Retro-Channel

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Retro-Channel was an attempt by Austin studio musician Lance Keltner and an engineering friend to create the solid state equivalent of the highly-acclaimed Ken Fischer line of Trainwreck amplifiers. It was in 2010 or so that Retro-Channel started selling its amplifiers. Unfortunately, attempts to look up www.retro-channel.com site are in vain. The original Retro-Channel site went dark in late 2012 and recently seems to have been picked by "Golden Age of TV" enthusiasts.

The RR1, or Retro-wreck

Retro-Channel's first offering into the music amplifier market was released as the Retro-Channel RR1, or the "Retrowreck". Many say that not only did Keltner and complany succeed, but that they created something that required far less maintenance and, despite being a solid state amp, sounds completely like a tube amp. Reviews across the internet almost uniformly praised this amplifier as a masterpiece. Of course, there are some who are dubious of it when compared with other offerings.

Power Amp

Retro-Channel also offered a solid-state power amp that would interface with digital pre-amps, like the AxeFx. This unit also was the object of high praise back in 2011 or so.

Pedals

Finally, Retro-Channel also made a foray into the pedal market, offering both a play on the Mark II Tone Bender Fuzz, (called "The Fuzz"), and a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster (called the "Trouble Booster"). Both are now hard to find. It may be possible, just not probable, to still be able to get these pedals new from retailers that never moved the stock.

Thermionic's RR1

Thermionic Studios has picked up a Retrowreck for a VERY good price on the used market on eBay. You may want to pick one up while people don't seem to appreciate and therefore want them. The RR1 originally sold for about $1000 new. We picked ours up for $420. We expect these amps to be highly collectable in the coming years. Given the current increasing demand for older solid state (and in our opinion, unmusical) amps like Peaveys and Kustoms, that an RR1 can be had for such a low price right now is rather astonishing.

Status

We managed to find Lance Keltner's email address. We reached out to him attempting to dig up a product manual and a schematic, in case there are any future servicing issues of our RR1. Lance said that the RR1 sold without a manual because the controls were self-explanatory. He didn't have a schematic but indicated he would look up one for us. When asked why Retro-Channel no longer seemed to be an ongoing business venture, Lance's email back was, "It's a rough business".

Future Considerations

It seems clear that there will not be any new RR1 amps offered. We HIGHLY recommend you get yours on the used market while you can. We believe they will eventually be worth thousands of dollars. We will be trying to get one or two more (based on our own rental demand) ourselves.