Polytone Mini Brute III
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Polytone Mini Brute III

Mini Brute III, Solid-State Combo Guitar Amp from Polytone.

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content in English
drbob1 24/04/2012

Polytone Mini Brute III : la opinión de drbob1 (content in English)

"Useful amplifier, strange choices"
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This is a solid state amplifier primarily designed for jazz guitar and bass. It has high and low volume inputs, an overall volume knob, dual tone controls (treble and bass) for the low volume input and an overall tone control for the high volume input. There's no manual available for this, and the control panels vary considerably from what I've seen on pictures so this has been arrived at by trial and error. There's an output for a satellite speaker on the back.

Power output is rated at 110 watts in the literature. It's probably accurate but the speaker is not super efficient so it's not as loud as some 100w amps I've used (like a Twin Reverb or Jazz Chorus). The weight, for an old school SS amp is really nice, about 28# IIRC. I'm tempted to drop in a lighter and more efficient neodynium speaker to see what that would do.

I got it with a Polytone extension cabinet, which is a strange little beast. It's also rated at 100w, and includes dual cooling fans. It requires a speaker level input! So, I guess what it's doing is padding down the overall output of the amp for a more accurate representation of that sound (instead of a line out). It works as a "biggener" for small amps, I ran a 5w amp's speaker output into it and got something more along the lines of 50w worth of sound out, so that's pretty cool. Again, no manual so I'm guessing about how things work.

UTILIZATION

For a basic guitar, bass or electric piano sound, it's perfect right out of the box. Which is good because tone shaping isn't well implemented. It gets a bit buzzy with lots of bass and the volume cranked, but backing down or using the low input solves that.

I'd hoped the extension cab would allow me to use my Roland CE1 in stereo, and replace my Jazz Chorus, but, since the output is speaker level and it require speaker level input to the satellite, it won't work (unless I ran the chorus into another amp to give the input sufficient voltage? nah, too much trouble).

Again, no manual, no online PDF and no help from online searches.

SOUNDS

Initially I tried it with a solid body guitar, humbucker pickups, straight in. Great sound, Joe Pass apparently consulted on these and it shows. Trying to match the Jazz Chorus I had next to it, I wasn't getting as bright on high notes or when I switched to a single coil, but the JC has those aluminum dome speakers that are downright cutting if you want it. I dropped a distortion pedal in front of it and it sounded MUCH better than the JC which gets strident when handed distortion. This sounded like a decent tube guitar amp. I could see using this as my one amp.

OVERALL OPINION

I wish the controls made more sense. I wish there was a manual for this and especially for the extension cabinet. But overall, for what I paid it's a very good example of solid state sound, especially for smooth, clean tone. These used to be REALLY expensive, $1000+, but with modern Jazz amps being lighter and more flexible the Polytone stuff is in the $200-400 range now, and a bargain at that. The Roland, while more flexible and competent with onboard effects and two channels, is rarely seen for less than $500 used.