Supro Delta King 12 Review: A Tasty Valve Combo Amp

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With so many sweet tube combo amps on the market, guitar players are really spoilt for choice––which can make the decision-making process tricky.

The Supro Delta King 12 is a gorgeous looking and sounding 12", 15-watt combo guitar amplifier. The small and portable dimensions make this ideal as a practice amp, or even as a touring workhorse mic'd up on stage.

Compared to the competition, this amp stands out for its incredibly authentic vintage look and tone making it a perfect choice for blues, country, and jazz players seeking a warm tube sound.

Of course, this vintage-styled tube amplifier won't be for everybody––it's pretty niche. For example, some players would prefer the speed and flexibility of a solid-state amplifier. However, if you love retro amplification then this will really get you going. It's also surprisingly versatile, thanks to the boost, drive, and reverb circuits.

This review takes a deeper look at the Supro Delta King 12, and suggests some similar models to compare it to!

Supro Delta King 12: Overview - Average Rating: 4/5

The Supro Delta King 12 is a blues amp if we've ever seen one. Even the name 'Delta' is a reference to the Delta Blues, which was an early form of this music that inspired generations of subsequent blues musicians.

Despite the vintage styling, don't let the looks of this amp make you think that it's stuck in yesteryear. While the tone is authentically old-school, the Delta King has a bunch of modern features that meet the needs of today's guitar players, like an extra power amp input, a circuit-switching foot pedal connection, and a line out. All of these make it suitable for modern performers and give it a bit more functionality in the recording process.

Being 1x12" and 15-watt, it's on the more controlled end of the volume spectrum, but can still go pretty loud and might be too much for smaller rooms. You might consider looking at its smaller brother, the Supro Delta King 10 for a more compact amp with the same design.

It's a tube amp too, which is somewhat of a love-or-hate characteristic in the guitar community. It has the benefits of a rich, warm, vintage tube tone, at the cost of the limitations of tube circuitry, including warm-up times, sensitivity, and degradation.

Why We Like It

  • Super stylish, retro aesthetic with a tweed finish––it looks great!
  • Authentic vintage tone, perfect for blues, country, and jazz.
  • Built-in spring reverb, 3-band EQ, and multiple gain channels.
  • Includes a boost and drive switch for a bit of extra bite and volume.

What Could Be Improved

  • Slightly limited sonic characteristics
  • Starts to break up fairly early in the gain staging
  • Boost and drive switches don't have additional volume controls
  • Vague low end when using humbuckers
Number of ChannelsSingle Channel
Total Power15W
Speaker Size1 x 12" Supro DK12
Preamp Tubes1 x 12AX7
Power Tubes1 x 6L6
ReverbSpring Reverb
EffectsBoost, Drive
EQ3-band EQ
Inputs1 x 1/4" (line in)
Outputs1 x 1/4" (line out)
Extra power amp input
Weight28 lbs.

Supro Delta King 12: Main Features Reviewed

Now, let's have a deeper look at the main features and performance of this amplifier.

Sound Quality: 4/5

The Supro Delta King 12 boasts a rich and dynamic sound quality that sets it apart in its class.

With its all-tube design and custom Supro BD12 speaker, this amplifier delivers a warm, vintage tone that's perfect for classic blues tones.

Whether you're dialing in gritty overdrive or smooth clean tones, the Delta King 12 excels in reproducing authentic vintage sounds with remarkable clarity and depth. While it is more geared towards blues and other classic genres, it still performs well with a bit of crunch.

I will say that the low end can be a bit vague if you're using pickups, mostly due to being a single-speaker model it can lack a bit of clarity in the lower frequencies––but it's not a dealbreaker.

I'll also mention the built-in spring reverb tank, which is completely analog. This has a very satisfying, organic sound, which I much prefer over the tone of a digital reverb. It has that nostalgic, iconic spring sound that you'll recognize from genres like Surf and vintage Blues.

Responsiveness: 4/5

One of the standout features of the Supro Delta King 12 is its exceptional responsiveness to player dynamics.

From subtle nuances to pluckier styles of playing, this amplifier responds well with a decent output of dynamic range, allowing players to express themselves fully through their instrument.

The amp's dynamic range ensures that every note is articulated with clarity and definition––which is nice, as some amps in this size tend to have a slightly compressed sound. It certainly delivers enough punch and power when you use a more percussive playing style.

Performance and Volume: 4/5

In terms of performance, the Supro Delta King 12 shines on stage and in the studio alike.

With 15 watts of power, this little amp is capable of delivering ample volume for small to medium-sized venues while retaining its signature tone and clarity even at higher volumes.

Whether you're jamming with friends, recording in the studio, or performing live, the Delta King 12 delivers consistent and reliable performance across the board. As you would expect, there is a fair amount of breakup at louder levels, but the saturation is pleasing and it isn't nasty like some cheaper solid-state amplifiers.

Being 15 watts, you might need to mic it up and run it through the front-of-house PA for larger venues, but it will be enough for smaller rooms. As for practice spaces, you can dial the guitar's volume back enough to a suitable level, and it still performs well and doesn't lack clarity or balance.

Features and Controls: 4/5

The Supro Delta King 12 offers a straightforward yet versatile selection of features and controls to suit a variety of playing styles and preferences. While the vintage look might deceive you into thinking it has a vintage internal design, it's actually fairly feature-rich and comes with some nice modern functionality.

For starters, it has a simple control layout including Volume, 3-band EQ (with a separate treble, mid, and bass knob), and Master Volume controls. It also includes a FET-driven Boost function that you can control with a foot switch, so players can easily dial in their desired tone with minimal hassle, and step up the gain with a single tap.

It would be nice to see some extra volume controls to set the level with the boost engaged, just for a bit more control over the gain staging, but it isn't a huge issue and can be controlled with additional guitar pedals.

Additionally, the inclusion of an effects loop provides added flexibility for integrating external effects pedals into your setup, further enhancing the amp's sonic capabilities. The fact that it features a line output makes it particularly useful in recording studios, as you can capture both a microphone and direct signal from the amp, giving you a bit more control over the recorded sound.

It also features an extra power amp input, which is useful if you want to use the speaker and cabinet, but try out a different amp head––very neat!

Overall, the Delta King 12's intuitive design and thoughtful features make it a solid choice for guitarists seeking classic tone and performance in a compact and portable package.

It has a range of nifty features for crafting a tone and is all around a great amp in terms of features and controls.

Sure, it is pretty minimalistic in the larger picture of guitar amps. But for a compact tube combo, it has everything you need, and delivers on the promises it makes.

Things To Think About Before Buying A Tube Combo Guitar Amplifier

Tube combo guitar amps have a range of unique personality traits, which can be quite divisive in the guitar community. These tend to a more niche style of amp than solid state and come with a few tradeoffs to access their sweet, rich, and resonant tones.

Also, there are a range of general considerations you need to make when buying an amplifier to make sure that you get one that suits your needs. Because there is such a huge range of products and specifications, you should put the research time in so you get an amp you'll love.

Sonic Characteristics and Tone Styling

The first thing to think about when choosing a new guitar amp is what kind of sound and tonal range you're interested in. There is an infinite spectrum of sonic styles available from amps - some are more focused on their clean tone, while others are designed to be overdriven and distorted.

This choice mostly comes down to the style of music you play - obviously, you're going to want something that has the capacity to create a sweet tone in your preferred genre.

The easiest way to get a taste of what a guitar amp sounds like is to listen to it in person - but you can also make a pretty good judgment from online recordings and videos. Also, the branding, design, and visual aesthetics of an amp are usually a pretty good indicator of what kind of players it's designed for.

Wattage and Volume

The volume and powering of an amp is another essential consideration. You need to make sure that you get an amp that is loud enough for your loudest playing situations (think about stage and venue size), but also performs well enough at lower volumes for your quieter sessions.

This can be a bit of a catch-22, as louder amps tend not to perform so well in quieter situations, and vice versa. An amp that's designed to fill a larger venue is probably going to be too loud for you to practice with at home.

15-watt amps like this Supro Delta King model sit in a good mid-level in terms of volume. They can be dialed back enough not to deafen you in your practice room, but also sound good when cranked up for a gig––although you might need to mic it up for larger venues.

Features, Controls, and Functionality

Are you an amp minimalist, or do you want a bunch of controls to fiddle with? This is something else you need to consider when choosing your amp––and it also depends on how many guitar pedals you use.

If you want more features and controls, you should expect to pay a bit more, and perhaps sacrifice on sound quality compared to an amp with the same price and fewer features. That said, if you want to strip down your pedal board and mostly shape your tone with on-amp controls, you'll need one that meets your needs.

Most amps come with some kind of equalizer, but if you want extra effects like reverbs, modulation, or digital amp simulation, you might need to do a bit of digging.

Downsides of Tube Amps - Do You Really Want a Tube Amp?

The final consideration for this type of amp is whether you really want a tube amp. While they are sonically gorgeous and are widely loved for their saturated and analog tone, you do have to make a few compromises compared to solid-state circuitry.

The main compromises you need to think about are

  • Warm-up times - Because they use analog tubes, you need to wait for these amps to warm up before they sound their best. This can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes. This isn't a dealbreaker in most situations, but for some discerning tone aficionados on a tight timeline, it might not make the grade.
  • Maintenance - Unlike solid-state amplifiers, tube amps have degradable components (the tubes) that need to be replaced over time. These tubes eventually wear out and lose their quality (and can break completely). This is a minor expense and inconvenience but can be a dealbreaker for some players.
  • Fragility - Tube amps are also more sensitive to damage due to the intricate nature of their valves. The filaments can break under extreme movements, and you can shatter the glass valves if you're not careful.

Ideal Customers (and Who Should Avoid)

Based on the review above, it's pretty clear who the Supra Delta King amp is designed for. This amp will be a dream come true for blues players - and anybody else on the hunt for an authentically vintage, warm tube tone.

The look, sound, and attitude of this amp will be the perfect fit for anybody playing old-school genres (particularly blues). Just the visual style of this amp alone is enough to make me interested!

That said, it's still pretty versatile, and I can see it being loved by players in a wider range of rock-based genres. Not the heavier stuff, but certainly shoegaze, indie, and alternative guitarists could have a lot of fun with this amp.

Sure, you might need to look elsewhere if you're searching for a more aggressive attitude, but largely this amp will be a pleasure to play for most guitarists.

3 Alternatives to the Supro Delta King 12

While the Supro Delta King 12 is truly a gorgeous amplifier, the style and sound might not be to everybody's tastes. This amp is specifically focused on a more vintage styling in terms of looks, sound, and features. Here are a couple of other amps with similar price tags, that offer a slightly different approach to the Tube Combo amp concept.

Vox AC15C1 vs Supro Delta King 12

The Vox AC15C1 is a great choice if you're looking for an amp with more of a British rock sound. The specs and design are largely the same between the two - both being 1x12" 15-watt amps, but the Supro Delta is more on the Blues side, whereas the Vox is tilted toward classic rock tones. Check out our full review of the AC15C1 if you'd like to learn more.

Fender Blues Junior IV FSR vs Supro Delta King 12

If you're looking for something a bit brighter and more jangly, this amp with a junior-style guitar shines through as a great choice. It has a more American-style tone compared to this Supra and the Vox above, and offers a sweet blues drive sound. Again, these amps are very similar, but the Fender has that classic Fender Reverb amp tone––if you know, you know.

Marshall DSL20CR vs Supro Delta King 12

For players seeking a heavier sound, this Marshall amp might be a better choice. Marshalls are known for their ruthless, uncompromising tone and the DSL20CR certainly delivers in that aspect. It's small but mighty and comes with separate 'classic gain' and 'ultra gain' channels for more oomph.

Supro Delta King 12: Final Verdict

On balance, the Supro Delta King 12 is a great amp in its niche. It's by no means a jack-of-all-trades or a super flexible modeling amp, but it is a highly competitive model in terms of Blues combo amps.

The tone, style, features, and functionality are all perfect for blues, surf, country, jazz, and light rock players. It's sweet, rich, articulate, and dynamic. While it doesn't have a massively versatile tone, it can still cover a lot of ground in the bluesy tone world, thanks to the tone-shaping controls and boost circuits.

(You can also get it in Seafoam Green, or Black, but I love the tweed look!)

If you're looking for a blues-style amp in this price range, the Supra Delta King is a strong contender with a blues focus, but you might also be interested in the Vox AC15C1 or Fender Blues Junior IV FSR, which are both a bit more versatile, but not so stylish.

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