James... 08/10/2011

Soldano Avenger : James...'s user review

« Aggressively voiced hot rod marshall »

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This is basically the lead channel from the legendary SLO stuck into one head. And considering I never used the other channel on my old SLO, this amp is an SLO to me. The SLO by the way, is a legendary amp. I mean that. Amps that are based on the SLO are legendary. The early Dual recs and 5150's that came out 20 years ago were near clones of this beast. That's gotta say something.

I'll start by saying this is the loudest 100 watts you will ever hear. If you're on the fence, get the 50 watt. I don't know why I still have the 100 watt because I never tour with it and it's unbearable in my studio. But somehow I can't stay away. This is a truly special amp, only being one channel.


Mine is the 6L6 version. Like I said, it's freakin loud. I've personally never had it past noon. The only time I got it that loud was at a festival which was years ago. I was a kid and I was being stupid. Fortunately this thing gets most of its gain from the preamp so you really don't need to worry about cranking the master at all. The EQ is pretty simple. No surprises. The depth control is more of a taste thing. Overall this head takes 20 minutes to learn inside out. After that you have mastered it.


Sonically, the Avenger is like a hotrodded (and I mean HOTrodded) JCM800 with more thickness and slightly more sizzling highs due to the 6L6's. In fact, I'd venture a guess that for the creation of this amp, Soldano basically took a hotrodded marshall design and gave it huge transformers and 6L6 tubes. Because that's exactly what it sounds like. Obviously there's a lot of gain stage trickery at work here that makes up the bulk of the sound. If you have the turn the gain past 3 oclock then you have a problem. There are some ridiculous amounts of gain on tap here. I must say, this is not an amp for the faint of heart due to the extremely aggressive voicing. I've played a lot of modern metal amps and the avenger has the most snarling and mean voice I've heard. It's honestly geared towards heavy styles and not pop rock. It just sounds wrong in other contexts, unless being used for solos or something.

I must say this head sounds best with the Soldano cabinets. Any other cabs just sound wrong after you use that one.


I can really only say I wish it was more versatile and I wish it was quieter. It clean up miraculously but the voicing limits what styles you can play. For certain genres it's an awkward amp to use. Too aggressive in the mids. I still love it though. I record a lot of metal bands in my studio and they pretty much unanimously choose the Avenger for all their tracks. Sometimes we layer it with an Uberschall for rhythm. I don't think I'll ever get rid of it unless I come by a 50 watter.