Wampler SLOstorsion Review

Save the Soldano

All experienced fans of long-haired distortion know the famous Soldano SLO-100 made in the 80's: this amp seduced big names in the guitar world — nobody less than Eric Clapton, Mike Landau, Lou Reed... With its mythic Crunch channel, this amp quickly became a reference product in the small electric guitar universe.

Presenting....Knobs!

Wampler SLOstorsion
Wampler SLOstorsion

First step: I plug my Les Paul into the stompbox and connect the latter to the clean channel of a Fender Supersonic 100 head (feeding a Fender 2x12" speaker cabinet). With all controls set to the middle the result is very convincing already, both in Crunch and Overdrive modes. I feel like I will have lots of fun!

 

 

You'll recognize the typical SLO sound — it's quite amazing, even if you get a bit less fullness than with a "real" Soldano. However, let's be clear: the sound is absolutely astonishing — congratulations to Mr Wampler! All in all, after several comparisons, this stompbox will work best together with an amp providing a "real" clean sound with high dynamic response (with an Orange amp for instance, the result is much less convincing). I start turning the controls around to check out the Overdrive mode:

 

Wampler SLOstorsion
Wampler SLOstorsion
Wampler SLOstorsion
Wampler SLOstorsion

You can easily switch between a Zakk Wylde fat and heavy distortion, more "muddy" results reminding (for example) Billy Gibbons and Monster Magnet, or more modern colors (Unsane...), all without any unwanted noises. The Mid control is VERY effective, and it is also the main advantage of the stompbox, which will please all distortion fans, regardless of whether they like bluesy crunch to extreme high-gain sounds. Here is a small overview of the possibilities given by the Mid control:

As you surely noticed, you are fully free to find your own sound color.

With a light boost, solo parts are a real delight (setting #4) and your guitar easily cuts through the mix. No more epic solos that nobody can hear! Also note that the boost is very powerful as well: here is a small on/off comparison with a clean sound (control at 12 o'clock)...

You probably noticed a slightly audible switching "click", but it's inaudible when you play with distortion. Quite frankly, it is no reason to kill yourself!

Let's check out the Crunch channel, one of the most renowned features of the SLO head, the amp used for modeling.

Wampler SLOstorsion
Wampler SLOstorsion

Once again, it's a "winner": you can recognize the dynamic and the punch of the SLO with very nice and musical mids. The surprising thing is that, generally, when using a stompbox as main distortion with a clean channel, you'll often miss "something" in the frequency response. With this stompbox there's no such problem.

Conclusion

Have no worries, you are in good hands. This pedal is a good investment in any case, regardless of whether you are a SLO-100 fan or not. Since I'm personally quite demanding when it comes to distortion pedals, you can trust me when I tell you the SLOstortion is a really good choice, if you use it with a matching setup (clean channel of a high-quality amp head). It's a heavy investment indeed (the price, $200, is rather high, which is normal for a boutique stompbox), but I wouldn't really understand someone regretting having bought it.

Pros Cons
  • Get the gain of the mythic SLO-100
  • Top manufacturing quality
  • True bypass.
  • Independent boost
  • Distortion variations for every taste!
  • Slightly audible "click" when you turn on the boost in clean mode (but nothing truly annoying)
  • Not for you if you use the distortion sound of your amp
  • If you don't like distortion, why are you still reading this?
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