redplate blackloop combo review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jb70, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    hey tgp peeps,

    i just wanted to share some thoughts on my new redplate blackloop combo. i received my amp from henry at the beginning of december and was immediately blown away by the versatility of this little amp. now, i'm not one to post gear reviews as soon as i try a new piece of gear. i play in a lot of different musical situations and try to use the gear in every situation before giving my verdict.

    i've owned a lot of small, lightweight combos over the last 10-15 years. living in the nyc area it's important to have a lightweight, great sounding, portable rig. i've got a 4 floor walkup in my building which isn't much fun at 3 am! i've had combos that were great for jazz but didn't have enough clean headroom for my motown/r&b gigs and i've had amps that were great on the r&b gigs but weren't fat enough sounding for the jazz gigs. and i've had other amps that sounded good with some pedals but not with others.

    i've taken the blackloop out on all kinds of gigs now- jazz, fusion, motown, funk, r&b, hip hop, etc... and it kills for everything. ok, maybe it's not a great amp for swedish, progressive, death metal :)

    the last test was last night when i played with a corporate/wedding/party band in new jersey. this band is excruciatingly loud- i'm sandwiched in between the drummer (who beats the **** out of his drums) and a great bass player (who turns his 400 watt amp up more than halfway). this gig was very cramped and i had a vocal monitor pointed at my face and a keyboard monitor pointed at my left ear (thank god i had earplugs). i only had the blackloop on "4" and it easily cut through the mix and sounded amazing. the drummer actually laughed at the amp when i first showed up because he thought that he wouldn't hear me. boy was he wrong. actually, the entire rhythm section commented on how big the amp sounded for being so small (it's a little bigger than a champ, is 40 watts, and is a little over 35 lbs).

    needless to say it sounded amazing on all of my other gigs as well. henry at redplate is a genius. i can't believe that it's taken this long for someone to create this amp and i have a feeling that a lot of manufacturers will try to copy henry's design.

    the big key to this amp (for me) is the 6 position "mode" switch which shifts the frequency of the midrange. if you want more of a scooped midrange sound, like a fender blackface amp, turn the mode knob to the left, and if you want a fatter, jazz tone, turn the mode knob to the right. also, there is a half power switch on the back which is great for the smaller, intimate jazz gigs.

    my blackloop combo has a WGS retro 30 speaker and has JJ 6L6 power tubes. i did try some 6V6's last month but i vastly prefer the 6L6's. i will try to post some clips in the next couple of weeks. my fusion band has been recording lately so hopefully i'll have some of those clips to post soon as well.

    a big thanks to henry for creating this little beast! you have a winner on your hands my friend :)

    jack
     
  2. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    here are a couple of pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Great review Jack - congrats on your Red Plate amp.

    I've been fortunate to try them out at the last two Amp Shows in LA and in Anaheim during NAMM. I'm blown away by the line of amps, particularly the Blackverb Duo 88. But the Blackverb, Chuck D'Aloia model and Kirk Fletcher models are also wonderful as is the Cosmic Dust - hell, as far as I can see they're ALL great amps.

    Henry and Keith are really cool cats. Henry is 'mos 'def onto something with this line of amps - they sound great AND are super functional for gigging musicians.

    Plus, they've got Chuck doing their demos and endorsing them - EXCELLENT choice (GRIN)!

    Thanks, Dana O.
     
  4. cbguy

    cbguy Green & Gold Supporter

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    Congrats on your new RP BL combo. That was my first RedPlate and I couldn't be happier myself. I have one of the early models w/o the 6-position switch but it remains versatile enough for my uses. I put on Fender tilt-back legs and installed a Jensen Neo 100 speaker (which took another 4 or 5 lbs off and sounds quite good although probably w/o as much bass response as your retro.)

    My BlackVerb is my main amp but the BL is great for situations where stage space or portability is an issue.

    Thanks for posting your experience with your amp.
     
  5. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    thanks dana! i'm glad you liked the review. yeah, both chuck and my friend ede wright have been raving about henry's amps. in fact, i've never heard anything but positive comments on any of his models! i've seen all of chuck's latest videos and he sounds great playing though all of the redplate amps. of course, chuck could plug into a mound of dirt and sound great!!! haha :D
     
  6. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    thanks cb! good call on the fender tilt-back legs. i've been using the "standback" (http://standback.net) and it works great with the blackloop. space is an issue on about 75% of the gigs that i do so the blackloop is the perfect little amp for me. the great thing is that there is an external speaker jack and an ohm selector switch on the back that is adjustable for 8, 4, and 2 ohms. you can easily bring an extension cab for the bigger/outdoor gigs.
     
  7. tdarian

    tdarian Gold Supporting Member

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    That looks like a very cool set-up.
     
  8. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    it's great. it works perfectly with my axe fx II

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Yossi

    Yossi Member

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    Good review. The only difference in our amps is the personalized name that Henry puts on the back. A nice touch.
    Love the amp.
     
  10. tdarian

    tdarian Gold Supporting Member

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    What do you guys think about the same basic concept as the BlackLoop, but as a "Tweed Loop" using the single tone Tweedy type pre instead of the TMB....essentially a Blues Machine without reverb in the small 40 Watt Cathode Bias "easy box"?

    A already have a Blackverb...with both a combo cab & head cab, and thinking this might make a nice alternate flavor and certainly the super easy carry.

    (Plus, my wife saw the blonde/wheat Tweedy at NAMM and wanted it:omg so this is really out of domestic obligation that I ask these questions).
     
  11. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    sounds like a winner to me!
     
  12. cbguy

    cbguy Green & Gold Supporter

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    The only reason I wouldn't go that direction is that I love the blackface sound and I have access to the basic "Tweed" sound on the footswitch already.
     
  13. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    i'm not sure if the tweed setting on our amps sound exactly the same as the tweedyverb circuit. maybe someone who has played both amps can chime in
     
  14. tdarian

    tdarian Gold Supporting Member

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    No, not quite, and it's different enough that Henry's attempts to "combine" the Tweed and BF preamps have resulted in the dual preamped Black'N'Blues type amps.

    Trust me, I asked the question "since I'm really liking what I'm hearing in the drive chartacteristics of these Tweed front ends, but like my stock sound too, can we add "a switch and some parts:p" that would magically turn a Blackverb into a Blues Machine? Hey, all I see is there is no Treble or Bass control on the BM, should be a snap, right Henry?" That's the line of thought that resulted in the B'N'B, others, and required that the Blues Machine be made as a Tweedy companion to the Blackverb. Henry said attempts at combining attributes of both types of preamps to achieve both resulted in not really getting the best he could get of either if done as individual circuits, and Henry is about best.
     
  15. ianb

    ianb Member

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    Exactly right Tom. That is the reason the BlackTweed was discontinued, and replaced by the B-n-B. I have found that I can get the two types of preamps to sound surprisingly similar with the right mode settings, but they still feel different, and each preamp has its' advantages. THe BF toonstack has more precise control for tailoring clean tones, and more clean headroom, which makes sense, as the TMB tonestack 'removes' more. The Tweed preamp with it's single tone control "removes" less, so it has a slightly fatter basic tone, but using its' mode switch gives more precise control over solo voicing compared to the BF side with the Tweed function engaged.

    If one really wants both in one amp, the B-n-B is the way to go. But either preamp can sound amazing, and the Tweed preamp is much more versatile that one would first expect. I could live with either as a front end. As a matter of fact, having the choice of a compact amp like the Blackloop, but with a Tweed front end, a TweedLoop, is a very interesting and logical option indeed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  16. cbguy

    cbguy Green & Gold Supporter

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    Yeah. I think that the B'n'B is a great idea that allows you to maintain the clean Blackface sound while letting you tailor the tweed channel to deliver that perfect blend of tone, 6-position mode setting, and gain/volume balance for a 2nd edgier "basic" sound. Then, when you engage the OD on either you can take it to the next level.

    I've been contemplating a B'n'B to go along with my BlackVerb and my BlackLoop but I've also been eyeing the BV Duo.

    Heck! Give me one of each model on the website!

    Seriously, though, my BV is the perfect amp for what I do. Only caveat is that if I could have trem on it along with the verb, I'd be the happiest picker in the world.
     
  17. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    What's the difference between the Gain knob and the Drive knob?
     
  18. cbguy

    cbguy Green & Gold Supporter

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    From the RedPlate BlackVerb manual (I believe it applies to all models)...

    The Drive section controls the amount of character to add to the clean tone. The section’s range of effect can be just a hint of early break up or a full on aggressive heavy metal distortion.

    Gain Control – Bypasses the section when rotated to zero, this control sets the amount of signal for the first gain stage of the section. Low settings are smoother and higher settings are more aggressive (details in the Favorite Settings section).

    Drive Control – Sets the amount of distortion by controlling the level between the 2 gain stages of the section. Pull this control to shift into more gain and girth for the distortion.

    Level Control – Sets the output volume of the section. Higher settings are “bigger” and more 3 dimensional. Newer versions may have a pull to engage a HI CUT feature.
     
  19. jb70

    jb70 Supporting Member

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    i prefer the sound of keeping the gain low and turning the drive up with the pull shift engaged. you definitely get a smoother breakup ala john scofield. this amp also works great with my axe fx II and i'm not even using the loop. it sounds fantastic going straight in!
     
  20. Rob@icons

    Rob@icons Member

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    I am currently looking seriously at getting a Blackloop.Sounds like it works great for blues, r&b and jazz. I have to cover a variety of styles except metal & grunge. Can anyone comment on:
    (a) How does the Blacklloop do tone and crunch wise for live rock'n roll club gigs.
    (b) What size venue can you play before you need to mic it?
    (c) How does the low end hold up with the small cabinet

    I have talked to Henry and he is really helpful, but I'd also like to get a little feedback from people that are out there using them.

    Rob@icons
     

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