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Boutique amps are usually considered to be the niche branch of the market. You don’t go and buy a boutique amp if you need a general purpose setup. No, you buy them when you’re chasing a very specific type of tone.
So what happens when a brand decides to release a boutique amp which has the functionality of a general purpose amp? The answer is awesomeness.
Egnater is known for producing some of the best boutique amps on the market. This company simply knows how to make them, and they know exactly what kind of sound people are after.
Egnater Tweaker 15 stands out from that ideology. Actually, it breaks a bunch of ’boutique’ amp rules all together. On a first whim, this sounds like a bad thing. That is until you discover just how great it is to own an amp that is the Swiss army knife of niche sounds.
There is really no reasonable down side to having a setup like the Tweaker 15. As you are about to find out, its application spans far above the bedroom use. This thing is capable of a lot more.
Many amplifier manufacturers, especially the boutique ones, try to get that vintage aesthetic right. The problem is that not many of them succeed in this task.
Achieving a proper vintage look is not just about shades of brown, it’s about the overall vibe of the amp. Egnater used a rather simple approach and nailed the design completely. Sure, it’s a small amp head so it is somewhat easier to accomplish this, but they did it nonetheless.
What we got here is an all tube amp that uses two 6V6 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes. The fact they chose the 6V6 instead of the EL84 tells you that you are in for a treat. Now, the power output is set to 15 Watts, but that is definitely not a detrimental thing in this case.
When you look at the control cluster, you will realize why the Egnater Tweaker 15 is held to such a high regard.
The controls look rather standard with a master volume knob, three-band EQ and a gain knob. However, you will notice a whole bunch of switches between the knobs. This is where things become really interesting.
These switches allow you to choose different voicing modes for the amp. The first one is vintage/modern switch is used to choose how aggressive the tubes will be. There is also a one that is named USA/BRIT, which is fairly self explanatory.
Brit mode will give you more of an AC30 type tone, while the USA brings you the good old American tone. Besides these, there’s hot/clean, bright/normal and tight/deep.
The type of tube sound Egnater Tweaker 15 is capable of giving you is on par with more popular boutique tube amps. Cleans are lush and bright, having much of that vintage quality which many are after these days.
Once you start pushing the tubes a little, you get a classic fuzzy overdrive which is very controllable and organic. Now, that is without playing with all the voicing switches. Once you include those, you enter a whole different level of impressive.
Each voicing switch adds a different color to the tone. there are five of them in total. Combined with a generous three-band EQ, the tones you can dial in are so numerous that it will take you months to go through all of the combinations.
For some this might sound like a flaw, but if you need a versatile tube amp, you will enjoy these features.
On a similar note, having such functionality makes the Egnater Tweaker 15 a powerful recording amp. Placing one of these in a studio sounds like a natural thing to do. It’s where they belong. Saying something like that about a ’boutique’ amp says a lot about the folks who make it and its performance.
What we like
Egnater hit the nail on the head when they decided to pack so many different tonal features into a small amp like this. Not only is it a great choice for those who need a decent practice tube amp, but it expanded the functionality of Egnater Tweaker 15 and made it into a great recording amp. T
he default tone is worth of praise as well. Just because it has a bunch of switches doesn’t mean Egnater Tweaker 15 is compensating for anything. The core performance is still very much there.
What we don’t like
One thing we feel Egnater could have done differently is the amount of power they decided to put in this amp. At 15 Watts, you are looking at limited gigging potential. Packing a bit more heat into the Tweaker 15 would make it a serious contender for a performing guitarist. However, let’s not nitpick it too much.
All things considered, Egnater Tweaker 15 is a truly remarkable tube amp. Often times when amp manufacturers decide to build a model with so much versatility like this, they end up delivering a jack of all trades, but master of none. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with Egnater Tweaker 15.
This amp is legitimately great in every single aspect of its design. From the aesthetics to functionality. It just delivers. Whether or not this is the type of amp you would want to get for live performance is questionable. The quality of sound is definitely there, but the power output may prove to be an issue.
However, this greatly depends on the size of the venues you play at. On the other hand, if you are building a home studio and need a good recording amp that can give you a whole bunch of different tones, Egnater Tweaker 15 is absolutely something you should consider.
This amp gives you the type of versatility some solid state amps can’t. All that at a price which makes it a steal.