Tone King's first Point-To-Point wired amp, the Sky King is the new "flagship" of the Californian brand. Big brother of the highly respected Imperial, the Sky King is capable of delivering exceptional clean sounds and 100% authentic and "vintage" crunch. Perfect companion in the studio, on stage or in your bedroom, benefiting from a PTP construction, a new "Iron Man" attenuator and one of the most beautiful clean channels on the market, it is a perfect mix between the Imperial and a kind of "super Falcon". Mark Bartel has made no compromises at any level. The goal is to offer a high-end, unique and highly addictive amp!
The front panel is well endowed. From right to left, there is a Tremolo section with Speed and Depth settings. The Spring Reverb Control. The Rhythm channel with a 2-band EQ and Volume. And finally the Lead channel, which is equipped with a Volume control, a Tone and the very interesting (and effective!) Mid-Bite. At the back, there is the standby, enough to connect the footswitch, a toggle switch to switch to pentode/ultralinear mode and activate a voicing close to that of the Imperial. We will then find the attenuator and its two knobs, one for each channel (the class!)
As for the finish and assembly. What to say? It's simply the best. The assembly is precise, the finish perfect, the PTP cabling perfectly executed. It's as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, all with a vintage touch that fans of the genre will appreciate.
Original 59 Stratocaster and Les Paul Custom Shop in hand, we attack through the clean channel. The Rhythm channel of the Tone King Sky King is very close to that of the Imperial in the voicing. Namely, typically that of a Blackface but with more dynamics, detail at the top of the spectrum, tighter bass and an ultra-fast response. The difference with that of the Imperial? Compared to the latter, the Sky King is less stiff and slamming, it has more roundness and a softer, fatter attack, which crashes more under the right hand. It sings, compresses slightly, it's very musical, and doubled with Bias Tremolo and excellent Reverb, it's a pure killer!
And as life is well done, for those who want the more "nasty" side of the Imperial, no worries. All you have to do is access the toggle switch on the rear panel of the amp, which allows you to switch to a more modern voicing corresponding to that of the Imperial (modernized and boosted version of the traditional Blackface). We will then have more attack, a faster response and more details at the top of the spectrum. We'll call it very "sparkling" highs, as my uncle John would say. The dynamics are monstrous, the huge diffusion (for a combo it's impressive) the complexity of this clean channel is clearly unusual and we quickly understand why Mark Knopfler is a fan of it!
On the Overdrive channel, we find once again very great similarities with the Imperial but with an extended versatility, ranging from the old Tweed of the 50's to the early Plexi. The Lead channel is voiced quite high, Tweed(s) requires, but without the aggressiveness of the latter. Indeed, the Lead channel of the Sky King delivers a drive with a very nice thickness, a complex high midrange and a hell of a potato! The Mid-Bite is incredibly effective! It really allows you to tailor the amp's response by brightening it up and giving it more or less bite. The Lead of the Sky King is a killer for all those who touch Blues - Pop - Rock, this one benefiting from an ultra musical Overdrive, a very nice natural compression and a very "touch sensitive" side which plus, superbly clean volume knob.
Now let's talk about the attenuator, The Iron Man in its new version is really excellent. Much more natural and effective than before. On the clean channel, it makes it very easy to twist the amp (almost impossible otherwise). And what could be more beautiful than a vintage voiced tube amp that twists slightly? On the Lead channel, it is totally essential at home, and will be perfect on small stages. If you can do without it, then it will be intense guitar bliss!
In the end, the Tone King Sky King is the quintessence of Vintage references from the 50s / 60s within the same amp. Equipped with an impressive clear, complex and dynamic channel, as well as a very authentic, rich and versatile overdrive channel, it is an exceptional amp in addition to a magnificent "object" that will be able to take pride of place in your living room! For the pedals, preferably for the most transparent, they will behave superbly on it. It is also equipped with a magnificent spring reverb and a bias tremolo at the top. So, what more could you ask for? Perfect!
- Combo 112
- 35 Watt tube, 2 channels, footswitchable
- 2x 6L6WGC (TAD) / 4x 12AX7 / 1x 12AT7 (reverb driver) / 5AR4 (Rectifier)
- Rhythm Channel: Vol, Treb, Bass
- Lead Channel: Vol, Tone, Mid-Bite
- Speakers: 1x12 Celestion G12M65 Creamback
- Footswitch: Channel Switch & Tremolo
- Reverb: Tube Driven Spring Reverb
- Tremolo: Tube Driven
- Attenuator: Onboard Ironman
- Colors: Black, Brown & Cream
- Weight: 22 Kg
- Size: 61 x 30.5 x 46