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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Sonny Jr. Avenger
Sonny Jr. Avenger
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1 post
Nov 12, 2020
12:34 PM
Anyone have much experience with the Avenger amp? I have been trying to dial mine in, found the mic I have which sounds best with it, am bridging channels, unbridging channels, and trying all the inputs and continue to have the same issue. I can't even cup the thing below hole 4 without it sounding way too bassy, in a very unmusical way. This is with the bass and mid turned ALL the way down and the treble on 6 or 7. Has anyone else noticed this and have any feedback that I could try to get some definition out of this amp in the lower register? I'm no pro, but I have played through many amps, have a good handle on cupping the mic, and also have some really nice mics that all sound fantastic through all other amps, except this one, so I think those things are not the issue here. I'm hoping to find some advice/thoughts on what I could try as I really want to love this amp, but at this point, I don't even like it. Thanks all.

Last Edited by harpy1976 on Nov 12, 2020 12:35 PM
974 posts
Nov 13, 2020
7:59 AM
What's your tube layout and have you checked the bias of the power tubes?
Homeless Joe
19 posts
Nov 13, 2020
8:02 AM
Try isolating the problem. Connect the amplifier to another speaker and test. Try reproducing the problem with a keyboard or guitar instead of a microphone. What does the unmusical tone sound like? Is it crackles?
1722 posts
Nov 15, 2020
5:22 AM
Call Gary.
3212 posts
Nov 16, 2020
5:57 PM
From Greg Heumann circa 2010:

I took delivery of Charlie Musselwhite's Avenger as Gary wanted to get it out here but Charlie is extremely busy on the road touring with Cyndi Lauper and doing his own shows. So Gary shipped it to me to set up and I will be able to deliver it to Charlie when he gets a chance to come home! By way of introduction if you're not familiar with the Avenger it has a 12, a 10 and 2 8's w/ 45 watts. Last weekend I spoke to Gary Smith who had already tried it and gave it a glowing review (and Gary has played EVERYTHING) - so I was pretty excited to have a chance to hear the amp.

I own a Cruncher (1x12" and 2x8", 35W) and a Four-Ten (4x10", 45W), which I have upgraded to Super Sonny specification. So needless to say I wanted to compare this amp to those, simply because I know them like the back of my hand. All of these amps mix speaker types to minimize any speaker-specific characteristics that can be overpowering when you have a bunch of the same speaker. In my experience this will smooth out ANY multiple speaker amp. I've known Gary now for years and I know he spends not days, not weeks, but MONTHS choosing the right speaker combination for an amp. I pulled the upper rear panel off for a look see and the build quality is typical of Sonny Jr amps - exceptional. Every lead is neatly dressed, all pairs are twisted - "tingabeauty."

I've had the Four-Ten/Super Sonny for years. Great amp, especially for newer players (those who haven't mastered cupping technique yet) as it is very forgiving of playing too bright - and adds lots of bass. It is also loud enough to fill a room at a very loud jam - a challenge many, many amps cannot meet. That amp got me my first gigs, has been completely reliable and is still one of the best harp amps I've ever heard in the "larger amp"category. When the Cruncher came out I bought one because I only owned one big amp, and as I was gigging more and beginning to record, I thought I ought to have a backup. The Cruncher was a revelation. Incredible presence and wonderful tone, with more, well... crunch - than the Four-Ten. But the Cruncher has less speaker and a little less power and unless you can use the line out or mic it, it isn't always loud enough - especially at a jam. I gig with mine frequently because I have some control over my band's volume but jam wise it wasn't quite cutting it. That's why I did the Super Sonny mod to the Four-Ten. It added a lot of projection and cool tone - effectively bringing the tone closer to the Cruncher while sacrificing some bass - however it always had bass to spare so I could bring it back with a turn of the bass knob. Both of these are superb amps and I've never regretted a single dollar I spent on them. I've heard them along side many other amps and never heard anything I lusted after more, with the possible exception of some HUGE amps I would never attempt to lift into my trunk, if they would fit.

The Avenger..... is like the Cruncher, on steroids. It has every bit as much tone - thick bass, nice compression, great cut - with more volume and presence than the Super Sonny. I actually set them up side by side with my A/B/Y box, set them both to threshold of feedback and compared them because it is easier for me to hear the differences that way. I used a dB meter - in the low range they were both equal, but the Avenger had a few more dB on the upper half of my A harp. This thing is as responsive as a Ferrari! The most amazing difference was when I turned it down. The lower the volume, the more the "cut" component of the Super Sonny fell away. (Adjustment of the knobs could easily have brought it back. Gary's amps are infinitely adjustable, and if I needed to play the SS this way I would bring the normal volume down and use mostly bright channel volume.) But without changing any settings, the Avenger sounded good, no, GREAT - all the way down to 2! Un-freaking-believable.

In the relatively small room I did most of the testing in, I could get the Avenger's normal volume to 7.5 with the Bright set at 2.5 (yes, bridged inputs.) This was good for 103.5 dB without feedback. I learned through experimentation that by raising the bright volume and lowering the normal, you have a very effective "edge/projection/cut" control. In the smaller room I tried them at 5/5 and it was a different sound that would cut through a crowded dance floor like a hot knife through butter. The next day I took the Avenger out to my garage where there is a lot more free air. I stood 20' in front of it, outdoors, and blew - I could get normal volume to 8 and bright to 6 (and it might have gone higher yet.) I didn't measure it but I wanted to see how well it would cut for an outdoor gig and believe me, it kicked serious ass.

If you're a beginner you will want to set this amp up for "max dark". Once you have better chops and microphone technique you'll want more definition and need less bass to get good bottom. Gary provides a number of configurations on a "cheat sheet"so it is easy to get the amp dialed in. Here's my take on recommended settings. (And I apologize for all the white space before this table, it's the forum sw's fault - I didn't add the space! Scroll down.)

Sonny Jr Avenger

Starting Settings
Max Dark Favorite Max Clean
Bridged? No Yes Yes
Treble 4 6 8
Mid 1.5 2 2.5
Bass 8 8 7
Bright Volume N/A 2 As Needed
Normal Volume As Needed As Needed 2

I ordered one on the spot. Sadly I'm going to have to sell the Super Sonny to finance the new amp. And the whole time I was A/B'ing I was reminded what a killer amp IT is. But the Avenger is just better yet. Can't WAIT to gig with it.

Last Edited by tmf714 on Nov 16, 2020 5:58 PM
3213 posts
Nov 16, 2020
6:05 PM
In other words-

Unbridge it,Treble on 4,Mid on 2,Bass on 8,no bright volume and volume on 2.

If that does not work,call Gary.

Or send me the amp and I will dial it in-

Last Edited by tmf714 on Nov 16, 2020 6:07 PM

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