I’ve had it for 4 days, of course an update will follow if need be.
This is an all-analog amp, with a 12ax7 preamp tube and a 12ax7 power tube. As the original output must be around 1 watt, its re-amplified with a solid state processor for a final 30 watts at 4 ohms.
Such amps are rare – I’ve only known two, including Koch’s Jupiter and its more metal-oriented sibling.
So, we get 8 analog preamps per channel (ranging from clean to saturax), resembling my old – and defunct – Yamaha DG60.
Then, there’s an effect section (just mixed with the sound), allowing chorus+delay+reverb. The reverb’s length and depth can be roughly set, as well as the delay’s time (but not its depth), and as for the chorus you can set a mix between speed and depth. It can do the job, but there’s an fx loop on the back panel for a more serious job.
Then, you have two switches per tube, drastically changing the overall sound. The result is well-conceived, and very versatile.
The more you push the volume, the more the tube can be heard, compresses softly, even with the master at a very reasonable level. Valvetronix owners will definitely feel at home.
Finally, the minimal 4-ohm impedance allows to plug just anything to its output (while bypassing the internal speaker) through the jack on the back panel.
The on/off switch is quite peculiar, it has to be pushed upward to switch the device on (and downward to switch it off, but you won’t even need to do it as it switches off automatically after one houre without an incoming signal – very practical, and green too!).
Soundwise, the tube circuit results in a very organic sound, it lives, pulsates, far from your average solid state amp. In clean sounds, you can’t get tired of the various possibilities, especially considering that the effects sound nice and warm, and the settings allow for two different clean sounds at once. Or two saturax by the way, and so on. Easy, user-friendly and efficient – what more can you ask as to its ergonomy?
No background noise, which is a good point.
The speaker is 10 inch large, but it sounds warm and wide – another proof that whenever the acoustic part is well-conceived…
By the way, I consider its big brother to be too expensive (a hundred more bucks for a bigger speaker and only 60W…), as to the smaller one of the gang it lacks too many things and it already costs 250. In the end, the AV30 appears a very good compromise of size, weight, features and price.
And the best part of it is – its look! Awesome, very classy, a nice furniture to have in your living room (its rounded curves and 3D-ish speaker cover are just… wow!).
[Update, one year later]: I’ve used it for a while at a high volume, and it’s full of good surprises! I thought a 10” speaker would absolutely sound shy and lack lows, and I was absolutely wrong! The output volume is impressive, its diffusion in space is great and the small speaker provides large and precise lows. Plus, the amp doesn’t seem to shrink after a few hours – how impressive!
The only cons is that I have too much highs with the HiHain 2 setting (even with the treble and mid settings zeroed), so I have to get satisfied with HiGain 1. Plugged into an alnico 212, it sounds much louder, it’s really an incredible small combo…
Its sound intensity reminds me of the Princeton Reverb, more precise and powerful, needless to say how much stunned I am.
As a result, I almost regret not opting for the AV60, but this 30W version is small and practical so not too much regrets.
A single cons, the four tube switches at the right and the last one bring some buzz in. I’ll change the tube. Thanks for reading!
Oh, and of course, if I were to buy it again… you bet I would!