Tone King Imperial Anniversary limited edition tribute to the 20 year-old vintage tone classic that started it all for amp master builder Mark Bartel and the Tone King brand. Builds on the Imperial's magic tonal recipe with hand wiring and a built-in Ironman attenuator (6 levels of attenuation, from 0db-36db) . No tweaks to the main signal path, but you'll find the reverb especially spacious and the trem especially smooth. The Ironman makes this the ultimate home or club amp. Loaded with the new Celestion G12M65 Creamback speaker.
The Tone King Imperial is a unique design that doesn't simply reproduce a certain vintage design, but instead endeavors to create those certain magical tonal qualities found in some well-worn vintage amps which usually only develop after a lifetime of use and aging. In developing the Imperial, an endless selection of cabinet woods, component types, and circuit designs were tested and evaluated for their ability to create these warm, raw, burnished tones. The result is an uniquely musical guitar amplifier, hand built by a skilled and dedicated artisan. The rhythm channel really delivers the classic blackface sound, instantly reconizable to fans of the Princeton or Deluxe Reverb, but with a more organic feel, like a really good vintage tweed deluxe. It gives you the shimmery clean tones and gritty, ringing overdrive that this style of amp is known for, but with an improved ability to control the timbre and expression of the notes with your fingering and pick attack. The unique and effective Mid-Bite control makes the Lead Channel a lot more versatile than you would expect from a channel with only 3 controls. The Mid-Bite control is an exclusive Tone King design feature which does a lot more than simply adjust the midrange level – it completely
transforms the overdrive character. With Mid-Bite fully off, the Lead Channel reacts much like a tweed deluxe. When played clean, the woody resonance of the cabinet, liveliness of the 5AR4 tube rectifier, and the
expressive dynamic response of the cathode-biased output stage work together to give you the raw midrange, silky top end, and loose feel of a genuine well-worn tweed deluxe – perfect for honky tonk or blues rhythm playing with a tele. As you dig in harder, you’ll feel the sweet, round top end begin to develop a stinging bite.
Crank it up into the distortion zone, and the tone gets even fatter, thicker, and looser. Think tweed deluxe meets vintage Supro. Compression from the cathode-biased output stage softens the pick attack as single notes and chords swell and sustain in endlessly evolving shades of thick, meaty grind.
As you turn up the Mid-Bite control, a midrange peak appears while the bottom end is simultaneously tightened up, which transforms the tone into more of an English-style crunch. The amp develops a tighter feel as single notes really start to sing, and chords become chunky with rich midrange overtones, a lot like an early Marshall. The Imperial’s reverb circuit uses the same 12AT7 driver tube, 12AX7 receiver tube, and long-format 2-spring pan as those classic amps from the 1960s, to give you that same authentic spring reverb sound. The Imperial uses a vintage tremolo circuit which creates the tremolo effect by modulating the bias current of the output tubes. Compared to other methods (e.g. the opto-coupler method used in the Fender "blackface" era amps), this method creates the most gradual, smoothest, and roundest tremolo effect. The tremolo effect can be turned on and off via the footswitch.
Specifications of Tone King Imperial Combo
Output Power: 20W
Speakers: 1x12 Celestion G12M65 Creamback
Output Tubes: 2 x 6V6
Preamp Tubes: 4x12AX7, 1x12AT7
Rectifier Tube: 5AR4
Preamp Channels: 2 (Rhythm, Lead)
Rhythm Channel Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass
Lead Channel Controls: Volume, Tone, Mid-Bite
Reverb: Tube driven, full-size 2-spring pan
Tremolo: Bias modulation type
Footswitch: Included; controls both channnel switching and tremolo
Cabinet: Dovetail jointed birch with solid pine baffle board
Features: Handwired Circuitry, Built-in Ironman Attenuator
Colors: All Cream