" ... I have found my ultimate jazz amp: most natural, detailed, warm archtop-sound I´ve heard ... "" ... Thought life couldn't get any better but then I plugged into my beautiful Sequel Ravine Amp and was instantly in sonic heaven! ... "" ... It makes playing so much easier when you have such a beautiful sound! ... "" ... Can't tell you how long I've yearned for the classic jazz sound this amp produces! ... "
Jazz guitar strongly came into its own during the 1950s in no small way was helped by technological developments in amplifiers: guitarists could finally get heard! But more than volume, there is something unique and special about the essential sound of guitar of that era : Jim Hall, Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, Bucky Pizzarelli, Mundell Lowe, Johnny Smith, Barry Galbraith and all the other founders of modern Jazz guitar.
One of the elements in the sound of those amplifiers were the large octal based 6S_7 series preamp tubes/valves that were commonly used at the time, before the advent of the ubiquitous small nonal base 12A_7/ECC8_ types. Here at SOUNDISLAND we wanted to explore the sound of octal tubes and their circuits in the context of archtop Jazz guitar ... meaning clean. But we also set out in our quest in a logical and measured way that balanced the realities of present day tube production and availability with technological developments that have occured over the past 60+ years.
Moreover we embraced the positive side of modern technology. Transformers, capacitors, resistors, speakers have come a l-o-n-g way from those early days. So rather than re-create or clone we strove to evolve the art. In fact, in our quest we auditioned several transformer sets to find "the one". And because we weren't answering to Corporate bean counters, we did what ultimately makes the most musical sense ... we followed our ears and listened.
Plus then there is Reverb. If we were going to include this effect it had to be especially lush. And indeed the reverb circuit in the SeQuel RAVINE is particularly lush, deep and dimensional...yet it doesn't swamp the inherent sound of the guitar. Rather, it acts more like a room adding a certain ambiance. Corresponding with the period of this amplifier, it's a spring reverb type yet modernized by a quiet and reliable solid state driver/recovery circuit.
During the 1950s many working Jazz guitarists relied on 15-watt amplifiers. The top-of-the-line models were 25-watt "powerhouses." But that was during the acoustic Jazz and Swing years. Today the music has changed. And it's louder. So the SeQuel RAVINE is a 50-watt amplifier. Ample clean headroom to play cleanly in most any situation calling for an archtop guitar yet housed in a compact, portable cabinet weighing only about 35-lbs | 16-kilos.
Like all SeQuel amplifiers, the RAVINE is simple to use. The Ravine has 4-controls: Volume. Treble. Bass. Reverb. Just plug in, EQ to the room, and you're ready. That's it. Then too, this engineering approach translates to a short direct line of electronic communication between your guitar and the output of the speaker which allows for greater signal quality and improves signal-to-noise flow along the way. Meaning? A pristine reproduction of your individual instrument.
So what's the result? The RAVINE is truly a wonderful sounding amp. Wide bandwidth, precise, detailed, dimensional, open quality about the sound with just a hint of that vintage harmonically rich warmth and "fatness" around the edge of the note or chord. And nicely transparent so the inherent acoustic sound of your archtop guitar comes through.
Yes, we are excited about the SeQuel RAVINE. If these are qualities in an amplifier that appeal to you, please contact us here at SOUNDISLAND. We'll do our very best to help you, guitarist to guitarist.
note: pre-production stain on cabinet shown for illustration purposes.
Posted by coolvinny on 1st Sep 2014
I've had the pleasure of owning this amp for approximately 6 months now, so any "newness" is long gone. I was "this" close to buying a new cabinet to power with some sort of solid state head after trying a lot of tube amps at the SOUNDISLAND location, resigning myself to "just not being a tube guy". Michael mentioned that I hadn't yet tried all the amps just yet, so I gave the RAVINE a try.
Wow. It had whatever it was that my ears felt was missing from other amps. The other amps sounded great too, but for my lifestyle they didn't sound sufficiently better to tempt me into the heavier and more costly world of tube.
I've used this amp for moderate volume drummer-less jams in my living room, restaurant gigs, indoor and outdoor big band gigs, loud jams, and I really couldn't be happier. Moving to a 12" open back cabinet from a 8" closed back cabinet took some getting used to and I learned the importance of amp positioning along the way (actually it's not that hard...just keep it out of corners, some distance from walls, and elevate or tilt it up a bit). Now that I have figured it out, I'm getting a consistently excellent tone no matter what guitar I use (carved top archtop witth floater, laminate archtop with mounted HB, chambered solid body with HB). This amp also gives me the flexibility to use my solid body guitar in a jazz context and still get a convincing jazz tone. I still prefer archtops but sometimes a solid body just makes more sense.
For the cherry on top, this amp is so beautiful that when I come home from a jam, I promptly put the cover away and then put the RAVINE in my living room, right next to my stereo speakers. It looks better than my guitars! (which I like to leave in their cases anyway)
The size is also very compact considering it packs 50w of tube power. It's a beautiful little powerhouse.
I've yet to have my volume past 2 o-clock even over a loud drum kit playing outdoors.
I find myself using this amp more and more often.
While I spend 98% of my time playing jazz, once year I play in a blues concert. By using a $80 Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal with the gain set very low, I can get the same tone out of the RAVINE as I get from a fairly cranked Deluxe Reverb.