pure speaker output and tone. The audible
result is a much tighter low end, smoother
response, a wider sound, and a ton of
power. The cabinet’s closed back also sports
a small, triangular port that’s covered in
wire mesh to let air reach the tubes.
For the Dream Solo series, 3rd Power
used point-to-point turret boards. The
all-tube circuit uses 12AX7 preamp tubes,
which funnel the signal to two 6V6 power
tubes and a custom-voiced output transformer for 22 watts of power. If the amp’s
wattage is too much for a given situation,
there’s a knob on the back for controlling
the HybridMASTER circuit, which keeps
the tone robust at all volumes by simultaneously changing several attenuation, filtering,
and voltage regulation stages. Additional
noise generated by the tube circuit is held
at bay by 3rd Power’s NoiseREDUX technology, an analog noise-reducing algorithm
that’s a new feature now included in every
amp model that they make.
For all the features on this little amp
amp, the interface is simple and familiar.
The front panel features a fuss-free control set with volume, treble, middle, bass,
and presence controls, exactly like the old,
non-master volume Plexi that inspired the
Dream Solo 4. If you want some grit and
gain on the tone, you’ll have to apply it the
old fashioned way—by turning it up!
The Dream Solo 4 captures the slicing
bite and snarl of a Marshall with remark-
able accuracy—particularly given the very
different tube complement. But there are
also noticeable differences that give the 3rd
Power its own voice. A Telecaster hooked
up to the 3rd Power emitted a crisp and
detailed range of clean tones, infused with
the natural upper midrange emphasis
that 6V6 power tubes are known for. The
highs tended to feel less strong as the rest
of the frequencies, but it’s a great founda-
tion for late ’60s-style Hendrix clean work,
where soft, present high end works more
effectively than the intense, pingy highs a
Marshall can generate at lower volumes.
3rd Power’s attempt to pack the smooth,
velvety tones of a classic Marshall Plexi
into a 1x12 combo is impressive. They’ve
managed to capture the feeling and essence
of the quintessential Plexi tones in a package you can actually fit in the trunk of
a car. The 6V6 power tubes can at times
slather a little extra grease on those classic
tones, but it’s a cool twist on your average Marshall flavor. If you’re a die-hard
Plexi fanatic, or have been interested in
experiencing some of the best tones that
rock and roll has ever offered for the
first time—without having to withstand
the pants-flapping volume of an original
model or tick off your sound engineer, 3rd
Power’s latest trick fits the bill.
Pros: Juicy, musical tones. Excellent sensitivity and dynamics.
Plenty of volume when needed. Great tone at lower levels.
3rd Power Amplification Dream Solo 4, $1,999 (combo) $1,699 (head) street, 3rdpower.com
Cons: Single channel design is not for everyone, especially
modern players—clean to dirty is only achievable from the
guitar’s volume knob. Expensive.