SUPRO 1622RT TREMO-VERB COMBO
Tully Mansfield meets the little combo that could.
Full review and independent analysis of the Supro 1622RT Tremolo-Verb Combo by Australian Guitar magazine.
PRICE: $2,599 RRP
The Supro brand should need no introduction for anyone with even a passing interest in the classic sounds of '60s rock n roll. It seems that everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Albert Lee was a Supro user at one point or another, but perhaps most famously of all, the Supro sound was absolutely integral to Jimmy Page’s legendary guitar tone.
Ironically enough, the same year in which Led Zeppelin recorded their eponymous debut album was the very same in which Supro, in its original incarnation, went out of business. Over subsequent decades, prices on original Supros steadily increased as they became scarcer and scarcer, with guitarists all the while chasing after that distinct sound.
Through the years, there have been a number of different reincarnations of the Supro brand, in one form or another - it wasn’t until the brand was sold to Absara Audio (parent company of pedal makers Pigtronix) in 2013, though, that a full-scale revival occurred. The reissued Supro amps debuted at NAMM ’14 to rave reviews, and the company has been going from strength to strength ever since.
Straight off the bat, it has to be said that Supro must be making some of, if not the best looking production amplifiers on the market today. They’re just gorgeous things to look at. The Blue Rhino Hide Tolex, the white piping, the silver detailed grill cloth, the polished control plate and vintage-style black and silver top hat control knobs - it all comes together perfectly.
As for the actual construction, it’s solid as a rock. The cabinetry is flawless and feels very sturdy – certainly tough enough for the road. All of the controls are nice and smooth, and again, feel extremely solid. In terms of the electronics, there’s one major difference between these reissues and the originals, which is that they employ a trio of PCBs in place of the unreliable and fragile terminal strip construction of the originals. This was a conscious design choice over the turret board, which would not have been true to the original Supro builds. The upside of using PCBs is that they are not only durable, but very quiet.
There’s just something about how this amp sounds. I’m not even completely sure what it is, but it’s special. Every note coming through the speaker is rich, warm, and shimmering with pure, unadulterated, vintage tube-driven goodness. I like it. A lot.
Gushing aside, let’s point out a couple of things here. Obviously, as a reissue of a classic vintage amp (albeit, one with a couple of quite welcome tweaks), the Tremo-Verb is a far cry from many modern amps in terms of versatility and tone shaping options. It’s a simple beast, with simple control and, seemingly, an emphasis on not over-complicating the pleasures of playing through a great sounding valve amp.
So what does that translate to in terms of tone? Well, given the lack of a master volume control, most of the big changes in sound are dependent on how loud you want to play. The treble and bass controls give you a bit of play, but at the same time - to my ear, at least - neither seem to have much of a discernable effect once you get beyond the 12 o’clock mark. That being said, I don’t find the Tremo-Verb to be lacking in any way when it comes to top, middle or bottom end. Everything you need is there - it’s just never in your face. The amp only ever gives as much as is required.
Now, back to my previous point regarding how loud you want to play: without a master volume control, the only way to get that Supro sound is to crank it, or put a boost or overdrive in front of it. With the volume dimmed, it’s all there – the bite, the punch, and the sweet harmonic frequencies that define that classic Led Zeppelin guitar tone. It’s raw and powerful, but sweet and seductive at the same time. It’s simple. It’s uncomplicated. It’s perfect.
WHY YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO WANT IT
Incredible tone, incredible looks, and all the vintage tone you could dream of - paired with modern construction techniques, impeccable build quality, and an unbelievably reasonable price. What’s not to love?
WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER FIRST
There’s only one downside that comes to mind with this amp, and that is the lack of a master volume control. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it does mean that you really need to crank the amp to get much tube breakup, which could be an issue if you’re using it at home. That being said, you'll still want to own this amp – trust me.
This little giant-killer of an amp manages to pack a whole lot of character into an amazingly compact package. It pumps out 25 watts of insanely loud Class A power via a pair of vintage 6973 Cathode-biased power tubes and a silicon rectifier. The preamp is driven by a quartet of high powered 12AX7 tubes and a solitary 12AT7.
In terms of controls, it’s a pretty simple layout consisting of Volume, independent Treble and Bass (a departure from the single tone control of the original Tremo-Verb), Reverb and Depth, and Speed controls for the Tremolo. Speaking of which, this reissue stays true to the unique Supro signal path which places the Tremolo after the Reverb, and delivers that iconic Tremolo sound.
All these features come together to deliver that sound through a single custom-made Supro CR10 10” Speaker. Oh, and of course, what kind of Supro reissue would this be without the signature Supro Blue Rhino Hide Tolex, and blue, white and silver striped grill cloth?
BEST IN THE HANDS OF
Anyone and everyone. Sure, it might not be the most versatile amp on the market, and yes, it might be a little too loud for some bedroom players and might not have quite enough clean headroom for some live performers, but none of that matters once you plug in, turn it on and hit that first chord. Honestly, I challenge anyone to play through this amp for five minutes and not have the best damn time ever. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.
WHY IT’S ON THE TOP SHELF
It’s pretty obvious why this amp belongs on the top shelf. It’s a USA-made beauty that sounds phenomenal, and if you want a surefire way to nail some of the most sought-after tones in rock 'n' roll history without shelling out for an original, this is pretty much your only option.
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