Boss’s Tube Logic Series of Nextone Amps somewhat failed to garner the same plaudits and support as the lower cost Katana Range - while the Artist edition Nextone contained some particularly clever circuitry - yet those amps did not resonate as well with their intended audiences as was predicted / expected. Meaning that the Boss engineers have expended some very significant effort in the interim towards getting the new Special Amp up to the level it truly deserves to be at.
The Nextone Special really takes the format to the next level - allowing you to select 6V6/6L6/EL84/EL34 Power Amp Tube Emulation independently on the 2 Channels - so you can have say Fender 6V6 Style Cleans, combined with Marshall EL34 Crunch.
The new colour-coded ’B12W’ Waza Craft ’Blue Bell’ tone speaker have been modelled after those legendary blue bell-shaped Celestion Vox speakers and are honed towards delivering that dynamic and sparkling, and punchy speaker response.
The control panel is now front-facing - which is a huge plus for me - and features dual rows of controls - with added Boost Controls, Bottom and Top Custom Tune Controls and separate Clean and Lead Solo Controls - to name a few of the more obvious changes. The Power-Scaling also has more granularity to it - so more control over how you deploy the amp - and of course the rear has all the expected ports and sockets - including an FX-Loop.
Note that in my above visual I’ve included the older Nextone Artist top panel at the base of the visual - for sake of comparison with the Nextone Specials’s new double-decker front-facing panel.
For the earlier editions of the Nextone Amp - some felt that the differences between some of the Tube Emulations were a little too subtle - so it will be interesting to get a feel for what Boss has changed to improve things here.
I was all set to get a Katana II Artist next - but since I mostly use the amp within a Clean Pedal Platform setup - it may make more sense for me to rather go with the new Nextone Special - which can give me some inherent flexibility - and possibly more of what I would use.
There has always been a Holy Grail kind of things with guitar - to get the one guitar that could exactly combine the tones of a Strat, Tele and Les Paul. And for the Amp equivalent it’s typically been a case of achieving Fender (6V6), Vox (EL84), and Marshall (EL34) tones. And the Nextone series is certainly set up to do that. Pricing is obviously significantly higher than the Katana - with the Nextone Special due to have an RRP of circa $900 at launch.
In many ways this is a more down-to-earth take on Tube Amp Emulation - say vs the Katana Series - and there will be several players who should prefer going down the Nextone route.
Everything seems right on the amp now - the ergonomics, granularity and controllability have all been enhanced. And the early demos sound suitably impressive. I have a feeling the Special will very well end up earning its moniker! These Amps should be arriving at dealers early to mid December.
The launch demo is rather encouraging - but kind of over all too quickly - I look forward to seeing many more demos in the next weeks and months. And this amp rightfully taking its place in the top tier alongside those million Katanas! :