Review: A Cut Above — Pritchard Amps Sword of Satori

June 20th, 2013

By Tom Beaujour | Photo by Massimo Gammacurta

Unlike many boutique-amp builders who are content to replicate or refine classic tube circuits, Eric Pritchard has an almost evangelical faith in the practical and tonal benefits of solid-state circuitry. It’s a belief not shared by much of the guitar community, and one that compels Pritchard, who has registered more than a dozen patents while developing his product, to build amps that are probably more difficult to sell than comparably priced upscale valve units.

So it was with great curiosity that I unboxed the 1×12 Pritchard Sword of Satori I received for review. This two-channel 180-watt combo is fitted into a compact cabinet that features a unique, patented “tunnel back” design, which works as an acoustic crossover to greatly enhance and focus low-end frequency response. The amp’s control panel has two rows of knobs that include a global input gain that allows a player to perfectly marry the amplifier’s circuitry to the output characteristics of his guitar. Both channels have their own treble, bass, and mid controls as well as six-way voice switches that select between settings that include the clean and acoustic-friendly Airy Art, the jazzy Smooth Solo, the Fender-inspired Famous Flat, the British-flavored Moderately Bright, Bass Boost, and the ultraclean country- and bass-friendly Precision. There is also a global watts control for power attenuation, a global reverb control, and buttons to engage channel switching, channel one’s variable boost, a noise gate, and an output-stage tone selector.

I tested the Sword of Satori with a new Fender USA 1956 Telecaster reissue and a 1964 ES-335, and was greatly impressed by the amp’s euphonious harmonic content, convincing sag and compression characteristics, and ultra-responsive overdrive sound that mimics the reactivity of the best tube amps. If you require shredular high-gain settings, you’ll need to hit the amp’s front end with a pedal, but for singing mid-gain tones reminiscent of Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, or Eric Clapton, you won’t disappointed for even an instant that you decided to eschew the world of tubes.


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  1. Posted by Kichu on April 27th, 2014, 05:43 [Reply]

    And btw, it dosn’t matter how many watts it has few ppleoe can stand being around 100 watts (tube) cranked up more than half-way so it had 500 (at 2 ohms) Generally 100 watt amps run at 8 or 16 ohms in half-stack form. The lower number Ohms increase resistance on the amp and push its output, so if you ran a higher ohm speaker, you use less juice last time I checked 100watt Tube-driven Marshalls, Mesas, Diezels, and Randalls are the ones dominating the Metal scene


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