Review: Budda Verbmaster 112 Combo Amp
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Considering that the boutique-amp phenomenon has been going strong for well over two decades now, it comes as no surprise that some amp companies are starting to reissue models that originally helped make them famous.
The Budda Verbmaster 112 Combo is one example of this trend, bringing a popular model designed by Jeff Bober and Scot Sier in the late Nineties back into production. Unlike many other boutique companies, Budda conceived its own designs instead of copying the classics, and the Verbmaster 112 reissue is a fitting tribute to Budda’s vision and longevity.
The new Verbmaster 112 is a faithful reproduction of Budda’s original 18-watt Verbmaster combo, offering the same all-tube circuit driven by two EL84s (power amp), three 12AX7s (preamp), one 12AT7 (reverb) and one 5U4 rectifier. The Verbmaster provides two channels with different gain structures that are accessible via the Hi Gain (British) and Normal (American) 1/4-inch input jacks. Although the amp doesn’t offer channel switching, you can switch between channels with an optional A/B box. Both inputs direct the guitar signal through a single set of volume, treble and bass controls as well as a unique reverb circuit with its own level control and selectable Surf (classic saturated surf reverb)/Sand (modern tight reverb) settings.
The Verbmaster 112’s rear panel is similarly streamlined but versatile, providing a pair of 1/4-inch speaker outputs, a four-/eight-ohm speaker impedance switch, a slave output with its own level control, an effect loop with mono send and return jacks, and a 1/4-inch jack for an included footswitch that controls reverb on/off and Surf/Sand settings. The combo’s 12-inch speaker is a Budda Phat model.
With its non-master volume design and two EQ controls, the Verbmaster 112 is ideal for no-nonsense players who want the biggest, fattest possible tones, and who prefer shaping tones through playing dynamics and adjusting the guitar’s volume control. The Normal input is ideal for greater clean headroom and dynamic overdrive crunch, while the Hi Gain input provides increased saturation and compressed distortion tones that sound like a combination between a Vox and an 18-watt Marshall. The Sand reverb pairs nicely with the Hi Gain input, while the Surf reverb and Normal input with the amp set just to the verge of overdrive is pure twang heaven. This compact combo is loud enough for club gigs, and it’s a great base for a pedal-board rig.
List Price $1,799.99
Manufacturer Budda Amplification, budda.com
The reverb circuit includes unique Surf/Sand settings that provide tight, focused modern reverb or dripping wet, “boingy” spring reverb tones.
The Normal input has an “American” gain structure with ample clean headroom and crunchy overdrive, while the Hi Gain (“British”) input offers saturated distortion tones.
The Bottom Line
Budda’s classic Verbmaster 112 makes a welcome return with this faithful reissue of the versatile 18-watt powerhouse that offers expressive dynamics and a unique reverb circuit.