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Framus Dragon Head & Cabinet

Framus Dragon Head & Cabinet

January 10th, 2009 by

Framus Dragon HeadThe appropriately-named Framus Dragon is indeed a fire-breathing beast. It’s a versatile 3-channel boutique amp that can deliver a range of tones, from sparkly cleans, to brutal rhythms, to soaring leads. It definitely has a very organic, punchy sound to it, as well as very nice natural compression, especially when paired with the accompanying cab. I specifically acquired this half-stack for use in heavy rock and metal styles, and its sound is geared very nicely towards this. Like other amps used in these genres, it can be very brutal sounding with its tight low-end, but it’s refreshing to hear an amp that can combine the heaviness with an open-sounding and warm tone as well.

I won’t talk too much more about the sound, but let you hear a bit for yourself in the video I recorded below. Keep in mind that this was recorded with just the camera microphone, that the file was compressed for online use, and that the amp was played at relatively low volumes (as we know, tube amps thrive with the volume pushed high). Nevertheless, it should give you an idea of some of the tonal characteristics of this half-stack. I will also discuss some of its main features.

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I’ve owned the half stack for over a year now and have used it at a number of gigs and in the studio. Thus far, I’ve had no reliability issues with it. As a matter of fact, tonewise I’ve found it to be much more consistent than my previous tube amps, which could sound one way one day and then sound different the next with the same exact settings and axe.

As far as sturdiness goes, everything has held up well though I have had to pay some attention to the casters (wheels) before. The cool thing about the casters is that they can just be pulled out so you could set the cab flat on the ground. The downside is that the mechanism does wear down after some time and the wheels come out easier than you might like them to.

As mentioned in the video, one of the cool and unique features of the head is its MIDI capabilities. It’s great for integration into a MIDI controller, where you can combine the channel and master 1/2 swtiching capabilities with the controls of other gear, such as rack effect processors. For example, you could potentially have a setup where with the push of one button you can switch from a clean sound with slight chorus and reverb, to a lead tone with delays. The Framus Dragon’s MIDI feature makes such a setup much easier to achieve.

Framus Dragon CabSpecs:

A 3-Channel, 100-watt, all-tube amp head. Each of the 3 channels Clean, Crunch and Lead has a 3-band equalizer as well as Gain, Volume and Presence controls. It also comes with an effects loop, an integrated MIDI interface, two switchable Master volumes, a Deep control, and speaker impedance settings of 4, 8 and 16 ohms.

  • 100 watts all-tube amp
  • Valves: 5x ECC 83 by JJ, 4x EL 34 by Electro Harmonix (selected quartet)
  • 3 channels (Clean, Crunch and Lead)
  • Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence controls for each channel
  • Parallel effects loop
  • Deep control
  • Master 1 and 2, switchable
  • Integrated MIDI interface
  • 4, 8 and 16 ohms speaker output impedance, switchable
  • Weight: 20 kg
  • Dimensions (W/H/D): 0,72 x 0,28 x 0,26 m
  • Made in Germany
Framus Dragon Head & Cabinet

About Ivan Chopik

Ivan Chopik founded Guitar Messenger in the Fall of 2007 and is currently running the online magazine as Editor-in-Chief, webmaster, and writer. He is also a guitarist, composer, and audio engineer who graduated from Berklee College of Music in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance, Music Business & Management, and Music Production/Engineering.

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  • Hey man. I own a Framus Dragon and i’ve been having some issues with the FX loop on mine. Now when you say the amp is meant to run “line level” effects, what exactly does that mean? I run a BBE sonic max, Line 6 DL4, Nano EH Holy Grail and a DOD wah/volume thru my loop. The issues i’ve had have been innermitten. When i have the FX mix all the way up it seems to take a plunge in volume as well as tone. Some nights worse than other. What can i do to avoid this?

    • Hey Daniel,

      If I’m not mistaken all of your pedals are floor pedals, which generally are not line level effects. Line level is a hotter signal level (compared to consumer level, which is where most guitar floor pedals are at), and requires line level effects to work properly. In most cases that means rack units, though I’m using the Eventide TimeFactor for delays, which happens to be a floor unit that is switchable between line and consumer level. Unfortunately, the line level loop limits you in that sense, and I don’t know of any workaround other than getting the amp modded. But this would explain why you’re getting a level drop with your pedals in the loop, and why most likely you’re hearing a distorted signal from the first pedal in your chain being overloaded.

      Now that you got me thinking, maybe there’s something out there that can take a line level signal and step it down? You could put that first in your effects chain and then finish it off with a boost?

      By the way, the Framus has a parallel loop, so unless you want to hear 100% effects, you wouldn’t want to turn the loop all the way up. There’s a slight boost if you set the loop level to 12 o’ clock, and that where I keep mine at.

      Hope this helps!

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  • Willy Gee

    Every where I hear about The Dragon V1, V2, V3 and so on. I’m sure the V = Version. But how do you determine which Version a Dragon Head is? Please Enlighten me so that I will be able to distinguish between the different versions. Thanks

    • guitarmessenger

      Hey Willy,

      I’m not entirely sure, but I would check for the serial number and contact Framus/Warwick to reference it for you. I don’t have the amp nearby at the moment so I can’t look at mine. It’s interesting; when I was buying mine, there was still no talk about different versions. I hadn’t ever even seen the black tolex version at that time. I’m guessing based on that that mine might be one of the earlier ones…