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ToneParty Report - The KOMET
By Anders Bergdahl and Fred Heghammar UGG
The first"real" ToneParty has taken place. This time we gave the Komet amp a real workout and also compared it to some vintage legendary amps, a Marshall JTM 50 Super PA Mark III -66 and a Vox AC-30 TB -65. This time we where five gear freaks, the core UGG people Fred, Ulf and Anders, and two professional guitarist, Jerker Eklund who has played with Blacknuss Allstars and Nisse Landgren and others, and Sebastian Nylund Who toured with Swedish stars like Tomas Ledin and others.
The Komet is a Ken Fischer designed amp made by Komet Amplification in USA (the amp in the middle with the white "V"). Ken Fischer is a legendary amp guru that designed end built the famous Trainwreck amps.
Sadly Ken Fischer suffer from a health problem can't build amps himself, therefore he has designed and let Holger "Hogy" Notzel build it.
This is a 50 -60w non master volume amp, it works in class A/B (as almost ALL tube amps with more than one output tube, even VOX is a class A/B design) has a tube rectifier and comes stock with two EL34 tubes in the power amp. The Komet is often referred to as a "plexi style amp" with that people tend to mean that it covers more or less the same sonic ground as an old Marshall amp from the 60's. Some say that it has a "Voxty chime", that's the reason why we wanted to have a Marshall Plexi and a Vox AC-30 TB to compare it with.
Control vise the Komet has: Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, Presence, High Cut controls, On the back of the amp is a quite special feature a Fast/Gradual switch, from a technical point of view it alters the internal voltage levels in the amp, what it does to sound you can read in the sound section of this Tone Party Report.
Internally it's point to point wired amp with top quality components some neat features is a Bias control with A precision 10-turn dial with a scale from 1 to 100 and convenient bias test points that accepts standard volt meter tips. This allows you the easily rebias the amp for different output tubes for example 6L6, Kt66 and so on. This is a looker as well and all work seems to be 100% perfect.
You can read more about the amp and its design and Ken Fischer on the website www.kometamps.com.
The important thing how does it sound, to find out we went underground to a dark rehearsal room where we really could crank the amps. We used a 67' fender Tele with Lindy Fralin vintage pickups and a Les Paul with old PAF Pickups. First Fred Demoed the Komet so that we all got to know a bit.
We first tried the Gradual mode, here the amp quite a good amount of headroom and we agreed that the clean sound was VERY good indeed, a bit of more a live than mod Marshall style amp, more like a cross between a really good Fender and a Vox. When you cranked it a bit it had a VERY nice and full crunch sound and it became clean but still clear and fat when you turned volume down. It's a very reveling amp, Jerker commented that it doesn't forgive you like a Fender amp does, and for some that's good for others it's not so good. In gradual mode this amp goes from clean to AC/DC style crunch and very nice blues, Country rock and Rock lead sound can be dialed in. String separation is great overall an amazing sound but hang there's more. With a 4*12 Marshall, 30 watt Greenbacks it was a real Rock sound with a 1*12 ported Mystique cab with an EV speaker the sound was clearer and more satisfying for players preferring a Fender type of sound. Over all headroom is very good for an amp of this style.
Now is time for the fast mode!
With Volume on 9 o'clock there is already a really amazing dynamic crunchy sound. The amp responds much more to pick dynamics and volume change on the guitar in this mode. It's the same base sound but livelier and even more direct. It really sparks between the pick and the strings on the guitar and the sound has a direct response that is unbelievable. You have to try this it's amazing!
In this mode you can dial in all different sounds from the 70 rock scene up to Van Halen killer tone. If you want clean sounds, just turn down the volume on the guitar and the amps cleans up nicely without losing any dimension of the sound. The amps have an incredible string separation through out the whole spectrum of overdrive stages. I found these amps to be very versatile and it handles all kind of music styles, it's all up to the guitars, because this amp really shows all your mistakes. And if you glitter this amps will sing the greatest tones you ever heard!
All of us at the Tone Party had the same comment "man this amp really rocks"!
All other reviews I have read about this amp always end up in the same sentence "This is a really loud amp!" Ok it is loud, but not louder then a Marshall Plexi amp or a Vox AC30.
We tried the amp through both a THD hotplate and a Weber MASS but they both messed up the tones from the amp. It sounds much better with a Hot cake or a Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive pedal in front of it.
As I mention above you have to try this amp to understand what we are talking about because words can't describe how it really feels to play electric guitar through out such a good amp like this. Komet is very famous on the net for their sound samples (http://www.kometamps.com/sounds.html) and now we understand why!
They are not even close to how this beauty really sounds.
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