Former Matamp man Dave Green is now chief designer of Hayden's Essex-based Custom Shop, where its UK Hand Wired series amplifiers are assembled. Its newest creation, the Petite 2, is the Custom Shop's entry-level crank-up and go amp.
Drawing its inspiration from a 1950s Magnatone Starlet, the Petite 2 shares much with the old amp, such as a reverse-mounted control panel, angled cabinet and simple feature set. The original Starlet only had one control, a volume. Of course, that just won't do for the modern player, so Green set about adding a tone control.
"Simple crank-up-and-go amp designs offer unfussy and responsive tones, and at higher volumes that's what you get with the Petite."
"It simply acts as a treble cut. It's just a treble capacitor and a pot - it works in the same way as a tone control on a guitar does," he tells us. The other inclusion is a manually operated, three-way gain switch.
"In the centre low position, as far as the ECC83 circuit is concerned, it's resisted and introduces one bypass resistance capacitor in the cathode, which pushes the gain up," Green continues.
"In mid position you've one bypass cap added, and then in high mode two bypass caps are introduced, one on each stage." It goes from all-valve clean, to mild gain and then to a blues-inspired all-valve overdrive.
Internally, everything is point-to-point wired, resistors going from one place to another with just a few bits of wire - no sign of PCBs or turret tags here. It's a traditional way of building an amplifier: straightforward, old school and easy to maintain for an experienced tech.
The preamp stage features a single ECC83 with a 6V6 output valve - pumping out a princely two watts RMS - seated into a ceramic valve base to help keep heat off of the chassis.
The UK-made, twin-ported plywood cabinet houses a 12-inch Celestion G12- Greenback, with black grille cloth and gold Hayden logo.
"There are far more options with speakers when it comes to 12-inch over 10-inch, and we realise that players like to try different speakers out in their amps," says Green. "It's also a non-negative feedback amp, making it quite sensitive to variations in speaker response - that's why we went with the 12-inch Celestion G12M."
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