Since 1998, Ben Fargen has established a reputation for building amps based on classic British and American designs, and for offering aftermarket mods to expand/enhance other builders’ designs.
Fargen’s nod to the British stacks of yore is the Olde 800 Mk2. A 25-watt head fuelled by two EL34 power tubes. The amp has diode rectification and a preamp with three 12AX7s. Via its three-position “Decade” switch, the amp aims to mimic the tones of stacks from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The front panel also has dials for Drive, Master, Treble, Mid, Bass, and Presence. Mercury Magnetics transformers and SoZo Mustard Vintage Capacitors are proprietary components of circuit.
With the Decade switch set to “’60s,” the amp behaves like a plexi-panel Marshall, exhibiting full bass and plenty of mids, as well as the characteristic brightness expected of amps from that era. It goes from warm and mostly clean to crunchier Hendrix and Clapton tones with a few simple tweaks of the Tone, Volume, and Master Volume controls.
Turning the Decade switch to the “’70s” setting tightened low-end response, lessens brightness, and gave a bit more headroom. With a Gibson / humbucking style guitar you can dial up a nice Dickey-Betts style clean with a bit of hair, or turn it up a little for some dirty, feedback-enhanced sustain.
The “80s” setting produces much more gain, with hard rock and metal tones more prevalent. Please note, this particular Olde 800 was ordered in 2014 direct from the factory without the 80’s setting as it was of no use to the original owner.
- Custom Mercury Magnetics transformer set
- SoZo vintage style mustard capacitors
- Fargen Custom Shop resistors
- DC filaments for ultra-quiet operation
- 1/8″ aluminium chassis for true vintage British amp sound
- 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
- 2 x EL-34 power tubes
- 50 or 25 watts
- Passive effects loop
- 25 September 2014 build date
Build quality on the Olde 800 Mk2 is high, and the tone controls are very responsive, with usable ranges throughout. At 25 watts and 35 pounds, this is a fine gigging amp for musicians wanting classic British-stack tone without tone-robbing attenuation. It should also appeal to the Marshall lover who wants the characteristic sounds of those decades without having to haul around multiple heads. It scores high marks for construction, components and, most importantly – tone.
Besides the mod on the Decade switch, this amp has had a reduced power option installed, allowing the user to switch between 25 watts and 12.5 watts output. This is via the rear panel, where the standby switch has been replaced by a 3 position switch: Up = 25 watts, middle position = Standby, Down = 12.5 watts.
This amp is in as new condition. It runs 240v power and has no marks, bruises, scratches or sign of any wear. It has its own black vinyl cover, and would suit a new buyer.
Fargen website link – http://www.exclusiveamps.com/olde-800-mkii/