The SC-Mini is a Class A 6-watt combo amplifier powered by a single EL84 output tube, which is cathode self-biased. There’s a 5AR4 rectifier tube, an EF86/6267 in the preamp and a 12AX7 phase inverter. The controls are simply volume, tone, cut (a 5-position tone switch) and master. Around the back you’ll nd a pair of speaker jacks plus an effects loop and a line out. The speaker is a 10” Celestion Greenback in a poplar cabinet. Matchless says the circuits are made with a PC board but with many of the same components found in their larger amps, and that essentially it’s a Class A recording amp based off of Channel 2 of the DC30, SC30, and HC30 series.
I tested the SC-Mini with my Fender American Vintage Reissue ’62 Stratocaster with stock pickups, a ‘bitsa’ Strat with Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pros, a Taylor Solidbody with mini humbuckers and my Les Paul Traditional with Duncan JB and Jazz. Now, some Matchless amps I’ve played have excelled in their punch and growl. What’s really great about the SC-Mini is that it instead excels at clarity and depth. If you use single coils or low-output humbuckers there’s an almost acoustic-like response. You can especially hear it in the high-end definition: it feels like there’s a lot of air around the notes. Flip to a humbucker and you’ll get a blues-friendly sweetness in the bridge pickup and a very jazzy, deep neck tone. But really the true beauty of this amp is the magical stuff that happens when you plug in a Strat or a Tele and really explore the dynamic range. The effects loop is a great addition because Matchless have kept things pretty sparse with the absence of onboard reverb. Now you have the option of adding whatever ambient effect you like. And the line out can be used as a slave out to drive another amplifier or as a direct out to feed a line level signal to a recording board or PA. It’s not cabinet-emulated or anything like that, so don’t expect to plug right into a mixing desk and sound like a mic’d amp.
This is a really beautiful, clear-sounding amp that can be coaxed into more of a grunty bluster, but is happiest when you’re playing more delicate, soulful, jangly, ringy things through it rather than blasting out power chords to piss off the neighbours. And it’s relatively affordable for a Matchless too.
For more details on Matchless products, visit www.guitarfactory.net.