Sweet Versatility, Sweet Tone, Built Like a Beautiful Tank
I've gone through quite a few amps in the past few months searching for the perfect studio/gigging combo amp for me in the $600-800 range. Other amps I've owned and returned include the Blackstar HT Studio 20 and the Fender Deluxe VM. This baby is INCREDIBLE - I have never played a more sweet-sounding, dynamic, versatile amp, save for maybe a Mesa/Boogie costing 3 times the price!
Since this product (as of the time of review) is relatively new, I imagine that it's probably the first production run. As far as I can tell, there are no kinks due to its newness or anything like that. The build quality of the Tweaker is absolutely fantastic - it is a very sturdy, well-built mostly closed back amp. The cabinet I believe is made of birch ply, which is a nice touch that you'd be hard-pressed to find in a combo amp at this price (almost all of them are particle-board - it lends a subtle but noticeable difference in sound, and a vast difference in sturdiness). Every seam of this thing is basically flawless, and the attention to detail really floored me. It really is a beauty.
My experience with the Tweaker was actually first with the 15-watt Tweaker 112. Of all the amps I tried out at my local music store, it was the Tweaker that stuck out as having the sweetest break-up, and by far the most tone-shaping possibilities. All of these are still true with the Tweaker 40 112. Keep in mind that since this is a higher wattage amp, that it sounds best and fullest at volume levels that are overall significantly higher than a 15-watter like the original Tweaker. That doesn't mean it can't work as a bedroom amp, but rather that it sounds sweetest at recording to stage volumes. When I cranked the volume high enough (which all things considered really wasn't that high), the familiar organic gritty breakup of the original Tweaker jumped right out. Both the clean and hot channels are fantastic. These combined with the myriad Tweaker switches (one set per channel, except for the 3 circuit voicing options, which apply to the EQ circuit for both channels) and with decent pickups give you the power to sound like *anything*. I have pulled off blues, hard rock, jazz, acoustic, and even high-gain metal all equally convincingly. Granted, to pull off the higher gain stuff you will need to use a guitar with relatively hot pickups - in my opinion that will give you the greatest range of tonal possibilities (you can always roll back your guitar volume, after all - cleans up very nicely).
The EQ voicing switch can take you from a British sound (Marshally, mid-range punchy) to a VOX AC sound (haven't played around enough with this one to say how it sounds yet, but I think it has more top-end sparkle) to a bright American (ie. Fender) sound. Every setting does sound noticeably different, and to be honest, I have been completely unable to dial in a bad sound on this baby! If you've played a lot of amps, then you know that they may have one good channel, and the other sounds like crap; or both sound pretty good, but if you mess with the EQ settings then you just ruin it completely. Everything I have tried, every permutation of switch and pot settings has sounded absolutely glorious. It all sounds sweet, present, warm, and full.
If there are any downsides, they are more mild disappointments than anything else. I wish it had a line out / speaker simulated out for plugging directly into a PA / mixing board. Although, if you want that, you could always go for a Rivera RockCrusher power attenuator in tandem with this. Also, it is not a totally silent amp. I have it connected to a Monster Power conditioner, which makes everything essentially silent. The Tweaker is silent in that absolutely no hum or noise comes out of the speaker, but when turned on you can hear an audible hum coming from the amplifier circuit itself (and *not* the speaker). I assume this is normal, although if I notice any strange behavior I'd get it looked at. Either way, it's not noticeable unless you're in a quiet room practicing. I also wish it came with a cover, but eh, not at all a dealbreaker. I actually just ended up ordering a custom made amp cover from a guy on eBay instead.
Oh, it does come with a footswitch as well, which is made entirely of metal - a nice touch, I thought. It's not midi footswitchable, unfortunately, but only two parameters are footswitchable anyway (channel and the buffered effects loop).
Don't be afraid to mess with the settings on this - it is called the Tweaker after all. I'd be willing to bet that *your tone* is in here somewhere. I have to say, after a long grueling search, I think I'm pretty smitten now - and I think if you give it a shot, you might be too.