Artemus 1x12 Combo
By Pa T SmITh
The newest offering from Steve Carr and his
North Carolina-based Carr Amplifiers company is the Artemus—a 30-watt beastie that
dishes Steve’s take on classic Vox AC-type
tone. But, as with most Carr amps, it does
that and more. It’s available as a 1x12, 2x12,
or 1x15 combo, and as a head. But before
I get deeper than that, let me start with a
bit of disclosure: I own two Carr amps—a
Rambler and a Mercury—and I love them. I
am not an endorser, though. Just a customer.
And if I thought this amp stunk, I would feel
it my duty to tell you.
What’s Under the Hood
Carr prides itself on boutique quality, inside
and out. As for the inside, the Artemus runs
four EL84 tubes for power, two 12AX7s in the
preamp, and a 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube. The
controls are straight ahead: Volume, Treble,
and Bass knobs, as well as three toggles.
Edge switches between a mid and top boost.
Mid toggles between British and American
voices. And Watts switches between 15- or
30-watt operation. I’m sad to say that Carr
chose not to include reverb, because they do
the best reverb I’ve heard on a tube amp.
On the outside, the Artemus comes in a
variety of amp coverings. Our sample has
a sort of cowboy-belt, tooled-leather look
that I seem to find myself coveting. The
amp handle is the most honkin’, heavy-duty
leather monster I’ve ever seen. As with most
Carr amps, it has a dovetailed, solid pine
cab. I think pine cabs are just more musical
for guitar amps than other materials. I can’t
prove that, but I feel it in my guts when I play.
“Made in the USA” used to mean the best
quality money could buy. While those days
are largely gone, there are still some shining
examples, and Carr amps are one of them.
Carr uses old-fashioned, point-to-point hand-wiring. I won’t go through and list all the parts
they use, you can read about it on their website. But here’s just a couple of “for instances”
for you. The power cord is long enough for
most gigs. The internal wiring is done with
Canare shielded cable, which is also heavy-duty and very quiet. Suffice it to say that they
use very high-quality stuff and they don’t cut
corners. You want to talk about roadworthy?
You are talking Carr Amps.