Review: Supro 1624T Dual Tone, S6420 Thunderbolt and 1690T Coronado Guitar Amps — Video


During the Fifties and Sixties, Supro established a niche as a more affordable alternative to the guitars and amps available from music industry leaders like Fender and Gibson.

Supro amps were actually built by Valco, which was based in Chicago and also made amps under various other brand names, including Airline, Gretsch, National and Oahu.

Most Supro amp models weren’t quite powerful enough for use on stage and were rarely used in concert by big name acts, although Jimi Hendrix played guitar through a Supro bass amp in clubs with the Isley Brothers, Ike Turner and Little Richard. Starting in the late Sixties many guitarists put Supro amps to good use in the studio for their distinctive and attractive distortion tones. Jimmy Page famously used a Supro combo with a single 12-inch speaker on the first two Led Zeppelin albums.

In 2013, Absara Audio bought the rights to the Supro name and revived the brand with a new line of reissue amps. Working together with master tube amp designer Bruce Zinky, David Koltai (of Pigtronix fame), developed new Supro amps that revive several of the most desirable models from the mid Sixties. The Supro 1624T Dual-Tone, 1690T Coronado and S6420 Thunderbolt are based on the 1964 versions of these models. All three replicate the “blue rhino” cosmetics of mid-Sixties Supro amps and most remain faithful to the original designs while offering a few new innovations and improved performance for on stage use.

FEATURES All three models are combos, but each offers a different tube complement and speaker configuration. The Dual Tone is a 24-watt amp featuring two 6973 power tubes and four 12AX7EH preamp/tremolo circuit tubes. Parallel link circuitry allows users to blend the first and second channels together by plugging into the 1+2 input or use the second channel by itself by plugging into input 2. Both the first and second channels have independent volume and tone controls, with shared speed and depth knobs to control the output tube tremolo. A single 12-inch Supro DT12 speaker is housed in an oversized (about the size of a typical 2x10 enclosure) vintage correct open-back cabinet.

The Coronado has a 35-watt class-A circuit driven by a pair of 6L6WGC power tubes, four 12AX7EH preamp/tremolo tubes and a 5U4GB rectifier. It offers the same six-knob control configuration and parallel link features as the Dual Tone, but drives far more power into a pair of 10-inch Supro CR10 speakers in an open-back cabinet the same size as the Dual Tone.

Originally designed as a bass amp, the Thunderbolt has the same cathode biased 35-watt class-A circuit as the Coronado, but it has only two 12AX7EH preamp tubes due to the lack of a second channel and tremolo circuit. The Thunderbolt’s single has Normal and Hot 1/4-inch input jacks and solitary volume and tone controls. The taller open-back cabinet houses a single 15-inch Supro TB15 speaker.

PERFORMANCE Supro’s new lineup seems to be inspired by Jimmy Page’s legendary Supro and the speculation about that amp that has developed over the decades. You have the Dual Tone, which meets the stock 1x12 combo criteria, the Coronado (which is the Supro model that Page gave to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although Page modified it with a single 12-inch speaker), and the Thunderbolt (although this version is not the later 1966-67 model, which also had a single 12).

Page enthusiasts should cut chase to the Dual Tone first, as it delivers absolutely glorious midrange and Plexi-like sparkle and definition when cranked all the way up. With both channels linked and dimed, the distortion is fat and harmonically rich just like a great vintage tube amp from the golden era is supposed to sound. The Dual Tone is an awesome studio amp, delivering raunchy vintage distortion tones at levels that are just right for recording. The Coronado and Thunderbolt provide more clean headroom and deliver their delicious distortion tones at higher output levels. The Coronado is much more versatile thanks to its parallel link channels and tremolo, but the Thunderbolt is the perfect platform for a pedal-based rig as it provides a pristine foundation for any variety of distortion, overdrive, EQ and other effects.

LIST PRICES $1,590 (1624T Dual Tone, S6420 Thunderbolt); $1,795 (1690T Coronado)

The 1624T Dual Tone 1x12 combo derives 24 watts of output from its pair of 6973 power tubes and four 12AX7EH preamp tubes.

With 35-watt output, two channels and tremolo, the 1690T Coronado 2x10 combo is Supro’s most versatile model for stage and studio.

The S6420 Thunderbolt 1x15 combo features only volume and tone controls, which makes it an ideal foundation for a pedal-based rig.

The Dual Tone and Coronado both feature two channels with parallel link allowing users to drive both channels together for increased gain and distortion.

THE BOTTOM LINE Supro’s newest amp models deliver truly authentic vintage tones with all of the character, harmonic richness and sweet midrange of legendary amps that helped define the sound of modern rock and roll.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.