Randall RG50TC

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by calieng, May 10, 2005.

  1. calieng

    calieng Member

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    I just got a Randall RG50TC from an eBay seller for $499. including shipping. I did not have a lot of info on the amp and only read a few reviews that are available but I wanted to give it a try anyway.

    This amp is really well built for the money. Chassis mounted tube sockets, plywood cabinet, good quality footswitch, etc etc. Best part is you can crank it with no vibrations or rattles at all due to some nice detailing such as a fabric strip to absorb vibrations on the wood frame that the rear metal grill mounts to. There was obviously some thought given to the design of this amp...The Crate V-50 I tried in contrast rattled like a pig.

    It's too soon to do a detailed review but if you are considering a Traynor YCV40 or a TSL601 or similar amp you may want to look into this amp...especially if you want high gain. This is the highest gain tube amp I have tried so far and yet has a decent clean channel as well.

    I own a variety of amps including Aiken and some I have built myself and I can say that this Randall is a keeper for a decent quality grab and go amp that covers a lot of tonal range without breaking the bank.

    Cheers.

    P.S. The stock Celestion 70/80 is not bad but I swapped for a Vintage 30. The cabinet is half back closed so the V30 works pretty well. A Classic Lead may be another option to stay closer to the original amp voicing.
     
  2. tmac

    tmac Goldmember Gold Supporting Member

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    How are the lower gain sounds? Or is just all high gain on the OD channel?
     
  3. calieng

    calieng Member

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    For lower gain you can use the clean channel at 5 and above. Also add the clean boost.

    On the clean channel you have the gain control, footswitchable boost, and master volume to adjust the sound.

    On the high gain channel you have two seperate gain controls which are footswitchable and differently voiced, a level control, and the master volume to adjust sound.

    There are high and low inputs.

    The reverb/effects loop is also footswitchable. A short pan spring reverb is used and can be turned up enough to cover surf style.

    So to answer your question you can get a wide variety of sounds from Fender to Marshall crunch to high gain singing sustain.
     
  4. calieng

    calieng Member

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    I forgot to mention one other nice feature about the amp. It has external bias test points and a seperate adjustment for each power tube so you can use unmatched tubes and set them to an equal bias point.

    The amp also comes with all EH tubes which is the first time I didn't feel the need to replace tubes on a new amp.

    3 - EH 12AX7, 1 - EH 12AT7, 2 - EH EL34
     
  5. tmac

    tmac Goldmember Gold Supporting Member

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    I guess I should've phrased the question differently as I would not use what I consider "high" gain too much. How are the lower gain sounds on the OD channel? Like running the gain control in the lower registers like around 10:00. Or is just pretty much all high gain from the get go? I'm thinking early Page and Clapton tones, pushed blues/rock tones if you like.
     
  6. calieng

    calieng Member

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    You can get those tones from the clean channel especially with the boost on.

    The lead channel is marshall crunch to high gain.
     
  7. sw686blue

    sw686blue Member

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    I checked out this amp yesterday at a local dealer and I was quite impressed with the amp also. I found that the 2 channel, 4 mode amp was able to put out some very cool tones. I'm looking for an amp that does great hi-gain stuff for Metallica, Ozzy, AC/DC type music and has a cool clean channel as well. One of my criterias for my amp purchase is that it can sound good at bedroom levels and the RG50TC is able to do that with the master volume.

    I'm in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the local dealer is selling it for $599 Canadian (approximately $479 US) plus tax down from $699. Very tempting indeed. I'm going back there this weekend with a couple of my own guitars to get a better feel for the amp. I played it mostly at low volume as I would be doing if I were home. This weekend I will crank it up to get a better feel of the amp at high volumes.

    I did not see the external bias adjustments. Where were they located?

    Nick
     
  8. calieng

    calieng Member

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    Salute Nick!

    They are behind the rear grill just above where the power tubes are located. Three prongs with a mini-pot on either side.

    If you like the amp as is you should hear it with the Vintage 30 speaker upgrade. A lot more note definition and louder, more chime on the clean channel. It's rear mounted and half back cab so the V30 works well in this amp. I am having a lot of fun with this amp.

    Chris
     
  9. sw686blue

    sw686blue Member

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the info. I had some questions about this amp so I called the Randall Support line and got some answers to my questions and one of them was for the location of the trimpots for the power tube biasing.

    I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying your amp. Can you tell me more about the Vintage 30? Is it made in the UK or China? What is the typical street price for one? Is it 8 or 16 ohms?

    The Celestion that is in the amp is made in China. My only concern with this amp is that it is made in China. It may be my cork-sniffin' attitude but I generally frown upon "Made in China" guitar gear. Having said that, the amp does sound amazing. My concerns for the "Made in China" aspect is the reliabilty and quality control of the amplifier. The guy on the Randall support line told me that the "Made in USA" amps are typically made with the exact same components (i.e., the circuit boards are all made in China) but assembled in the USA. Also, re-sale value will probably take a major hit.

    I was told that there is a 5 year warranty on electronics, 3 years on the speaker and 90 days on the tubes. Very impressive!

    I was, and sort of still am, debating between a Zinky Blue Velvet 25 watt combo and the Randall RG50TC. As it currently stands, it is very hard to justify spending over $300 US more for the Zinky. I know, USA-made, PTP construction, etc. Problem is that I never actually played or heard a Zinky in person. I would feel awful to go for the Zinky and then find out that I'm not crazy about the tone. Case in point, when I was at my local dealer yesterday, he also had a Mesa Boogie F-30 combo right next to the Randall so I played that one first. To be honest, in my opinion, I was not crazy or blown away by the F-30 as I was with the Randall. The F-30 was also more than twice the price of the RG50TC. It was a very loud amp and not very bedroom volume friendly. The clean channel was nice and the overdrive channel was decent. In comparison, the RG50TC had a more useful clean channel and the overdrive channel was much more hi-gain IMO. Throw in the difference in price and the Randall was the winner for me.

    I can't wait to go back there and try it out with my guitars. I will be bringing along a buddy of mine so that I can get his opinion as well.

    Thanks Chris and keep me posted!

    All the best,
    Nick
     
  10. calieng

    calieng Member

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    I think most Celestions are made in China now. Go to www.avatarspeakers.com and get a Hellatone 60. It's a Vintage 30 that is broken in. If you peel off the Hellatone label you will find the original Celestion label underneath. It's $79 including shipping in USA...not sure about Canada eh?

    I haven't pulled the chassis yet on the Randall but the pots feel sturdy and smooth. Chassis mounted tube sockets is a big plus. I really was surprised in a good way when I got the amp and saw the quality of construction.

    I have had the F-30 and F-50 and both sound thinner than the RG50TC. Also Mesa has gain controls that you have to turn with tweezers in the lower range since they are sooo sensitive. I like the taper on the Randall a lot more.

    As for Zinky, I have never tried one but heard good things, although the clean may not be stellar from what some others have said. I've got a Deluxe Reverb that I modded with a Hoffman PTP AB763 board and an Aiken Invader MKII 2-12" for the high quality lower gain sounds so I am happy.... but this Randall just smokes the high gain stuff...too fun!
     
  11. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    I got to A/B the Blue Velvet and the RG50TC (as well as both the Traynor YCV40 and YCV50B, an Orange Rocker 30, a Trademark 60, and both a Rivera Pubster 25 and Clubster 45 - yep it was ear-opening and fun!) about a month and a half ago. I put my sonic review info out into two different threads that were running at the time. I'll dig them out and either point you to them or repost them here. Neither was bad in the least, but each has its pro's. They are different enough from each other that one may be better suited to your tastes/styles than the other. Since you haven't had a chance to hear some of them, hopefully this will help you know somewhat what to expect, but of course that wil ultimately come down to your fingers and everything in your signal chain.
     
  12. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    OK, I'll go from memory here and not dig for my old posts. I used an LP Std with Dimarzio EJ HBs. These are not meant to be negative, but rather realistic from what I heard during my comparisons.

    RG50TC - The cleans are tight, not Fender-y. Both modes on the lead side sound to me like they are voiced the same at lower, middle, and high settings. Once the gain comes up at about 2 or so, it comes on really strong, and then on a bit more to metal strong as you push it up the whole way. So I couldn't really get different timbres from the two gain modes, even with one side's preamp on 2 and the other's on 8. There are no lighter settings on the gain side; I was hoping to get a pure three channel amp out of this (clean, light gain, high gain), but with its voicing structure, you can't; pushing the clean channel to get the light gain stuff relieves you of a true clean channel. Nice footswitchability. Decent reverb. Good global MV. All in all, for the money, this amp is a winner and could be someone's grab and go keeper. Nice eBay score - you got a monetary/sonic winner here!

    Zinky Blue Velvet - I'm not sure, but I didn't think this was PTP. Anyone? The cleans are not Fender-y, either, but are more of a pushed clean, like Steve Morse's or Johnny A's. This is the only amp I've ever played (and I'm not claiming to have tried THAT many in my lifetime) where the gain control on the dirty channel is completely useable throughout its entire range. It can get heavy, light, or anywhere in between, and every area sounds great and useable for some genre. Great tone control setup, though unusual - easy to find what you want really quick. It's tube reverb was not overpowering; I don't use reverb, but I was compelled to let it on for a while while I test-drove it, and it made for a pleasant experience. I did not get to try its tube buffered effects loop. The interaction between the individual channel volumes, the gain control, and the global MV is a thing of beauty in getting a cranked amp sound at bedroom volumes; turned up to gig levels, it was tight and roared mightily. Its simplicity, light weight, and versatility will make it a grab and go keeper for others.

    With all the other amps I tried that I mentioned in my previous post, my dream small tube 1x12 combo would be the dirty side of the BV mated with the clean side of the Rivera Clubster 45. The Clubster had incredible BF sounds (from EL34s), but the distortion was the flattest and most disappointing of all I tried. The Pubster 25 wasn't a true two channel amp, and didn't sound that bad. The Traynors' clean channels were quite Fender-y, too, and a bit Marshall-y on the dirty side with the boost on, though quite loose. The YCV50B has a decent global master that the YCV40 doesn't have. The Rocker 30 could cover LOTS of rock genres really well, sounded a bit unique, and felt great, too. I really tried a lot of control combinations, but IMHO the Trademark 60 is not in the league of these tube amps, as it didn't have the sound or feel I was expecting based upon others' rants here in this forum (even though it apparently records and feeds a PA quite well).

    I guess you can tell I'm on a search, too, for something in the $500 - $1K range (which kept the Budda Superdrive 18 and the Mesa Lonestar Special Classic out fo the picture). Unfortunately, the new Orange was about $200 more than the new BV, putting it over my self-imposed spending cap. I'd say for some the BV is worth the extra $300 over the new Randall. Both Traynors were decently priced, too. I thought with the uninspiring distortion channel the Clubster 45 was overpriced, though the Pubster 25 was OK.

    Edit:
    There was an El Diablo 60C in the store, but I ran out of time. I think it was a bit over my limit (though less than the Orange) and much heavier than the others, but if you really need ultimate versatility, this may be the one to try out. The kicker was an early 70's Vibro Champ I tried right before I left. So simple, and for what it was, it easily stacked up against, or outshone, most of the others, for less than $300. Must have been in good shape electronically.
    End Of Edit

    The BV exuded a quality about it that seemed to set it head and shoulders above the rest of these amps, except for maybe the Rocker 30 (and the Vibro Champ). There have been other threads on all of these recently, so take a look if you have the time. They mention the usuals about speaker and tube swapping to get different tones you may be looking for.

    Sorry, I just realized I went over my time/page limit here with my rant!
     
  13. calieng

    calieng Member

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    Thanks for the review Dave.

    I also agree that the Rivera lead is a little dissapointing otherwise that would have been the keeper.

    I did like the Traynor YCV40 but it is almost opposite to the Randall...clean stays clean all the way and lead only goes to Marshall crunch...reverb is a little weak too... but maybe a better choice for those not wanting high gain.

    Anyway I was looking for a high gain tube amp to cover off that territory so the Randall has worked out really well. The clean is nice but not "boutique" but the high gain is awesome.

    Nick emailed to say he bought the Randall so maybe he can post a review when he takes a break from working the EL34s.

    Cheers.
     
  14. sw686blue

    sw686blue Member

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    Well, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the RG50TC on Friday night. I went down to a local guitar shop and tried out the Randall for nearly 2 hours using two of my guitars (a Special FM with Rio Grandes - genuine Texas and BBQ and my Artist Korina with P90s). As I've said before, my main concern was reliability and quality control since the amp is made in China. I guess time will tell but my first impressions of the build quality are very, very good. What's really important is the sound of this amp so here is what I think.

    I wanted to begin by saying that I was looking for an amp that was capable of producing a lot of hi-gain for stuff like Ozzy, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Guns 'N Roses, Metallica and Pantera. The clean channel had to be nice but was not the determining factor. Something else that was absolutely necessary for me was to be able to practice at night with the amp without disturbing my wife or baby daugther.

    Man, let me say that I absolutely love this amp. As far as the gain channel goes, it definitely has enough on tap for the type of sounds that I'm going for. I can easily dial in some cool AC/DC style classic rock and if I push the gain, it can easily get me Metallica type tones. What I really like about this amp is that it is not a one-trick pony. The clean channel is very cool. I use to own a Peavey 5150 head and no matter what I did for the clean channel, I could not get a decent sound out of it. The 5150 was great for hi-gain stuff but at very loud volumes. The Randall's master volume works great so I'm able to push the amp hard and keep the volume very low. In fact, if I turn the master volume completely off and then set the level of the hi-gain channel half way, I've got the perfect amp that I can practice with at 11 o'clock at night without disturbing anyone.

    The footswitch is a REAL footswitch not like that crappy plastic POS from Peavey. It has 4 buttons, 1-channel switching, 1-reverb/effects, 1-2nd hi-gain mode and 1-boost for the clean channel. The reverb is ok but nothing spectacular. I find that it is audible only if you turn it 3/4 of the way up. I need more time to mess around with it. Construction of the amp is top notch. I do get some rattling from the chassis when hitting certain notes. I didn't have time to investigate further. I didn't get to try the amp fully open but from what I have seen so far, it is a loud 50 watt amp. Next week I will be jamming with a friend who also owns a 5150 running through a 4x12 Marshall 1960A cab. I can't wait to see how the Randall compares.

    I had my reservations about the RG50TC in terms of reliabilty and quality control but I think that this is a winning amp. At the price I got it for ($599 Canadian ~ $480 US) plus the killer hi-gain channel and a very respectable clean channel, it is the perfect amp for me. I would strongly recommend people try this amp out if they are looking for lots of gain, a great clean channel and an amp that can be played at low volumes and still sound great.

    I'll let you guys know how things go after next weeks jam.

    Nick
     

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