Been waiting to get the new chassis in to test the final circuit, transformers and look. I am happy with everything so far. I still need to finish the artwork for the front and back faces of the amp, but this is a naked preview of the final product. The new chassis is stainless steel, so I used the black knobs to compliment the chassis. I also went with this knob so on stage, you can see where things are from a distance and they are easy to manipulate w/o trying to see tiny printed numbers.
There were a few changes in this version to keep the signal path as simple and short as possible. I changed the reverb for the same reasons and it has improved as well.
I have come to realize that the full 100W AZZ is a beast and should only be considered by professionals needing loud stage volumes or clean tone seekers. It does sound good at low volumes but as you turn it up, it really starts coming to life. Even though it is a primarily clean amp, it does start to distort and compress when pushed hard (this is where the beast part comes in, it needs a 4×12 cab minimum at this point and will eat up any smaller cabs [power handling is not the issue, this amp has a ton of low frequency response and will push most cabinet/speakers beyond their capabilities]). The extended freq response is there so when you use your pedal board, you can still get a dynamic sound, even though the signal is going through a lot of cable, jacks, switches and circuitry.
After hearing Derek playing the 1/2AZZ on stage, I would recommend this to most considering an AZZ. I have a new output trans for the 1/2AZZ and it has even more low freq response that the full AZZ, but it does not have all the brute force of it. The 1/2AZZ is built to run 4 5881 tubes if needed at 80/90 watts but is optimized for the 45/50 watt, 2 5881 operation. The 1/2AZZ is much more usable as a plug straight in and turn it up amp. It retains the pure fundamentals even when pushed into heavy distortion. This is a trait rarely found and indicative of Hendrix’s sound, where those early 100 watt Marshalls have that characteristic. This amp was still designed to use a pedal board in front of the Lead channel, but you will find getting the amp turned up and singing, always sounds better that an overdrive/distortion pedal.
I am expecting to have the AZZ available early next year. I still need to fill a few artist and pre-production commitments, then I’m going to get some of my assistants trained to help me produce these. I believe we will be setting the Retail price at $12,500 and street at about $8k.