Test drive a new amp lately? Post your review here!!

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,536
This forum needs a place where people can give us their opinions regarding amps that they have played lately. Let's make this thread that place!!

(disclaimer: This thread is meant for people to give their unbiased opinion on amps that they have recently played. If you're favorite amp gets negatively reviewed please don't get angry and feel the necessity to defend said amp. Let's respect each other's opinions.)

I will go first:

I played several amps today but I am going to focus on my favorite of the bunch. Here's what I played:
1) Egnater Rebel 20 and 1x12 cab
2) Egnater Tourmaster Combo
3) Marshall JVM head/4x12 Marshall cab
4) Mesa 5:25 Express
5) Fender Super Champ XD
6) Fender Blues Jr. NOS Tweed

I was absolutely flabbergasted to find out that I liked the Blues Jr. the best. (I may be biased towards tweeds because my main gigging amp is a '59 Bassman LTD). This little beast had beautiful, articulate, chimey cleans while retaining the warmth that so many great Fender amps have. I brought my Crunch Box with me to determine how the CB sounds through the various amps I played. The BJr and the Crunch Box were like a match made in heaven. The amp was transformed into a fire breathing monster while retaining all the clarity and low end that my Bassman has. I have heard that the BLues Jr amps were "boxy" sounding. Not this one!! It sounded outstanding. I may have to buy one of these and play our smaller gigs with it! Great amp!!!

Let's hear your amp reviews!!:BEER
 

bluessyndicate

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,540
This amp surprised me with it's warmth, articulation and nice cleans and edge tones. Our bar was the tone of my friends Sampson era Matchless Chieftain 2x12, and the Dr. Z essentially matched the cleans overall and surpassed the edge tones. I'm not saying that they sounded exactly the same, but I am saying that the Dr Z. matched the experience of the fullness of sound and pleasant playing experience, while providing a tone that was every bit as good.

We did not feel that the Maz 18, reverb or NR, equaled the Maz Sr (38) despite it's glowing reviews by so many.

We did not try the Maz with pedals, so I can't speak to how well it takes pedals.

All in all I was very pleasantly surprised.
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,536
What did you think of the Super Champ XD? Was it noisy on the overdrives.
I liked it a lot. The cleans were very nice. I was not blown away by the distortion being produced by this amp but for $299 it was acceptable. I prefer my distortion kinda crunchy like a Plexi Marshall. This was smoother, thinner. To answer your initial question I never had the volume very high on the Super Champ so it wasn't overly noisy to me while on the gain side. For $299 it would be a great practice amp. I would not gig with it because I am a bit of a tone snob and I have a prejudice against tube amps that have modeling effects in them. I don't know why but they just scream Line 6, teenage paperboy, first amp to me. No offense Line 6 guys.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,106
Since getting my Boogie Mark I a few weeks ago I don't even wanna look at other amps. Sadly and frustratingly, it's off at Savage Audio for maintenance, but I'm looking forward to having it back in tip-top shape for upcoming recording.

Next step, I'm gonna look for an attenuator so I can open it up harder.
 

pickslide

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,157
We had a local gearfest last weekend that I helped set up and I played:

Komet Concorde
Straub Cantus
Clara Amplification Overdrive Rocket (Dumble clone)

I did not get extensive time with any, but I really really liked the COncorde in Gradual mode...it just had great tone and "squish" or sag. The Cantus was also quite nice and really did go into that modded plexi type gain very well. The Overdrive Rocket sounded great clean and had a surprizing amount of gain on tap. All great amps, but the Komet really sounded best to me.
 

eyeball987

Member
Messages
1,459
I was at GC in Cleveland over the weekend and tried to play the Blackstar HT-5 full stack and the Eggie rebel full stack. Both were dead. Neither one would power up. Otherwise, I would have a witty comment or two to add.
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,536
I was at GC in Cleveland over the weekend and tried to play the Blackstar HT-5 full stack and the Eggie rebel full stack. Both were dead. Neither one would power up. Otherwise, I would have a witty comment or two to add.
Which GC in Cleveland? Mayfield or North Ridgeville? I was at the Mayfield location today and played the Rebel 20. I didn't see the Blackstar or I would have played it!
 

ripoffriffs

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,182
I think the Blackstar HT-5 is a joke. I don't mean in terms of tone. I mean this in terms of its existence! There's none to be had anywhere. The mail orders are all saying wait until April. Yea, I'll believe it when I see it. There's one for sale on eBay, but it's near the retail price and I'm not buying since it will have no return policy if I don't like it.

How do you market a product that does not exist?
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
29,574
Recent demos for me include the BJr and the Vox AC15CC. I love both of them, but I'm struggling to decide whether to go with the NOS BJr or the standard black tolex version. I've got the line on a barely used black one for only $300 and I'm thinking of buying it tomorrow in fact... but part of me thinks the NOS is much cooler looking. Who buys on looks vs. tone?? LOL
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,536
Recent demos for me include the BJr and the Vox AC15CC. I love both of them, but I'm struggling to decide whether to go with the NOS BJr or the standard black tolex version. I've got the line on a barely used black one for only $300 and I'm thinking of buying it tomorrow in fact... but part of me thinks the NOS is much cooler looking. Who buys on looks vs. tone?? LOL
I take both into consideration but ultimately it has to have the tone. By the way, I felt that the NOS Tweed Blues Jr sounded MUCH better than the standard black tolex Blues Jr.. No brainer for me...tweed it is!!
 

Pantalooj

Member
Messages
3,567
I tried again last weekend with the Mesa Lonestar Special. I managed to get some nice clean tones with a Strat ... though I can think of amps that are less than half the price that are as good or better. The OD just didn't sound great at all to my ear ... passable, but not AUD$4,000 worth. And, yes, I had the bass turned down to 9-10 o'clock ... in fact I got someone else to play while I tweaked for about 5 minutes to see if I could get something I liked.

Not a bad amp ... lots of people like them. Just not for me ... which I find baffling 'cos I tend to like 2x and 4xEL84 amps that are built to produce great cleans and mild or classic rock levels of OD. Hence I keep trying again with the LSS!

Must be me.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
29,574
I take both into consideration but ultimately it has to have the tone. By the way, I felt that the NOS Tweed Blues Jr sounded MUCH better than the standard black tolex Blues Jr.. No brainer for me...tweed it is!!
BUT a new NOS is $550... buying the used black tolex is saving me $250. I can buy a new speaker and tubes and still have $100 more in my pocket.
 

eyeball987

Member
Messages
1,459
Which GC in Cleveland? Mayfield or North Ridgeville? I was at the Mayfield location today and played the Rebel 20. I didn't see the Blackstar or I would have played it!

North Ridgeville. The Rebel was set up over by the effects and the Blackstar was just inside the door on the right. I wanted to try a few other things out but the standard group of metal kids were trying to one up the next group of kids in the next row by producing the worst tone possible. I couldn't take anymore.
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
Recent demos for me include the BJr and the Vox AC15CC. I love both of them, but I'm struggling to decide whether to go with the NOS BJr or the standard black tolex version. I've got the line on a barely used black one for only $300 and I'm thinking of buying it tomorrow in fact... but part of me thinks the NOS is much cooler looking. Who buys on looks vs. tone?? LOL

The NOS has a much better speaker. Get the black one, put a better speaker in it, and you'll come out ahead in the long run, even though it doesn't look quite as cool. My $.02 at least.
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,536
The NOS has a much better speaker. Get the black one, put a better speaker in it, and you'll come out ahead in the long run, even though it doesn't look quite as cool. My $.02 at least.
I"m all about tweed. It's worth the extra $100 to have the tweed covering...plus it will match my '59 Bassman!!
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
I"m all about tweed. It's worth the extra $100 to have the tweed covering...plus it will match my '59 Bassman!!

Even then I'd still swap the speaker. Not a BJr fan really, and I have spent a LOT of time playing through various different BJrs so I feel qualified to have an opinion by now. But the one that really did speak to me was the one with my favorite 12" of all time - the JBL D120F. Unfortunately those are expensive and hard to find, but maybe an alnico Weber Cali (or - lighter - a Neo 12) would sound about as good in the amp. Thing is with these amps, there's not a ton of headroom thanks to both the speaker and the power tubes creating breakup. It's one of the reasons I'm so wild about JBLs - they pretty much take speaker breakup out of the equation and it's all on the power tubes. If you crank up a BJr you can really get those power tubes cooking (another thing I'd replace before gigging though - the stock tubes are noticeably lacking when compared to NOS or a set of JJs). Anyway, at the end of the day what I'm trying to say here is that the result is an amp that can be used clean or dirty depending on where the guitar's volume is set. It'll take pedals of all kinds a little better (still not like the Bassman though). It'll sound pretty good with just about any guitar put in front of it.

Going in a different direction, if you're really not as interested in the headroom, you could also go with the pancakey D123 (those can usually be found in good shape for $50-$100 on ebay). Gainy little suckers, and you have to be careful because with enough humbucker power (hollowbody w/PAF + clean boost/OD/dirt for example) you could blow that speaker right quick. I've seen this done with an L5-CES > Keely Katana > BJr. But either way, in the right amp, those sound alright. I'm not wild about them as I prefer the headroom and the touch responsiveness of cleaner amps, especially with regard to my volume knob.

But hey, it's all food for thought.


AAAAAAND I just realized that in keeping with the spirit of the thread I should probably put an amp review in here, so here it is:

BAD CAT CUB IIR:
It's really sweet. I liked it so much I put up a WTB ad here and found one the next day. I'll have it tomorrow, just in time for all of my weekend gigs and the Mpls amp fest on Sunday.
 

DQuinlan

Member
Messages
126
I hjave played a couple of different amp at rehearsals recently. Played a 100W marshall valvestate combo about a week ago. I am not certain of the model number. I didn't expect much and it delivered exactly that in spades. Nasty, nasty sounding amplifier. Stay away from it at all costs.

2nd one was a Peavey JSX combo. This was actually pretty nice. Took me a while to figure out the controls as I found it quite complicated. The good stuff: the crunch channel is GREAT for rock/classic rock. That is my band's bread and butter so I pretty much stayed on this channel for most of the night. Excellent tone, I like it very much. The clean channel is super clean. Way too clean and bright for my purposes, I had to dirty it up a little with some light OD. Sounded OK, but I dislike using pedals to get a base tone. I'd rather use them to provide variation.

The bad? The ultra gain channel. Ugh. I love high gain as much as the next guy but to my ears this sounded like a battle between two killer bee hives. Played with it for about an hour to see if I could coax something nice out of it but failed. It DID cut through the mix really well, I had no troubles hearing what I was playing over the rest of band. However when your drummer starts throwing sticks at you and tells you to go back to other setting you know that maybe it is time to stop mucking about.

So, nice amp but I only found 1 useful channel (for my purposes) out of 3.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom