I love me a simple, good-sounding amp with plenty of character but fewer bells and whistles. So the new Carr Amps Telestar piqued my curiosity. This is a 17-Watt combo that uses a 6L6 and EL84 in a push-pull Class A circuit, which is also very unusual! Let’s take closer look…
Carr Amps Telestar
First, the control layout: it’s quite simplistic, which I tend to favour. The Carr Amps Telestar has a control for Volume, Tone and Reverb. You also get a Lean/Lush switch for either tightening or loosening up the bass and a 53/58 switch. This switches the gain structure between “round early 50s Fullerton” and “Proto British Hot Rod”, mirroring developments in Fender amp voicing through the 1950s.
Apart from the unusual pairing of 6L6 and EL84 power amp valves this little combo also has a 12AX7 and 12AT7 in the preamp section. The Power control is an attenuator the lowers the volume without affecting the amp’s main tonality. That’s perfect for when you want the tones, without the headache of high volume. There’s also a Reverb knob controlling an all-tube reverb circuit.
The Telstar amps are all hand built in NC, USA. Carr Amps builds its own cabinets, and use locally made saddle leather handles and fancy croc-skin finishes. However, you can specify other cabinet finishes and there are a lot of examples on their site of various finish options.
It is a pretty boutique amp all round and not just on the outside. It includes Custom Carr output transformers, Jupiter tone capacitors and even Solen Aerospace Satellite power supply capacitors in the circuit design!
I love the demo video below, which gives a good overview of what to expect from this little 17-Watt combo. It isn’t exactly cheap at over two grand, especially considering all the high-end components and.attention to detail with the finish. I think it should tick all the boxes for someone who prefers a great-sounding little amp with rich vintage-flavoured tones. Having power attenuation built-in makes this a great amp for many situations, whether studio work or gigging.
RRP – USD 2390