« Bang for Buck Tube Champion! »Published on 07/30/12 at 12:03
This amp sounds great right away: super thick and articulate. I never saw the manual, but the controls are intuitive.
I use a wide array of guitars including Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Fender Strats, Peavey Wolfgang, and Peavey HP Special. They all sound great and deliver huge tone. I believe the guy from Soldano amps came over and designed this amp; the quality shows. I bought this amp cheap on craig's list, almost as an afterthought...I was aiming for an older recto but failed, so my GAS pushed me to get something...I saw a video clip of a guy a/bing it against a Mesa Mark, and then found a video that showed some real killer modern metal tones. I thought 300 bucks was worth a test drive. I loved the tone and immediately spent the cash to retube the whole amp. The cleans are crystal clean- just a volume, 3 way passive eq, and bright switch. Great cleans for a hard rock metal setup, but admittedly a drawback if you're seeking a character gritty clean for bluesy jams.The crunch gets ridiculous levels of gain for a crunch channel...not that you need it, but placing a clean boost in front makes this channel the shining star of the amp. It has a gain button, so perhaps with the gain off and the gain controls down, you could get that bluesy vibe...but for me, this is a rock/metal beast and i crank it up. This orange channel is breathtaking- nice blend of reactivity and saturation. the Ultra red channel takes it a step beyond- lethal levels of gain that will slay any tune you are working on.
My favorite application is lead guitar- this amp just sings and sings for me and is a pefect compliment for my mid to hi gain leads. Very Mark-ish in its voicings, this lead response is wonderful. I like the rhythm gain, and the active eq allows one to dial in smoother gains to cutting chainsaw. In comparison, I tried a 6505+ in a store and totally disliked it- the lows were so boomy and the gains were so extreme I sort of found it unusable. Perhaps if I spent more time dialing it in, but this Ultra+ dials in very quickly. It lacks a bit of the edge and chainsaw of a recto, but let's be honest, a Modern Recto sucks for lead players.compare this to the 5150/6505 series and you will be super impressed. All of this and then realize (if you can find one), the amps refquently resell for $250-400. I've played lots of expensive amps costing thousands, and let me tell you, price does not always equal tone. This amp will eat a modern Marshall alive in terms of tone and reliablility. The cost benefit ratio is unbelievable, but even throwing out the price factor, this amp stands alone as a great tone machine.