Like the original NewCastle, the Jackson Ampworks NewCastle 30 is a simple tone machine that will cover everything from pristine British clean to straight up Rock and everywhere in between. The clean tones are rich and full of authority with sparkling highs that never become brittle or piercing. The low end was specifically designed to remain tight and punchy even when cranked so you’ll never lose definition when playing at loud volumes. The NewCastle 30 adds to the NewCastle’s tone with increased headroom and low end punch and clarity. Tonally the NewCastle 30 has an English heritage but is cleaner and more robust than many EL84 based amps. The NewCastle 30 is perfect for the player that uses a lot of pedals and wants an affordable clean platform to work from. In fact the NewCastle 30 remains clean up till around 2:00 on the Volume control and from there breaks up into the most musical overdrive you have ever heard! One of the best features of the NewCastle 30 is how well it cleans up when you roll the volume on your guitar down. With the NewCastle 30 you may find that you don’t need your overdrive pedals anymore as the volume control on your guitar acts like a gain control on the amp depending on how hard you play. In fact, you may find that your favorite setting is to leave the Volume up all the way on the amp and use your guitars volume to vary between your clean and dirty tones! Couple this with its very effective Tone control, and the NewCastle 30 can morph between pristine clean, hard rock and warm smooth jazz tones with ease!
The NewCastle 30 is a lesson in simplicity. Someone once asked, “What’s your secret to great tone?” Answer: “Use good parts, and use as few as possible.” That is what the NewCastle 30 is all about. The design was purposefully kept simple to make it easier to dial in and to keep your tone as pure as possible. During the design phase of the NewCastle 30 Jackson Ampworks spent many hours working with artists, producers and engineers and used their feedback to help dial in the circuit so that the NewCastle 30 would work seamlessly with all types of guitars, pickups and effects and the extra effort was well worth it! The NewCastle 30 is a perfect go-to amp for players looking to capture great tone either live or in the studio! Special attention was paid during the design of the NewCastle 30 to guarantee that lack of headroom would never be a concern as is often the case with other 30W amps. To give as much power and headroom as possible, the power supply and output section were overbuilt to guarantee that the amp delivers every last bit of power possible out of it’s quartet of EL84’s! In addition to this, the NewCastle 30 features a Variable Power Supply which allows the high voltage of the amp to be seamlessly adjusted from 100% power down to 10% power with no tonal change at all. The only difference is how loud the amp is! The tone and dynamics stay the same and all the touch sensitivity you would expect from a tube amp remain constant but now at bedroom volumes! Along with the power amp section, the preamp has been designed to handle single coil as well as humbucker equipped guitars with ease and without becoming flabby in the low end, even when the amp is cranked! Try the NewCastle 30 yourself and experience its ease of use and pure rich tone, and you’ll agree that simple really is better!
The front panel features a single Input, Volume and Tone controls and the addition of a Power control. The Volume control acts as both a Volume as well as a gain control. The higher you run the Volume the more the amp will overdrive in response to how hard the player attacks the strings. The Tone control acts as a master tone control for the entire amp and works similar to the tone control on a guitar. Rotating the Tone control clockwise will increases the high-end response of the amp and conversely rotating the Tone control counter clockwise removes high-end response from the amp which helps when a darker tone is desired or with bright sounding guitars. The full clockwise position removes the Tone control from the amplifier circuit to keep your original tone as pure as possible. The Power control on the front of the amp is where you can adjust to total output of the amp. Not a master volume though! While the Power does control the overall volume of the amp it does so by varying the high voltage of the amp from full power, 30W Class A to 1/8W Class A. Try starting with the Power control at the 30W setting (fully clockwise) and adjusting lower as needed for the band or room you are playing in. Lower settings on the Power control will allow you to increase the Volume control for more gain while keeping the overall volume of the amp at a reasonable volume. For occasions when the player does not need to Power Scale the amplifier a Power Scaling bypass switch has been included that allows the player to completely bypass the Power Scaling feature and return the NewCastle 30 to stock performance.
WARNING: Never flip the Power Scaling Bypass Switch to the OFF position unless the Power control is in the full clockwise position. Doing so will cause undue stress on the amplifier and switch as the amplifier attempts to rapidly rebias itself. Like the front panel, the back panel is kept very simple. There are two speaker out jacks with an impedance selector switch that provides outputs of either 8 or 16 ohms. Located next to that are the Power and Standby switches as well as an IEC module with an integrated fuse and a switch for selecting between 120V and 240V operation. With the NewCastle 30 you’ll never have to worry about traveling on the road since the amp is designed to work at all line voltages!
To make the NewCastle 30 even more flexible, Jackson Ampworks have incorporated a series FX loop between the preamp and power-amp. Adding an FX loop here allows the player to use his/her effects in the loop and not interfere with the critical relationship between the guitar and preamp.