Bogner Alchemist Barre VT

Since most guitarists use at least some digital effects processing with their tube amps,the Alchemist should find a receptive audience among players who see the value of havingbuilt-in DSP. Firing up the Alchemist with avariety of single-coil and hum bucker guitars,it was a quick process to dial in sounds thanks to the well-voiced EQ sections and wide-rangingGain controls.

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Bogner Alchemist

0.00gp0210_round0580ARMED WITH TWO CHANNELS AND INDEPENDENTcontrols, the Alchemist stays within the territoryof other all-tube Bogner models, until youmove to the right of Channel 2 (Mercury) andencounter the knobs and toggles for the delayand reverb sections. This digital part of theAlchemist’s DNA includes a 3-position DelayType switch (Analog, Ducking, Tape) and a 3-position Reverb Type switch (Plate, Spring,Hall). The Line 6-derived effects processing iscleverly integrated into the Alchemist’s controlscheme, and with no glowing LCD screen to tip you off, one might not immediately thinkt hat anything but analog circuitry lies underthe hood. Even the included four-buttonfootswitch—which handles channel selectionand on/off for the boost, delay, and reverb—looks pretty much like any other switcher fora multi-channel tube amp.

Since most guitarists use at least some digital effects processing with their tube amps,the Alchemist should find a receptive audience among players who see the value of havingbuilt-in DSP. Firing up the Alchemist with avariety of single-coil and humbucker guitars,it was a quick process to dial in sounds thanksto the well-voiced EQ sections and wide-rangingGain controls. I found it easy to get anything from pristine clean sounds to grittyrhythm textures to stinging lead tones fromchannel 1 (a.k.a Gold), which responds wellto changes in guitar volume and doesn’t loseits girth or presence when you turn down. TheClean/Crunch switch alters the gain structurefor clean or very distorted tones, while theBright and Deep switches emphasize thoserespective frequency ranges to add sheen and/orbolster the lows.

The Mercury channel is just as easily configuredfor heavier rhythm and lead tones. Theversatile EQ makes it easy to get scooped metaltones or more punchy and upfront distortion sounds, and the Boost function adds a slightvolume increase while buffing up the low mids.Here too the voicing switches make a lot of difference.The Punch switch toggles betweenFender- and British-style response curves—the latter being very useful for high-gain tones—while the Mid Shift switch is handy for when you want to eviscerate the mids. The Brightswitch sharpens the edge for more aggressivesounds and/or to bring out more crispness anddetail with humbuckers.

Volume-wise the Alchemist 212 is morethan sufficient for stage use and would be finein a small club environment even without anyhelp from a P.A. The open-back cabinet broadensthe sound, enabling you to run the ampharder without killing the room, and the dissimilar12s provide nice sonic complexity at alllevels.

Bogner. The delay’s three modes are Analog(based on an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man),Ducking (a digital delay with a mix level thatautomatically adjusts to your playing volume),and Tape (which replicates the increasinglydarker repeats of a classic tape echo). Theseselections are very useful for everything fromrockabilly-style slapback to soaring delays withtons of repeats. The reverb’s spring setting iswarm an...

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