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Genz-Benz El Diablo 60-C
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Genz-Benz El Diablo 60-C
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King Loudness King Loudness

« Not what I was expecting... »

Publié le 04/18/11 à 08:06
The Genz Benz El Diablo 60C is a dual channel tube amp that puts out 60 watts of power. It has a setting to switch it from pentode power (60w) to triode power (30w). There are 2 channels (Warm, which is like a clean channel, and Hot, which is the overdrive channel). Each of those channels has its own set of bass, middle and treble equalization controls, as well as a reverb control for each channel. A point to note is that the overdrive channel has a tube contour control, which basically adjusts the sweep of your EQ. It's cool if you want a radically scooped midrange sound or a very mid-heavy, focused sort of high gain sound.

Another cool thing about this amp is that there's a section of three further switchable modes on the amp itself. The overdrive channel houses two of them. One is a switch to take that channel from more of a classic gain structure to more of a modern high gain type of tone, and the other is a switch to alter the dynamic range of the amp (IE: a more open, dynamic sound vs. a more compressed tone). Lastly is the master section, which houses the master volume, master reverb, and a global attack control (this basically acts like a presence control).

When I first got the amp, I thought that it was great that it had all these features... so it must sound as good as it looks, right?

UTILIZATION

This amp was certainly a difficult one to get sounding how I wanted. A big part of this is no doubt due in part to the active EQ that the amp has. Instead of a typical "0 to 10" tone pot, these amps use a cut and boost active system that goes from -15 to +15. Being a longtime user of Mesa Boogie amps (with their sometimes painful system of EQing), I figured it was just a minor crutch and that I would be able to dial in a usable tone after playing around with it for a few weeks. This was not the case. Even after about three months of owning/using this amp, I was never able to get a good sound on the overdrive channel that I was happy with. It was a fairly depressing saga to be sure, as I used to drool over these amps back in 2005-06 when my local shop carried them... I guess tastes just change.

If you're looking into buying one of these... I would STRONGLY advise trying it first to make sure the active EQ system works for you. Many people seem to have had decent results with these amps so I'm trying to be constructive in my recommendation. I didn't have the problems as much with (dialing in) the clean channel but even so, it certainly wasn't easy to dial in a tone I was happy with.



SOUNDS

When I had this amp, I was primarily using a pair of USA Gibson LPs, a USA Peavey Wolfgang archtop and a Parker Fly Deluxe. Basically, as it goes I could not dial in a tone that I was happy with.

The clean channel was the lesser of the two evils. The tones weren't terrible by any means, but I found it difficult to get a full bodied, rich clean tone that had enough top end (treble) to cut through, especially with humbuckers. I was able to get a cool set of bassy tones for jazz/blues stuff, but the country sort of twang was hard to dial in to perfection.

The overdrive channel just... did not work for me. I could say that it was terrible or useless, but that's not really my style. It always sounded like there was a can of bees inside. I'm not sure if the active EQ design makes for an inherent buzz, but I found that it was just not working for me. The tones were almost too high fidelity sounding for a guitar amp... I found that it sounded more like a high end stereo when distorted. You know how stereos sound bad with distortion and can get buzzy? Well, that's the conclusion I came to with this amp. I honestly thought I could hear a really good overdrive tone just hiding underneath all that additional top end buzz, so I tried different settings, guitars, room placement, tubes, etc, but I just could not dial it out by any means. As a result I traded it and haven't looked back.

OVERALL OPINION

This amp was definitely a letdown, since I had tried them in the shops about four or five years prior and I distinctly remember them being my favourite amp for a number of years. I got it on a trade because I wanted to downsize from my head and 2x12 to a single 1x12 combo... but in hindsight, it was a move backwards because the amp I got rid of (Splawn Quick Rod) was FAR superior and more suited to my needs than this amp or the Wolfgang I also got in trade was).

All in all, I would just simply err on the side of caution if you are looking into one of these amps. The tone wasn't for me, and won't be for everyone, but who knows, maybe it will be your holy grail?
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