Surh has built a name for themselves among gear aficionados for their high quality guitars, effects pickups and amplifiers. A week ago we took a look at some of their pedals and pickups. Today we’re taking a closer look at one of their amps, the Suhr Corso – a 5 watt electric guitar tube amp head that aims to provide players with all the tone and character of a high-powered amplifier in a small, portable package that’s meant for work in the studio or for practice at home. Boasting an all-tube, variable wattage design, along with a very unique and stylish look, does the Suhr Corso deliver on its promise of big tone in a compact, convenient form factor?
The first thing you’ll notice with the Suhr Corso is that it features a design like no other amp head on the market. With its seven ply-wood cover and cocobolo-effect laminate, along with of either ‘Esher’ or ‘Confessional’ laser-cut front panels, the Suhr Corso definitely has the looks to match its high-end reputation.
Inside of the Corso’s stylish chassis, you can get a closer look at the amp head’s two printed circuit boards and mounted electronics. While the main board is relegated with most of the pre and power amp electronics, the second board – located behind the control panel – holds all of the knobs and switches aside from the power control. It’s a very intuitive design that surely allowed Suhr to make the most out of the Corso’s limited space.
As for the controls, the Corso features knobs for Drive, Power, Bass and Treble along with five independent switches consisting of Presence, Bright, Mid, Gain and Deep. While the four knobs are used for dialing in your base sound, the five switches work surprisingly well for both small, subtle fine tuning and more drastic changes, giving the Corso a very respectable amount of tonal possibilities, but it doesn’t end there.
With the onboard attenuator – located behind the power control, allowing the user to dial in the output wattage from zero to five – the Corso is able to easily yield a wide range of sounds from crisp and clean to a wall of harmonically rich overdriven lead tones at essentially any volume. If you turn the attenuator pot completely counter-clockwise, the Corso can function as a load, meaning that you can use the head’s line out without the need for a loudspeaker.
As far as sound goes, the Corso is downright impressive. The response is smooth and consistent, giving you the ability to reliably dial in nearly any sound you’d want with great precision. From crisp, clean tones perfect for single-coils, harmonically rich overdriven sounds that are the hallmark of classic rock to thick, high gain tones tailor made for dropped tuned guitars, the Corso can easily deliver and sounds amazing while doing so.
If you’ve played with your fair share of amps and heads, you’ve more than likely ran into amps that feature similar quick tone toggles as the Corso’s that failed to make a meaningful mark. Not so with this amp. With the flick of a toggle, you can quickly add a fatter midrange, a wider bass response, a more vibrant snap or even an impressive 12 dB of gain boost that will surely satisfy hard rock and metal players.
And seeing as how this amp was designed as a studio workhorse, you’ll be happy to know that the Corso is remarkably silent thanks to its high-quality components and great design, with just a slight bit of hiss when used with high gain tones. It also sounds great at lower volumes, although the volume on the lowest setting might be just a bit too loud for late-night practice sessions.
All in all, the Corso is a very impressive amp that delivers on its lofty goals. It’s wide ranging tonal possibilities, slew of comprehensive controls and consistent sound make it an excellent recording amp able to yield nearly any sound you would need, from vintage overdrive to brilliant cleans and crunchy high-gain distortion, the Surh Corso is studio workhorse packed inside a sleek, portable friendly package. Although the price tag might deter some, those willing to make the investment will find the Corso well worth every penny.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
Own or ever played a Suhr amplifier before? If so, how was your experience?
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