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Backline Engineering Launches The ZenTone7 Class-A Tube Guitar Amplifier


BackLine Engineering today announced ZenTone7™, a class-A tube amp combining a vintage design with several advanced features. Control settings can be saved as presets while maintaining an all-tube signal path. It can accept a wide array of tubes without re-biasing and allows on-the-fly switching between three different preamp gain structures and four output tube configurations. This allows you to achieve a wide variety of classic tube amp tones at low to medium volume settings.

ZenTone7 is a seven-watt class-A design employing a 250V all-tube circuit that can be connected to either a 4-ohm or 8-ohm speaker cabinet. You can select a single stage preamp or a dual stage preamp using one of three preamp gain structures. You can also select between an EL84 or octal output tube and whether the output tube operates in Pentode or Triode mode. In Triode mode, the amp produces a darker tone at a reduced power level for more tonal options. ZenTone7 provides the convenience of storing all amp settings in one of 64 preset locations effectively creating a 64-channel tube amp. As a practice or recording amp, it can deliver great output tube overdrive at reasonable volume settings through a speaker cabinet, or while sending its direct output signal to a mixing board or audio interface device.

With its internal speaker load and speaker emulation circuit, the XLR or unbalanced direct output captures the tone of the entire tube amp signal path including the output transformer. When the external speaker cable is unplugged, the internal speaker load is engaged. Use a standard latching footswitch to cycle through different preset groups or select presets and change control settings from an external MIDI source. With the free Windows editing software, the amp can be completely controlled using MIDI. For example during recording, you can control the amp tone remotely from the mixing room.

The following is a list of ZenTone7 features:

  • 7 watt class-A single-ended amp head
  • Authentic 250V tube amp signal path based on classic designs
  • Two 12AX7 preamp tubes (substitute 12AT7, 12AU7, 12AY7, 12AZ7 for different tones) Select between 3 preamp gain structures
  • Switch between EL84 or octal output tube with the push of a button
  • The octal tube socket can accept 6V6 (included), 6L6, EL34, KT77, KT88 or 6550 output tubes without re-biasing
  • Select traditional output tube Pentode mode or output tube Triode mode for a darker tone with more compression
  • Gain, bass, mid, treble and master volume controls
  • Bright switch
  • All the above control values can be stored in 64 preset locations
  • Unbalanced and XLR direct outputs with level control
  • Direct out contains entire tube signal path from the input to the speaker output
  • Built-in reactive speaker load when external speaker is unplugged
  • Direct out has speaker emulation frequency curve
  • Direct out level control can act like a power attenuator allowing you to overdrive the output tube
  • Cycle through presets or different groups of presets using a simple external latching footswitch (not included)
  • Preset zero is a true bypass from input to unbalanced direct output
  • MIDI input for selecting presets or controlling any parameter
  • DC tube filaments for reduced noise
  • Free Windows software for controlling the amp using MIDI

You can check out some of the demo tracks at ZenTone7 is shipping now and will be initially sold directly from the factory at a selling price of $995.

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For more information, visit their web site at

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David Mellor