mini review on /13 CJ-11 and some eye candy...

June 16th, 2010, 12:38 AM
....based on 5E3 circuit...
Got this gem last week and refrained from doing a mini review then as I didn't want to immediately start raving but at this point the raving cannot be controlled. For those who aren't familiar the CJ-11 started life as a 5E3 circuit. It has a Celestion Greenback in what appears to be a tad smaller than a Fender Super Reverb sized cabinet which I understand plays a huge role in it's overall clarity and slam factor. The fit and finish of even the insides of the cab is really a work of art, labor and love. As the story goes per their website.

"When asked, by Corky James, amongst others, "Can you take my favorite 1959 tweed amp from Fullerton and instead of the controls being Volume Volume Tone make it Volume Treble Bass, give it more clean headroom, a wider range of usable overdrive (throw in a little EL 34), make it a little louder with fuller, tighter low end, and put a master volume in it so i can play at all levels and dial in and hit the sweet spot of whatever speaker I am using at the time, mostly a G12M Celestion?"

I never thought I'd ever hear a better 5E3 circuit than the Victoria 20112 Deluxe that I've owned for a few years now but at this point I'm not sure if it will stay in my stable as anything it does the CJ can emulate with identical results or display far better clarity and definition with the addition of both a treble and bass control to shape the results. I have read that it is based on a Black Face tone stack but I read that here and it is not mentioned on their site. As for headroom there is no other way to put it other than jaw dropping as it feels as though it has 3-5 times it's rated power of 11 watts!! The pick sensitivity is also better than any amp I've ever used in 40+ years of chasing tone. It's not just clean if picked lightly and then crunchy if you whack the strings as any good 5E3's display, it offers several levels of breakup as well as several changes in overall character of sound as you increasingly simply add more pick pressure, quite a chamellion. Add the flexibility of a properly made master volume that's truly usable at 9:00 on it's setting with no sound degradation.

So I'm goo goo gagga over this thing since last week and then yesterday discover the pull out mid boost in the volume control which just about floored me. The 11 watts was already mind boggling as it was. It now reminds me of the Vicky and an overdrive. I'm using both a Nocaster and a CS Strat with '59 p/u's and both sound as though somehow I mounted a microphone inside the middle of the neck as I'm hearing woody tones I've not experience before. Add the fact that it does indeed have some Marshally EL-34 sound in there and this amp is truly incredibly versatile.

Kudos to Eddie at Boutique Guitar Exchange in Atlanta for his phone guidance and wonderful description of this fine instrument.

June 16th, 2010, 10:02 AM
Congrats on the amp. It looks great and matches your guitar.

I can verify that the preamp is based on the BF Fenders, actually the volume, bass, treble circuit of the CJ is identical to the basic BF preamp circuit, the only difference I see is the added pull boost..

Not sure about the PI circuitry, but my bet is that it (and the rest of the power amp section) is 5E3.

I'm guessing what makes the CJ have the characteristics of both tweed and BF is the BF preamp going to a third gain stage (1st half of the PI tube and second gain stage of a 5E3) before the PI (second half of the PI tube) like the 5E3, whereas the BF preamp has two gain stages before the PI.

Sorry to geek out on your thread, I've been curious about the /13 stuff. It looks very well built.

I like how /13 does the OT and power tube layout, I wonder if it offers anything sonically, or if it is just a way for their amps to stand out.

Singin' Dave
June 16th, 2010, 10:35 AM
Awesome review! Veddy Interesting...