Luker Chameleon : audiogoddess's user review
"Perfect sound high end quality tube amp "
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Product bought new in January 2013, for 1450$ VAT incl
All tube, hand wired eyelet board and point to point circuit. 20 watt output. GZ34 rectifier,two 6V6, 12AT7 driver, two 12AX7 preamp, 12AU7 reverb send, 12AX7 reverb return. Single input. Controls are gain (pre EQ), gain (post EQ), volume, treble, treble cap selector, mid, bass, reverb, reverb tone, presence, hi cut, standby switch, power switch with pilot light. Rear panel has a circuit breaker, AC connector, 4,8,16 ohm selector, two speaker output jacks. 12" Legend 8 ohm rear loaded speaker.
Right out of the box with tone controls set to midway super sweet deep cleans. Can't say enough about the clean sound this amp gets. With the three way gain controls it produces anything from slight overdrive to rip roaring overdrive at any volume level. For having so much flexibility sound wise, it has very straight forward controls and getting a great sound is easy to do. The treble cap selector above the treble control grants access to tight and spanky, bright and cutting all the way to loose honky midrange. I have never heard anything like it. The mid control has a very wide range from scooped to all midrange. The bass control is like a normal fender deluxe but maybe a little smoother in range from low to high. The post phase inverter presence control (like the vintage fenders) adds a nice subtle high end sparkle and the hi cut control is a nice feature for dialing in vintage overdrive sounds. It is very touch sensitive so I can set the controls to medium hot then use my guitar controls and picking attack for clean to dirty. I am most impressed with the amps articulation and clarity especially in overdrive sounds. Great reverb sounds very nice and the reverb tone control adds a nice touch from dark to bright, very effective. It sounded great with several pedals I tried, Fulltone Fat Boost, Fulltone II, Tube Screamer, AD9 delay, Boss GT6, Alesis Quadraverb GT. I think the gain controls help adjust to different pedals and effects units.
I use a Fender American Telecaster with stock pickups, a Fender Strat Plus and a Gibson ES175. The Chameleon makes them all sound excellent. The most challenging sound for me to get is a nice clear Jazz tone on stage with a drummer. I was a little skeptical that a 20 watt amp could do this. The Chameleon delivered! I produces the perfect midrange sound with the jazz tone I need to sit in the mix for comping or push through it for soloing. At the larger venues, a mic on the amp is required but it would be with any amp so as not to be to loud on stage. The Tele gets some serious country honk and spank and cuts through without harshness and my Strat just sings like a bird. I can't say enough about the tone controls and wide sweet spot this amp produces. I find with a solid body guitar at a rock gig situation, I just get the cleanest setting, turn it up, roll off the bass a little and use my guitar to get the sounds I need. This is the mark of a great sounding amp.
The very first thing I noticed about this amp is the high quality of the build and attention to detail put into this Luker amplifier. The controls have a smooth and tight feel, the tube sockets are high quality Belton and hold the tubes tight. It has a Tesla designed Toroidal power transformer that barley even gets warm after an all nighter at high volumes so the amp runs very cool. Its lightweight and is the perfect size balancing portability with big cabinet sound. The 3/4" thick pine cabinet with dovetail joints does make a difference in sound. There are other high end amp builders out there who use plywood or pressed board and I'm sure that is for a particular sound but I have always loved the way solid pine sounds especially as it ages. The back bracing used to attach the backs on the combo are made of lovely looking hardwood so the stainless chrome screws will never strip out like you'll find on most other amps. The inside where the wood is exposed is sealed with oil based stain so you can see the grain. The speaker baffle is attached to the cab with machine screws as is the rear loaded speaker. It has a simulated leather handle that is very comfy. The size and weight of the amp is perfect for me in that it just small enough and light enough at 38lbs. The back of the chassis is highly polished stainless steel and the front is powder coated black. The lettering is some kind of enamel. It looks like it was built to last forever. For the money you'd be hard pressed to find any new amp built this well. I have played a dozen or so other amps ranging in price from 1200 to 3500 and I am very happy with everything about this amp. If you want a footswitch for overdrive, you can have that option added for a price but I don't ever need it with this amp. It is really an exceptionally low price for a handwired boutique amp. If it were stolen I would get another one immediately.