(Originally written by Hantar/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
First of all, I hesitated a long time before writing this review. Why? Because I read everywhere "solid state is bullshit, you're not a man if you don't use tubes"... My response to that would be "perhaps not"... It's only a question of what you are expecting and how much money you have. Indeed if we all had big salaries we would most probably buy a Mesa Dual Rectifier or Diezel amp.
Having said that, I'll concentrate now on this 100-watt solid-state amplifier head and its 4x12" speaker cabinet (only sold together).
The clean sound is not bad and when you play loud enough with an adequate EQ setting it can also produce slightly overdriven sounds. Yes, you get a light crunch sound.
It's a pity but both distortions are identical: same EQ, same volume, same presence. However, using the gain control you can achieve settings that produce very powerful sounds.
The EQs on both channels are very effective and allow you to create richer sounds.
Presence: not bad but it could (always) be better!
The master volume control is very effective (in my apartment I don't turn it beyond 2.5) and the reverb effect is ok.
[EDIT] Update about the footswitch: Contrary to what I had written before, it does allow you to switch between channels but it wasn't very clear to me in the beginning. The rear panel has two connectors labeled "OD1/OD2" and "Channel Reverb". I thought the second channel only allowed you to switch the reverb effect on/off (as its name implies). I was wrong. Plugging the footswitch into this connector gives you the possibility to control the reverb and to toggle between the clean and OD channel you previously selected. You can connect an additional single footswitch to the OD1/OD2 connector to toggle between both OD types (distortion channels). The manual doesn't have any information about this and I had to send an email to Randall to get an explanation. I'm not a beginner in the amp world but in this case I believe it wasn't very clear!
The amp head has connectors for a 4 or 8-Ohm speaker. Ground Lift switch.
FX loop (not yet tested), external input for playback sources like a MP3/CD player (not yet tested).
The speaker cabinet is well manufactured and it is equipped with 12" Celestion Rocket 50s. I know they are not he best, but for this price you can't expect Celestion's top-range products. Nevertheless the sound is clear and they make a good impression. And with 200 watts you've got more than enough power.
Some of you have compared it to a Laney in the same range. I tested it recently and found the KH-120 sounds definitely better, but it's all a matter of taste. FYI I'm playing with EMG 81/85, 81/81 and EMG-HZ active pickups and they give me a wide palette of sounds. I'm currently on the quest for a tube distortion (Blackstar), a MXR EQ and an ISP noise gate to get a more powerful sound and to warm up my transistors. A comprehensive set of effect pedals is good for those who don't want to get a multi-FX processor but still want to get a good sound either with headphones (yes this feature is rare on all-tube amps but it's very useful) or a speaker for rehearsals with a band.
I recommend all skeptics to test this amp... And I would be more than happy to receive anyone from Audiofanzine at my place (Denfert, Mazal) so that they can test the amp and I can get the opinion of a pro.
For the money I paid it's very good and I think this Randall amp is a great tool to practice and have fun.
2 bodies amp (head + cabinet 4X12) 120 W transistor.
- 3 Channels (1 and 2 Clean Overdrives identical)
- 2 EQ (1 for clean and 1 common for 2-channel saturated)
- Gains 2, or 1 per channel saturated
- 1 Effects Loop
- 1 Reverb
- 1 Cabinet with 4 HP 12 ", sold with the head of office.
The configuration is very basic, it turns the knobs and opening wide the ears.
The clean channel has been described in the previous opinion. It lacks a little personality, but not sound too bad, there's just not very nice crunch that develops when pushing the volume but remains quiet and still manageable with the volume of the guitar.
As has been said before concerning the 2 channels saturated, these are exactly the same on a common equalization.
The sole interest of this config is to have a gain channel provide a reserve of power when moving to a sound rhythmic sound for solos by pressing the footswich.
Precisely on the foot controller, to lower the price of the amp designers had the idea to make a 2-way system rather than by jack 4 lanes with a cord on the midday as RG50TC.
This actually suits me, because I can hit the control 2 channels (clean + 1 choice among the saturated 2) with the "Amp Control" of my multi-effects pedal Boss GT-8.
The reverb from the amp is not bad either.
Well then, this is where it goes bad ...
I'll go straight to the point: this amp terrible lack of media!
It is as if there was an equalization internal untouchable set V (genus bass and treble and midrange-bottomed at least ...)
So impossible to hear and be heard properly in the group!
I used this amp 3 hours per week for 2 months in a studio rehearsing for play with my band and it is simply unusable in these conditions!
Mediums issued by the snare drums and the bass frequencies of the bass drum and bass amp fully cover the sound of the guitar, even with the knobs to 10 middle, bass and treble contour at 0 and 8 or 10 !
So I go up a little volume and now I cover too much bass, which is nevertheless a good model, connected to a 350W Hartke!
My guitar is yet a LTD EC-1000 features a mahogany any pair of EMG-81 and I'm just playing with the neck pickup to have the greatest possible dynamic and volume and tone to the bottom ...
2 solutions were then quickly placed on me to address this major problem of lack of media:
- Subculture the amp on the sound system and making spit mediums using the mixer.
- Connect an external equalizer in the loop or in front of the guitar amp's input.
I quickly preferred the second option because it was enough for me to go through my GT-8 for control channels and manage the 10-band equalizer with no need to spend more by the sound system to hear me and hear me.
Middle 10, treble at 8, bass at 2, contour 0, and the gain to 7 on the equalization of the saturated amplifier.
In clean, the lack of midrange is a little less feel that given the accompanying low / battery is less powerful. We can better balance the equalization of the amp without too highlight the secondary eq.
Well after that may depend also records music. My group is fully in heavy metal, maybe for something a little more sedate it can do so without having to add external equalizer, but signing on to this amp already? ...
To play alone is a way to have some fun (is not that a bit disproportionate to have 2 bodies to play alone?) But it's still fairly limited side versatility ....
The sound is like "blocked" from the start, even with the mids and highs to bottom and this is obviously not turning the knobs and Bass Contour that it gets better ...
It comes back quickly to the external equalizer to draw something.
After I dunno, maybe the modern loadings who want it, I know from experience after having tried the amp with and without lights in the store or in the studio to rehearse is that the guitar speaks in the midrange. And not in the low frequencies ...
I do not want to get into the ridiculous debate "transistors is shit is that lamps that sound." I said that I play on the 2 types and I do not think one is worse than the other.
These are two types of amplification technology have different sound and approach, period.
However, there are good and bad amps (they have lights or not), and in my case my experience with the Randall, I would say it is bad amps. And I'm not saying this because he has no lights. I cons sheet! Beside I had the opportunity to replace this amp in studio repeated by a Marshall 2 MG100HDFX body also mounted on its original cabinet, like Randall and here I have not tweak to transform a 3h sound of bass guitar sound ...
I have a direct guitar sound! Obviously less dynamic than the ValveKing or Laboga Cayman on which I also sometimes play, but it does not lack for much acrimony and I do not need an external equalizer and media for sending me to hear that I started to play with my band.
I do not seek to have the best sound of the world during a rehearsal, but just a guitar sound. Simply. I do not spit on the stuff, but here, a guitar amp that gives a bass sound even with a good guitar from 1000 € it's not worth more to me than 0 / 10.
I'm a fan of Metallica and have nothing personal against the mark Randall, I think this amp is a scam. OK, it has everything to be attractive, the look, the cabinet 4X12 sold with the head of Kirk Hammett signature, all for less than 700 € on Thomann: it is clear that it really cheap for a 2 body but yourself!
A guitar is expressed in the media! Even a novice who begins to approach the metal using that equalizations V realizes this soon enough ...
And the purpose of an amp is just 2 bodies to better be heard and therefore be better suited to play with a band and an audience that alone in his room ...
If it is to play alone what is the benefit? As well take a combo amp or a mini stack squarely 5W lamps. it may have fewer mouths but it is cheaper even as the KH120 and it will sound much better especially!
Well, I will not go further. If nevertheless there are some who find their account with this amp good for them.
Me anyway I have tried everything and level settings to lose money by investing foolishly in distortion pedals and an external egalo, I see what you can get really positive ...
Even if it means an amp, it sounds as well alone.
The effects are secondary. Finally, it is my way of seeing things, after everyone thinks what he wants ...
Maybe the amp that I'm down to a big problem after all. It's rented and he must see all the colors ... Maybe if I put the head on a Mesa 4X12 cabinet that would sound better than the original 4X12 but hey, since this amp is not found in stores, I can not make sure that I had in his hands was in perfect condition.
In any case one thing is for sure is that I am very happy not to have bought and I do recommend it to anyone. Not even for a beginner. MG100HDFX is a much more versatile and aggressive than that.