Answers to our most frequently asked questions...
Since Jack Kay, Tx-Watt’s Founder, is from Austin, Texas (actually Buda / Dripping Springs), the initial plan was to call the amp Texas Watt. However, everyone thought the name was too long so we shortened it to Tx-Watt. The “Tx” is for Texas and the Watt is for… well… “watts.”
Labor and parts. We start with parts chosen/designed to achieve the best tone and most versatility, without regard to their cost. Our transformers alone cost more than the total build-out costs for most amps you see in music stores. Everything is handmade. There are no printed circuit boards, no prefab, no machines. Just an amp artisan sitting at a bench, custom-building your amp to your specifications, one piece at a time. The process is very labor intensive. AND EVERY AMP SHIPS WITH A HARD SHELL FLIGHT CASE.
See the straight through comment from above. Every time you add an input jack, an effects loop, reverb channel, echo channel, etc., you add another place in the circuitry to “leak” signal. If you don’t have any of these in the circuit, you don’t have anywhere to worry about signal leakage.
Our concept is to make the amp as serious as possible on the inside, and as fun on the outside as possible. That’s why we have hundreds of options for colors, grill cloth, handles, feet etc. We’ve even had requests to cover them in cow hides, fox, mink and beaver pelts! AND… If for some reason you want the vintage 70’s, logo without the x, we’ll be glad to do it.
Tx-Watt Tube-Hybrid Guitar Amplifier: General Description, Explanations and Philosophy The Tx-Watt Tube Hybrid Guitar Amplifier shares essentially the same all-tube front-end preamplifier section as the Tx-Watt Signature Full Custom Series Amplifiers. The primary difference being that the Tube Hybrid uses a state-of-the-art high-fidelity Class-D solid state power amplifier for headroom, no additional tonal coloration, and high-efficiency amplification with minimal internal heat generation.
For many decades, tube amplifiers have been the go-to means of amplification for guitar and bass players. An amplification system is a very personal choice and thus there are many different types and sub-types of tube, solid-state, and modeling amplifiers; with each providing their own take on how an amplifier should sound and respond. Most all have both their proponents and critics.
Tx-Watt is solidly in the tube amplification camp, particularly when it comes to tone and overdrive generation. Honestly, tube power amplifier sections do add additional coloration when being driven hard. However, the versatile preamplifier used in the Tx-Watt family provides the depth of voicing, and range of overdrive capabilities, to satisfy discerning musicians. Thus, the Master Volume knob really is just that—you can generate that tone you desire at many different volume levels in both the Tube Hybrid and Full Custom Signature Amplifier series. Each amplifier maker has their own take on how a tube amplifier should sound and respond, and when you acquire their amp you are generally buying into that makers philosophy, good and bad. The Tx-Watt all-tube preamplifier section, common to both amplifier series, strives to straddle and extend beyond the broad spectrum of tube amplifiers available on the market.
Tx-Watt’s approach is to give you the ability to craft many different amplifiers on the fly. When we talk about an amplifier’s “voicing”, there are multiple components to that, and there can be much ambiguity regarding how each person may interpret the common terminology. Many will use the term “tone-stack” to include the part of the voicing due to the hard-wired circuitry around the tube gain stages, plus the functionality of the passive tone controls. Generally speaking, the passive tone control sections of most tube amplifiers are very similar in their functioning, with the primary differences being where they may place the hinge points of the treble and bass shelving controls and what frequencies the midrange controls act upon. Tx-Watt is no different in this respect. This discussion will talk about voicing and tone controls separately for clarity. Voicing here will refer to the hardwired circuitry that exists in all tube amplifiers and that sets the basic tone and response of the amplifier. The tone controls then act upon the basic voicing to give additional coloration.
The key is that the basic voicing is very critical to the character of an amplifier and how it will respond to your instrument. Tx-Watt gives you control over that voicing and it is this aspect that allows Tx-Watt amps to currently have Patent Pending status. The four toggle switches located over first four rotating controls, as shown in the diagram, allow you to modify that “hard-wired” circuitry so that you can build your own personal amplifier voicing. Two 12AX7 tubes provide four amplification stages around which you control, essentially stage by stage, whether you want American or British style circuitry. There are labels on these switches that give some description of how the circuit changes affect the voicing characteristics. However, this is very subjective, and some differences are also more subtle than others. Those of you that may be used to active tone controls might be expecting to hear those frequency ranges dramatically impacted. That is not what the voicing differences between most tube amplifiers will do. Frequencies impacted by each of the circuit differences overlap with each other and have some effect on everything downstream in the signal path. But more importantly, when you begin to push some of the tube stages into distortion, circuitry differences can make more distinctive changes in the overdrive characteristics and touch sensitivity.
For instance, the ”Gain Type” switch in American mode will push more low frequencies right up front so those frequencies will distort first, and in successive stages. Maybe that’s not the best sound for power chords, but at lower gains and less distortion it might be perfect for a fat jazz sound. Or maybe it works great for a Tele, but not so good for a Les Paul. Again it’s all subjective. This tailorable voicing will become your overdrive “distortion profile” if you will allow that term, and is a characteristic of that amplifier configuration. You can then use the tone controls to further shape your sound. Most tube amplifiers on the market only have one voicing, one distortion profile, or perhaps 2 or 3 at most. Now on to the rotating control knobs. The “Pre Amp” control allows you to start overdriving as early as possible in the signal path, or to keep the front end clean. Keep in mind that the coloration of the overdrive available with the “Pre Amp” control is also impacted by the “Gain Type” toggle switch. The interplay of voicing and gain in the signal path can be significant for getting the tone you want. Overdriving as early as possible in the signal path may not render the sound you prefer. The rotary switch “Gain” control allows you to have more or less gain further down the signal path. This can allow you to keep cleaner sound early in the signal path and then derive your distortion through later stages, in a different part of the voicing structure. This distortion sound is different from say, if you run the Pre Amp hot and use less “mid-stream” gain.
Or you can crank everything for crazy gain similar to the “rectifier” sound. In the Tube Hybrid amp there are 4 positions to this rotary switch and each position has a different gain and a different modification to the voicing. But generally positions 1 and 2 are similar in gain, and the positions 3 and 4 have considerably more gain. Additionally the voice coloring in positions 1 and 3 are a little brighter, while positions 2 and 4 are more “meaty” or “throaty”. The Gain switch, in conjunction with the voicing toggle switches, gives you 64 different amplifier voicings to choose from—careful what you wish for! As mentioned before, the passive “Treble”, “Mid”, and “Bass” tone controls work very similarly to those you find on most tube amplifiers. The “Presence” control however, is a bit different. It can have a dramatic effect on the overall shape of your tone from very dark, to very bright. It provides a very convenient way to quickly bring out the brilliance if you find you’re not quite cutting through, or to mellow out if you notice you’re frying ears in the front rows. Finally, the “Master” volume really is just that. It adds no coloration so you can create your tone and play it too, in any room or situation.
Tx-Watt amps give you an expansive range of control over amplifier characteristic shaping, both in subtle and dramatic aspects. In conjunction with the cabinet/speaker combination of your choice, there is plenty of room to find “your” sound!