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MF MD HG Ask Our Gearheads 07-08-14

VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp  

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SKU 
#H79054000000000
Top Rated

Overview

  • Switchable 12/20 Watts Max Output
  • Variable Watts Control
  • 9-Volt DC Pedal Power Supply
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $799.99
  • Your Savings:
    - $200.00
  • Your Price:
    $59999
1 Used From $479.99

Order Now! Expected to ship 08-11-2014

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A great-sounding, pedal-friendly combo with selectable power ranges.

Building on the success of the popular VHT Special 6 and Special 6 Ultra, the VHT Special 12/20 features increased power (with two power ranges), a unique preamp specifically designed to excel with pedals and multi-effects units, a convenient built-in 9-volt DC pedal power supply, an all-tube buffered effects loop with send and return level controls, VHT's unique Depth and Texture controls, and variable Watts control.

To optimize the amp for a wide range of output tubes, the VHT Special 12/20 offers two output-power ranges; safely located behind the rear panel, a special voltage range switch provides the proper voltages for 6V6 or EL84 output tubes (in 12-watt low-voltage/low-power mode). The high voltage 20-watt setting provides the ideal voltages for higher-power 6L6 or EL34 output tubes. The Special 12/20 ships from the factory with a pair of 6V6 output tubes (VHT 6V6-to-EL84 socket adapters are required for operation with EL84 tubes). In addition, the Special 12/20's variable Watts control can reduce the maximum output power to less than one watt for whisper-quiet volume levels.

The Special 12/20 preamp was designed to bring the most out of every effects pedal and multi-effects unit with enhanced clarity, detail, and controlled tube compression. Its low-impedance buffered effects loop send — with variable send level — can effortlessly drive the most difficult pedals without tone or signal loss. Thanks to its variable send and return level controls, the 12/20's effects loop can accommodate a wide range of pedal or rack effects. Those seeking the shortest signal path to the output stage can plug their pedals or multi-effects units directly into to effects return jack — the 12/20's unique output stage Depth and Texture controls are post-effects loop, so the output stage characteristics can always be fine-tuned to accommodate a wide range of instruments, speakers, playing styles and environments.

As an added convenience for pedal users, the VHT Special 12/20 also features a built-in, regulated 9-volt DC pedal power supply.

Features

  • Switchable 12/20 Watts Max Output
  • Variable Watts Control
  • 9-Volt DC Pedal Power Supply
  • Tube Driven Effects Loop
  • Effects Send and Return Level Controls
  • Depth Control and Texture Switch
  • Push/Pull Boost - Footswitch Included
  • Two 6V6 & Three 12AX7 Tubes
  • One 12" 60-Watt ChromeBack Speaker
  • International Voltage Switch

Hear your pedals like never before. Order today.

 
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
VHTSpecial 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp
 
4.3

(based on 6 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (3)
  • Excellent sound (3)
  • Portable (3)
  • Warm / comfy (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home studio (4)
    • Performances (3)
    • Professional recording (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Experienced (3)

    Reviewed by 6 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-6

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    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Fantastic tone and quality

    By The Steadys

    from FTC, CO

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Great tone
    • Reliable
    • Well built

    Cons

    • Scratchy Volume Pot

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Small to Medium Gigs

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

    I've had this amp for about a year now and still love it. I bought a Special 6 a couple years back and was so impressed with it that when I needed a bigger amp for gigs, I chose the Special 12/20.

    I mainly play funk, soul, Motown, and blues. My main guitars are a Tele and Strat (or Strat equivalent) I also play clean most of the time. This amp just kills it for that punchy clean funk sound and with a boost pedal or overdrive pedal pushing the preamp into overdrive, the sound is that classic, rich, musical tube amp overdrive sound. This has a good punch that really cuts through the mix live and I've received numerous compliments on my tone (especially with the Telecaster) when playing live.

    This amp is very loud and has plenty of clean headroom if that's what you're looking for. In fact, whether practicing or playing live, I use the low power setting and it keeps up fine. I use the 'Watts' setting as my 'headroom' threshold and then adjust the volume for the loudness. In this manner, you can basically use the Watts setting like a master volume.

    The effects loop is great and allows me to run reverb, delay, and tremolo through it and not overdrive them on the main input. The 9v power supply is an absolute stroke of genius and I don't know why it doesn't come on every amp. The tone control offers a very wide sweep so you should be able to find something that works for you. The effect of the Depth and Texture controls are more subtle but they do work. Quality and construction is excellent.

    I've been using mine bone stock with the stock tubes for over a year and had no issues. bought another set of tubes to put in it but haven't yet because the stock ones sound good to my ears.

    My only gripes are that mine had a scratchy volume pot out of the box which required some pot cleaner to fix and the volume change when switching to the 'boost' setting is way too loud to be useful for what I'm doing. The tone on the boost setting is also quite a bit different...not bad, just different. The only way it's usable for me is to click it with the footswitch and then back the guitar volume down until the level is reasonable. I tend to just use a line booster at the end of my input chain to get the same effect. There is a mod that can be done to tame the volume change on the boost setting but I haven't tried it yet.

    By the way, VHT support is awesome. I emailed them a couple of times with various questions about the amp and they answered right away with really detailed answers. They seem like a great company to me. I liked this amp and my Special 6 so much that I bought another Special 6 to have at my band's practice space. I can't say enough good things about these amps or this company.

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Burned twice by MF

    By deciphryr

    from San Juan, PR

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Features In Paper

    Cons

    • Poor quality

    Best Uses

      Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Poor quality. Strong humming even in standby. MF sent first the wrong AMP then a faulty 12/20. Not happy about carrying two big boxes back to USPS.

      Comment on this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Most versatile Best Value

      By Eddie George

      from Tampa FL

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful

      Cons

      • I Want Another One Or Two

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Best amp versatility and value for the price.
      One amp to find your sound(s). Tube swap, mod components, speaker. It sounds good right out of the box - let the speaker break in for 20 hours !
      One week I used it stock - the next week I swapped power tubes - the third week I swapped pream tubes. NOW power tubes again. Fun for me, when people ask is that the same amp you had last week ?
      Yes, yes it is !
      Brialliant design for many different applications
      Takes pedals great
      It sounds great clean or overdriven

      Comment on this review

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Amp, Great Deal!

      By Max D

      from springfield Ill

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful
      • Takes Pedals Well

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        this amp is amazing. this thing has many features that really help you shape whatever tone you want out of it. I've been trying different types of power tubes and there are soo many great tones to choose from. the sound is clear and true. my Strat sounds like a Strat, my SG sounds like a SG. if you play heavy rock you will need an overdrive pedal but, whatever pedal you run through it will sound like the pedal (good or bad). I wanted a good low wattage tube amp and this thing went way beyond what I thought it would be. with el34's in low power mode it's still amazingly loud, with complex harmonics and a wonderful bloom. the vids on you tube don't due this justice at all. I teach guitar and have been playing for over 35 years. best amp I've ever owned. my classic amps stay home now. great deal, great features, tone for days...

        Comment on this review

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        this amp is special

        By mr.Lude

        from grand rapids, michigan

        About Me Experienced

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Great Saturation
        • Love The Boost Feature
        • Nice Warm Tones
        • Portable

        Cons

        • A Lot Hissy Cranked

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Great Live Miked
        • Great Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        a great all around amp!
        really cuts through the mix live.
        nice clean sound, nice saturated sound!
        just a little noisy (hiss) when cranked past half volume and a little dirty (preamp driven past half)

        Comment on this review

        (41 of 41 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Potent, feature laden Clean Machine

        By Jim Gilmore

        from Detroit Area

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        In all VHT has hit it out of the park. As stage volumes come down with good FOH PA's the VHT Special 12/20 steps into that sweet spot for any small/med club and especially if you mic the amps and use monitors. Add to it the ablity to shape the OD style with any of the hot-stuff pedals of your choice, the loop, and aux speaker outs you've got a great grab-n-go combo amp that will be at home in a club or studio. A great value in a piece of gear that is well thought out and well executed for any level player.
        While I am admittedly still in the honeymoon phase with this amp, I have had it for a month now and it has earned a place in the toolbox. I use it primarilly in a rehearsal space with a 10 piece R&B, Blues Rock band. I will take it to gigs, as I have had no issues with gigging an 8 watt amp. The VHT Special 12/20 preforms as advertised by it's company - its a great, warm 6V6 powered (as shiped) clean amp that loves pedals. You'll be able to shape the OD with your fave pedals no prob. There is a little more mid-presence than a classic F stype black face, and not as much mids as what a trad tweed might have - it cuts in a band mix really well (proven with our "zip-code" size 4 horn band) and brings a lot of top-end chime to the party. Clean funk strumming and clean lead fills never get lost. While the speaker is not yet borken in, it sounds very good as it does break in - no low end pharty stuff when hit hard with humbuckers or P90's, Strat single coils are all there with classic chime, glassy shimmer solid percussive bottom; and you will always hear the difference when you change guitars - it's does a great job of amplifying which ever guitar your playing. I did plug it into a well broken-in open back 1X12 Mesa cab, one for the long-chassis Lonestar Classic, and it's a pairing made in heaven - even at 12 watts when driving 2X12's it will hang with a band with authority. It has no trouble staying clean up to a loud half vol. I have not yet gone in the back to install 6L6's, but from the way the 6V6's have done, I'd expect more of the same clean warm tone. All the accesories built-in work flawlessley - the loop is transparent and works well with stompboxs or a multi-fx unit and the 9v pwr source on the back is something you'll now miss when you play virtually any other amp - kind of like heated seats in a car if you live where you have a real winter. I had an orig. VHT Pitbull 45 when they first came out in the early 90's. Even though this is a new VHT, they seem to be continuing the legacy of fine tone producing amps. In all, this amp is a tremendous value that gives much higher priced amps, with less features, a real run for the tone money.
        Quality-wise, so far no issues - it was shipped to the house and came out of the box sounding fine. It's a stout little beast and while I would not call it heavy, for a 1X12 it has some healty heft to it. A look under the hood showed a nice clean chassis and I could find no sloppy cabinet issues. All the tolex seams are neat and clean. It has produced no rattles or other weird noises when the vol is pushed to 10. A solid beefy little 1X12.
        As I mentioned, with its as-advertised ample warm, loud clean the VHT Special 12/20 gives a lot of pricier booteek amps a real run for the money - it is hand wired, and the owners manual features a complete schematic should you want to get into modding it. Once you hear it, justifying paying up to three times more becomes hard to do.

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