Top Hat King Royale Amplifier Review

Continued from Top Hat Victoria Amp Review

Top Hat King RoyaleWith a name that sounds like something out of Pulp Fiction, Top Hat’s update on Vox’s AC30, the King Royale is anything but cheesy. The Royale is a 35-watt amp that is flawlessly built, has a very nice salt-and-pepper grille, and comes in a variety of colors (all made with thick Tolex, for protection), and offers several modifications to the AC30 design.

The King Royale is a stripped-down non-switchable two channel amp without the vibrato/tremolo features of the original AC30. Both channels can be used, but not without running an A/B switch box in your effects chain. The first channel keeps it simple, with only two controls, one for volume and another for tone, and sounds like a combination of the Vox’s brilliant and normal channels. Channel two includes the volume and tone controls, but adds bass, cut, and midrange controls, along with a master volume. Adding the midrange control to the amp makes it much more versatile than your run-of-the-mill AC30, giving you far more control of the amp’s tone. The master volume control (which falls directly after the preamp circuit) is excellent for helping you achieve overdriven sounds at lower volumes (which will make your landlord more likely to tolerate you). As for speakers, the King Royale uses one Jennings Blue Bulldog speaker and one 35-watt Celestion Greenback for a nice, smooth tone, rather than the Vox technique of running two Bulldogs.

The King Royale was tested with a series of P90 and humbucker equipped guitars (and even a Jazzmaster thrown in for good measure). The result? Beautifully rich, harmonic tone that can only be produced by EL84 tubes in a Class A amplifier. Armed with the King Royale and a Gibson Les Paul, it takes less than five minutes to dial up Brian May’s ‘Killer Queen’ sound…no kidding.

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