Divided By 13 RSA31 by LobCity
Divided by 13 RSA 31
I am running this amp head into a Divided by 13 2x12 fixed baffle cabinet with Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. This is the cabinet and speakers included with the amp, and are the builder's recommended setup.
The amp is impressive looking, and at a glance is a clear tier above competitors like Matchless in build quality. The overall vibe is a cool combination of Marshall Plexi, Fender Blackface, and Vox.
The amp has a 4 EL84 output section, GZ34 tube power section, and two separate preamps - 1 is a dual 12ax7 config and the other is powered by a single NOS RCA 5789 pentode preamp tube.
This amp has simple controls. The sound of the amp changes greatly from room to room. I've recorded in a world-class studio with this amp and it sounded fabulous and was very easy to get a great sound most of the time.
The overdriven sound can be the best overdriven sound imaginable at times, but it can be difficult to absolutely perfect it. The sounds you get sound huge, powerful, and very rich.
It is a very uncompressed clean sound with not much sag. I have used a compressor with the amp, and it did sound good.
This amp has no fx loop. I run my analogman delay into the input. This is part of the charm of the amp, and it is designed for a very pure, rich tone, which it provides well. This amp has much more bass than an AC30 or Matchless, and this contributes to the massive sounding overdriven sound.
By far, this is the best amp I have ever heard, and everybody loves this amp, especially engineers and producers. The amp is at its absolute best in a great sounding recording studio, in a room which allows you to really push the speakers. In an acoustically treated environment without much volume restriction, it's kind of an all-in-one overdrive machine. The amp will never sound less than very, very good.
I also use a Variac purchased from Fred at Divided by 13 to pull the volume down. This is a completely safe method according to him, and most of his clients use these. Due to his circuits, even at lower voltage the amp retains a full bodied proper tube amp sound.
Sound clips online do not sound like my RSA31. Some sound ok, but overall the amp sounds much different and much better than those clips.
If I do sell the amp ever, it would be out of sheer curiosity, and probably for some multichannel complicated thing. This amp really makes other single-channel / class A / boutique types look rather silly.
Contrary to what some may say, Fred is actually extremely helpful, friendly, and is an amazing resource of information. He let me visit his him at his shop and sold me an original Variac for next to nothing to help control my amp's volume, and it really does work. Based on my interactions with him, I would look at another Divided by 13 first when I buy more amps in the future. They're that good, and Fred is that good. He's very cool, quite modest, and I can tell he really enjoys the role of amp builder.