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Open Box VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head  

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Building on the success of the popular VHT Special 6 and Special 6 Ultra, the VHT Special 12/20 features increased power (with two power ranges), a unique preamp specifically designed to excel with pe... Click To Read More About This Product

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Building on the success of the popular VHT Special 6 and Special 6 Ultra, the VHT Special 12/20 features increased power (with two power ranges), a unique preamp specifically designed to excel with pedals and multi-effects units, a convenient built-in 9-volt DC pedal power supply, an all-tube buffered effects loop with send and return level controls, VHT's unique Depth and Texture controls, and variable Watts control.

To optimize the amp for a wide range of output tubes, the VHT Special 12/20 offers two output-power ranges; safely located behind the rear panel, a special voltage range switch provides the proper voltages for 6V6 or EL84 output tubes (in 12-watt low-voltage/low-power mode). The high voltage 20-watt setting provides the ideal voltages for higher-power 6L6 or EL34 output tubes. The Special 12/20 ships from the factory with a pair of 6V6 output tubes (VHT 6V6-to-EL84 socket adapters are required for operation with EL84 tubes). In addition, the Special 12/20's variable Watts control can reduce the maximum output power to less than one watt for whisper-quiet volume levels.

The Special 12/20 preamp was designed to bring the most out of every effects pedal and multi-effects unit with enhanced clarity, detail, and controlled tube compression. Its low-impedance buffered effects loop send - with variable send level - can effortlessly drive the most difficult pedals without tone or signal loss. Thanks to its variable send and return level controls, the 12/20's effects loop can accommodate a wide range of pedal or rack effects. Those seeking the shortest signal path to the output stage can plug their pedals or multi-effects units directly into to effects return jack - the 12/20's unique output stage Depth and Texture controls are post-effects loop, so the output stage characteristics can always be fine-tuned to accommodate a wide range of instruments, speakers, playing styles and environments.

As an added convenience for pedal users, the VHT Special 12/20 also features a built-in, regulated 9-volt DC pedal power supply.

  • Switchable 12/20 Watts Max Output
  • Variable Watts Control
  • 9-Volt DC Pedal Power Supply
  • Tube Driven Effects Loop
  • Effects Send and Return Level Controls
  • Depth Control and Texture Switch
  • Push/Pull Boost - Footswitch Included
  • Two 6V6 & Three 12AX7 Tubes
  • International Voltage Switch

Pro Coverage gives you added warranty protection for your new gear. Stepping in where the manufacturer's "normal wear and tear" coverage ends, our Pro Coverage program offers you upgraded coverage if your product ever fails Read More.

Pro Coverage includes
  • Accidental damage protection (new gear only)
  • Expedited repair
  • Free shipping (for returns or repairs)
  • 100% coverage for commercial use
  • Extended return period
  • Extended price protection
  • No lemon guarantee
  • Free transfer of coverage to a new owner
  • Repair costs covered for up to three years from date of purchase
  • Repair authorization-toll-free by phone or via the web
  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
VHTSpecial 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 7 customers

Displaying reviews 1-7

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Couldn't be happier

By Jake

from Pittsburgh, PA

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer


  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Portable
  • Powerful


    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    I am extremely pleased with this amp. Great clean tone, takes pedals very well. Yeah it could have a reverb but that's nothing that a pedal can't solve.

    I use this with my band. It's loud enough for rehearsal's and plenty loud when mic'd on stage.

    I'm still using the stock 6v6's I can't wait to experiment with some 6l6's and el84's. The idea of just switching out power tubes with no biasing is amazing.

    Very portable, easy to dial in your tone.

    Definitely would recommend this amp.

    (1 of 10 customers found this review helpful)


    Reserve the Right To Revise - Initial Impressions

    By CharlotteGuitar

    from NC

    About Me Experienced


    • Great Clean Headroom


    • Poor Build Quality

    Best Uses

    • Door Stop

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    We'll See...


    Great amp period.

    By JadartJammer

    from Los Angeles, CA

    About Me Professional Musician


    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Good Warmth
    • Portable
    • Powerful


    • Limited Functions

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    This is a truly great amp for the money. I have a Mesa F50 and a Kustom Coupe head. And this is well or if not better built and put together, although made overseas. Sounds great clean and has a nice overdrive sound that will remind you of a Fender amp but much warmer in the distortion area. The effect and return actually effect the overdrive and putting both full on gets you a nice warm full blown distortion sound. I use the provided 9volt effect cable to power and loop in my reverb effect. Great amp head when matched with nice cab.

    (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


    Couln't be happier...

    By Ken Smith

    from Florida

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    If your a pedal or processor junkie- this is the ONLY head for you. Having adjustable send/return levels on the effects loop makes a significant differnce in my processor sounds. I haven't even begun to think about the possibilities when I someday experiment with the tube change and boost to the 20 watt stage- I'm sure it will be great but I think I'll have a pretty long honeymoon with it just as is. If I could change anything about the amp- it would be the length of the cord that is supplied to use the 9V power supply. It's only about a foot so you can't run it to a floor processor (unless the head is also on the floor!) No biggie, I'll have a longer cord made for it.
    Read all about'em. PACKED with really great, very useful features- many of which you don't find on other heads until you spend 2-3 times the money. The only features I really couldn't judge until I got it was the DEPTH (low-end frequency roll-off) and the little toggle swith that controls high-end freq roll-off. Turns out they are very subtle but designed to enhance the singular TONE control. What you do is use the TONE control to balance the bass/treb, and then adjust the low/high freq roll-off to taste. Pretty much the same idea as BASS:MIDDLE:TREB controls on most amps. Personally, I like this arragement a lot better.
    Can't speak for the long haul, but it's certainly not a flimsy piece.
    I already had plans to pick-up a Blackstar head when I came across this new VHT head. Compelled by the impressive features and attractive price, I took a chance and couldn't be happier. $500 VERY well spent.

    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)


    Special 12/20

    By Kevin Richtig

    from Midwest

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    This amp and matching cab is as versatile as advertised. With a set list varying from George jones to van halen and kid rock, I was able to ditch my overdrive pedal and go with just an eq for more grind. Amp is super responsive to pick attack and volume knob adjustments and the tone is very usable. My bandmates had nothing but good to say after one long rehearsal and one full gig, so for the money I definitely picked a winner. If you run pedals or need a dynamic tube amp this is your beast. It sounded very good with the included Chinese 12ax7 preamP tubes and 6v6 power tubes but a switch to Russian sovteks and Russian el34 power tubes really brought it alive. I'm anxious to hear more tubes... A definite winner of an amp.

    (8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


    VHT 12/20 Special Head

    By MB Heller

    from Round Lake, IL

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    Overall my situation is unique perhaps... it just didn't work for my situation but it's a solid value.
    It's an interesting amp head with some unique features. It takes pedals really well and if you love to drag a pedal board around this is a great amp. I'm in my 60's and I'm reducing weight of my gigging setup and that means heads and cabs rather than combos to split the weight, no pedal boards, lighter PA equipment, etc.. This was not to my liking without a lot of pedals... but if you have a lot of pedals or a multifunction pedal this thing can sing.
    Build quality seemed good. Again, the tone was lacking without pedals. I played a VHT Pitbull 45 about 5 yrs ago and this sounded nothing like that without the pedals.
    All in all it's a great value. If I was 20 years younger or not gigging it would be a totally different story and a great addition to my collection.

    (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    Very Nice but not perfect!

    By Carl Bennett

    from Orange Park, FL

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Amp Head:

    While not perfect, it won't take much to make it great! I have been using this amp head for about 3 weeks now, 2 of those nights I was able to use it in a studio setting. I am using an existing 1 X12 close back cabinet vise the VHT chrome backs speakers. A 2 X 12 cabinet will eventually be set up for this head. As I have with several less expensive amps, I immediately ordered new tubes expecting less than quality tubes would be installed, it arrived as expected. I will also try 6L6 vise the 6V6 tubes to get a bit more clean head room. Nice feature with the selectable power settings for the tubes. The Chinese tubes were very lifeless and noisy! Even with the Chinese tubes, this amp sounds good, great after the good tubes were installed. The dynamics are clear and clean with my PRS CU24 and boutique pedals. I have been pleasantly surprised with the single tone selector, found it simple and effective. I run a clean amp and allow the pedals to go dirty so I am going directly to the input vise FX loop so I leave the gain knobs for the FX Loop at max setting, but have found them also handy for an additional volume control over the amp. There is a difference in tone with limiting the send/return gain levels. Not hearing a lot of differences in the texture switch but there are nice subtle changes with the depth knob. The gain boost option is more aggressive than I expected, I hoped it would have been more of a clean boost. I hope that can be adjusted with some later mods. The adjustable wattage selectors is a nice feature but have found it not that useful at this time. Being a hand wired amp (no circuit board), I am anxious to try modification and upgrades over the next couple of months. Looking at the solder joints, they don?t look the best I have seen, but so far no problems.

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