Rising to fame fairly recently, Bogner is a brand that has commercially been around for about twenty years. The Fish preamp and the XTC helped popularize its product range in the nineties and the Shiva is one of the later models that grabbed the guitar playing public’s attention. The amp is based around a Fender Blackface-type clean channel and a hot-rodded Marshall 2203 dirty channel, with reverb and effects-loop. I would not be surprised if this design was the result of a standardized Marshall JCM800 2210 modification since this particular amp would be the perfect platform to build a Shiva.
The Shiva offers great clean tones thanks to its classic circuit. All the Blackface-type tones are here, with a slightly smoother saturation when Volume 1 is pushed thanks to a different output stage and speakers (most likely British type). Channel 2 also offers excellent tones from slightly gritty to high-gain Rock. The amp can only do classic Metal at its highest gain settings but it does it well. The boost function is quite effective for lead parts as it ups the overdrive factor and fattens up the tone.
While the reverb sounds good and smooth at all settings, it noticeably changes the tone of the amplifier when engaged. When it is off, the amp’s response is rawer and more aggressive, while it gains a silkier character when on. The Shiva sounds good either way but the tone difference doesn’t really allow switching it on or off in a live context, unless you are looking for a special effect. The FX loop is at line-level and therefore cannot be used with pedals unless a special cable is built. In this case, it is necessary to use the “Booster amp” after the effect to bring the signal back to line-level. This is quite a cumbersome solution and since the Booster amp uses an operational amplifier, the full-valve effects loop might as well be transistor-driven for more flexibility. Nevertheless apart from these niggles, the Shiva offers fantastic core-tones that make you want to play your guitar.