The Vaporizer uses a pair of 10″ custom ceramic speakers powered by a pair of 6BQ5/EL84 power tubes producing 12 watts; a genuine tube-driven spring reverb circuit; Normal and Bright input jacks coupled to TV-style Volume, Tone, and Reverb knobs; a pair of 12AX7 preamp tubes; and a footswitch-able "Vaporizer" circuit with jewel-light indicator. This Vaporizer circuit completely bypasses the Volume and Tone controls, resulting in full-on overdrive, as if the Volume and Tone control is dimed with an overdrive pedal on top of it.
- 12 watts of tube power
- 2 x 10" 16 Ohm speakers
- 2 Groove Tubes 12AX7 preamp tubes
- 2 Groove Tubes EL84 power tubes
- Volume, tone, and reverb controls
- Independent spring reverb circuit
- Footswitch for "Vaporizer" mode
- Cool art deco look
The Vaporizer was tested by Vintage Guitar Magazine using a Fender American Vintage '65 Reissue Strat loaded with a trio of stock single-coil pickups and a Gibson Les Paul Standard sporting a pair of Gibson Burstbuckers.
In normal un-Vaporized mode, the Volume and Tone controls navigate the user through a very responsive and lively preamp with clear jangly top-end, tightly focused low-end, and punchy in-your-face mids with an abundance of natural overtones. With the Volume control turned all the way up, there was a nice touch-sensitive and moderately thick overdrive easily controlled and cleaned up with either pick attack or with the guitars' volume controls. The amp's single Tone control rolled off just enough high-end to keep the tone from getting too brittle (especially with the Strat's bridge pickup) and without cutting into the amp's overall gain/drive or its thick overtones.
Kicking the amp into Vaporizer mode with the included footswitch resulted in a thicker, higher-gain overdrive/distortion. Because this mode bypasses the amp's Volume and Tone controls (though not the Reverb) the high end can get a bit harsh, again, more so with single-coil pickups than with humbuckers, but the guitar's controls make quick work of toning down the highs. Also, the amp is definitely loud in Vaporizer mode, but not out-of-control loud; in a band or gig situation it probably would be just right, but at home in your bedroom it might be a bit much.
The amp's two custom ceramic magnet speakers add to its sonic output and its punchier midrange tone and tighter bottom end, resulting in a nice mix of classic Fender tone and British midrange bite. The spring reverb circuit is also classic Fender: crisp and clean with nice depth for that extra-wet sound, and it's driven independently of the amp's Volume control, so no matter where the Volume control is set, even in Vaporizer mode, the wet-to-dry reverb blend stays the same.
The Fender Vaporizer has a very nicely executed retro aesthetic design, stellar player-friendly features, and a super-lively touch-sensitive tone - all sure to launch your hottest licks into next galaxy.