The Randall RD50 Diavlo may have been a so-so amp to begin with but this was the amp that Fortin made his modifications to at the start of his collaboration with Randall. For those of you not familiar with his work suffice it to say Mike Fortin has a great take on todays modern high gain sounds. This is a 50 watt head with to variable impedance speaker outs. It is powered by two output tubes of your choice. You can put any pair of octal based output tubes in it and it will self bias. There are four 12ax7 tubes in the preamp section also. The amp shipped with JJ tubes in the pre and power section, the power section came loaded with EL34s. There is a single quarter inch input on the front, an effects loop on the back, and a 1/4" footswitch jack available on the back (footswitch not included).
This is a 2 channel amp with a clean and overdrive channel each with a boost feature. The two channels share a 3 band, low mid high, tone stack and a presence control. There is also a rear control knob for a small real spring reverb. Channel switching and boost are activated my 2 small buttons located on the front panel. Of course there are also two switches for power and standby rounding out the control scheme.
Plain and simple this amp rocks. Out of the box it can go for a shimmering clean to all out saturation. It is quiet and aggressive at the same time. If you desire a low cost amp built for modern metal this is the ticket. It may not be the most flexible amp for on stage due to its configuration but if you use it for recording like I do it can not be beat. Unlike many amps I have found it insanely easy to dial in awesome sounds on this amp with almost no tweaking. It has a bit of variety to its tonal palette but by changing power tubes you can get smoother or more aggressive tones out of it.
I have had absolutely no need for the manual and although it comes with one it is absolutely unnecessary. One of the coolest things about this amp is that you can get a good sound out of it at low and high volumes. While not as loud as other 50 watt amps I have owned it is absolutely capable of working in a band situation. I also find that this amp is easier to mic up than other amps and has a wide sweet spot. If it makes sense it is a refined metal sound that is controllable while still being brutal and aggressive.
I own a variety of guitars and it sounds great with all of them. Of course if I switch my Paul out for my Yngwie Strat I will need to adjust the settings but it is an easy task. It sounds great with the burstbuckers on my Diablo SG as well as the single coil SCN PUPs on my American Deluxe Tele. Honestly I think it would be harder to make this amp sound bad than good. My favorite sounds obviously are the heavy ones but it does tame back nicely also. I think the general tightness of the amp may not be the best for a classic rock sound but it can reproduce a decent version of it if needed. The cleans are sweet in my opinion also. While not the best I have heard they are none the less inspiring. Once again I believe the tightness of the amp for metal detracts from its clean settings. Lets face it though, a Fortin amp is designed for Metal, but this amp can get you other places with a smile on your face.
My overall opinion is this is the best $300 dollars anyone can ever spend on an amplifier. Of course there are always going to be better options in the higher dollar zones and everyone's tastes vary to which is their sonic Nirvana but in the land of inexpensive this amp sits like Conan on a throne of skulls. It absolutely kills and I can not even believe that an all tube 50 watt non lunch box amp tweaked by a leading name engineer can exist. Tens across the board.
This is a head lamp 50W, 8 Ohm in mono, or 2 x 4 Ohm in parallel
- 4 12AX7,
- 2 JJ EL34.
The head is "self bias", so we can change lamps without specific setting.
- 2 channels: a distortion and overdrive with the volume and Clean with volume.
- A boost effect works on two channels
- A spring reverb
- A 3-band équalo
- A presence knob
- A master
- A loop of effect
Child configuration, no need manual for anyone who has ever touched a few amps.
At the same time, it is not the most complex heads, huh.
Easily obtained good sound, well Clean in basic Disto it seems more typical "vintage", but it seems that changing the lamps can change the character of an amp ...
I bought this to go to the head lamp just after my combo Randall RG 100 G3 hybrid.
Today it is plugged into a cab Randall RA XJ 412 (4x12 with Eminence Jaguar) which is not necessarily the high end.
I play over the death / black with DBZ Bird of Prey 7 String, mounted EMG 81-7 and 707.
I knew buying the head that I rentrerais effects, so I was not trying to exploit the pure sound of the head, but I just use it as a sound base.
In this context, this amp is perfect for me because I use:
- A équalo: MXR M 108 in the effects loop.
- A typical distortion pedal (Boss HM-2)
With a clever adjustment distortion pedal and that of the head, you get a full well, and with équalo is refined. What more, as the clean is nice and the distal base of the head can be used Crunch?
I use it for a few months now.
I played on Peavey 6505 and Mesa Dual. 2 deals distos of powerful and effective, but I would call "classic", and therefore it is not what I wanted. And then I had a limited budget, we must admit!
My priority was therefore the price, reliability and enough power but not over-sized for the rehearsal or concert dubbed.
1. For reliability, after playing 4 years on my Randall combo without any problems, I am now very confident in this brand unfairly overlooked.
2. Price level, it really defies the competition is simple, I have not been able to find this head lamp power, with a reputation for reliability sufficient (I gave up reading Bugera criticism).
3. For power, 50W lamp is great for the rehearsal, at least in my setup, that is to say not very large room, drummer tape, scratch on 4x12 cab, bass on full stack, and keyboardist.
One can even say that this is the ideal, compared to my other guitarist with his head 100W (Peavey 6505) did not sound to its full potential.
These three qualities warrant a good grade, but here's why I do not give a good rating:
- We have only two modes, Clean and Disto, so that if you do not like the distortion provided, well it will look elsewhere (additional effects)
- It has only one équalo, so it will have to board sounds very different clean and distortion.
If like me, you are back in effect, then the head is fine, because it provides a basis for its strong, with adequate power, good reliability at a very affordable price!