Guitar World Review – TCT 35
Over the past 40 years, Steve Grindrod has designed some of England’s most classic amplifiers, including models for Vox and Marshall. But he wasn’t given the creative control to realize his vision of the perfect amp – an affordable and versatile combo that produces boutique tones – until he teamed with Wharfedale, a longtime leading maker of audiophile-quality loudspeakers, to create the Albion brand. All of the major componints used in Albion’s amps are custom made to Grindrod’s specs, demonstiating his singular devotion to tone and boutique quality. The all-tube, two-channel Albion TCT 35 combo is ideally tuned and powered for the club or studio artist, with a 33-percent-power switching option, a single l2-inch speaker, solid-state reverb and a crystal-clear solid-state effect loop.
FEATURES The Albion’s two 6L6 power tubes run at high voltages, resulting in deep tones even at extremely low volumes. If 35 watts is too much power, a front-panel switch drops the output to 33 percent. There’s also a switch that alters the negative feedback loop from open to closed: open provides a looser feel and raw tonality, while the closed loop is tighter and more narrowly focused. Highs from the power amp are controlled with the edge knob, and a master volume sets the amp’s overall level. elthough I would have preferred separate reverb controls for each channel, the global control’s keen circuit integration does an excellent job of expanding the amp’s acoustic bounce without affecting attack and projection.
Both preamp sections have identical controls for gain, drive, bass, middle, treble and volume. The gain knob dictates the first gain-stage’s level of aggression, while the adjacent drive control adjusts the second and third gain-stage levels, providing the user with absolute control over how the amp creates preamp gain and making it possible to achieve endless textures ofoverdrive and distortion. These variances are further enhanced by where the gain stages are placed relative to the tone stack: channel A’s EQ occurs before the gain and channel B’s EQ sets the tone after the gain stages. All three EQ controls are passive but highly sensitive, with awider than typical range. In particular, the midrange circuit’s sweep seamlessly dials the vocal hues from scooped and snappy to creamy and sweet.
On the backside, there’s ajack for the supplied footswitch (channel switching and reverb on/off), a pair ofspeakerjacks with an eight-/t6-ohm switch and the series effect loop’s send and return jacks with switches for low-/high-leve1 and bypassed operation.
PERFORMANCE The Albion TCT-35 can be dialed from awoody and resonant tonality to a searing modern stream of distorted bliss. Although it doesn’t quite achieve evil metal tones, there’s more than enough gain for most healy styles. Its note definition is omnipresen! however, so don’t expect this amp to help you blur any flaws in your technique. What you can expect are familiar sounds in the styles ofblackfaces, tweeds, AC30s, Plexis and others, with more control than you’ve ever had over those tonal signatures. It’s like having almost all of your favorite amps in onebox.