JeffTadashi 05/08/2012

Diezel VH-4 : JeffTadashi's user review

« First Impressions »

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After a few hours with this amp, here are my initial impressions:

The Diezel VH-4 is a versatile rock music beast. The VH-4 has 4 completely independent channels, 100W of power with 4 power tubes, lots of effects loop routing options, and it is midi controlled. Did I mention beast? This thing is large and heavy! It barely fits on top of my speaker cabinet, and sitting next to my Mesa Rectifier, it makes the Mesa look like a child's toy.


Dialing in a great sound couldn't be easier. Each of the four channels has the same controls (Gain, Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass), and it is easily identifiable on the amp. The knob settings are easy to see from a distance, unlike Mesa Boogie amplifiers. There are also master presence and bass controls, which are located far from the individual channel controls, so it's easy to see what going on.

The VH-4 is midi programmable, which seems a bit odd, given that it's not like a Line 6 amp, where all of the tone controls can be programmed. Rather, you can program which channel to use, and which fx loops should be opened, and if the mute is on or not. If you already have a MIDI setup, this is convenient, but if you're simply switching between four channels, the additional MIDI flexibility and programming seems odd, especially with the "store" button on the front of the amp.


The VH-4 produces some of the best heavy tones I have ever heard straight from a guitar amplifier and cabinet. Everyone raves about channel 3, the basic rhythm heavy channel. I love it as well: The tone is nice and full, and the clarity of the notes of thicker chords is remarkable. The gain can range from barely distorted to death metal. The mid and bass controls sound good no matter what they're set to, even at the extremes. I am particularly impressed with how musical the mid knob sweeps. The treble sounds a bit lacking when it is set to the extreme low, but at the high, it does not pierce my ears at all. The overall vibe of the tone is a tad harsher than my Mesa Rectifier, but it more than makes up for it with clarity, lack of fuzz, lack of mid-range mud, and brassy sounding tones. To me, nothing beats a heavy tone that has clarity, and it's hard to beat channel 3 on this thing.

The other main channel I would use is channel 1, the clean. It has great headroom, but it can be pushed when the gain is turned past halfway. Sometimes, the breakup of the tone when pushed sounds crackly, but when done correctly it sounds fine. There is also a bright switch, which sounds great with super cleans.

Channel 2 is just like a lighter gain channel 3, as it sounds more like classical rock and Marshall tones can be made here. But if the gain and tone knows are adjusted just so, it can sound identical to channel 3.

Channel 4 is just like channel 3, only a lot more gain and compression. This would be the lead or heavy metal channel, but I generally find it too heavy for my tastes. But it has the same distorted clarity, and the gain here can sound monstrous. If I needed to do leads, I would stick with channel 3 and just use a overdrive pedal in addition.


If you have a chance to try out this very expensive amplifier, don't pass it up. This amp is in a class of it's own, when it can leave an industry standard like Mesa in the dust, in terms of tone. I generally try not to get caught up with little details in guitar tone that regular people would not understand, as I would be the first to admit that guitarists sometimes take their "perfect" tones too far. But after playing through this amps for a few hours, and then playing through a Mesa, it seems like night and day. Just playing through the Diezel VH-4 to get inspired can be enough to justify its cost.