In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we got hands on with one of the coolest amps around, the Supro Delta King 12. This amp is the successor to the incredibly popular Blues King series, and it offers so much more than meets the eye in terms of tone, and costs a lot less than you’d think it would.
Sweetwater provided this amp to us for the purpose of this review, but remember, all thoughts and opinions we have about it are our own. Keep on reading to see what we found out.
Who Is This For?
The Supro Delta King 12 offers so much that it works well for players of all levels. It’s a little loud for a bedroom amp, but it’s still a solid choice for practice in settings that don’t require too much quiet.
Not only is it great for practice, but with 15 watts of all tube power, and a 12” speaker, it’s definitely a giggable amp. Another great use for the Delta King 12 is in the studio – it records well, and even offers direct line out for power amp bypass, allowing you to plug right into your interface.
Appearance / Features / Controls
On unboxing the Delta King 12 we were blown over by the looks – Sweetwater sent us the black model with white stripes, and it was easily one of the coolest looking combos we’ve ever had our hands on. It’s also available in a tweed finish with black stripes if the black and white isn’t your thing. It had the classic vintage style logo, and even the vintage TV design grille cutout. With looks this good, it could even act as a living room talking piece for non-guitarists.
The carry handle was sturdy and comfortable, which is a good thing, as this amp isn’t particularly lightweight, coming in at 28 lb. It’s made with a poplar cabinet, wrapped in a pretty unique looking Tolex. Overall fit and finish was absolutely superb, even at the back, where other manufacturers tend to ignore, Supro made sure to cover all exposed wood. The whole unit was rock solid, with no rattles, even at high volume.
It had top-mounted controls, which helped to make the most of the available real estate on this amp. In keeping with the vintage vibe, the control selection was simple, containing a reverb dial, a volume knob, treble, mid, and bass EQ knobs, a master volume control, a standby switch (which was well received!), and a master power switch. On top of the basic controls, there were also boost and drive switches. The boost was FET driven, and the drive switch activated the Pigtronix FAT high gain mode. This let us dial in some serious crunch, even at lower volumes, which further enhanced the usefulness of this combo.
The speaker is a custom design, 12” unit. It’s punchy, but doesn’t try too hard to keep things tight, allowing for easy, yet ear pleasing break up. A rare feature, especially at this price point, was the real spring reverb. It added some fantastic texture to our sound, and really passed the vintage vibe check.
We were amazed at the range we managed to get from this Supro. We put it through its paces against a range of genres, and we loved the results.
The clean tones nailed the delta blues style, as you might expect from the name and the looks alone. It wasn’t Fender Princeton clean, but that’s not the aim here. It got right to the underside of the edge of breakup, and sounded great.
When we cranked the spring reverb and turned up the treble, the surf rock tone was fantastic. Again, it was a huge surprise to get these kinds of tones on face value, but after spending time with the Delta King, we learned that it’s capable of a lot more than the aesthetics lead you to believe.
Next, we switched on the boost, and this started saturating the tubes into some beautiful crunch, but they stopped short of full blown distortion at this point. This was exactly what we hoped for from the FET driven boost function.
After turning off the boost, and activating the drive switch this amp became a whole different animal. We got almost perfect AC/DC distortion without the need for pedals or any additional FX. The overdrive was focused, and never muddied the tones, which really helps this amp to stand out in a mix.
Of course, we had to finish by cranking this amp properly. We turned the boost back on, left on the drive, and turned the volume to max. This gave us some amazing hard rock tones and was perfect for the 80s hard rock and hair metal sound.
Final Thoughts on the Supro Delta King 12
We had been keen to try out the Supro Delta King 12 for some time, but just never got the chance, but now that we’ve had time to get to know it properly, we’re smitten. It’s a fantastic amp, and while it isn’t going to suit everybody, the broad range of tones, great looks, and reasonable price point are all big draws for the vast majority of players.
Considering this amp retails at well under $1000, you really are getting a lot for your money. It’s ready for the stage and the studio, and even if you don’t have your sights set on recording or live performance, it’s still a perfectly good (albeit loud) practice amp.