Ever thought you’d love to marry the sonic qualities of a deep, bold 6L6 and a chewy, harmonically complex EL84 in one amp? The Carr Telstar does just that, and blasts a new tonal template into the stratosphere as a result, attaining myriad ‘brand-new classic’ tones you previously didn’t know existed.
The key to the Telstar’s unique capabilities lies in its merger of two very different power tubes in the same push-pull output stage: a 5881 (6L6GC type) exerts solidity, control, and a bountiful low end; an EL84 slathers on sinewy, complex, overtone-laden shimmer and bite. There’s really nothing like it, yet put them together and the plethora of tones available are instantly inspiring.
Dial it all in with the aid of a Lean/Lush switch to tailor the body of the tone and a 53/58 switch to alter the gain structure and the frequencies the Tone control emphasizes, and there’s an amazingly broad range of colors and textures to explore. The Telstar easily achieves recognizable renditions of traditional sounds — tweedy, Marshally, blackfacey — all with superb dynamics and playability. But the amp’s real beauty is in the way it crafts utterly original blends from the broad sonic palette, which instantly sound iconic and expressive all on their own. Dial it all anywhere from 16 watts to 0 via the Telstar’s built-in attenuator, and it’s perfect for home, club, and studio alike.
While the Telstar always uses one EL84, the 5881 (6L6GC type) can be swapped for other conventional octal types. For you tube tasters, consider that that means it’s much easier to find a good, relatively affordable single NOS 6L6, EL34, 6V6 or even EL84 tubes than it is a matched pair. The vintage-tube explorations open up untold depths of sonic variation in the Telstar, while mixing and matching a variety of new-make tubes also enhances the amp’s flexibility. Add Carr’s lush tube-driven, long-spring reverb and it’s one big shimmering pool of three-dimensional tone in an appealingly compact package.
The Telstar’s circuit is assembled with Carr’s legendary hand-wired, point-to-point construction, using Satellite grade power components, signal elements from the golden age of analog amplification, and other high-end parts. It’s all bolted into a highly resonant house-crafted cabinet made from thin walled ultra-ply, with a ‘stressed member’ speaker baffle for optimal character.
The Telstar — launch into a bold new universe of expressiv