrats!
     
  13. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Supporting Member

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    I couldn't resist. Just looks like allot of amp for the money, especially since it's hand wired and i can roll power tubes. Ordered one and it should be here tomorrow. Will be interesting to see how it matches up against my Lil Elvis.
     
  14. sgguitarzz

    sgguitarzz Member

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    I would love to hear more from anyone else using one of these.
     
  15. zeoy

    zeoy Member

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    and of course ...
    :clips
     
  16. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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  17. zeoy

    zeoy Member

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  18. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Supporting Member

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    I'm really digging mine. I've rolled a few pre-amp tubes, but am not sure what each tube does, other than V1, so I'm not doing too much right now. The stock speaker needs some break-in time for sure as it's still tight and raspy, but the article in guitar player pretty well spelled out what this little amp will do.

    Not allot of clean head room on tap in the low watt mode with 6V6's, but that works well for home use. I still want to try some EL34's and depending how the speaker breaks in, maybe a speaker change down the line as well.

    Looking forward to hearing form others on what tubes and speakers they like. Bottom line, it's a great little amp and 6V6's are normally my favorite tubes, so I like the way it's set-up right out of the box. I would have liked to see them use a tube rectifier, but otherwise, it's great.
     
    Cheepsouth likes this.
  19. jimbo13

    jimbo13 Member

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    Gigged with mine last night in a medium sized club and on a large outdoor stage today and it worked really well. They didnt need to have it in the monitors but they were pushing it through the FOH along with the other instruments.

    I think the active loop is one of the best features. I dont use anything in it but use it to dial in the gain. This feature alone puts it in a class by itself compared to other amps in a similar price range. It really does have it all.
     
  20. Jack Dotson

    Jack Dotson Supporting Member

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    Hadn't thought about that. What settings have worked for you?
     

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