AF’s Weblog

June 9, 2009

Bogner Alchemist Amplifier: The Test

Filed under: Amps — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 6:41 am

Even from childhood, in his native Germany, Reinhold Bogner was already skillfully wielding his soldering iron to create his own guitar amplifiers. After he moved to Los Angeles, his models and amp modifications began to attract famous names from the six-string world including Steve Vai, Steve Stevens, and Eddie Van Halen. So when it was announced that he was putting out an amp made in Line6’s factories that would cost less than $1500, it made a big noise.

This new model, called the Alchemist, a handsome-looking 40W tube-amp, is exactly what we’ll be testing. It comes in three models: two combos: the first equipped with a 12-inch loudspeaker and the second with two different 12-inch speakers; and an amp head + 2×12 cabinet. This review is about the 2×12 combo model.

It’s pretty bulky, (two 12-inch speakers take up a bit of space!) heavy (80 lbs), and has a very nice neo-vintage look to it. Everything looks solid and ready to take a beating. Even though it’s manufactured in Line6’s shops, it’s still a Bogner! Other more expensive models of the brand therefore become “Custom Shop” class. As for looks and finish, the grid, the logo, knobs and small diodes all look well made and give the amp a respectable look. Everything about the amp exudes the quality of the brand.

But let’s see if the Alchemist can really transform lead into gold …

Bogner set out to make an accessible amp and it seems he’s succeeded. We are in the presence of an amplifier that costs less than $1500 (for the 2×12 model) with two channels with very different personalities and two speakers that considerably expand its sonic palette. Add to that a small neo-vintage look, a clean sound that crunches as it should and a fat distorted tone and you get an amp that’s built to please.

Of course, those who love to complain will say that it weighs a ton, that you’ll need tweezers to tweak the tiny switches, and that it’s impossible to get a modern shred-like distortion tone out of it. They wouldn’t be wrong. But the Alchemist has personality, and that means it probably won’t please everyone … But what guitar amp does?

The pluses:

  • A Bogner for less than $1500!
  • Manufacturing Quality
  • Good clean/crunch sounds
  • Two different speakers
  • A wide range of tone possibilities
  • The choice of 40 or 20 watts
  • The look
  • Quality of the reverb and delay


  • Not easy to carry: heavy and bulky
  • Switches: small and not easy to get to
  • Distortion sounds that won’t appeal to everyone!

To read the full detailed article with inside photos and exclusive sound samples see:  Bogner Alchemist Review


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