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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Blackjack-21® II by Fuchs Audio Technology,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $1,750.00 USD + Shipping 

Fuchs Audio Technology is the manufacturer of boutique, hand-crafted, all-tube guitar amplifiers and effects based out of Clifton, NJ.

This “The Blackjack 21®-II” model is a (2) channel combo amp that is powered by (2) 12AX7, (1) 12AT7, with (2) 6V6 power tubes pushed through (1) 12” Eminence Red White and Blue speaker at 21 watts with the Fuchs “Good Verbrations” digital reverb, an effects loop, and (2) button foot switch, with 4, 8,  & 16 ohm speaker out put jacks featuring channel one (non master channel) (1) bass (1) mid (1) treble tone controls -- channel two (1) gain control (1) master volume on a front mount control panel. 

Amp Casing: 
Dimensions: 21 x 19 x 11 inches.
Combo Weight : 30 lbs depending on what speaker is installed.

Guitar used:
Reliability & Durability:
Fuchs Audio Technology has a great reputation for making well built amplifiers that all come with a 5-year warranty -- so you can play them hard.

Andy Fuchs (The Fuchs in Fuchs Audio Technology) has a reputation of building not only a quality product -- but a consistent one as well. There are more then a handful of boutique amplifier builders that can build a one-off amp and do it well -- but when it comes to a production run and keeping the product uniform to itself and true to the the sound of the model -- there are few and far between that can produce a consistent product. 

I have played amp models by some amp builders at one guitar/amp show and then stopped by their booth at another show to play the same amp, and it is just not the same. I normally get the "well I tried something new" speech -- but we all know that the amp builder just couldn't replicate his/her own work. Consistency takes time to perfect and some builders will never be able to do it. It is one of the factors I believe that makes Fuchs Amps one of leaders in the boutique amplifier industry. 

For example -- the main reason why the Fender amplifier company is still successful today is because of the consistency of their products -- anyone can build a Fender style amplifier. As a gigging musician you want to build your tone/sound with products you can easily replace when they break. No matter how well built an amp is, it is going break if you use it. If you have built your signature sound around an amp that you can not get a replacement for or find someone on the road that can fix it -- well your just f**ked. When you buy a Fuchs amp you are getting the tone you want (and his amps are dripping with tone) but you also get piece-of-mind with a 5-year warranty. Now all boutique amp builders will fix their work when it needs repair -- some will charge and some will not. With Fuchs Amps you know that if the amp is not repairable you can get another that is the exact same -- and to me that is worth it's weight in vintage tubes.

So to the review -- This 21 watt monster is no bedroom beauty, but is a full-on small venue/studio work horse. Now 21 watts may not seem like a ton of power -- but when you have high quality matching components -- 21 watts goes a little further with bigger balls. The overall tone was American rock via 1960's with a modern edge. The clean channel was chimey and bright as I would expect from 6V6's with a fuzzy tube saturation when cranked -- and a warm full crunch to full-on distortion on the dirty channel with an increase in harmonic response and sustain. This amp would be a great fit for anyone playing rock to early metal.

Now some of you are going to say that $1,750.00 is a lot for 21 watts of power -- here's a thought. Go have your mommy and daddy buy you a Fender frontman with a Boss OD pedal -- then you can play electric farts all day long or you can buy a real amp and have tone. 

My advice:
If you play rock and want a smaller amp -- you need to play this Fuchs. 

Fuchs Audio Technology
407 Getty Ave
Clifton, NJ 07011

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Posted 6/2013
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