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Thread: The Amp Review Thread

  1. #41
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Engl Raider 100 (1x12, 100w combo)

    I just got my Raider yesterday, but I have been playing it for several months. This local shop had it sitting there for a long time and finally made me a deal on it. These cost $1999 new and I think the same reasons it sat there for so long are the same reasons why I never gave the Raider any consideration until playing it... which boils down to the marketing.

    We're talking a 100w 1x12 combo that by appearance looks a bit smaller than my Screamer 50. It's all black and looks like a mean metal amp. Engl seems to do nothing to promote it as anything other than a metal machine which is sad because it could be incredibly popular; even at that price.

    The first thing that caught me was the clean channel. It's not a Fender clean or anything you would expect, but it has all the qualities you look for in a great clean amp. It has 2 bright options and can be a bit of a chore to dial in at first, but the shimmery sparkle of more classical clean amps can be had in the Raider.

    I'll compare it to a Fender clean since everyone can make a connection to them. To me, Fender cleans are typically very loose and sensitive, with lots of high end detail or "sparkle." Fender cleans are warm and don't sound compressed. What you would expect in a high gain amp is a compressed, warm, dark clean which is kind of what the Raider delivers except it parallels the Fender clean with it's own sweet detail and shimmer.

    There are two basic ways to dial in the clean channel (there's a bit more to it but I'll keep it short for the sake of brevity), using the bright switch and 3 band EQ, or switching on the presence and depth/punch controls. Each one has kind of a different approach to shaping the EQ. One is kind of a way to adjust the presence across the EQ curve, and the other adds the proverbial sparkle.

    Being a high gain amp, you're not going to get authentic Fender style cleans, but in turn you get a great variety of beautiful clean sounds. It's a bit compressed compared to Fenders, and to the touch, it's tighter and not as jangly. To me, Fenders are extremely dynamic; almost frustrating if you accidentally pick hard because it will suddenly go from a light twang to a jarring "karrang." The Raider cleans don't have that kind of dynamics, but considering that it's a channel-switching, high-gain amp, it has a considerable amount of dynamic range.

    If you're familiar with the Engl Powerball, then you know it's not going to give you much nuance. However, the Raider is abundant with nuance so players with great technique can get a substantial range of dynamics without having a loose, jangly sound that's too transparent in overdrive.

    The Raider features a high gain button that you can engage on either channel. When set on the clean channel, the high gain button turns it into a crunch channel which at best does classic rock crunch. It stays as clean as you want it, or until you get loud enough to get breakup from the V30 speaker.

    There is already a great deal of versatility within channel 1, but channel 2 gives your more surprises. There are basically 3 characters of channel 2 which have substantially different voices between them. By itself, channel 2 doesn't get necessarily into hih gain territory. It probably gets about as saturated as a JCM 800, so you can get a great rhythm and some lead tones.

    Then you can switch it to high-gain and it gets pretty heavy saturation, but I don't think it gets as much saturation as a Marshall JVM which can get stupid amounts of gain in the red mode. I personally would not need to set the gain any further than 1:00 in high gain mode. By then, the built-in noise gate works extremely well.

    The most awesome feature on channel 2 might be the mid boost. It seems to also boost the gain slightly so it would probably be very useful for a solo boost (it's footswitchable by the way, but I'll tell you more about that in a minute). The mid boost changes everything and brings all the mids right out front. I heard a modest video on youtube and the guy did a little metall riffage with the mid boost and it sounded fantastic.

    The Raider was an upgrade to a Screamer that I had for the last couple of years. I don't think I have to tell you how incredible the Screamer 50 is. Overall, it was one of the greatest amps I've owned. However, there were two things that I could never quite get beyond with my Screamer. It had an aggressive low end that I could never quite get exactly where I wanted it. It could also be a little harsh at times when I wanted a cutting lead tone, or when it played it at low volumes.

    When I say harsh, the Screamer is an aggressive sounding amp, but it's not harsh in the way that a Dual Rectifier can be. I have heard some opinions that even though the Screamer is a great amp, it still sounds a little bit processed or solid state. Even though I generally disagree with those comments, I can agree that it's not as organic sounding as high end Engls like the Raider, Invader, or Steve Morse sig head.

    The Raider reminds me a little of the Steve Morse head with a 6L6 flavor. It's smoother than the screamer and has kind of a Mark IV growl to it. No it does not sound like a Mark IV, but it has a cool growly sound when you're playing rhythm. It has an organic, midrangey lead tone which subtly cuts straight through a mix. It's cuts nearly as well as a Marshall so there's no concern for it being too dark, not even in high gain mode.

    It has a tube monitoring system which shuts down power tubes that are faulty or get too hot and lights up front panel LED's to let you know if it happens. It has a built-in noise gate which works wonders, but I don't use it because I get enough gain from channel 2 before my rig gets too noisy.

    It has a footswitchable, adjustable, FX loop which works incredibly well with my Line 6 M9 effects. It also has a bunch of foot switch options, one of which works with the Z9 foot switch. The Z9 foot switch lets you control anything you want. I have a 2-button Z4 foot switch which I can use for channel switching, to switch on/off reverb and FX loop, and to control the high gain setting. I think there are a couple of more foot switch options, but I'd have to consult the manual.

    The Raider 100 comes with a Celestion Vintage 30. I think it's like a 65w or 75w speaker, so I'm not sure why they chose it for a 100w amp. However, it doesn't seem like an insanely loud 100w so maybe the V30 could handle maximum volume. I don't know and probably will never need to find out.

    I have tried several Celestion and Eminence speaker swaps with my Screamer so I could probably give you a good idea what would work. I would imagine that the Eminence RWB, Black Powder, Texas Heat, Man O War and Screamin Eagle would be great choices depending on whether you want to brighten the amp or balance it. I think the V30 make a hard-to-beat stock speaker, but I could see it sounding good with a Celestion Classic Lead 80.

    All I have left to add to this review is that you need to get out and give the Raider a try because if you get the same impression I first got from it, then you will be pleasantly amazed when you plug into one. Just remember that Engl builds a lot of features into the control design so you can greatly expand your tone settings by how the controls interact with each other. Still, they're a little bit easier to set than Mesa Boogies.

  2. #42
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    I played the head a couple of times, then spent the last 3 days with the combo version. This is the PRS 2 channel amp with Heyboer transformers. There are basically 2 versions of this 50w amp design; one with EL34's and Mercury Magnetics transformers, and mine with 6L6's and Heyboer transformers.

    These amps are made by PRS and designed by Doug Sewell who I've heard great things about, but never tried his amps. This amp has a lot of great features. Each channel has independent EQ and volume/gain controls and master volumes. It has one of the best reverbs I have ever heard. The manual describes it as a "universal depth" control, and I don't know if that describes it well, but I sure like the reverb a lot.

    I love that it has toggle switches for the channels and bright controls. One weird thing about the amp is how the FX loop send/return controls work. I don't really understand it yet but somehow it controls the power of the amp. Turning them up adds volume/gain. It works like variable power scaling so you can actually get a great tone from this 50 watt amp low volume.

    Another kick-ass feature is the external bias which you can adjust if you want to go from 6L6 to 6V6 power tubes. I can't wait to try 6V6's in this amp. That's something I'm going to try as soon as I can find out how to set the bias for those tubes. I have a set of JJ 6V6's waiting already.

    One thing about this amp is that it doesn't have a tremendous amount of headroom. You can get very clean sound but not as loud as it can get. You have to keep the gain at 10:00 or below which reduces the volume. Somehow, you must find the sweet spot between the clean master volume, FX send/return, and gain controls to get the perfect pristine clean tone.

    It can deliver all kinds of bluesy cleans in spades. The way the amp responds to your playing makes it a whole lot of fun playing with the gain maxed out on the clean channel. It's like a cranked Fender.

    Another weird thing about these amps is how the EQ controls interact with each other. For instance, if you change the treble then the bass and mid controls react differently. Same thing if you adjust either the mid or bass. I don't know how it's supposed to interact, and the sucky manual doesn't tell you either.

    One more note is that it's not a tremendously loud 50 watts. My Engl Screamer and Marshall DSL50 are both 50w but louder than this one. It's not a big deal though because I bought this primarily for home recording and band practice. It has enough volume for up to medium size gigs so volume is not really an issue.

    It comes with a Celestion Vintage 30, but I think this would be a great candidate for an Eminence Governor or G12T75. Well, I can think of a number of Eminence speakers I'd like to try in it like the RWB.

    With this amp, I also used an Xotic BB Preamp and Maxon OD820. The overdrive on this amp gets fairly fluid but not capable of really thrashing without a little boost. The amp distortion is very good once you figure out how to dial in the interactive tone controls (some difficulty), but it sounds so much better with my pedals. The Xotic BB Preamp is fast becoming my favorite OD pedal. It's great for everything from a clean boost to an overdrive, and boy does it add everything you want to the "H" series amp.

    The BB Preamp has treble and bass controls and also adds some inherent midrange so it makes the amp distortion sound even warmer and rounder and tighter. It's a pretty transparent sounding pedal. My OD820 is also a magnificent pedal itself. It's not as transparent as the BB, but what it adds sounds incredibly good.

    In my overall opinion, these amps are of incredible quality and tone and features too, but they sound even better with pedals. They're made in the USA with the best components. There is nothing cheap about these amps. My first thought still persists: "Why is this amp only $1650 when PRS guitars cost a fortune?" You would think that amps of this quality would be sold for thousands, but PRS has managed to make them fairly affordable. If not the best value in the price range, they're a top contender.

  3. #43
    Junior Member Stephen1967's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    The Peavey Vypyr 15.

    I know, it's another modeling amp but for the price and combination of sounds it is worth a good look as a practice amp.

    Pros: The amp has 12 different amp models to chose from. Many of the metal options are based on Peavey's own line of different amps including on the left side the XXX, JSX and 6505. It also has modes for th K-Stein, Recto and others. On the cleaner right side it has settings for the Deluxe, Classic, Twin and Brit and a few others. If you push in the selection dial the led selectors change from green to red and really crank up the distortion. All of the crunchy amps sound great on the red setting. The K-Stein and DLZ are great for getting hard rock and 80's metal tones while the XXX and 6506 produce insane metal.

    The next dial (and they all have LED markers instead of numbers) controls all of the effects. Some are useless like the Octaver and the pitch shifter. The reverse effect is neat for about 3 minutes then gets boring. The only thing I can think of using it for is the first part of the Ace Frehley solo in "Speeding Back to my Baby" other than that it's very gimmicky. The Chorus, Flanger and Phaser are decent but my favorite is the infamous Tube Screamer. Pushing in the effects dial puts you in edit mode where by playing with the Pre-gain and Low dials you can change the attributes of the effect selected. the Tube Screamer works great on the less distorted amp modes. My favorite is the K-Stein and the DLZ but it also sounds great on the classic. When in edit mode you can also adjust the delay setting with the mid and high knobs and the reverb with the post gain knob. Push the effects knob back in and your settings are in place and now you can fine tune with teh pre-gain, low, mid, high and post-gain knobs. You can at this time also press and hold one of the preset buttons on the lower left to save your settings. There are 3 banks of 4 settings. Some of the factory settings are decent and others are garbage. The post-gain controls is neat in the sense that it lets you crank up the amp but lower the volume with the post-gain knob...in essence you are cranking your amp but keeping the volume down to almost a whisper. I've never seen another amp pull that off. On the flip side if you crank up the master volume and ppst-gain the amp will roar. It is very loud and doesn't break up until you really turn it up. The effects and amp models sound very realistic especially when compared to the Spider VI series. It had a headphone/ record out jack, and aux input for playing music from an iPod or MP3 player.

    The cons: Unlike it's bigger brothers the 15 does not come with the stompbox effects which is too bad. It also does not come with the Sanpera footswitch or USb connectivity. It isn't loud enough to gig with and the front panel had a tendency to rattle at higher volumes. The Vypyr logo looks a bit cheesy.

    Botton line...For under $100 dollars it is well worth the monthy.

  4. #44
    Toneologist brunogio's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Mesa Boogie Tremoverb

    I've owned this amp for a few years now and have put it through a number of paces. Mostly played in my hard rock band where it shines but could be used in a number of settings.

    The amp has different controls for the rectifier and the spongy/bold. Also had a switch for the power tube selection but I've always played through 6L6s in this particular one.

    I've played around with them a bit and mostly go for Bold and leave the rectifier on Solid State. There is also a channel cloning feature that I don't use much mostly because I want there to be a difference between the two channels. There are also front controls for turning off Red and Orange settings which I haven't gotten to work after a bit of tinkering and found I just leave them set on.

    It's a two channel amp with additional controls for each. Ch 1 has Clean / Vintage Hi Gain while Ch 2 has Blues / Modern Hi Gain. These have a huge difference on the voicing of the channels. As you can somewhat get, the High Gain channels allow a lot more gain to be dialed in.

    Clean is very clean on Ch 1 and has a lot of shimmer. I've played single coils through it and got really nice surf tones. I don't think of it as Fender clean because there is still some more umph in this setting but it's very nice.

    I've recently found the trick to getting this amp to sound really clean is to turn the knob on the back to turn off the effects loop. With this turned on, you can use the effects mix like an additional gain but with it turned off and the regular gain turned down you get better clean tones. Again this isn't Twin Reverb type clean but a very warm thicker sounding tone that you'd expect from vintage Fender gear.

    Ch 1 on Vintage Hi Gain is somewhat misleading. The reason I say this is this channel with the Gain really dialed and the bass pushed gives you what I can say is the unmistakeable Mesa Rectifier sound. Thick, warm and complex that sounds crazy good for downtunings and applies great to modern sounds. To this day I'm still blown away by how this can dial in such a rich tone that is just unique to my ears.

    If you dial down the Gain on this channel I get tones that are similar to those on my Marshall JMP. Not fizzy or brittle but really crunchy gain.

    Ch 2 in Modern is more what I would consider classic Mesa lead sound. Sweeter with less buzz and a better singing voice to it. I think this is where Boogie comes from because there is something in this setting that just jumps out and seems so perfect for playing leads and cutting through.

    Again if you really run the gain at full bore you get deep distortion that almost has a touch of fuzz to it. Think Paranoid era Sabbath. I only recently dialed this in.

    Ch 2 in Blues mode is hard for me to put a finger on but it is closer to its name than it isn't. Definately more pushed than the clean channel 1 setting and good for blues and classic rock. Since I use this channel mostly for leads I don't use it much for rhythm settings but I can see how this would apply well.

    I feel this amp can really do it all and I mean it. It handles every style of music you can imagine with the ability to dial just about anything in. The complexity of this amp lies in the Loop settings. It acts like a separately gain and can be used to further color the sound. Oddly it seems to have more impact on Ch1 Vintage Gain setting. Ch 1 clean seems to by pass it and give you much more output regardless of how this is set.

    The tremolo and reverb on the amp are really nice features but I've never used it via footswitch which I hope to someday. Those would be killer on demand settings.

    UPDATE
    After finding an aftermarket footswitch that controls the tremolo, channel, effects loop and reverb. Just one less pedal to run in front of it and you got many more options.

    It has the standard separately EQ with presence, reverb, gain and master settings for each channel which gives you lots of options and they have a lot of control over the sounds.

    This amp is a true classic and has a ton of respect in the Mesa community as just being warmer and more rich than other Dual Rectifiers and I can't disagree. You can get the fizziness that some DRs are known for but I think it's easier to get something really rich that those amps just can't dial in as well.

    Last note: This amp is very heavy in head format. I'm guessing it's around 80 pounds and not something you want to lug up stairs very often.

    PM me if you have any particular questions.
    Last edited by brunogio; 11-14-2012 at 01:10 PM. Reason: More info

  5. #45
    Mojo's Minions Ed Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen1967 View Post
    The Peavey Vypyr 15.

    I know, it's another modeling amp but for the price and combination of sounds it is worth a good look as a practice amp.

    Pros: The amp has 12 different amp models to chose from. Many of the metal options are based on Peavey's own line of different amps including on the left side the XXX, JSX and 6505. It also has modes for th K-Stein, Recto and others. On the cleaner right side it has settings for the Deluxe, Classic, Twin and Brit and a few others. If you push in the selection dial the led selectors change from green to red and really crank up the distortion. All of the crunchy amps sound great on the red setting. The K-Stein and DLZ are great for getting hard rock and 80's metal tones while the XXX and 6506 produce insane metal.

    The next dial (and they all have LED markers instead of numbers) controls all of the effects. Some are useless like the Octaver and the pitch shifter. The reverse effect is neat for about 3 minutes then gets boring. The only thing I can think of using it for is the first part of the Ace Frehley solo in "Speeding Back to my Baby" other than that it's very gimmicky. The Chorus, Flanger and Phaser are decent but my favorite is the infamous Tube Screamer. Pushing in the effects dial puts you in edit mode where by playing with the Pre-gain and Low dials you can change the attributes of the effect selected. the Tube Screamer works great on the less distorted amp modes. My favorite is the K-Stein and the DLZ but it also sounds great on the classic. When in edit mode you can also adjust the delay setting with the mid and high knobs and the reverb with the post gain knob. Push the effects knob back in and your settings are in place and now you can fine tune with teh pre-gain, low, mid, high and post-gain knobs. You can at this time also press and hold one of the preset buttons on the lower left to save your settings. There are 3 banks of 4 settings. Some of the factory settings are decent and others are garbage. The post-gain controls is neat in the sense that it lets you crank up the amp but lower the volume with the post-gain knob...in essence you are cranking your amp but keeping the volume down to almost a whisper. I've never seen another amp pull that off. On the flip side if you crank up the master volume and ppst-gain the amp will roar. It is very loud and doesn't break up until you really turn it up. The effects and amp models sound very realistic especially when compared to the Spider VI series. It had a headphone/ record out jack, and aux input for playing music from an iPod or MP3 player.

    The cons: Unlike it's bigger brothers the 15 does not come with the stompbox effects which is too bad. It also does not come with the Sanpera footswitch or USb connectivity. It isn't loud enough to gig with and the front panel had a tendency to rattle at higher volumes. The Vypyr logo look a bit cheesy.

    Botton line...For under $100 dollars it is well worth the monthy.
    I bought one of these new and played it for a week or so and swapped it even up for a FENDER mustang 1
    The mustang 1 is a much better amp and you get way more bang for the buck than the peavey.
    The fender fuse software makes the mustang 1 kind of like a PODxt. The settings/options it offers over just the amps panel are amazing
    the amp without the fuse software is decent but really shines when you apply FUSE.
    so for $100 new you get a vypyr 15 type amp along with FUSE software that makes it as good as a PODxt,and they also include
    Amplitube fender LE,abletone lite recording software. great deal for $99 new and hands down the best practice rig for under $100!
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guita...itar-combo-amp
    Last edited by Ed Hunter; 12-01-2011 at 08:29 AM.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    AMPEG VH 140c combo

    I recently bought the Ampeg Vh 140 c and I would like to give my 2 cents. I own the combo and I can assure you this thing is a freaking beast! You wouldn't possibly need some much gain. It gets ridiculous! Try to imagine that" I get to slayer path when the gain is at 11 o clock and this with my stock jackson ps4 pickups which sound like crap! Next week I am getting a new guitar so I I am going to share with you my thoughts! Another thing most people haven't realized yet is that this model has got one of the best chorus effect ever!!!
    pricne21 is online now Report Post Edit/Delete Message

  7. #47
    Toneologist playas's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Laney L5-112T (combo)

    This amp's got a Marshall-style voicing and is a 5 watt amp with 3 12AX7s in the pre-amp section and a single EL84 output tube (and a solid-state rectifier). I really like the stock TAD tubes it came loaded with.


    For a 5W amp it´s pretty heavy; at least partly due to the fact that it has a 12" Celestian. The speaker is a G12H30 and there are 4ohm and 8ohm speaker sockets to allow optional use of another cab rather than the built-in speaker.

    I got it for classic rock/blues/country/pop and it "rocks". It covers anything up to and including heavy 80s rock perfectly but its not designed to do death metal levels of gain. It does anything I need it to well and it's not limited to one sound. It doesn´t do Fender style cleans either - at least not sparkling cleans - although there is a tone control in addition to the usual bass/mid/treb tone stack. Despite not having Fender cleans it does have a good variety of cool clean sounds.

    The tone control is designed to emulate a guitar´s tone control (i.e. a single always on control that can be adjusted towards whatever frequency range is desired). There is also a bright switch, so the eq does have a wide range. The eq is shared between both channels. Both channels are cool, however I find that I use the gain channel more often than not. The clean channel has a volume and the drive channel has drive and drive volume. Since I discovered it works quite well I tend to use the drive volume maxed out or fairly high depending on how loud I need and control the level of gain with the drive control more often than the clean channel. That is unless I want to use the channel switch to go directly from clean to drive during a song. The sound also cleans up nicely with guitar volume.

    It has an effects loop but I´ve never used it as I generally plug directly in or maybe stick a single pedal in front - so I can´t really comment on it. The reverb is very nice also but could use more depth as it is fairly subtle overall so forget it for heavy surf style reverb. The channels and reverb are footswitchable. It also has both hi and lo inputs. I play mostly on a high output twin humbucker guitar but also play a strat copy and both work great with the amp.

    One of the things that I like most about it, that lead me to buy it is its variety of cool sounds both clean and dirty.

    For gigging unmic'ed a 5w amp no doubt lacks clean headroom. Despite that, unmic'ed I´ve held my own with a drummer, bass, guitar & sax without having to push it very far into overdriven territory. Dirty or mic'ed it shouldn´t be an issue.

  8. #48
    Junior Member TR CU sig v.2's Avatar
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    Default DR Z MAZ38SR 1x12 COMBO

    DR Z MAZ38SR 1x12 COMBO

    Based on my personal experience from ownership;

    Won't go into all the specs, read about them here;

    http://www.drzamps.com/amp/maz38sr/

    Unique amp, vox, fender, marshall sounds mixed. For a ~30W amp it's LOUD!

    I've serviced my own amps since I was a teen. My dad got me started in electronics, and I'm also a radio ham. Tube electronics were still popular in the 70's when I got into it, and tube amps are simple critters.

    So my point is............?

    The MAZ is built old school point to point. Like many of these amps built this way, there are few components and simple, clean, uncluttered circuit layout. If you are already familiar with tube amp design, you don't need a schematic. Also, if you need some very specific information and don't have time to trace out the circuit in question, Mike Zaite (DR Z) will give you the information if he is comfortable that you know what you're doing. DR Z and his staff are fine people in my experience. Very approachable, and knowledgeable.

    I liked the amps basic tone, but wanted more low end, and less highs than the stock eq could give me.

    I made two very minor mods that were very simple, and gave me exactly what I wanted. These were;

    1) Change the slope resistor from 56K to 30K.

    2) Change the preamp V1 plate coupling cap from .001mfd to .022mfd.

    These tonal mods circumvented the subtle and expensive changes a lot of amp owners make (e.g. changing speakers and cabinets power and preamp tubes, what an unnecessary waste of time and money!) I tried sharing this with the doofuses on the Z forum, but they didn't have a clue. They would rather aimlessly wander in circles and squander their money on expensive tube and speaker swaps. They lack the skill and knowledge to make the changes that make the most difference.

    Oh well....anyway....

    The MAZ chassis is a great platform for simple basic mods, if you're technically qualified to do such, and are into those things.

    The 38 has a fair amount of clean head room. It has a nice break up if you know how to get it. For loud and clean, I dime the master, and use the gain (volume) to control the amp. For gritty sounds I run the gain half to 3/4's and raise/lower the master for volume needed. Basic rules apply for single coils, buckers, P90's. If you're an experienced player, you'll figure it out.

    Funny how things go in circles. Like the amps of old, the MAZ doesn't need twenty knobs and switches to get a good sound.

    I keep reading the MAZ is a good "platform for pedals". I don't use pedals so, I don't know. Unless your John Mayer or Brent Mason, it's asinine to pay ~$2k for an amp to put pedals in front of. Just go buy a used Roland JC120 & gaggle of ebay pedals, or a Line 6.

    If the MAZ38 is too loud for you, get the MAZ 18, or even the MAZ 8. Some people are using a reactant load/attenuator to bring the volume down on stage. Unless you don't care about replacing power tubes sooner, that is a bad idea. Power tubes life are short enough in the cathode biased power section of the MAZ. Keep good power tubes in the MAZ38. I've had great dependable results with 7189 / NOS Russian 6P14P-EV.

    The MAZ amps are some of the best values going for a handmade, handwired, made in USA amp.

    I'm very pleased with the effects loop, and the reverb. I've heard complaints about the reverb. I'm fine with mine. I don't play surf music so it's plenty. I've not had any noise in mine either like the clueless complainers on the Z forum talk about.

    The tone bypass is a nice touch. All my Two Rocks have this too, and I love it for solos, or just extra drive when needed.

    To me the MAZ sounds like a blend of Fender Silverface, Marshall, and Vox. I read that DR Z will tweak your Z to get closer to any of the three. I see how that can be done. The amp is built simple, but very well built. Should last a long time.

    Lastly, beware of all the garbage clips of the MAZ38 on You Tube. Don't let these influence you too much. Most of them are horrible. My MAZ38 sounds nothing like those. I'll bet a whole lot of other MAZ38's don't either. Plus most of the people playing in those clips would suck regardless of what amp they are playing through. Pathetic stuff.

    About the only guy with good clips of the MAZ is Buddy Whittington. I've seen him live several times and he sounds even better in person.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpemsAHWFz4
    Last edited by TR CU sig v.2; 02-23-2012 at 08:00 PM. Reason: could not embed you tube clip, pasted link instead

  9. #49
    Mojo's Minions papersoul's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Bludave View Post


    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!
    I have the 20th Anniversary Shiva and I agree. AMAZING!!!!! Even better than the older Shivas.

  10. #50
    Penultimate Tone Slacker stratobastard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    You're 28 years old & have enough experience with 33 different amps in control group settingd to review them?


    This is something I seriously doubt!
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  11. #51
    Shaftologist Kam's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by stratobastard View Post
    You're 28 years old & have enough experience with 33 different amps in control group settingd to review them?


    This is something I seriously doubt!
    You're 44 years old and have enough intelligence to grasp the simple ****ing concept of this thread?

    This is something I seriously doubt!
    I remember calloused hands and paint-stained jeans, and I remember safe-as-houses self-belief.

  12. #52
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Fender Machete

    Fender Machete

    Well the first two things that people notice are the cosmetic styling and the size of the chassis. First off, I like the styling a lot better than the style of a most non-tweed Fender amps. It's not a thin wood with a cheap cardboard back panel. It's a real quality construction and the cab design is important in how well it projects the sound. I'm not a big fan of the knobs, but I don't care a whole lot about that kind of stuff. I supposed I could replace them with some chickenhead knobs or something if I wanted to.

    The size isn't really that big. It's smaller than a 2x12. It's also not as heavy as it looks. In fact, my Engl Raider was physically smaller but several pounds heavier. Because of the fullness and the way it projects bass and mids, the cab is actually kind of an ideal size. I can transport this one pretty easily without casters.

    Fender has been weird about the Machete for some reason. They market it as a high-gain amp but all of the videos display it's cleaner, bluesier side. I really don't buy into it as a high gain amp. It does have ample gain, but I think it's kind of on-par with the amount of gain you can get in a Supersonic. When I first played it, I didn't get the impression that it was a metal amp at all. In fact, it seemed to me like a twist on the Supersonic.

    It has a great sounding Fender clean which they say is based on a Blackface. Maybe so, but I don't care what it's based on because it's a beautiful clean tone. One thing I noticed at first was that it didn't seem to have a whole lot of clean headroom with medium humbuckers, but then I finally figured out the input attenuator button thingy. You switch it on and there is a slight decrease in volume, but the signal cleans up. Using that features lets you keep a pristine Fender clean sound.

    Fender says they called it the Machete because of it's ability to cut through a mix. That might give the impression that it's a bright amp. However, it's not brighter than a Marshall or a Bogner. It has a sparkly quality that most all Fenders have, but other than that, it's not a piercing amp. It has more midrange than any other Fender. If I'm using humbuckers then I can dial in a tone that sounds like I have a wah pedal on. That's something I really like for soloing.

    The thing about the Machete is that it is a cutting amp, but not in a harsh way. My Engl Raider is a great, great sounding amp, but it's kind of dark overall. Even so, it has a powerful midrange and lots of bass. However, side by side with the Machete and it becomes apparent that the Raider is quite compressed and can't cut like the Machete. What you have in the Machete is a very open sound to start with, but you can dial in a more compressed and darker tone if you like using what they call the "notch" or "tune" knob. My amp says "notch," but the videos show the knob with a "tune" label.

    The first thing you have to know about the Machete is that it can be frustrating to dial in at first because the manual sucks and none of the videos does a good job of explaining how the EQ controls interact. The EQ is very powerful and interactive so a small adjustment goes a long way.

    Basically, you set the notch is like a midrange dip that you can shift from the treble to the bass frequencies. It's very interactive with the tone controls so you have to set it in a neutral position, dial in the EQ, then adjust the notch to suit. After you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.

    One thing is that the notch/tune control of the clean channel works differently on the clean channel than it does on the gain channel, so you can't really apply the same settings on each channel. Luckily though each channel has its own EQ.

    That's the single most important thing about the Machete - understanding how to dial it in. Once you do that, you can get all kinds of tones. You can get a classic styled Fender gain or a British flavored gain, you can get a dark, compressed kind of Dumble thing, or an edgy Voxy thing. It accommodates an extreme mid cut if you want it.

    The amp is responsive and feels alive under your fingers. It's very open for a high gain amp so you have lots of dynamics for nuance playing. Another confusing thing that Fender has done is describe the Machete as a high-performance amp as if it's an amp for a tone snob AND a professional musician. I would agree except that it kind of conflicts with their claim that it's a high-gain amp. You normally don't associate high-gain with tone snobbery. However, it has real quality parts and construction, and rivals any boutique amp on the market.

    That's what the Machete is. It's basically Fender's boutique amp. I read a stupid review that the Machete has too much gain and didn't excel at mid-gain tones. That's probably because the reviewer doesn't know how to use the boost feature on the clean channel. He claimed to never need the gain past 10:00 which sounds weird because there is an overlap between the clean and gain channels.

    The clean boost is another great feature of the Machete. You can pull the volume knob out to boost the clean channel. Doing so adds a bit more gain so you can get all kinds of bluesy and classic rock sounds. It also adds a bit of a volume boost for soloing.

    I should mention that the Machete comes with a 4 button footswitch, but can also be controlled via MIDI. I don't know much about MIDI stuff, but I don't need to because all of the features I need are built in the footswitch and amp. Unlike a $4000 Soldano SLO, Fender included a manual channel switch on the front panel so you don't have to use a footswitch if you don't want to.

    It really does do everything from a very pristine clean tone, jazzy clean, bluesy breakup, mid-gain overdrive, smooth lead, grunge, edgy distortion, etc... It's not exactly a jack-of-all-trades amp like a Mesa Road King or Mark V, but the Machete is as close as you can get without compromising openness and sparkling cleans.

    A word about the reverb... It's not a spring reverb. It's actually a digital reverb. At first it was a turn-off to read those words. However, my beloved Line6 M9 has opened my mind to digital effects and I gave it consideration. I have to say that compared to the digital reverb on any other Fender (like the Deluxe VM) or the digital reverb of the Marshall JVM, it's really incredible. It has the most natural sound and lush sparkle that you would expect from a Fender, but none of the washiness - and it reduces the weight of the amp.

    I could go on all day about the in's and out's of the amp like the direct out, FX loop, etc..., but I can sum it all up and tell you that there are all kinds of goodies built in to the Machete and even a few hidden gems.

    The Machete is truly remarkable. I think Fender really screwed up trying to market it so people aren't catching on like they should. You not only have to go out and try one for yourself, put it next to your favorite amp and see how great it stands in a mix.

    Even though I will be making credit card payments for a while, I'm really glad that I ended up with this amp. I'm getting all kinds of great tone now and I even play more on the clean channel than I ever have on any other amp.

  13. #53
    Mojo's Minions papersoul's Avatar
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    Default PWE Event Horizon

    Love this amp! I bought this 50 watt PWE two channel Event Horizon over a year ago used off a guy from California. I picked it up for $1800. Mint condition, black, all the bells and whistles, built in attenuator, Deep knob on the back, Negative Feedback knob on the back, Send and Receive controls for the loop, extra Presence knob on the back. The front panel has two sets of controls for the clean channel and dirt channel. The dirt channel has an extra Blow control which acts as a second master with a touch of gain to use as a solo boost.

    Both channels have additional controls to change the character of the gain and feel of the amp which I love! The pedalboard has a channel switch, effects loop on/off switch and solo boost switch.

    The tones are some of the best I have ever gotten from a british toned amp. The gain channel has a vintage/modern switch which takes it from classic Marshall tones to modern high gain tones. She will do anything to my ears from Plexi to JCM 800 to modern modified fire breathing britich tones from classic rock to Metallica, Tool and A Perfect Circle. Amazing range of tones, the feel is out of this world too! This amp is a blast to play lead on, just incredible feel under the fingers, and amazingly smooth, thick and rich lead tones. This is also one of the most muscular and punchy amps I have owned. A blast to play. I have been getting some of the best Alex Lifesone tones I have ever gotten!



  14. #54
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Red_Label's Avatar
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    Default Re: PWE Event Horizon

    Quote Originally Posted by papersoul View Post
    Love this amp! I bought this 50 watt PWE two channel Event Horizon over a year ago used off a guy from California. I picked it up for $1800. Mint condition, black, all the bells and whistles, built in attenuator, Deep knob on the back, Negative Feedback knob on the back, Send and Receive controls for the loop, extra Presence knob on the back. The front panel has two sets of controls for the clean channel and dirt channel. The dirt channel has an extra Blow control which acts as a second master with a touch of gain to use as a solo boost.

    Both channels have additional controls to change the character of the gain and feel of the amp which I love! The pedalboard has a channel switch, effects loop on/off switch and solo boost switch.

    The tones are some of the best I have ever gotten from a british toned amp. The gain channel has a vintage/modern switch which takes it from classic Marshall tones to modern high gain tones. She will do anything to my ears from Plexi to JCM 800 to modern modified fire breathing britich tones from classic rock to Metallica, Tool and A Perfect Circle. Amazing range of tones, the feel is out of this world too! This amp is a blast to play lead on, just incredible feel under the fingers, and amazingly smooth, thick and rich lead tones. This is also one of the most muscular and punchy amps I have owned. A blast to play. I have been getting some of the best Alex Lifesone tones I have ever gotten!
    NICE! I've wondered about the PWE since I first heard of them a couple of years ago. A very cool-looking amp!
    "Always remember... all you do in life, comes back to you" - Roy Kahn, formerly of Kamelot, during the intro to "Karma" on their One Cold Winter's Night DVD

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  15. #55
    One of Jerry's Kids Securb's Avatar
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    Default Re: And thou'

    Just played through a Ibanez Tube Screamer Amp TSA15H. Nice for blues or classic rock but it didn't have enough balls to push things over the edge. I played it through a Blackstar 1x12 with an Epiphone Limited Edition Genesis. Pretty enough guitar but that didn't blow me away either.

  16. #56
    Tone Member blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by UberMetalDood View Post
    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.
    Great review.

    I had the head and matching cab.. Get the cab if you can. It uses the the same speakers used in the Jimi Hendrix limited edition modal Marshall. Thats the only way you can get those speakers. Marshall wont sell them separate. Wind Cries Mary cleans. Red house breakup.

    The reason its not louder clean is because the clean mode is set up like JTM 45 with the KT-66 tubes. Its about 36 watts clean in the mode.

  17. #57
    Toneologist Kramer Guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread



    Fender Studio 85 Combo Amp Review
    These beauties were only made for one year between 1987-88 ,after which Fender changed the name of them to the Fender 85 . From what I was told, this was due to the fact that there was a manufacturer who had a line of amps out at the time called " Studio 85 " and they had threatened to sue Fender . I don't know if there is any validity to this but , these amps are exceedingly hard to come by . They were made in Brea , Ca. and are solid state combos which are rated at 65 watts contrary to the 200 watt rating on the back of the amp. It is a 2 channel combo which has a line out , power amp in , headphone jack , and footswitch jack as well. Good luck trying to find a original footswitch for one of these . I have already bought 2 different Fender footswitches for this amp only to have them delete the reverb whenever I would use them. It does however, take to effect pedals very well. Now for the sound of this amp , the clean channel on this, is classic Fender tone all the way . It has to be one of the best sounding amps I have ever heard in my 40 years of playing guitar and it is LOUD for a 65 watt combo. The reverb on this, is the best that I have ever heard and can be quite dominant if not adjusted properly. This can be used for any genre of music as far as I'm concerned from Blues, to Country & Western , to even Heavy Metal with the right Distortion pedal or effects processor . The Gain Channel IMO, is more suited for Blues and Classic Rock and not for Metal but, that's fine with me seeing that I play that kind of music with my band , so that makes this amp a perfect mix . Some folks say that Fender amps have lousy Gain but the Gain on this amp has quite a punch to it and is very clear and not muddy at all, with tons of sustain and tone. also at 30 pounds, this is a very light amp to transport from gig to gig ,which at my age ( 54 ) is a huge plus. IMO , this along with any of the 1980's Fender Red Knob solid state combos , are much better than Fender's solid state product today , even their highly touted Mustang series. So if you ever happen to come across one of these , pick it up !

  18. #58
    Ultimate Tone Slacker jimijames's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    18w "Baby Will" Epi Valve Jr. Conversion

    So, I thought (mistakenly) I fried my Epiphone Valve Jr. It was modded like crazy anyway so any review wouldn't be really indicative of how good an amp it is but if you're not experienced at modding and you want something to get your feet wet there's no better amp IMO. It can sound great with $10 worth of component swaps, and awesome with a new OT. Anyway...

    The 18w baby will conversion is pretty easy to put together. Everything is labeled on the board, so doing component population isn't difficult at all. The instructions they have on the site are super easy as well.

    So, you pull out the epi valve jr. circuit board, put in the baby will board (which is sturdy as hell btw), do some drilling and add tubes.

    It doesn't have a tube rectifier - just a 'sag' resistor so the response is more linear than an amp with a tube rectifier. It does have a little give though which is nice.

    It only has two preamp tubes, and the sound changes pretty drastically with changes in preamp tubes. You're supposed to use 12ax7's, but I didn't - I'm using right now a 5751 and a 12ay7 in v1 and v2. The sound is still distinctly marshall - Cranked the tone is complete ac/dc, led zeppelin, classic rock. It doesn't have as much gain as any amp built since like the 1980s, but it takes pedals extremely well and has IMO the best cleans of any marshall I've ever played. With a tube screamer, I can get passable SRV sounds out of it. Nobody is going to whip their head around and be like "oh my God stevie I thought you were dead" but it's close enough for my purposes.

    I've been really pleased because with a (modded) SD-1 and a Marshall BluesBreaker Clone, I can get just about every sound I want. Led Zeppelin, SRV, Santana, Eric Johnson, pretty much anyone who used Fender guitars lol. The amp is very transparent - there are very big differences between different guitars - my tele and strat don't sound anything like one another. Same thing with pedals. Little things make a huge difference.

    It's not super loud, but it's very near as loud as my 50w plexi clone, just with less headroom. The preamp tubes I have in there make it distort less, which is good for me - but I can see how someone (just about anyone actually) might want more distortion from the amp itself. From 12ax7s I bet this would be just as killer. If you don't like marshall, you're not going to like this amp. But if you do, it's a great example that doesn't require stadium seating just to turn up. Don't get me wrong, it's loud - but it's not so loud that you could run it without a mic for big crowds.

    It uses el84 and 12ax7 tubes, which are like the most common ever. I mean, a brand new set of matched tubes is like $30 or something like that. Super cheap to own and operate.

    Cons:

    - Not super loud - loud for 18w though
    - Sounds exactly like your guitar, so if you have a poor guitar/electronics, it's going to sound poor
    - You need an epiphone valve jr., which is discontinued, to build it (otherwise it's like $250 before you even start talking speakers, cabinets, etc.
    - Only one volume, one tone, so it's not like a bogner to where you can have all of the best sounds all of the time
    - It only gets louder until a little less than 1/2 way up. The top 1/2 of the volume knob is basically a gain knob.
    - You have to assemble it yourself (which is totally not a big deal but some people just don't have the time to fire up the soldering iron)
    - It sounds so good you might lose interest in your other amps.

  19. #59
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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    Calor - Solution 18



    Recently picked this up on my travels to south east Asia and i have to say, i was really impressed that someone is actually making great tube amps there. The company is called Calor and i was blown away by their solution 18 model.

    Priced at under 500 pounds it sounds huge and has a beautiful ringing quality. 18 watts powered by 2 el 84’s and 4 X 12AX7’s. Its light, durable, portable and contains outputs for any speaker configuration. I picked up the head since i own a 2x12 orange cab back in the UK. Loads of headroom: stays clean till 70 % volume with pre amp gain switch turned down on the clean channel which definitely has a fender'ish vibe. YES there is a pre amp gain knob on the clean channel so that you can get that good old crunch at controllable volumes if you’re into that kind of thing. Silky liquid like sustain on both channels.
    Gain channel is great!! Single coil lovers will love that the amp doesn’t lose control with the gain channel turned all the way up on a bridge setting. something which i'm really happy about since i love those high gain single coil searing sounds. Definitely has a punch but doesn't go particularly nuts.
    Perfect for the blues/rock/metal/country/ even jazz guitarists thanks to the headroom.

    Absolutely beautiful amp. Highly recommended.

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    Default Re: The Amp Review Thread

    BLACKSTAR HT STAGE 60

    This is a 2 x 12 tube amp combo. The amp can pretty much cover any tone you care to do. It has 3 channels and each channel has 2 different voicing (vintage and modern). On the clean channel the vintage voice has more of a bright class A type tone that will start to give you a nice bluesy break up as you push the preamp volume. On the modern voicing the clean channel has more of a fuller tone that will not break up even at high volumes. The clean channel has treble and bass.

    CHANNEL 2

    The second channel shares an EQ with third channel. The vintage voicing has that great overdriven tone you can typically find with Marshall amps. The modern channel has about the same tone quality but has increased sustain and more gain.

    CHANNEL 3

    The third channel is a higher gain channel then the second channel. The vintage voicing has a tone like a modified Marshall, while the modern voicing is a full on metal voicing. It actually has more gain then I can use but it is does have it if you ever needed it.

    on top of he three channels with their voicing options and EQ options it is equipped with presence and resonance controls. The amp also has a pretty cool feature called ISF which allows you to change the EQ of the amp. When the ISF control is on 1 it gives the amp a loose bottom end a full mid tone. It gives the amp a british type tone. when you turn the ISF to 10 it tightens the bass makes the treble more pronounced and diminishes the mids and gives the amp an American tone. The amp has a good quality digital reverb that is very usable. The amp also has speaker emulated out with a button to select 4x12 cabinet or 1 x 12 cabinet simulation. It comes with a 4 button foot switch for channel selection and cutting the reverb on and off. The amp has a good effects loop and is equipped with 2 celestion 70/80 speakers.

    I tried numerous amps within my 1000.00 price range I had and this thing smoked anything I tried, and all I had to pay was 899.00. I thought it was giving me trouble but after getting the amp checked out it wasn't the amp but one of my effects that I was using cause the problems. The amp does weigh a lot but it is built to last.
    Last edited by jackson111; 12-14-2013 at 06:58 PM.

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