If you ever are in the market for an amp that covers all ground, look no further. After departing from Tone King Amps, which Mark had built for over 25 years, he spent 2 years on research and development for his new company Bartel Amplifiers. In these 2 years, no expense was spared. Every aspect has been carefully developed and researched from the cabinet design to the circuitry. Despite having a wide range of base circuits to start off from his old company, Mark started the circuitry design of Bartel Amplifiers from the ground up. And while the looks of the amp is inspired from vintage tweed designs, its capabilities far surpass that of any tweed amp in the market.
There are several key aspects in Bartel Amplifiers that make it unique from other amps. The first is its multi-voice preamp and it offers an unusually wide variety of voicings, from sparkly cleans inspired from the good ol' Deluxe Reverb, to the raw crunch of a saturated plexi amp. The beauty about this is that you can achieve these sounds simply by adjusting the treble, bass and volume controls. For example, setting the volume to 7, bass and 0 and treble at 0 gives you the raw saturated plexi sound, while moving to volume 1, bass 10 and treble 10 gives you the nice sparkly cleans. It is important to note that these are just guidelines when in reality, you can simply cover ground that most amps are not able to. For example at volume 7, bass 6 and treble 6, you can achieve the openness and clarity of a Deluxe Reverb, but yet also get it to the edge of breakup like in a plexi amp. This glorious combination lets you enjoy the best of both worlds without any compromise.
Another ground breaking aspect of these amps is the incredibly transparent master volume circuit. Whether you are in a gig or are in your bedroom, the master volume has got you covered. What separates this master volume circuit from other volume management solutions is the transparency and the way it preserves the overall presence of your sound even at extremely low volumes. Most other master volume solutions work on the principle of attenuation where the wattage of the amp is reduced as the master is turned down. Inevitably however, the presence and response of the sound will be lost at lower wattage. As for the Bartel, the master volume operates on a different principle by adjusting the saturation on the interstage transformer instead. The result is an astonishingly natural sound and feel to your tone at all volumes.
Finally, the cabinet of the amp is also a carefully researched and thought out aspect. The baffle and cabinet are carefully glued together like an acoustic guitar so that the whole cabinet participates in the production of sound. The effect of this is apparent in different venues where the sound from the amp naturally fills up the room from a combination of the speaker and the natural vibrations and presence of the cabinet. The cabinet and baffle are made of Eastern white pine and the resonance is tuned with a flange made from African mahogany. Even more than that, Mark had found that conventional glue used for the fabric on the cabinets were inhibiting in the vibrations of the cabinet. Hence, the glue used in these amps are a secret concoction that Mark had developed from scratch that aided in capturing the natural vibrations of the cabinet.
All these aspects make Bartel Amplifiers a truly unique master-built construction. More than just a product, owning a Bartel is an experience that is hard to find anywhere else.