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Give me an ENGL education!


How good/bad are the ENGL amps...like the Blackmoore, Screamer, and Powerball?

These seem like some very interesting heads, and moderately priced, but I am not sure what sonic ground they cover and how much overlap there is between them.

I play Rivera now and like the ability to get Fender-y cleans and Marshall-y crunch. Any contrast to Rivera would certainly help me out.




I've only heard the Powerball and the Fireball but I can tell you that sitting next to a Bogner Uber, the Fireball sounded way more distinct and cut through way better. I don't play metal anymore, but if I did I would definitely consider the Fireball. Cleans on the Fireball I tried were definitely an afterthought though. Nothing inspiring in that regard at all.

A lot of people on the HC board (where you will probably find a lot more Engl users) have remarked and sometimes complained about build quality. Most Engl people I know or have discussed them with on the internet are metal guys. I have yet to hear an Engl clip or an Engl player that wasn't focused on metal. I don't think the Powerball or Fireball does clean all that well and I've certainly not heard much good or bad about the Blackmore's clean. The SE amps sound interesting and perhaps better for cleans but I haven't had the good fortune of trying one out yet.


I was interested in Engl some time back, but never took the plunge (they're pretty expensive for me). I do have some links just in case you haven't already found them. There's an Engl forum, and I believe the guy that runs it goes by Lord Riffenstein (Yoeri Fransens). He has some clips on his home page, mainly of the Savage 120. clips page: http://www.lordriffenstein.com/sounds.htm
His main web site: http://www.lordriffenstein.com/
Here's the forum site: http://forum.lordriffenstein.com/

Although many guys doing mainly metal are into them, they do seem to be fairly versatile amps.

There's a guy in Spain named Jose Decastro who (I believe) has done at least one of his albums using just the (expensive!) Engl E580 preamp http://www.josedecastro.net/biaudio.htm you can click on any of the three albums on the right to get to song samples (click on the names of the songs in the pop up window).

Just for fun, an Engl clip you might not expect :D: http://www.josedecastro.net/CD8mp3.mp3

EDIT: Here's a kind of jammin' one Jose did: http://www.josedecastro.net/entre.mp3


I had Blackmore head for some time. My amp was very early one from 1996. I always played the lead channel in low gain mode. I use guitar volume to get my cleans and everything between, and it worked very well like that (it wouldn't be Blackmore amp otherwise). Basically i liked the tones i got out of it. I play vintage kind of rock, not metal.

The Contour button is specially handy with Strat, it boosts low mid frequencies and gives the tone a firm body. The amp gives good sustain so it makes it easy to play but at the same time the amp is very revealing, it doesn't hide your sloppy playing, totally opposite in that sense.

At the same time when i had the Blackmore amp i converted one of my Marshalls to PTP with quality components, that Marshall showed me what means to have 3D/depth in tone. I compared it to the Blackmore amp and the Marshall was a clear winner. So i sold Blackmore.

Second thing was that when i openend the Blackmore head it wasn't very pretty sight, everything was soldered to PCB, tube sockets, pots. I could not see the components very clearly (the PCB was component side down) but the ones i could see they were not the kind of components i would use in a tube amp. I never had any problems with amp but in the end the tone was not as good as i hoped. Give me Blackmore amp with the same depth of tones that my PTP Marshalls gives me then i will keep it (+ better construction). Of course then the price would not be the same.


There are an absolute load of Engl clips at http://rocksolidamps.com/index.php?contain=playlist&mid=155 for your interest.
I gave an Engl Screamer a good workout in a shop a couple of weeks ago. I was quite impressed, it had a good range of tones from clean to very mean. Personally I thought it's dirt was in the same ballpark as the Shiva, but others have disagreed with me. It has 2 channels, with 2 modes for each channel gave an effective 4 channels, all footswitchable - Seemed like a good functional gig machine.

As for reliability, yeah, they are PCB amps, with about the same built quality as something like a Peavey 6505 or a Marshall re-issue. And, in the UK, they cost around the same, so that seems fair. If you spend some time reading the HC reviews, I would suggest that the Engl's are actually quite considerably more reliable than the equivalent Peaveys, Marshalls etc. There are a lot of happy ENGL owners out there.


They sound really nice in a room alone, and get lost in the mix the minute your in a band setting IMO. They record like a dream though. The clean channels are nice on them, but on the fireball they share controls and you cant get them to meet up at a switchable volume(the cleans are too low when the knobs are set up for a solid gainy sound)

When I was trying them out(at rocksolidamps lol) i found the Framus amps sitting next to them to sound much much better.

I also think rivera makes a better quality product, both sonically and build wise.


I didn't have any trouble to cut through with the Blackmore head but then again i was the only guitar player in that band.

Here are a couple of samples if you wanna hear:


Engl Blackmore 100 #1 (band rehearsal, recorded with one mic)

Engl Blackmore 100 #2 (band rehearsal, close micing)

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