Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 128
VG APPROVED GEAR
Supro Super 1606 and Reverb 1605R
n guitardom, players far too often
believe there is nothing more sonically
pleasing than a tall stack. Yet, plenty of
diminutive amps offer up massive tone;
think Derek and the Dominos' Layla and
Other Assorted Love Songs.
Supro is wise to this. After recently
launching a lineup of full-sized Classic
and 1964 Reissue amps dubbed Neptune,
Coronado, Supreme, Statesman, etc., its
designers turned to building a little amp
that could. Now Supro's vintage Super of
the '60s is back, better than ever.
The new Super was reverse-engineered
using a vintage favorite from the collection
of Aerosmith's Joe Perry. The results are the
Super and its buffed-up sibling, the Reverb,
with tube-driven spring reverb. Both are
five-watt/1x8 Class A combos. They're
small, they're light, and they sound big.
The advantage of a small, low-powered
amp is that you can crank it. Turn the
Volume knob north and the amp is overdriven into a state of magical distortion
while you can still hear yourself think.
Prices: $699 (Super); $999 (Reverb)
And you won't have your neighbors calling
the sound police.
The Super sports just one Volume knob, and
it's all you need. The absence of EQ controls is
purposeful - the more pots and switches are
in a circuit, the more that electrical signal (and
thus, an amp's tone) from the preamp is colored,
altering he circuit's essence. Instead, the Super
gives no-frills, high-gain, raw tone from a
6V6-equipped, single-ended power amp.
The Reverb needs a couple more knobs,
naturally, including Gain, Treble, Bass, and
a Master volume (which is a welcome rarity
in such a small package). Its preamp circuit
includes two 12AX7s and a single 12AT7.
Plus, there's a Bypass plug-in to skirt the
spring-reverb circuit when in search of
Both amps sing through custom-made
speakers designed by Eminence and Supro
with help from Iowa State University, which
laser-scanned Perry's vintage Jensen.
So, how do they sound? In honor of Derek,
both the Super and Reverb were tested with
a '56 Strat, and both were hot to trot. Cool
blues riffs, chunky rock shuffles, wailing
solos - they've got the grit. Plus, they're
plenty loud for the studio, small gigs, or to
scare your cat from the living room.
The Reverb has another set of tricks up its
sleeve; the back panel sports a trio of tubedriven direct outputs - Wet (reverb output),
Dry (preamp output), and Mix (wet and dry
output with attenuator) - that allow the user
to turn it into an outboard reverb unit or
drive other amps in concert with the Reverb.
Copping the sounds of a Supro Reverb
unit from the '60s is possible using the dry
output, which removes the dry signal from
the output, leaving 100 percent-wet spring
reverb from the 8" speaker while sending as
much preamp gain as desired on to another
amp. Use the Mix output for direct recording
or even configuring the unit to work as a
"plug-in" insert if/when you use ProTools.
They may not have the headroom, articulation, or sophisticated overtones of big
amps with big speakers, but that's what those
amps are for. And at just 23 pounds, these
new Supros are eminently portable. And if
you still have doubts, peek at the pic in the
Rolling Stones' Blue & Lonesome album - a
vintage Super all miked up and ready for
action. - Michael Dregni