Egnater Tweaker 40 amp review

In a world with versatile modern nutube amps, modeling amps, hybrid amps, sampled guitar sounds all trying to offer you both flexibility as tube tone, this Egnater Tweaker amp almost looks like a straight forward old school tube amp. But is it?

Sampled guitars can be tricky. Sometimes they work well. Sometimes, even with the most painstakingly multisampled, velocity-switched libraries, they end op sounding  stiff and artificial. Modelling amps are getting better and better, but somehow even the best sounding modelling amps or amps like the Kemper Amp still sound different from real tube amps. There have been previous attempts to tackle the problem by moddeling the behaviour of guitars and amp circuits with software, there are even software mechanisms to mimic the interactions of pick, strings an fingers. But so far, if you ask me, nothing sounds quite as a tube amp

Technical Specifications Tweaker 40 Tube Head
Type
Tube
Number of Channels
2
Total Power
40W
Preamp Tubes
3 x 12AX7
Power Tubes
2 x 6L6
EQ
3-bands with 11 Tweaker Switches
Inputs
1 x 1/4"
Outputs
2 x 1/4"(Speaker)
Effects Loop
Yes
Footswitch I/O
Yes
Height
7,16" / 18,19 cm
Width
18,5" / 47 cm
Depth
8,11" / 20,60 cm
Weight
22 lbs / 10 kg

Egnater Tweaker amp

The Egnater Tweaker 40 is a 100% tube amp with two identical channels and as the 40 suggests it’s 40 Watts. You can tweak your tone to your preferences, but (much) more than on most conventional tube amps. No it’s no match for a modern modelling amp or the like when it comes to tweaking options like multiple amps simulations and storable effect combinations, midi banks to recall different sounds and so forth. But it is a real tube amp that offers the three big names in guitar amp world where almost all other amps are built upon; Fender, Vox and Marshall. Or as Egnater calls it, the USA/AC and Brit switch.

Bruce Egnater has a very good reputation, especially in the United States, for tweaking and building amps for famous guitarists. The Egnater Tweaker amp is built in the far east and is therefore affordable. Beside the toggle switch between USA/AC of Britt there are a lot more switches to tweak your tone with. And that’s where it stands out compared to other tube amps, that’s why it’s not juist a straightforward old school tube amp.

Controls

FRONTPANEL
From left to right there are the standard Power on/off and Standby on/off switches. Then it becomes interesting. There are two Master volumes (Master 1 and Master 2) and both have their own Vintage/Modern switch. The vintage setting will provide a more vintage sound, more open and lush like the older tube amps. The Modern setting will provide a modern sound wich is more compressed and tighter. Both channels are identical, so you can treat them both the same or completely different except for the shared equalizing controls (EQ). 

After the Master volumes there is the USA.AC/Britt switch as mentioned before. Then there are the shared equalizing controls Treble, Middle and Bass. Some people will find this annoying because they want to switch between two completely different sounding guitar sounds. Personally I find it no big deal, because I always set the equalizing so that it maches my guitar. Once you set the EQ you can tweak whether you want this channel to be tight or deep, hot or clean, bright or normal and with or without mid cut. And then you can set the amount of gain. Or in your own order, whatever suits you. You can do this for both channels independently, like I said, except for the EQ. To the far right on the front panel there is a channel switch button, so that you can manually switch channels without a footpedal.

BACKPANEL
On the back of the Egnater tweaker amp is an effectsloop (return/send) that comes with a switch for line Level or instrument Level. Then there is the impedance switch (4,8 and 16 Ohm) to match the speaker(s) you use. Followed by two speaker outs and a footswitch out. 

FOOTSWITCH
The footswitch comes with the Egnater tweaker amp. It has a channel switch and effects on/off switch. At the far right is a fuse and the connection for the power cable.

Tweak

Because of all the possibilities you don’t normally get on a regular tube amp, this amp offers you plenty of tones from just one amp. The Egnater tweaker amp is very practical. The amount of gain is enough for most rock acts and the clean sounds are cristal clear. It is possible to get convincing metal sounds out of this amp, although it’s not typically made for it. The Egnator Vengance is better suited if you need a broad range of metal sounds. But the Tweaker 40 is a very versatile tube amp that can help you get all different sounds for different styles and best of all; to tweak your own signature sound.

There is no line out, DI out, speaker emulation or power attenuator. There are no built in effects, not even a reverb. But in exchange all the effort and components put in this amp are there to make your tone stand out. You can choose your own beloved effects and microphone to record this amp. Wich is all part of the tweaking process, isn’t it?

Appearance

Egnater is renowned for merging modern tonal versatility with classy, boutique-style asthetics. Egnater Tweaker amp and speaker cabinets have the same two-tone covering (black tolex and beige checkered grill-cloth) with gold piping, and Egnater logo. The amp nore the cabinet comes with corner protectors. On top of the Egnater Tweaker head is a grill for heat dissipation. You will have to consider this when you place your effects unit on top.

How does it sound

BEFORE YOU START ….
First of all I want to refer to the videos in the links below of this amp to actually hear the sound. My advice is to use headphones for better sound so you can really hear the nuances. There video’s represent a Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster and a Gibson Les Paul Standard whereas most guitars are based on thes three models. With each different guitar I follow the procedure as described in “Setup A Guitar Tone” in the “Tips &Trips” section of the AmpPlanet.com website.

A WARM FENDER-ISCH TONE
The overall tone of the Egnater Tweaker 40 can be best describe as “warm”. Whether you tweak a Fender-isch clean tone or a Marshall type distortion tone, it will never be harsh but very warm instead. The tones really sing, like a natural sustain. You can choose between a USA (Fender), AC (Vox) of BRIT (Marshall) clean sound. During testing I found that every option has its own characteristics and can be very useful. To test the Fender clean setting I fired up my Fender Supersonic 22 amp for A/B comparison. I set up a nice, typical Fender tone with a Strat and then switched to the Egnater amp to duplicate that sound. Although there is a slight difference between the two amps (the Fender amp was a bit less focused ans lush) the Egnater proved to be very convincing. I did the same with a fully distorted setting and again the Egnater was as near as similar. 

VOX TONE
After testing the other settings (AC/BRITT) I was very impressed. I just sold my vox AC15 C1 wich I really loved, so I know how a Vox should sound. With the Egnater I was able to set up, very quickly, a very convincing Brad Paisley Dr. Z tone with my Telecaster, something that proved to be hard on the Vox AC15. Because the Egnater has more options and more gain, I was able to twak the tone on every aspect. I was much more satisfied with the result than I was with the Vox. This was at bedroom/studio level by the way. I never use distortion pedals, only the distortion of the amp itself. I did use a slapback delay through the effects loop.

MARSHALL TONE
The BRITT setting is even warmer en has more gain. It is very Marshall like but it adds the Egnater character to the sound. It makes it warmer and more boutique like than a real Marshall.

CONCLUSION
The Egnater is capable of producing crystal clear cleans, subtle Fender and Vox crunch tones “on the edge”, power rock chords and even some pure metal tones. For lead guitar it produces singing lead tones, bluesy tones but also clean lead tones like Mark Knofler or even Hank Marvin (with the AC mode). And I’m pretty sure that when you hand over this amp to John Petrucci he will produce a decent metal solo tone with it. Most importantly, it’s convincing and satisfying. I’m not surprised these amps won several gold awards by some renowned guitar magazines.

Use the right cable

With the Egnater Tweaker head, nor with the speaker cabinet was a speaker cable included. It’s important to use a speaker cable and not a regular instrument cable because there is a big differences between cables in thickness, impedance and other important issues. If you are using the wrong cable the signal from the amp to the cabinet will not come through completely and it can cause hiss and even malfunction. Some say you could burn your cable or damage your amp. If you want read more about cables you can read this in this comprehensive blog

Comes with...

  • Footswitch (with extra long cable)
  • Power cable
  • Egnater Tweaker 40 Owners Manual with suggested control settings
  • Egnater Tech Talk “a roadmap to finding your tone”
  • Egnater Limited Warranty certificate
  • Egnater Warranty registration/ information card
  • Important Safety Instructions

Comes without...

  • Speaker cable (head and cabinet)
  • Amp cover
  • Amp and Cabinet corner protectors
  • Recorder output / speaker emulator
  • Power soak / attenuator

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