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Thread: The Amp Review Thread

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

    The Amp Review Thread

    Welcome to the infamous Amp Review Thread. This is the one stop show for all reviews in regards to amps. Please review your own or any amp you're familiar with and have ample amount of experience with. The reviews can be either a brand new or a prior rehash review.

    Also, try to refrain from posting anything other than an amp review. Giving credit for a good review is nice, but this thread should only before reviews. It’ll be more manageable and information would be easier to find for a specific/particular amp the reader’s looking for.

    Post 1: Index

    Post 2: VHT/Fryette Deliverance Sixty

    Post 3: Fender Deluxe Reverb / Fender Super Reverb / Marshall JCM 900 / Komet 60

    Post 4: Egnater Tweaker

    Post 5: Marshall Vintage Modern 2266

    Post 6: Jet City JCA100H

    Post 7: Splawn Quickrod

    Post 9: Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100

    Post 10: Silvertone 1481

    Post 11: Vox Night Train

    Post 13: Bogner XTC Classic

    Post 14: Vox AC4tv

    Post 15: Fender Pro Junior

    Post 16: Rivera Clubster Royale 1x12 Combo

    Post 17: Carvin Legacy II

    Post 18: Fender Super-Sonic 22 / Super-Sonic 60

    Post 19: Orange TH30 / AD30

    Post 20: 1967 Fender Blackface Vibrochamp / 1973 Fender Silverface Champ / 2006 Fender Champion 600.

    Post 21: Randall MTS RM100

    Post 22: VHT/Fryette Pittbull Ultra Lead

    Post 23: Cornford Roadhouse 30w Combo

    Post 24: BUGERA 6262

    Post 25: Ampeg Jet J12-T Reissue

    Post 26: Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier Solo

    Post 27: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Trem-O-Verb

    Post 28: Zinky 25 watt Blue Velvet combo.

    Post 29: Peavey Vypyr Tube 60

    Post 30: Fender Super Champ

    Post 31: Roland Cube 60

    Post 32: Mesa Boogie Elctradyne

    Post 34: Blackstar HT-100

    Post 35: Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue

    Post 36: Ulbrick Venue 30

    Post 37: Ibanez TSA 15H

    Post 39: Fender Mustang III

    Post 40: Orange TH30

    Post 41: Engl Raider 100

    Post 42: PRS Amp

    Post 43: Peavey Vypyr 15

    Post 44: Mesa Boogie Trem-O-Verb

    Post 46: Ampeg VH140C

    Post 47: Laney L5-112T

    Post 48: Dr Z MAZ382R

    Post 52: Fender Machete

    Post 53: PWE Event Horizon

    Post 55: Laney Ironheart 120W

    Post 56:Ibanez Tube Screamer Amp TSA15H

    Post 58: Fender Studio 85 Combo

    Post 59: 18w "Baby Will" Epi Valve Jr. Conversion

    Post 60: Calor - Solution 18

    Post 61: BLACKSTAR HT STAGE 60


    Last edited by mwalluk; 02-11-2014 at 06:56 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by grumptruck
    No I think James and Dave have that covered. You are obviously rocking way to hard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gear Used
    PRS CE 22 (Custom 5 / 59)
    Gibson Les Paul (Screaming Demon / Pearly Gates)
    Mesa Stiletto Ace
    Gurus 5015
    Mesa Widebody 1X12
    Pedalboard

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions mwalluk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    VHT/Fryette Deliverance Sixty

    The VHT/Fryette Deliverance Sixty will redefine your style. You will love the tone from the first day, however you might not love your playing until a week later. It is an amp that makes you a better player. It’s as if there will be magnifying glass on your technique. There’s no hiding behind a D60. How you play and what you play will come through pristine. The learning curve is high on this amp. If you’re looking for an amp with a looser feel and/or uber amounts of gain to smooth out the inadequacies of one’s technique, this is not for you then.

    There’s an old school, no frills, straight up rock n roll attitude that coincides with this amp. The unique voicing, touch sensitiveness and articulate responsiveness allows for diverse tones hidden in a single channel amp. The amp responds very well to the volume and tone knobs on the guitar, dialing down on it will drastically alter the sound and/or cleans up nicely. It cleans up better with the guitar's volume knob than any other high-gain amp I've ever heard in my life. Insane how nice the cleans are from just the volume knob.

    The natural characteristics of one’s guitar will be emphasized beautifully through the Deliverance. The dynamics of cascading Gain I and Gain II stages, tone controls, presence and depth gives way to unyielding results. You’re not confined to spending hours tweaking or strictly just plugging in and playing, you have the best of both worlds. It’s extremely easy to dial in certain tones.

    The raw sounds of a fast break up and endless sustain gives off a signature Fryette sound and clarity. On the Less setting with the gain stages matched accordingly, it will give off a warm, sparkling Hiwatt clean. Simply by dialing in on both gain stages will essentially shape the tone of the preamp value from dark, thick, creamy to chimey, jangley and trebley. It can reach a hotrodded Marshall hollow midrange growl to a Low end thump/chugga of a Mesa. Flick the More switch and you get a more compressed, fuller midrange gain. Hit the front end with a boost and you got yourself a metal/shredding machine.

    This is a lead guitarists amp. Now I'll do some leads, but I'm more a rhythm player. I get along great with this amp. Playing chords, each individual note and string ring out. Perfect for riffing in between chords and for single picking.

    The insides of the amp are very clean looking, well put together. This is a road worthy amp, in fact it’s built to last. The pcb has gold plated points and is built from military grade components. Like I said, rock solid.

    In closing, for a high gain amp, it's suitable for any style. It's aggressive, very tight, big-sounding amp with crazy-musical mids and tons of bottom end. The Deliverance is capable of a lot of sounds that a lot of other amps just can't do. The gain shape knob on the Deliverance can take it into a totally different tonal territory.


    *Some cons:

    It is a one channel amp which means my neck pickup with the guitar volume on low becomes my "clean" channel.

    There is no footswitch for the more/less gain feature. That really blows. To get a nice pristine clean (even with rolling back the volume) I need the switch to be on less. To get the nice modern rock distortion, I need the switch on more. Sometimes in a song I need both.

    It's a bit of a compromise, but it's doesn't make me want to get rid of the amp. Now, I just pick and choose the type of clean sound I'm going for, for a particular song. It's not that bad though. On stage I just walk over and flip a switch and I'm good to go.

    There is no effects loop. That may bother some, but not me. I only used a loop on occasion back when my amps had one. Too many wires to deal with, so I just ran everything in front. I don't use a heavy amount of effects, I like the supplement it and not over process/saturate it.

    I use chorus and delay, both sound good in front of the amp (granted could sound better in a loop). It is a pedal friendly amp for not having an effects loop.

    One down fall is how touch sensitive the knobs are. Moving the volume knob just a hair on the amp will create a drastic volume difference.

    Fryette has a unique sound. It's going be a love/hate agenda with it. Either you love it or it's not your style. That said, it's either going fit/mesh with your band (or other guitarist) or it's not. I'm fortunate it fits both.
    Last edited by mwalluk; 05-31-2011 at 01:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by grumptruck
    No I think James and Dave have that covered. You are obviously rocking way to hard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gear Used
    PRS CE 22 (Custom 5 / 59)
    Gibson Les Paul (Screaming Demon / Pearly Gates)
    Mesa Stiletto Ace
    Gurus 5015
    Mesa Widebody 1X12
    Pedalboard

  3. #3
    Mojo's Minions Bludave's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    DELUXE REVERB
    I own a 67 or 68(not sure). I almost gave up on this amp. I was having a lot of headroom issues with it. A friend gave me an old British made Vintage 30 that I put in and the headroom issues are more manageable now. Overall I would say the Deluxe Reverb is one of the best all around amps to use in small to medium sized rooms. For larger rooms it will need to be miked. At 22W it can be challenging to get a good clean sound and enough volume in some cases.The DR is NOT a clean amp, but you can control the overdrive with the volume knob on your guitar. Once the volume gets to 4 to 5 it begins to break up nicely with single coils. humbuckers it will break up sooner(its a little harder to get a good clean sound with humbuckers). The overall tone is warm & rich yet with the right guitar(a Telecaster) it can twang with the best amps. Its a great choice for versatility. The DR also takes pedals very well. I use a CE2, a DD3 a TS9 Wah and tuner and that pretty much gets me what I need. Overall a great sounding amp. The tube chart calls for a GZ34, 2 6V6 powere tubes, 12 AT7, 12 AX7, 7025, 12 AT7 & 2 7025's(for the vibrato & reverb). We all know you can tweak an amp by playing with tubes. The next time I have this tubed I will leave it up to my amp guy to decide. He has never failed me.

    SUPER REVERB

    I own a 68. Silver face

    The Super is a much cleaner sounding then the DR is. It has 4 10" speakers and is 40W. It is a beautiful amp for blues to rock. It has absolutely beautiful cleans yet once the volume gets to 6 or 7 the drive is impressive. These amps have a lot more balls then people would expect. SRV used these for all of his overdriven material(his early recordings were done with a SR). The negative to these amps is they weigh about 85lbs and the height of them with 4 10's make them awkward to carry. A dolly is a good solution for this. These have similar warmth to a DR but with a whole lot more headroom. the 40W and 4 10's are a contributing factor for this. The tube layout is quite similar to the DR. GZ34, 2 6L6, 12 AT7, 12 AX7, 7025, 12 AT7 & 2 7025. I just had some work done on mine & I know it has a different rectifier tube in it but not sure what.

    MARSHALL 900

    I have a 50W 2 12" version of this fine amp. I have the 900 Dual Reverb model. I gigged with this amp for quite a while and it was reliable and always gave me a good tone. needless to say with a humbucking guitar the tone is legendary. this amp is channel switching and shares the same EQ in both channels. Some people would consider this a negative but personally I never had an issue with it. the tone of the clean channels is crisp & bright, but in some cases the volume was difficult to maintain a good balance from Channel A to B. This was resolved by raising the gain on the clean channel but this made the amp... well not so clean. After all you don't buy a Marshall for cleans right? The Negative to this amp is the effects loop. Bear in mind this amp was designed in the late 80's early 90's & back them most bands were using racks. The 900 didn't seem to take to stomp boxes too well. it took me a while to get this sorted out but once I did I never looked back. Overall a good sounding amp & very reliable. The 900's have a bad wrap IMHO. A lot of players think they sound like crap, but I was always able to get a good sound out of mine. I have read that many of the later models were equipped with 6550 power tubes. Mine has EL 34's.

    BOGNER SHIVA

    The best channel switching amp I ever used period. It has cleans that rival any Fender and enough gain for most blues to hard rock players. when I first got it( I have a 80W EL 34 1 12" combo) it took me a bit to dial in a decent tone from the clean channel. I think it was more of an adjustment to my ears then anything else. The cleans on this amp are reminiscent of a Twin. with a touch more gain.(the 6L6 version is probably right there). The Reverb will rival any Fender. Cleans Crisp and a beautiful decay to the Reverb.

    The Drive Channel was beautiful. Once I dialed in the tone I was after it is just great. It sounds incredibly thick yet crisp with a Stratocaster and a Les Paul will just crush with this amp. I love the tone I get especially with the neck pickup in a Les Paul. I use a TS9 straight in to achieve a little more gain in both the clean and the drive channel. I have an older model which required making a special cable for the effects loop. I understand the newer version have this rectified. It doesn't really matter it was just a matter of adding a resistor and routing the cables the way they needed to be. Great great amp!

    KOMET 60

    I recently put a set of new tubes in the Komet. A set of Winged C EL34's. Prior to me running these I was runnning a set of KT77's. The 77's were done. The logic of this amp is you can bias the amp easily and swap tubes very easily. I have elected not to play with this too much.

    Komets are a pure circuit; designed by Ken Fisher. This amp hands down is the most impressive amp I have ever played through. The harmonics are thick, detailed and always available if you choose to have them. The amp is designed to give you everything one would ever want just using the volume control on your guitar. there are no channels to switch there is no master volume..... it is pure tone. Not even reverb..... but somehow I don't miss it(well maybe a little) My pedalboard is very sparse and basic running into this amp. I have a Verbzilla, a CE2, DD3, TS808 and a wah. with a humbuker equipped guitar I barley need the OD. I can get what I need just by cranking the amp a bit. With single coils it could need a touch of a push. The amp has a mini toggle on its back labeled "Fast" & "gradual". The technical issues of what this does is beyound me, but what it does is add a little more gain and a little more volume. When the switch is flipped from either gradual to fast or the other way around the amp makes a bit of a pop. The manual states that this is normal and won't hurt anything. I rarely use the fast setting mostly try to keep it pretty clean and gradual. The conrtrols are pretty basic: High Cut, Presence, Bass, Mid, treble, volume. The High cut is basically a treble controle the has zero effect on the other EQ settings.

    I have this head running into a Marshall 1960 AX loaded with greenbacks. Greenbacks are the right speaker for this. When I first got it I had it hooked up to a Peavey 4 12 loaded with Shefeild 1290's(Peavey's version of the Celestion 75). The Greenbacks seem to work a lot better. There is a natural breakup that happens sooner and sounds a lot more pure with this amp. As I said before this amp is hands down the best amp I have ever had the privilege to play through. It has all the qualities that one would desire in an amp for cleans rock & blues! My favorite amp and it has completely cured my need to find anything else.
    Last edited by Bludave; 05-31-2011 at 07:17 PM.
    "So you will never have to listen to Surf music again" James Marshall Hendrix
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  4. #4
    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Egnater Tweaker Head
    15 W of cathode biased 6V6 power. A 12AX7 Preamp, a 12AX7 phase inverter, and a 12AX7 FX loop buffer.

    The best and most unique features on this amp include several mini-toggles designed to tweak the amp's voice, and they deliver tweakabilty only outclassed by Mesa.

    The basic voicing of the amp lies in USA mode. The character here is something in between the egnater voicing and a fender blackface voicing. One could say it is similar to the rebel 20's 6v6 mode, but with less compression, more sparkle, and what feels to me like less presence in the upper mids. It doesn't quite achieve the warmth or shimmer of a PRRI or DRRI, but I think it gets a little closer than a blues Jr. When overdriven it rides the line between "blackface-like" and "tweed-like" in EQ, based on how you set the mids, with the character of the breakup always being closer to a 6v6 blackface amp.

    Switching to the AC mode cuts some mids and bass and adds treble in such a way as to add some airyness and some more bite. It lacks the crunch characteristics of the real thing, but it certainly gives the impression of playing a darker vox.

    The Brit mode adds a bass and plenty of mids, and bumps the volume up a tad for more agressive breakup. I can't say this nails any particular british amp's sounds. It doesn't sound like a JCM800 or plexi on it's own, but when paired with a celestion speaker, one can get that they must have been going for something in that vein, as it certainly sounds "british". This mode has as much balls as the amp is capable of and enough gain to do hard rock.

    the vintage/modern switch is pretty useful. In a given voice, the "vintage" side is the normal voicing of the amp. "Modern" adds bass and treble for a little more oomph and cut. I leave mine on "modern" a lot of the time because I like the added sparkle for clean sounds.

    The clean/hot switch adds 9 db of gain. With the gain all the way up in clean mode, you get some into the lighter side of classic rock breakup. In hot mode, taking it past 1 o'clock gets you into smooth gain with plenty of sustain for playing most types of rock n roll.

    Bright/normal adds treble the way a normal bright switch would, and it becomes less effective as the gain knob is turned up. I like to leave it on bright all the time, as it really adds to the fender and vox-like voices.

    The tight/deep switch should be used depending on gain as well. Leave it on deep for the best bass response, unless you're playing past 1 o'clock in hot mode, where the deep switch starts to detract from the clarity of the amp.

    Overall this amp comes reasonably close to blackface fender EQ, and does a decent impression on the other two voicings. There are a bunch of toggles, but they are so straightforward that it's actually very easy to pick a sound and stick with it.
    The amp is quite dynamic, and you can get great cleans with your volume knob if you;re running the gain up high. Very touch-sensitive.
    Because the amp is only 15W and is cathode biased, it gets rounder and more compressed at high output settings. It loses it's "punch" when it's really going. What you get as a trade-off is a "browner" sound, somewhat saturated, with a flowing sustain for leads.

    Pros:
    *Price!
    *Warm and open feel, less compressed vs other egnaters
    *3 modes to choose from and several tweaker toggles
    *nice FX loop

    (potential) Cons:
    *lacks the punch of higher wattage amps
    *doesn't dead-on nail any famous amps' sounds. Might leave you gassing for "the real thing" for any given amp voicing.

    In closing, get it if you want a versatile amp that really rides the line between vintage and modern tone and feel. Its worth the price, even if all you ever use is one voicing.

  5. #5
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Marshall Vintage Modern 2266 (50 watt head)

    Marshall doesn't offer the variety I want to see, but the tone I was after had to be Marshall. I wanted a Marshall made in the UK with the tone I wanted, but without the pricetag of the Vintage Reissues - and something that was 50 watts that would sound good from home practice to gig volumes.

    I settled on a Vintage Modern 50 watt head. I have to rely on a couple of trusty pedals for my overdrive as I prefer to leave my VM set on a clean setting.

    I currently use a Maxon OD820 and the new Keeley Overdrive. I get all the tones I want out of those pedals. I don't run them at the same time, rather, I use the Keely for the most hard rocking stuff and solo tones and the Maxon for everything else.

    The amp is simple (single channel) and straight-forward but a little difficult to dial in. You basically have to find the happy medium between two shaping knobs, one which gives you the presence and amount of gain, the other gives you the low end and low mids.

    There is a low/high button which seems to do the same thing as low & high inputs would do like on a JCM 800.

    There is a mid-shift button that adds a lot of thick and juicy mids but also adds more gain. I can crank the shape controls in high and switch on the mid boost and solo all day long with a smooth, thick and rich Marshall lead tone.

    I use a 2x12 cab loaded with Eminence Red Fangs (alnico powered, kind of Celestion Gold equivalents). These speakers have that addictive alnico flavor and I can't get enough of playing through it. I have also tried the Vintage Modern with the Vintage Modern cab, and a Marshall 1936 2x12. They both sounded incredible but I still think my 2x12 is tops.

    The KT66's sound huge. There is plenty of low end to dish out, but it dials down pretty easily.

    Instead of a buzzy quality people often describe with EL34 Marshalls, the Vintage Modern has more of a growl. It's defined and sensitive to pick attack. The Vintage Modern sounds very natural and warm.

    For a 50w Marshall, I expected it to be louder. My Engl Screamer combo is louder but the Marshall is loud enough for everything except the largest venues. It sounds awesome at low volumes for home practicing and recording, but when you turn it up really loud it reminds me of something like Michael Schenker would sound like.

    My only complaint is the reverb. It's not a bad reverb, but definitely nothing that will impress anyone. To even hear it I have to turn it all the way up, then it's a semi-pleasing reverb effect. I definitely get a lot better reverb with my M9, but thankfully the Vintage Modern has a great FX loop.

    This is one bad amp, and with a couple of pedals it can be as versatile as you need it to be. The price is very fair. You can find them in new condition for as little as $800-900 on Ebay. That's an awesome deal.

    To me the JVM is great but I prefer the Vintage Series. I think the Vintage Modern has a better overall tone than most of the the JVM modes. It definitely has a better clean channel than the JVM which can sound a little sterile.

    The 2266 is awesome if you want an amp that sounds great at any amount of volume.
    Last edited by UberMetalDood; 05-31-2011 at 12:20 PM.

  6. #6
    The Drama Dude CTN's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    JET CITY JCA100H

    For those who don't know about Jet City, it's a company that was set up by Mike Soldano and a couple of other guys. A lot of the amp circuit designing is done by Mike Soldano himself - including custom specs for the transformers. The flagship amp, the JCA100H features the overdrive channel design from the Soldano Hot Rod+. They also make a JCA50H (50W version of the 100H), a JCA20H (20W 1 channel crunch monster), and a combo version as well. There is one particular amp (to be released) called the PicoValve, designed by Andy Marshall of THD, based on the UniValve.

    EDIT: since this is an old review, I'll make a little update: Jet City now makes a JCA22H, a 20W, two channel, EL-84 powered version of the JCA100H.

    Aside from amps, they also make cabs based on Soldano cab designs, as well as an isolation cab especially for recording, and they will soon be making a series of effects pedals.

    Manufacturing is all done offshore, in China. That said, Mike Soldano and his partners frequently visit the factory there and ensure that quality standards are up to Mike's specifications, and that quality assurance is top notch.

    As a result of this offshore manufacturing, the costs are much cheaper than similar built in USA products would be, but since the designs, specs, and tolerances all have to meet Soldano standards, the amps sound fantastic.

    I mentioned I had a chance to crank my JCA100H and find out what it's made of. Evidently, half a cow was stuffed into the headshell. Seriously though, it runs 5 12ax7s and a quad of 6L6s.

    This thing is beefy as hell on the overdrive channel (full gain). Playing through a Mesa Boogie Rectifier cab (V30s), it sounded massive. Sort of halfway between a Dual Rectifier and a Peavey 6505 (ironic, considering both those amps borrow a lot in terms of preamp circuit design from the Soldano SLO). Big bottom end that can be loose and smooth if you want, or tight and percussive. The mids are very present - in a good way - whether or not you scoop them with the 3 band EQ. Highs are smooth and usable. Never does this amp get shrill or harsh sounding, even with the treble and presence dimed. There is a pronounced Low and Low-mid character to this amp, which is what gives it so much beefy punchiness and body.

    Edit: I think greenback and V30 type speakers are best suited to this amp. Its midrange really needs to be as clear as possible for succeeding in a band mix, and those kinds of speakers help to bring that out without squashing any other parts of the amp's sound. I also believe that this amp sounds better through regular sized 4x12 cabs, because it helps to tighten up the bottom and projects the whole amp's sound better. With the oversized cabs, the bottom end gets very fat and warm, and tends to sound separate from the rest of the mids/highs....it's weird. regular sized 4x12s, everything sounds tighter and more together. Then again, if the JCA100H had a resonance control (a simple mod to do) that might not even be an issue. I plan on doing a resonance mod soon to my head.

    It excels at crunchy low to mid-gain settings. You can turn up the gain on the Normal channel if you want to get a nice overdriven tone, or you can dime it for a really thick crunch. Where the normal channel leaves off in terms of gain, the overdrive channel picks up. Low gain settings on the overdrive channel are thick and crunchy, getting progressively more saturated as you turn up the gain. Great JCM800 kinda tones as well, but more beefy because of the low/low-mid oomph. Regardless of where you set your gain levels on either channel, the amp stays exceptionally clear sounding and has a really interesting ability to really sing when playing leads.

    Cleans can be almost sparkly with the Normal gain set low, but it is not a Fender type clean. It's definitely got some warmth in the lows and mids, with a smooth top end, but I haven't yet played single coils through it, so I'm not sure how they would sound (awesome, I'm sure, but this isn't a fender, so it won't sound like one).

    Edit: yes, even single coils sound badass through this.

    the interface is extremely simple.

    two channels with independent gain control and volume control.
    Shared 3 band EQ
    Presence
    single button channel switching footswitch comes included
    FX Loop (see below for more detail)
    anyway so it was a moot point for me.
    Speaker jacks for 4 ohms (2), 8 ohms (2) and 16 ohms (1)

    The FX loop...This can be kinda a nuisance if you don't have the right gear. As with Soldano amps, the FX loop runs at line level (+6 db) vs instrument level (-10db). Coincendentally, rackmount gear tends to run at either line level, or both line and instrument. FX pedals generally run at instrument level, with exceptions. If you put an instrument level effect into the loop, something weird happens and you loose almost all volume, gain and feel in the amp. Put something at line level, and it sounds amazing. I use a TC electronics Nova Repeater for my delay sounds, and it has the ability to run at both line and instrument level, which works for me perfectly, because i run it in the loop.

    Overall though, fantastic rock/hard rock amp. Versatile as hell, great tones across the board, has real feel, and tubey warmth, and from what I've been reading around, a good platform for modding!
    Last edited by CTN; 05-31-2011 at 12:58 PM.

  7. #7
    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Splawn Quickrod:
    %!#@%@ Good!!







    Sorry, at work and cant do an in depth..
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

    Jol Dantzig

  8. #8
    The Drama Dude CTN's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRose View Post
    Splawn Quickrod:
    %!#@%@ Good!!
    +1.

    I think this about sums it up:

    QuickRod = The best sounding super hot rodded Marshall-sounding Rock/Hard Rock/Hair Metal amp I have played.

    I didn't have much time with it, since I borrowed it from a friend, but MAN. Crisp, tight, crunchy, deep, and full sounding. Cleans are not bad. I'm not really a fan of Marshally cleans though, or Splawny ones for that matter.

    Really useful features:
    FX Loop level: - button-switchable between line and instrument level.

    Half Power switch: obviously, switch between 100 and 50 watts.

    Gear changes: The amp has 3 gears.
    -1) Hot rodded Plexi
    -2) Hot rodded JCM
    -3) Super hot rodded JCM
    basically 1 = mid/high gain 2 = mid/high gain, slightly more muscular 3 = high gain, even more muscle



    Plus it has footswitchable clean/drive, OD1/OD2, and solo boost (adjustable on the amp). Would be kinda cool if the gears were footswitchable too, but it's not a big deal, i'm just picky.

    It can be used for modern metal, close to the maximum gain it can pull off, but IMO it seems like more of a totally kickass Marshall-esque rock/hard rock amp that isn't a Marshall.

    Also, it needs to be played loud. Even with the half power switch, it starts getting loud when you hit 1. Like....Really loud. It's not that bad of a taper after 1, but yeah. Play loud.
    Last edited by CTN; 05-31-2011 at 09:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions mwalluk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100

    The JCM 2000 line is the working man’s amp and worthy of the title WORKHORSE. It’s rugged, durable and rock solid. The DSL is capable of producing sonic overtures from previous Marshall Generations at a budget friendly price. The channels are designed to range from a Plexi to Hot Rodded JCM 800 to beyond.

    However, It will NEVER be in the ball park of any of those Marshall staples. What it is though, it is capable of getting you close sound wise. It won’t get spot on, you will notice the differences, but for comparison sake it’s close enough.

    The JCM 2000 line was a great line for what it’s worth. It’s a shame they discontinued it. They are respectable amps and nothing to be ashamed of. On the other hand, Street Cred and bragging rights do not come with the amp. It is what it is and what it is, is a good amp.

    This amp has potential to be a monster if you’re willing to invest in it. Being that this is a middle of the road amp, Marshall decided to cheap out on a few things that would put it in the same league as the SL+, 800, Plexi, JMP, etc.

    The question then becomes is it worth putting in roughly around the same amount used to purchase it into upgrading it? Considering the resale value (regardless of upgrading or modding it) is only around $600-900.

    A simple addition of a choke, upgraded PT and OT, tube swap and swap out the cheap electronics to quality parts, you would have a Sig amp. For the amount of time and finances involved, you would be able to purchase a different amp that has all that and still have money left over.

    Now don’t misconstrue my words, stock this amp is good. It’s just that it could be better.

    Anyways, this is a 2 channel amp. It has the standard EQ set (which happens to be shared), Presence, Add Bass button, Sweep Mids button, Reverb and “boost” buttons per channel. The clean is very useable. Sprinkle on a touch of chorus/reverb/flange and it’s fairly lush sounding for a Marshall.

    Do not expect a Fender Clean or a VOX clean, rather expect a good clean coming from a Marshall. When a certain song requires a bright, chimmey clean, it can get the job done. Adding gain and/or boost button, the amp transforms to 800 like. You get a nice edge of break up crunch as you add gain you get the Marshall Signature Crunch. You want AC/DC, it’s there. GNR? It’s there too.

    Slamming the front end with an OD or Distortion pedal is tonal bliss. It’s hard to describe but it’s def. organic growl which is very useable for more modern rock tones. Majority of players only use channel one on this amp.

    Channel 2 has its moments. It’s more compressed, gained out madness. It’s Marshall wanting to be metal and trying to verge into Recto/5150 territory. It needs to be boosted, to get into metal territory. It’s not a metal amp though. This amp makes you work for it. Dialing back the gain to around noon will get you close to the hot rodded 800 sound.

    The problem is the shared eq. What you do with one channel effects the other. Adding bass to one, makes the other too boomy. Adding mids/highs makes the other too bright. There’s no trade off. You can’t get a great tone without sacrificing the tone on the other.

    The JCM 2000 line is a great line for the gigging musician on a budget wanting the Marshall sound. It will give you a solid rock tone, but will never fill your desire for having something more. It may not be the right amp for you, but it’s the right amp for right now that will get you where you need to be.
    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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  10. #10
    Ultimate Tone Slacker woemoejack's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Silvertone 1481: the Champ killer

    Features: 5-6 watts, Class A, true point to point wiring, 8" Fisher alnico, Vol and Tone controls, 2 inputs. 1x 6V6 power tube, 1x 12ax7 pre tube, and one 6X4 rectifier.

    Sound: warm and articulate, extremely responsive to your playing dynamics, overdrives beautifully and gets plenty loud. I replaced the stock Fisher with a Weber Alnico, which is more efficient than the Fisher and has a slightly more delayed breakup. Loves a good OD pedal.

    Overall, if you want a vintage amp with great tube distortion at reasonable volume, or a great recording amp that takes pedals well, then its worth a look. I should try and get a good recording of it to post up here.
    Beer me!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kam View Post
    ...This machine runs on pr0n.

  11. #11
    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Vox Night Train 15W Head and cab

    One of the first decent lunchbox heads to become truly accessible to the average guitarist, the Vox Night Train focuses on tone and simplicity.

    2 12AX7s, 2 EL84s, and a traditional vox type of circuit give this thing plenty, and I mean plenty of that vox tone. It's more straightforward than an AC15C1, as the NT has no tone-cut, and only one channel, and no reverb or tremolo. What it does have is a thick switch to bypass the tone stack for more gain.

    In "bright mode" the tone has much of the classic vox eq with sparkle on the top. VS the modern AC15 models, the night train isn't as smooth, and the preamp can exhibit some fizz. Also, it has some additional presence in the upper mids that can't be dialed out. It sounds stronger and more modern because of this. It has about as much gain in bright mode as the top-boost channel on a modern AC15C1
    Running the master and gain high is great in bright mode. the extra upper mids put in a bit more "honk" when you play hard, especially through a celestion speaker. Great for getting a "london blues-club" sound that can cut through.

    Very touch sensitive, very responsive, and a beautiful vox clean.

    The thick mode is crazy. Picture an AC15 making sweet, sweet love to a tweed champ. The baby would be a rockin el84 amp with no tone controls and a "on the verge of exploding" type of sound". While the Night Train's thick mode doesn't quite sing as well as a class A handwired champ, it gets closer to the sweet sustain of the AC30. It just sux that, well, if you got an ac30 and almost ay dirt pedal, you'd have that amount of gain, MORE balls, and an EQ section to play with.

    Because the thick mode falls short of the champs beautiful harmonics and the AC's sheer power, the thick mode borders on useless. It just doesn't excel at what it does. You sacrifice controls for power when on most amps, you never have to.

    The Vox 112NT cab is a compact, open back cab with a special Vox Celestion G12M Greenback. The magnet is demagnetized 5% (according to my correspondance with Korg) to give the speaker a slightly softer bass response. The speaker is wonderful. Plenty of thickness across the whole midrange, so everything is warm and smooth. A little soft in the bass when used alone, so don't expect to cop teh br00talz. The cab itself is tiny and made of MDF. For $250, I could expect at least cheap plywood... but whatever. The cab still sounds ok and has only succumb to rattles when I turned the clean channel on a 50W DSL up to 8.

    Pros:
    Modern take on traditional vox tone with no frills
    small size and great portability. It even comes with a gig bag for the amp head!

    (potential) Cons:
    fizz in preamp at low settings on master
    Thick mode lacks real-world utility, especially if you have other amps
    no fx loop

  12. #12
    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ConvoysToNothingness View Post
    +1.

    I think this about sums it up:

    QuickRod = The best sounding super hot rodded Marshall-sounding Rock/Hard Rock/Hair Metal amp I have played.

    I didn't have much time with it, since I borrowed it from a friend, but MAN. Crisp, tight, crunchy, deep, and full sounding. Cleans are not bad. I'm not really a fan of Marshally cleans though, or Splawny ones for that matter.

    Really useful features:
    FX Loop level: - button-switchable between line and instrument level.

    Half Power switch: obviously, switch between 100 and 50 watts.

    Gear changes: The amp has 3 gears.
    -1) Hot rodded Plexi
    -2) Hot rodded JCM
    -3) Super hot rodded JCM
    basically 1 = mid/high gain 2 = mid/high gain, slightly more muscular 3 = high gain, even more muscle



    Plus it has footswitchable clean/drive, OD1/OD2, and solo boost (adjustable on the amp). Would be kinda cool if the gears were footswitchable too, but it's not a big deal, i'm just picky.

    It can be used for modern metal, close to the maximum gain it can pull off, but IMO it seems like more of a totally kickass Marshall-esque rock/hard rock amp that isn't a Marshall.

    Also, it needs to be played loud. Even with the half power switch, it starts getting loud when you hit 1. Like....Really loud. It's not that bad of a taper after 1, but yeah. Play loud.
    Great review! I havent had time to do a full one, so if you dont mind, Id like to add to this review. The newer ones have a Level control on the loop so you can actually use it as a master volume, so you can get the tone and gain without shattering windows or eardrums!!! Secondary to the amazing tone, this is the most important thing for me as I have to play low much of the time.
    They are also mostly hand built and built very well.
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

    Jol Dantzig

  13. #13
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Red_Label's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Bogner XTC Classic

    Basic features: 120 watts/4-EL34s, 3 channels, separate gain boost for green and blue/red channels, no reverb, serial/parallel FX loop, FX-master vol, plexi switch, half-power, new/old style, global excursion, pre-EQ tone shaping for each channel. No reverb. FX loop, channels, boosts, and standby are footswitch-selectable.

    Green Channel - from shimmering clean cleans, to "hairy" cleans just past breakup with gain at max. Can be VERY Fender Blackface-ish if tone controls are dialed-in right. Boost is non-adjustable and tends to be VERY hot volume-wise -- I rarely use boost for that reason. This channel will do country, jazz, and rock tones. I'll jam along with everything from Keith Urban to Sade on this channel.

    Blue Channel - the channel that gets most of the attention and "love" from XTC afficianados. A very organic, dynamic, hot-rodded Marshall tone with an emphasis in the low-mids. Very similar to the drive channel on the EL34 Shiva, but that channel seemed darker and more compressed than the very open-sounding Classic's is. This channel is suitable for everything from old school rock to old school metal. I always enjoy playing along with Def Leppard, ACDC, and early VH CDs when playing on this channel.

    Red Channel - more gain/saturation, and a slightly darker tone than the blue channel. I run the gain at less on this channel than I do the blue channel. I usually use this channel for leads, or for newer rock and metal. My current band plays tunes from bands like Foo Fighters, Breaking Benjamin and Chevelle (as well as lots of originals) and this is the channel that gets used for these tunes.

    I rarely use the Plexi setting (assignable to blue or red channel). It cuts the gain and cleans it up like an old plexi. But it's different than an old plexi. When I had my Carl Martin Plexitone pedal I did use it on the blue channel set to plexi and it sounded identical (to my ears) to EVH's early tones on VH1 - Fair Warning. It really was an AWESOME thing to be able to finally duplicate that tone after years of wanting to, but I found that I got bored with it very quickly... LOL.

    The pre-EQ switch for each channel has Normal, B1, and B2 settings. B1 and B2 add brightness and some "agression". I use B1 for red/blue and B2 for green.

    Global excursion is set to L ("loose"), but also has "M-medium" and "T-tight" settings. I just like the big, fat bottom end on the loose setting.


    Love the XTC. It really is one of the kings (if not THE king) of non-high-gain channel switchers. From what I know, the XTC, the SLO, and the OD/PT100 are considered to be the "holy trinity" of these types of amps. But that's just based on reading internet heresay and watching vids as I have no experience with the CAA/Suhr or Soldano. I've had some awesome channel switchers (Hughes & Kettner Triamp Mk I, Bogner EL34 Shiva, and Traynor YCS100H) and the XTC is easily my favorite. Though I loved those others and wouldn't be too put-out if I had to "settle" for any one of them. They've all served me well for many gigs (except the XTC -- it's first gig is coming up in a few weeks). I would say that I highly recommend the XTC Classic, but it hardly needs a recommendation from the likes of me. The many reviews and cult-like following for the XTC is recommendation enough if you seek an amp that will do Fender Blackface, to modded-Marshall tones and beyond in a manner that makes you grin from ear-to-ear just about every time you plug into it.


    Stay-tuned for reviews of the other amps that I mentioned.
    Last edited by Red_Label; 06-02-2011 at 01:38 PM.
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  14. #14
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Vox AC4tv head with matching cab

    Features:
    • Volume
    • Tone
    • Power Selector- 1/4 watt, 1 watt, 4 watts
    • 1- 12AX7 tube
    • 1- EL84 tube
    • 12" 16ohm speaker in a closed back cab



    The output selection is really where this amp shines. At 1/4 watt about 12 O'clock you can get just a hint of breakup. About 3 is full on amp dirt that can still clean up well. Even at 1/4 watt it is plenty loud when pushing the amp to breakup. Running a clean boost in front helps to hit the front end a bit harder if you find that you want it to break up sooner, but still keep some headroom when playing clean. If you are the person that wants the amp to stay totally clean and get all of your dirt from pedals it can do that as well. Set it for 4 watts and you will have plenty of clean headroom to work with and I can get loud enough that the neighbors might ask you to keep it down.

    It does have the Vox chime and character, but I wouldn't call it a low powered AC30. You can tell they are in the same family, but it is not a mini AC30 clone. That doesn't mean the AC4 sounds bad! That is not the case as this is a great amp in its own right.

    With a lot of amps a speaker change is in order to get them to sound there best. I noticed with this one that changing to stock speaker to a Weber Ceramic Silver Bell did have an improvement on the tone, but no an extreme improvement. My conclusion is that a speaker swap is not required with this amp for it to sound great.

    I did notice at the 1/4 setting with the volume and tone all the way up for a nice creamy breakup that the amp got just a shade darker than I would have preferred. It didn't sound bad, but it had a touch more bottom end than I would have liked for rhythm work.



    Buy it, if you are looking for a no nonsense great sounding bedroom/recording amp you can crank for natural amp overdrive.

    Skip it, if you need more tone shaping flexibility




    Amp played through using Fender Telecaster with Seymour Duncan JD/APTR-1, Fender Telecaster with Seymour Duncan Vintage Stack/Jazz, and Gibson LP Special with Lollar P90s.
    Last edited by ericmeyer4; 06-03-2011 at 02:01 PM.

  15. #15
    Minion of One Andrew Lamprecht's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Fender Pro Junior - Great sounding hot rodded champ style Fender amp. EL84s, 12AX7s. Gets into that AC/DC crunch territory when cranked. Beautiful cleans at bedroom levels. More like a "mini" Marshall or Tweed amp than a Blackface. Not a bad tone in the box. They go for cheap used too, great starter amps for someone wanting to get into tubes, and they can even ride with pros. Just ask Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy who have been seen using this sub-$400 amp on tour.

  16. #16
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Rivera Clubster Royale 1x12 Combo

    I've had this amp for 3 days now and have figured a lot of things out already. Mine is a Clubster Royale 1x12. I've gotta say that it is a great amp. I really love how this 50w amp is so light and portable. The cab is just big enough and solid enough to produce a great 1x12 sound. It was definitely built with gigging in mind.

    It has 3 channels: clean, dirty, and high gain; but since it has a high and low input, there's essentially 6 modes. low clean/high clean, low drive/high drive, etc... Mine came stock with a Celestion 70/80 but the apparently ship with V30's or Celestion Golds if you order them that way. It has real spring reverb and an FX loop with send/receive level controls. The clean and dirty channels have their own set of EQ controls.

    When I first got this amp I had a little trouble getting good low volume sounds, and I didn't like the stock speaker. KJrocks suggested that I patch the FX loop and use the level controls as a master volume. I tried this and it worked perfectly. Now I can get some awesome sounds at bedroom levels. Thanks KJrocks!

    I still don't like the Celestion 70/80 speaker and still think it lacks a little low end, is trebly, harsh and nasally, and lacks low mids... at least in this combo. To get close to the kind of sound I want, I run the EQ with Bass=12:00 mid=1:30 treble 11:00. I think a speaker like a V30 might give it the full midrange it needs and soften the upper frequencies that makes the 70/80 harsh.

    This amp has real reverb, nothing digital here. The reverb is very subtle until it gets set around 12:00 then it starts getting noticeable but it quickly goes from that to kind of a washed out reverb. I haven't been able to get the perfect reverb sound I want except on the clean channel. The reverb on Mesa boogies and Fender is better. This one is ok, but I'm glad I have it and don't have to add from pedals.

    The sound of this amplifier is closer to a Fender amp than I initially perceived. At first it sounded kind of like a cross between Fender and Vox, but when I hear it now, it sounds a lot more like Fender than any other amp.

    The clean channel is dead on Fender cleans pretty much. It's among the best cleans I have ever heard on any amp I have ever played. I reminds me of a Vibrolux... a better Vibrolux than the original Supersonic has to offer. It's loose and responsive, sparkly, and comes alive when you play. I usually don't spend a whole lot of time playing clean but I find myself lingering on the clean channel a lot.

    The gain channel has a pretty good amount of gain available. It sounds like a gainy Fender Twin I think, but I'm not a big Fender guy so I can't reference whatever Fender it was designed after. It's not the kind of distortion you would get on the Supersonic or the new Deluxe VM, it's more like a classic Fender overdrive. It's not buzzy like a Marshall or fuzzy like an Orange.

    Something I noticed about the gain of this amp is that if you don't finger a note correctly the note will die out instantly almost as if there is a noise gate on. It does that because it is very responsive to how you play. It makes a great practice amp because it will not allow you to play sloppy. You can hear a lot of nuance.

    On to the high gain channel... When I click over to high gain, the amp takes on kind of a different character. The upper mids come out a little bit more and it gets pretty heavily overdriven. Considering the classic look, it wouldn't seem like the kind of amp capable of heavy tone but it rocks hard. This channel is pretty saturated.

    I like the way my OD820 adds a little fatness and gain and warmth to the dirty channel. I am more happy using it with pedals, but it doesn't need it. I think a speaker swap will be the best overall improvement.

    It's a full sounding combo. I noticed that some combos lack bass or get mushy when they get loud but this one holds together really well.

    I replaced the preamp and power tubes with all JJ's. It sounded even better. I swapped the power tubes and left the JJ preamp tubes in there. It's getting better and better. I can't wait until my new Eminence speaker arrives... it's a Redcoat. More on that later.

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Carvin Legacy II

    Well I picked it up around lunch time. My first look inside it revealed ElectroHarmonix EL34's and preamp tubes and a Mercury Magnetics transformer. The front looks nicer up close than in the pictures. There's a wire mesh over a wood plank covered in green tolex.

    The layout is pretty handy but I wish there were indicator lights under the channel switching toggles. Instead they have little LED lights next to the volume control of each channel and it's not always easy to look at the amp and tell which channel you're on.

    The head itself is relatively lighter and smaller than most standard sized heads. It has a 25/50/100 watt selector switch on the back panel.

    It has a master volume control that works great. You can crank the channel volume for a nice saturation and still keep the volume at reasonable levels.

    The clean channel is supple and warm, and has a tremendous amount of headroom. It's almost too easy to play, as if it lacks a little stiffness, but it doesn't. It very nice.

    Channel 2 sounds exactly the same as channel 1 except with a subtle amount of gain. I didn't crank it at 100w to see how much breakup I could get, but pretty loud at 25w it broke up kind of like a Mesa Boogie clean channel.

    With my OD, channel 2 was pretty sweet but it didn't get real saturated. You would still have to have a pretty heavy OD or distortion box to get enough gain for liquid soloing.

    I have a love/hate thing with channel 3 so far, but I just got the amp several hours ago. One one hand, the clean channel is entirely supple and uncompressed, on the other hand, the lead channel is kind of transparent and very compressed as if a sheet is covering the speakers. It's not bad but reminds me of one of those Dumble clones.

    My other complaint about the lead channel is the noise. It can't go past 6 without creating a lot of hum. Scoop the mids to try and get a metal sound and then it starts sounding like a blanket is covering the speakers. It's almost too smooth to do metal but the presence control does enough to pull out the metal edge. I think with some experimenting I can find a decent metal tone.

    The good news is the lead channel has an incredible attack and you can pinch off harmonics all day long at relatively low gain. I think this amp has some limitations for playing metal without distortion pedals but it can do everything else incredibly well.

    Playing lead on the Legacy II is amazing. In a way it's forgiving because it's so responsive but at the same time every nuance of your technique, good or bad, comes through. It rolls off notes in arpeggios from low to high and high to low with grace. Picked notes flutter and legato is liquid smooth.

    I think the noise, compression and tone can be greatly improved with a new set of tubes. The Legacy II I played before getting this one was stocked with Groove Tubes. I guess it would be safe to assume that one way Carvin keeps the prices down is by loading them with cheap tubes.

    Besides the tubes, everything else about this amp is particularly well built. They don't seem to skimp on using good components, including the Mercury Magnetics transformers, so I think the Legacy II is very high quality.

    Overall this is such an amazing amp. I will be upgrading the tubes immediately as I think that's the only thing holding this amp back.

    By the way, the gear I used was a 2x12 cab with Vintage 30's, a Fender American strat, and a Musicman Axis Super Sport with a JB/Jazz set.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Fender Super-Sonic 22 and Super-Sonic 60

    Since I have them both, I figure it would be good to sit down and put a little review together. Of course I'm reviewing a 22w/6V6 combo to a 60w/6L6 head, but I ran them both through the same 2x12 V30 cab. The volume difference? It's substantial but the 22 holds its own. It is the loudest 22w amp I've ever heard, but I only got the volume up to 5 (less than 1/2). By then it's loud enough for most clubs.

    Interestingly enough the 60 is able to get a wider variety of low volume sounds since it has a more gradual volume taper. The 22 gets loud very quick. Still, it's great for home practice and recording.

    These two amps sound different. In fact, I would venture to say that the 22 is an overall better sounding amp. I like the cleans better and the burn channel is warm and natural. The 60 burn channel is very good but sounds a little more sterile than the 22. It gets better when the volume is high but by then it's going to piss off the drummer... and he's not even in your band!

    I hate to say it this way but the 60 Burn channel sounds more sterile than the 22. Having said that, the 60 has more gain at lower volumes. The 22 gets saturated at band practice levels but the Bassman or "Fst" channel does not get much break up until it's ear piercingly loud like around 5.

    The 22 has reverb but it sounds kind of washy. I ran my Line6 M9 through the FX loop and it sounded much better. The FX loop works fantastically on either one.

    The 60 head has some white noise even when it's on the cleanest channel. The 22 is quieter. They both get fairly noisy when the gain is full on. That's one of my only complaints about this amp.

    The only other complaint I can think of is there is not presence or depth controls to help fine tune the EQ; however, the EQ is really neat. You can turn any of them all the way down and achieve a variety of sounds.

    The gain controls are interesting. Gain 1 is kind of like a tube screamer kind of gain. It cannot be turned completely off. Gain 2 is like a more modern gain and it can be turned to zero. On either amp I prefer a mix either more than the other. I don't really like how it sounds as much when the gain controls are equally blended.

    This is an amp for improving your technique! It is very unforgiving to people with flaws in their technique. It took me a while to get used to it. At first it sounded muddy and sloppy, but then I realized I had to fret and pick more precisely. It goes from barely audible to loud just by hitting the strings harder. It's one of the most unforgiving amps I've ever played.

    Overall I prefer the 22. I think it sounds a tiny bit better, but it does not have the same kind of puch as the 60. I think the 60 is more versatile.

    If you compare the 60 to the old Super-Sonic, the main differences are:

    1. More low end
    2. Smoother, less tinny Burn channel
    3. Improved volume taper

    That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed the reviews.

  19. #19
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Orange TH30 and AD30

    I got to play a few hours with a TH30 and AD30. Although that's not long enough to review how reliable they are or how they work with efffects, I can tell you a lot about how they sound. Here's a quick review of them for anyone who is interested.

    TH30 (made in China)

    Build: Looks as good quality as the made in UK stuff

    Features: FX loop, low, high, shape, gain, master vol, 2 channels (clean/dirty)

    Clean Channel: Nice clean channel. It's not "great," but very nice. It's kind of a dark clean, not like chimey Fenders. It's plyable in feel like a Fender, but it doesn't have the sparkle. It's a great clean sound however for any kind of blues, rock and metal. You can go from a clean sound to an AC/DC kind of grit. I think changing the stock tubes will give the clean channel a little more headroom. With high output humbuckers I was still able to get a fairly clean tone when cranking the amp loud.

    Overdrive Channel: This is where the amp shines. It's honestly one of the nicest gain channels I've ever heard on an EL84 amp. The things that usually bother me about EL84 amps doesn't bother me about this one. It sounds incredible. The gain has a very wide range from bluesy breakup to a really thick, heavy distortion. It's more distortion than I've heard in any Orange. It's just dripping wet and ripe with all kinds of great lead and rhythm tone.

    Pros/Cons: There are a couple of things about the TH30, but they may or may not be anything that important.

    First of all, it doesn't have a mid control. The only feature is a "shape" control with seems to do a couple of things. To one side, it seems to scoop the mids, in the middle it seems to add mids, and to the far right it seems to entirely shift the EQ balance. It's a really cool control but I don't know how it would cut it in a mix, however, it does have an inherent midrange quality like any British amp so I think it would have no problem cutting through.

    It has an effects loop but no level control. I guess it's not a major issue, but it would be nice to have one.

    The other feature is that it has a 1/2 power and full power toggle so you can run at 15/30 watts.

    Finally it has a manual channel switching toggle as well as a footswitch input. It bothers me that some of the most expensive, sought-after amps don't have a manual channel switch. This has both so that's cool.

    I should also mention that it's made in China. Although it appears to be very well constructed inside and outside of the chassis, I have no idea if any corners were cut as far as part quality, etc... I would be surprised if it wasn't a reliable amp.


    AD30 (made in UK)

    Build: Top notch build quality. Nothing else to say without banging it around at gigs for a year.

    Features: Master volume, gain, bass/middle/treble, 1/2 power toggle, 2 channels

    Clean Channel: I plugged into the clean channel with the volume about 1/4 which is fairly loud for playing inside a small store. I started with all controls at 12:00. With the gain at 12:00, using Duncan Designed humbuckers, the clean channel had a fair amount of breakup. I turned the gain down and the volume up, and still a little breakup, then I turned the gain down to 9:00 and the volume up even more and it was pretty clean at a healthy volume.

    My impression is that it has less headroom than the TH30, but I wouldn't know for sure because I didn't get either amp past 1/2 volume.

    The so-called "clean" channel sounded awesome, perhaps a mild improvement over the TH30, but not the kind of clean channel I like which would go from pristine clean to a mild breakup.

    Overdrive Channel: The overdrive is really cool, but probably about 1/2 the gain that the TH30 has. It reminds me a lot of a JCM800 and with a similar amount of gain. In fact, I would not be surprised in the least if Orange told me it was modeled after a JCM800.

    I really like this overdrive even though it's not as juicy as the TH30. They both have a great overdrive sound. This one seems to showcase the nuances of your technique just a little bit more than the TH30, but that might be attributed to the fact that I was spoiled with the amount of gain on the TH30. It's a great overdrive sound no doubt.

    Pros/Cons: I'm going to have to say there are some disappointments. There is no FX loop. That's definitely a big minus in my opinion. I don't know if the preamp design is one in which FX sound good at the input, but 3 multi-FX units I've tried in front of many amps (Nova System, M9, Boss GT10) sounded horrible. I don't expect anything better ouf of this amp. A couple of reviews seem to confirm that it doesn't handle effects well, but I wouldn't know for a fact since I didn't try any effects.

    It's a very straight-forward amp, absolutely no frills. For a price tag of $1600, I would expect at least an FX loop. It's just TOO classic of a design for this day and age.

    I wish I could say that the tone makes up for it, but not really. It's a great tone that I would love to have, but it doesn't have the versatility of a JCM800 reissue.

    It would be nice to have more headroom, or at least low and high inputs. Unfortunately, their no-frills approach to designing it leaves none of those features.

  20. #20
    Mojo's Minions
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    4,021

    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    The following will be a comparison of 3 Fender Champ amplifiers. A 1967 Fender Blackface Vibrochamp, 1973 Fender Silverface Champ, and a 2006 Fender Champion 600.


    1967 Fender BF VibroChamp
    5 Watts
    Volume
    Treble
    Bass
    Input 1 and 2
    Selectable Vibro Channel
    Vibro Speed
    Vibro Intensity
    12AX7 preamp tube
    6V6 power amp tube
    5Y3 rectifier tube
    Weber 8" 4 ohm replacement speaker


    1973 Fender SF Champ
    5 Watts
    Volume
    Treble
    Bass
    Inputs 1 and 2
    12AX7 preamp tube
    6V6 power amp tube
    5Y3 rectifier tube
    Original 8" 4 ohm Oxford 8ev ceramic speaker


    2006 Fender Champion 600
    5 watts
    Volume
    Inputs 1 and 2
    External speaker output
    12AX7 preamp tube
    6V6 poweramp tube
    Solid state diode rectifier
    Fender 6" 4 ohm ceramic speaker


    Price
    Prices seem to be on the rise for both the blackface and silverface champ. My vibrochamp I purchased for ~$350 in 2005 and I've seen a few sell for ~$700 now. The silverface champs seem to be going for about $300 now, but some are selling for over $500. My suspicion is that both will continue to rise in price. The Champion 600 sell new for ~$170 which is not bad if looking for a bed room or small recording tube amp.

    Upkeep

    BF and SF Champs
    Upon purchase of a Bf or Sf champ it would probably be a good idea to have it checked out by a tech if it has not been serviced in a few years. Parts where out especially on a 40 year old amp. Up keep really isn't that bad. The Sf champ I just purchased needed new caps and a few resistors to bring it back up to specs. Bill should be about $100 after parts and labor and I shouldn't have to worry about it for another 10-15 years.

    I would also recommend changing out the original speaker for a new one, but keep the original one if you decide to sell it. It is not that the original speakers sound bad, but it reality it is 40 year old paper and glue. It seems most people get these to crank them and the problem with this is that if the speaker has dried out over the years you run the risk of damaging it and ending up with a speaker that rattles. Installing a new speaker is more about protecting your investment. Amps with the original speaker usually have more value that amps with non-original speakers. Plus in the mean time you have a speaker that sounds just as good or better and you minimized the risk of devaluing your amp. There are a handful of companies that are making speakers for these little amps. I know of Kendrick, Jensen, and Weber and the prices seem to range from about $40-$90 for replacement speakers.

    Champion 600
    If purchased new you shouldn't have to worry about any upkeep besides tubes for a few years. Not sure how they will stand the test of time though. If something does go wrong with them it probably would not be worth it to fix like with a bf or sf champ.


    Clean

    BF VibroChamp
    Absolutely beautiful cleans. Everything you could want in a Fender for clean. I don't think having an 8" speaker here is a hinderance to the amp. It adds a little bit of something extra to the high end. Very musical and beautiful clean tone.

    SF Champ
    Have not had a chance to give it a good once over to give an accurate review. Currently at the techs.

    Champ 600
    Cleans on their own for this amp sounded decent, but compared to the BF or SF they were anemic. They just didn't quiet have the same magic as the other two. Great practice or recording amp in its own right, but it falls a little short when compared to the other two.

    Amp breakup

    BF VibroChamp
    Great sounding breakup tones, but this amp puts out a lot of volume for it size so I did not play around with this too much. However, it did produce a great sounding vintage breakup tones. Heck this is the type of amp that helped produce those tones.

    SF Champ
    Have not had a chance to give it a good once over to give an accurate review. Currently at the techs.

    Champ 600
    This one had pretty good breakup tones, but again when compared to the other two it falls a little short. It will reach break up a little bit earlier than the others though. I believe that fender made input one a bit hotter to help push it into breakup sooner.

    IMO all three of these amps would benefit from an attenuator if trying to get the breakup tones at bedroom or apartment levels. 5 watts is LOUD on these amps.

    Ability to take pedals

    BF VibroChamp
    The Vibrochamp did pretty good with a Electro Harmonix NYC Big Muff. Full sounded low end and I could dial out the ice pick highs. Having the treble and bass controls on the amp helped immensely in being able to shape the overall tone and dial in great sounds. This amp did not do so well with an older Dunlop Fuzz Face (red case from about 2003) and I suspect that this was the pedal more than the amp as it was mud city.

    The vibrochamp did respond well to overdrive pedals and could be pushed into a really nice sounding breakup.

    SF Champ
    Have not had a chance to give it a good once over to give an accurate review. Currently at the techs.

    Champ 600
    This amp was a little specific about which pedals it liked. When running a Electro-Harmonix NYC Big Muff through it did not give very good result. Rolling back on the Big Muff's tone knob to get a fuller sound and it got too muddy. Increasing the tone knob resulted in ice pick highs. This is an instance where some type of tone knob would have been beneficial for for this amp. A larger speaker could have helped too by giving the amp a little more bass so the pedal could have been turned up reducing the ice pick highs and allowing for a fuller sound.

    Though it did not like the Big Muff it really loved a BYOC tri-boost. When set for a germanium mid boost this amp really started to shine. It helped push it into a nice vintage style overdrive. My suspicion is that most pedals that push the amp would match really well.

    Summary
    Overall I do not think the 8" speakers were a hindrance to the champ, but I think the Champ 600 would greatly be improved with an 8" over the 6" speaker. All had great cleans and breakup tone, but the Champ 600 fell short when compared to the others.

    If I had a chance to buy all three again, I would. All three are good amps to play around the house or to record with. The only down side is that they can get really loud if trying for natural breakup. Here is where an attenuator or overdrive would come in handy.

    Ranking
    1:
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    3:



    MORE TO COME SHORTLY
    Last edited by ericmeyer4; 06-06-2011 at 08:03 AM.

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