Diezel Herbert Amplifiers
Diezel Herbert Amp Guitar
Tested By Terry Buddingh
• Three channels with
• Global Presence and Deep controls
• MIDI programmable Mid Cut control
• MIDI programmable secondary Master Volume control
• Three global effects loops (series, parallel, and one
series or parallel MIDI programmable loop)
• Frequency-compensated preamp output
• Six Chinese-made 12AX7 preamp tubes
• Six Chinese-made Ruby EL34B-STR output tubes (accepts a
variety of output tubes)
• 150 to 180 watts (depending on output tube type)
you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends and developments in elite
multi-channel high-gain amplifiers, you’ve surely heard of Diezel.
Hand-crafted in Munich, Germany, these wicked-sounding tone machines
have been a force to be reckoned with ever since the impressive
four-channel VH4 (reviewed December, 1999) debuted in the U.S. several
years ago. The latest offering to spring from the mind of Peter Diezel
is the Herbert, which, if you’re familiar with the VH4, differs by
featuring three independent channels, six output tubes (two
more than the VH4), and an in-line front panel. In addition, the Herbert
boasts a powerful two-knob Mid Cut tone-shaping function, a handy
alternate master volume, and MIDI capability.
The Herbert can serve up a wide range of tonal colors and textures
courtesy of its three channels, each of which is voiced differently and
optimized for a specific range of gain and tones. Channel 1’s two gain
stages are voiced to deliver clean tones with maximum headroom, while
channel 2’s three gain stages cover the low- to moderately high-gain
territory. Channel 2 also sports a Gain-Boost switch that can kick-up
the burn for more singing sustain, and Channel 3 employs four
gain stages for the most extreme overdriven tones.
The Herbert’s two-knob Mid Cut
circuit, the amp’s most unique and powerful tone-shaping function,
features an Intensity knob that controls the severity of the midrange
scoop (centered at approximately 400Hz), and a Volume control that
provides an appropriate cut (or boost) in overall amplifier level. While
obviously useful for obtaining extreme scooped-mid metal tones, you can
alternately use Mid Cut as a programmable lead-boost option. And, thanks
to the Herbert’s MIDI capability, the circuit can be assigned to any, or
all, of the channels. (The Herbert doesn’t come with a footswitch, so
you’ll need to use a MIDI controller such as the Digital Music Ground
Control or the Rocktron All Access to control the footswitchable
Well-heeled tone connoisseurs seeking authoritative clean
and high-gain tones.
Delivers tons of tones, from slammin’ clean to raging
overdrive. MIDI controllable. Unique Mid Cut control.
Expensive. Requires optional MIDI controller to access
Head $4,100 retail;
The Herbert also features
unusually powerful (but non-programmable) global Presence and Deep
controls. Affecting frequencies above 2kHz, the inductor-based Presence
control is voiced deeper into the treble range than traditional presence
circuits. This voicing provides more bite and cutting power, as well as
increasing the control’s perceived effectiveness. The Deep control also
uses an unusual inductor-based circuit to increase the output stage’s
low-frequency response. This powerful circuit boosts in the 120Hz range
to provide bone rattling low-end that stays tight and controlled thanks
to the abundance of power provided by the six output tubes.
The Herbert’s output stage can
accept a wide range of output tubes, and each pair of sockets is
equipped with an independent bias control so that you can mix different
tube types. For example, it’s possible to run 6L6s, EL34s, and 6550s
simultaneously, with the bias current for each pair of tubes
optimized for their own dynamic “sweet spot.” How cool!
The Herbert’s three channels cover an impressive range of sounds. While
some multi-channel amps favor higher-gain textures, the Herbert is
remarkable in its ability to provide impressive clean tones as well.
Channel 1 conveys clean with astounding headroom and punch, yet there’s
always a sense of resiliency in the dynamic response that keeps the feel
from becoming stiff or sterile.
TALE OF TWO CABS
Diezel offers two types
of straight-front 4X12 cabinets, the V412R and V412F, which
come loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s (other speakers are
The V412R, Diezel’s
version of the “classic” 4X12, is constructed of Baltic
birch plywood and features a screwed-on plywood back panel,
an internal center-post, and rear-loaded speakers (hence the
By contrast, the V412F
is made of lightweight Italian poplar ply and sports a
glued-in back panel. To add strength and reduce resonances,
four deep plywood braces are employed to stiffen the sides,
baffle, and back panel. Since the rear panel isn’t
removable, the speakers are installed from the front.
While the two cabinets
share the same speaker complement, the V412F is about an
inch shorter and has a removable grille. These cabs also
posses distinctly different sonic personalities.
As might be expected,
the V412R sounds lively and resonant, like a well-seasoned
vintage 4x12, while the V412F’s less-resonant design evokes
a more modern voice that is ideally suited for heavier
high-gain tones. The V412F’s low-end is tighter and better
focused than a traditional 4x12, with a more immediate and
precise dynamic response that enhances the percussive drive
of chugging, bass-heavy rhythm patterns.
Channel 2 is the versatility champ
thanks to the additional range provided by its Gain-Boost switch. In
low-gain mode, it can cover tweed-like grind, Brit-flavored crunch, and
even totally nail the Van Halen “brown” sound. Activate the Gain-Boost
and there’s enough rage for old-school metal or shred solos. Channel 3
delivers the extreme gain demanded by today’s nu-metal players, while
the Mid Cut control lets you dial-in the perfect amount of scoop. And,
thanks to the Mid Cut’s programmability, you can preset it for wicked
rhythm chunk, and then bypass the scoop for more forceful solos.
The highest-gain tones reveal the
true value of the Herbert’s extra horsepower. Yes, six output tubes can
produce authoritative tones at frighteningly loud levels, but the real
benefit here is enhanced low-end control. There’s simply no substitute
for raw power when you’re talking about low-end slam.
Homage to Herbert
Paving the way for a new breed of 21st-century super amps, the Herbert
boldly ventures into uncharted territory with a spectrum of sounds that
leaves little to be desired. This German tone machine would rule on the
basis of its second channel alone, and when you consider its plethora of
hip features, and its ability to sound impressive even at low
volumes, it’s clear that the Herbert has few rivals.
For those who seek a truly über
high-gain tube amp, and have the bank to afford it, there’s no
substitute for the Herbert.
This Amp is
and has Synergy's Vote for one of the Best Amps ever Made!