The Monarch is the flagship Benson Amp. It features a unique British-American switch, simple yet highly versatile controls, and perfect range of power to be used both cleanly and pushed on the stage and studio without wearing out its welcome.
The circuit design is 100% original, or actually maybe just a combination of 30 different amps Chris likes plus a few ideas of his own. Either way, the resulting amplifier could be, and often is, the end of your search for perfect guitar tone.
The Monarch was designed to make you consider ditching your drive pedals (though it takes pedals like a winner). It was designed to have harmonics when clean, and clarity when it’s pushed. It is designed to transition from clean to compressed to distortion with a complete lack of harsh harmonics or weird resonances. The speaker cabinet is open backed and pine to project sound in all directions like an acoustic guitar…a true tone wood that lends it’s own musicality to the guitar’s sound. The build and finish quality is second to none.
We get asked constantly "What is the Monarch based on?". Translation: "Which 60s/70s amplifier did you clone and tweak when you developed your product?". It's a fair question...most builders do this, and that is fine. We did something new, so there isn't a simple answer. However, we can tell you where the Monarch falls in terms of sound and feel compared to existing amplifiers.
The Monarch was designed to fulfill the needs of players who:
Enjoy a Tweed Deluxe but find it could be lacking in punch and versatility
Enjoy a Top Boost AC15 or 30 but find the upper frequencies a little quacky and grating
Enjoy a Supro Thunderbolt but want more clarity and better harmonics
Think some boutique amps they have tried are too bright and/or lacking a certain something…what is it called…tone that satisfies.
Guitar Player Magazine Editors Pick January 2016
Premier Guitar Premier Gear December 2015
Larry Crane's Best of NAMM Jan 2015
2 x JJ 6V6 power tubes, 2 x JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes, 5AR4 rectifier
13-18 watts (depending on rectifier)
Speaker outputs: 1 x 8 ohm, 1 x 16 ohm
Point to point construction on terminal strips - no circuit, eyelet or turret board
Mercury Magnetics transformers
Carbon Comp resistors
DC filments for low noise
Dovetailed pine speaker cabinets
Baltic birch head cabinets
Customizations (selectable on order form)
Celestion G12H Well-balanced… a great choice for most Monarchs
Weber 12A125A Darker, less efficient AlNiCo for a tweed sound