Short Review: Morgan Performance and Reliability - 5 year test

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by drpicklo, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    I took some time earlier today to l reflect on how much I've performed live over the past 5 years. Now that I'm not in a touring band anymore (now an HIT director vs. full time guitarist), I've typically had an original side project and a cover gig to keep the chops up and the creative juices flowing. I realized that with few exceptions, I've used Morgan amps for this entire period (2009-current). It was about 160 shows, about half were 1 hour of original music, the other half 3+ hours (covers). Add rehearsals in there, and you have a lot of hours on the amps. In/out of a crowded vehicle, sometimes in a road case, many times not.

    Reliability: During this period I did not experience a single issue with any of the amps. I've used AC20 deluxes, 30/800, MV23 and PR12 (have a RV35 on its way). Many times I played them in stereo as well. At one show an AC20 fell off the back of the truck (don't ask) while loading and broke all of the glass. I put a spare set of tubes in, fired her up and she played flawlessly at the show. Truly built like a tank. I replaced power tubes quite a few times, but the amps didn't eat tubes any faster or slower than other amps I've owned.

    Overall Impressions: Over this period I found that after a solid 20 hours the amps become more touch sensitive, less "stiff" and really opened up. My thoughts are mainly the speaker breaks in (especially the blue alnicos) if you are playing a new one with the amp, and the transformers and caps have a chance to cook. The design of the power scaling on the ac20 is excellent as you can go past 1/2 way on the dial and still retain solid tone (unlike most MVs). This makes it a great grab and go amp as you can tame the volume nicely without sacrificing too much. Keep in mind the 1/2 of what I do is original progressive rock (along the lines of earlier Thrice), and the cover projects are rock, blues and alternative (from Beatles to Zep I to The Clash to STP).

    I've swapped these amps in and out of different cabs depending on the project (combo vs head). The 30/800 feels the most filtered on the amps I've had a chance to work with. It's "stiffer" than the rest but has a tight bottom and sizzling top end. The ef86 on the ac20 really can't have a bad setting. It has a thick midrange that sings and a 3 dimensional sound with harmonic overtones that is hard to describe in words. The PR12 I am newer to. The reverb is fantastic and it replaced both my vintage deluxe and princeton reverbs. Plenty loud to keep up with a drummer yet very compact. More girth than the princeton reverb, yet more mid-focused than the deluxe reverb. The MV23 I didn't use too much as I had a stronger preference for the AC20s (played a vintage AC30 via the normal channels for years). I played a few gigs with it, but preferred the ef86 option in the ac20 deluxe. I have some experience with the RCA/RV amps but not enough to thoroughly comment on (haven't used them live yet with different speakers). The SW series I have yet to play - hopefully I will run into one soon.

    Support: I wanted to mention this, as in the past I've had issues with other amps even while they were babied and not used nearly as much. Support for the Morgans, for issue resolution, was essentially not needed. When I had questions or needed technical advice Joe Morgan always answered emails and even walked me a few things over the phone. Joe Morgan will be better managing wait times (getting help), so hopefully any issues around that will subside. He's a great guy to work with and has always treated me very well. Although, there was always something special about there being one guy there building everything...

    State Theater: St. Pete Florida 2013
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  2. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    Just FYI, I'm no longer on the East coast of Florida. I'm now in Maui - if anyone is out here and wants to demo the amps I'm more than happy to do so over a few beers....
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  3. bulbasaur_85

    bulbasaur_85 Member

    Messages:
    1,475
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Agreed. Always great customer service from Morgan!
     
  4. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,464
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    SW Michigan
    Best customer service I've ever experienced with any product, lifetime warranty for any owner original or not, have you ever heard of such a thing?.
    I played about 500 gigs on a DAG without a problem, can you imagine the wear and tear after that many gigs, it fell once and was never in a road case, besides tubes I had no maintenance, and it never stranded me.
     
  5. hendrik7

    hendrik7 Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Nice! I can't wait for my AC20D head and cab with a Blue Alnico to ship! How you described its sound is very similar to my experience when I had a chance to play one a few months back!

    What tube have you been using for the EF86?
     
  6. NewDr.P

    NewDr.P Member

    Messages:
    2,309
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Location:
    Sleeping in garbage Raleigh NC
    Definitely polarizing service record. Interesting contrast.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

    Messages:
    5,193
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    I love my AC20 Dlx. I wish I would have got it with a Gold instead of the Blue though (I just bought a replacement Gold). It only took me about a year to blow the Blue in it. I guess I should have thought about that in the first place though - a 15 Watt speaker in a 20 Watt amp, coupled with a booster in front... Hmmm... I wonder how that's going to work out?
     
  8. hendrik7

    hendrik7 Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Crap I didn't think of that :jo

    How did you blow it up though? I'm assuming you have to have the amp cooking pretty good before boosting it up a notch or two? :confused:
     
  9. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

    Messages:
    5,193
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    Actually I only had the amp's volume about halfway up. I use a Spaceman Saturn V with the boost knob dimed (20 db boost), and the drive knob at about 10 o'clock (aprox 4 db boost).
     
  10. mcdes

    mcdes Member of no importance

    Messages:
    7,558
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    New Zealand
    i tried the blue VS gold, and preferred the gold with my AC20 DLXE
     
  11. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    "Service" is not what TGP'ers have been upset about. It's been wait time and expectation. Joe Morgan refused to have a single employee so that he could control the build quality and customize each one to his customer's preference. Simply put, he cares. Once thousands of "us" wanted his product at once, the wait time went to 9-12 months. Regardless, every time I have called or email Joe he has gotten back to me in 48 hours and I've never had to wait more than 6 weeks for an amp. But again, I often took demo models and what he had available in whatever tolex, cloth, etc., was there.

    A scale-able production method is going into place shortly, so this should no longer be an issue moving forward.

    Regarding "service" with issues, quality, etc., I've heard many stories of Joe Morgan going out of his way to make things right. He pays for shipping back to trouble shoot issues, has sent new sets of tubes and so on. Thanks to JM for doing the right thing - I wish all product owners were this passionate and dedicated to their customers.
     
  12. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    The gold is great - I've tried both and they give a different flavor. The Gold seems to have a peak more in the lower mids than the upper mids with little speaker breakup.

    I'm unsure how anyone "blew" a celestion blue with the ac20 Deluxe. For example, one of the blues I used in a 1964 ac30 for years before loading it into the morgan (in service since 2000). Then many, many high volume performances with TS808 and clean boost jamming the front end of the morgan. Voice coil and cone are in good shape. Boost gives 18db boost...

    Meriphew - did you have any incidents/maintenance rash with your blue before is "blew"? Seems really odd given how many people play this model with a 1x12 celestion blue without issues. Maybe you had a defective speaker?

    Mine will be used yet again Saturday night...
     
  13. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

    Messages:
    5,193
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    I've never had any problems with this speaker until the day that it blew. I have a Vox AC30 w/Blues that I've used for years without any issues. In hindsight, I just don't think a 15 Watt speaker is suitable for a 20 Watt amp when using a booster to pummel the front end of that amp.
     
  14. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    An AC30 puts out about 36 watts, so definitely more than the "rating".

    Must be one heck of a booster :)

    Just FYI, Avatar makes a great alnico speaker @ 25 watts called the A25. Highly recommended - very much "blue esque" in flavor and 25 watts for your AC20 Deluxe...best part is under $140!
     
  15. s360guitarist

    s360guitarist Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,304
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Not to derail the thread away from Mogan to Celestion, but I have read (I thought) that the Cele Blue was rated at 23w. Regardless, I thought you blew the speaker with the amp dimed then you hit the boost...you mentioned that the amp was only half way up. OUCH!
     
  16. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

    Messages:
    5,193
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    Yeah... it definitely sucked. I love Blues. I hate spending money on something that I already thought I had the best of. I'm having the Gold (50 Watts) installed tomorrow so that I don't run into this problem again. Luckily it happened at rehearsal and not during a show.
     
  17. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    The Avatar A25 is also very cool.

    Back to the original topic, I feel that even with the expansion of Morgan Amps, the quality will remain extremely high. Great to hear other success stories as well.
     
  18. ledzep618

    ledzep618 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,670
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    I wouldn't worry a ton about the blue in the ac20. Im sure blowing it is not out of the question but bet it's a rare occurrence when you consider how many use that set up. Might've been a defective speaker, the blue should handle 20-25 watts or so just fine
     
  19. drpicklo

    drpicklo Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Port Orange, FL
    Good to see others with similar experiences.
     
  20. bgoez

    bgoez Stratocasters are my downfall!

    Messages:
    482
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis MO
    Joe's quality is awesome. Very clean, built well and with quality parts. They are very nice amplifiers.
     

Share This Page