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  #1  
Old 04-09-2013, 07:13 PM
HillbillySims HillbillySims is offline
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NAD: Quilter Aviator 12 - Review AND VIDEO DEMO

UPDATED - I did a quick non-PRO demo of some of the tones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu1Qw...ature=youtu.be

My aviator just came in today & I couldnt wait to get it home & unpackage it.

When I took it out of the box the 1st thing I noticed is it was easily manageable weight wise (YET) heavy enough to realize it was quality construction. The fit, finish, tolex work & screenprinting look fantastic.

The 2nd thing that struck me was it had this perfect mix of "vintage" looks while having very subtle modernality. Not sure if that make sense. I guess I'm saying, you can tell its a new amp, but it has that vintage/boutiquey vibe.

So I finally got it home & tested it out with an american deluxe ash tele with Lindy Fralin blues specials.

Clean Channel - very clean, crisp, detailed. I was worried about the single tone knob (until I tried it).. man it is so useable throughout the range & I don't miss the mid/bass knobs. I was really worried about this. If I had to compare the clean channel to any other amp I've played/owned I would have to compare it to 3 seperate amps (because there are many various characteristics you can soak out of it)... 1st, it reminds me of the clean channel on my old Pearce G2R amp and Evans JE150....very crisp, studio clean sounding. When bump the volume up a little & dial out a little of the highs it responds very much like a deluxe reverb except the ability to be much louder. My personal experience was the tone of the "AMP" didnt vary a whole lot between lower volumes & moderate volumes. Any variances I noticed I think are attributed more to the speaker in how it handles various amounts of power thrown at it (<< more on that later) *UPDATE - its a "little" bright with a brighter single coil guitar, but bassy enough with the tone turned down. Plenty of highs throughout the range for humbucker guitars & darker guitars

GAIN CHANNEL - This is a SUPER useful channel, I could see myself using it a lot!...not just for gain sounds... but for clean all the way through higher gain. Lets talk about the clean 1st. At lower gain settings it reminds me loosely of the clean channel on my Bogner Shiva (which has a gain & volume level as well). Just a fat, smooth sound with no fizziness. As I bumped up the gain a little more I started hearing a lot of those tones you hear from Fender Deluxe's cranked in the studio on so many country albums in the last 20 years.. just that edge of breakup that'll get nasty if you dig in. For this alone, I could see me being able to use this amp on my country gigs without even taking any pedals... I could get by without a compressor pedal because the sustain is very good & it seems to slightly compress naturally. As you turn the gain up it gets a little nastier but not super high gain. I would compare the mid to high gains to my Xotic BB preamp. Others may disagree, but thats what it reminds me of. If you've ever played a Pritchard amp & liked it, this amp would please you tone wise.. it reminds me of the pritchard while being much more affordable.

REVERB: VERY VERY NICE!! I love the reverb level along with the dwell level. The only other amp Ive ever had with this was the Dr.Z EZG-50. I cant remember enough about the reverb on that amp to compare it, but the verb on the Quilter is very nice, useable & sounds real. I like it.

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS? Just to be fair & honest, I always try to think about anything that I didnt like or I feel could be improved. Let me tell you, there isnt much to not love about this amp. I've owned all the popular solid states, modeling amps, Fractal Ultra, Bogners, Kittyhawks, 3rd Power American Dream, etc etc.. and this amp would be right at home on stage with me. Am I saying it is as good or better than high end tube amps? NO. It is different & has it's own unique positive characteristics. I am saying I would be totally comfortable playing the amp at a gig because it is fully capable tone-wise & output wise.

But if I were to pick 1 thing I wasnt in love with (and there is ONLY 1 thing).. It would be the stock speaker. Not because the tone is bad. The tone is very nice. However this is a very powerful amp, for me personally, the speaker breaks up too soon (which is at a fairly moderate level)... it isnt a slack speaker. We all have preferences right!?. So I hooked the quilter up to a cab at the house with an EVM12L & WOW!... Now this thing sounded like a fat Fender Twin or something. So I was able to confirm it wasnt the amp breaking up at higher volumes.. just the speaker. Which I was glad to find out. As I turned the gain up more & more & turned up the bass.. this thing could punch out quite a whollop.

Final Thoughts: In it's factory layout..I this is a very capable amp for studio guys, church players, as well as bands that don't tend to play at blistering stage levels. If you are a louder band, I would suggest swapping out for a EVM12L, Swamp-Thang, or other similar high wattage amp that can handle some massive bottom end because this Quilter can dish it out.

I am assuming this would be a very reliable amp & I feel VERY confident with Quilter's customer service so far should a problem ever arise.

Is it worth $899?.. for me personally, yes. It sounds better than some tube amps I have owned & sounds better than most solid states I've owned.

I hope this review has been helpful for anyone trying to decide whether to buy one or not. Thanks, Anthony

A FEW PICS OF THE AMP


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Last edited by HillbillySims; 05-22-2013 at 08:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2013, 07:21 PM
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Bikedude Bikedude is offline
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Nice review Anthony,now you have me gassin again!
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:25 PM
ripoffriffs ripoffriffs is offline
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So I shouldn't expect the gain voicing to be British-like or Marshally? Or even trainwreck like?

Is there a tube bounce or spongy feel especially when just strumming chords?
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:34 PM
HillbillySims HillbillySims is offline
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the higher gain settings do not sound "buzz-saw" or metalzone sounding. They sound more like a JCM800 maybe? Its not super high gain, but definately enough to get you into all the ACDC territory or some of Eddie's medium gain rhythms.

Trainwreck?..eh? All I can compare it to as far as a trainwreck goes is that "other" 100 watt solid state amp head meant to sound like a trainwreck.. I owned it & I can 100% say I LOVE the gain channel on the Quilter compared to that trainwreck based amp. Ive never played a trainwreck so I dont know how to do an honest comparison. If the "other" amp sounded like a trainwreck, I'd say I wouldnt like a trainwreck then. The clean channel on the Quilter sounds better than the trainwreck clone too.

I usually refrain from mentioning other brands in any negative way. I only compared the R****C****** amp due to the trainwreck question & since it is ALSO a 100 watt solid state based amp.

As far as the sponge comment...there is "some" spongyness but I would characterize it as "light sag"...just enough to give it a tube'ish sound. Hope this helps
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:13 PM
scolfax scolfax is offline
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Thanks for the detailed review! The only thing I am still on the fence about is whether to get the 8" or the 12". I don't need a ton of volume, and the size/weight of the 8" sounds really appealing.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:32 PM
McShred McShred is offline
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Does the gain channel on this compare to the Flexibility and tube feel of the Tech 21 amps?
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:34 PM
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Anthony, does this amp have a loop?

jon
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2013, 08:36 PM
QuilterLabs QuilterLabs is offline
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It does have an effects loop. Yes.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:50 PM
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Thanks, Chris. Mmm, intriguing...

jon
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:10 PM
dharmafool dharmafool is offline
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Thanks very much for your review -- especially for trying the amp with a high-power speaker.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:47 AM
Kyle Ashley Kyle Ashley is offline
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Thanks for an excellent review! I may end up getting one of these sooner than I had planned, and the EVM12L idea has already entered my head. Sure sounds like a winner of a SS amp.
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  #12  
Old 04-10-2013, 04:30 AM
HillbillySims HillbillySims is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McShred View Post
Does the gain channel on this compare to the Flexibility and tube feel of the Tech 21 amps?
mcShred, I didnt even think about the Trademark 60. Yeah, the gain channel DOES remind me of at amp on the medium to higher gain settings. But the Quilter wins on its clean to low gain settings (on the gain channel).. it just sounds more like a tube amp to me in that range than the Trademark series.

I had spent a good while gigging a Trademark 60 & Trademark 120 a few years ago
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:22 AM
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Get that thing on a gig Anthony, then do an update. What sounds good to me in my house, is often a different story in a live setting.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:54 AM
dweebetweek dweebetweek is offline
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Aviator

I have a micro pro head that I use with different cabs and dirt boxes and it can definitely hang with loud tube amps onstage.That amp is scary loud if need be.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:10 AM
HillbillySims HillbillySims is offline
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yeah, I ran some pedals in the front end as well & plugged it up to that EVM12L cab... its not gonna have trouble hanging on stage. it would be fine with the stock speaker too, depends on if you want some extra low end Ooomph.
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