Monday, June 24, 2013

GEEK ALERT: Review of the Moreland Diamondback Amp

The Moreland Diamondback Amp
Rick Moreland recently completely the Moreland Diamondback Amp and I got a chance to really work it over before it was delivered to it's new owner. As a Moreland Endorser, I kinda knew what to expect from the amp, but I wasn't fully prepared for what this thing can do.

The Diamondback Amp is a 2x10 combo amp with two discreet channels/inputs: a classic Tweed channel with a single tone control and Fat Boost and an EF-86 powered pentode gain circuit with a 12 position "clicker" switch that has a dramatic effect on the tones generated by this little Wonder Box. Around 6-7 is the magic tone for me. Globally it has a Master Volume and a MasterBite control.

True Point-To-Point wiring makes the difference.
On the inside, you see this is a true Point-To-Point amp. No circuit boards inside. For tubes, (right to left) it has an EF-86, a 12AX7 for the Tweed Preamp, 12AX7 Phase Inverter, 2 EL-34's for power and 5AR4/GZ-34 Rectifier tube. The Power Rating is 35 watts, but that is very conservative. This thing is one of the loudest combo amps I've played. It also has that trademark Moreland Tone, and can achieve it at any volume. With a sweet spot that large, what's not to love!

Playing the amp was a pleasure. Both channels have endless possibilities with a minimal set of controls. Even the slightest adjustment of any of the controls changes the tone pretty dramatically, but not in a bad way. I wasn't able to find a bad tone in this amp, and I tried! Just not one in it. I was able to take the amp on a gig with "Takin' It South" and the range of tones impressed me. To give it a fair shake, I used the EF-86 channel for one set and the Tweed channel for another, taking it through a wide sweep of musical genres, from blues to country to rock and everything in between. It performed beautifully in every aspect, with sweet singing sustain and thick tube tone that can't be ignored.

The video below is me through a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive with Monte Allums latest mod on the Tweed Channel with the Fat Boost engaged and the MasterBite at about halfway (there's a spot in the video where you can see the the controls). I hope you enjoy it.

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