Guitar amp review. The Bogner Alchemist 2×12 combo amp by Line 6
When Bogner isn’t designing amps for Line 6 he also builds his own boutique amps, recently rebranded as ‘Custom Shop’ to make space in the product range for his first mass-produced line, the Alchemist. Aiming to deliver the flexibility, pure valve signal path and rich tone of his higher-priced kit at a reachable price level, the Alchemist promises a modern take on vintage ‘Californian’ tube amp design.
The Alchemist is a striking piece of work. The cab is tall, with two staggered-height speakers; one Celestion G12H, one G12M Celestion Greenback. The build quality is solid and sturdy with an eye-catching black and silver modern/retro trim. Four castors are included, and at 80lbs, you’ll need them.
Viewed next to the Spider Valve, the Alchemist looks less compact with more air and room for the speakers to breath and, of course, a lot less technology. Nestled behind the open back cross panel are two caged 6L6 power valves and five 12AX7 preamp valves. A parallel FX loop with Level control, XLR input for the supplied footswitch and A/B speaker inputs complete the rear view. The power section is selectable from 40W to 20W to emulate a ‘Variac’ output and promises a sonic metamorphosis, changing its harmonic complexity and feel to conjure the essence of the ‘brown’ sound.
The two onboard reverb and delay effects run in parallel separate from the original signal and are switchable on and off via the included four-button footswitch, which also includes Channel Select and Boost buttons.
A deceptively versatile front panel carries knobs and switches for the two channels; Bogner calls them Gold and Mercury. From left to right there are large chickenhead knobs for Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass and Volume with mini toggles for Crunch, Bright and Deep. Next to the larger Channel Select and Boost toggles are the Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass and Volume for Ch2, with mini toggles to engage Punch, Bright and Mid Shift before Delay Level, Repeats and Reverb Level knobs, plus Delay and Reverb Type mini selectors with a Tap Tempo button, delay type selector (Ducking, Analog or Tape), plus a separate reverb with Plate, Spring and Hall settings and Mix dial. Finally two toggles control power and standby/40W/20W selections.
Description: 40W/20W two channel all-valve class A/B open-backed combo. Five 12AX7
and two 6L6 valves. One 30W Celestion G12H and one 25W G12M Celestion
Front panel: Input jack; Gold (Ch1) Gain knob with Clean/Crunch mini
selector: Treble knob with Bright switch; Middle and Bass knob with
Deep switch and Volume rotary. Channel Select and Boost switch; Mercury
(Ch2) gain control with Punch switch; Treble control with Bright
switch; Middle control with Mid-Shift switch; Bass and Volume controls.
Delay control with three-stage mode switch; Delay Repeats control and
Tap Tempo button; Reverb control with three-mode selector switch;
Standby switch with 40W/20W selector; on/off selector switch
Rear Panel: Power inlet; fuse; A or B speaker jacks; footswitch port
(supplied); Parallel FX loop Level control and send/return input jacks
Footswitch: Channel selector, Boost, Delay and Reverb switches
Dimensions: 654mm wide, 660mm high, 260mm deep
Options: The Bogner Alchemist line includes a 1×12" open-back combo and a 40W head (£930.00) and cab (£527.00)
Contact: Line 6
The Alchemist aims high and noble to offer boutique-style all-valve tone at a mass-produced price. It mostly achieves its goals, and the sounds on offer including those in 20W mode being exceptionally well-designed and developed. Players seeking Formula 1 performance at Formula 2 prices would be well advised to give this one a thorough spin.