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Magnatone’s Starlite promises to pack classic Fender-style tones into a 5-watt Class A combo

Magnatone Starlite
(Image credit: Magnatone)

Boutique guitar amp manufacturer Magnatone has lifted the lid on a new low-wattage Class A combo, dubbed the Starlite.

Featuring a combination of a single 6V6 tube in the power section and a 12AX7 tube in the preamp, the Starlite offers five watts of power and is being touted as an ideal partner in studio or home setups.

There’s a simple volume and tone control on the panel and the latter has been designed to cover the territory between classic Tweed and ’60s-era Fender-style tones, with a mid-cut that occurs just before the dial’s 12 o’clock position. There’s also a negative feedback switch, which activates a negative feedback loop that can be used to rein in the power amp gain.

Magnatone Starlite amp

(Image credit: Magnatone)

A choice of two inputs offer high sensitivity and low sensitivity options, with the second input better suited to low gain tones or guitars with hotter pickups. 

Speaker duties are handled by an eight-inch Magnatone Custom Ceramic Magnet and there’s also an 8-ohm speaker jack, for connecting to an external cabinet. 

It’s all clad in a vintage brown finish with gold appointments and measures up at 17″ x 8″ x 12″, with a weight of just 19lbs (approx. 8.6kg). The package will also include an amp cover and 20-foot cable.

Reviewers have been raving about Magnatones since the brand’s rebirth in 2014, while often noting that the only downside seems to be the immense volumes they produce. Given the recent prevalence of small, boutique valve combo amps then, perhaps the most surprising thing about the Starlite is that it’s taken this long to arrive. 

Magnatone CEO Ted Kornblum acknowledges that the amp has indeed been on their list for a while.

“Folks have been asking us for a long time to come out with a small, low-power amp for practice and studio applications that maintains the traditional Magnatone style, tone, and performance,” he says. “With Starlite, we believe we’ve hit the mark of classic American tone with something that takes small to the next level.”

For more information on the Starlite, head to Magnatone

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.