Strictly speaking I’m breaking the rules of the reviews board by doing a review of an amp that I’ve just acquired, but I had another of these amps back in 2012 and regretted selling it (it was a financial necessity at the time) so I figure it’s OK.
The Trademark 60 is a compact 60 watt 1x12 solid state combo.
pro quality solid state amps are starting to become more commonly available again, but for a while this and the JC120 were just about the only game in town.
New they are fairly expensive at getting on for £600, but then they are made in New York. Secondhand they go for quite a bit less and can be a bargain.
The build quality is equivalent to a decent mid range valve amp all the materials are good quality with chunky corner protectors, decent knobs and switches etc.
One thing to note is that there are two versions of this amp the first generation uses a custom sized driver which can’t be replaced and the v2 uses a standard sized Celestial Seventy 80 (they also have different shaped foot switches).
I think one thing that stands in the way of the popularity of these amps are the weird controls. It has controls called “bite”, “punch”, “weep” and “growl” which don’t easily map to controls people are familiar with on normal amps. In addition the shared “low" and “high” controls are active with a big sweep. All this adds up to making it an amp that isn’t easy to dial in without a bit of work. The other issue is that the shared EQ makes it tricky to get both channels sounding good at the same time.
Despite being a small amp it’s got quite a few features with 2 channels, boost, reverb and effects loop all being controllable from the foot switch (which sensibly uses a regular cable not a silly proprietary one).
Also increasingly rare in the mid priced amp world is a proper spring reverb for when you need some “boing” in your life.
Being a Tech21 product you also get a proper Sansamp out on an XLR meaning you don’t really need to worry about micing it up.
Channel 1 is the “Fender” channel. The “Bite” control is essentially a bright switch. With it switched off you get more of a solid state jazz amp type sound, but when engaged it’s into classic blackface. The “punch” control is the thing that matters on this channel and brings in more mids along with drive. (If you push the drive with the “punch” turned down it doesn’t really do anything.) As the punch gets wound up the character turns from blackface to tweed and you get some great dynamic biting drive sounds. I really wish you could just have two channel ones as this could easily be my clean and drive channel all in one.
Channel 2 is supposed to cover the rock sounds and it’s not something I’ve ever really been that excited about. The “growl” control is some kind of mid contour which never sounds like it’s quite dialled in right. The gain is thick and syrupy and doesn’t respond all that well to pick dynamics. The “weep” control just serves to remove yet more dynamics and so it’s only really gone on for the purposes of turning up my nose at before turning it off again.
The real problem of channel 2 is that it’s much bassier and darker than channel 1 so the shared EQ doesn’t let you get two sounds that work at the same time. The closest I got was to turn the “bite” switch off on channel one, but that’s too much of a compromise as it is what unlocks the magic on that channel so you just end up with two balanced but uninspiring sounds. Given that channel 1 takes pedals brilliantly it’s much easier to just stick a distortion into channel 1 and give up on channel 2 which is what I did.