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Old 10-07-2009, 12:14 AM   #1
311ZOSOVHJH
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The Only Thread for Bolt Amplification

Welcome to the Only Thread for Bolt Amplification - aka

Bolt Amps



(disclaimer - I pulled most all of this information from boltamps.com and I did not get permission like I did with the Only Splawn thread. There is not a lot of information out there but there has been some discussion on the HCAF forums. If anyone at Bolt Amps does not care for this thread then kindly ask me to remove it and I will consider it. Otherwise, consider it free advertising. I do not own a Bolt amp, know anyone at Bolt Amps, nor sell Bolt Amps)




Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingkitty
So in the past few issues of Guitar World, there's been this new brand of amps making its rounds. Its called Bolt.

Its key selling proposition is that its got this digital monitoring system that'll monitor the voltage current running through the tubes at all times. When you crank it, like all tube amps, it sounds great. When you lower the volume, the digital monitoring system will adjust the voltage in the tubes accordingly so you always have that cranked tone.




Clips:


Clean Channel (with DSP and saturation display example)


Lead Channel


PremierGuitar demo


(for more clips just type Bolt Amps in youtube and you'll get them all)



Products:




Bolt "BTH-100" 100-watt
Tube amp head

• Selectable 100/50-watt tube head
• Two 12AX7 preamp & four 6L6 or EL34 power amp tubes
• Emulated Line out with 2 different mic positions • Front panel analog meter displays tube saturation of both preamp and power amp

Lead, Crunch & Clean Channels each feature:
• Gain & Level Controls
• 3 selectable Reverbs
• Selectable Active & Passive EQ with Bass, Mid (swept in Lead Channel), Treble
• 3-position Voicing switch

Master Section features:
• Level
• Presence
• SoloBoost with amount, On/Off & Gain/Level Select
• Power amp Mute switch
• 2 effects loops each with Level, Series/Parallel select, & Channel Auto Assign
• Power amp Mute switch

Rear Panel features:
• 50/100 Watt Switch
• Bias Switch (6L6 or EL34)
• Output Impedance Selector
• Slave Out Level
• Mic position for emulated line out
• Ground lift for emulated line out
• Series/Parallel Switch for each effects loop
• +4dBu/-10dBV Switch for each effects loop
• Effects Level for each effects loop
• Effects Loop Auto Assign (one for each channel)
• Reverb Type Switch (one for each channel)
• Reverb Types: Plate, Spring, Hall

Footswitch Controls:
• Clean, Crunch, Lead Channel Select
• Solo Boost
• Effects Loop A On/Off
• Effects Loop B On/Off
• Reverb On/Off





Bolt "BTC-100" 100-watt Tube
combo amp

• Selectable 100/50-watt tube amp
• Two 12AX7s, four 6L6s or EL34s
• Emulated Line out with 2 different mic positions
• Front panel analog meter displays tube saturation of both preamp and power amp

Lead, Crunch & Clean Channels each feature:
• Gain & Level Controls
• 3 selectable Reverbs
• Selectable Active & Passive EQ with Bass, Mid (swept in Lead Channel), Treble
• 3-position Voicing switch

Master Section features:
• Level
• Presence
• SoloBoost with amount, On/Off & Gain/Level Select
• Power amp Mute switch
• 2 effects loops each with Level, Series/Parallel select, & Channel Auto Assign
• Power amp Mute switch

Rear Panel features:
• 50/100 Watt Switch
• Bias Switch (6L6 or EL34)
• Output Impedance Selector
• Slave Out Level
• Mic position for emulated line out
• Ground lift for emulated line out
• Series/Parallel Switch for each effects loop
• +4dBu/-10dBV Switch for each effects loop
• Effects Level for each effects loop
• Effects Loop Auto Assign (one for each channel)
• Reverb Type Switch (one for each channel)
• Reverb Types: Plate, Spring, Hall

Footswitch Controls:
• Clean, Crunch, Lead Channel Select
• Solo Boost
• Effects Loop A On/Off
• Effects Loop B On/Off
• Reverb On/Off





Bolt "BVS" - 4x12 slant-face
speaker cab

• Four 12” Celestion™ Vintage 30™ speakers
• Top speakers angled upward
• Choose between black Polymaric™ coating or black leather-finished vinyl covering
• Heavy-duty handles and removable casters
• Lightweight 13-ply Poplar finger-jointed cabinet with Baltic Birch baffle-board


Bolt "BVF" - 4x12 flat-face
speaker cab

• Four 12” Celestion™ Vintage 30™ speakers
• All four speakers face forward
• Choose between black Polymaric™ coating or black leather-finished vinyl covering
• Heavy-duty handles and removable casters
• Lightweight 13-ply Poplar finger-jointed cabinet with Baltic Birch baffle-board



Home Page
http://boltamps.com/index2.html


BOLT Guitar Amplifiers feature tube preamps and tube power amps that are combined with a DSP that enhances the tubes’ ability to operate at their optimal level across the entire volume range.

BOLT’s proprietary Active Amp Response System does this by monitoring the output of the tubes and continually adjusting the amplifier’s response to maximize the tone at all clean or distortion settings at any volume.

BOLT Amps’ intuitive 3-channel knob interface also features key improvements, such as unique selectable voicings and active/passive tone controls. These features allow the user to create a radically wide range of tube tones covering everything
from crisp phat clean tones to ultra saturated distortion.



Quote from Craig Anderson

Technical Writer Craig Anderton stated, “It amazes me that there are still tricks left in tube technology, but BOLT is really on to something. When I heard the amp at high volume, it sounded great, but then they pulled the volume way down and it still had the same sound. That’s pretty radical.”


Info on the Developers

In March of 2008, Paul Howard and Jeremy Geisler joined XP AUDIO, INC. to form the BOLT GUITAR AMPLIFICATION engineering team. Both bring extensive and successful backgrounds in the MI and Pro Audio industries in software and hardware engineering.

Prior to joining XP AUDIO, INC., Paul worked on various key projects for DigiTech, such as the RP and BP floor processor series, the JamMan Looper, and the GSP1101 rack preamp, as well as the Lexicon MX400 Reverb and Omega Studio USB I/O and the Johnson Amps JM 120, JM 150 and J-Station. Paul has a BSEE from the University of Utah.

Jeremy also worked on key projects for DigiTech as a DSP and audio engineer including several years of R&D experience with DSP, vacuum tubes, vintage analog circuitry, and guitar tone. Jeremy has a BSEE from Purdue.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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The Technology

"In the Bolt amplifier, the input stage uses a 12AX7 tube to provide the ideal interaction between guitar and preamp. The output stage uses 6L6 power tubes to interact dynamically with the speaker load, as well as a second 12AX7 tube to drive the power amp section."





"The Bolt amplifier block diagram. Note the dual effects loop, emulated line out to provide additional options in the studio or for live use, and a feedback path provided from the output back to the DSP to monitor the tubes and always keep them in the
sweet spot.”





"Today’s DSP is incredibly powerful, but rather than using it to make lots of effects, we dedicated virtually all the power to tone and reverb. There is ample processing power to create precision, transparent EQ that complement the tube stages, as well as reverb that delivers the same type of spring sound as conventional guitar amps, along with studio-quality plate and hall sounds. Each type is selectable per channel; for example, your clean channel can can have a spring sound, but you can put a hall sound on the lead channel for a “big” solo sound."




more here

http://boltamps.com/images/BOLT_White_Paper_V5%205.pdf


..
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:17 AM   #3
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Pricing Information so far:

Head = $1,699 USD street
Combo = $1,999 USD street

Shipping in mid-October

(before everyone jumps in here and tell me how expensive these are and how they can get such and such amp for X price, save it for another thread or email Bolt because I don't care

I'm not here to sell their amps or compare and I too think it is a bit steep but we don't know anything about these amps yet so


From a UG'r who played one!
Quote:
Originally Posted by greggo909
It,s made in Salt lake city UT. I got to play one at a place called Styles Music in SO cal. I got to say this amp sounds great. I own a Mesa Dual Rec and I think I going to sell it to get the BTH100 head. The range of tones in the amp it amazing, playing a strat through it I got a great spanky rhythm tone as well as a sweet classic rock tone. When I plugged in my PRS custom 24 I could get a lot of natural tube compression on a half drive sound. I dialed in a mean rock sound for the 80's and 90's covers. I switched in to channel three and set it up for a huge metal sound. I got to tell you I was very impressed by the versatility of this thing. I think this is my new amp! Now I just need so cash!





Quote:
Originally Posted by SpawnSC
I got this email from Bolt Amps

"We are currently building our first production units and expect a ship date of mid October. Bolt Amplifiers will initially sell through independentdealers as well as online dealers such as Sam Ash. We are in the process of setting up dealers across the US and worldwide. The 100 watt head will have an estimated street price of $1,699. The 2x12 combo will street for around $1999."



Quote:
Originally Posted by Stick40
I've always thought that there would be a way to have the tube amps have a linear tone throughout the volume range. Im interested to see how many companies will make a slightly different version of this technology in there amps.

Stick 40



Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingkitty
I agree that it should not be a major challenge for tube amps to have a linear tone. After all, we already have an oversize particle accelerator, making a tube amp with a linear tone progression should not be quantum physics.

I think what is missing is a variable knob to tweak the level of current running through the tubes... I mean, if it is at a constant state of power tube saturation, I don't imagine it'd be THAT versatile. Along that train of thought, this amp might not be a major hit with the extreme metal crowd (i.e. people who want headroom and a just at the point of power tube break up tone).

Honestly, regardless of their past experience, this is new technology they are working with, and to me, their past experience counts probably isn't gonng be 100% applicable.

However, I would like to point out, if you can buy their 212, you're not that far off from a Mesa MkV combo, which I would like to point out... is the pinnacle of awesomeness!

Honestly, I agree, it sounds like a very practical idea, and something that would be very useful and not just a bell/whistle... but whether or not it actually works is another matter.

I'd like to point out at this point that one contributing factor to a cranked tone is also some level of speaker and air movement. I'm not sure how the Bolt's gonna sound without that. Maybe it'll be great... maybe not.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:17 AM   #4
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They look like cool amps, I'll have to go test one out. Do they have any other models?

Edit- I'll delete this post if you want another reserved post.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmolteratx
Any ideas on price?


There was something in another thread about prices.

I believe the combo is suppose to run like $1,999 and the head is suppose to run $1,699. Don't quote me on that though.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
^if you don't mind deleting that I will get you an answer








Sorry about that. I figured you'd have gotten your reserved spots in by the time I posted that.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:31 AM   #7
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^no prob. You have to wait 30 seconds before you can post again, just like any other thread. And I didn't even realize it was you, so I was just asking blindly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jc349
They look like cool amps, I'll have to go test one out. Do they have any other models?

Edit- I'll delete this post if you want another reserved post.

Na, I'm good for now but thanks for asking. That's all I have



yeah, they look pretty interesting. When I first started to see the ads in GuitarWorld I figured they were just another junk SS amp maker looking to make a buck off the kiddies. Then a couple of weeks ago I searched on google and found some info in the HCAF forums and then the video's on youtube. So, I decided to check the web site out and started to read how they are doing the DSP.


Time will tell - like everything else.

It does look interesting. If there was a way to dial down or turn off the DSP for the metal heads that would be key. I thought I read something about that but really need to re-read everything.


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Old 10-07-2009, 12:43 AM   #8
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Honestly they look like they may be great amps, but they also have the potential to fail.

I know that not every amp is designed for every player but some people don't like the sound of full saturation all the time, so unless there's a way to turn that feature off on the amps there are going to be a lot of people who are going to avoid these amps.

Also, like every new amp, there are going to be a lot of bugs and kinks in the plan when these amps first come out - and with technology like this its very important to have everything ironed out in the beginning. A lot of people are going to be skeptical to begin with - if the amps have bugs and whatnot that will need to be worked out (which they most likely will) I think it will prevent a lot of people from trying the second or third run of these amps which would most likely have the flaws fixed.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:44 AM   #9
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Thanks for creating the thread, 311ZOSOVHJH.

One thought just occurred to me... the USP of Bolt amps is the use of DSP to keep that shimmering cranked tone. Has anyone read anything about the level of crank-age the bolt amps are set to?

I mean there is "Just on the verge of breakup" crank to down-right "so cranked, its getting flubby" cranked.

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:46 AM   #10
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took a quick listen to the PG demo.

the clean channel on that amp sounds sweet, especially with the gain up. like... it's really good.

don't really like the other tones in the amp, all sound a little bit buzzy and fizzy for my taste, but that's just my opinion
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragingkitty
Thanks for creating the thread, 311ZOSOVHJH.

One thought just occurred to me... the USP of Bolt amps is the use of DSP to keep that shimmering cranked tone. Has anyone read anything about the level of crank-age the bolt amps are set to?

I mean there is "Just on the verge of breakup" crank to down-right "so cranked, its getting flubby" cranked.



+1

Thats kind of what I was hinting at. They should have incorporated a switch which would allow you to control what point of breakup would be occurring - it would just be a matter of adjusting the voltage that is going into the tubes. I don't think it would be that hard of a thing to add, considering the technology thats already in these amps.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_am_metalhead
+1

Thats kind of what I was hinting at. They should have incorporated a switch which would allow you to control what point of breakup would be occurring - it would just be a matter of adjusting the voltage that is going into the tubes. [I don't think it would be that hard of a thing to add, considering the technology thats already in these amps.


I agree

As you've pointed out, this is a critical feature. It might be the deal breaker for the success of these amps.

I like that clear, but slightly creamy and on the edge of break up tone. If Bolts are adjusted to power tube saturation levels, then its not exactly a tone I use a lot of. Without that switch, I wouldn't be too keen to try these amps.

Also, we keep assuming that though the saturation levels are good for a clean channel, how will the distortion sound like. Like al has mentioned, it sounded buzzy and fizzy. We always say that power tube distortion sounds creamy, however, what we tend to fail to mention is that there are different levels of power tube distortion for different gain levels and different amps.

Still, I hope it won't be another Spider.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:28 AM   #13
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I definitely can see what you guys are talking about. We'll see.

It has Clean, Crunch and Disti channels and a boost switch. It doesn't really talk about the ratio selection between preamp and power amp saturation. Some people like lots of preamp gain and less power amp gain for things like metal. I do too sometimes.

here is the paragraph I keep reading over and over


Another helpful aid is the saturation meter, which monitors what’s happening with the output stage level and distortion. This makes it easy for guitarists to repeat particular saturation settings with Bolt amps, because the meter makes it easy to get a similar sound, for example, from guitars with passive pickups and those with active pickups. You simply adjust the gain until the saturation meter shows the desired setting.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
I definitely can see what you guys are talking about. We'll see.

It has Clean, Crunch and Disti channels and a boost switch. It doesn't really talk about the ratio selection between preamp and power amp saturation. Some people like lots of preamp gain and less power amp gain for things like metal. I do too sometimes.

here is the paragraph I keep reading over and over


Another helpful aid is the saturation meter, which monitors what’s happening with the output stage level and distortion. This makes it easy for guitarists to repeat particular saturation settings with Bolt amps, because the meter makes it easy to get a similar sound, for example, from guitars with passive pickups and those with active pickups. You simply adjust the gain until the saturation meter shows the desired setting.



Wait... what makes these amps so special then?? You could just do that with a regular amp - you would just have to use your ears instead of your eyes
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
Another helpful aid is the saturation meter, which monitors what’s happening with the output stage level and distortion. This makes it easy for guitarists to repeat particular saturation settings with Bolt amps, because the meter makes it easy to get a similar sound, for example, from guitars with passive pickups and those with active pickups. You simply adjust the gain until the saturation meter shows the desired setting.


Err... wait... does that mean that the DSP doesn't always maintain that cranked tone?

We needs a hands on.

I really hope that the DSP thingy works, cuz that's what's interesting about this amps. If that feature phails... then... I don't know what else the amp has going for it.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:54 AM   #16
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^Agreed.

And thanks for prop. You can just call me 311 btw


It's possible that this amp is only designed for that cranked rock tone at lower volumes. They don't really describe where their amp fits in genre wise. I didn't listen to all the clips either. If it is just for cranked rock tone, they may have a hard time selling it at this price. There are so many other amps that do that and sound good at lower volumes.

It 'could' be a template for future amps though. I would think some kind of variable pot that controls the swing of saturation from preamp to power amp would be key - like we were talking about earlier. You wouldn't think that would be too hard to do with their set up. Maybe that is there and it is just not clear to us yet.


(Also, they should have left that part of their web site for Artist Endorsements or whatever off the site until they actually had a few)..
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:05 AM   #17
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At first these amps were looking like some futuristic, amazing piece of gear.

The more I learn about them the less interesting they seem. I'm starting to see this as being a big flop for Bolt Amps, but a very good template for future manufacturing.

The company is on to something very good, but I don't think they've quite figured out how to make everything work right. There are some key features that they've left out (like we've already mentioned). Also, I think the price tag is going to kill this amp because, like 311 said, there are plenty of amps out there with the same price tag, or even a cheaper price tag, that we already know sound good at high and low volumes.



Also I agree, 311, it was pretty foolish to add an "Artists" section before they even have anyone using their amps. It kind of makes them look like they really don't know what they're doing
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:11 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 311ZOSOVHJH
^Agreed.

And thanks for prop. You can just call me 311 btw


It's possible that this amp is only designed for that cranked rock tone at lower volumes. They don't really describe where their amp fits in genre wise. I didn't listen to all the clips either. If it is just for cranked rock tone, they may have a hard time selling it at this price. There are so many other amps that do that and sound good at lower volumes.

It 'could' be a template for future amps though. I would think some kind of variable pot that controls the swing of saturation from preamp to power amp would be key - like we were talking about earlier. You wouldn't think that would be too hard to do with their set up. Maybe that is there and it is just not clear to us yet.


(Also, they should have left that part of their web site for Artist Endorsements or whatever off the site until they actually had a few)..


I think that may be the case... the first amp is rock-oriented.

That knob to adjust the level of saturation could be on the next amp they bring out.

However, that said, maybe it took a lot of effort to squeeze the required parts and whatever into the amp to maintain that cranked tone.

Like you mentioned, there are a number of amps which already sound good at a low volume. What sorta puzzles me is that given the high risk investment these guys have gone and made, they chose to release high wattage amps instead of offering low wattage amps (which are in fad now) or focusing on establishing their brand on an amp with an excellent tone. Instead they have chosen to develop a amp and base their brand on a feature (gimmick if it phails).

Either these guys are dang confident about their amps... or they have failed to understand what customers truly want in the final product.

Still... I have to give a for their chosen path in technological advancement. I hope they succeed.

Guitarists can be darned conservative when it comes to gear.
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:26 AM   #19
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^good points.

I thought that too, but somewhere (and on the premierguitar vid) they talk about how Bolt is owned by a parent company that owns a bunch of other stuff so it's not just 2 guys. I've closed that site and shutting down after this post so I'll pick it back up tomorrow.

The feature list on these amps is pretty impressive otherwise. Passive or Active EQ, series/parallel selectable FX loop, db select FX loop, choice of EL34s or 6L6s, 50/100w switch, Boost switch is variable, various reverbs. Cabs are made of birch and have Vintage 30s.

I'm not saying all of that justifies the cost but those features are complex and not cheap. Too bad the amps are so damn ugly


Here was the feature I didn't get:

• Power amp Mute switch


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Old 10-07-2009, 06:30 AM   #20
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