Framus Cobra

Framus Cobra

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Cobra, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Framus.

4 user reviews
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Framus Cobra tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Framus
  • Model: Cobra
  • Category: Tube Guitar Amp Heads
  • Added in our database on: 03/10/2004

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Framus Cobra user reviews

Average Score:5.0( 5/5 based on 4 reviews )
 4 reviews100 %
King Loudness08/09/2011

King Loudness's review"Holy Grail of Metal tone"

Framus Cobra
For many years I'd wanted to try a Framus Cobra 100 as I'd heard that they were some of the greatest amps for metal that existed. For about two years I wondered about the sound... until recently when I had a chance to finally put one through its paces. It is a three channel amp (with a boost too) that does everything from pristine cleans to British style crunch to molten metal riffage and lead tones. It is a three channel amp that is laid out the same way as the Mesa Dual Rectifier as far as controls. Each channel has gain, volume, bass, middle, treble and presence knobs, and each channel has a small switch on it that changes the voicing of that channel.

Here is the full list of specs:

100 watts
Tubes: 5x ECC 83 by JJ, 4x EL 34 by Electro Harmonix (selected quartet)
3 channels (Clean, Crunch and Lead)
Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence controls for each channel
Notch switches for Crunch and Lead
Parallel effects loop
Effect Mix control
Deep control to set the amount of low end in the power amp stage
Master 1 and 2, switchable
Integrated MIDI interface
4, 8 and 16 ohms speaker output impedance, switchable
Metallic grill front face
Weight: 21 kg
Dimensions (W/H/D): 0,72 x 0,28 x 0,26 m
Made in Germany


Dialing in the Cobra 100 is a bit more of a chore than many amps because of the gain structure it uses. It's similar to something like a Mesa Boogie I find as far as how the controls react, but it still took me a bit of time to figure it out. Once I got past the initial learning curve, I found myself really enjoying the tones that were coming out of this amp... everything from the cleans to the highest of gain distorted tones.

My biggest caveat with this amp's design is the effects loop, which is just not well designed at all. It doesn't accept stompbox units in the loop, only rack processors. This means that if you put your delay in the effects loop and it is a stomp box, it sounds garbled and not pristine like it should. Kind of a frustration to have a $2,000+ amp that won't accept stompboxes in the effects loop, only rack gear/processors.


I tried this amp out with an EMG loaded Charvel San Dimas and a 2010 Gibson Les Paul Standard with Burstbucker pickups. I definitely preferred the tone of the active pickups with this amp, which is surprising given my general dislike of EMG pickups. The clean channel is very hifi sounding. I can't quite put my finger on what amp it is that this amp's clean tone reminds me of, but it's the opposite of a warm vintage Fender... very bright and in your face. It is an impressively pristine clean tone for such a high gain amp.

The crunch channel reminds me a lot of an old Marshall. It's a bit more mid focused than the lead channel and has a bit of that awesome Marshall raunch lurking within. Don't get me wrong, it's still a high gain channel, but it offers a good blend between the classic and modern textures. It also cleans up really well with the volume knob on the guitar which is a plus.

The lead channel is my favourite one. It's like someone took a Dual Rectifier and a 5150 and combined the best features of both into an awesome, awesome high gainer amp. It packs GOBS of gain and saturation, but it's still extremely tight and clear. It's not so dry/tight that it sounds sterile, but it's not nearly so loose as to cause buzziness and flub out as some Rectos do at times.


All in all I feel as though the Cobra is a near perfect amp for the serious metal musician. It is very expensive ($2,000+) but you can find them for about $1,400 used if you look. The three channels are all top notch in their design and when you find the sweet sound, look out! It, like the Peavey 5150 is a LOUD amp, so keep that in mind, and the sweet spot is at higher volumes. I (along with the owner of this particular Cobra 100) feel as though the effects loop is basically useless and should be redesigned, but that's only really necessary if you're a devout pedal user.

If you want some of the best metal tones to ever slither across the earth, give the Framus Cobra 100 a shot. Don't worry, it won't bite. ;)

Hatsubai's review"Very similar to the Recto"

Framus Cobra
This is probably Framus' most popular amp that they have. In fact, it's really just a modified Recto, so anybody familiar with a Mesa/Boogie Recto should be right at home with this. The amp has 100 watts of power that are powered by four EL34 tubes, 5 12AX7 tubes, three channels with independent EQs for each channel, a parallel effects loop, a depth pot, switchable masters and is fully MIDI.


This amp has every feature that an amp needs. It has three independent EQs which every amp should have today. There's really no excuse anymore. The amp also has full MIDI integration which means you can hook up your favorite MIDI pedal to it and control it without using any external MIDI controllers for channel switching and whatnot. The metal grill is pretty cool, but the tolex can be a bit thin and might rip if you're not careful. Not sure why they used thin tolex on this, but maybe it was just the batch I got in the store.


These amps sound great. The secret to making the amps sound brutal is to throw a clean boost up front. That'll really tighten everything up and deliver some bone crushing 100 watts of power. I can't stress using a boost enough on these amps because it really brings them into a new dimension. The crunch and lead tones are really where it's at. The clean is alright, but it's nothing to write home about. The amp is mainly geared towards metal, but it can do rock without a problem. Doing Jazz and Fusion might be a bit of a challenge, but I'm sure it can be made to work.


These amps are a great alternative for those who want something that is like a Recto but with a slightly different flavor. The full MIDI integration is really the icing on the cake. I'm a big rack user, and that MIDI integration means everything in the world to me. I don't have to hook up a separate device to channel switch with this.

wwhhhaatt's review

Framus Cobra
100 watts
EL34 tube power
Three channels with separate bass/middle/treble, gain, level, and presence
parallel effects loop w/ mix control
two master volumes
global depth knob
4 button footswitch for channels and master 1/2
2 speaker outs with 4/8/16 ohm selector
midi controllable channels and master


The Framus cobra can be a tricky amp to dial in for some. It is the pickiest of the amps I own concerning cabs, speakers, and pickups. I would say in my experience it prefers medium to hot passive pickups and speakers in the 30-60 watt area with a balanced frequency response. The manual does not really help in that department as it just explains how to hook the amp up. Aside from the midi it's pretty straightforward and easy to plug & play.


I mainly use the amp with my Carvin dc127 equipped with a Bare Knuckle nail bomb bridge and cold sweet neck pickup configuration. I also use an ESP Stephen Carpenter 6 string with an Anderson H3+ and ESP eclipse standard with a Seymour Duncan distortion.

I go for a slightly un-traditional metal sound. Not too much on the gain, healthy mids, and I use lots of effects. One of the main things I love about the Cobra is it's ability to handle all the noise I put into it. My other amps (5150,triamp) can get a little overwhelmed when layering loops and using lots of delay and other effects. The cobra always maintains clarity and never sounds like it's about to explode; unless I want it to sound that way. When I first bought the amp I was immediately blown away. Having gone from a POD/tube power amp setup this was quite the leap in power. The amp just plain crushes. It also has the absolute best clean channel I have ever heard on a high gain amp. That is something that is very important to me as I use the clean channel a lot more than most framus users seem to.

I've done a lot of experimenting with my guitars pickups and using an EQ pedal in front of the amp and I've gotten to a point where I have the majority of the EQ settings at noon. I keep the channel volumes around 2:30 and the master at whatever level the sound guy will let me get to. Usually also around noon.
There is a bit of a learning curve with the treble/presence controls. You can really alter the high end content by lowering one and boosting the other which really helps with getting a cutting sound without getting into buzz saw territory.

There are a few cons with the amp which I have overcome. For one the effects loop operates at some odd level that isn't exactly line or guitar level. This makes it difficult to use some gear in the loop as it can easily overload a standard stomp box. It is also a parallel loop which can cause phasing issues with time based effects such as delays. Luckily I have not had any major problems with it. I use a Boss dd20 and Eventide Time factor in the loop and it seems to be fine. I get a slight volume drop when the loop is on but it's on all the time so I just turn the master up. Also the handle sucks. It broke while I was carrying the amp on my shoulder and the amp fell about 5 ft face first onto concrete. Still works fine so I guess that's a testament to it's build quality. It is also kind of finicky with tubes. I have a 5150 with 5+ year old tubes that sounds the same as when they were installed but the framus seems to need a fresh set about once a year.


Overall this is the amp for me. I went through a period where I thought I wanted something else but trying out a few high end amps just reminded me how much I love this amp. I can get all kinds of distortion tones from classic, blues, modern metal, and even the terrible IMO death metal sound with the suck switch.

The pricing looks to have gone up considerably since I purchased mine. I guess all those killswitch albums really put the demand high. I can't say whether or not I'd pay the 3000$ they sell for new now as I'd have to really compare it to the other amps in the range like diezels. But for the near 2 grand I paid new and the 1100-1400 they go for used I don't think any other amps in the 1500-2000 price range can touch it. I've tried most of them.

Some people early on complained of the build quality but mine is still going and I don't treat my gigging gear anywhere near as good as I should

Nichtoune's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Framus Cobra
- All Tube Amp
5x ECC83 for prampli and 4 EL34 power tubes for
9 lamps in total for those who are not mathematicians.

- Power 100 watts, or 16 ohms impdance 4.8

- Connections: between one lead guitar in front, between output FX send / retrun derrire, 2 HP, 1 MIDI output, footswitch taken (to buy separately)

- No effect (no reverb)

I gained a Framus Cobra head this t.
Printing at a glance: trs trs fine head nice design apparently fate in metal

this amp has 3 channels (clean crunch and lead) each channel to be some switch in "bright" for the clean (the most slamming) and "notch" for the other 2 (gain more aggressive)

is the qualisation indpendante for each channel and we have the possibility to set a master 2 (to increase or decrease the volume for a solo for example) and deep bassist to annoy.

equalization: the same for each channel: Gain: prsence; volume bass, middle, treble.

Sound: The clean channel sound is of course excellent tube amp is Obliq prcis round or slamming it trs trs versatile and ca even be funky little sisi! Suitable for all styles.

Crunch channel: you can have it all sound SRV, hendrix sound, the sound of the Beatles (I've got a feeling) and especially his last ACDC all what else trs versatile sound is kind of small gain little wing that of a highway to hell

Lead channel: /! WARNING /! DANGER!
not without laughter. the lead channel dcoiffe same as for the other 2 we get a little trs trs wide range of sound (typ plutt metal) is not a copy recitfier home mesa but vritablement his only its own little ca be trs trs precise cutting fat or runny well everything is possible with this amplifier, the harmonics of your guitar are 1 / 2 hour and feedback are themselves of a rare musical!

good résumé: even if this amp in the air box of metal excels in the area of ​​"high gain" is also surprising to discovering in a less brutal and less aggressive than would be pr sumer's name and look after all a good head trs which couples a cobra baffle or engl or mesa also give its full potential, one for High + gain.

The retail price is 2400 in 2007. 9 / 10 because he is not correct but I am difficult.







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