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Last February, we got our hands on Supro’s 1606 Super and 1650R amplifiers, which packed some serious tube flavors in a small format. Now they’ve unleashed their 1812R Blues King, a 112 combo that’s certainly packing some big tones.
Aesthetically, it looks a bit old timey, with the cabinet sporting a recessed grill cloth opening for the speaker, a black tolex/vinyl covering, and a simple control panel. Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Reverb and Master Volume knobs sit aside a pair of mini toggles that kick in a boost and as well as a high gain mode switch. The rear panel has an effects loop, and a set of 1/4” connections for footswitches (not included) to engage the boost and high gain modes. It’s amazingly thin, physically, with a cabinet depth of just 7.5”.
It clocks in at 15 watts, with a 6L6 tube running the power amp section, and a 12AX7 preamp tube. Both the Boost and Hi-gain modes are driven by a FET based circuit. Speaker wise, Supro has their own 12” specially designed speaker. There’s also an effects loop in there as well for your modulation-type pedals. Want to run another cabinet? There’s a line out that can also be used as a DI into a DAW. Nice touch.
Plugging it in, we were really surprised at the low end response, considering the cabinet’s size. Headroom wise, it’s got plenty to keep up with most drummers. The clean tone still rings true, and in higher settings it can get nice and gritty, with plenty of articulation. Kick in the hi-gain mode, and it’s gnarly, with a nice midrange that can cut through easily. The boost mode is a really nice touch, and at full blast, with both Hi-Gain and Boost engaged, it felt like a classic amp freaking out in the way you know that amps were supposed to sound. It’s hard to believe it’s such a small amp brining in that much tone! The reverb is quite nice, and is what spring reverb is meant to sound like, big and yet not too crazy and washed-out.
It interacts nicely with drive pedals, too; we tried it with some of our faves in front of the clean sound, including a modded Boss Blues Driver, an EHX Soul Food, and a Revv G4 (see this month’s review). No issues to be had at all, and the amp interacted nicely with each. With the effects loop, running time-based effects like reverb and delay makes this a real pedal platform amp that can kick, regardless of genre.
The only downside is the knobs; while there’s a small marker to indicate position, it’s kind of hard to read, especially in low light situations. It’s a small problem to deal with, but worth mentioning, as everything else of this amp was so on-point. Users could easily apply some whiteout to make it easier to see, but you really shouldn’t have to. Let’s hope the mkII version (if there ever is one) addresses this.
Overall this little amp is a great powerhouse, and while it may have “Blues” in its name, it’s a great amp for pretty much any kind of music, where the guitarist wants a great tube sound, without the backaches of a full-sized backline.
Great tube tone, small format, nice effects loop
Knobs are kind of hard to read.