testimonials

 

Select a product or service for the review

fathead
Fat Head
(16)
VR30
Vintage Reverb 30 (5)
bufftone
Buff Tone
(1)
signal station pre
Signal Station Preamp
(1)
Repairs (1)
Mods (1)

 

FAT HEAD

Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:12 pm Post subject:
Sherlock Amps at the Frankston Guitar show,... Reply with quote Back to top
Hi guys,
Just made it back from Frankston. Really tired,...
But I had a wonderful opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with Dale at the Sherlock stand and to have an extended play around with his amps. I'm sure he was glad to see the back of me!
My attention was immediately drawn to the Fat Head. Just awesome. I couldn't get over just how flexible this thing was. For reference, I used to own a Mesa Nomad, and I had a Mesa Road Kind sitting at my place for a few months last year. In my opinion, the range of tones possible from the Fat head are actually greater than the Road King, despite the fact that the RK has many more knobs and buttons to twiddle.
For example, the difference in voicing between channels 1 and 2, which share the same EQ is remarkable. Also, the midi switchable 'scoop' switch on the high gain channel (4,... or maybe both 3 and 4) changes the whole vibe of that channel.
I was really impressed with Dale's MIDI switching system. Just about everything on the amp can be switched. He had a 10 footswitch midi board, and the variation switching from preset to preset was staggering. The great thing about this system as well is how easy it was to program. Choose the midi program with the footswitch and set whatever you want. That's it. No store or recall buttons. No scrolling. No alpha-numerical programming with a pair of up-down buttons.
I enjoy my high gain sound, and the Fat head did not disappoint. For huge rhythm chug, channel 4 with the scoop control on and the power amp depth control switched on is incomparable. There's nothing like it,... and like I said, I've used a Roadking at full tilt. Smooth leads were also not a problem. Bring the mids back in and smooth things over by reducing the presence (incidentally, there are 2 presence controls which can be assigned to amy channel you want via MIDI, as well as 2 master volume controls), and there you have it.
But, the big surprise for me was the quality of the clean channel. The best test (IMHO) for the quality of a clean is just how balanced it is. The best way to test this is to hit it with an OD pedal. The Fathead was PERFECT.
Now,...

The real surprise for me was Dale's combo, the vintage 30. You guys know me by now. Knobs and switches all the way! But the vintage 30 with a good bunch of pedals out the front was the most gorgeous tone i heard all weekend (except, of course for Brett Garsed playing the Tube Zone through a THD Wink). Wow wow wow,... it might even be my personal favourite set up, even more so than the fat head. The depth of the cleans was other-worldly. Reverb - perfect. Cranked gets the tube rectifiers going, and man, is that thing gorgeous!

Michael_Ibrahim


Dale at Sherlock amps gave me your name as a reference.
I am looking for a nice heavy metal amp that can do the following:
1) have a nice chime in the clean channel for clean intros, etc.
2) rhythm channel has to be able to achieve tight, bonecrushing distortion and at the same time be articulate.
I would like to see the gain knob at 7 and still be able to go to 10 without over compressing the tubes or mushing out.
this channel also needs to have a powerful bass control to dial in an earth shaking sound when required.
3) Lead channel needs to have a nice creamy, violin like tone with sustain for days and yes be articulate for blazing solos and 16th note triplets.
Any help appreciated. Please also comment on the tube compliments and bias setting features.
Thanks very much.
Michael
United States

Hello Michael,

Sorry I haven't emailed you earlier I've been quite busy over the weekend.
Let me start with a little bit of history between Dale and myself and then I'll get to your questions.
I met Dale a number of years ago when I was desperately trying to find a good reliable 'Tube Power Amp'
after lots of research and with my heart set on a Mesa 50/50 rack unit. I approached Dale after
recommendations from others and having the opportunity to test a Signal Station 50/50 Power Amp by
Sherlock Amplifiers ( http://www.sherlockamps.com/products/body_products.htm#5050 ) I decided that this
was (and still is) the best 50/50 Power Amp around; I had to have one. Unfortunately at the time I couldn't
come up with the money to buy one from Dale as I had just been married and bought a house etc..
. Anyway, much to my disappointment my timing wasn't the best and being a struggling muso at music college
and trying to raise money gigging I had to drop the idea for some time and put up with the amp I was using
at the time which was a real hassle, a part of my life I'd rather forget. Over the next few weeks I kept looking
through the classifieds for a substitute 50/50 Power Amp second hand when to my surprise someone was
selling a Signal Station 50/50 by Sherlock Amps and the price was so low I immediately got on the phone
and asked for the guys address. When I got around to the guys place I understood why he was selling the
50/50 so cheap. It had been dropped off a 6 ft enclosure from the back of a truck and landed on the concrete
below at a gig. It was a mess. After inspecting the solid casing I realized that only the front panel had suffered
most of the impact and all the controls were still working so at the price I took a gamble and paid for it.
After some time I eventually took it to Dale for a service and he was kind enough to put a new front panel
on the 50/50 and check the solder joints just in case. I still have it and even after what it's been through I believe
that my 50/50 serves as testimony to the reliability of a solid hand made valve power amp that Dale Sherlock builds.
It's quite funny actually when people asked what I paid for it, they say it must have fallen off the back of a truck
, I laugh and say it did! Of course you wouldn't think so now. :-) Seven or eight years on and I'm singing the praises
of yet another serious beast the "FAT HEAD"!!!

Michael, it's called a "FAT HEAD" for a reason although I would say that it's more than just FAT, it's punchy,
transparent, in your face, grunge, metal mayhem, and you name it etc. Un-compromised versatility and it has
four channels that you can give their own character too. As opposed to my original financial situation,
my decision to purchase a “FAT HEAD” had nothing to do cost. As I speak I am surrounded by
approximately $60,000 worth recording equipment. Cost isn’t the issue these days.

I have many friends in the music industry and I could have purchased a Marshall head for a minimum 33%
off the price. No offence to Marshall but I’ve been there done that. Remember that part of my life I’d rather forget?
Now, to your questions:
1) The clean channel is true to its name you can dial in exactly what you want in a clean tone also it has a three
position switch (No bright, bright, more bright) if bright 's your thing? I like the fact that the clean channel isn't
a compromised clean that sounds more cleanish, no, it is as you say a nice chime! You get attack with a
natural sounding tone and it's not edgy or gritty it's the full 33 ton bell. Moreover, unlike some other amps
there’s always more than what you need on reserve. With the "FAT HEAD”, the sound doesn't mud or
break up when it's pushed.

2) Yes, I know what you mean about bone crushing! Fully cranked all-tube amp sound and as you say
at the same time articulate. As I mentioned earlier the "FAT HEAD " doesn't break up like other amps
and there’s that reserve. The last thing you need is a lot of Mess-(a)nd-(a little) boogie. Excuse the
pun! I think that you would be surprised. Let me put it this way, if you play a wrong note in a chord
people are going to know about it! Assuming they can get their head out of the vice in time. Oh and
the sound isn't over compressed, there are still mountain peaks in the valleys and the riverbeds are
pebbles not mud. IT'S GOT BASS!!!! (Not boom) Assuming your speakers can handle it?
And that boost switch...............................Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

3) The ultimate quest for the ultimate lead, right? I found my dream! This is the main reason why
bought the "FAT HEAD", I could probably say no more but.... Michael, throw away your pedals,
assign the Master B, and boost your solos. There's so much crank in this amp that you run out of
arm! Really, the beauty of the two Masters is that you can assign more volume with presence to
either A or B Masters and then assign that to the lead for an incredible non line boosted lead,
nothing comes close. Steve Vai eat your heart out bro! No offence man, but the Legacy just doesn't
do it for me. Michael, if you want to line boost with a distortion pedal after you have set up a solo
master well don't blame me if your guitar strings go liquid and the crowds hear your solo's perfectly
just as they start to melt into a sustained paradise. Guaranteed to bring about
new facial expressions! Yes, 16th note triplets at 160 BPM perfectly. The horse has truly bolted
Michael. (Exceptionally- Bad Horsie!) Nuff said.

Now the easy stuff! SERVICING:
Normally, this would be a topic that most guitar amp manufactures would avoid as it can be a
costly exercise. Not with the "FAT HEAD" with T.M.S. (Tube Management System). This isn't
self-biasing because self-biasing doesn’t really work well. It is a user friendly manually operated
system that helps you do the things that are important like playing gigs rehearsing etc.
If you email Dale for information he will most likely send you something.
The advantage is that you can change tubes and bias them yourself without having to leave your amp with a tube tech.
It works perfectly, saves time, money and is just plain brilliant. In addition, if you want to push the tubes to the limit you can do that also, refer to manual.
Your power stage is always at peak performance! And always biased correctly by you the technician. Well, you know what I mean. Oh, and if you do a tube in the middle of a gig your circuits are protected, you can bias the remaining tube in a matter of seconds. You loose a little volume but that’s as bad as it gets.

I prefer 6L6GC’s in my power output stage and drive them (I love T.M.S.) the beauty of the “FAT HEAD” with T.M.S. is that you can experiment and use tube combinations to get that output stage just right for you. Dale factory sets the amp to our liking anyway (using your email as a guide). Unlike other amps if you want a change of sound or if musical styles alter, you can purchase some tubes and experiment yourself. Rather than three trips
(3 tubes) to a tech and the additional charges. It’s the cost of the three tubes and 1 hour. Alternatively, borrow some out of someone’s amp and do it yourself, it’s ridiculously simple.

The midi stuff is a snap! And the switching is silent. Just assign and use, it's really that simple. Anyway, the main thing is that it does what a professionally designed Tube amp is supposed to do and puts all the tone and punch where it really counts! I think it’s the best head in the world. All the other stuff the amp has helps you do it more efficiently and that's what will get you the gig if you play as good as the next guy. Not to mention that eye raising “FAT HEAD” sound! Hand wound Transformers Michael. Dale is a professional and builds quality not quantity a rare find these days.
Anyway, I hope this has helped somewhat.
All the best,
Paul


Dale:
How have you been? Have not heard from you or Paul in quite a while, things must be very busy.
Anyway, I am still in awe over this wonderful amplifier you have built for me. I haven't had much time lately to play it but when I do I just can't believe the sounds, clarity, richness, bass response, etc., etc. that I have always heard in my head and was not able to obtain with all the other 50 or so amps I have tried in the last 10 years.
Let me say that my tonal quest has finally come to an end! I thank you once again. I think I will need to give the amp some time to dial in as the slightest movement of the dials really makes a difference in the tones available. I have used the amp with EMG equipped guitars and passive pickups without any problems of feedback. I'm still trying to find a decent effects processor to use with the amp though. I have asked Paul about what he recommends and I guess I have to try some more units and see what sounds best. I was reading on the Harmony Central forums were one fellow from Adelade was looking for a great amp and he said he would go and try one out and I noticed some people said they had read the website details and said it would be great for separate eq knobs for each channel, instead of shared eq's when channel switching. Maybe just personal opinions or discussion. I myself find no problem in the shared eq's as I can dial in 10 different channels on the footswitch and be all set to go and cover all the tones I need. I mean how many sounds can you use in one song? I wish I could hear some more heavy metal
recordings done with the Fathead amp. Do you know of any other cd's done with your amp?
I would love to hear the songs. Let me know on this as I would be more than happy to purchase a cd.
I know Paul was going to make me some heavy clips but hasn't had time. I myself can't as I don't have the equipment.
Also, I did briefly try my Tesla 6L6GC+ tubes and noticed that they had less volume than the Sovteks.
I like the sound of the Sovteks better for the heavy stuff I'm trying to play. I haven't tried the El-34's yet but soon and someday I would like to try the 6550 or KT-88's. What bias ma setting would you run these at?
Dale, will you be coming out with a speaker box 4X12 sometime soon? Any new pedals or gear that you are working on at present? Also, how is your client list doing with guys from the U.S.A. wanting to use your amp?
All I ever hear on the forums is the all mighty Diezel Herbert amp lately and from the
clips I've heard it really doesn't sound all that nice. Your amp puts it to shame in my opinion.
As no other amp has the features or especially the biasing capability by the user and have
it be so precise and easily adjusted is alone worth its weight in gold.
I can't tell you how much I've spent on sending out my amp for biasing and paying $75 and waiting for 3-4 weeks!
Anyway, please keep me posted and I will try to keep in touch more often. Please say hi to Paul for me.
Thanks again for all your help that you have given on the amp and answering all my questions.
I really appreciate it very much and will do my best to tell my friends about your wonderful amp!
Take Care
Best Regards
Michael


Michael from the US answering Ben's question Re: the Fathead

Hi Ben:
It seems we have the same ears for music and tones. You described the boogies to a tee. Nothing but mushy, loose undefined tone. As I've said I've tried almost every known major amp out there and your thoughts on how they sound are correct. I have owned and played an Ultralead by VHT. It was good but it was very dry and sterile sounding. Also, the eq would always fight the amps eq knobs and I could never get a decent setting so I sold it and my boogies. I have owned a Engl Savage 120 which wasn't bad but I wanted more control over the bass boost and tone settings. I sold it and bought a Framus Cobra which at first was ok but as you said had no special tone and both the rhythm and lead channel had the same voicing! So, I sold it too. I told Dale I have been buying and selling amps at a loss just to try them for a while to see if I could find an amp that we were both looking for in features and great tonal flexibility. I bought the Fathead sight unseen and talked to Dale and his good friend Paul Webber. I told him what I was trying to find for tones and based on some soundclips and Dale and Paul's conversations with me by e-mail, I bought the amp. I waited over 7 months for it to be built and let me say Dale is a perfectionist and a genius! His T.M.S. system alone is worth the price of the amp as you can bias it yourself in a few minutes and use any tube combination you desire. EL-34's, 6550's, KT-88's, 6L6's just set the bias knobs for each and when the 2 lights for each glow at even intensity you are done. No more paying for and waiting 4 weeks for the local shop to send out the amp for biasing. You can now do it yourself and I believe Dale has a patent on this as this is the first amp in the world to offer this biasing system. I have tried all the amps you mentioned except for the Powerball and all your comments are exactly as I would have described them to you. This amp as you know has 4 channels and can infinitely make up to 10 with the footswitch or go midi for I think 100+ channels. 10 is way more than enough for me. Channel 1 is where all the clean tones are with a bright switch with normal, bright and extra bright are available. This channel sounds better than any Fender I have tried as it has a rich sparkle and richness I can't really describe. The second channel can cover 60's rock, blues and say 70's rock tones. As I said this amp has infinite tonal settings in each channel it makes you dizzy. Because just turning a knob slightly really changes the tone and feel, unlike other amps where you turn the knob all the way to hear only a very slight change. These tone controls really work and work very well to help dial in really any tone you can think of. Channel 3 can do rhythms and even leads as it has enough gain to do so. The big thing is you don't have to max out the gain to get great tone and saturation. I think I am running the gain on this channel at 1 o'clock and let me tell you it is great. Channel 4 is really not for the faint hearted as when Dale built this for me I told him I wanted a Tiger and not a pussycat! Boy, did he deliver the goods. Just imagine when a tiger is going to strike with its front paw and that instantaneous strike is what this amp can do when playing power chords and such. It is so tight and articulate to say the least and in my mind s much better than a $4500 Diezel, which I have tried,also. This channel as well as channel 3 can do singing, fluid, violin like lead tones that are so rich even without processing. Right now I don't have an effects unit but the clean channel almost sounds like there is a chorus on in the background.(ever so slight) The bass response on this amp is scary and will hurt you in the chest as it does me when playing muted power chords and such. The only trouble I had was the boogie and Marshall cabs I had couldn't handle the amp! I had to buy a Diezel cab with front loaded celestion 30's in it to handle this beast. I am only playing in my garage also at minimal volumes and on occasion I can get to crank it slightly so as not to disturb the noise police. This amp I think can give you all the sounds you need as it only takes time to dial them in as a slight change in a setting or knob makes a big difference. I also forgot to add that this amp has gain boost buttons and dual volumes and presence controls. These alone are another work of art. They are voiced very different and react differently depending on say if you want that Tiger attack and mean tone or you want a nice violin like singing lead tone as well as a volume boost for your solos you have got it with these buttons. I mean I can knock things off of shelves and I am not really pushing the bass past say 1 o'clock, without the gain boost. With the boost and that presence button watch out. This is the best high gain, medium and low gain amp out there period in my opinion today. As nobody can match these features or responsive controls, especially the user biasing system alone is a big plus as no one else has it, even the almighty Diezel costing twice the money! Therefore, I hope I have shed some light on this amp for you as it has so much to offer it can't be described. I mean when I first got it and plugged it in and played my first note on the clean channel my mouth fell open.
When I heard the gain channels I almost did cartwheels I was so happy with the sounds! My ears just couldn't comprehend what they were hearing after
trying many amps to no avail for the last 20 years almost. If you go to acidplanet.com and look up Sherlock there are I think 5 soundclips you can listen to with the last three in a metal context. Dale can also send you a cd with those 3 tunes on them which were done by a band in Australia. Please feel free to contact Dale as he is a Gentleman and a scholar and bent over backwards to help me a little unknown guy here in the U.S. who was ready to give up searching for his great amp tone that he always heard in his head and never could get even close to with all of the offered amps he tried. I work very hard for my money and even though it was slightly more than some others I feel the price is not even an issue when it comes down to pleasurable, knowledgeable and accommodating help from someone like Dale who did always answer even the smallest detail for me and when I did not understand something he would explain it and walk me through it hand in hand. This is a sign of a true professional and a decent human being. I mean he treated me like one of the family. I am indebted to him dearly and thank him always for helping me end my quest. Sorry for all the ramblings but I had to tell you my thoughts with Dale Sherlock and his great amp the Fathead. I'm sure you will not be disappointed with one if you can get one or at least try it out. If you have any further questions let me know and I will try to help.

Regards
Michael


I’m just writing to let you know that this amp you have built me is hands down the best amp I’ve ever heard and used and I just can’t stress how good it actually is. After 2 years of using it live, it really has made an impression on all who hear it. Brett Garsed (John Farnham band) recently played mine and was absolutely blown away with it and said it’s up there with his Bogner for sound and kicks it’s arse for features and usability.

Regards
Luke


A Customer from Sydney
Hi Dale,
Congratulations mate, this thing is so cool!! I can't wait to hear it through a better cabinet so I can
fully appreciate it's pristine beauty. I feel like my playing has lifted to take more advantage of of
playing with higher quality gear but also kind of relaxed at the same time 'cos I don't have to work as
hard for the sound 'cos it's right there. I am still trying to dial in sounds and haven't had
much of a chance to really crank it and let it stretch it's legs. I had no trouble with midi-ing up an
external effects unit. I thought it would be a bit of fiddleing around, but it all went almost effortlessly.
Although I am still trying to work out the best send and return levels etc. There is no level indicator on
my effects box, so I am thinking of plugging it into my mixing desk to work out where things should be set.
I have to say though, that it seems superfluous and almost a shame to clutter up such an incredible sound
with effects!!

Question: Can the setting of the T.M.S. power tube switches (1+4, 2+3) be changed A)only when the power
is of, B) while the amp is on but in standby mode, or C) at any time, even while making sound. Thus far I have stuck to B), but would love an official answer so I know how best to operate it. I'm also taking it for granted that the midi footswitch should only be connected before powering up.Also, and it's really no big deal, but should there
have been a power chord included with the amp to connect it to the mains? I got the 7 pin midi chord
for the footswitch but there was no power chord. I really appreciated the packaging that you supplied
with the amp, particularly with my parents transporting it interstate, but thought that the
exclusion of the power lead left things kind of incomplete. I don't know if this was an oversite and
that the power lead is usually supplied. If it isn't usually supplied, I think it would be a nice touch to
throw one in, just so everything you need is right there. Anyway,I look forward to your reply and thanks again
for your advice and service, not to mention your killer amp!!

Regards,
Pete

P.S. Hanging out for the Sherlock cabinet.


Hi Dale,
I recently picked up a second hand FAT HEAD, around 2 weeks ago. First of all, its amazing. Its perfect for the sound I am after. I am currently on tour, and at every show guitarists from other bands, and punters are intrigued with the sound I am getting, and what I am using, im sure after the weekend half of Sydney wants one!
Kristian


Sorry Dale yes indeed it was that fuse you mentioned, thanks so much its
been running perfect since then.
Thanks so much for all your help Dale, this amp is awesome, at a gig last
weekend I had a few bands coming up to me wanting to find out what I was
using due my tone being so good!

Another guy came up to me after we played and talked my ear off for over
half an hour about how he couldn't believe I was using a sherlock and wanted
to know all about it, he seemed to know more than me! He said he was so
excited when he heard us playing that he ran out of the venue to go and find
his mate so he could check out the sound.

So not just me, but everyone seems to love it!

Thanks so very very much Dale! I'm actually going to go and play it right
now!

Thanks - Jason.


Hello,

My name is Chris I own a company called Guitar One
Technologies. I build custom racks and pedalboards for touring
musicians. I am also a guitar tech as well. I have had a pretty
successful past two years of touring. I have been able to help get
Ibanez guitars and Mesa Boogie Amps and Hamer and Ovation and Takimine
guitars, Digital Music Corporation products into the hands of up and
coming acts as well as seasoned professionals. I really enjoy doing
this kind of work. It is for filling to me. I feel that I am helping
deliver some of the greatest guitar tones in the world to audiences
everywhere.

I am writing you because I have a client here in the US by the name of
Mike. I saw him last night and he asked me to play this amp
that he gotten called a Sherlock. I agreed and from the first chord I
was hooked. The first thing that came to my mind was I have to sell all
my Mesas and buy this amp. Then Mike told me that you really wanted to
get some of your amps into Artist hands. This is where I come in. I
feel that with my experience and background that I have I would be able
to get you the players that you need to send your amps over the top. I
am interested in doing Artist relations for you here in the USA. I
would defiantly like to have one of your amps so that I could bring it
with me on tour and have Artist try it.

I feel that I would be able to get your amp in some high profile places.
Please fell free to e-mail me or call me at anytime. Also please let me
know if you think that I am out of line for approaching you with this
idea. I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel that the product you make was
worth it. I have a great relationship with Boogie and I am will to give
it some competition with your amplifier.

Thanks,
Chris


On 2002-11-28, Mos rated this Sherlock Amplifiers "Fat Head" a 5...(3130)

Purchase: I purchased the 'Fat Head' direct from the manufacture in Melbourne Australia; fortunately, I was one of the few people to get my hands one before the rush. This was in August 2002 and I paid US$2000. The companies web address is www.sherlockamps.com
Pros: It will out do any amp available! Period. Everone who has used this head either wants to purchase one, or it makes them feel that their own equipment is inadequate. Fender twin types sound achievable, and leaves Mesa dead in the water, HIGH GAIN is a reality. Sorry guys, just being honest! This amp has more useable features than most amp heads I’ve used it put a smile on my face ever time I use it. The amp has made me want to play more! Lots more!!
Cons: There is nothing I hate about this amp. It's a killer head. And it's FAT!!!!
Quality: This is fully hand made all tube head it has been around since 1995 and has just had a complete redesign by the manufacture. (www.sherlockamps.com) The amp is very versatile and has four channels being Clean, Edge, Rhythm and Lead. It uses Midi switching to control the pure tube channels. It comes with its own Foot Controller, which draws its power from the head via a seven-pin din plug. One lead is all that is needed. The Foot controller is also a stand alone 10 channel Midi FC and can be powered separately by a standard 9 Volt power supply, very smart company. FX with Midi can be switched (select programs) via the head, because of its built in Midi (in out/thru) and controlled by the dedicated FC. Also, there is no need to have the amp serviced because it uses a unique pat. system that allows for the user servicing of the power tubes. I have already saved a fortune in servicing costs. The hand wound transformers kick out loads of power and because I have full control over my power tube settings, I can run the tube hot for more punch, once again due to the unique pat. system. No other amp comes close
Review Summary: I would recommend this head to anyone in the professional field, or those aspiring to be so. I cannot speak more highly of the amp. Sherlock Amplifiers customer service is best I've encountered, they are diligent and ensure that your experience is professional, it is a pleasure deal with them and their products are strong on fact. "Please rate the unit on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best" I'll give a six. :-) It's great!!!!!


No shit sherlock!afshinfat

“That amp is perfect for this kind of music...” were the words uttered by Dave a few seconds after we played Rise and Fall for the first time with my new Sherlock Fat Head amp. And by the size of the grin on Rob’s face I could tell that he was pretty much thinking the same thing, and me...well let’s just say I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I decided to buy this amp.

I first came across Sherlock Amplifiers while researching about different amp options online, then one day, quite randomly, I had the pleasure of hearing one of these things roar at someone’s house and my immediate thought was “wow... I gotta get me one of these babies”. But being in possession of two other amps at the time and not having the spare cash I couldn’t justify buying one...but the thought was always in the back of my mind, I Had to get me a Sherlock Fat Head amp somehow...

Then out of the blue, a second hand one popped up at the music swop shop, I quickly got onto Dale Sherlock himself (the genius who designed and builds the Fat Head) and asked him what he could tell me about the amp. You see, being local and not a mass producing company, Sherlock amps only cater to a relatively small yet loyal customer base and given the great quality of the unit one rarely appears in the second hand market, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I found this one and knew that Dale would personally know the history of every individual amp that he has sold and would most likely know the customer as well. After chatting to Dale I found out that the amp actually belonged to a guitar teacher who had had it since new and had never gigged with it and had only used it for teaching purposes in his living room, so the amp was practically brand new and in mint condition, I also found out that the previous owner had actually passed away and that was the only reason it was being sold. Reinforcing my belief that unless something dramatic (like death) stoped you from playing guitar you wouldn’t want to get rid of this amp, I quickly sold my other amp and headed to the swop shop and bought the Fat Head with no hesitation. I have no idea who the previous owner was but may he rest in peace knowing that his amp is being put to good use...

Now enough storytelling. Let me tell you about the actual amp. The first thing that hits you in the face about this amp is that it’s loaded with features, and these are all useful features, nothing gimmicky here. Even if there may be certain features I myself may not use I can definitely see why another player may find them handy. I won’t list ALL the features here; you can go to Sherlock’s website and find out all about them there. But I will tell you that the highlight of the amp’s features for me were its 4 channels, 2 master volumes and MIDI switching capabilities. I run a slightly complicated effects set up and cannot function without MIDI switching on my amps and used to run an external midi switcher to operate my previous amps but now I have it all inside the amp and can access an array of different sounds at the press of a button without having to carry around an extra piece of equipment. The most impressive aspect of this feature-laden amplifier is that it is priced much lower than some of the rival amplifiers out there that only have half as many features, Mesas are a great example, with an RRP that is almost double that of the Fat Head’s, it does not even come with a MIDI capabilities.

Sound: the Fat Head has 4 distinctive channels, admittedly I mostly play the ‘Rhythm’ channel, but the others are all fantastic. The clean channel on this amp is the first clean channel I have ever had that actually cuts through the mix. It has tons of headroom but also comes equipped with a pre-gain knob which allows you to break the channel up should you desire to do so...mine stays relatively low for sparkly “Fendery” cleans. The second channel takes you into Plexi, JCM kinda territory while the third channel (the “Rhythm” channel) gives you bone crushing distorted metal tones that you might associate with Dual Rectos or Diezel amplifiers. Now the thing I like about this channel is that I can have the gain on ridiculously high and still have a very clear sounding tone that doesn’t go muddy, I demonstrated this to my band mates by playing a full open chord with the gain on about 9 o’clock AND a boost pedal running into the face of the amp and we could hear every single note in the chord. Truly amazing. The other highlight of this channel is its tight and quick response which is great for palm muted thrash riffage. The lead channel is very similar in tone to the “rhythm” channel but with possibly even more gain on tap. It allows you to set up a different sound for lead breaks and solos and otherwise generally allows you to have two different brutal distortion channels to do with as you please; I currently use the fourth channel as my “solo” channel and have it set up slightly louder than the “rhythm” channel. Also let’s not forget to mention that in addition all the channels have three different voicing options allowing you to choose between “bright, brighter and dark” voicing as well as a mid-cut/boost option as well as two different presence controllers, and the obviously standard 3 band EQ controls that most amps are equipped with...I almost ran out of breath just typing those last features.

To sum up this amp has completed my set up and I can honestly say that I am now 100% happy with my tone, I run a couple of Les Pauls into it, and then it is fed through my Orange 4x12, which makes for a very heavy sounding combination. Anyone in Australia who is considering buying a modern boutique all tube guitar amplifier should definitely consider checking out the Fat Head. I don’t usually go around endorsing products but this is such an understated amp and there is so little information out there about it that I feel compelled to let people know about it. Dale Sherlock doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who is into expensive advertisement campaigns or in your face promotion of his products. I think he has so much confidence in what he makes that he believes word of mouth and the quality of the product will make the Fat Head sell itself, and he may be right, I certainly didn’t come across the Fat Head in a music store catalogue and didn’t have a sales person try to shove one down my throat. I heard one by chance and was instantly hooked. Being a local made product also gives the Fat Head a competitive edge over the imported mass produced products as you won’t have to pay to keep the various “middle men” in business which means you can have a Fat Head at a fraction of the price of the other high end amplifiers on the market. You can also rest assured that the person who designed and made your amplifier is living in the same city as you (well if you’re in Melbourne) and you can always call him up or visit him for tech support and as I understand it Dale also offers modifications on his amps and can also make them to your specifications...but I’m sure he can tell you more about all that than I could so if you really wana hear what Fat Head is all about get onto Dale and go check on of his amps out or stay tuned for Cold Divide’s next gig where you will be able to hear the monster in all its glory...

Afshin
back to top


Gregor
Harmony Central
Features: 10
4 Chan (separate volume, gain, and 3 position voicing toggle for each)
clean and edge share one EQ, Chan 3+4 share the other EQ. A mid scoop button is also there and can be added to any channel or combination of chan's. 2 master volumes, and 2 differently voiced presence controls with deep switches.
FX loop (parallel/serial switchable). 100 Watts (50 watt switchable) slave out. amd a nifty little system that lets you bias the amp yourself.
Sound Quality: 10
This thing kicks like a mule!
I've been on an amp quest for a few months now. As far as versatility goes, the closest thing i found was a H+K triamp, but even that just didn't have the sound of this monster. It can goe funky clean through balsy clean right on thru pushed country straight past the 'plexi' territory wave at the 5150 sound and then end up in boogie-ish bogner zone. It truly does it all!
I grew up listening to band playing recto's and thought, well, thats what i'm getting when i get the dollars. Had some experience with em live, they sounded large, like a big fat wall of mush, then in the shop, just sounded meh. This thing sounds like the recto should! it has a beautiful colored and textured gain sound. Big and fat, it fills the room, it also has massive punch and hits you, it also shows off your playing and notes are clear.
Reliability: 10
I've only just test driven the amp and don't own it...yet, i put a deposit down, and hope to write an update review after a few months of killing my neighbors and venues.
Customer Support: 10
The guy there is a champion amongst men. Very busy, real easy to get along with, easy to talk to, just can't say enough about him. Thus his amp is a tribute to him.
Overall Rating: 10
BALLS!!
this thing is like getting whatever your dream amp is, walking up to it ina shop, a genie asking you what you want it to sound like, plugging it in, and loving every minute of it.


Anonymous Harmony Central
Features: 10
Straight up - I test drove this amp and don't own it. This is my experience in one afternoon just like trying an amp out at a shop - but most people can't get to Sherlock so I thought sharing my experience would be helpful.
It gets a ten because of the amount of options you have when ordering. The newer 2005 model has something like 6 voicing options per channel and some of those are midi assignable. This means 4 ch x 2 master (modern and vintage) x 6 voicings = 48 different sounds this amp can do. Pretty cool 'ey! Plus there's more if you tell the manufacturer what you want. You'd have to email the maker to find out all of them as it's too much to list here. Apart from that just read the reviews below.
Sound Quality: 10
The FatHead that I played through was a 2002 non-TMS model with some minor upgrades through an open back 2x12 speaker box fitted with celestions. The amp sounded awesome. I tested it with a variety of guitars (single and double coil) and it didn't show much weakness that a little tweaking couldn't fix. Here's a breakdown of the channels:
Clean (two position bright switch (plus flat)) - This channel loved each guitar plugged into it. There was a beautiful 'chimey' quality to the sound that you don't hear in many other amp heads. The tele with EMG?s sounded great though the 'bright' switch had to be in the first pos' otherwise it sounded a bit brittle (as did the strat). Each pickup change was smoother than expected with no need to 'cringe' when playing the single coil bridge p/u. This is a much better clean ch than any Mesa or Marshall I've heard. It had a nice 'sweetness' to it. I would have liked to have heard with my Keeley comp in front of it as it didn't sound as compressed as I thought it would. Fat??? Yes, indeed.
Clean/Edge (two pos' bright switch) - This ch would be great for Rock/Pop, Blues (think Bogner Ecstasy) or anything where clean plus a little grit is needed. Again, it made each guitar sound great. If this or the previous channel were used for country a compressor would be really handy and, the sound would be a little more along the lines of Brent Mason, or if driven, Brad Paisley. I couldn't seem to find that 'snappy' country sound but maybe it?s there in the new model.
Rhythm - This channel sounded like Bogner! Yes, I have heard a few Bogners. There is so much gain on tap with this channel that you could use it as a lead ch yet when winding the gain down it still held it own with any other good rock amp. The strat in this channel, and the lead ch, sounded a lot like Yngwie's guitar sound (I really liked that). The tele sounded good too. No prizes for guessing what the double coil p/u guitars sounded like. It never got mushy no matter how hard the gain was pushed or how loud the amp got. It could only come down to opinion for not liking this sound. Beautiful!
Lead - I must say that the above could be said for this channel. Not really much variation in sound other than gain and voicing options (which is still cool). Again, no matter how much the gain was pushed it remained useable and tight with no floppy bottom end. Legato runs were so easy and super-pickers like Steve Morse would love these hi-gain channels. It definitely sounds different to what?s out there but only slightly - What I mean is that it had its own 'colour' but not in a dramatic way that departs from all amps that we're used to.
Overall - Very quiet even with the gain on high. I now really want to hear the 2005 model. I liked the clean channel on this 2002 model head but Dale told me that with the new model he's now 'happy' with the clean.
Each guitar used still sounded like what it was, the amp seemed to take on the character of the guitar and not vice-versa. This head compares, in my opinion, with various Bogner models. I played through a H&K Triamp around the same time - the Fathead clean killed it and the triamp gain ch sounded flat by comparison (and I like the triamp). I play guitar for a living and use many amps in live and studio situations so hopefully my opinion counts for something here and you'll get an idea of what the FatHead can do.
I don't really want to give this a ten here because the new 2005 models are supposed to be even better, however, the FatHead was made to be a high-gain amp and it's a definite 10 for that.
Reliability: No Opinion
I have only heard other stories so I shouldn't comment.
Customer Support: 10
Dale is a cool guy. Even though you can tell he's busy he won't rush you off the phone. Very informative.
Overall Rating: 10
I play professionally and have a lot of amps in my time. I think it's time that the secret got out. Again, I haven't bought the Fathead yet but I sure will be once Dale is happy with the new model.


Anonymous
Harmony Central
Features: 10
The features have been motioned so I wont go into that side of it, only to say the name should be changed to 'THE HEAD' because it really has the goods.
Sound Quality: 10
PRS, Les Paul, are great with this amp! It's hard to pigeonhole this amp as it has so much in the way of sound. All channels are better at high volumes! :-) Brutal?? Hmm.. That?s an inadequate word.
Reliability: 10
Ha Ha Ha!! This thing doesn't have mass-produced printed circuit board. You work it out.
Customer Support: 10
Great!
Overall Rating: 10
This is the best amp that you will ever own.


Content customer
Harmony Central
Features: 10
This hand made all tube head is hot; it has been around since 1995 and has just had a complete redesign by the manufacture. (www.sherlockamps.com) The amp is very versatile and has four channels being Clean, Edge, Rhythm and Lead. It uses Midi switching to control the pure tube channels. It comes with its own Foot Controller, which draws its power from the head via a seven-pin din plug. One lead is all that is needed. The Foot controller is also a stand alone 10 channel Midi FC and can be powered separately by a standard 9 Volt power supply, very smart company. FX with Midi can be switched (select programs) via the head, because of its built in Midi (in out/thru) and controlled by the dedicated FC. Also, there is no need to have the amp serviced because it uses a unique pat. system that allows for the user servicing of the power tubes. I have already saved a fortune in servicing costs. The hand wound transformers kick out loads of power and because I have full control over my power tube settings, I can run the tube hot for more punch, once again due to the unique pat. system. No other amp comes close and I've used many over a 20 yr period. Shhhhh! Don't let it get out!
Sound Quality: 10
It will out do any amp available! Period. Everone who has used this head either wants to purchase one, or it makes them feel that their own equipment is inadequate. Fender twin types sound achievable, and leaves Mesa dead in the water, HIGH GAIN is a reality. Sorry guys, just being honest! This amp has more useable features than most amp head I?ve used it put a smile on my face ever time I use it. The amp has made me want to play more! Lots more!!
Reliability: 10
See the rating!
Customer Support: 10
The best I've encountered, they are diligent and ensure that your experience is professional, it is a pleasure deal with them and their products are strong on fact.
Overall Rating: 10
According to my experience and others that have used the amp, the overall top rating is underrating already this head. There's nothing to hate, it is better than other products out there, it has more on it than any other tube head available, everything is geared toward the guitarist nothing gimmicky in any way. This review may seen to good to be true, well it's as honest. That's all I can say! I know when something is good or not.


Happy Customer :-)
Harmony Central
Features: 10
Well the specs are really "out there" I mean like check this out. All tube technology, no solid state components in signal path. (Midi used to control switching only) 4 channels, midi assignable, Clean, Clean/edge, Rhythm, and Lead. 2 power modes, 100w, 50w, using 2 or 4 power tubes (part of TMS). Gain and Master Volume controls for each channel. 2 sets of EQ control, Bass, Mid and Treble. 2 position Bright switches for the clean channels. 2 position boost switches for dirty channels. A B master volumes, midi assignable, for volume boost in any channel. A B presence and Depth controls, midi assignable to any channel. Series, Parallel effects loop, with send and return. . Internal effects mixing via effects level control, also effects by-pass, midi assignable. Tube Management System (TMS) Power tube Bias status, indicator leds, Bias adjusting Controls and cathode fuse for each power tube. Power tube set switches, ie. tubes 1 & 4 on, or 2 & 3 on, or all 4 tubes on, or all 4 off for pre-amp use only.(part of Sherlock Amplifiers T.M.S.). Parallel speaker output sockets (switchcraft). Speaker Impedance switch, 16, 8, and 4 ohms. Midi in, Midi through sockets on rear and dedicated foot-switch. EL34, 6550 or 6L6 power tubes.7 High gain, selected, 12AX7 pre-amp and splitter tubes. Chrome Toggle power and stand-by switches. All other switches are chrome metal (except impedance switch. All knobs are silver chrome Telecaster type, (21 total). All sockets are metal switchcraft (except send and return). Front panel leds are 3mm clear non-diffused types, colours are green, yellow, blue, red. Optional dedicated foot switch available.
Sound Quality: 10
Awesome, this amp head is a true tube sound because it is all tube. It has four channels, the clean is really clean and the lead channel well it's the best lead sound I've heard. I know that it gets down to opinion but there's all the sound that you want from fender to boogie this amp head does it! And more than that it can give you everything in between. Can't speak more highly of this head. I'm going to give it a ten here because it does everything other great amp heads do only it has more features and more channels and in my opinion kicks like a mule. Must be that awesome pre-amp section.
Reliability: No Opinion
This thing is hand built by professionals, the people from Sherlock amplifiers www.sherlockamps.com are meticulous about quality and everything is checked and double checked at every stage. Inside the head the wiring is neat and all the stuff that carries high voltage is wired of the PCB so no problem there folks!
Customer Support: 10
Very happy to help and very trustworthy a very rare quality these days. Expert repairs, professional, fast and lots of good advice. I would have no problem taking anything to them that needs repairing I am confident that I would get the job done right first time!
Overall Rating: 10
Been playing for 20 yrs in both semi-professional and professional band and studio's. I own/owned heaps of rack gear and you name it... If my "FAT HEAD" was stolen I would be very unhappy about it and yes, I would get another one, I mean, I'd be stupid to use something didn't like. I like everything about this amp and I hate the fact that I can't buy two this year. I can't think of a way to improve on this head so I suppose it's right as it is. I want another one guys!!!
back to top


Links:
the following is a link to Katie Westons guitar player useing the Fathead amp
http://myspace.com/katiewestonsolo
http://www.guitar-review.com/review-display/3130.html
http://reviews.harmony-central.com/reviews/Guitar+Amp/product/Sherlock+Amplifiers/Fat+Head/10/1
http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?songs=130916&T=830

Vintage Reverb 30


Hi Dale,
Just thought I would let you know that I gave the amp a good work out at
gigs this weekend, I am so impressed with the sound quality of the amp
and its amazing to actually hear yourself sit in the mix much better.
My band members complimented on the new sound that I have. Also whats
the correlation between the gain and volume controls, I remember you
telling me about it??

Thanks Matt


The real surprise for me was Dale's combo, the vintage 30. You guys know me by now. Knobs and switches all the way! But the vintage 30 with a good bunch of pedals out the front was the most gorgeous tone i heard all weekend (except, of course for Brett Garsed playing the Tube Zone through a THD Wink). Wow wow wow,... it might even be my personal favourite set up, even more so than the fat head. The depth of the cleans was other-worldly. Reverb - perfect. Cranked gets the tube rectifiers going, and man, is that thing gorgeous!

Michael_Ibrahim
MI Audio.


Hi Dale,

I'm really enjoying the Vintage Reverb and Cab. It played its first show on Thursday night and went well and got positive comments straight away.
Anyway, just wondering if you can tell me what cable to use to run power
from the reverb footswitch...
I can't seem to sus it out. I thought the Boss daisy chain I have may have been able to but it isn't. Is there something available?

Thanks,
Dan


Dear Dale,
Thank you for building me my Vintage Reverb 30. It really is a great amp and I love it.
It’s been 4 weeks now and every time I switch it on, I’m still really impressed. It’s the only amp I’ve owned where the sound goes big into the air and the amp disappears into the back ground leaving the guitar me and the big sound. Overall the balance of this amp is very evan, from the thick tolex covering with the neat corners to the wood cabinet, when you tap it echoes back.
That vintage 30 Celestion speaker sounds good and offers plenty of low end bass, tight and sometimes dark. Plugging into the low input reveal a real rich character, while in the high input just lifts the sound up a few notches and the amp starts to sing into sustain. Adding a little reverb just allows everything to take off.
The black front panel looks good without being fussy with good lines adding a bit of class. Also the choice of blue light makes it look cool.
From all angles this is a job well done.
Thanks mate.
May the tone be with you!
Michael


Dale,
I just wanted to thanks you for the amp.
It is FFFFFFFFFFFFFAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCC.
I am very pleased with the sound & also with the quality, which suggests to me that it is a lifetime investment.
Interested to know if the speaker sounded different to the ones you use standard.Also any care for instructions? & is there a manual?
Many thanks & regards,
Greg Willis.
back to top

BUFF TONE


Submitted 07/29/2005 at 02:52am by Tez, Harmony Central

Features: 10
Made in 2005.This amp is just what I have been looking for. I play blues and rock. It is a single channel amp, but has 2 x volume controls which are footswitchable. This is great for giving solo's a boost. It also has a tube and silicon rectifier which can be switched. The silicon rectifier gives a spongy more rounder sound. The power of this amp can be switched from 100watts to 50 watts. It also has two inputs one high and one low. The controls are Gain; Bright Switch; Bass, Mid, Treble, Reverb: Volume A; Volume B ;Presence and a depth switch to fatten out the tone. It has more than enough power for me.To be honest I think this amp is perfect for me.

Sound Quality: 10
I am using this amp with a custom strat which has Kinman AVN Blues pickups.It suits my style of music which is blues and 60's 70's and 80's rock. The pickups in my guitar are super quiet and there is only a slight hum on higher volume settings. It has a variety of clean tones which enhance the properties of my guitar. With the gain turned right up there is some lovely blues type overdrive to be had. I am using this amp through a 2x12 box which is made from marine ply and covered in black tolex. The speakers are Celestion Vintage 30's.This product is also made by Sherlock

Reliability: 10
Although I have only had this amp for a short time I could depend on it without a backup. Dale Sherlock is extremely proud of his product and therefore every component is made to exacting tolerances. I might add that this amp is handwired and not on a PCB.

Customer Support  : 10
Dale Sherlock is extremely helpful and answers emails very quickly. When I purchased the Amp Dale put no pressure on me. He just let his product do the talking, but thoroughly explained all the technicalities of the amp.

Overall Rating: 10
I have been playing for approx 9 years .I would definitely buy this Amp again if it was stolen. I really like the fact that this product was made in Australia by a person who cares and has a passion for his craft. It has a beautiful crystal clear clean tone. I set out to buy this product and it has surpassed my expectations. I think that sound is such a subjective thing and that is what makes music a unique human thing. One persons Amp is another’s poison. I really think this Amp leaves all the others for dead, both in manufacture and sound quality.
back to top

SIGNAL STATION PREAMP


Submitted 12/07/2008 at 06:22pm by Gary Gearhead, Harmony Central

Features: 8
Don't know what year it was made - was only aware of this product from the website, and on there it's a three channel number...this guy is just the one channel, but man it packs a punch. From In to Out it has Gain, Low, Mid, Treble and Master Controls, but also features Bypass Out, a footswitch to kick 'er into action as well as a MIDI plug and 'Program' button which I'm guessing allows for different EQ/Gain settings on the fly. It is voiced fairly aggressively, with gobs of gain and plenty of edge and sparkle - almost a Mesa/Boogie sound. It's basically an all-tube pre-amp but I'm using it as a distortion unit par excellence, bypassing it with the footswitch to play 'Clean' and then stomping down for some of the tightest, nastiest dirt I've heard. If it had any more knobs I'd be suspicious, but the features it does have are top notch - the feel of the pots and the clean work inside - it's all pure Sherlock.

Sound Quality: 10
Played this with a P-90 equipped Goldtop, an SG and an ES-335, and by golly it's a brutal little beast. It's hell quiet even when it's dimed, and only gave off audible hum when running the P-90s hot (this will happen in ANY high gain situation). The sweep of the EQ section is pretty broad, with mega low end, plenty of range in scooped mids if that's your thing (I have the Mid knob nearly all the way up as I can't stand that scooped sound) and more bite than a pack of rabid dogs. The distortion is perfect for rock and metal - on lower settings you can dial in a thick Josh Homme tone then turn up the Gain for some King Buzzo fatness...pull back the mids and add more treble - you are the Metal Overlord. The sound is beautiful, transparent yet FAT. It is also highly responsive, and turning down your volume knob, even on the highest settings, takes it down a notch to a nice overdrive. I wouldn't use said sound for 'clean' tones, as it still retains quite a bit of edge. Hello Bypass function. It's voicing makes it a little unsuitable for blues hounds and roots players, but for 'modern' styles and aggressive tones with authority and clarity - get some buddy.

Reliability: 9
This thing smacks of quality components and workmanship - I'd hide under it if the **** went down...

Customer Support : 10
Dale Sherlock is THE Amp Man - he fixes all my stuff and I highly recommend him - great bloke, incredible technician, and, as it turns out, purveyor of fine goods. This is the first Sherlock product I've plugged into and I've got the taste dammit...keen to check out his 'Vintage' 30 watter...

Overall Rating: No Opinion
Have been playing for 13 years, proud owner of some nice old guitars (Gibson, Fender) and a sweet Marshall rig - this has turned me on to 'the Sherlock sound'...anybody into controllable rock or metal tones (Boogie-heads take note) should check this guy out. A damned fine alternative to a stomp box...
back to top

MODS

Hi Dale,
I had a play through the amp last night; it's nothing short of stunning, excellent work!
I've always liked the fact that that amp brings out the character of the guitar and now, even more so! 
I play in 2 bands and use either a Rickenbacker 330 or a '66 fender jaguar, I rarely use any kind of distortion or effect so tone is very important to me.
Its a lot cleaner (the bit of mud it had is gone) it has a lot more headroom and the individual notes in chords really ring out and you can hear them all clear as a bell (like with a good acoustic), the break up seems later and a bit different with these tubes too, I like it a lot.
Brilliant work Dale,
I will definitely come and buy one of your amps one day, I imagine that they would be even better than this one. 
Cheers mate, all the best.
Fabian
back to top

Repairs