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By Russ Kent, Contributing Editor, Harmony Central
Two-Rock Guitar Amplification cofounder/designer Bill Krinard says, “If you plug in a 1956 Strat and then a 1961 Strat, I want you to hear and feel the difference. The struggle to accomplish that is my bliss.”
Krinard’s bliss was my blast when I plugged into one of his signature combinations recently—a Two Rock Studio Pro 35 head with the company’s Standard 1x12 Speaker Cabinet. The thing is, this amp blows like a 100-watt twin-12. I never heard 35 watts do that. Great sounding, versatile, and conveniently portable, this amp showed me immediately why Two-Rock amps have been embraced by stars like Carlos Santana, Eric Gales, and John Mayer, who has been touring and recording with Two-Rock amps since 2005. With the Studio Pro amps, Krinard and cofounder Joe Mloganoski are making their high-end vision more accessible and versatile.
The Studio Pro 35 is a compact amp (under 40 pounds) that packs a pro punch, offering clean headroom, great dynamics, and a variety of tone-shaping options. The head does a few simple things and does them beautifully. The single-channel design provides well-tuned Bass, Treble, and Middle controls; Gain and Master controls for the right ratio of clean and cleaner. You’ll need an add-on for extreme crunch or overdrive, and the rear-panel effects loop makes that a cinch. The built-in reverb circuit has both Send and Return knobs on the front panel to better control the tone of the effect, and the amp also provides a Contour control, which is a filter with an active wideband sweep that helps you bring out all the subtleties of your tone.
And it doesn’t matter which guitar and pickup configuration you use. The back of the head hosts a five-position control for the amp’s Pickup Loading feature that matches the amp to whichever single-coil or humbucking axe you prefer. Fully counterclockwise, there is no additional pickup loading. As you adjust the knob clockwise through the four positions, you increase the load on your pickups, which changes the impedance relationship between them and the amplifier’s first gain stage. That reduces inductive ring in the pickup coils and results in a more controlled high-frequency response and a reduction in artifacts. The damping effect will also reduce the gain but you can easily compensate, and the advantage is a cleaner, less harsh tone in the upper frequencies.
Besides the loading control, the rear panel also houses a fully buffered effects loop with a combination return level control that’s also a push-pull bright switch, so you can add in a delay, your own reverb, or other external effect. There are three jacks for Speaker Output, enabling you to match the head to 4-, 8-, or 16-ohm cabinets. The power toggle is also on the rear panel, while the standby switch is up front. Just right.
The well-matched open-back cabinet I sampled held one 12" WGS12-65B driver labeled Two-Rock, just like the cabinet itself. Both head and cab featured flawless Tolex covering, a rugged leather handle, and beefy chrome protectors on all corners.
The Studio Pro 35 amp is deceptively powerful. At first glance, you may not be sure that it’s big enough for clubs or professional enough for the studio, but you’ll soon change your mind. I prefer ultraclean amps that I can then push with my own effects, and the Studio Pro is expertly tuned for clean tube sound. It responded like a much higher wattage amp on all kinds of material I played through it with my Strat (Vaughan Texas blues and Hendrix blues-blues); my Tele (Paisley country-rockers as well as trad country); my Les Paul Custom; and a couple of other humbucker-based axes.
The Studio Pro 35 proved to be a super-solid studio amp that made the most out of every watt. I loved the way I could shape the bite of my Tele with the Gain, Master, and Tone controls, and the flexibility of hitting the ultraclean reverb with more or less input. The Pickup Loading control helped me offset some of the Tele’s snarl for moodier recordings, and it softened my humbuckers on some other cuts. The Studio Pro 35 proved to be an amazingly versatile amp for recording and had the headroom to handle a small club all on its own.
Pairing a Studio Pro 35 head with a matching 1x12 cabinet (or one of Two-Rock’s other cabs) is a smart move for professionals who need the best quality components in a portable rig that’s unmatched in signal quality and purity of tone. Add your own stompboxes, mix to taste, and you have got one of the most high-end, versatile, and professional studio rigs out there.
Features & Specs:
Studio Pro 35
Speaker Cabinet (1x12)
Check out the pure tone, versatility, and portability of the Two-Rock Studio Pro 35 Head with Standard 1x12 Speaker Cabinet. Order today from Musician’s Friend and get our 45-Day Total Satisfaction and Lowest Price Guarantees.