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It wasn’t long after the introduction of the Down Brownie™ in 2016 that I started getting questions (and became a bit curious) about the 6G2 Brown-era Princetons. It seemed that this 6G2 circuit had a cult following not unlike it’s big brother the 6G3 Brown Deluxe. So after some encouragement from an early Down Brownie owner, I decided investigate further. One of the first things I found was this very informative article by Dave Hunter. What I was able to read and listen to intrigued me, and I figured why not build a couple and see if anybody takes their feet off the desk?
The Emperor -Amp™ is a respectful homage to the 6G2 Brown Princeton, that really does live up to its reputation as a screaming little dirt box. This is not assembled from a “kit”. The Emperor-Amp™ has about 175 parts, consisting of approximately 90 discrete part numbers sourced from over a dozen different vendors. No corners cut on these; only the best components were used. Furthermore, it comes standard with some really cool features that take it well beyond a one-trick pony, without altering the original “brown sound” or DNA these amps are known for. And yes, it has that seductive bias-vary tremolo found on just a few of the Brown-era amps.
Unlike a stock 6G2, the Emperor -Amp™ is a true two-channel amp (it has a 3rd 12AX7 added), but with common volume and tone controls. Plug into Input 1 and you’ll get vintage spec, unmodified 6G2 tones. Plug into Input 2 and you have JMP50 voiced preamp section for a very British flavored tone (i.e. tighter with slightly less gain). Pull the volume pot and the Brown and British channels are internally jumpered. Pull the tone pot and a gain boost is engaged (works especially well at lower volume settings). Also present are a switchable rectifier (5U4GB & SS), switchable negative feedback (NFB) and the same excellent master volume used on the Down Brownie. And for just a bit more power when you need, it sports the same Heyboer custom wound transformers used on it’s big brother the Down Brownie. In addition to the bigger iron, a 5U4GB rectifier is used which still has nice bit of “sag”, and a Celestion 10″ Greenback which dovetails incredibly well with the 6G2 circuit.
You’ve probably noticed by now that it’s not a Brown tolex amp. Well, turns out in late ’63 they made the 6G2’s for a short time in a transitional blackface color scheme. Known as the “tuxedo” Princetons, they had black face plates, ivory “cupcake” knobs, black bronco tolex, silver grill cloth and black rubber “spring” handles. As an homage to the 6G2 “tuxedos”, the Emperor -Amp™ sports a black & blonde rough tolex (same cool texture as the brownface amps), wheat grill cloth, black faceplate w/ivory knobs and a black leather 6G3 style handle.
Penguin -Amp™ Features:
- Two channel preamp section: Input 1 is pure, unadulterated 6G2 sonic goodness; Input 2 is JMP50-voiced for a more traditional classic rock British vibe.
- Internal jumper mode on the push/pull volume pot
- Gain boost feature on the push/pull tone pot for more aggressive gain at lower volumes
- Rich Mod II PPIMV (Post Phase Inverter Master Volume)
- Switchable tube/solid state rectifier
- Switchable negative feedback; choose between Min/None/Max NFB settings
- Adjustable bias pot on underside of chassis
- Bias-vary tremolo
Emperor -Amp™ Components & Specifications:
- Celestion 10″ Greenback 8 ohm, 30 watt speaker.
- Heyboer custom wound Down Brownie power transformer and output transformer
- Heavy Duty 16AWG 8′ power cord
- 16 watts, (2) matched 6V6GT’s; (1) 5U4GB, (3) 12AX7
- Old-school hand wired construction with our custom-made G10FR ‘glass eyelet boards and correct gauge pushback wire
- SoZo NextGen Blue Molded Vintage and Yellow Mustard Vintage capacitors
- Sprague, F&T electrolytic capacitors
- Carbon composition, carbon film and metal oxide resistors in the appropriate locations
- Belton sockets, Carling switches, Switchcraft jacks
- CTS, Bourns potentiometers
- Custom-made, vintage correct cabinet to our specs using selected lightweight #2 pine & 1/4″ finger joints just like Leo made ’em.
- Fender style single button footswitch for tremolo
- Weighs just 28 pounds; grab ‘n go!
*Components and Specifications are subject to change without notice due to availability, or to improve reliability, function, design or otherwise.