Laney L5T & L20H/T Lionheart now made in China

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Serenity, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    A thread was posted on another forum speculating that the Lionheart range had been moved to China for production. Rather than just deal with rumour i emailed Laney to find out what the deal is. Here is their response-


    Thanks for the enquiry,
    Production of the L5T and L20H/T has moved to china, built in the same factory as the highly successful Iron heart range.
    The amp has been upgraded and now has digital reverb and a switchable series FX loop.

    Regards
    Dave Thompson
    Senior Service Engineer


    To be honest the move to China doesn't surprise or bother me. I have one of the newer Chinese built Lionhearts and it's still a fantastic amp. The UK made ones have "Made in UK" on the back of the amp, the newer Chinese made ones have "Designed and Engineered in the UK" on the back.


    I'm not big on reverb use so the change to digital doesn't really bother me, but i'm not sure i'd agree with it being an "upgrade".


    As i said, country of manufacture doesn't bother me as long as the finished product is good, and it still is. But from spending a fair bit of time on TGP i know it's an issue for a lot of you, so i thought i'd give you a heads up.
     
  2. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    I'm glad I got one of the UK-made L5Ts, with spring reverb. I would not consider digital reverb to be an "upgrade". Mine also has a UK-made Celestion, but I suspect the new Chinese built ones will not. As someone who has found the Lionheart Series to be extraordinarily good amps, I am not at all impressed with their decision. The whole justification for the original price point (which some thought was high) was that it was "built in the UK by highly experienced workers, using only premium components". I never saw a bad review of the original L5T. The main problem seemed to be distribution in the US, because not many shops carry Laney. So, I guess their answer is to make the Lionheart Series cheaper. Seems like the wrong move to me. Laney already has several amp lines made in China. You would think they would want to keep some of their premium products at home in the UK. I question the business logic of this direction.
     
  3. manimal

    manimal Member

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    Ohhhhh god?! Ugh nothing is sacred.
     
  4. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    The original version of the amp came with a green magnet Celestion Heritage G12H, Made in England ($200).
    The new version of the amp ships with a Vintage Series G12H 30W, Made in China ($150)
     
  5. 100JH

    100JH Member

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    Not sure what to do here. Just got my L5T last week. It has the 70th Anniversary speaker and I am assuming the digital reverb also.

    The speaker is getting mixed reviews...some like it more than the Greenback others less...but no resounding bad reviews.I use a Strymon Blue Sky and Lex but liked the option of the spring reverb.

    The site where I bought it from still states today "G12 Heritage and type 4 large spring line reverb"

    Got 2 hours of time on it. Not even broken in

    Thoughts on this dilemma? Feel kinda shafted. Paid $850 new.
     
  6. motokev

    motokev Member

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    I was told by an amp builder that the pollution is so bad in china it shortens the life of the electronics.
    I'll stay away from china products.
     
  7. 100JH

    100JH Member

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    One of the worlds greatest amp builders lives in China...Master Tag-tzu...and let me tell you, Tag-tzu knows tone.

    My issue was not necessarily the built in China factor but more so the misleading of the sites and lack of accurate info Prior to purchase. I was offered full refund but am waiting on Laneys response. Seems like many like the 70th Anniversary speaker. I have a window of return available hence the reason for throwing it out to the masses.

    Dont buy any gear from LA either...
     
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  8. hacinador

    hacinador Member

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    Yes it is misleading. I would take my money back. But not because it is made in china. I would do it because of that digital reverb, an ordinary speaker and some weird added electronics that can affect a purity of the circuit.
     
  9. hacinador

    hacinador Member

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    That guy must be some stupid nazi redneck. I hope he watches some old tube tv and uses an old apple computer built by two Steves in some garage... I would ask him how many components in his builds aren't made in china. Hmm but it can be all about polluted chinese hands that ruin every product, a really interesting theory!
     
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  10. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    I paid $700 slightly used for my original UK-made L5T. The typical new price when these came out was $899, which some thought high. For me, the price seemed reasonable considering the features, component quality, and build location. I have no regrets, and will never let my L5T go. I really like the UK-made Celestion Heritage a lot. I had an Orange combo with the Chinese-made Celestion Anniversary. The Anniversary speaker sounded good, but not as sweet as the UK Heritage. Also, for me the spring reverb is essential to the lush clean sound of the L5T.

    I would not consider an L5T with digital reverb and a different speaker to be the "same" amp. Of course, they have reduced the new price, so possibly some will see these changes as going in the right direction. Not me. I wanted a premium low-wattage amp, that was designed and built with price as an after-thought. If the retailers don't change the descriptions to accurately reflect the new "cheaper version", then they are being misleading. If I had bought one of the new ones, believing it to be the same as the early ones, I would be returning it promptly.

    I had a very high opinion of Laney for having the guts to design, produce, and market a premium 5-watt combo for the discriminating guitarist. Very few other companies have gone down this path, even though the world has a great many older (affluent) guitar players who still want great tone, but don't need a 50 watt amp. This all seemed visionary to me, and showed some willingness to meet the market demands at various levels. But that seems only an illusion now, and Laney appears to have been drawn back to making decisions solely on profit margin. I think they missed the point, and should have rather worked on improving their terribly weak distribution network in the US. It's hard to sell even a great product, if people can't see it and try it out.
     
  11. MPicc

    MPicc Member

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    A historical note: mine seems to be UK-made but have the newer design. It has:
    - A plaque on the back that says "Handmade in Great Britain by Laney Electronics Ltd."
    - A Celestion G12H30 that says "Made in England."
    - No reverb tank.
    - A serial effects loop with a -10db/0db/bypass switch.

    I bought it from American Musical Supply in August 2014.

    It came with a handbook that matches its features, and the serial effects loop instead of parallel was a pleasant surprise in my case, so I let the inaccurate prepurchase info slide.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  12. 100JH

    100JH Member

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    Mine says Designed and Engineered in the UK
    Made in China
    Celestion G12H30W 70th Anniv. Original G12H spec. Celestion Intl.
    Same effects loop (Serial effects loop with a -10db/0db/bypass switch)
    No reverb tank, digital

    Still waiting on Laneys response.

    I really wanted this amp, and did extensive research, but as I stated before, got really mixed feelings. The only real issue I have is the speaker. I wanted an option for the tank reverb but I will use the Strymon Blue Sky and Lex most of the time so I can pass on that. With the China production? I understand costs. We farm out some engineering and design to our China teams for for national and international data centers and they do great work, but we maintain full quality control. I am reading mostly very positive reviews about the speaker. A little more highs, nice mids and a tad less bass. I can always swap the speaker out if its not what I want, but I was sold on the Heritage.

    Leaning towards keeping it but will wait to see what Laney says first.

    EDIT: Spoke to Rick at Celestion. Without going into detail he reassured me about the high quality and soothed my concerns with the Chinese made Celestions. Original engineering and specs, chinese built on the original Celestion machines, extremely high quality control with an very, very low failure/defective rate. I think I am going to give it a shot. Worse comes to worse I can change the speaker out.

    STILL WAITING on Laney's response...that kind of sucks. It has been a few days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  13. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    I wonder if the cabinet is still premium grade plywood, or if they've gone to using MDF? I really hate it when companies start cutting corners on a product that has already established itself in the market as being top notch. Too many companies do this. They over-engineer the product to be "best in class" at introduction, and as soon as it has established the reputation for high quality, the cost-cutting begins. It ends up looking like a "bait & switch" for people who buy any version beyond the first issue.
     
  14. DrainBamage

    DrainBamage Member

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    Well im guessing it was because the amp wasn't selling at that price. Now it can compete with most of the other major brands that have low watt amps in the 600$ range. Whats the new price of them?
     
  15. 100JH

    100JH Member

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    $900 to $1000 here in the US. I think I have outlined the changes, who knows there could be more. I tried to look at the cab today, but it is hard to tell. I didnt take the rear grill off, but it seems to be soundly built. The Laney site currently states the following in regards to the cabinet: "Marine Grade Plywood cabinet with retro banding strip" I am assuming that is Baltic Birch ply. Not sure why you would use banding strips on an amp that is covered in tolex.
     
  16. hacinador

    hacinador Member

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    I don't know Laneys price policy in states, but here in Europe these Lionheart Laneys aren't some expensive hi-end amps, these amps cost about the same as Vox Custom serie Made in China. I know that it was cool to have a british made amp with a british made speaker for nearly the same price of AC15C1, but built quality of Lionhearts are really not so different compared to ordinary Orange, Vox Custom or Engl amps to be THAT special. They have cheap toroidal power transformer, pcbs, big portion of solderless connectors... They have VERY ordinary built quality. I don't know how this myth about super amp started, too many people think that these amps are hardwired etc. They are very good sounding amps with some problems (some have a problem when switching channels, nearly every amp has a problem with its vinyl and handle), but they are REALLY light years far from built quality of Matchless, handwired Fenders, Blackstar Artisan or even Handwired Chinese Vox amps. My post is not about telling you this product is bad. It is great!!! But it's built quality will be the same after production relocation to China. Why? Because it built quality never was something special and it can be done nearly everywhere.

    And what I don't like about new type? Made in China doesn't bother me!
    I do not like digital reverb and some added circuits that can affect tone of previous version... I am not saying I am right! But now these series is clearly off my list :(
     
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  17. DrainBamage

    DrainBamage Member

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    I am too interested of how this hi quality amp from Laney came to be. The British made thing I think lead folks to believe. The non pcb/chassis mounted tube sockets is the only decent thing about the build quality. As far as quality parts.. those caps are about the cheapest available. And if its anything like other Laneys the power light will fail on most amps
     
  18. Dave Jeremiah

    Dave Jeremiah Member

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    I know this is a somewhat old thread, but I got my L5T out of the attic a few days ago, dusted her off and put her through her paces, so I thought I'd make a few comments ......

    I think the L5T MK1 is a great little amp. When they first came out in Europe they were about €900 ($900 at today's exchange rate). This was too high for the market and the price soon dropped to about €650. They did have some high end characteristics: TAD valves (tubes) in V1 and output, the G12H Heritage, gold plated jack sockets and a very cool overall design. Other things weren't so good: the knobs are a bit cheap looking/feeling, the handle is made of some kind of material that crumbles and looks tatty very quickly, the effects loop is a compromise - neither parallel nor series, but side chain with a fixed proportion of dry signal, and a reverb which suffers in the same way (i.e. cannot be set really lush/wet because it is always mixed with dry signal).
    I replaced my handle with a leather one, and the reverb/loop issues are easily fixed - but that's not what you expect to have to do on an amp in this price range.

    I think the street price for the MK1 was absolutely ok, considering its features. None of the competition in that price range came with a speaker of that quality, and indeed many high end (price) amps still don't (Victoria being a good example). And you have to put it into perspective: I also have a Kingsley Deluxe 1 amp - made in Canada, hand-wired, low-wattage, single-ended - which is of far superior build quality, but which also cost nearly $2,500 new. The Kingsley came with a Celestion Blue (UK made) - but it sounds way better going through the G12H in the Lionheart. IMHO the G12H (55Hz model) is a great 12" speaker for low wattage amps - it seems so much livelier than the Blue at low volumes.

    Here in Europe the MK1 LT5 goes for about €400 used. I have thought of moving mine on, because I have a lot of low-wattage amps that do very similar things. However it's worth keeping for the speaker alone - they're out of production now and those still available cost half of what I'd get for the amp.
    If the L5T were a handwired boutique amp, it would cost around €2000 with the features it has. And soundwise it can hold its own with any boutique amp. Used, they have to be considered bargains.

    The Chinese "issue" is pretty sad - I have nothing against Chinese products, but I think it just confuses the L5T's identity even more: it's now clearly a more cheaply produced product, with more corners cut, but still with a pretty good speaker (€130). At €600 new it's more competitively priced, but who is it aimed at? People who care about the speaker will probably not like the digital reverb/implications of the country of origin, and those who don't care will probably think the amp is too expensive for what it is. To say nothing of the slightly "underhanded" way Laney/Retailers have slipped this incarnation onto the market without really making the changes transparent ..........
     
  19. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    I'm still loving my MIC Lionheart. After comparing it with the MK1 i wouldn't say the build quality has taken a hit. MIC may be cheaper labour but it doesn't always mean lower quality. Sure, the speaker is a cheaper one but still sounds really good, and the effects loop is an improvement over the MK1. The reverb is a matter of taste i guess and the digital sounds ok to my ears, though i don't use reverb much. I'm happy with the price drop as i probably wouldn't have bought it at the old price, too much good competition once you get nearer £1k.
    I will agree that it was sneaky of Laney to change things without really informing anyone, but they didn't try to hide the changes when i emailed them.
    It's still a great amp, worth the current asking price, and i'd happily buy it again.
     
  20. Dave Jeremiah

    Dave Jeremiah Member

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    I agree entirely. Most of the stuff we buy nowadays is MIC in any case - even "luxury" products such as iPhones etc. I was hinting more at the perceived drop in quality - I grew up in an era when "made in Honkong" was a synonym for cheap rubbish and was told by my local guitar shop back in the day that I should get rid of my MIJ les Paul and get a "real" guitar. A lot of people now would agree that Japanese guitars from the late 70s were at least as well built as their USA counterparts. The perception aspect, of course says more about the person making the value judgment than it does about the actual object itself ......
    I'm sure the newer L5T is still a great amp - and it's even more of a bargain now than the first version. It still looks the same, sounds probably extremely similar (the speaker's not a million miles away from the G12H Heritage), and I don't think the original will ever become collectible, so resale values will probably be ok. I just hope they improved the handle - they knew it was no good and gave me a free replacement, so it would be very disappointing if they haven't upgraded it somehow.
     

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