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ENGL E325 Thunder 50 Head
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ENGL E325 Thunder 50 Head

Tube Guitar Amp Head from ENGL belonging to the Thunder series.

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Audiofanzine FR Audiofanzine FR
Publié le 12/07/08 à 15:17
(Originally written by elco7/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
50 watts

Original ECC83 and 5881 tubes with Engl logo

Comprehensive connections: you can connect virtually any speaker cabinet and the FX loop has a dry/wet setting.

V1 and V2 are used for the channels, V3 for the FX loop and V4 is the rectifier tube.

Two switches (clean/crunch and crunch/lead)

Gain, EQ, two volume plus one master control

Not very versatile

The scale of the controls goes from 0 to 12

UTILIZATION

The configuration is not very easy because the crunch and lead channels share EQ and gain control. This means that you have to set the crunch channel so that you can go from clean to distortion without affecting the dynamics of your playing.

You'll have to use a very high volume setting in the distortion channels and decrease the master... The crunch/lead gain turns into the clean channel's volume, but why? Why...? Because otherwise the amp would be too loud.

- The problem of having common gain and EQ settings in crunch and lead modes is that if you use both modes in the same song you'll notice almost no difference at all, except for more lows, a bit more gain and more noise, like a normal boost...

- And the problem of the gain control turning into a volume knob is that you won't enjoy the power tubes if you want to use all three channels...

But the amp has a very rare quality: you can play with low output volumes. Lots of amps sound awful when they are set to 1 and are very loud when set to 2 (like the Mesa Single Rectifier for example).

SOUNDS

I play with a Strat Mexico '60, a 1960b Marshall cabinet connected with 2.5mm2 speaker cable and a big Proco Power+.

6l6 Sovtek WXT+ and mix of Engl ECC83/ EH 12AX7.

The sound is very good with steady lows. The mid control is very effective, the sound is accurate and vigorous. It reminds me of a boosted Vox with an EL34 sound character. Some people might say the sound is cold but that's not the case and that's why it's versatile.

The amp faithfully reproduces the attack, the twang and the dynamic of my Strat. The position of the pick and the toggle switch provide a rich sound palette. You can get many different sounds and the amp sounds modern.

The clean tone doesn't sound like a duck, it's very musical.

Set to 7-8, the crunch channel provides a colored clean sound and a dynamic crunch sound (because of the low output level of the alnico pickups).

The lead channel doesn't interest me at all so I never use it...

I like to have a sharp and aggressive sound. The lows are well-balanced and accurate.

My settings the last three years have been: gain = 8, bass = 7, mid = 8, treble = 4, crunch volume = 6, lead = 0, master = 3. I can increase the master setting up to 6 and decrease the preamp level since I never use the clean mode (do you get it?)

OVERALL OPINION

I wanted a single channel amp and I use only one sound so this amp is perfect for me But guitarists looking for versatility should stay away from it...

I wanted a basic single-channel amp with a very dynamic and accurate sound (like a VHT Delivrance, H&K Puretone and the like). Before buying it I hesitated between vintage and modern sound. The crunch sound of ENGL amps is typical rock n roll. I immediately liked its sound and I find the amp sounds much better than many others.

The price is ok considering it has a more authentic sound than the new budget tube amp.

This amp combines a British sound character with an American-like frequency response. Highs, mids, lows, it's simply well-balanced!

Currently there's a hype for EL34 and KT66. Many manufacturers offer this sound (Mesa Stilleto, VHT Delivrance, Marshall JVM...)

This amp doesn't deserve a 9 in every respect, but if you like it you won't have any reason to change it (only the tubes). On the other hand, it's also nice to hear something different from time to time.
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