Stephenson Stage Hog



Stage Hog: a low wattage tube amplifier designed for guitar players


  • All tube preamp
  • All tube power amp
  • Buffered Output
  • Power Scale Master Volume
  • High voltage power supply, so the tubes are run in their “sweet range ”
  • Custom 'Made in Canada' transformers
  • 120/240vac mains operation
  • Remote switching pedal allows Stage Hog to be placed on the pedal board or in the backline with the guitar amplifier
  • Ground switch (avoids hum associated with ground loops)

The Stage Hog is a 1 watt, all-tube guitar amplifier that doubles as a distortion pedal and a low wattage practice/studio amplifier. When used as a practice amp, the speaker out jack can be plugged into any type of guitar cabinet, even a 4x12. When used as a distortion pedal, the line out jack can be plugged into any guitar amp input. The Stage Hog's sound is very reminiscent of a good old hot-rodded vintage tube amp. The voice switch toggles between tweed warmth and plexi crunch.

Tube Amp Controls:

  • Power scale master volume - allows for varying amounts of power tube saturation
  • Gain control - adjusts preamp level
  • Tone control - adjust preamp tone
  • Voice switch - toggles between plexi crunch and tweed warmth
  • Mid switch -boosts midrange and gain
  • Bright switch - boosts treble and acts like a gain switch when gain control is dialed back

Line out controls (Adjusts the line out levels and tone when used as a distortion pedal):

  • Rhythm level and tone - adjusts tone and output level of the signal sent to the monitor amp (Big Amp) when the Rhythm channel is engaged
  • Lead level and tone - adjusts tone and output level of the signal sent to the monitor amp when the Lead channel is engaged

The majority of tube distortion pedals on the market today produce preamp distortion. The Stage Hog is different because it relies on power tube saturation for its distortion. The SH has all the components that a full size guitar amp has, high voltage power supply, tube power section with output transformer, and tube preamp.

Mark designed the SH to be the second channel of a clean amp (such as a twin). He wanted an all out cranked tube amp sound for his gain channel (cranked plexi), and bypass the pedal for his clean sound, and he wanted to be able to have these sounds at any volume level. So this is the idea behind the SH, and since it is a regular guitar amp (just miniaturized) it will drive a speaker cabinet (great little practice amp).

The power scale feature allows control over the level of power tube saturation. Power Scale used in conjunction with the gain and mode switches enables tones from dark and saturated to bright and focused and everything in between.

The remote switching feature is a dual button footswitch that detaches from the Stage Hog. The remote switch comes with a detachable 6 foot cable. A longer cable can be used so that the Stage hog can be located in the backline.

When powering up the unit: first turn the Power Scale control to minimum, then turn the power switch to ‘ON'. After about one minute slowly turn the power scale to the desired setting. This offers the ultimate in soft start (gentle warm-up).

Amp section controls:

  • SCALE (Power Scale): Controls the amps wattage, as well as the level of power tube coloration (compression and saturation). Lower settings of the power scale control make the Stage Hog sound smoother and warmer. If you need the loudest clearest brightest sound, then keep the power scale set on full.
  • GAIN: Control adjusts the amount of gain from the preamp
  • TONE: Control is voiced to cover a wide sweep of the guitar frequency spectrum (very effective for only a single control)

LINE (Controls):

  • Rhythm Level : Sets the line level output going to the monitor amp (high volume amp), this control is used to match the bypassed signal to the "on" signal when the Stage Hog is being used as a distortion pedal
  • Rhythm Tone: Controls the tone when the rhythm channel is selected.
  • Lead Level : Sets the line level output going to the monitor amp, normally adjusted a little hotter than the rhythm level, for a solo boost
  • Lead Tone: Controls the tone when the lead channel is selected
  • The Line controls have no affect on the sound when the Stage Hog is being used as a an amplifier driving a speaker cabinet
  • Footswitch: The footswitch toggles between straight through signal (bypass) and the Stage Hog signal. The footswitches' red LED has to be on in order to hear the Stage Hog's sound even when it is being used as a stand-alone amplifier (driving a speaker cabinet). When the Stage Hog is being used as a stand-alone amplifier, it is not necessary to have the footswitch plugged in (unplugging the footswitch engages the SH to play). However, without the footswitch plugged in the internal lead boost circuit will be always on (produces more distortion). The Lead button engages the internal gain boost circuit and selects the lead line out controls.
  • GND(Ground): Switch is used to eliminate ground hums. When used as a practice amp the switch may need to be adjusted one way and when used as a distortion pedal it may need to be set in the opposite way. Just put the switch in the quietest position.
  • Tone:single knob tone control that covers a wide sweep of the guitar frequency spectrum
  • Mid switch: A Mid boost (shift) in the pre-amp section. The switch is a 3 position type that works like this:
    • Down: mid boost always off
    • Middle: mid boost always on
    • Up: mid boost active only when Lead feature (footswitch) is engaged
  • Voice switch: toggles between a "fuller, mellower, less gain tone" to a "tighter, brighter, and gainer tone".
  • Bright switch: acts like a gain boost switch, but keeps the bottom focused, best results are achieved when the gain control is adjusted below 3:00.

Here are some tips:

    Mark usually keeps the power scale set ½, the gain at 12 o'clock, the tone about 3/4's with the Voice switch set to the brightest sound (up), Mid boost engaged for Lead sound (up), and Bright on (up). This is a good starting point and you can tweak from there. The controls are very interactive; if you adjust one thing, try tuning the other control for best tone.

    When the Stage Hog is being used as a distortion pedal the power scale control has to be turned up high enough to produce a big enough signal to match the bypass volume. If the power scale is set low (around 8 o'clock or less), the line control won't have enough range to make the volume loud enough to match the bypassed sound. So keep the power scale over this setting when using the stage hog as a distortion pedal.

    When using the Stage Hog as a distortion pedal and plugging into a guitar amp that has a 'bright' switch, leave the guitar amps' bright switch off. The tone will be fizzy and bright when the guitar amp's volume control is adjusted to lower settings (a guitar amp's bight switch bypasses highs when the volume is turned down).

    When using the Stage Hog as a practice amp, you can set the power scale as low as you want (there is no bypass signal to worry about matching).

The Stage Hog uses two dual triode tubes:

  • 1x 12AX7 type
  • 1x 12DW7 type

Since the amp only has two tubes, changing either one has a major influence on the tone. The Stage Hog is supplied with current production tubes. Of course it doesn't hurt to experiment with different makes and brands.

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