Genz "El Diablo" impressions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Zanary, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Zanary

    Zanary Member

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    They don't have a dealer in my town, and I already like their cabs...so I'm curious about that amp.

    I'm mostly looking at the combo, but I won't get to hear one or play with one without taking a pretty serious drive. Anyone out there play with 'em?
     
  2. TGPUser

    TGPUser Member

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    I'm seriously considering this myself. Other candidates are the Engl Screamer, Randall RM50B and I quite like the Mesa/Boogie Roadster however the roadster is so complicated and expensive (and heavy!!!) that I'm favouring the Genz Benz or Engl.

    I had a play on the El Diablo 60W and I really like it. Clean channel is absolutely gorgeous - funk, jazz, spanky single coil sounds - you name it it can do it. The distortion runs the gamut from vintage through to modern high gain and it has some nice sound shaping features like the compression, attack and active EQ stuff (separate EQ for both channels!). The 4 button pedal layout is very clever/usable and the amp has switchable power rating between 60W (pentode) and 30W(triode).

    I personally liked the triode mode as it was warm and fat but I did let it rip in Pentode mode and it absolutely kills at higher volumes. The 30W mode is more than gigable volume so the 60W mode for me is just a bonus. The only thing I would say is that it takes a bit of work to get the sounds you want as between the active EQ, compression and attack settings there's a lot going on but the demo settings in the manual are a good starting point. Easily gets vintage 70s, VH brown sound, 80's metal/thrash or scooped high gain out of it but you just have to go easy on the EQ changes as they are quite influential. There's some short demos on http://www.youtube.com from some of the Genz Benz staff (El Diablo, Black Pearl and some of their bass stuff) if you're looking for sound samples.

    On the other hand the Engl Screamer is nice as well although I find it very sterile/cold in comparison to the El Diablo. It's got some good flexibility - the shared EQ between the channels is annoying though - and with a few pedals to warm things up it would be a nice setup as well.

    Just waiting on a new batch of H&K amps to arrive at my local shop so I can try them all out and compare then I'll make a decision but at this stage the sound and value for money has me leaning towards the Genz.
     
  3. tele_jas

    tele_jas Member

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    I had one of the 1x12 combos for a while..... I really liked it and if I didn't have a Road King as my main amp, I'd still have the El Diablo.......but I'm a sucker for the Road Kings distortion. The one thing the El Diablo had over the RK was the cleans were so much better on the El Diablo.

    I didn't like the EL34's in the El Diablo, I liked 6L6's in this amp better. Believe it or not, the 6L6's tighten it up quite a bit. I don't have any clips of the cleans, but I have a clip I recorded of the distortion at www.guitartest.moonfruit.com if you want to give it a listen. FYI: I played in a 80s, 90s, and modern rock and then I also play in a country band and I used the El Diablo a couple times doing that too.

    The combo was built really well, and much better than any other amp I've owned (except my Boogies). Great amp, but GAS struck and I wanted an AC30cc and I had to sell the EL Diablo to get the AC30.
     
  4. ttuck

    ttuck Supporting Member

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    I have the Tribal Series 60 watt head/2 x 12 cab . I love it, it is an incredibly versatile setup. Great cleans, but it really shines in the high gain realm - you can go from mild distortion to molten metal madness and everything in between. However, this is not an amp that you can just sit down in front of and immediately get what you want. The active tone shaping controls require a bit of experience and there is a learning curve. A very small turn of one knob can produce a very noticeable difference in tone, so there is a definite learning curve with this amp. You need to spend time experimenting, there's no quick and easy here. But, once you learn how to dial it in, this becomes a true advantage in that there are literally a ton of different but high quality tones in this amp. These are very underrated amps, and I think that if more people spent some time learning to dial these in , they'd really be surprised at the excellent tones that are readily available from this very versatile amp. I've heard people say that these amps sounded buzzy or muddy, no question that if you don't learn how to tweak the amp properly or if you do too much knob twirling you might be unhappy - trust me, the tones are there, but the active tone shaping controls are very sensitive and you really need to learn how to use them properly and in the proper combinations. There are so many differnt possible changes/combinations that you need to be patient. The head and cab are built like a tank , very high quality construction on par with boutique stuff, and the Genz Benz people are excellent to deal with and really stand behind and support their products. I sent several e-mails asking questions, and recieved almost immediate responses from Jeff Genzler who is the pres. of the company - had some great exchanges with him, very helpful and friendly. I also experimented with swapping some 6L6's for the EL34's , and I went back to the EL34's - I like them much better in this amp. I never was much of a 6L6 guy. It's all personal preference, I just like the EL34 tone better. I also tend to use the pentode(60W) mode much more than the triode(30W) mode, again I prefer the tones there - but there's lot's of good tones in the triode mode as well. I've owned lots of amps in the past, and I've played a lot of newer boutique stuff, but I can tell you that there aren't many other amps out there that offer the bang and versatility for the buck that this one does. Although I don't use many effects right now, the loop seems to work very well with the limited rack effects(Lexicon) that I've used with it in the past. The onboard reverb is excellent, I use a little bit just to moisten the sound a touch. Another great plus is that this amp also sounds great at low volumes , you can dial the master down quite a bit and still get great tones. And if you want to peel the paint off the neighbor's walls, this amp is very capable of that as well. All in all, a versatile and well constructed package for a great price. But be patient, and if you go into a store and sit down and start playing, realize that you aren't just going to immediately get the tone you want, and the active tone controls need to be adjusted very slowly and very carefully to dial it in. The manual is a great help, and some of the suggested presets offer a great starting point. The 2 x12 cab is excellent, has two Eminence Private Jacks and a removable back. Sound is tighter and the bass is a bit more focused with the back on, but I actually prefer the sound of the open back. This is a killer package, I'd love to see more people give these amps a fair chance as I think they would be pleasantly surprised.
     
  5. teefus

    teefus Silver Supporting Member

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    i tried one at a friend's shop when the first came out. i have to admit i was very impressed. lot's of switching options on the higer end model. i liked the click-detents on the controls. you can go from very clean and powerful to full blown grind and just about anything in between. the slight break up sound was really cool and useful. the amp seemed to respond well to guitar volume knob tweaks. i have been trying to find time to stop by the same shop and try out their black pearl.
     
  6. TGPUser

    TGPUser Member

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    That's exactly what I found. I was glad that I had read some reviews before checking it out as I came prepared to do some fiddling. The shop I tried it out in has a couple of demo rooms so I could give it hell without annoying other customers. They gave me the manual and I spent a good hour or so dialing in the sample sound settings from the manual then modifying them slightly to match the guitar. Bloody great fun!

    As a side note I notice you mentioned the tribal series. Did you get a chance to compare the standard 2x12 cabinet versus the tribal version? Be interesting to hear the difference.

    That was something I forgot to mention. It's a great idea and really encourages you to adjust the settings incrementally rather than simply maxing them out.
     
  7. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Hey guys,

    Save me some time here...
    Does the El Diablo 60 watt model have reverb?
    Thanks,
    Mass
     
  8. TGPUser

    TGPUser Member

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    Yes and the cool thing about it is that there's a master reverb control for both channels and one each for the individual channels so you can dial up some interesting mixes between the channels. Get the balance between each channel right then alter it globally using the master depending on the venue. I didn't play too much with it but it sounded nice especially on the clean channel. It doesn't have a footswitch option for the reverb though (the 100W model does which is strange).
     
  9. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    I'll tell you,
    It was a hard choice for me.
    I had to choose between the El Diablo 60 and A Marshall 1959 SLP.
    I went with the Plexi, but I still wonder what the El Diablo would have delivered.
    Take care,
    Mass
     
  10. go7

    go7 Member

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    I had an 60 watt el diablo. amazing cleans. Very well built. At the risk of sounding like an idiot .It just had too many knobs ,and the all worked with just 1 increment of movement. You really need to log your sounds with this amp as it is a complicated unit. Finding the sound you had yesterday can be difficult.They are powerfull brutes with some killer tones.
     
  11. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Hey Guys,

    Nice to see such an in depth post about the GB EL DIABLO 60/30.
    I have been waiting for this for a while, as this model has always interested me.
    A couple questions to those who have had a chance to own or play one:

    How close can it come to getting a vintage PLEXI sound?
    Also, how do you think the El Diablo 60/30 head would sound through a 4X12 Marshall lead Cab loaded with G12T75's?
    Thanks for your time and help,
    Mass
     
  12. Electric I

    Electric I Member

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    That & because of the name, I believe people were expecting a more modern metal amp. Genz never claimed it to be & with it's non-entry level price tag it just didn't catch fire.

    Even with that ringing frequency (overdriven cam input ?) that clip is one of the better ones.
     
  13. Roodboy

    Roodboy Supporting Member

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    I just bought a 60c 1x12 combo tonight, I'll post some clips when it arrivs.
     
  14. TGPUser

    TGPUser Member

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    I succumbed and bought the 60W combo about 4 days ago. After trying a bunch of amps over the last 2 months I narrowed it down to the EL Diablo, Mesa/Boogie Roadster and Mesa/Boogie Stiletto. I had a chance to "ABC" them for about 2 hours a my local shop and I just kept coming back to the GB.

    The Stiletto has a lovely high gain brit-rock tone and would be an awesome second amp but it's cleans couldn't compete with the GB and the dirt channel just didn't have the tonal range I was after. The Roadster on the other hand is a very versatile amp. Again the GB beats it in the clean department but the Roadsters no slouch doing clean. I just felt the Roadster's distortion sounds were fairly generic and the El Diablo seemed to have a far more interesting and variable tonal range.

    Haven't had as much time as I wanted to play it over the weekend but so far in that limited time I'm just blown away by it's flexibility. Now I just have to figure out how I can record it (need to get a mike etc) and then I'll post some clips.
     
  15. marshallnoise

    marshallnoise Member

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    Yeah, it is MUCH closer to a Boogie in tone than anything else out there. The distortion channel is just weak in my opinion for anything besides blues. The gain does not get aggressive or sharp or anything, just like Mesas. The clean is awesome though. I liked it better pushed than anything else that clip had to offer and from my own testing of that amp out.
     
  16. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    I have tried these amps out.


    One of the nicer average tones out there imo....


    M.E.
     
  17. Myxolidian

    Myxolidian Member

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    I've just recently scored a El D combo and I'm really diggin' it. I'll agree with others in that the amp is very flexible and has some fantastic tones. The cleans are insanely good and the gain channel has tons of gain on tap. It does require quite a bit of tweaking though.

    Initially I was not that impressed with it. A few things that completely changed my opinion of the amp:
    1. Switch to 30 watt triode mode. I find the 60W pentode mode to be too fizzy/fuzzy/buzzy...even when running it wide open.
    2. Use an old-school TS-808 type OD to tighten up the low end and give a slight boost. This amp takes the Jekyll & Hyde pedal very well.

    Here's a link to a couple of sound clips of the El D...one with the Hot channel and one with the Warm (clean) channel. Ignore the playing since I was just noodling and dialing in tones. But it should give you an idea of some of the different tones available.

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=520434



    -
     
  18. Noah

    Noah Member

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    I had the El Diablo head. The tones were pretty good, but I thought the gain was waaaaay too low for any kind of modern rock soloing. I was hoping to use it without any pedal for leads, but it didn't work out. Nice amp for some people, but I sold it after a month.
     

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