"A big part of this little amp’s sonic beauty came from the way it achieved a gentle compression amid clean tones, which became more toothsome and touch sensitive as it segued through crunch and into full-on lead voices—all without a hint of harshness at the onset of distortion, yielding an extremely dynamic interaction between player and amp." - Dave Hunter, Guitar Player Magazine, Jan 2016
The Monarch is the flagship Benson Amp. It features a unique British-American switch, simple yet highly versatile controls, and perfect range of power to be used both cleanly and pushed on the stage and studio without wearing out its welcome.
The circuit design is 100% original, or actually maybe just a combination of 30 different amps plus a few original ideas. Either way, the resulting amplifier could be, and often is, the end of your search for perfect guitar tone.
The Monarch was designed to make you consider ditching your drive pedals (though it takes pedals like a winner). It was designed to have harmonics when clean, and clarity when it’s pushed. It is designed to transition from clean to compressed to distortion with a complete lack of harsh harmonics or weird resonances. The speaker cabinet is open backed and pine to project sound in all directions like an acoustic guitar - a true tone wood that lends its own musicality to the guitar's sound. The build and finish quality is second to none.
You might wonder what the Monarch is based on, which 60s/70s amplifier was cloned or tweaked during the design process? It's a fair question...most builders do this, and that is fine. But Benson did something new, so there isn't a simple answer. However, it IS possible to tell you where the Monarch falls in terms of sound and feel compared to existing amplifiers.
The Monarch was designed to fulfill the needs of players who:
- enjoy a Tweed Deluxe but find it could be lacking in punch and versatility
- enjoy a Top Boost AC15 or 30 but find the upper frequencies a little quacky and grating
- enjoy a Supro Thunderbolt but want more clarity and better harmonics
- think some boutique amps they have tried are too bright and/or lacking a certain something - what is it called - tone that satisfies
- Guitar Player Magazine Editors Pick January 2016
- Gear Collector Best of NAMM Jan 2016
- Premier Guitar Premier Gear December 2015
- Larry Crane's Best of NAMM Jan 2015
- 2 x JJ 6V6 power tubes, 2 x JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes, customizable rectifier
- 13-18 watts (depending on rectifier)
- Speaker outputs: 1 x 8 ohm, 1 x 16 ohm
- Point to point construction on terminal strips, no circuit, eyelet or turret board
- Mercury Magnetics transformers
- Carbon Comp resistors
- Mallory 150M tone capacitors
- DC filments for low noise
- Dovetailed pine speaker cabinets
- Baltic birch head cabinets
- Head 13.5” W 8” H 8.25” D, 16 lbs
- 1x12 Cabinet 17” W 18.5” H 10” D, 20-23 lbs
- Reverb Combo 18.5” W 17” H 10” D, 25-27 lbs
- premium finish, heads, Nathan Junior, Tall Bird,Vinny, Vinny Cabinet (Night Moves, Aunt Gertie, Bourbon Burst, Tweed): +$100
- premium finish, Earhart, Monarch, Vincent cabinets, Chimera cabinets (Night Moves, Aunt Gertie, Bourbon Burst, Tweed): +$200