Custom Audio Electronics 3+
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3+, Tube Guitar Preamp from Custom Audio Electronics.

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content in English
James... 10/08/2011

Custom Audio Electronics 3+ : Recensione di James... (content in English)

"Fender cleans and marshall leads"
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3 channel all tube preamp. EQ and volume/gain for each. Bright switch too. Not terribly complex. Some units like this have tones of voicing switches and what not. I look at this unit as being Suhr's take on the old Bogner Fish Preamp. In fact I think the CAE is a much simpler concept. Not as convoluted in sounds. Basically the clean channel is a blackface clone. Fair enough. The crunch and lead channels are supposedly taken from the CAE heads which are some flavor of hotrodded marshall.

UTILIZATION

This thing is probably the easiest preamp in the world to dial in. Seriously. There's no trickery here. It's not like a Mesa where you need to read the 200 page manual to learn the secrets of dialing. The knobs all do exactly what they're supposed to, which IMO is how it should be.

SOUNDS

I've used it with multiple preamps. Mesa Coliseum, Peavey 50/50, VHT 2/50/2....whatever. Cabs have been 2x12 and 4x12. This is really a live rig preamp. Not exactly intended for studio use although feel free to let me know if that works for you. The clean channel is indeed spot on for blackface fender tones. Unfortunately I'm not a blackface guy. For those interested, I found this channel works best with 6L6 power amps, although it sounds fine with other ones as long as you aren't obsessed with getting fendery tones. I wish this channel came in a Vox option but alas...

The crunch channel is like a modern voiced plexi. Very juicy and balanced tone with good sustain. That's what I like about the preamp is how balanced the tone is. It has just enough mids to get heard without being ice picky like some Marshalls can get.

The lead channel can get very very distorted. Basically to the point of heavy metal. It sounds to my ears like a dual rectifier gain stage and a marshall EQ. Glorious high gain tones here. Stick it with an EL34 power amp and get ready to receive kids.

OVERALL OPINION

I can't say I ever use the clean channel much. I'm just not into the blackface thing which is unfortunately because Suhr nailed it. The crunch and lead are by far my favorite 2 preamp channels of all time...seriously. I've tried tons but these 2 have the modern marshall tones I desire. They are soooo good. Worth the price just for those 2 really.