I would like to share a product worthy of attention. This achievement is one for the books of Tonal History. Rob Lohr, of Mr. Music, in Allston, Massachusetts, keeps finding ways to pack modestly priced (under $2,500 USD) hi-quality handmade amps into the space of a Fender Princeton sized cab. All this with features and tone associated with the highest end of the boutique amp world. The Allston Tremulator MKII sounds great, is so much fun to play and cosmetically looks as perfect on the outside as the work inside the chassis.
Rob builds with the best components, and each amp is custom detailed to your cosmetic specs. He handles all aspects of the build and refuses to farm out any of the operation to anyone. From start to finish, the actual building of the cabinet, to the multiple layers of tough paint and clear coat that covers the hand-fixed vinyl knob lettering and the logo that you may have chosen for your custom order, Rob does it all.
Inside the Princeton-sized chassis, the neatly wired components sit nestled in an intricate work of art. With this latest build, Rob has somehow figured out how to give you a vintage sounding, foot-switchable tremolo circuit that you cannot hear until you play! The amp is “whisper” quiet and has no annoying beating sound that indicates that you have activated the tremolo. It is one of those “How come no-one has ever thought of this before?” kind of features.
The Front face plate of the Allston Tremulator MKII has Input, Volume, Treble, Mid, and Bass controls along with Reverb level and a Master Volume Control. The first 4 knobs are all pull-pots which allow you to get just about any combination of ”face” or “tweed” in a couple of seconds. The Back plate has a +4 effects loop (all of you dumble-ator fans will love this!!).
The +4 loop allows you to connect studio-grade effects directly into the circuit of the amp (Try out some of the Eventide delays for a good time). Noise, hum, and buzz free effects are stitched seamlessly directly into your signal path.
Miniature Tremolo controls (Depth and Speed) are also located on the back plate along with a 4, 8, 16 ohm tap.
The extension speaker output allows you to simultaneously (along with the onboard speaker) connect a specially designed closed-back mini-112 16 ohm cab that gives your 45w Princeton sized amp all the 2 x 12 punch that bigger amps dream about.
The foot-switch is the size of a Phase 90 pedal and controls (in my custom-ordered case), Tremolo and Tone Bypass.
Tone Bypass amounts to an increase or boost in volume. This allows you to cut through or overdrive the amp, depending on your settings and volume. Tone Bypass is often used as crunch or overdrive. To top this feature off and make it even more practical, Rob gives you an additional independent volume control under the chassis for the volume level of your Tone Bypass. You may opt to have your foot-switch control the reverb. In my case, I never usually need to turn off the Reverb. Having Tone Bypass as an option is a plus, since it is often only found in the D-Style amps where I got used to having and using it in a practical way.
On my amp, Rob installed the optional Tilt Back legs, which, of course, in a situation where you put the combo on the floor level, allow you to angle the amp toward you to hear the great tones. I will say that before my first tilt back Allston Amp, I used to opt out of having any amp tilted toward me, because they often sounded too harsh or loud for my ears. We as guitarists, get used to the sound of an amp moving air through our legs out into the audience. When I started using these amps, simply put, I love the sound, so now I play with the amp tilted upward. It makes for a more room filling sound and for situations where you are not using the 112 extension cab, I have found that a tilted-back amp on a wood floor makes for greater bass response.
The amp loves pedals and responds really well to clean boosts. If it sounds like I am in love with this amp, I will have to say yes, I am! My age pushes me into the category of traditionalist when it comes to tones. However, I like being able to use many of the technical options that we have available to us today. Rob is a builder that is able to incorporate these options into a traditional sounding quality product. And yes, packing this much amp into the small space of a Princeton is a shout out to the working musician who has 30 years of back strain under his belt from taking the necessary 40w for the average weekend gig! Thanks Rob…(who has roadies any more?)
Here is some info and website below on the Allston Tremulator MKII from Rob Lohr: AAAAA+
Allston Tremulator MKII specs:
Dimensions: 20″W x 16″H x 9 1/4″D
Tube complement: 2x 6L6, 3x 12AX-7, 2x 12AT-7
Power output: 45 watts
Effects Loop: Half normalled line level
Speaker: 12″ Celestion G12T-75
Front panel controls:
Volume- pull bright
Treble- pull hi mid boost
Mid- pull lo mid boost
Bass- pull tone bypass
Rear panel controls:
impedance select (4,8,16 ohms)
Tone bypass independent master volume (under chassis between 1st and