With many classics in their range including the Ecstacy, Uberschall and Shiva, Bogner have also received plenty of attention over the last few years with their Goldfinger range of amps. Harmonically rich for cleans and dirty tones, they really are gigging tone monsters capable of sounding juicy and big at usable volume levels. Adding a twist to the Goldfinger design Bogner have released the 54 Phi onto the guitar playing public – let’s see if it keeps up the Goldfinger name.
Taking its name from a Greek letter, the Phi comes in either a head or 1x12 combo with options for 1x12 and 2x12 cabs. Control-wise the Goldfinger has a lot going on, and couple that with the funky layout and you might be a little overwhelmed at first. Never fear though, looking closer you can also use the 54 Phi as a fairly straight ahead amp but with the added feature set to really tweak. Coming with a pair of both 6V6 and 6L6 tubes you can also run the amp with either type or both for a multitude of combinations. Then add in the ability to run the amp at high or low voltage (low equating to roughly half power) and you’ve got a lot of possibilities. Standard type controls for presence, loudness, gain, bass, middle and treble are joined on the front panel by solo and boost levels plus a BAX EQ and high and low EQ expand switches.
Plugging in, flicking to low voltage and aimlessly spinning a few controls I’m greeted with a sensational chimey clean tone. The onboard DSP reverb is lush and tasteful with plenty of scope to suit many tastes. Headroom to burn here also via the balance of the loudness and gain controls. For dirt you can increase the gain control and work with the solo and boost functions for edgy broken tunes and more saturated singing overdrive. The BAX EQ, which is designed to completely change the tone stack, radically changes the amp levels and tones and the expand switches really let you hone in on certain sounds - great for the serial amp tweakers out there. A single channel amp by design, the 54 Phi has a lot of in-built functionality to operate as more than that if you need. The reverb, FX loop boost and solo boost can all be controlled with a footswitch, adding plenty of options on the fly. This review isn’t enough space to describe the tonal capabilities and features in any detail, you really need to try the Phi 54 for yourself as there’s so much tonal goodness under the hood you need to hear it in person.
I loved the Goldfinger 45 and 90 and the 54 Phi continues on with that theme whilst adding a little of its own flavour to the mix. Bogner make some seriously good gear and the 54 Phi is another killer amp. The combination of 6L6 and 6V6 tubes is great and the amount of features to tweak is amazing. What I really love though is the fact that it’s got a killer clean tone and then killer dirty tones all the way through to chunky rock.
Hits and Misses
A seriously good amp for gigging and recording.
Housed in some hip amp cloth and a gold faceplate the Goldfinger Phi 54 also looks damn cool.