American amplifier manufacturer Supro received a substantial profile boost recently with the unveiling of the 1695T Black Magick, a recreation of the modified 1959 1690T Coronado combo Jimmy Page employed in the early days of Led Zeppelin.
He used the amp to record the solo of Stairway To Heaven. So, yeah, it was kind of a big deal and people got excited.
There's a lot more to the Supro line than Jimmy's old backline, though, and we've got our hands on a couple of new models: the 1642RT Titan and 1675RT Rhythm Master. We're talking about The Two Ronnies of the Supro line here. Up first is the Titan.
The Titan is a portable 50-watt 1x10 with an onboard reverb and a tremolo unit driven by the output tubes. Before we get involved with the noises on tap here, can we just take a step back and enjoy the view? This amp is pretty! They look like something Brian Setzer would keep in his front room.
Indeed, The King Of Rockabilly is a Supro endorsee - as are Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Billy Idol's mate Steve Stevens, Doors legend Robby Krieger and others. It's when you plug in these amplifiers that you realise why Setzer is a Supro guy, and it's not 'cos they go nice with his wallpaper...
While Jimmy Page's combo offered two channels that could be run together to produce more gain, the Titan possess one channel. Kicking off with a single volume control, the menu proceeds with EQ (treble and bass), the reverb, tremolo knobs (speed and depth) and robust on/off and standby switches.
Firing up the beast, the immediate impression is just how straightforward it is to use. There's no faffing about with banks, menus, LED screens or any of that shizzle. Right from the off, the sounds we hear are warmer than the Prodigal Son's reception.
We used a '67 Gibson SG Junior and RebelRelic Thinline for the test and their respective single coils are more than happy with the glassy but warm tones on offer. If you know your Green Onions, push the volume a bit on the Titan and you'll get the kind of clean- but-ballsy tone that Steve Cropper was all over at Stax in the 60s.
The effects? The reverb runs from an almost dry room sound to a splashy surf vibe - and if you can use the tremolo circuit without succumbing to the opening riff of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Born On The Bayou, you have more willpower than us!
Think of great amplifiers of the 50s and 60s and we guarantee you'll visualise the usual suspects: Fender, Marshall, Vox. Supro should be on that list, and not just 'cos Jimmy Page couldn't get enough of its stuff when he was making his bones.