Achillies – Argos Hand Wired 50w Combo
The 50w Argos sounds just as good as a combo, which combines the hallmark British sound into a rehearsal, recording or stage ready 1x12 or 2x10 combo. Delivering the signature classic tone that only a pair of EL34’s and a solid state rectifier can kick out, this is the quintessential rock setup used on countless recordings and live concerts. Combo’s are the format of choice for players seeking a more mid-focused, widespread sound which also can open up the scope of the bass knob in the EQ section for added versatility. An open back combo should be a staple in every guitarist’s arsenal, and the Achillies 50w Argos is made to rock, whether in a 1x12 configuration with a Celestion Creamback 65 or 75, or in a 2x10 format with with Celestion G10 Creambacks or Greenbacks.
The first thing that stands out on the Argos are the 6 switches – the ‘eyes’ of the giant! The easiest way to think of it is that when all switches are in the up position, the amp is in stock or traditional mode. Clockwise from the Master switch, the ‘eyes’ do as follows…
1. The Master switch introduces a Master Volume which is accessible on the rear control panel of the amp. Being true bypass, this means that when not selected it is 100% out of the signal and the traditional dual channel volumes are in play. The Master switch allows selection for maximum clean headroom, or will tame the Argos to bedroom/studio output volumes. Even at the lowest of volume levels, clarity and punch is clear in this amp, perfect for late night jamming or recording.
2. The Bright switch adds extra high end definition to the sound of the amp – this really works well for darker humbucker equipped guitars to cut through a band mix, to adapt the Argos to different speaker types, or to bring out overall additional presence and twang to your tone.
3. Blend is an incredibly useable option that essentially replaces the need to run a patch cable between the 2 channels. Many 4-hole Marshall players have long bridged the dual inputs, or run an A/B box to select between higher or lower gain inputs on the brighter Channel 1 or the darker Channel 2. While this is still totally possible for purists on the Argos, the Blend control allows instant access to both channels, while being plugged into one input – total flexibility in order to shape your preamp gain settings!
4. The Edge provides tight EQ focus to further shape the sound of the Argos. This switch comes into play more noticeably at higher preamp gain levels – chords will be noticeably tighter and clearer and leads will sustain and ‘hang’ more.
5. A Major feature of the Argos - in the down position, the traditional squish and full low end of the classic rock tones is there in spades, perfect for more 60's style rock sounds. Middle position on the Cut Switch introduces the first tone shaping capacitor, which removes a degree of low end, tightening up the sound for 70's and 80's rock. The up, or most aggressive position on the Cut switch inserts a second higher value capacitor, which further cuts the flub at higher preamp gain settings. This brings out the crunch and sizzle of classic to modern heavy rock and metal, absolutely perfect for fast rhythm work and shredding leads. Your sound can get really aggressive especially when used together with the Bright and Edge switches!
6. Switching to Raw entirely defeats the TMB tonestack from the circuit – even more punch is available here, and in the Raw setting, maximum gain is extracted from the Argos. Use your favourite EQ in the FX Loop, or simply use your guitar’s volume knob to work through the shades of grind and compression on offer – maximum touch sensitivity and feel lives in here.
The rear panel open up even more options on the Argos – the eyes of the giant continue!
From left to right:
7. A top quality FX Loop circuit which carefully preserves tone, with an FX Loop Level control built in. Very handy for regulating the overall blended volume of modulation, time based and volume pedals in your rig.
8. Master Volume - Accessible when master switch is engaged - see 1.
9. A line out jack with level control. With a load plugged into the speaker outs, run this straight to your DAW interface, live mixing desk for foldback levels, or headphones for in ear monitoring.
10. Speaker outs for 4, 8 or 16 ohms
11. Tube Power switch – select 50 watts for maximum headroom and less saturation or 25 watts for more compression and earlier breakup. This switch, when used in conjunction with the switches on the front panel really opens the Argos up for a huge range of feel and tonalities.
12. AC Voltage Selector – Step Up or Down transformers are not needed with the Argos. No matter where you live, select your country’s voltage requirements and plug in.
Truly a multi-faceted giant of an amp, the Argos presents the player with an array of usable and fine-tuned options that will encourage you shape and refine your tone to your exacting specifications, or simply plug in and rock out. Designed to open all sonic possibilities of a high end, meticulously handwired British style rock amp to the guitarist, the Argos nails those classic tones you’ve always wanted, while being as simple or complex as you need - allowing innumerable ways to ‘see’ and get the most out of your rig and playing.
We recently took delivery of a Custom Argos 50W Combo with a G12H 75 creamback here in Western Australia, and to say we are impressed would be an understatement. Build quality far exceeded our expectations, and the sound that this amp omits is absolutely phenomenal. The custom options for our amp were exactly what we wanted, to make it a completely individual piece (snake skin burgundy no less). An absolute credit to the Achillies team. Beyond words really. A work of art. Thanks.