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Thread: The Amp Review Thread

  1. #21
    Mojo's Minions mwalluk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Randall MTS RM100



    I love the concept. It allows you to have three different tones in one amp. You want a Fender Clean, a Marshall Crunch and a Recto for Brutal distortion; well essentially you can with this amp. No more lugging around two or three other amps to gigs or so they say.

    The MTS series is NOT a modeling amp, nor is it a tube version of a modeler. There is no emulation here. The pre-amps are tube circuits and happen to be interchangeable. These swappable modules literally will take about five seconds to change.

    The problem is that there was something off with these amps, almost like something is missing from them. I couldn’t gel with it. I got some awesome tones out of it, but it left me empty wanting more. Maybe I bought into the hype too much, I don’t know. All I can say is that it wasn’t right.

    The modules all vary in tonal representation. Some modules are spot on, some are average. No modules sound bad per se. If you don't care about them perfectly replicating a particular amp’s tone, but rather just having the variety of good tones, they're great.

    The Modules will all sound very similar. They're just preamps. The tone/feel that we love from certain “classic” amps comes from the power amps, output transformers, speakers and cabinet. Without those differences, the modules will have minor differences amongst them. Some may have more sag, brightness, upper mids, lower mids, gain, etc. All can be dialed in to achieve a similar sound.

    modules all sound exactly a like with only minor differences. One may be slightly higher in the med frequencies while the other slightly more gain. All can be dialed in to sound the same.
    Now granted, the modded modules are fantastic. These are excellent representations. The problem is they cost double the amount that a stock module costs.

    This amp is built fairly well. Extremely heavy. It doesn’t have the natural characteristics that I prefer; organic, dynamic, complex, tight, clean/smooth, just enough sag, etc. The distortions are solid. The problem is that it loses feel and is almost sterile. It’s like the Nickelback of amps. It’s good for what it is and does a well job at doing it, but rehashes the same sound every chance it gets. That sound isn’t unique, but rather bland.

    The head is extremely heavy. It is noisy due to the high gain factor and it comes stock with a built in fan (which is cool). I do like the ability to use El34s, 6l6s or a mix of the two. If a tube goes bad, a light comes on to show you exactly which tube died. No more guessing. Also if a tube dies during a show, it gets kicked out of the circuit and the amp allows you to continue playing. No more amp failures. Self bias ability is great too. Changing tubes is a breeze.
    It's versatile enough to cover any style depending on modules that you choose. Now I haven’t tried any newer modules or units, so I can’t comment on whether or not they’ve upgraded them. I do know that the RM4 is recommended to be run with Randall’s power amp that uses both EL34s and 6L6s. It allows gives you the ability to fully assign which tube to which channel.

    The problem with the Randall MTS stuff, is that it falls into the same price range as better amps. Couple that with the fact that without the differences in the power amp and the speakers, the modules can get pretty similar in sound.

    Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a good amp. You’ll be able to nail some close representations of certain amps. The tone is good and will suit whatever style you play. It’s not an amp that will complete you or make you strive to be a better player. It’s almost complacent like. Given the price of a fully stock head, you will be in the same price point as Bogners, Diezels, Marshalls, Splawns, Soldanos, Mesas, Fryettes, etc. Now tell me this, given the choice between a fully stocked Randall MTS series or one of the aforementioned amp brands, which would you choice? That answer is exactly why the Randall MTS series will be nothing more than a conception.
    Last edited by mwalluk; 06-06-2011 at 05:55 AM.
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  2. #22
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Red_Label's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    VHT Pittbull Ultra Lead


    I think that I've spent enough time now (several days) with the VHT UL to at least give some impressions and opinions.

    1) It's AWESOME. LOL... I really do think that I love this amp. I've had a LOT of versatile amps (XTC, Shiva, Triamp, YCS100H, Tweaker, etc). In fact, it's easier for me to name the amps that I've had that weren't all that versatile (Twin Reverb, Class 5, Bassman). But this beast is VERSATILE! Some of the versatile amps that I've had would do a decent job of doing modern metal, but the Pittbull does a much better job of that than any of them.

    With the EQ available to assign to any one of the three channels, you can really tweak the tone to your taste -- whatever it is. I tend to use the EQ on the rhythm channel, so I can scoop it for modern rock/metal. You have to watch the highest two bands so things don't get fizzy.

    2) The tone really is awesome! After yesterday I was starting to think that maybe this was a beast that was only really geared to modern hard rock and metal. But today I just turned that EQ off and tweaked the rhythm and lead channels using the shared tone controls for them. WOW! Before today I had mostly used my T75-loaded Marshall 1960A, because I preferred the way it sounded for scooped metal tones over my silver-label G12-30 loaded Bogner Ubercab. (Normally the Bogner cab would SPANK the Marshall for metal, but in stock form it comes with a pair of V30s and a pair of T75s.)

    Anyways... skipping the EQ and just using the shared tone controls made the amp sound like -- dare I say... MY XTC CLASSIC! The hot-rodded Marshall tones were so organic, dynamic, and complex. The sound was SO "woody". Part of that HAS to be the very strong (and wonderful) character of the Ubercab. But I was REALLY surprized that the VHT was able to impress me with its character the way the XTC does.

    I did directly A/B the two amps a few days ago, but it wasn't a fair comparison because they were going through two very different-sounding cabs. I wish that I had two exact matching cabs to really compare.

    I did play around with the clean channel some more and it's definitely coming into its own the more I play with it. I still don't think that it's as full-bodied and sparkly as the XTCs clean channel. But it is a good tone nonetheless.

    But based on my playing today, I would definitely say that the VHT can hang with the Bogner in terms of richness of tone in the OD department. This amp is loaded with KT-88s by the way. And as far as versatility goes... this may very well be the most versatile amp I've ever played. I WILL be buying it and it will likely end-up being the main amp that I use with my current band. I did spend some time yesterday with both amps in a stereo config and it was STUNNING. HUGE! But I didn't dare get too used to it because with my healing back, there's NO way I dare even think about hauling them both around to gigs. Sure would be awesome though!

    So if you want an amp that'll do just about any type of music and sound awesome doing it, it would be hard to do better than the VHT. I have no plans to sell my XTC, but if I'm thinking that if I were to have stumbled on the Pittbull first, it would have been just as satisfied as I have been with my XTC. It really is a top tier channel switching amp. I don't know why more people don't list it in the "holy grail" list with the XTC, SLO, and CAA OD/PT100.
    Last edited by Red_Label; 06-05-2011 at 05:57 PM.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Cornford Roadhouse 30w Combo

    Single channel amp with a footswitchable gain boost so your knob compliment is volume, gain, boost and 3 band eq. Multiple extension speaker options which I've never used. 3 tube pre-amp, 2 x EL34 power stage which is the same as the 50 but the 50 is fixed bias whereas the 30 is cathode biased. I got the 30w because that's as much power as I need and I like to be able to change the tubes without any faffing around. Single V30 speaker in a deep cab that really helps spread the sound. I've just had a power tube fail which is the only issue I've had in 3 years. I've put in Tung Sol 34Bs which are really good.

    Sound - without the boost engaged it stays clean until about half way up on the gain when it morphs really nicely into overdrive giving you lots of different flavours. At full gain it's very similar to a 50w 70s Marshall combo I used to own but it can achieve the same effect with a lot less volume and the EQ is a whole lot more effective. Engaging the boost is like kicking in the best overdrive pedal you've ever heard. It doesn't change the basic tonality a lot but just gives you MORE.

    The boost will give you more volume but it depends how the amp is set up. If you have the first gain very low and the boost set high the increase in volume will be way too much. If you have the gain set high then the boost mainly provides more saturation. When I was playing in a 2 guitar band I was using a graphic in the loop purely as a volume boost. Now I'm in a 1 guitar line up I don't bother.

    I play mainly bluesy, 70s rocky type stuff so I have it set up for a crunch to lead sound and if I want clean I'll either hit the guitar more softly or turn it down.

    Up until a few months ago I was mainly playing an old SG with a JB in the bridge but recently I took to playing my Firebird Studio with the standard 490/498 set. I got fed up with these pups and replaced them with Rebel Yells. The amp sounded great before but now it sounds ten times better. The difference is really astonishing. The Gibson pups and the SD would mush up after a certain amount of gain (and I'm not a gain freak) but with the RYs you can keep piling it on and they retain their clarity while aquiring monstrous amounts of BRAAANG and sustain.

    I'm an old git of 53 and I've owned some nice amps over the years including various Marshalls, Laneys, Musicman etc. The Roadhouse is head and shoulders over anything I've owned before. I've played quite a few Boogies and they don't come close. I played my first gig with my Rebel Yells a couple of weeks ago and the sound was mind-numbingly good. Although the amp sounds great at low volumes if you get the chance to turn it up half way this is where some special magic starts to happen. This is why I went 30w instead of 50w because I'm mainly a pub player and there's not many places you can crank a 50 watter. Whenever I've played bigger places I've been miked up anyway.

    Negatives ? I really can't think of any. This amp and BK pickups are the best things that have ever happened to my sound.

  4. #24
    Tone Member Blackie13's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    BUGERA 6262

    Yeap,it's "that" amp from "taht" company that copies stuff...
    But for us,the guitarists what's the most important part of the amp?
    the sound...To me if the amp sound good i don't mind the company or the country where it was built...

    What does 6262 offer? 2 channels,3 modes+reverb...the clean channel shares the shame EQ with the crunch channel(changes with a switch,unfortunatly you cannot change it via footswitch).There is also a bright switch for the crunch-clean channel that enables another 12ax7 and adds a bit more hair to the sound...the lead channel is the well known "lead channel"...tons os gain and so on...the reverb can be footswitcable and it is different for each channel(the footswitch can keep the reverb on when switching channels).

    The sound of 6262...I will be completely honest here...I don't like any boost pedals(hate them) so I wanted to get a sound straight from the amp.I play hard rock and classic heavy metal(no chugga chugga stuff).The amp needs TWEAKING...it takes a lot of time to find the ideal sound right from the amp...be patient and you will not be dissapointed...

    Can you improve the base sound of the amp?The answer is a GREAT yes!!!
    the preamp tubes are extemely cheap 3rd choise tubes that won't shine apart from the lead channel that has a grade A tube...What I dit...
    Replaced the preamp tubes with a tung-sol reissue in V1,JJ ecc83 in V2-V3-V4-V5 slots and a sovtek 12ax7 LPS at the PI slot...
    The result:A TOTAL transformation of the amp.Amazing clean tones,amazing crunch and amazing fat lead sound.I also biased the power tubes with a bias probe(you cannot bias it without one)

    Does it worth it?I had numerous amps in the past.The best of them was an engl fireball which I sold for a short trip to the rack journey...
    The amp with the tube changes can stand right next to fireball with ease...


    PROS:
    -affortable.
    -versality.
    -reverb.
    -120W monster.
    -very nice lead channel(out of the box).
    -with a change of tubes you can have a fantastic amp.

    CONS:
    -noisy(you need a noise gate).
    -the effects loop is the same loop that was used for the 5150 which doesn't take everything well.
    -you need a tube change to take the amp to the next level.
    -made in China(for some people,the country that the amp was made is relevant to its reliability,until now I don't have a single problem with the amp)

    PS:For the people who claim that it's a copy of the 5150,6262 is made more like a XXX with the sound of a 5150 without a resonance knob and with more gain and bass.For me it's a keeper and a STEAL!!!!!

    PS2:Sorry for my english,I dit my best

    Cheers

  5. #25
    firstlessonologist guitfiddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Ampeg Jet J12-T Reissue

    Single channel 1x12 amp from the 90s when Ampeg reissued the Diamond Blue series of amps, including the Super Jet 50 watt 1x12, and the Reverberocket 1x12 and 2x12 amps. 15 watts, class a operation, controls for volume, tone, speed and intensity for the tremolo, and reverb. 12" low watt, in-house Ampeg speaker.

    The crunch on this amp comes on with HBs around 3, and nearer to 4 with SC guitars. For SC guitars, a 12AY7 in the V1 spot is just magical. Very EL84 style, so there's really not much comparison to the 60s Jets. This amp avoids the spongy bass of EL84s by not having much to start with. Very much a mid/high voiced amp.

    Ampeg was always concerned with a very warm and round midrange sound, and mostly avoided the more shrill sounds you could get with a Fender. This amp takes the high end a bit higher than older Ampeg designs, and it's possible to get it way too bright, which makes it play best with HB guitars.

    Touch response is really above and beyond, especially at around 7 on the volume. This amp works great for the clean-to-crunch with pick attack alone, and it takes most pedals well. The ones that are voiced bright are tricky with it, because of it's own high end content. The speaker cracks up a bit when the volume is up and adds to the overall crunchiness. Lead tones really sing with a round voice, even if the amp is set bright.

    Volume-wise, it sounds best in a room that can hold less than a hundred. Mic'd up, the PA is the limit, but there's enough volume from the amp to stage monitor, it you're not into super clean Fender BF tones.

    The reverb is great, but not as pronounced as many Fender players would want. No surf possible with this circuit, but the verb on hand is round, and warm with not even a hint of splattyness in it.

    The tremolo is the real winning feature on this amp. Set both controls on 2 or 3, and you get a swirl that surrounds every note and makes the harmonics shift and keep your interest. From there, the effect gets faster and deeper until you reach a point when the sound turns on and off completely.

    This is great for getting a note feeding back, and then upping the intensity control until it starts turning off and on, then adjusting the speed with the music. Killer stuff.

    These go for around $450 new, and can be picked up for $300 or less used. Good tones for the money spent, if you're not into metal sounds from the amp.
    Last edited by guitfiddle; 06-06-2011 at 08:02 PM.
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  6. #26
    Digitally Challenged Mr 9finger's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier Solo

    3 Channels, 7 modes, SS or Tube rectifier, Bold & Spongy switch, loaded w/ JJ 6L6’s and JJ 12AX7 preamp tubes. 150 watts of pure loudness!
    For this review, I ran straight into the head with a Mogami cable and the head was ran straight into a stock Mesa Rectifier 4x12 cab loaded with Celestion Vingtage 30’s. The guitar I used was an Ibanez S470. Mahogany body, Maple neck, Rosewood board, loaded with Dimarzio Steve’s special in the bridge and Air Norton in the neck. Stock middle single. I’ll use this guitar for any of the other reviews I do because it’s in the middle of the road for all the guitars I have. Different tubes, cabs, guitars, pickups, etc… will vary from my review. Most everyone knows this, just throwing it out there.
    For neutrality sake, I left the B/M/T at 12 o clock and only adjusted the MV/Pres/Gain. Master output was sat to 3 o clock and volume was adjusted through the individual channel’s master volume.

    Set to tube rectifier and spongy

    Channel 1 – Clean
    Very clean, squeaky, articulate, and open. 150 watts offers a lot of headroom, so you can keep it that way for quite a bit of the volume. It’s got a kind of dark and smooth sound. Not much sparkle or chime. It’s a good open sound, not Fenderish, but not thin or weak. It’s your typical metal cleans is probably the best way to describe it.

    Channel 1 – Pushed
    This is where this channel shines. Flipping over to this setting, it adds in some more gain, giving it more depth and girth. It compresses slightly, thickening the overall tone up. The gain knob is usable all the way through on this setting. You can go from a nice smooth bluesy tone to a raunchy AC/DC style of tone.
    Channel 2 – Raw

    Channel 2 is probably my favorite channel on the whole amp. Out of the 3, it’s probably the most versatile. The raw setting can be set up for a really nice clean. Still not as good as a Vox or Fender, but for some reason it just sounds better than the actual clean channel. It has a little more dimension chime to it. Buckers, singles, P90’s, doesn’t matter, it all sounds pretty good through the clean. If you roll the gain and presence up, it sounds and responds very much like the pushed setting on channel 1 except for maybe a little more gain.

    Channel 2 – Vintage
    Raunchy! Gritty 70’s rock machine and the louder you get, the better it sounds. Turn the gain up and you’ve instantly hit 80’s territory. Again, this another setting that has a very usable gain structure all the way through taper of the gain knob. Past 3 o clock on the gain knob, it can get a little buzzy and fizzy, but it goes away as you turn the volume up.

    Channel 2 – Modern
    This is a very short description. 2 words…………Early Metallica. Everything about this setting just has that vibe to it. I often find myself jamming out some classic Met riffs when I land on this channel. It’s heavy, thick, and articulate. This setting on channel 2 really takes some work to dial in right though. At lower volumes, you really have to fiddle some knobs to get rid of the buzzy distortion. Then, again, these amps aren’t really intended for quiet practice, but it’s still manageable. A tubescreamer variant really helps with this at lower volumes. OK, not so short lol.

    Channel 3
    I’m going to wrap the Raw and Vintage setting into one here. To me, these 2 setting sound identical to the same settings on channel 2.

    Channel 3 – Modern
    This is the channel these amps are known for. Brootalz! Thick, chunky, percussive, take your head off high gain madness. I actually am not real fond of this setting. I’ll clarify, to get this setting to sound its best, you have to have the amp up really loud or it just kind of farts out and gets kind of mushy from the gain overload. If you like this setting, and you have neighbors, you will become well acquainted with the local police department. Trust me, I’ve already met them a couple times on this channel lol!

    Switch over to the solid state rectifier and everything becomes edgier. IMO, this setting is mainly for hi gain metal usage. It’s also where I think a lot of the people that don’t like the Rectifier series get a bad rap. In this setting, all of the channels become almost sterile sounding. I’m not a tube snob by any means, but the solid state rectifier hardens the overall tone of the amp to the point that it kills all of the good things listed above. There is an exception to that, if you’re going to use a Dual or Triple Recto strictly for metal, then this setting gives up the goods. Riffing is tighter and it’s a lot more articulate under high gain. It’s not that the amp doesn’t track well or is flubby w/ tube rectification, because that’s not the case. It just has a looser feel to it, which I like. Some may not. Like I mentioned earlier, this is the key to the really aggressive metal sounds you can get from Mesa amps and it’s probably the main reason why the Single Rectifier only comes with a solid state rectifier.

    OK, some are probably going to wonder, “what’s up with not turning any of the tone controls?” I did that for reason. Most amps have an inherent tonal nature to them. The Rectifier line is known for a lot of gain, a lot of bass and highs. Just like Fender is known for its cleans, and Marshall is known for their roar and midrange growl. The tone controls on this amp are really responsive. The volume taper is a little touchy at times, but it’s manageable. There’s such a wide difference in guitars, pickups, speakers, cabs, etc… that will move each individual person a different way. So to me, it’s better to leave all the tone controls at noon. What works for me and my setup, probably isn’t going to work for you. For the record, out of the 6 different guitars I currently have, I’m able to dial in exactly what I need or dial out what I don’t, and they’re all setup a lot differently from each other. I’m talking from a Schecter that’s tuned down a step and half down to a Gibson P90 LP

    Conclusion:
    The Triple Rectifier is a VERY loud amp. If you need more than what this head has to offer, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s also a very versatile amp. It doesn’t nail the Marshall tone, doesn’t really come close to a Fender clean, but they’re good enough . If you’re looking to nail those other tones, then you’d probably be better off buying a Marshall or Fender. They’re high gain monsters and that’s what their intended use is. On its own though, I would be able to get by with just this head and some pedals if I was only able to own 1 head. Fortunately, I’m not, so be expecting another review in a few days!
    Last edited by Mr 9finger; 06-06-2011 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Formatting! Dam MS office!
    Gear: More junk than I know what to do with

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    Digitally Challenged Mr 9finger's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Spot saved for Mesa Boogie Tremoverb!
    Gear: More junk than I know what to do with

  8. #28
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Zinky 25 watt Blue Velvet combo.
    I was nervous about this one when I snagged it on line as she only has a single volume, tone control and a mid boost cut one each channel + a gain control on the crunch side then the master volume and master verb. However my fears were unfounded as this thing is voiced so incredibly well by Bruce that it is simply a tone machine!!
    The cleans are nice chimy and round with a lot of depth and overtones at lower settings which should be no surprise coming from the former head of amp design at Fenders Custom Shop. When you really crank the clean channel in typical Fender fashion it begins to break nicely into a nice bluesy fat overdrive that get's more aggressive and saturated the harder you push it. Dynamics are great and she it very touch sensitive. You will find some simply stellar vintage Fender style pure tube tones in this channel of these rigs!
    The Crunch side is however is decidedly non Fender in the feel and where this little beastie really shines it's brightest.
    The Velvet name is accurate as the over drive is smoooth fat ultra dynamic and oh so sweet. With the gain down it has a nice blusey edge but turn the gain up just a little and it becomes a raging high octane brutal beast. Incredibly dynamic super liquid solo tones are the norm and having enough gain is not a problem with likely more on tap than you can use! The Zinky Velvet is quite simply a true pro class road worthy rig and simply is the best and biggest sounding small amp on the planet bar none at any price!! What is astounding with this amp is how BIG and sweet it sounds at super low volumes. There is simply nothing on the planet that sounds better at super low volumes than a Velvet does. Saying that make no mistake this little beast has volume can get quite LOUD as well.
    With a lifetime TRANSFERABLE warranty and rock solid build quality + Bruce's great support this is my holy grail/ desert Island amp. My only gripe is I wish I had more headroom and if I had it to do over again would have gotten the 50 watter instead of the 25.
    If something happened to this amp I would be desperate to find another one and will never be with out a Zinky rig as long as I can play!
    These are not cheap at around $1800 retail for the 25 watt combo. However for the touring pro to the studio session guy to the bar player don't be put off by the price these amps are the best I have ever played and are worth EVERY stinking penny you pay for them!!
    Here is a youtube clip with my little Velvet and trusty 1990 Cavin X220C "Pinky". The only effects are a Boss DD-7 a George Dennis Wah and a Rocktron Deep Blue Chorus.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6eUZ...eature=related
    Photos



    Last edited by Ascension; 07-18-2011 at 06:42 PM.
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  9. #29
    Super Toneologist SamusChief's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Peavey Vypyr Tube 60

    That's right. A Modeler. My excuse is that it's cheap (450 USD) and it's got a tube in the preamp and an all tube power amp. It doesn't have channels, but it has amps. For this review, I will do two sections: pedals/FX and Amps.

    The basic way this amp is all wired up on the inside is as follows:
    Digital 32 bit SHARC processor for Pedals -> Analog amp simulator -> Digital SHARC processor for Rack FX sims -> 12AX7 buffer tube -> 60W 6L6 power amp (2 6L6 tubes)

    I play this amp almost every single day, as it is my bedroom and band practice amp. As such, I have experience at both loud and low volumes.

    PEDALS
    There are pedals for lots of different effects. A full list can be found on the internet somewhere, but I'm reviewing the practical ones. Such as the Phaser, Flanger, and Chorus. Each of these does what they're supposed to do, and I can get tons of sounds from them. They are controlled by pushing the knob for the pedals like a button and then use what would be the Amp's EQ to control parameters 1 and 2. The rack effect editing follows the same process. Peavey put a lot of work into packing as many instructions onto the front panel, so its crowded but reading the front makes it pretty simple. The parameters are short and sweet: Speed and Depth for all of the modulation. There are a few boosts and overdrives that model the Zakk Wylde OD, the Tube Screamer, a Fuzz box, and a boost with mild overdrive. Each does their job, but I stick mainly to the tube screamer and boost. The others cause too much feedback when I'm trying to simulate the TS into a Marshall kind of sound. On the effects side, the only thing I really use over here is the chorus, to mix with the pedal side's flanger. The mixture sounds really good with the right settings, and with delay (which can be added via tap tempo and modifying of parameters in edit mode for the pedals or FX) actually sounds really nice. There is also a slap echo that works nicely. The rotary and tremelo do what they should, but my only complaint is that of all FX, tremelo should have a dedicated tap tempo button. ecause the amp has a digital interface, I can never get that exact tempo on the stutter. The sounds do what they should, and they work for me (mostly), the mostly bedroom musician, but they're better than my distortion pedal and my old digital FX board. I'd give a 7/10 overall on the pedals, because I know they aren't the best but they get the job done.

    AMPS
    The amp models on this sucker are pretty nice. I believe there are 12 or 13 models, each with a clean (green) or distorted/pushed (red) sound. The left side is reserved mostly for modern amps, like the 6505, the JSX, the XXX, the Mesa Rectifier, the Diezel and the Krankenstein. On the right we have cleaner/vintage amps, such as the Fender Twin and Deluxe, the AC30, The Marshall Plexi, an amp modeled after Brian May's modded ?Vox? and a Peavey Classic. Each of them have great cleans, minus the Plexi, which is dull and lacking in high end. The Vox works really well; I use it for all of my permanent cleans, from my jazzy settings to my metal settings. I can push it for a light grit, or tone it down but retain a sparkle. The cleans on the XXX, Twin, Deluxe, and Classic all sound very similar. The left side, with the high gain contenders, works just as it should. each of these amps has a slightly different voice to it. The Diezel has that lower mid thump, like the rectifier, but it somewhat muddier than the rectifier. I use the Diezel for my metal rhythm. I use the rectifier for my alt. rock distortion. The Krankenstein was, obviously, placed for the Dimebag fans. You scoop those mids and dime the trebe and you get that Walk sound very quickly. If I had an SH-13 I know I would sound almost exactly like him with this model. The Krankenstein has too much upper mid voicing and is largely unusable for anything besides Pantera. The 6505 is a generic, metalhead sound. It has its applications. The JSX and the XXX behave similarly, as they both are extremely sensitive to EQ changes. Boosting the mids in either acts as a boost function. I added delay and made the JSX my soloing tone for metal applications. 8/10 overall, due to versatility but many models sound too similar to differentiate.

    OVERALL
    For the price point, this amp does a lot of stuff, and if you throw in another hundred you can get the Sanpera 1 footswitch, enabling the looper, a fun function. However, the looped track plays back louder and the software occasionally mibehaves. The amp has frozen on me before, but I play it a lot and can count the number of one times on one hand, which that number is 4. This amp is used every day. Overall, for what it is, I gove an 8/10.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmh151 View Post
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  10. #30
    GumbyLoveologist wahwah's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Fender Super Champ

    The Super Champ was introduced in 1982, and was the last of Fender's true 'point to point' wired amps outside of the Custom Shop. It was designed by a team directed by Paul Rivera, headed by Mark Wentling, during Rivera's three year tenure designing a new range of amps for Fender. It was discontinued in 1986. It is an 18w, single 10" Class AB combo. The design philosophy was a return to the blackface era, and sonically, the Super Champ bears more resemblance to a blackface Deluxe Reverb than any sort of Champ. It has two channels, selected by a pull pot on the volume control. The second channel was one of Fender's highest gain to date, and has remarkable similarities to the earliest Mesa Boogies, with a smooth, saturated overdrive, achieved by some clever re-workings of the tube circuitry. The channels can also be selected by the rare and expensive optional footswitch.

    Tubes

    The Super Champ was originally designed around a 7025 preamp tube, essentially a low noise 12AX7 variant. It is followed by a 12AT7, used primarily as the reverb driver, half of which is used by the Lead channel as an extra gain stage when the Lead channel is engaged. Following that is an odd little tube called a 6C10, which has three triode stages, making it like one and a half 12AX7s. It performs three tasks, reverb return, a final preamp stage, and the phase inverter. This tube was used in some early Ampeg designs, and can be a problem for Super Champ users, because it hasn't been made anywhere on the planet since about 1985. Super Champ owners know that they have to locate a stock of these tubes to ensure that their amps will work in the future. Finally, the power is provided by a pair of 6V6GTA.

    In both of my Super Champs, I have replaced all but the 6C10 with late 50's RCA blackplates, and the improvement to the dimension of the soundstage is quite extraordinary. The amp belies its tiny size, and seems to kick out much more than its 18w rating. This is partly due to the extra headroom provided by a solid state rectifier.

    Controls

    The front panel control layout includes Volume (with a pull pot for Lead Channel Volume), Treble (with a pull pot for midrange), Bass, Reverb, Lead Channel Master, and Master Volume.

    Reverb

    The Super Champ's reverb is provided by an Accutronics three spring reverb. Classic Fender reverb sound.

    Speaker

    The original speaker was a 10" Fender Special Design made by Eminence. The rare (500 worldwide) deluxe version of the amp had an EV Force. Most Super Champ owners eventually replace the original Eminence speaker, because it tended to be papery and thin, and not provide much in the way of bottom end. When I got my first Super Champ, the original speaker had already been swapped for a Celestion G10S-50, which works beautifully in this amp.

    Tone

    The Super Champ provides a remarkably balanced, classic Fender blackface clean tone. The combination of 6V6s and the 10" speaker somehow keeps the whole thing to scale, despite the diminutive size of the amp. This has made the Super Champ a much desired recording amp, because classic Fender tones can be had without the ear splitting volumes of amps like the Twin Reverb. The Lead channel provides something quite different for Fender, in that it closer resembles an early Boogie, with beautifully saturated and rich overdriven tones. The solid state rectifier gives the amp the advantage of headroom that is often lacking in small tube rectifier Fenders.

    The amp takes pedals extremely well, and provides a great foundation when using just the clean channel. It sounds huge mic'd into a good PA system, and records very well. I've been using this little tone monster as my main live amp for over 10 years of constant touring.

    Here are some clips showing both the clean and lead channels.

    Fender Super Champ - Clean and Lead Channels

    Fender Super Champ - Clean






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    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
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  11. #31
    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Roland Cube 60.

    The Pros:

    It has two great clean channels (Based on Roland's JC120 amp and a Fender Blackface) which really live to the bar they set, at all sorts of volumes, from bedroom to stage.
    Very versatile and both love to have distortion/OD pedals in front, particularly the Fender model which can be very warm and round or nasty and aggressive. Suit it for your taste.
    Did I mention the Cube 60 is the loudest 1x12 combo I've ever played through? Never taken it past half volume at gigs. Never ever.
    And I've never ended with back pain from carrying it around either, or asked for help to do so.
    Not that I'd matter if I dropped it or something. It's extremely tough and well built.

    So those are the amp's strengths IMO.
    Two fantastic clean channels that will make it the perfect backup for your nice tube amp -or alternative, if you don't want to lug it around- if you like to use pedals for your dirt.
    It's light, it's ridiculously powerful for it's size, and has so much headroom it'll shake your balls off or make you deaf before breaking up.
    And the included reverb, delay and tremolo are very nice, not very flexible but you'll find a sweetspot for sure.
    The line out with emulated speakers is fantastic for gigs,
    the cabinet extension does it's thing and makes it sound enormous through a 4x12, and the headphone output is great for late night jamming or recording a demo.
    You'll still want a mic for the best possible sounds though.

    The Cons:

    The distorted models are all nice somehow, but in the end still fall short of their name.

    The Vox model sounds nothing like the well-known Vox tones. No Beatles or Queen tones here.
    Instead it's sort of a JCM800 take, that cleans up very well. It's nice, but even with single coils it doesn't give the chimey, bright overdriven sounds you'd expect.
    It's just not warm enough.

    The Tweed model does a nice impression of a very saturated old combo, what you'd use for angry Bluesy tones. Nice, but I'm not qualified to comment if it's a good reproduction.

    The JCM800 model is where the problems begin. It's a bit fizzy in the high end, even with the treble and presence on zero there's some weird overtones in the higher frequencies.
    But it's very dynamic and focused sounding, the bass is punchy and not overbearing and the mids are just right.
    This one, I've gigged with but there's better Marshall sounds to be had from dirt boxes.

    The 5150 model is very aggressive, even with the mids cranked and the bass on zero it's a bit too scooped for my taste.
    It won't clean up like the real thing, and adding gain just adds fizz. A workaround for this is leaving the gain on zero and boosting it with a TS style pedal.
    That sounds fantastic, extremely heavy and powerful, plus it adds some much needed mids.
    Also, in this mode the treble knob adds fizz too. The presence knob works better. It's the best model but you have to work a lot to make it sound good.

    The Rectifier model has no versatility whatsoever, unlike the real thing which can cover some wide grounds. It will give you Metallica's Black Album tone in a pinch, and that's it.
    Super tight and brutal. Doesn't clean up at all. Triple Rectifiers do clean up.

    It's also got a DynaCube mode or something, supposed to clean up like a tube amp. And it does.
    But shamefully, the breakup is extremely unnatural and no amount of EQing takes away from the fact that it's a fizzy, fake breakup with no bite and no flavor.

    FX-wise, the onboard reverb and delay are very nice. The chorus, flanger and phaser... aren't.
    You can't control the wet/dry ratio, only their rates, and they're excessively present. They sound like a toy. Chorus is kind of acceptable with clean sounds, and a joke with anything dirty.
    The tremolo however is very good and I love to use it. No FX loop, and I don't miss it much.

    Overall:

    It's a truly fantastic amplifier for clean sounds, that will get much louder than what you'd expect, and will deliver phenomenal tones with the right boxes in front, for the price.
    The included dirty tones aren't that good, but they'll do for certain applications.

    A beginner will find his tonal path through the versatilty it has, and a seasoned veteran will appreciate the portability, the power and the tones, which you can squeeze out with the right tools.
    It's definitely worthy to keep as a backup.
    Nowadays there's better modeling amps by Vox and other brands, but this one can be had for cheap in the used market and it's very reliable.
    Last edited by Diego; 06-08-2011 at 04:41 PM.
    Ibanez SZ320 / A2 Pro neck, Screamin' Demon bridge.
    AllParts Strat / Toneriders Pure Vintage set
    Partscaster #2 / JB-8 bridge.

    Egnater Tweaker 15 + DIY 1x12 cab + Eminence Wizard / Roland Cube 60
    Zvex Super Duper, EHX Memory Toy, Keeley BD2, Boss GE-7, CE-2, DD-5, Marshall Jackhammer,
    EHX Metal Muff TB.

  12. #32
    Mojo's Minions mwalluk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Courteously of UberMetalDood....

    MESA BOOGIE ELCTRADYNE

    Quote Originally Posted by UberMetalDood View Post
    It's a great amp. It has a clean channel that's everything they it's supposed to be... and then some. It's a real great Fender clean. It has more overdrive than people think. I would say it has about the same amount of overdrive as you can get on a JCM 800. There are two overdrive modes that are differently voiced. It's a little difficult to dial the amp in at first, especially trying to even out the levels between clean volume and overdrive volume, but once you get it set, you get exactly what you want.

    Its sound is relatively dark and compressed, but it cuts through like any other british amp. Like every other Mesa Boogie I've tried, it has more than enough bass.

    I have used it with 6L6's and EL34's, and I can tell you that it sounds better with 6L6's clean and EL34's on overdrive. Overall, 6L6's work best in the Electradyne.

    The Electradyne has an awesome reverb. It's not all springy sounding like a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. You can do a whole lot with an Electradyne. I have something I recorded with mine here. I did at a very low volume in my home.

    The Electradyne is a really cool amp. Even just looking at the chassis and the inside, it doesn't look like any other Mesa Boogie. The trick is getting it dialed in and learning how to siwtch between the channels. Once you got that figured out you will enjoy it tremendously.
    Quote Originally Posted by grumptruck
    No I think James and Dave have that covered. You are obviously rocking way to hard.
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  13. #33
    Guitaris Maximus Stratman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    And now for the Celtic amps….


    (Speak up for Scott_F)

  14. #34
    Mojo's Minions UberMetalDood's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Blackstar HT-100

    I have read a lot of different opinions and speculation about these amps and it seems like people just don't know jack about them yet. Guitar Centers don't have Blackstars lining the shelves like they do with those cheap, crappy particle-board Marshalls they've been pushing lately, so a lot of the general public doesn't know what to make of these Korean made Blackstars.

    Most of the information you find is on the very low wattage models like the HT-5 or the popular HT-40 combo. When you're looking for an amp head, the HT-100 must be taking into account because it's a killer amp head.

    First off, it's a very dark sounding amp. It takes a few ingredients to get the tone out. At first impression, it's dark and compressed and dry. The first thing you want to do is raise up the gain to see if you can breath some life into it. Then you start pushing the buttons to see where that gets you.

    I was thrown off by the ISF knob. Clockwise, it's supposed to be British sounding, then counter-clockwise it's supposed to be American. When I turned clockwise, it got really dark and compressed and reminded me of a Mesa Boogie Electra Dyne. I turned to the right and it got brighter and more open. It's still confusing because the HT-100 doesn't sound like an American amp no matter what you do with it.

    I don't understand what Blackstar is trying to accomplish by doing the American/British amp thing because first of all it doesn't sound American; second of all, they should just stick to making "better than Marshall" Marshalls.

    You're not going to get a good idea of the clean channel in a music store with a low volume and a strat. If you put the volume at 12:00 on the clean channel and use a humbucker guitar, you will get a gritty clean. It's a dry clean. It's not jangly and spanky like a Fender. You're not going to sound like SRV. It doesn't stay completely clean with a humbucker guitar unless you set the channel volume way low around 9:00.

    What the clean channel offers is a decent clean sound that when hit with a touch of chorus and a little bit of boost starts sounding really awesome. There is a voice switch which to me sound bland and dark. I leave it out because it's brighter and more lively sounding.

    The OD channels are quite dark. To me it sounds like a Marshall DSL that has been smoothed out and darkened and compressed. You will not get that trebly crunch like you get with a DSL unless you keep the ISF knob counter-clockwise and engage the voice (which is basically like a treble boost), even then it's still smoother than a Marshall DSL.

    As your master volume increases, so do some of the mids and treble. So once you get pretty loud, it starts sounding less dark and compressed.

    OD 2 is brighter and gainier. It sounds better than OD1 with the voice control out. Push the voice button in and it sounds much more like the red channel on a Marshall DSL. You have a truckload of gain available on OD2. You probably wouldn't need to go past 12:00 with vintage humbuckers. Single coils get all juiced up just past 12:00.

    This amp sounds kind of bassy so I like to lower the resonance and keep the bass back a little, and I keep the mids and treble up. That gives me the Marshall type sound I want from it.

    A few words about the reverb. I don't really like it that much but it's nice to have. It sounds like a digital reverb that tries to be a spring reverb. After 1:00 the reverb gets a little washed out and doesn't sound authentic. The reverb on a Marshall JVM is probably a little better but the HT-100 does sound more natural if you don't use a lot of it.

    I bought this amp cheap; therefore, I have been very careless with it. I cracked the headshell twice by dropping it. Once the preamp tubes went out. It still works perfectly though.

    It's durable so far, but only more time and lots of band practice will tell how its Korean craftsmanship will hold up over the years. I would like to know an amp tech's opinion after examining the wiring of one of these and a DSL 100 side by side. That would be interesting to hear about.
    Good trades with: Dominus, Jackson Distortion, Richard, DWVINKY, Notesfeld, Inhuman, Brunogio, SFW, Jolly, Darthphineas,Crane, SrDeMaFp...


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  15. #35
    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

    It's supposed to be the same circuit as a vintage 1965 Deluxe Reverb. Does it sound the same? Most people say "no."

    However, it's a bad ass amp. Everyone knows how the amp is voiced. Warm bass, lots of high end, and what feels like no mids. Thick, smooth breakup that really retains the character of whatever guitar you throw at it.

    2 channels, normal and vibrato. 2 inputs, high and low. Channel volumes (no masters), treble, bass, and the the vibrato channel has reverb and tremolo speed and depth. Everyone uses the vibrato channel because the reverb driver and recovery stages (I think that's what does this) add more gain, and this channel is much brighter.
    First, let me discuss the bomb-ass normal channel.

    Thick, articulate, and plenty of headroom for pedals! There's no shortage of the fender sound here, and if you want, you can crank this sucker all the way and not have the overdrive get ratty. If you don't play with reverb, you can get a LOT of love from this channel.

    The vibrato channel is bright at low volumes, begins to thicken up at around 3, and begins light breakup (with single coils) around 5. 7 is dirt and many speakers start to contribute a little breakup around here. 8 is right before you gotta watch for any rattyness from the amp or the speaker. Roll back your EQs to find the sweet spot if you need to be on 10. The breakup itself is smooth, and not a crazy crunch. The sustain is fairly liquid and you can really, really clean it all up with the volume control.

    The amp gets loud quick. Some people can play small bars with a light drummer if they set the vibrato channel to "2". I can set it to 1 in my apartment and get a cool clean tone, but everyone knows it really gets much sweeter from there. It's not an amp that sounds like ass until you hit a certain volume. It's all useable if you play around with it.

    The treble control has a wide useful range, I'd say everything from 2 to 7 sounds good depending on the speaker and guitar/pedals. With the volume below 3, I generally keep the treble below 3. Who says you have to go and cut the bright cap? Idiots. You have a treble control!
    The Bass control sounds good up around 7 if you're playing clean. With high volume, or OD pedals and such, also keep the bass medium to low (around 6 or under for natural overdrive, 4 or under for pedals) to let the mids come out more, then adjust your volume accordingly.

    Below 3 on the volume, beware fizz on the vibrato channel! It's potentially everywhere with any OD/dist pedal! Keep that treble LOW and use your guitar tone control. It's a bright amp, and it'll stay clear through all this. There's mids in this amp, and you've gotta cut the other two controls to make use of it.

    The reverb is strong. I've never taken it past 5. 3 is a nice "wet" reverb tone and 2 to 2.5 is good for just adding a little more dimension. It's warm and not obnoxious. Not too metallic like some other combo amps.

    The tremolo only works when the footswitch is in. It can go from a slight warble to all out wackiness. Very smooth, but not as smooth as some "bias modulator" types of trem circuits.

    Mine came from the factory with a faint ticking in time with the tremolo, when it's on. I don't mind, I don't think I'd ever record with the tremolo on. It's supposedly related to dressing of the leads in the amp. I'll get it fixed some day, maybe when I need a cap job.

    Hum is pretty low. It's not the quietest amp I've ever owned but it's not too bad.

    The stock speaker is bright and has a sort of blaring upper mids. Some dudes who stick with it and break it in swear by it. I had a Eminence Texas Heat laying around and popped it in. Way nice. Deep, warm lows, still enough chime and treble, and a little more low mids. It's also a "cleaner" sounding speaker. Less hair on your notes.

    As far as reliability and serviceability go, well that's another reason to get a SF or BF model. This thing is PCB and it's not invincible. I expect it to do well though. People gig these things all over, every day.

    Pros:
    Unmistakably Fender tone, with one of the worlds most trusted clean tones!
    renowned for being a great pedal-platform
    GOOD onboard reverb

    (potential) Cons:
    Learning curve with the EQs
    Stock speaker could be better
    not enough headroom for everyone. Well they do make the twin...
    A real '65 is usually said to be warmer, smoother, and even less compressed.
    ----
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  16. #36
    GumbyLoveologist wahwah's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Ulbrick Venue 30

    The Ulbrick Venue 30 is a Class A, 30w 1x12 combo, featuring all tube Accutronics parallel mixed reverb, and all tube true grid tremolo. Hand made from start to finish, Dave Ulbrick even produces his own paper bobbin hand wound transformers, and the circuitry is mil spec point to point hand wired. The amp also features dual parallel preamps, marked Deep and Bright, allowing for a very broad range of tones from the preamps by combining them in various amounts.

    Controls

    The top panel controls include Master Volume (with a pull pot for 'Clean'), Bass, Middle, Treble, Bright Volume, Deep Volume, Speed & Depth (Tremolo) and Reverb. Underneath the top panel, there is also a switch for New/Old rectifier switching. The Old setting provides a greater degree of sag in the rectifier. The Clean pull pot on the Master provides more slam to the power amp for more breakup and crunch in its down position.

    Tubes

    This particular amp was custom made for me by Dave Ulbrick, and we sorted through my vintage tube collection for the most appropriate tubes for the preamp stages. We settled on an early 60's short plate Mullard ECC83 for the Bright preamp, and a late 50's RCA blackplate 12AX7 for the Deep preamp. For 6L6GC's, we went with SED Winged C.

    Speaker

    Dave had a couple of Celestion Gold alnico 12's in his factory when he was putting my amp together, so we put one in the combo and one in an extension cab. The standard version of the Venue 30 comes with either a modified Vintage 30 or G12H Heritage. I tried all three, and much preferred the Celestion Gold in this amp.

    Tone

    The Venue 30 is predominantly a clean single channel amp, with substantial headroom and a broad range of tones available from the combination of the parallel preamp stages, the tone controls, adjustable rectifier and the switch for slamming the power stage. The Deep preamp has a distinct Fender quality to it, and the Bright preamp provides something closer to a British voiced tone. Being able to combine these two preamps in parallel makes this a very versatile amp, and one that takes pedals extraordinarily well. As a result, it provides a beautiful tonal foundation for a wide range of different types of gain and fuzz pedals, while providing excellent clean tones straight from the amp.

    Reverb & Tremolo

    Both are gorgeous.

    Clips

    Here's an audio clip of the Ulbrick Venue 30 running clean with my '68 Strat

    Ulbrick Venue 30 Clean

    And a couple of YouTube videos running the amp with different pedals. In the first clip, I'm running a Lovepedal Eternity into it, and in the second, a Hermida Zendrive. At this gig, I have the extension cab mic'd through the PA.











    Cheers......................................... wahwah
    Highway Star
    Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
    Mistreated
    Cause We Ended As Lovers
    Go ahead...check out my solo album @ http://geoffwells.bandcamp.com/


    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    Strats are better than Les Pauls.

  17. #37
    Fudgeitallologist PVFan's Avatar
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    Default The Incredible Hulk Junior from the Rising Sun

    Ibanez TSA15H "Tube Screamer Amp"


    Best deal out there as of this writing for under $750 US brand new. Maybe $1000 new. And it's a dual 6v6, oy! Pairs great with an EL84 like my Dr. Z.



    Been doing some tube swaps and I'm in tone shock. Replaced the 2 stock preamps with a JJ and a Sovtek, removing the 2 simply labeled "CHINA". Left the 2 stock output tubes in there because they seem to be rocking stoutly. Besides, they're black. All black, like tinted windows. Can barely see the fire inside. It's just cool looking. Eventually I will allocate the best 6v6s I can for this amp, but, the tube swap of just the preamp tubes made the tone stack far more usable, it made the Tube Screamer sound 100% badass and "TS-familiar" thru the entire range of all 3 knobs dedicated to the stompbox built into this amp, and even the boost seems to work more like one would expect a straightforward but fairly transparent 6db boost to function.

    All 6 knobs are smooth and fun and have linear sonic tapers to their travel. The panel is recessed. The 2 little switches (TS & Boost) are strong, and the big switches (Power and Standby) are chunky, and when you flip any of the 4 there is plenty of Snap! It feels and operates like a nice, overcrafted German machine or Japanese Zero. Almost frictionless operation to the knobs that invites experimentation. Everything is confident and authoritative. The headshell is tight, more solid than a lot of popular models that creak and groan when you pick them up and set them down. The white tolex and piping are beautiful. The green chassis is gorgeous.

    The chassis is not the only thing that is green. The pedal for switching the TS & Boost on / off is made out of battleship armor and is the same green as the chassis. So is the cable for the footswitch. A nice, almost luminescent green (long cable, too. About 75 kilofeet. 1/4" plug on the end).

    Even the Owner's Manual is the same GREEN.

    Big, cleanish amp with built-in classic stompbox that can be more expensive by itself than this amp that actually includes one. Great sounds, huge crunch, but some really darn sweet tones to be easily found also, pentode/triode 15w/5w, an FX loop? Not a typical $299 offering in any way. American tone and legendary Japanese crunch that handily consumes the small amp competition under $750 American as of this writing.

    I'm not going to get into the tones too much because I've gotten so many good ones with so many speakers and guitars. I will say my favorite tone by far with this amp is plugging straight-in with no pedals into 2 greenbacks and 1 alnico blue, with the TS ganked and the boost on. The first thing you think of when I say "Uber-Recto Junior" would be in the ballpark of the mountainous, articulate chunk-balls and fat leads I'm getting, except with far quieter operation.

    The signal path looks like this:


    1. input > Tube Screamer > boost >
    2. FX send / return >
    3. 1st half of 12ax7 #1 >
    4. EQ >
    5. 2nd half of 12ax7 #1 >
    6. both halves of 12ax7 #2 >
    7. 2 x 6v6GT >
    8. OT with 5 output taps >


    ... so if you plug your guitar into the FX loop's return, you're all tube, and the TS & boost are bypassed. I don't know if V2 is functioning as a splitter nor what the power amp's class of operation is. Web research says it is a "hybrid bias" design somewhere between cathode-biased and adjustable. No clue. Block diagram taken from owner's manual.



    more:

    bass, how low can you go? Death Row. Whutta brutha know.

    wouldn't it be cool...?


    For the price tag, it's the most bang for buck deal I've encountered in my life. I love it. 100% keeper that will always be useful and fun. Addictive to play as anything I've owned, and I can't emphasize enough how Ibanez *must* have been thinking "fun" even as they designed the interactive use. And mine has the misprint on the front panel. ;o)














    hopefully not the final edit ...

    Blown fuses. Root cause unknown. They are hard to get to, being accessed by a little top panel with no room for hands, and you will need fuse pullers to avoid the risk of electric shock.

    my TSAmp is in a laboratory being looked at by top men. If it ever comes back to me it is true love; I hope it does. It was good while it lasted in any case. But I haven't got time for fleeting love so I got the replacement hookup.
    Last edited by PVFan; 08-14-2011 at 03:38 PM. Reason: crap.
    tele / wolfie
    pittbull 50cl
    greenbacks

  18. #38
    Fudgeitallologist PVFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Pittbull 50CL



    / amp search
    Last edited by PVFan; 08-07-2011 at 01:11 PM. Reason: more later. 8000 features. 1 channel 'roided ~plexi w/ 2 sets of controls. Assignable GEQ and tube/ss rectos for each set.
    tele / wolfie
    pittbull 50cl
    greenbacks

  19. #39
    Administrator Scott_F's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Fender Mustang 3

    A keeper for solid state modeling amps.

    Pros:

    1. Good celestion speaker
    2. Open back
    3. Big digital read out on top for us old guys with tired eyes.
    4. Fender amp models are superb.
    5. Price
    6. Two different pedal control options.


    Cons:

    1. I hear a little electronic fizziness sometimes. Not sure if it's an amp model or an FX model. Comes and goes a bit but doesn't keep me from enjoying the amp.

    2. The line out headphone thing is a bit sterile sounding. They don't have a "cab" model for the line out like Line 6 products did when I used them. Once you disconnect the amps speaker cab, you lose a bit of something. I've not tried to record with it. It's basically only good for late night stuff for me.

    3. I took a look at what's inside and I'm not sure how robust it is. (electronics) Time will be the judge of this one.

    4. British amp models were good, but not great to my ears. But, then again, I"m more a fender guy than a marshal guy. And I really didn't like any of the "metal" models. Then again, I'm not metal so go figger.



    Overall, a keeper for sure. If you want a quick grab and go amp for practice and light gigging, the Mustang 3 is a good choice. 300 bucks gets a lot of amp.

    I had the Mustang 2 previously. I didn't care for it. Control system was clunky, closed back, speaker wasn't that swift. For 100 bucks more, the M3 is a waaaay better model than the M2.


    www.CelticAmplifiers.com

    When I'm posting here, I'm not picking or soldering.

  20. #40
    Mojo's Minions Surgeon's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    I’ve retubed it with Tung-Sol 12ax7s in the pre-amp and TAD EL84s in the power section.

    Guitars: I play Les Pauls through it (a Custom with a Custom in the bridge and Pearly Gates in the neck; a Classic with Custom in the bridge and Seth Love in the neck and a DC Junior with the stock pick-up).

    Cab: It’s plugged through a beefy home-made 1x12 cab loaded with an Eminence Wizard.

    Construction:
    I have nothing to say about it really, other than the fact that it looks and feels solid, the tolex is cleanly applied and everything looks top-notch. Getting the chassis out to retube took some time but that’s not really a problem. The amp isn’t particularly heavy for it’s size, I’m assuming the transformers aren’t super-beefy, the amp being only 30 watts. I don’t have any frame of reference for 30 watts heads though. It’s actually my first head…

    Clean channel:
    This channel has: volume, low and high knobs.
    The clean channel is quite loud. It gets louder than the dirty channel when knobs are set at the same position. This isn’t a bad thing per se, unless one wants some break-up at lower volume. Otherwise, it’s positive since the clean tone gets hairy quite rapidly (around 12 o’clock) and turns into a very usable crunch past 2-3 o’clock. When used at volumes that allow the clean to remain “clean”, the tone was quite surprising. I wasn’t expecting such a nice clean tone from this amp. It’s lively and deep. Played through the aforementioned set-up with the stated guitars, the tone can be a little dark (of course, the p90 in the junior helped with this compared with the other two LPs). I keep the treble knob almost all the way up and the bass quite low. Set like this the clean tone is very pleasant and doesn’t sound dark at all; it is to be noted that this knobs placement can seem quite extreme to some, considering that there isn’t much more increase of the treble that can be done. I assume that players looking for a Fender-type shimmery clean tone may need single coils, a treble booster or, well, just buy a Fender or fender-clone. I never perceived the Wizard as a dark speaker (although there are much brighter ones out there for sure) so I don’t believe the problem lies there.

    Dirty channel:
    This channel has three knobs: volume, gain and shape (EQ knob increasing of decreasing the mids while doing the opposite to treble and bass). This Shape knob is either liked or disliked on the web (although I suspect that many naysayers haven’t played through this amp and are stating things more generally). I can see how having more control over the EQ curve could be beneficial but I don’t feel there’s anything missing from the control you have with just this knob. Turning the knob counter-clockwise increases the mids while decreasing the treble and lows. Setting it the opposite way increases the lows and highs while scooping the mids. There’s actually something very cool about having so much tone-shaping capacities over your dirty tone from tuning just 2 knobs. Whether you’re a “set and forget” type of guy or an incessant tweaker, there’s something for you, although there isn’t much to tweak. I’m assuming the incessant tweakers will run out of experiments in a short period but both gain and shape knobs interact nicely with each other. It was really easy to find very satisfactory tones on the amp. The beauty of its simplicity lies in how easy it is to “come back” to tones you’ve found before. I don’t find myself taking notes on knobs placement anymore (which would actually make me sound quite dumb seeing how it’s only 2 knobs right?).

    The dirty tone of this amp is full with the low-mids that make the sound of Orange amps so unique. It does, however, have a bit less of the crunchy mids at lower gain settings, which in turn yields a tone that may be a bit less organic than some might desire. I’m assuming that folks solely in search of a retro crunchy tone will be better off looking at other Orange amps geared towards lower gain.

    The reason I was drawn to this amp (or any Orange amps lately for that matter) is that the lower-mids tend to make the amp sound crunchy and heavy without having to go for full-blown scooped distortion, which I never found in my former JCM 800 or Genz Benz El Diablo (even though both were amazing amps…yes, even the GB). That not only ensures a tone that cuts through the mix with ease but also enables one to retain the playing dynamics without sacrificing said heavy-tone... heaven for riffing on the lower strings. The sweet-spot for the tone I was looking for with the dirt-channel was between 10 and 2 o’clock for gain and between 9 and 1 for the EQ. This may seem quite constrained but just by tweaking between these points for both knobs the tone can be quite drastically changed. Almost any settings could be useful, the only moments where the tone was unusable for me were on the extremes: EQ completely counter-clockwise or completely set clockwise. Pretty much the same can be said for the gain. However, it didn’t sound bad for certain types of music with the gain maxed-out (it was tight and brutal with a lot of the fizz EL 84s are known for) but it certainly wasn’t something I can hear myself using.

    Wattage:
    One of the very practical characteristics of the amp is that it can be switched between 7, 15 or 30 watts. Being such a loud amp (30 watts in Class A), this is a home-player salvation if you play both home and with a band, allowing you to keep playing the same amp in both situations. A switch on the back allows you to use only 2 of the 4 EL84 output tubes while another on the front panel allows you to switch the amp to half of its capacity (I’m assuming switching between pentode or triode mode). This also allows two different 15 watts modes: 4 tubes in triode or 2 tubes in pentode.
    I found that switching between the different modes didn’t alter the tone that much. My former Genz Benz turned into a quite different beast when switched to triode at 30 watts (quite darker with less gain). It isn’t the case that much with this amp. What I did observe is that, as expected, when used with the switch at half capacity (triode mode) the tone did get a bit “looser”, not as tight compared to the full mode and “maybe” a slightly bit darker. Depending on your tastes and type of music you can tailor your tone a bit more with this knowledge, especially if you can deal with only 15 watts (where both modes are available as described above). My preference goes to the tighter gain character for most of my electric guitar work but it’s nice to have the option. Since using tubes to their full capacity yields a bit of a brighter tone, this could also helped the clean channel (read the description above).

    All in all, it’s a great amp. Very versatile and can get quite loud. Being made in China, the price it commends when new IMHO makes it a tremendous value. I haven’t seen any on the used market yet but I can only imagine they’ll be an amazing deal considering what this amp is.
    Last edited by Surgeon; 06-29-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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