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VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp  

Item #: 
1321473135999
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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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Overview

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.

Features
  • 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
  • One 12" 60-Watt ChromeBack Speaker
  • International Voltage Switch
Warranty
MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY
One year parts and labor warranty.


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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
VHTSpecial 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp
 
3.6

(based on 11 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

71%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to use (4)
  • Excellent sound (4)
  • Portable (4)
  • Warm / comfy (4)
  • Good power output (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Home studio (5)
  • Performances (4)
  • Professional recording (4)
  • Outdoor events / games (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (5), Professional musician (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Fantastic tone and quality

I've had this amp for about a year now and still love it. I bought a Special 6 a couple years back and was so impressed with it that when I needed a bigger...Read complete review

I've had this amp for about a year now and still love it. I bought a Special 6 a couple years back and was so impressed with it that when I needed a bigger amp for gigs, I chose the Special 12/20.

I mainly play funk, soul, Motown, and blues. My main guitars are a Tele and Strat (or Strat equivalent) I also play clean most of the time. This amp just kills it for that punchy clean funk sound and with a boost pedal or overdrive pedal pushing the preamp into overdrive, the sound is that classic, rich, musical tube amp overdrive sound. This has a good punch that really cuts through the mix live and I've received numerous compliments on my tone (especially with the Telecaster) when playing live.

This amp is very loud and has plenty of clean headroom if that's what you're looking for. In fact, whether practicing or playing live, I use the low power setting and it keeps up fine. I use the 'Watts' setting as my 'headroom' threshold and then adjust the volume for the loudness. In this manner, you can basically use the Watts setting like a master volume.

The effects loop is great and allows me to run reverb, delay, and tremolo through it and not overdrive them on the main input. The 9v power supply is an absolute stroke of genius and I don't know why it doesn't come on every amp. The tone control offers a very wide sweep so you should be able to find something that works for you. The effect of the Depth and Texture controls are more subtle but they do work. Quality and construction is excellent.

I've been using mine bone stock with the stock tubes for over a year and had no issues. bought another set of tubes to put in it but haven't yet because the stock ones sound good to my ears.

My only gripes are that mine had a scratchy volume pot out of the box which required some pot cleaner to fix and the volume change when switching to the 'boost' setting is way too loud to be useful for what I'm doing. The tone on the boost setting is also quite a bit different...not bad, just different. The only way it's usable for me is to click it with the footswitch and then back the guitar volume down until the level is reasonable. I tend to just use a line booster at the end of my input chain to get the same effect. There is a mod that can be done to tame the volume change on the boost setting but I haven't tried it yet.

By the way, VHT support is awesome. I emailed them a couple of times with various questions about the amp and they answered right away with really detailed answers. They seem like a great company to me. I liked this amp and my Special 6 so much that I bought another Special 6 to have at my band's practice space. I can't say enough good things about these amps or this company.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

What a complete disappointment

What a complete disappointment, it's hard to imagine a Point to Point Amp sounding this bad but the VHT special 12/20 does. Out of the box this amp is just the worst!...Read complete review

What a complete disappointment, it's hard to imagine a Point to Point Amp sounding this bad but the VHT special 12/20 does. Out of the box this amp is just the worst! In all the years I've spent as a player I've always broken in speakers buy playing. The tone and overall Timbrel of this amp is so bad I had to play guitar tracks from the CD I'm working on re-amped through the VHT special 12/20 to break the speaker in. It's that bad, I couldn't be in the same room with this amp or I would have jumped out the window from sheer pain. This amp is not worth the street value nor does it sound nearly as cool as the Special 6 and Special 6 ultra. I purchased this amp based on those othwe models ( I own a Special 6 ultra), they are so different the only thing similar is they're both painted black. I've done everything you can do with an amp with the exception of basing it because this is an auto bias amp. It's been fitted with JJ's all all variates including the EL84's (with the VHT bridge adapter) and both a Vintage 30 and a G12-80 Classic Lead. Finally, it's starting to sound about as decent as a Hot Rod De-ville that's in serious need of work. It's not a good sounding amp period. It's brittle and tinny like a kite string through two soup cans. I'll be at winter NAMM in 2 weeks and will play some of them there, but I can't imagine one off the assembly line sounding anything better then the horrid sounds that come out of this piece of junk. Do yourself a favor, buy an old AM radio and play your guitar through it. You'll get the same tone for the price it's worth AVOID THIS AMP AT ALL COST!

Reviewed by 11 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(1 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Awesome if you like unreliable amps

By Jim

from San Jose

About Me Professional Musician

Pros

  • decent sound

Cons

  • Fragile
  • Unreliable

Best Uses

  • scrap metal

Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

Garbage

(0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Disappointed

By wball30

from Fargo, ND

About Me Experienced

Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

This is the first time I've ever wrote an online review and it's provoked out of disappointment. I spent hours looking for a smaller watt tube amp to replace my Hot Rod Deville at smaller shows. A local music shop owner had one and loved it so I turned to MF to read reviews and find out more about the VHT brand. I bit the bullet and bought the special 12/20 knowing it would handle my pedal board well and give me plenty of tonal options.
The first thing I noticed was an unusually loud hiss when the volume and watt knobs were cranked. I know this is common for tube amp but the more I messed around with settings like watts and tone the hissing would change frequencies.
The second problem was a crackling sound coming from amp. I figured it was a bad instrument cable. After trying 4 different cables I knew it was the amp. I presume it was a faulty speaker. Playing certain notes often made the crackling noise worse.
I just got off the phone with MF and will be sending it back today. This amp probably would have been okay if I got a good one. The tone was good and it handled my pedalboard well. However it never left my house and onto the stage bc of the problems. It's plenty loud. Almost louder than anything I would need since we mic everything when my band plays. I might think about taking a shot at the Special 6 otherwise go back to gut and grab the Blues Jr.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Incredible Value, Incredible Tone

By Shooter Janes

from Oklahoma City

About Me Experienced

Pros

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

Cons

    Best Uses

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

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

    This is one of the best sounding, most impressive amps I've ever played. There are SO many choices out there when you're looking for a combo amp, but this may be the best overall value in an amp I've ever encountered. First, all of the nice options that VHT included in this are SO well thought out. There are plenty of combo amps that offer a lot of extra features, but most of them come at the expense of quality components and tone. The features on this amp just make SENSE. They make it easier to use, and easier to dial in that TONE.

    Let's talk about tone. I LOVE the sound of a good 6V6 tube cooking along like it's supposed to. This amp has that tone in spades. I replaced the stock 12ax7s with Tung Sol, and replaced the stock 6V6s with some NOS GE tubes. SO NICE. I play it in triode mode with the built-in attenuator and the volume knob both set at 5, and that puts is JUST at the break-up threshold. I use a JHS modded Dynacomp to goose it a little from there, and a few dirt pedals through the effects loop if I need heavier distortion. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. It puts out this warm but crisp, three-dimensional sounding distortion that is so unique, but sounds like you WANT it to.

    Also, GIVE THE STOCK SPEAKER A CHANCE. It takes a while to break it in. LET IT. There are some GREAT speaker options out there that you can experiment with, that you MAY prefer over the stock speaker, but you're going to have to spend a lot of money to do better, and you owe it to yourself to check this thing out. It has a very round but crisp sound. It's well balanced and is mated very well to this amp.

    Overall, the tone leans towards the dark end, but you can brighten it up a little once the speaker breaks in and doesn't sound so harsh, allowing you to crank up the treble with impunity. The JHS Dynacomp I use also does a good job of helping the highs in my tone ring through.

    Overall, I just love this amp. I haven't even gotten into talking about how useful having pentode and triode modes is, about the ability to use ANY tube in it, to switch from 12 to 20 watts, the active effect loop with its own 12ax7 tube, the 9v power output on the back of the amp, PLUS it's handwired, so it's easy to mod or repair. Hands down my favorite amp on the market.

    I've owned (in no particular order) a Vox AC30cc2, a VHT Special 6 (another GEM of an amp), an Egnater Tweaker 15 combo, a Fender Super Champ XD, and a Traynor YCV40, and the only two still around are the Special 12/20 and the Super Champ XD to back it up. Just buy it. You'll love it.

    (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Fantastic tone and quality

    By The Steadys

    from FTC, CO

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Great tone
    • Reliable
    • Well built

    Cons

    • Scratchy Volume Pot

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Small to Medium Gigs

    Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

    I've had this amp for about a year now and still love it. I bought a Special 6 a couple years back and was so impressed with it that when I needed a bigger amp for gigs, I chose the Special 12/20.

    I mainly play funk, soul, Motown, and blues. My main guitars are a Tele and Strat (or Strat equivalent) I also play clean most of the time. This amp just kills it for that punchy clean funk sound and with a boost pedal or overdrive pedal pushing the preamp into overdrive, the sound is that classic, rich, musical tube amp overdrive sound. This has a good punch that really cuts through the mix live and I've received numerous compliments on my tone (especially with the Telecaster) when playing live.

    This amp is very loud and has plenty of clean headroom if that's what you're looking for. In fact, whether practicing or playing live, I use the low power setting and it keeps up fine. I use the 'Watts' setting as my 'headroom' threshold and then adjust the volume for the loudness. In this manner, you can basically use the Watts setting like a master volume.

    The effects loop is great and allows me to run reverb, delay, and tremolo through it and not overdrive them on the main input. The 9v power supply is an absolute stroke of genius and I don't know why it doesn't come on every amp. The tone control offers a very wide sweep so you should be able to find something that works for you. The effect of the Depth and Texture controls are more subtle but they do work. Quality and construction is excellent.

    I've been using mine bone stock with the stock tubes for over a year and had no issues. bought another set of tubes to put in it but haven't yet because the stock ones sound good to my ears.

    My only gripes are that mine had a scratchy volume pot out of the box which required some pot cleaner to fix and the volume change when switching to the 'boost' setting is way too loud to be useful for what I'm doing. The tone on the boost setting is also quite a bit different...not bad, just different. The only way it's usable for me is to click it with the footswitch and then back the guitar volume down until the level is reasonable. I tend to just use a line booster at the end of my input chain to get the same effect. There is a mod that can be done to tame the volume change on the boost setting but I haven't tried it yet.

    By the way, VHT support is awesome. I emailed them a couple of times with various questions about the amp and they answered right away with really detailed answers. They seem like a great company to me. I liked this amp and my Special 6 so much that I bought another Special 6 to have at my band's practice space. I can't say enough good things about these amps or this company.

    (2 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Burned twice by MF

    By deciphryr

    from San Juan, PR

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Features In Paper

    Cons

    • Poor quality

    Best Uses

      Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Poor quality. Strong humming even in standby. MF sent first the wrong AMP then a faulty 12/20. Not happy about carrying two big boxes back to USPS.

      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Most versatile Best Value

      By Eddie George

      from Tampa FL

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

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

      Cons

      • I Want Another One Or Two

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Performances
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

      Best amp versatility and value for the price.
      One amp to find your sound(s). Tube swap, mod components, speaker. It sounds good right out of the box - let the speaker break in for 20 hours !
      One week I used it stock - the next week I swapped power tubes - the third week I swapped pream tubes. NOW power tubes again. Fun for me, when people ask is that the same amp you had last week ?
      Yes, yes it is !
      Brialliant design for many different applications
      Takes pedals great
      It sounds great clean or overdriven

      (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Great Amp, Great Deal!

      By Max D

      from springfield Ill

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful
      • Takes Pedals Well

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        this amp is amazing. this thing has many features that really help you shape whatever tone you want out of it. I've been trying different types of power tubes and there are soo many great tones to choose from. the sound is clear and true. my Strat sounds like a Strat, my SG sounds like a SG. if you play heavy rock you will need an overdrive pedal but, whatever pedal you run through it will sound like the pedal (good or bad). I wanted a good low wattage tube amp and this thing went way beyond what I thought it would be. with el34's in low power mode it's still amazingly loud, with complex harmonics and a wonderful bloom. the vids on you tube don't due this justice at all. I teach guitar and have been playing for over 35 years. best amp I've ever owned. my classic amps stay home now. great deal, great features, tone for days...

        (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        What a complete disappointment

        By Dino Reese

        from Los Angeles

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        What a complete disappointment, it's hard to imagine a Point to Point Amp sounding this bad but the VHT special 12/20 does. Out of the box this amp is just the worst! In all the years I've spent as a player I've always broken in speakers buy playing. The tone and overall Timbrel of this amp is so bad I had to play guitar tracks from the CD I'm working on re-amped through the VHT special 12/20 to break the speaker in. It's that bad, I couldn't be in the same room with this amp or I would have jumped out the window from sheer pain. This amp is not worth the street value nor does it sound nearly as cool as the Special 6 and Special 6 ultra. I purchased this amp based on those othwe models ( I own a Special 6 ultra), they are so different the only thing similar is they're both painted black. I've done everything you can do with an amp with the exception of basing it because this is an auto bias amp. It's been fitted with JJ's all all variates including the EL84's (with the VHT bridge adapter) and both a Vintage 30 and a G12-80 Classic Lead. Finally, it's starting to sound about as decent as a Hot Rod De-ville that's in serious need of work. It's not a good sounding amp period. It's brittle and tinny like a kite string through two soup cans. I'll be at winter NAMM in 2 weeks and will play some of them there, but I can't imagine one off the assembly line sounding anything better then the horrid sounds that come out of this piece of junk. Do yourself a favor, buy an old AM radio and play your guitar through it. You'll get the same tone for the price it's worth AVOID THIS AMP AT ALL COST!

        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        this amp is special

        By mr.Lude

        from grand rapids, michigan

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Great Saturation
        • Love The Boost Feature
        • Nice Warm Tones
        • Portable

        Cons

        • A Lot Hissy Cranked

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Great Live Miked
        • Great Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        a great all around amp!
        really cuts through the mix live.
        nice clean sound, nice saturated sound!
        just a little noisy (hiss) when cranked past half volume and a little dirty (preamp driven past half)

        (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Rich Tone; Solid Build

        By Tim Hayosh

        from Phoenix, AZ

        Comments about VHT Special 12/20 12W/20W 1x12 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp:

        I bought the Special 12/20 without ever hearing it. There are no good reviews I could find on YouTube. But based on the feature set, I decided to take a chance since it had everything I wanted. This is the first 6V6-powered amp I have ever owned. The tone is full and rich. The low end is impressive and not flabby nor undefined. The DEPTH control will adjust the amp at the low-end to account for humbuckers or single coils. I play mostly single coil guitars, but also use one that has HighOrderPickups.com PAF clones. The amp makes the choice of pick-up all the more important as you will hear your instrument with a clarity that most amps cannot reproduce. This amp is unique in my experience in terms of the gain structure and volume. The WATTAGE knob could be thought of as a headroom control. It seems that as you turn the WATTAGE knob down, the power amp section is pushed harder and you begin to hear the 6V6's start to overdrive. It becomes much more important to watch your right hand as it gets very touch-sensitive. From my guitar, the signal goes to a Seymour Duncan Pick-up Booster (which I don't use much anymore), into a Seymour Duncan Doubleback Compressor (used mostly for clean tones). Next, into a Seymour Duncan Classic Overdrive, then a Radial Texas Bones, then to the Special 12/20 input. I only use one distortion box or the other. With both off, I am using the pure sound of the amp for cleans. Whether clean or with overdrive, the amp is punchy, dynamic, and responsive. I have the TONE control set to about 1/2 and the WATTAGE set to about 3/4. I use the VOLUME control to set the overall volume of the amp. I was very surprised at how loud 12 watts can be. However, if you play metal, it won't be enough. Of course, if you're playing metal, you're not reading this. I run a Line 6 Modulation Modeler and Seymour Duncan Deja Vu Delay in the effects loop. The volume of the EFFECTS SEND and RETURN affect the overall volume whether there's anything in the loop or not. It's easy to push too much signal into your pedals, so if things sound strange, adjust the EFFECTS SEND level. I replaced all of the tubes with Groove Tubes, but didn't hear a radical change in tone. It's good to have spares anyway. I may get a set of 6L6's just to hear it at 20 watts. The 6V6's are pushed pretty hard at the volume I play, and it's enough to get over everyone else in the room, but still stay clean when needed. I use in-ear monitoring, so once set-up, I'm not really listening to the VHT speaker directly. I have used the LINE OUT and have put a Hughes and Kettner Red Box in-line with the speaker. The LINE OUT is after the effects loop, but before the power amp section. The Red Box is in-line with the speaker, so it hears the power amp. Both sound good. There is no cabinet voicing on the LINE OUT. It would be good for recording clean parts. Both of these outputs sound good in my in-ear monitors. The amp weighs 43 lbs, and appears to be made from real wood instead of some kind of particle board. It fits behind the driver seat of an extended cab small pick-up. It is a ridiculous amount of tone in such a small, affordable package.

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