Background from the designer

Over the past few years, quite a number of active circuits have been introduced onto the market and as a Luthier, I have at one time or another fitted most of these units. However, I could not help noticing obvious points such as: high noise level, lack of subtlety (typical emphasis of high-mid frequencies, e.g. playing inside a cardboard box), unreliability and, of course, a high price tag. That coupled with the fact that in many cases the guitar itself had to be physically altered, e.g. routing battery compartments or adding mini-switches. Plus, given the musician’s complete antipathy to changing batteries, this led me to believe in the necessity for a really flexible, no-nonsense, passive circuit.

Four years later, after much experimentation, countless failures and half-results, both in Australia and the UK, that goal has been realised. A reliable, inexpensive, fully-flexible tone circuit that leaves the instrument’s appearance alone and which never needs a battery changing!

Those words I wrote back in 1988, but they may well have been written just yesterday, because not a great deal has changed over this long span of years. True, we now actually have modelling guitars and of course modelling amps which have gone a long way towards fulfilling many a guitarist’s endless search for their ultimate tone, but what if you don’t like the somewhat synthetic tone typical of modelling guitars, or perhaps you simply have no wish to use a dedicated modelling instrument, maybe preferring the guitar you already have to be more tonally creative?

This re-release of the original ATN may well be the answer to attaining genuinely natural tonal variations literally at your fingertips via your existing tone controls, producing sounds that you have all heard over the years by many of your favourite artists on many a classic album. The ATN does everything from twangy surf, through British Invasion with its rich, flowing, flute like mid-range and on to sounds more suitable for high gain. It even replicates the sound of an electro-acoustic (and dare I say better than most electro-acoustics that abound the market today!).

Over the years there have been various incarnations of the ATN, cumulating more recently in the switchable ‘ATN 5’ unit which is fitted to a number of guitar lines commercially. However there have always been enquiries as to whether or not I would re-release the original unit and I am pleased to announce we are at that point right now, made available in the classic bottle top, or the later cuboid model, both with the same specs. In fact, the only change has been to logically increase its inductance (we doubled it) to add higher definition and a wider dynamic range whilst keeping the same essential tone structure. This has improved the sounds while keeping them ‘natural’ as opposed to being from electronically derived processing. 

So there you have it! 

 Alan Entwistle – November 2022.