Other Amps

NAD: Supro Tremoverb

1

Well, I've had it about 2 months now, but I wanted to wait until the honeymoon was over before I posted anything...

These new Supros are pretty cool. The Tremoverb has been discontinued (likely because they now have the "Keeley 10" in their lineup), but I have to say, it's an AWESOME little amp!

I have a PRRI, and also a Bad Cat for "rocking out" lol, but I always wanted an old-school sounding amp... I hesitate to say "octal", because not all the old amps were octal, altho as a tone descriptor, it fits.

It's got a forward midrange, and a round-never-bright high end... and it's finally THE amp, I plugged my Filtertron Hot Rod into, I said, THAT'S IT!! THAT'S the tone!!! I have always found the scooped nature of the Filtertron to run counter-purposes to the scooped blackface sound... but then I'm never trying trying to get Chet Atkins tones. I like fat, warm, round tones... I even considered mounting dogear P90s on my Hot Rod like Tavo did, but now I have found THE amp that mates perfectly with the Filtertron'ed Gretsch. I'm in old-school tonal heaven.

And I just ordered a Junior Barnyard, to "kick it up a notch!"

Anyway, here are some pics, as well as a video (not me obviously) that helps to showcase the tone this thing puts out... no, I'm not saying the Supro=Gretsch Western Tonemaster, but I AM saying the Supro has that old school fat vintage tone, that most amps today don't have, that the old Gretsch does... using this video as my benchmark, I knew the Supro had what I wanted the first time I plugged in.

(note: the Tremoverb and other Supros DO sound like Led Zeppelin 1 when cranked, and that's why alot of people like them... that's not my bag. I wanted an old school sounding amp, like EH-185, Vintage 47, GA-50, etc... that's the camp the Tremoverb falls in, for me.)

It's like the mids of the amp "fills in the gaps" of the mid-scooped Filtertrons, and really allows the 6120 to sound like it's supposed to (to my ears at least). But as a comparison: an ES-295 with P90s into a Deluxe reverb also sounds like this, because the mids of the P90s "fill in the gaps" of the mid-scooped amp...

Nice work inside... nicer than the recent Fender PCB amps I have owned. I'd put this one up there with my Bad Cat Player's Series in quality. All wood construction, built like a brick craphouse, it's a heavy little thing. Speaker has a large magnet as well... no C10R's (like in the PRRI) in this little monster! LOL

My only complaint, and it's minor, is that if you have to change a tube- ANY tube (they are on 2 sides of the chassis), you have to remove the chassis to do so. But how often do you change tubes?

2

I have always said here that the old Supros, when service and tweaked give same-era Fenders a serious run for the money. Cool that new ones are well thought of also.

3

I may be wrong, but I think you can change the tubes from the front by unscrewing the panel. Great little amps, amazing big sound

4

I may be wrong, but I think you can change the tubes from the front by unscrewing the panel. Great little amps, amazing big sound

– Vince_Ray

Hmm, maybe... but only the 3 on the front of the chassis... "preamp", "tremolo", and "reverb makeup stage".. the other 4 are enclosed in a cage, underneath.... "reverb driver", "phase inverter", and the 2 power tubes, 6973s.

I will say- I was having a weird issue with the breakup of this amp when I started to turn it up, it sounded like a tone speaker or something, it was a high end rattiness on the breakup, very unpleasant. Turns out it was the preamp tube. I replaced the JJ ECC83s with a Tung Sol 12AX7, and like magic it disappeared. Interestingly, I also tried a 5751 in V1, and that was a disaster... I know the 5751 is interchangeable with the 12AX7, I've done it a bunch over the years, but not in this amp- must be very circuit- dependent. The 5751 lost all the bottom end, sounded like a tin can.

5

None of those are octal tubes.

6

None of those are octal tubes.

– Otter

I know. And?

7

I like the look and sound of those new Supros, but I would worry that both the pots and tube sockets are mounted directly to the PCB. I've had trouble with most every amp that I've owned built that way. I like to buy low wattage amps and crank them, so I'm sure I really subject them to much more rattling than the average person. Of the fifteen amps I own now, only two have PCBs and they are a Mesa DC2, which I had a transformer fail on me once, and Fender Superchamp X2, which surprisingly, has never given me trouble.

8

I can attest, this thing is built very solidly. The PCB DID NOT MOVE when I removed/replaced tubes. I understand the worry- I have owned various PCB amps where I felt the need to "be extra careful" when changing tubes, due to the flimsy PCB. Not this amp. It's solid as a rock.

Also, I've cranked this amp- no rattles. The back panel fits so tightly, it almost doesn't fit. That's how close the tolerances are. Same thing with the chassis- on all my Fenders, it slides right in, no problem. On the Supro, you've got about a CH's space to get it in just perfectly, or it won't GO in. I know people have complained about the price point of these amps, since they are only assembled in USA, but I have to say- it's one of the best-built amps I have ever owned. I don't think the prices are out-of-line with the build quality. Altho, if you can buy used I did, all the better. :)

9

Haven't tried the Tremoverb, sold the (new-ish) Coronado I had. I tried to love it, have tried a LOT of different speakers in it, but it (and several other new Supros I tried) just had a crazy, unbalanced amount of low end. So I decided to sell it while it was still mint, instead of trying to mod a circuit board amp.

10

They do have alot of low end. With the Hot Rod, I run the bass at 0. But it sounds great there, so, perfect! I bring the bass up some with my tele, up to about halfway. It's definitely not voiced like any Fender ever... I read a magazine review that compared it's old school voicing to the old Gibson amps like the EH185 and GA50.

The Tremoverb is like a Princeton... with more mids and a much softer high end... it is NOT scooped. Makes me wonder how close it would be to a tweed or brown Princeton.

11

I can attest, this thing is built very solidly. The PCB DID NOT MOVE when I removed/replaced tubes. I understand the worry- I have owned various PCB amps where I felt the need to "be extra careful" when changing tubes, due to the flimsy PCB. Not this amp. It's solid as a rock.

Also, I've cranked this amp- no rattles. The back panel fits so tightly, it almost doesn't fit. That's how close the tolerances are. Same thing with the chassis- on all my Fenders, it slides right in, no problem. On the Supro, you've got about a CH's space to get it in just perfectly, or it won't GO in. I know people have complained about the price point of these amps, since they are only assembled in USA, but I have to say- it's one of the best-built amps I have ever owned. I don't think the prices are out-of-line with the build quality. Altho, if you can buy used I did, all the better. :)

– ruger9

Dave Koltai is no amateur. He and Zinky developed the new Supros. You can build a quality solid PCB if you design it that way, most just use it as a way to cut corners. Randall Smith designs and builds great PCBs. Import PCBs are awful.

Either way, I hate working in them.

12

So...should I get one?

13

If yer itchin for a Supro just get a real one. There are a lot available at the usual places and they’re still relatively cheap. There’s not a lot to them so they’re pretty reliable. They definitely have their own sound.

14

d'angelico recently bought supro...so expect some changes to come!!...buy now, if there's some amp you like!

also, mounting power tubes directly to board isn't so much about loosening when replacing tubes...but in the event the tube arcs and burns...it's gonna take out a large chunk of the board

power tubes are not of the quality of days of old...there are clinkers...monitor closely

cheers

15

d'angelico recently bought supro...so expect some changes to come!!...buy now, if there's some amp you like!

also, mounting power tubes directly to board isn't so much about loosening when replacing tubes...but in the event the tube arcs and burns...it's gonna take out a large chunk of the board

power tubes are not of the quality of days of old...there are clinkers...monitor closely

cheers

– neatone

also, mounting power tubes directly to board isn't so much about loosening when replacing tubes...but in the event the tube arcs and burns...it's gonna take out a large chunk of the board

this is EXACTLY what I was referring to!

16

So...should I get one?

– Proteus

Well, all I can say is this:

The reverb and tremolo are great, as good as a Fender Princeton. It is bias vary tremolo, but uses a preamp tube instead of the power tubes.

The cranked up drive is great- better than most other NMV amps I have owned. I have an attenuator, and cranking the Supro using the attenuator, is pretty heavenly.

If you have a Fender blonde/brown, or a Swart, or some old amp like a Valco, or something designed to sound like an old amp like a Vintage 47, then no, you don't NEED it.

But if you are used to blackface tones and would like something else, the Supro is awesome. I've had an "issue", for years, not loving my Hot Rod. I jumped through many hoops, speakers, pickups, I even put a mud switch on my Hot Rod (which I love BTW!). But not until I plugged into the Supro did I understand how vital the PAIRING of the guitar and amp are. I finally was hearing the sound I had in my head all these years, and it was instant. I knew within 30 seconds something special was happening.

the Supro has a mid-forward, old-school, EH-185 kind of tone. It sounds very octal, even tho there are no octal tubes in it. And I own an octal amp as well... it also was great with the Gretsch tonally, but I am no longer a fan of single-needed 5W amps and 8" speakers. But I can sell that amp now that I have the Supro... it sounds like that, just bigger/better.

I know alot of people may have a problem with my comparison of the new Supro (which does sound like the OLD Supro Tremoverb) with famous amps like the EH-185, GA-50, etc. But I'm not talking about tubes or construction methods, or even the circuit... I'm talking overall, about the TONE. The tremoverb sounds like amps used to sound- before blackface. Before Marshall. People who know what I'm talking about will understand, others won't.

The Supro "fills in the gaps" created by the mid-scooped Filtertrons. It's got a lovely breakup if you want it (blackface amps do not, to my ears). It's more along the lines of Leo's tweed amps, probably... I know some people have complained of 5E3s having too much bass with hollowbodies over the years, and the Supro can be like that too. I run the bass control at 0 or 1-3, depending on the guitar. But even running it at 0 is fine... because it sounds great there, and I try to listen with my ears, not my eyes.

It makes my Hot Rod sound "more hollow" and "more woody". Hard to put into words, lol. But two of my favorite archtop tones are:

Kenny Burrell Midnight Blue - L5 with a CC pickup into a 5E3

Diego Garcia aka El Twanguero - ES295 with P90s into a Deluxe reverb

And with this Supro, my Hot Rod with the mud switch, I can get close to both of those sounds. The only thing the Supro WON'T do: sound like a blackface. If you're looking for those all-treble sparkly Chet Atkins tones, don't look at Supro. It's an old-school tone.

17

The newer supros from the generation of your Tremoverb (that whole line has already been discontinued btw - that went fast!) are voiced darker than a typical Fender amp, but you're lumping it in with a whole bunch of amps that are all differrent, and that it doesn't really have much in common with.

from what I've heard and seen, they're (or should I say were?) loud amps with huge power and output transformers with a definite mid bias and an unusual amount of low end - too much for most people I've talked to.
Quite a few of those amps, including the Coronado I had for a while, had the lone tone knob - that boosts lows en attenuates treble when you turn it counterclockwise, and does the opposite turned clockwise - so on the coronado, that was a problem : if i wanted the giant boomy low end turned down, I'd end up too bright on the whole.

18

The Tremoverb does indeed have hefty transformers. It's heavier than it's size would indicate.

It has a bass and a treble control. Along with a gorgeous (Fender-quality) reverb, and gorgeous (fender Princeton quality) bias tremolo. I run the bass at 0, and it's gorgeous. It doesn't have "too much low end" for me, even with a hollowbody. That's what controls are for LOL. My PRRI has a ton of bass too- I run the bass control about 10:30 on it. As long as I can use the controls to dial in what I want, it works. AND- if you crank it, you actually need to ADD bass, because as it gets louder, the bass starts being overshadowed by the increasing treble response. When I crank it, I have to turn the bass up a little and the treble down a little.

As far as "in common with", I've already stated: it's SOUND I'm talking about. I'm not talking about field-coil speakers, or octal tubes, or any of that; I'm talking about tone. And this Supro (I can't speak for all the Supros- I have only played THIS one), does indeed have that old-school (I hesitate to use the word "vintage", because it seems to not mean much anymore), tone: plenty of low end (but not too much), a rounded high end, and more mids. Along with a gorgeous, smooth breakup when you crank it.

But, with the bass and treble controls at zero, it does sound just like my little handwired octal amp, a Harmony 8418, just with a bigger sound due to the bigger transformers, cabinet and speaker.

19

It sounds very octal

20

It sounds very octal

– Otter

Really? Because if you read my post, you will know I have an octal preamp amplifier sitting right here.

21

I'm really pleased for you that you finally got the sound you have been chasing with your Setzer Hotrod. When you find "the sound in your head" it is a wonderful moment.

And that is all that matters.It's as simple as that. Your new amp might not be as well built as a '50s tweed but if you have a problem with it ("if") you will deal with it when it happens. I have to admit I cringed a bit when I first saw the pic where it showed the tube sockets mounted to the PCB - even the Fender RI amps don't do that. Its not the solidity I worry about as much as the heat issue - PCB tracks tend not to like heat. But there are probably a gazillion amps built just like that out there which are happily playing with no issues.

Also, I think that describing sounds we like can be very difficult, so I think you and some of your "detractors" might be arguing more over semantics than sounds. This happens a lot on online forums so rather than get tied up with semantics just enjoy your amp. I often get guys telling me that I'm wrong about various aspects of amps, especially because I build my own. But I build stuff, try out variations and find what works for me. No amount of some guy online telling me I'm wrong makes any difference to the fact that I'm having a great time and getting sounds which work for me. They can't hear what you're hearing, don't know your reference points and would probably agree with you if they were in the same room as you. Or they might think that Hotel California is the epitome of musical excellence - and I don't.

What other people think doesn't matter, especially when they aren't there in the room with you. Play the crap out of your new amp, enjoy it all the time and if anything bad happens deal with it. It probably won't. You have spent a loooong time persevering with your Hotrod. Longer than I would have! We each have different ways of getting where we wanna be. None is better than another, or more "right". I use an overdrive - one I have built myself from my own design - to help me get the sound I want. It's not very overdriven but even so a lot of guys would tell me I shouldn't need a pedal to get my sound. Who cares?? I don't.


Register Sign in to join the conversation