Nothing new under the sun: the brand we "used" a tube amp, a model that in itself is very classic in its construction and functions. For complete specifications, Kustom then added a series of contemporary features. Thus, there are different levels of earnings, an output of "direct" and more, etc.. Also, an advantage not to be overlooked: the Defender V30 can work with two types of lamps: 6L6 or EL-34. Indeed, at the factory, they are EL34 that are installed, but they can also be replaced by 6L6.
The aesthetics of the Defender V30 can be defined, no doubt, by the word 'classic', while Kustom is best known for his amps colorful and impressive power. But the Defender Series, the firm has clearly opted for a more traditional approach: the black, the silver and gray, a combination with which it is never enemies!
Instructions for use
The fact that the functions of the Defender V30 is limited to the basics is immediately noticeable in the instruction manual because it has only a few pages. It includes a short description of all the functions on the control panel and the rear panel. The most important functions or at least, those with whom we should be most careful to limit the inverter bias ('bias', whose position varies depending on the type of lamps. Apart from that, there are few features on this Defender V30 that could be a problem ...
So we can say that the Defender V30 has a classic look, but it is absolutely not an "old thing" On the contrary, this amp is built like a tank, with as thick as solid walls and with protective metal corners to all relevant places. Clearly, the designers had the strength in sight, which is also evident to the buttons and switches on the control panel: each piece shows its strength, whether the potentiometer resistance "marked" when they are rotated, or switches, but sturdy. Everything in this Defender V30, suggests it is an amp is to go on tour!
When one is faced with a building like this, this is obviously not a surprise if the finish is also a "no-fault" because nowhere do we find loose component and / or neglect any. Clearly, in Custom, care is taken to detail!
When a control panel is simple to use is just as important! The only thing that could possibly lead to confusion, the term "volume" knob used for the first: because here, it's actually the input volume, and the "modern" vocabulary was rather tend to use the term 'gain'. Then you can ask questions about the inverter 'master bypass'. Answer: using this function, the master volume is released, and therefore, the received signal power stage is controlled by the potentiometer input volume. With this option, you are free to use this amp as those of 50 and 60 years: for in those heroic times, the concept of two volumes (input gain and master output) did not exist .. .
In accordance with a 'vintage' Defender of the V30, the connections are quite limited. On the control panel, not much to sink your teeth: just the input jack for the guitar. But back is still a little more provided: two outputs for the speakers, one of which is already used for the internal speaker. We can therefore possibly connect an external speaker. There is also a connection to the phone jack footswitch function 'boost', but the foot switch itself is optional. And finally, note the presence of a release of "live" XLR standard. The direct output is equipped with a simulation integrated speaker, something that is essential to correctly transmit the direct signal from a guitar amp.
It is time to put the lamps temperature! We Defender V30 power, then turn the volume knob gradually. What is immediately striking is that the amp responds very "proper" we hear almost nothing, I mean, sounds like the noise, noise startup or background noise, and that, in any case if we stick to a volume level "domestic". For now, the gain is still quite low, so we try a series of clear sounds. And our ears do not fail to be charmed by the sound of the amp: they are open, bright and shiny. As single coils or humbuckers, in no time you use it is useful sounds. If we increase the gain slightly, the sound becomes a little more "dirty". For most amps, you should know that getting such a sound is a difficult task if the distortion produced by the amp is too aggressive, the sound quickly becomes garish and lack of musicality. But the Defender V30 defended well on the field! When we continue to "push" the gain setting, we come to see one of the few flaws - perhaps the only one? - This V30: Due to the technical design of the amplifier, the gain setting is changed to different places where the audio signal passes. This approach provides access to a wider range of sounds, but apparently it also has the side effect that the gain does not increase quite steadily. Example: when the gain comes to three-quarters of the way, we are surprised by a sharp increase in distortion, then we would obviously prefer a continuous growth ... In addition, the headroom of this amp is more than enough for normal use, though I imagine that fans of metal still want a little more and it also would add some pedals! In this case, the Defender V30 has no problem here either: with a variety of pedals at my disposal, I have reached the goal easily and quickly. And do not worry not for the volume that makes the V30 name suggests otherwise, this amp has a 50 watt broadcast by a single speaker (Celestion Kustom) of 12 inches. More so that it takes, regardless of delivery 'live' planned!
The reverb spring board has an excellent sound, that said, the adjustment possibilities are too coarse to effectively respond to most situations. Indeed, reverb performs well as long as the injected sparingly. But when we increase the effect in the sound mix, reverb becomes too intrusive, and more on its own to the reverb is not "transparent". Anyway, as they say for good beer "to enjoy with wisdom!"
Except for some minor adjustments at fault, we did not really have "caught" the Defender V30, at any level whatsoever. So, the price may be? Forget it! In fact, it only costs 498 euros (RRP): Kustom is able to stay below the "magic bar" of 500 euros. From the point of view of the quality / price ratio, the Defender V30 therefore features with absolute advantage, the "real" tube sound for an incredible price. In terms of features on board, we may be more accustomed to, but the proposed end result is impressive!
I had the opportunity to leave this Kustom next to my office, and I used "to rhyme" to a bunch of very different "odds". And quite frankly, I am in a position to say that this amp will miss me! I even took with me several times on the podium and more repetitions. From a sound point of view, it had to compete with the much more expensive than her material, but it has never felt.