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Friedman Brown Eye BE-100

Hand-Wired All Tube Amp Head

  • Power: 100 W
  • 3 Channels
  • Power amp tubes: 4x EL 34
  • Preamp tubes: 4x 12AX7
  • Master volume, gain control and gain structure switch (reduces the gain)
  • EQ: bass, middle, treble & presence (BE, HBE channels)
  • Clean channel with volume, treble, bass and 3-way bright switch
  • SAT, FAT, C45 and voice switch
  • Gain level 3-way switch
  • Line out with level control
  • Ultra transparent series FX loop
  • 4, 8 and 16 Ohm impedance switch
  • Custom USA transformers
  • Dimensions (D x W x H): 222 x 760 x 311 mm
  • Weight: 19.5 kg
  • 2-Way foot switch with LEDs included
  • Made in USA

Further information

Power 100 W
Power Amplifier Tubes EL34
Channels 3
Reverb No
Footswitch Yes
3 customer ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.3 / 5.0
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
3 written ratings Read all reviews

Brown Eye 6 stars for start(after few days testing)

Amateur Slash, 27.05.2017
I was wondering already what the h... is going on with this beautiful amp on this website!
Only two reviews and none of them giving 5 stars!?
So I decided to check it out myself... I?ve ordered the Brown Eye!
First impression:OH MY GOD!
Second impression:WOW!

Instant hot rodded plexi sound!
This is the sound what I was looking for in every amp what i?ve had up to this time(mostly Marshalls).!
The Brown Eye is connected to a Marshall MR1960AHW.
Between the amp and box i?m having a Rivera Rockcrusher to avoid ear bleeding.I like to have the master volume cranked up but the Brown Eye really doesn't need an attenuator.It?s just a habit of mine.;-)
This combination is working very well together with a 2013 Standard Les Paul and 2013 SG.
I play mostly blues and rock and a bit of heavy sometimes.
3800 euros is a lot of money but hey!If you get yourself a Marshall JVM410 (for example) and want to make it sound really awesome then you better get ready for a serious modification torture!
The end of the day you?ll end up spending probably the same amount of money and your warranty is hush....gone!
The clean channel is probably not the stronger side of the Brown Eye but if you have some pedals you can make it sound very nice indeed.(riverb,delay etc)
The dirty channels are amazing on the amp with a really really good variety of tonal possibilities .
The amp takes pedals very well...i have 9(!)pedals connected to it and up to now no problems.
Noise is marginal.
Well from me the BROWN EYE gets 6 stars after a week test!
If it gets better i`ll might raise it up to 7!!
Thanks Mr.Friedman and again -as always- thanks Thomann Team!
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VanHalen sound and nothing else

AlexandreM, 01.11.2015
The Friedman Brown Eye is a kind of re-issue of the 1968 Marshall super lead used by Eddie Van Halen in his early days. As the name suggests it produces the famous brown sound. Do not wait for anything else from this highly specialized amp that gives perfection what it was built: to fill the hard rockers of North Hollywood. It's the sound of the Sunset Strip, that's all. Dave Friedman having started with Rack System, the guy is a modulator (modifier) ??amp. He made his weapons by modifying the Marshall at the request of the scrapers of Los Angeles. If you're looking for something else, or a versatile amp, go your way. If you are a sick EVH and other 5150, you absolutely must.

Consider the clear sound as correct, with a bright / normal switch, since the goal here is to satisfy the overdrive fades above all. And for what saturations then? Basically the amp sounds like a good old Marshall with a low end tight (low bass, it does not drool, it's not for the stoner). So at the base it crunch very well with its 4 EL34 and its 4 ECC83.
Dave Friedman can sculpt this sound with switches in the back. I find my happiness with the SAT which passes the amp of an overdrive to a distortion of the most classic. The FAT switch is an eq that gives a thicker sound, more bold, but we lose definition with humbuckers. It is more suitable for single coil pickups. The 3rd switch does not please me. Using them at the same time gives a rough sound. So it's cheese or dessert. And since everything is manual, you need to pass your hand on the back panel to change the sound. In the end we have a two channels with switches to adapt the sound to his playing and the type of guitar used.
And for which guitars? Well I was surprised to find that my LesPaul STD of 1991 did not suit at all to this amp. This is not a JCM800: I have one from 1982, I could compare. So no game at Slash or Bonamassa here.
I also played two ESPs. A Kiko Loureiro SE-100 27 boxes of 2007 flamed maple table, with seymour splitables, body mahogany and maple neck driver, with ebony fingerboard: it works very well. And with an ESP MII Deluxe of 1997 screwed maple neck, rosewood fingerboard and mahogany body with Seymour SH1 and JB: a killing. Conclusion with the Van Halen amp, you need a guitar from Van Halen. The owners of Charvel San Dimas and other joysticks doped with Floyd rose are the target of the BE-100.

And what is so special about such expensive music, since it produces only a very typical sound? The dynamic. It's pretty impressive. No need to play on the volume of the guitar, just by dosing the attack you change the sound. As a result the beginners will not benefit from it. Here the amp responds to the quarter-turn in nuances that produces the confirmed guitarist who has more than one technique in his bag and an experienced touch. It's phenomenal. And it does not help if you always play hard.
The effect loop is another highlight, but not where it is expected. On paper, we are described as the best on the blah blah blah market. This is false. The effect loop of the Rectifier Solo Head 2 channels and then 3 channels before 2010 is more transparent and has a mixer knob. And the best loop on the market is that of the Bogner Ecstasy: parallel or series, it is the must. I have these amps and so I could compare.

The big advantage of the loop of the BE100 is not in the integration of the effects to the audio chain. This is the series so 100% of the sound will be processed and so suddenly we lose the dynamics that makes the strength of this amp. It would have taken a parallel loop. In short, without plugging effect, by engaging the loop we have a master volume at the back. And here it is very strong: one obtains a sound of old Marshall pushed to the bottom ... to a ridiculous volume. Forget power attenuators. Here with the send of the loop one manages a sick sound to a usable level in a student room. Bravo. It is the opposite of my JCM800 that to 2 on the master makes me bleed the ears and rameute the neighbors not happy.
The BE-100 is the Van Halen sound as baby sleeps next door. And of course, if you want to let go of the beast, you cut the loop and vlan in the face, it is a real 100W with transformers made in USA.
If you want to connect delays, I advise you a line mixer in the loop (the Lehle Parralel M for example but it will blow). Otherwise you need a Bogner Ecstasy or an old Rectifier. For the rest of the effects, including modulations, the Van Halen: between the guitar and the amp to properly twist it all.

As for manufacturing quality, it is close to Marshall, less good than Mesa or Bogner. And finally this amp is intended for those who have several amps and who are not satisfied with a compromise.
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