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Artist. Belcat or Subzero?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Count, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    Got myself an Artist (Aussie brand) Tweedtone 20R tube amp that is really impressive. A sort of Blues Junior clone but at half the price and with a few more knobs, made in China. I tried it against a Blues Junior and found it not vastly dissimilar but with a greater tonal capability.
    I got a bit curious as to whether this was an original model, a copy or a rebrand. After doing some research I found that it is identical to the Belcat Tube 20R, which is also branded as a Subzero, apart from the cabinet design. Even the instruction sheet that masquerades as the manual is the same apart from the name of the amp. Seems to be a common marketing ploy to sell the same product under diferent brand names for diferent countries. Nothing new in that though as the Japanese were doing the same thing with guitars in the sixties and seventies.
    The Tweedtone is 20watt RMS, 12"Celestial seventy 80 speaker, 2 EL84 Electro harmonic and 3 12AX7 Electro Harmonix tubes. Here are a few pics for those interested. It is one impressive amp, good range of tone, seems robustly made and, based on the couple of gigs it's done so far, definitely a keeper.
    IMG_0102.JPG IMG_0101.JPG IMG_0099.JPG
     
  2. Henry

    Henry Tele-Holic

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    Looks good Count, I've been tossing up whether or not I build something like a 5e3 with a few mods. Do you think the Artist would fill that niche? And, if you don't mind me asking, what did you pay?
     
  3. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    $499. Have a look at their website, there is a video which, unusually for such demo clips, gives some fairly accurate sound samples.
     
  4. Kev Reg

    Kev Reg Tele-Meister

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    Looks nicer than the subzero offering with the blue tv front panel. I like the tweed look though:D
     
  5. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    Not real Tweed though, some sort of embossed vinyl. Seems pretty thick and durable. If it was real Tweed I suppose they would have to go for the real Tweed smell as well.[emoji48]
     
  6. Zig666

    Zig666 TDPRI Member

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    I bought the Artist 20R recently blind. I wanted a light amp as I was getting rid of my quad box and head. I tried a few amps around the same price range and they were all crap. I took a plunge and I was not disappointed. The package is amazing. Great sound, great sounding speaker! After building a pine 2x12" box, loaded with genuine 70's greenbacks, this amp is outstanding. It sounds overdriven very similar to the below clip of R. Blackmore playing No, No, No.

    The sound is a little harsh but that could be rectified with a different brand of output tubes. The amp is incredibly bright. The treble pot is excellent though and it can be adjusted. The mid range is in the upper mid range with a mild sweep. The bass is a bit thin but that doesn't bother me. Bass improves with higher volume (tip: use an EQ pedal to increase bass at lower volumes). Reverb is good. The clean sound is very Fender-like. Only issue is that the red on/off light flickers after a few months. Have to fix that. Otherwise, the amp is well built and sounds awesome.

     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
    Outstanding Bill likes this.
  7. Zig666

    Zig666 TDPRI Member

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    I actually found an amp that sounds even closer to the Artist 20R and that's the Peavey Classic 30. It also uses 3 x 12 AX7 tubes in the pre-amp stage and EL84s for the power stage. Keep in mind though that because of the different EQ range and speaker used, it won't be exactly the same. Although the built-in speaker of the 20R is good, it doesn't give that transparent, bright twang as my original 70's Celestion greenbacks that I plug the 20R into. Check these videos:

    and
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  8. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    From what I can gather the Peavey Classic 30 Amps have been made in China since 2011. As the Artist Tweedtone is also made in China and the two share certain specs, I wonder .........[emoji848]
     
  9. ahlios

    ahlios TDPRI Member

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    Hello,
    been reading this great forum for a long time. Now I registered to post a reply. Please don't bother about my bad English, since I'm from Germany and I'm not used to communicate in another language than German.

    I reply to this post mostly because I remembered this advice: http://ratvalveamps.com/subzero-tube-20r
    Maybe you wanna make sure, that your amp is OK.

    Andy Talbot knows his job. I bought a modified tweed FBJ with 6v6 tubes and it's my #1-amp.

    Karl
     
  10. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the warning, the issues he mentions don’t apply to the Artist Tweedtone 20R.
     
  11. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    Belcat makes everything. I have one of their compressors. It's quite good.
     
  12. Zig666

    Zig666 TDPRI Member

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    Kein Problem Karl. Auch in Australien sprechen viele Deutsch. The Artist 20R is a better build than the Subzero as you can see in the images. Because of the similarity in sound, and if I ever play live again, I might consider the Peavey Classic 50 with more output.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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