Budda Superdrive Series II V-40 1x12 Combo
A connoisseur’s cornucopia of 6V6-driven clean and overdriven tones.
Budda Amplification, budda.com
1x12 combo, $2,395.00; 2x12 combo, $2,595.00; head, $2,195.00
Budda's Superdrive Series II V-40 is a connoisseur’s cornucopia of 6V6-driven clean and overdriven tones.
Budda Amplification is known for making amps with boutique levels of quality and tone, at prices roughly half that of the competition’s. The Superdrive amp, in its various configurations, has been the heart of Budda’s line for several years and is revered for its sharp, ringing clean tones and detailed but raw overdrive. The new Superdrive Series II V-40 is a 6V6-powered, vintage-flavored version of this coveted amp, delivering the distinctive Budda tone in what sounds like a modified, handwired Class A masterpiece.
The V-40 has the round sweetness of a Class A amp, but it runs in Class AB operation for fast and quiet response. A lot of this silence is attributable to the custom-wound transformer and point-to-point handwired power amp. They firmly control the single, Budda-designed Phat 12 speaker so that it responds to every finger movement and change in pressure or attack. The oversized finger-jointed solid pine cabinet is semi-open, creating deep bass that’s never flabby or loose.
The two-channel preamp has shared controls for master volume, bass, middle and treble, while the rhythm and overdrive channels have their own gain controls. The rhythm channel’s gain control pulls out to activate that channel’s bright feature, and the mid knob pulls out to place each channel in Thick mode. In this mode, midrange response is increased, resulting in beautifully bold presence and cutting power. The back panel offers an effect loop and a slave out.
The Superdrive V-40 combo’s spacious, wide-imaged tones emanate from it in lush, enveloping waves. The somewhat aggressive preamp and soft-natured 6V6 tubes craft clean tones that span the tweed, blackface and recent boutique eras. These pristine clean tones aren’t as soft or sagging as their vintage counterparts, but they’re every bit as rich, especially with the Thick circuit engaged.
Overdriven tones without the Thick feature recall Jeff Beck’s chiming, snappy sounds. Activating the Thick mode increases the harmonic attack and pumps the amp’s attitude. And when I used an overdrive pedal to push the V-40s modest gain, there was absolutely no noise or hiss from the amp.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Budda's Superdrive Series II V-40 is a connoisseur’s cornucopia of 6V6-driven clean and overdriven tones. Dead quiet and highly touch sensitive, it nicely bridges the divide between vintage Marshall and Fender tones.
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