Andy Fuchs, a tube audio product builder from Bloomfield, New Jersey, recently sent us one of his Overdrive Supreme amp heads.
Cased in a finger-jointed pine cabinet with tolex covering, the Overdrive Supreme definitely looks cool. The question is, “Does it live up to its name?”
But before we get into how it sounded, let’s roll through the particulars.
The all-tube 100-watt OD Supreme features four Sovtek 6L6s and four Sovtek 12 AX7s with Mercury Magnetics custom transformers and a combination of point-to-point wiring and printed circuit (PC) boards. Controls on the front panel include gain, deep and brite switches, a rock/jazz switch, high, mid and low passive tone controls, overdrive input and output knobs, master volume, accent (presence) and a reverb knob.
The back panel has effects loop jacks with send and return controls, a side chain switch, speaker output jacks and power/standby switches. And finally, the amp has a twin foot switch to remotely switch the overdrive circuit and the reverb on and off.
We plugged the Fuchs into a Marshall 1960A cab, then grabbed a Fender ’62 Reissue Strat and a Hamer Studio.
With the Strat plugged in and the amp’s overdrive circuit turned off, the first thing we noticed was a great clean sound, which was somewhat surprising for a 4×12 cab and a head. It delivered all the fat, lively tone you’d expect from a combo amp. The push/pull mid boost was perfectly voiced for the guitar’s single-coil pickups, and the brite and deep switches added just the right amount of punch and sparkle, while the jazz/rock switch gave the amp some added drive and attitude in the rock position.
With the gain turned up and the master volume turned down, we got a warm blues overdrive; but once we turned on the overdrive circuit, we were swimming in tons of very “British” distortion. A cool Richie Blackmore/Deep Purple tone – very fat, with smooth sustain and tight low end.
Switching to the Duncan humbucker-loaded Hamer went quite smoothly because, to our delight, we didn’t have to fuss with the settings to get the same great tone; we simply turned off the mid boost and made a slight adjustment to the accent control to clean up the high-end. The push/pull gain boost did thin out the low-end a bit, but with all the available gain, we didn’t really need it. And the reverb circuit was clean and lush-sounding and didn’t wash out the overall tone in the least.
Whether played clean or punched into overdrive, and regardless of whether you’re a single-coil lover or humbucker devotee, the Fuchs Audio Overdrive Supreme sounds great, with well-voiced controls and kick-ass smooth distortion.
Fuchs Audio Technology Overdrive Supreme
Type of Amp: All-tube 100-watt head.
Features: All-tube circuitry, high-quality components, well-voiced controls for EQ, boost, brite, deep, etc., British-style overdriven tones.
Contact: Fuchs Audio Tech-nology, 73 Collins Ave., Bloomfield, NJ 07003, www.fuchsaudiotechnology.com.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.