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Electar 10 Review

5/13/2000 2:13 PM
Electar 10 Review
Well, my Electar 10 amp arrived yesterday and I spent some time last night checking it out. To recap, it's the 10-watt tube amp with the 8" speaker in a closed-back cab available from for $89. One feature they didn't mention on the web site was, in addition to the external speaker jack, it has a preamp out jack, which I thought was a nice bonus!  
Overall, I'm really happy with it. The speaker cabinet sounds really good, and it's amazing how tight the lows are for such a small size. Not a window-shaking Marshall chunk, but definitely good for recording. I plugged my 2 15"s into it, and it really can drive those too, this sucker can get loud!  
With the gain set at 3, you get a very clean sound that is really nice. I'd like to be able to dial in a little more treble, but it's not bad. Cranking up the gain gives you a squeaky, bluesy sound, remniscent of Billy Gibbons in his Tejas/Deguello days. Pretty much the classic blues/tube thing starts happening.  
I was initially a little disappointed with the lack of drive. With the drive maxed it is still somewhat light and there's not a lot of sustain. So I plugged in my trusty Shaka 4 and that's where the magic started happening.  
My favorite setting was to set the Shaka pedal to boost the signal just a little. I set the drive to 1/4, which worked a little better than completely clean. Then I set the gain knob on the amp to around 5-6. Voila! Effortless sustain and smooth distortion! All with natural guitar tone! Very nice, and it cleans up with a twist of the guitar volume. Cranking the amp gain to 10 gives you a super-saturated tone, but you have to pull back on the treble and mid control a lot to keep it from getting too buzzy.  
Bottom line: Very usable tones abound in this thing, but you have to work for them. It's not the kind of amp you can just flip one switch or turn one knob and start exuding fantastic tone. You need to boost your guitar signal just a little, and I think the pre-EQ of the stompbox helps too. You also have to fart around with the amp EQ a lot, but hey, that's what it's for, right? It also works well in the clean setting, using your stompboxes in the "conventional" way- I tried the Shaka 4, Shaka BBQ, and Sweet Thing and it responded well to them.  
This is essentially my first foray into tube ampdom and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I was looking for a low-wattage no frills tube amp that I could record with and would complement my stompboxes - and I found it. Definitely worth the price (and ripe for modding!;-)  
5/13/2000 3:26 PM

Any way you could send me a wav of the amp? Do you know what class the amp is?I think it is hilarious that you already want to get in there and tweak it!!! Big Voltages Though!!Just started your tube quest!!!! Sounds like your first experience with turning back now!!!! It is the closest you can get to playing with fire and not getting burned!! my opinionHell, soon you'll probably want a Soldano!!! Ha! Ha!May want to try different pre-amp tubes...12ax7wb (7% more gain) pretty hot little tube!!! has them for $5.90 eachCan't imagine using any of these pedals without a tube could one really HEAR or appreciate a pedal without one? Just my opinion...I want to be a tube in my next life!Rock On!
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5/13/2000 3:35 PM

Hey Doug,  
Glad you like your Electar...For the price, everybody should own one :-)  
Have you checked out the electar mod page already ? I believe someone mentioned it in the previous electar thread.  
5/13/2000 6:23 PM

>Have you checked out the electar mod page already ?  
Yes I have. Funny thing, after all the tweaking around with mini-tubes, sweet thing, and etc, I actually understand the mods this guy proposes and they make total sense.;-) From my experience with those circuits, some of the component values on this amp do seem kind of goofy.  
Now, just gotta get an insulated grounding jumper and I'm good to go...  
5/13/2000 6:32 PM

Please post the URL to that Electar site.  
5/13/2000 8:10 PM

Here's the url to the electra mod page :  
I saw someone tried to post it here, but it didn't come through, hope this one does.  
5/13/2000 6:21 PM

Glad you like it. I will have to check it out.  
You might want to try putting the Shaka into the input, the preamp out into the Marshall sim then going into your mixer.  
>With the drive maxed it is still somewhat light and there's not a lot of sustain.  
This is normal for a lot of old vintage style amps. That's why stuff like the Tube Screamer became so popular.  
As you have found, the Shaka is killer for driving the front end of an amp.  
Now - how did your Sweet Thing do? For me, it was fabulous through the already awesome Trainwreck amp.  
If possible, I would like a sample file to listen to as well.
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