The KSR Ares is a single channel, 50W, dual master volume, multi-mode guitar amplifier.
Don't let the looks of the Ares™ fool you. Many years of experience and knowledge have allowed KSR to pack their signature high-gain lead channel along with an all-new crunch channel into a deceptively small package. Ares™ is a real ‘meat and potatoes’ amp and as such there is no MIDI advanced control built-in. However, there are some cool features borrowed from the Orthos™, including assignable Crunch/Fat/Voice/Bright functions for each Master Volume as well as dual Gain and Master controls.
A transparent, yet fully bypassable, effects loop seamlessly couples the preamp to the power section. The Loop bypass and Master 1/2 selection are available both on the front panel of the amp, and on the floor via the included custom 2-button foot switch.
The Ares™ sounds deceivingly massive by utilizing a pair of 6L6 power tubes along with custom oversized transformers for a rated output power of 50W, minimum. Via a simple bias procedure using the include external test points and bias control, the power section is capable of running most octal power tubes. In short, this amp is a blast to play!
While the Ares™ amplifier consists of one channel in the traditional sense, there are a ton of tonal options at your disposal. Each Master Volume has an independent Gain, Volume, and row of tweaking switches with a shared 3-band EQ. In addition, the Master 1 section includes a Crunch switch, allowing you to setup a Crunch channel rhythm on Master 1, and a Lead channel on Master 2.
The Ares™ Lead channel is based on KSR's signature high-gain sound found in all their amps. This aims to give you one of the most unique, round, warm, tight, yet extremely usable and cutting high gain tones available. The Lead 1 and Lead 2 voicings from the Colossus are both available via the Voice switch. Lead 1 has a nice solid and tight mid voicing that is great for rhythms and leads alike. Lead 2 has a lower mid-point and is favored by most for smooth, singing leads. Further, the Fat and Thick tweaks from the Colossus are both available via a 3-position Fat switch on the Ares™ (up = Fat, down = Thick, center = Tight).
The Lead channel sound is technically fixed to Colossus Mode On (Gemini/Artemis Mode Blue). This is one of KSR's most popular high-gain tones, and it made sense to build this compact amp around it. This sound is great for metal and rock alike via its 4 gain stages. However, KSR also designed an all-new 3 gain stage Crunch mode that is available on Master 1. The Crunch setting delivers some fantastic classic to modern-classic tones.
Included are Fat, Voice, and Bright switches for each Master allowing you to adjust attack and feel for rhythm and solo tones. Whichever Master is active determines which set of switches is used to activate the Bright and Voice functions. The top row is Master 1, the bottom row is Master 2. Also available on Master 1 is the Crunch mode switch.
The Ares™ features the same proven transparent and wonderfully performing effects loop as KSR's other amps. The loop circuit is true-bypassable via the front panel and foot switch. In addition, the loop has independent Send and Return Level controls for maximum flexibility.
Dual master volumes allow for two overall performance levels to be set and recalled by the user. One player may prefer to set the second level as a solo-boost, others may prefer to use it as a volume cut. In addition, the current Master also selects the active row of assignment switches. Master 1 selects the top row of switches, Master 2 selects the bottom row. This is a major feature unique to this amp, and the basis for its flexible simplicity.
The master section also includes KSR's typical power amp response controls, Top and Bottom. The Top control affects the response of the power section to treble frequencies, whereas the Bottom control affects the bass frequencies. These controls are great for dialing in the amp's response to different speaker cabinets. They also allow the player to optimize the amp for different master levels. It's especially useful for adding awesome bottom and clarity end at low volumes.
The power section consists of a pair of JJ 6L6GC tubes, standard. However, just about any octal power tube can be installed — EL34, KT77, KT88, 6550, etc. Each tube is individually fused in order to protect the amplifier in the event of a tube failure. A Fault LED lights to indicate a fuse has blown and the tube is no longer functioning.
A custom wound USA made output transformer is a top performer and one of the highlights of this amplifier. Parallel speaker outputs allow one to easily drive two cabinets with a total impedance of 4/8/16 ohms.
Another unique feature of this amplifier is its universal power input. This allows easy use by any player around the world and eliminates the need for power converters or transformer swaps for shipment to any international country.
Either a lit acrylic, metal lit, or standard solid logo is available on the face plate of the amplifier. The lit logo is capable of displaying any color for (4) different scenes comprised of Master 1 or 2, and Effects Loop On or Bypassed. This is all programmable via a DIP switch system on the back of the amp.
A matching custom 2-button foot switch is included. This allows for switching of the Effects Loop and Master. The foot switch defeats the front panel toggle switches when it's plugged in.
- Channel configuration: Lead and optional Crunch on Master 1
- EQ: single 3 band EQ — Bass, Middle, Treble
- Fat switches: Lead Fat/Tight/Thick (3 position) — for Master 1 and 2
- Voice switches: Lead 1 (down) Lead 2 (up) — for Master 1/2
- Bright switches: Lead (on/off) — for Master 1/2
- Lead channel controls: Gain 1, Gain 2, Bass, Middle, Treble, and Level knobs; Crunch Fat, Voice, Bright, and Crunch (Master 1 only) switches
- Master controls: Master Volume 1, Master Volume 2, Top, and Bottom knobs; Loop Bypass and Master Volume Select switches
- Foot switch: custom 2 button with Loop On/Bypass and Master 1/2 select
- Bias test points: measure with any DMM capable of DC millivolts, 1 mV = 1 mA of plate current, assume 460 plate volts
- Bias adjustment pot location: on top of chassis, guaranteed to bias properly with most tubes
- Output power: at least 50W with minimal harmonic distortion
- Output impedance: switchable between 4, 8, or 16 ohms into parallel jacks
- Compliance: designed to comply with CE, UL, CSA, TUV, FCC, and RoHS standards
- Head shell dimensions: 18.75" L x 11" W x 8.75" H (excluding handle and feet)
- Weight: 30 lbs
- Shipping dimensions: 24" L x 16" W x 16" H
- Shipping weight: 36 lbs
Price: $1,850.00 – $2,100.00 (depending on configuration)