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There is something about good old fashioned two-channel tube amps that is just hard to replicate using any other means.
Tubes tend to have that warmth and groove that no solid state can offer. Because this reason alone, there are numerous large and small amp brands who produce such tube designs.
Some have more success than others, but over time people tend to flock to the good ones. One such amp that really excels with incredible tone is the Bogner Shiva head.
Bogner has a range of very peculiar amps that offer a somewhat unique tone and combination of features. You will rarely find what we can call a general purpose amp in their lineup. Instead, they offer a range of different flavors which fit a niche type of application. One thing you can count on is quality.
Everything about Bogner amps is on a high level. That has been tested and proven many times by now. Today we are going to take a closer look at the Shiva, and introduce you to this awesome amp head.
Unique tone and combination of features
Shiva has often been categorized as a mix of vintage and modern tube sound. It’s not as hot on gain as many would like it to be, but that is a part of the reason why it’s so respected.
As counter intuitive as that sounds, when you work with a bit less gain, you can really push out the subtle details in your technique. It’s worth mentioning that Bogner released a 20th Anniversary edition which comes with a whole additional gain stage. That particular Shiva goes straight into Plexi territory once you turn on that boost.
Like we said before, this is a two channel amp head that pushes out some 80 Watts of power thanks to a combination of 6L6 power tubes and EL34 preamp tubes. The cabinet is every bit attractive as it is rugged. Color scheme consists of a mainly black vinyl that has interesting texture, and bronze/gold details. Overall, it has that vintage vibe.
There are three sets of controls available. You have volume, bass and treble knobs for the clean channel, and then gain, three-band EQ and two volume knobs for the boost channel.
Lastly, there’s a master volume and presence switch. Clean channel has a bright switch, while the dirty channel comes with both a bright and shift switch. There are no effects on the standard Shiva. All things considered, this is one of the more elegant and classy amps you can find on the market.
The clean channel on this amp is a pure work of art. The crisp yet warm tone is full across the range, although it does have that signature Bogner voice which comes from scooped mids. Definition is abundant, while the amp simply sings when you dial in a nice setting and roll off the volume a bit on your guitar.
Dirty channel isn’t really your standard overdrive, and goes closer to distortion. However, as we have mentioned before it lacks gain for any modern sound. Is this a bad thing? Depends who you ask, but most guitar players will agree that lack of gain actually gives it a unique character.
What we like
Very stylish appearance combined with refined performance is all anyone can really ask for. There is something about Bogner amps which lures you in, but the sound is what makes you stay for good.
What we don’t like
We have nothing to put in this section. The amp is a masterpiece with its own personality.
Bogner Shiva head is one of the most refined amps you can get at the moment. It’s not a brute, but rather a gentleman who isn’t scared of showing his teeth when necessary.
The performance is on point, especially if you plan on playing a lot of blues, while the dirty channel can give you a very rich rock tone.
If you simply need more than that, Shiva 20th Anniversary edition has the extra gain and more saturated distortion. At the end of the day, this amp is a pure success. You probably won’t see too many of them around, but they definitely deserve to be mentioned.