Fuchs Clean Machine II

Spotless Tone
Fuchs Clean Machine II
Price: $2,895 (as reviewed)

The folks at Fuchs Audio Technology know that most guitarists use pedalboards loaded with effects they’ve loved, swapped, upgraded, and considered for years. For them, Fuchs offers the tailor-made Clean Machine II, optimized for external stompboxes and gear.

An amp for players who need the cleanest tone possible, with high headroom, the 50-watt CMII head (also available as a combo and in 100-watt versions) is fitted with three 12AX7 tubes (covering the preamp, loop return and reverb, and driver), a 12AT7 (extra power-amp driver), and two 6L6s for output muscle. There’s a buffered effects loop offering series and parallel operation, and rear output jacks for connections to 4-, 8-, and 16-ohm cabinets.

The meat of the matter is the front panel, where you’ll find an array of controls covering three basic jobs – Volume, EQ, and Reverb. Since the CMII is all about giving your pedals the perfect bed to construct sound, it makes sense the EQ controls are varied and interesting; look for switches labeled Brite 1 and 2, Deep, and EQ 1 and 2, all providing plenty of variations to explore. There are also knobs for High, Mid, and Low, and importantly, they’re push/pull pots that move the center-point of each frequency for more EQ options. If you’re a tonehound and/or tweaker, you’ll be in heaven as you dial in precise sounds to match your guitar’s pickups and tonewood. The Accent knob lets you play with power-amp tone.

This is all before the weapons-grade digital reverb, which turns ’verb into something of an art form. Beyond standard, the four-knob array gives you Level plus Decay, Body, and Shimmer – some of the circuit’s long tails are dazzling. This provides tailor-made control of your reverb and, again, makes for a tweaker’s paradise.

Plugged in, the CMII delivered the goods through a 1×12 cab, giving warm, glassy tones aplenty that work very well for clean sounds, stompboxes, and as a platform for digital modeling for all manner of rock, jazz, country, pop, and acoustic-guitar styles. And its construction is superlative.

If you love tweakin’ tone, you’ll be amazed by bottomless depth of the Clean Machine II. It’s a serious tube machine.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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