Announced at Namm 2019, the Sterling is the new flagship of the San Francisco brand. In early 2017, the brand was bought by its founding fathers (Bill Krinard, Mac Skinner...) after a chaotic episode at Premier Builder Guild. From that moment, big changes are made at Two-Rock so that the brand is the pinnacle of what is done in terms of guitar amplification. The Sterling Signature symbolizes the changes made by showing the know-how acquired by Two-Rock during all these years. Taking the new platform established by the Classic Reverb Signature, the Sterling is an amp designed for those looking for maximum headroom, complexity on a clean channel and total interaction with it. It's simple, this amp does not twist, it remains "clean" right in his boots, whatever the settings. This makes it a formidable platform for your favorite pedals. And as we will see, it benefits from a few specificities that make it a truly unique Two-Rock.
The Sterling Signature's finish is one of a kind. Here, no compromise has been made, and it is especially on the inside that it shows (in addition to having a very beautiful exterior dress, this head is beautiful on the inside). All components, without exception, have extremely low tolerance thresholds. They are of Military rank. Each component is selected, each head fully wired by hand, tested by ear and played by the entire team before shipment. The Sterling Signature is the flagship of the Californian brand and it shows. If you ever have the chance to turn even a button of it, you will immediately understand what it is all about. Simply exceptional.
The head has a Suede type finish, light grey, which immediately gives it an extremely classy and qualitative look. A +5mm thick aluminum front panel picks up on the brand's classic aesthetic. On the front, there are people: Fet Gain (controls the amount of gain of the FET stage) Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, High Cut, Low Cut (2 formidable efficiency buttons), Send / Return (Reverb ) and finally the Master and Presence control. There are also many mini-switches that allow you to activate the FET, to boost or not each range of the EQ, to bypass the EQ by activating a volume and medium boost, to modify the gain structure (this plays on the dynamics and on the overall spectrum of the head) and the response of the EQ depending on which one is chosen.
The Sterling Signature lacks nothing, it is adjustable down to the smallest detail, whether in terms of the desired dynamics, or to adjust the response of the amp according to your instrument.
You thought a clean channel was a clean channel? That you had gone around all possible platforms? Well no, the Sterling has some little surprises in store for you.
The back side is also very complete. There are outputs 4, 8, 16 ohms, enough to connect the very complete footswitch and a switch to switch the head to 50W mode (which changes the overall rendering very significantly).
The brand has always been resolutely turned "Strato-like". John Mayer, Matt Schofield, Eric Johnson... So many days who love and use the brand's amps. With the Sterling, Two-Rock offers us a more open, less distinctive amp, while retaining the brand's sound signature. The amp is so versatile that it accepts everything (Strato, ES, Les Paul) in a memorable way. So how does it sound? Well... it's a Two-Rock? ;) Each note is literally explosive, with a totally unique depth and thickness. The dynamics are enormous, the amp literally slams with each attack, propelling each note like a boomrang that comes right back at you. The spectrum of this amp is extremely broad and at the same time balanced. It goes very far in the bottom, very far in the top, with an ultra wide mid range. Its versatility comes from its ultra-wide sweeping spectrum. Indeed, the pedals that you stack on to work on your sound will benefit from this ultra-qualitative base and will be magnified by the Sterling. This amp literally transforms every stompbox used, all with a musicality typical of the brand.
One of the great strengths of the amp is the total interaction it offers you, and its resulting ultra flexibility. By activating the FET preamp, you buffurize your signal, bringing an additional level of gain and complexity, a small halo around the sound, which allows you to add link and fluidity to your phrasings. The 2 on-board EQs and the many mini-toggle switches that equip the amp allow almost infinite possibilities. Indeed, depending on the EQ chosen, you will obtain the equivalent of two amps in one, as these impact the character of the amp.
The EQ1 provides voicing with less gain, more lows and mids. This configuration will delight fans of clean Mayer sounds, in the purest tradition of the brand.
The EQ2 offers a voicing with more gain, a straighter grain, tighter bass, with an extended high end. We really have two different personalities with two totally dissociated sound spectra and a unique response depending on the mode chosen.
With the Two-Rock Sterling, you can play literally anything, and that's what's truly unique about an amp of this type. You need to play jazz, blues, metal (yes, even you who actively doubt it in the back of the room). Well, the Sterling can do it and it does it perfectly. Why buy 3 amps when one can do it all without compromise? So... what's the secret? The big difference? It can be summed up in one word - compression - and this natural compression of the amp changes everything! The famous "huummppff" on the attack, which associated with the way the EQ reacts, means that you can switch from one style to another without any worries, IF you have the right pedal to match. The clean, you have it, it's the base. The blues sound, some good pedals and the EQ1 will propel you like never before. Rock? Same thing, a guitar, a well-chosen setup, a few adjustments as needed, that's it, you're there. Metal? No problem, EQ2, we adjust, a good kind of edgy pedal with a tight grain, the amp cashes.
How to achieve this and this ability to be able to adjust this natural compression as we see fit? Well it's the conjunction between the EQ which is amazingly versatile, the toggle switches which are extremely effective, and... The two magic buttons... High Cut and Low Cut. indeed, these really allow you to adjust the natural compression of the amp and its response. By not only compressing the signal depending on the settings, but also by adding/removing some kind of layer that applies to your sound, this one allowing to brighten or darken the character of the amp as a whole . Adjustment that you can fine-tune with the Presence setting.
The Sterling is therefore an amp of extraordinary versatility. This will allow you to make the most of all your pedals, whatever the style. And this is the rarity of this amp. Without compromise, you can play everything, with the best possible dynamics and the guarantee of having an exceptional rendering. They are strong at Two-Rock, really very strong!
- 100 watt 4 x 6L6 switchable to 50 watts
- FET foot-switchable BYPASS tonestack preamp
- HIGH and LOW filters with 7 positions
- Reverb SEND and RETURN controls
- 100 Watt Head: 24″ width x 10 3/4″ depth x 12″ height 47 LBS
- Custom Gray Suede finish