Amp in a box?
Marketed between 1963 and 1967 in Sears supermarkets, the 1484 is a box-tube subwoofer with two 12-inch speakers. This tweeter would also earn its moniker to the tweeter: Twin Twelve. The goal of the Silvertone brand was to develop a subwoofer with extremely clear and soft sounds. The fate of 1484 will be completely different. In fact, hordes of young men took over the amplifier and made completely indistinct sounds. In fact, if we set the volume control to its maximum values, the amp distorts in a very special way, making the 1484 pass a true legend, almost the same way as the 1959 Marshall Super Lead. This particular saturation was adopted a few decades later by indie rock musicians such as Jack White, Dave Grohl, Beck and Dan Auerback. Above all, Jack White would contribute to the massive success of Twin Twelve, particularly at the time of the planetary hit “Seven Nation Army” release of the group he formed with his partner Meg White, The White Strips.
Nearly sixty years later, it was Brad Jackson, owner of the Jackson Audio brand, who in turn made this circuit known through the pedal medium. This isn’t the first time a manufacturer has attempted to integrate a 1484 circuit into a pedal. It was Josh Scott, creator of the JHS Pedals brand, who tried it with a pedal called the Twin Twelve. Brad Jackson started his business making amps and went on to create a line of pedals a few years ago. Therefore, he has solid knowledge and important technical knowledge in the field of tube amplifiers. And we understand this by opening the 1484 Twin Twelve chassis which houses a circuit exactly matching the amp circuit, the component one. The only difference according to Jackson Audio is in the level of the tubes they have been replaced with junction field effect transistors (JFETs). They offer the peculiarity of behaving like LEDs once they are installed in the audio circuit. However, depending on the brand, it allows the pedal circuit to develop the same dynamics, the same sensitivity to attack and/or differences in size as that of an amp circuit. In addition, the pedal has an internal voltage multiplier which raises the voltage to 18 volts, allowing the transistors to develop more dynamics.
Visually, Jackson Audio has done its job very well. The chassis is made of stainless steel, like the one in 1484 amps. The most well-known visual elements of the subwoofer are the potentiometer knobs. Since this model is no longer manufactured, Jackson Audio took care of its design, adapting its size to the size of the pedal. The 1484 logo and Silvertone brand logo are identical to those affixed to the amp, between 1963 and 1967. Finally, the operating indicator for the pedal is the same as the one on the amp, a large red diamond. The appearance of the pedal is very successful even if its dimensions (13 cm x 10.5 cm) are very large. Fortunately, the input and output jacks and the power plug were placed on top. The 1484 Twin Twelve was delivered to me in a nice velvet bag, in a cardboard box with the serial number on it (I have a #24 pedal).
Preamp? serverdrive? Strengthen? equalizer?
The controls on the pedal (volume, bass, treble and gain) are nearly identical to those on the original amp. Jackson Audio has added master gain and volume control, with only one speaker included. Potentiometers exert good resistance which allows for precision handling, which is very interesting. The pedal weight is reassuring despite being a bit hefty (we get close to 900g) and the chassis inspires stiffness and durability. The foot switch chosen by Jackson Audio is a “soft click” that generates virtually no processing noise. This is the True Bypass key.
The brand describes the pedal as preamp, overdrive, boost, and EQ, depending on the value of the settings. I have tried the 1484 Twin Twelve in all cases and have not been disappointed. Aficionado from the original 1484 and owner of JHS Twin Twelve, I know this sound very well and I can say Brad Jackson and Silvertone hit it hard with the Twin Twelve. By using it as a speed multiplier, the pedal completely transforms the sound of the amplifier you’re playing on. The sound changes color completely and we are right into the very old area of the 1484 Twin Twelve. The volume control not only works on the listening volume, but also adds a different saturation than that of the gain control. It is very gentle and can give a lot of body and depth to brushing and removing sounds. Gain control transmission is very progressive and goes from clean sound with very vintage color at its lowest position to near-sheer fuzz saturation at its highest position. The EQ is extremely responsive, especially on the treble side. We hear very clearly that we adjust the saturation rate of the high frequencies, and the result is always superior music. The bass setting is a little timid, but still very effective.
When you use the pedal as a boost, by setting the gain setting to zero, you benefit from a wide range of colors thanks to equalization and a very gradual volume control stroke. You can satiate another pedal or subwoofer, always with nice music. If you use the pedal as a subwoofer, you can enjoy an excellent pedaling platform, which is very nice. Personally, I set the Twin Twelve as a slightly crunchy subwoofer which I then boosted with some fluff and fluff. For anyone looking to make a Jack White inspired pedalboard, simply place a Twin Twelve at the end of the string followed by a power amplifier and cabinet simulator (like the Two Notes CAB M or our pole-tested TC Electronic IMPULSE) and you’re done! Even if it’s a brand recommended use, Twin Twelve doesn’t perform as well as an EQ. Sure, the two slides make it possible to sculpt the sound a bit, but the circuit directly stains it and adds to it a very typical antique diaphragm that won’t work in all cases. To enhance the treble only in a very musical and vintage way, it would do a great job.
SG – Boost – Boosting H&K Spirit of Vintage
- SG – Boost – Boosting H&K Spirit of Vintage01:20
- Broadcaster – Boost – Enhance the H&K spirit of vintage01:30
Amp, more practical
From the first chord I sounded with the 1484 Twin Twelve, I was really struck by the pedal qualities. This is the first time I’ve heard a pedal sound like a subwoofer so realistically. During testing, although I adjusted the potentiometers in all directions, I didn’t get a single bad sound. The pedal interacts well with different types of pickup trucks, from old singles from my Contact to PAFs biting into my SG. It has a very typical feel, but at the same time it is completely transparent, meaning that you instantly recognize an electric guitar. Pedalboard counterparts get along well with it, be it fluff, chorus, boost or overdrive.
SG – Overdrive – Volume & Gain Midi, EQ Tweak
- SG – Overdrive – Volume & Gain Midi, EQ Tweak02:23
- SG – Overdrive, Gain tweak03:36
- SG – Overdrive, disk size01:43
- Telecaster – Overdrive, Midi Volume & Gain, EQ Tweak02:33
- Telecaster – Overdrive – Earn Disk01:57
- Announcer – Overdrive – Disk Sizequarter to two
Being able to give a very precise dose of saturation, with volume and gain settings, is very unusual and fun. We find the same concept in “amp-in-a-box” pedals (JHS Charlie Brown reacts the same way) generally, but not systematically. In addition, the sound developed by the 1484 Twin Twelve with increased volume and gain is exactly the same as that produced by a loudspeaker with increased volume. We get the impression that every hit of the pliers on the strings is a serious blow to the amplifier, we feel a very squishy side in the attack, the character is on the original amp. With a gain of half and volume at two-thirds, you get a very nice crunch that you then just have to embellish with a fluff and an octave, and presto: you instantly think you’re Jack White!
SG – Overdrive, EP Booster
- SG – Overdrive, EP Booster00:58
- SG – Preamp – Crunchy 1484 + FUZZ FACE02:23
- Telecaster – Overdrive – EP Booster01:03
- Telecaster – Preamp – Crunchy 1484 with FUZZ FACE02:42
The final twelfth twin
Jackson Audio/Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve was a hit. We feel in all respects that this is a long term project where every little detail has been processed, seen, reviewed and corrected. The feel and response to play is identical to that of playing the original Silvertone 1484. The sound is also very close to the original, if not completely identical. However, the pedal offers the advantage of only costing a fraction of the amp’s price, weighing only a fraction of the amp’s weight (and the cabinet!) and above all being able to play at a reasonable size. It must be remembered that in order to saturate the subwoofer, we must approach a completely unusable volume in the apartment. Twin Twelve offers plenty of versatility for a “simple” accelerator pedal. Only its €295 price tag can make people shiver, although it must be kept in mind. Both brands indicate a versatile and near-perfect pedal in all respects. Encourage !
#Jackson #Silvertone #Twin #Twelve #Acoustic #Pedal #Review