NAD: Defender V100

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by lang.murphy, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Yep... Kustom... yep, MIC. That said, wow, some pretty good features going on in this amp... baltic birch cab, V30's, real spring 'verb, XLR Direct out with speaker sim, effects loop... rhythm and lead channels, optional foot pedal, which came with the used amp I bought offa CL. Four EL34's, four 12AX7's. Ah... back to the big iron.

    Each channel has its own Volume/Master pots. Very cool. (Not saying there aren't plenty of other amps with that feature... this is the first two channel amp I've had with it...)

    Also has Trem/Vibrato... I'm not a big user of that feature, usually, but messing around while I was demoing the amp, it sounded really good.

    Have just scratched the surface, tone-wise, but I spent about 20 minutes demoing it and liked what I heard. (Even brought along one of my amps to run A/B against it and the Kustom rawked the show.)

    Paid less than half of the going street price average. Just a touch more than I paid for my Orange 2x12 with V30's... (and I got a deal on that too.) so I got a 2x12 with a birch cab AND a hunnerd watter to boot, for the price of a decent 2x12 cab alone. Not a bad deal, if I say so myself. (And, of course, I do... lol)

    AND... it has a five year warranty, which I've already verified with a Kustom rep as being "good to go." Four more years on it. Certainly one hopes one will not have to ship this monster in for warranty repair work, but nice to know that it's covered for another four years.

    Anywho... will record some clips as time allows... in the meantime, here are some pix. At some point, I'll open it up and get some gut shots, but not tonight...

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  2. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Wow... no love for the V100, heh? Not even a single "congrats"?

    Too bad... this amp puts out some incredible tones. Big, big, cleans. Great dirt. At volumes from whisper quiet (Great MV) to the kind of roar only available from a hunnerd watter. Yeah, the whisper quiet tones are a bit thinner... but you don't have to crank it to get great cleans, which is maybe my favorite aspect of 100 watters.

    So... I've been through the low watt thing... then had a Super Lead running through an attenuator... sold that, back to the low watt thing again... and then this amp.

    I am an at-home player... I wouldn't want to have to lug this monster around. Who thought it was a good idea to put a single handle on top of a 70lb. amp? Dumb-ass. But I won't be hauling it around, and if I were, I'd throw a handle on each side of the top.

    But I'm so happy to be back to big iron. I've read all the threads about how nuts it is to have a 100 watter at home if you're not playing it on 11 and my personal feeling is... I like the big iron better than little iron, period. At any volume, really. Big iron just has more... gravitas? Even pushing lower db's on a par with a 15-30 watt amp. More oomph. Really. The great thing about big iron is this... I think... it sounds like it "gets there" without having to break into a sweat. Lower watt amps sound like they're working very hard to get to the same place. And I'm not talking just about dirt tones... I mean cleans too. If that makes any sense.

    Anyway, some will agree, some will disagree. Thass fine.

    But believe me... this amp is a true sleeper. Designed by amp guru "what's his name." lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  3. the fat one

    the fat one Senior Member

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    Congrats dude! I love the little 5 watt runt brother of this behemoth. And hey there ain't nothin wrong with 100 watts for just at home. My practice amp for years when I lived in apartments and condos in Hawaii was an Ecstasy half-stack. Saw no reason to get a tiny little "practice" amp. Just used my gig amp for practice also. Of course back then, there weren't all these little high-gain lunchboxes and boutique tweed clones at all, but nevertheless I know exactly what you mean and it worked for me too. There is always some oomph to work with, even down low when it's late. I like that "driven" sound nowadays, so I got smaller in order to turn the knobs up more. Like you, I went from big to small, then oscillated until I found the right size and number of transducers. I settled on a medium-small and a medium-big. In other words I went from 140 watts and a bunch of speakers down to just a few watts and one speaker, then up and down until I achieved my Grand Unified Tone Theory with a 50 watter and a 212, and a 6/12 watt combo.

    Do you know if the Defender line has any of amp designer James Brown's love in there?

    How much distortion does it offer?

    Are you digging it straight in, or ya got pedals? Can you get more into the built-in trem and verb for us please?

    How soon before you try swapping *one* of the V30s with an H30, and by gumm you'd better try that?
     
  4. the fat one

    the fat one Senior Member

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    Woah! The words "Rhythm" & "Lead" light up blue & red?

    Cool.
     
  5. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Yep... when I wrote "what's his name", I was looking to push for a mention of James Brown. Yep, his work, totally.

    It offers more distortion than I'll ever use. I'd say high gain in the lead channel, 'fo 'sho. "Nu-metal" high gain? Dunno... doubt it, I guess... seems like every mention of "Nu-metal" includes a reference to "must add a pedal" but that ain't in my sphere-of-knowledge.

    Right now I'm digging it straight... playing an '07 Melody Maker with a single bridge single coil pup.

    The 'verb... is ok. I tend to lean toward "just a tad bit" of 'verb, and it surely works great for that. Not as lush as the 'verb on my ex-Swart STR. Now THAT was some lush 'verb! But it does have two controls for 'verb... Intensity and Tone. The 'verb Tone controls the amount of "springyness" in the effect. I tend to use it fully CCW.

    I've only touched on the Trem/Vibrato feature so far. Not my thing, really.. but there are three controls and if one knows what one is doing, I think a wide variety of effect is available. What I have messed around with, thus far, sounds really, really good.

    I really like V30's. Ain't there more than one type of H30? If you're talking like the 70th Anny driver... I had a Mesa 4x12 cab running four of those puppies and it was a loud, scary thing. lol. I mean LOUD! Sounded great. Dunno if I'm going to take the time and effort to go there, though.

    That said, I'll definitely be trying some different pre-amp tubes in the amp. Got some old Mullards from a '65 Vox and some EIC Mullards from an old Marshall. And some other pre's too... dunno if I'm going to spring for a new quad of EL34's quite yet. The stock ones sound pretty 'effin good.

    Overall, I am totally stoked. This amp is WAY better than almost anything I've had pass through the house in the last two years. And I've had a bunch of hand-wired boutique amps pass through.

    Well, better for ME, anyway. Love the tones I'm getting... love the price point... a win-win for me. Great amp.
     
  6. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    LOL! Yep, so they do. On the amp... on the foot pedal, it lights up only when on the Lead channel. And, yes, it's red on the foot pedal when the Lead channel is selected.
     
  7. the fat one

    the fat one Senior Member

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    for ages, sages have written of the complementary nature of those two speakers, and yep I mean the 70th. I am super-familiar with each but just haven't tried them together -- but I will. It's many folks' favorite speaker combination! I've been given some moving descriptions.

    you have the perfect platform for that very experiment
     
  8. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    Congratulations!

    I'm a long time Kustom fan. They are the amps that finally got me to sell my vintage tweed and blackface Fenders. A Kustom '36 Coupe has been my main amp, for the past six years. I've also owned a '72 Hardtop, and Defender V15. I do gig, and do studio work. I would often travel 100 to 400 miles a week, with my amps. They have been bounced around so much, that I have broken the power indicator lamp.

    I find that the Kustoms sound a lot like a tweed, only with more headroom. You can also dial in blackface and Marshall sounds, pretty easily. I recently sold my '72 Hardtop, and bought a Defender V15. I tend to get more use out of the smaller amp. I run my V15 with military grade EL84M's, for lots of clean headroom.

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  9. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Hey, Slim... thanks for the feedback, bro. The V100 is more Marshall like than Fender like, which suits me to a "T". I will be selling off my two other amps; both low watt hand-wired beauties.

    And glad to hear they've been road-worthy amps for you; that's great news! Thanks for the pix too; as some here like to say, if there ain't a photo, it didn't happen. ;-)

    I went to the dude who sold this amp originally to demo a VHT Special 6 Ultra. Did not really like that amp enough to even give it a shot at home. Fiddled with the V100 a bit but wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time. As soon as I got home, I sent the dude an email saying "Man, wish I'd spent more time on the V100." A week later I hit the road for two weeks and two weeks after I returned I hit the guy up again, so, five-six weeks had elapsed between the first time I'd gone over and when I bought the amp two days ago. And like I said in the first post; I got a SCREAMING deal on this amp.

    So right about now I am one happy camper.

    Glad to be a Kustom owner now; thanks again for sharing your story.
     
  10. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    The plan, right now, is to sell my other tube amps and buy a LP. If there's any coin left over after that, I will certainly entertain buying an H30 and throwing it in the amp.
     
  11. the fat one

    the fat one Senior Member

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    eh - what am I sayin, I didn't think that through all the way

    that would only add up to 60 watts (2 x 30) for your 100 watt amp. Maybe not a big deal since you got this for at home and likely won't be ganking the knobs into the danger zone. Two V30s at 120 watts is pert near perfect as it already is.

    but

    although I thought of making another speaker suggestion to pair up, let's get back to what's important which is

    Happy New Amp Day !
     
  12. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    Some of the Pro's like John Bohlinger, the band leader from The CMT's and Nashville Star, and Rich Eckhardt (with Toby Keith) have been using the Kustom Coupes, for the past few years. Rich had some problems with heat while touring in Afghanistan. So, Kustom swichted from 6L6's to EL34's, to reduce the heat with a bigger bottled tube. The Defender line's cathode bias is switchable between 6L6 and EL34.

    I've got a VHT Special 6, running at 10 watts, with a Tung Sol 5881. I was thinking about their Standard 12 or Special 12/20. But now with the Defender 30 comming out, I might be trying one of those.
     
  13. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    Thanks again for the HNAD wishes; most appreciated.

    Wouldn't a V30 (60w) and an H12 (30w) add up to 90w? Doubt I'll be cranking it regularly, but def want the ability to crank it full bore when the wife is out and I wanna FEEL the air moving. ;-) So might just stick with the two V30's.
     
  14. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    I'm really surprised by the V100. It is a smokin' great amp. I think Kustom has done a poor job of marketing the Defender line. A shame, really. There are no reviews by the usual suspects... there should be. They should have gotten Greg V. to do a demo... I plan on recording a demo but I ain't no Greg V. Heck, my playing may scare peeps off in droves... but I LOVE this amp!

    Here's an interesting video of James Brown talking about the amps he designed for Kustom: http://www.kustom.com/player.aspx?MediaID=1112

    It's more about the Coupe line, which I'm pretty sure is discontinued, but much of it can be applied to the Defender line too.

    There's a funny bit at the end... "transferring unwanted frequencies..." har!

    Yeah, the Defender 30 looks like it may be a winner too.
     
  15. the fat one

    the fat one Senior Member

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    nope. Over 60 watts with that config? the extra wattage from the amp does NOT get absorbed by the speaker with more power handling. Therefore, with the amp outputting 60 watts, the G12H30 is at fill tilt because the 60 watts are split in two, with 30 watts going to each speaker. Turning the amp up more than that, and although the V30 doesn't care, the H30 could blow. Crank yer amp and it's 50 watts going to each speaker. The 60 watt speaker is fine, the 30 watt speaker is dead.

    edit: for that reason, maybe instead you could pair one of the V30s with a Gold or a Swamp Thang!
     
  16. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    It was too expensive making the Coupes in the USA. They make the Defender line in China, to make it more price competitive. They also fixed some of the weak spots. The handle, a carry over from the old SS Kustoms, would often break. I didn't care for the KEI speaker. It was designed to retain a lot of the old SS amp sound. I replaced the speaker with an Eminence Lil' Texas. This gives my amp more of a Fender sound. Plus, it reduces the weight, which has saved my handle.

    The new Defender line, all come with a very nice handle. They switched to EL34's (cooler) power tubes and Celestion speakers, giving the Defenders more of a Marshall sound. I do like the Celestions better. By swapping the tubes and speaker, you can still get them to sound like a Fender, if that's what you like. The sound of the Kustoms are very adjustable.
     
  17. neastguy

    neastguy Supporting Member

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    those defenders v30 and v50 don't have fx loops else I would take a chance on one.. I shoulda never sold my coupe.. that was a great amp with tons of sounds in it...
     
  18. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    I paid $450 for the V100 which has an efx loop. A Coupe '72 just sold locally (ATL) for $475. I assume that had an efx loop. Point being, they're out there used for reasonable coin.

    Good luck!
     
  19. brianr0131

    brianr0131 Member

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    I just ordered one of these.....still Liking your's?
     
  20. SeeMoore

    SeeMoore Member

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    I ordered the V50, and they do have an FX loop, switchable too
     

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