Once upon a time I decided that I wanted the ultimate hot rodded Marshall type amplifier head. However, the main factor was that it couldn't cost an arm and a leg. Repeated searching online kept bringing up this amp called the Quick Rod made by a company called Splawn Amplfication that was supposed to be one of the absolute best Marshall JMP/800 type amps made. They're essentially a dual channel amp with a specialized system of three modes or "gears" on the OD1 and OD2 channels, plus a solo boost and a very high quality effects loop. The amp is powered by four EL34 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes.
Here's a quick rundown of the channels and some of the features:
Clean - Very basic in its layout. Mine had a standard compliment of gain, volume, bass, middle, and treble controls.
Overdrive - This is a dual mode channel, with separate OD1 and OD2 modes. To take it a step further, Splawn has what they call "gears," which are essentially a three position switchable mode on the Overdrive channel as a whole. The three gears go from a Marshall SLP "Plexi" sort of vibe to a modified Marshall JCM800 to an even more gained out British voiced monster. The one issue I have with this setup is that you cannot set two different gear modes per OD1 and OD2 modes, but all in all it is still extremely versatile. The Overdrive channel has a shared EQ of gain, volume, bass, middle, treble, and presence between both the OD1 and OD2 modes. A separate EQ for the OD1 and OD2 modes would be nice, but it's not a dealbreaker by any means. There is also a footswitchable solo boost function for those moments when you need to turn up for those scorching leads as well.
On the back panel you have an impedance selector (4, 8, or 16 ohm load), a Full/Half Power switch (This takes the amp from 100w of power using 4 power tubes to 50w of power using 2 power tubes... which in my experience gave the amp a "spongier" and looser vibe. There is also a high quality effects loop with a button to select between +4 db or - 10 db as well as a true bypass for those times when you're running straight into the amp with no effects onboard.
All in all this is an extremely versatile amp. While it doesn't really boast many features for cleaner or lower gain applications, it's definitely an amp that was designed for the purpose of high octane rock and metal stylings.
When I first purchased the amp, I got it home to my Basson Sound B212 speaker cabinet (loaded with two Eminence Legend 1258s) and set it up with all of the dials at noon aside from the master volume. I quickly realized that this amp has a boatload of higher range frequencies in its voicing, so I restructured the EQ to the point of turning controls like the treble and presence quite low, or even off in some cases. That being said, I never found that there was a loss of brightness from doing this, so it's definitely something to try if you find your own QR on the brighter side.
Once I dialed in the equalization to taste, I found that it was extremely easy to dial in tones that I found very pleasing. The amp is very responsive to picking dynamics, articulation, guitar type, pickup output, etc, and I found that changing up these various factors produced an wide range of (generally overdriven) tones that ranged from classic Marshall SLP/JMP to the more modern hot rodded Marshalls and other amps of that ilk (Soldano, Bogner, Cameron, et al.) I found that the best overall combination was with a Music Man John Petrucci JP6 loaded with the D-Sonic and Petrucci Special humbuckers from DiMarzio. The particular combination was able to go from clean to mean just by using the volume control on the guitar! The amp has a very unique midrange voicing to the Overdrive channel that makes it stand on its own... it cuts through very well and had a great live tone in most hard rock and metal settings that I used mine for.
The biggest thing to note about this amp. They are extremely LOUD and they sit best in a mix with a band type situation (drums, bass, guitar, vocals.) Unless you are in a situation where you are able to use the Quick Rod with a band, I wouldn't advise purchasing one (unless you buy a 2009 or newer model with the effects loop master volume.) Mine was an older model that I purchased second hand, and I found that I only ever would plug into it when I would go to band rehearsal as it was so loud at home levels that my lights and windows would rattle with the master volume pushing 2 or 2.5.
The sounds of the Quick Rod are easily some of the best British voiced tones that I've had in an amp. I used it with numerous guitars (Music Man JP6, Parker Fly Deluxe, Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus, various import guitars with humbuckers and/or single coils) and each one brought a different flavour to the equation. The amp is not very picky when it comes to what guitars you are using, and as far as speakers go, I found it to be at its best with Vintage 30s, Greenbacks, or Eminence Legends. As I did in column one, I will lay out the channels again, but this time try to describe the various tones that were available in each channel.
Clean - Definitely not the high point of the amp to be sure. The cleans on this amp are fairly... flat sounding. They don't quite have the warmth of something like a Fender or Dr. Z, but rather are a bit harsher and more treble oriented. That being said, I was able to get some fairly nice clean tones with a Les Paul and lower output pickups. This may have been changed in newer models though.
Overdrive OD1 - This channel was the one I found myself using most of the time. It had more than enough gain for my purposes (most of the time I was using it in OD1 mode with the gain at less than half!) It reacted very well for riff based stuff and certain more melodic lead passages. It also took really well to a boost out front (I often used something like a Boss SD1 or DOD250 clone out front to give the leads a little bit of kick.)
Overdrive OD2 - This channel was the higher gain of the two. I found it to be more compressed than the OD1 channel, so I used it for more modern metal settings and some faster lead passages. However, it still was very rich with harmonics and all those wonderful overtones that you get from a gained out tube amp. I kept the gain low on this channel as it had a LOT... (gain freaks, don't worry.)
The three gear modes basically just change the gain level and saturation per mode. I should mention that mine didn't have the gears (as it was older) but I've recorded with a project of mine and had a chance to try another one that did have the gears. I found that the gears for the most part just added more saturation to each mode. I found myself usually sticking to gear 3 (Super Hot Rod 800) because it had a lot of that high end "sizzle" that really made my riffs and leads jump out in a wonderful way.
I would describe the overall character of the amp as very classic British. It's not meant to be a modern type of amp like the Peavey 5150 or Mesa Boogie Rectifiers, but rather it was designed for more of a classic set of "Hot Rod" tones... which it does quite well and it is these tones that sell the amp.
My overall opinion of the Quick Rod (and Splawn in general) is that they're a killer value in the market, either new or used. From what I've read, Scott Splawn treats his customers well and stands behind his amps, so I'd have no concerns dealing with him on anything. I ultimately traded my Quick Rod away because I did need a smaller/quieter amp for hauling around, but I've regretted it ever since and would replace it in a heartbeat if I could. It does what the name implies... it's a quick way to get a bunch of the excellent EL34 based tones ranging from the Marshall SLP to the modified 800s of eighties lore. I compared it to many newer Marshalls at the time) and I was sure in the end that it was FAR superior to anything that Marshall was building in that same price range. It is my firm opinion that Splawn has a great grasp on the hot rodded Marshall type market, and if he keeps producing amps of this quality, his name is sure to keep building and getting better. Sure my 2005 QR had a few things that bugged me (lack of gears, lack of really good cleans, lack of good lower volume tones... but since that amp was built Scott has made improvements on every one of those features, which makes me want another one even more!
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Maxcreed's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)
2-channel tube amp 100/50 Watt 3 modes for the overdrive channel and a boost for solos + effects loop with master volume post-ft guy.
Simple setup, we easily get a good sound.
No need to have a manual unless you really dropped ...
To the great big British rock & US is nickel.
AC / DC to Godsmack through VH, Guns'n'Roses (looks elsewhere that this amp was designed expressly for) short good big crunch to overdrive well greedy saturation, everything goes easily.
- The clean channel first: not easy to use because very soon "foil" and breaks ear.
The solution? Push the gain to 3/4 => the sound is clean because the channel is not expected to cruncher actually gaining body, much like a pre-drive. With a little reverb in the loop (very transparent) that does it quite well. It may even be the next jazzy guitar (Les Paul).
Good after it's not a Fender but it's laaargement taf.
It's not really for the clean we buy this gear.
- Channel saturated: aaaah finally, the heart of the matter!
The Taz (see previous review) states that the amp is too steep or that one has a single sound ... I do not agree with that.
90% of the Atlantic find great reviews and versatile enough little that remains in the realm of rock and roll.
The channel is very accurate, can sometimes hurt the ears in the treble (like a JCM800 or Soldano or 99.99% of the existing amps also on the market).
But if one follows the recommendations of our friends the Jam ... uh the Yanks, this amp is made to be used in cases of large saturations with gears 2 and 3 and not only on the gear 1 as do three quarters of people who complain about not having the sound of a plexi ...
In short, this amp has a speck of egg, you can play the gain to 10 of the most saturated mode (it's not necessarily my case for that matter) and get an arpeggio that the guitar volume is 10 or 2 => all spring nickel.
Note that even with very high doses of drive, the amp off again on a slight crunch to the volume quite easily. It does not have the sensitivity of a plexi but still very responsive.
If you engage the effects loop, the sound becomes much more fat and saggy. It is thicker, maybe a hair less accurate (but more than anything I've played) and you can finally use the master volume on the back.
This master helps push the front volume and operate the amp completely differently.
Is no more complete for those who love big rock'n'roll in the broadest sense.
The loop takes effect divinely leaving the dynamics of the amp (which is monstrous) intact.
Moreover, it is exploitable at any volume and that's frankly not won with a traditional JCM800.
And yes, because this amp is a great JCM800 not a JTM45 (so often accused). Do not think of SRV play and have the same sound, it's impossible ... (though I've never plugged it strat)
It sends this may be straight but that track in the mix like butter, the ingestion-son are happy and in addition it has a mouth of hell (it's subjective ok).
In short, trying friends but frankly it's very fun to play.
Highly recommended for all that is Gibson and Gibson-like.
I've had two and a half years.
I owned him before the JCM800 (2205 and 2204), ENGL Fast Hand Motion (Blackmore limited series), Mesa single and dual sided (mouaif ...) JCM900 SL-X (nice but a bit dull), Soldano Hot Rod 100+ (nice but too "intermediate product" as his and this time it really does make a single sound), a replica of plexi 1987 (I fell in love). Maybe I forget ...
Sincerely, both for some models, all tastes are in nature (I think the Soldano).
Same for other objectively it is 2 or 3 notches above: the JCM are dropped, the front too (good after it's so different you can not compare), ENGL too (too sharp and rigid), the Soldano (well there it is a matter of taste because it is the only one that is actually in the same range).
I am selling because I am more attracted to the side of his Marshall plexi (well, hopefully not regret it against ...).
And also because I'm selling, it seems good to fix some "one says" sometimes stand on Francophone forums while trying to remain as objective as possible.
After that, I will not lie to you: this amp is not designed to make the lace although eventually many styles can be addressed and it excels in this why it was designed: to rock'n'roll under the wider!