As reported on this site a couple of times already - James Brown, celebrated 5150 amp engineer and circuit designer extraordinaire, sold his Amptweaker brand to Alpha Distribution earlier this year after he accepted a new post at Fender’s EVH Gear Division, Amp Department specifically.
Amptweaker has been best known for its high gain pedals - in particular the FatMetal and TightMetal series - but also the TightDrive and TightRock / BigRock Overdrives. The range had sprawled into quite a large assortment of various effects - and with most being made available in three different degrees / sizes of execution. The Standard Edition mid-size BB enclosure boxes, the Jr Compact Editions and the imposing large-format Pro Editions with no less than 3 x FX loops available.
It makes total sense that a range revamp should result in a re-focusing towards the key flagship pedals - which are now colour-coordinated by way of their metallic control knobs. With Tight / BigRock in Gold, TightMetal in Scarlet Red, TightDrive in Black, and FatMetal in Silver.
Gone are the former quite distinct and iconic slanted 2-step custom enclosures with knob-protection bar on top of the pedals - and instead we have fairly vanilla standard flat rectangular enclosures with very consistent artwork and the main visual differentiator simply being those cool looking colour-coordinated metallic knobs.
The Jr versions have 6 controls as before - 3 regular knobs, 1 mini knob, and 2 slider-switches. While the larger Pro editions have 15 controls - 10 regular knobs, 2 mini knobs and 3 slider-switches. I have detailed each of those controls in my above visual - along with the 3 x FX-Loops - SideTrack, Global and Boost for the Pro Series editions. On the Pro Series you can see two states / LEDs next to the Engage/Bypass footswitch - this is because in Bypass mode, the Pro pedals send signal to the SideTrack Loop.
The circuits supposedly remain exactly the same on the inside - to all intents and purposes, while I would venture they feature a fair few more SMT parts than before. There are no new demos of these yet - so I will instead lead on those classic discontinued predecessors which most appeal to me - or roughly in that order. Generally I’m more at home with the Jr Editions here and have stated on this site before that I have had the TightMetal and TightRock pedals on my wishlist for a while. Of the bigger boxes the only one I would ever be likely to acquire, and that would seem more remote now since my acquisition of the Toneczar Openhaus EQ - is the TightMetal Pro II - which I have also shared admiration for on this site on a number of occasions.
I feel the new pedals look pretty slick still - while they’re not quite as stand-out or iconic as their predecessors’ custom enclosures. I also question the use of the same dominant ’skull in a plectrum’ graphic motif on each pedal - but that’s probably just a personal / subjective thing.
In summary I feel that this is a very decent exercise all-round and is very much the right sort of thing to do to ensure the longer-term viability and success of this brand. Obviously these are hot off the press right now so not quite into distribution yet - while I was alerted to their presence by Prymaxe - where pre-orders are currently being taken.
Prices seem to have been held to the exact same levels as before - i.e. $189 for Jr and $299 for Pro variants. And if you’re looking for modern saturated tones, then this brand is still well worth a look-in. As mentioned, I have had a number of these on my wishlist before - in particular the TightMetal Jr - that for sure will be added to the collection some day fairly soon!