UG Team, on february 29, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 749
Purchased from: GearNuts.com
Features: Specifics are here:
- Dual power modes
- Full power 50 watts RMS
- Half power 25 watts RMS
- Dual channels with footswitchable gain boost
- Ch. 1 low to moderate gain
- Ch. 2 moderate to high gain
- Preamp: Tube (3 x 12AX7)
- Rectifier: Solid state
- Power amp: Tube (2 x 6L6GC)
- Speaker configuration: 1 x 12" Celestion
- Tone controls: Baxandall treble, middle and bass
- Effects: Spring reverb, footswitchable
- Speaker outputs: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm
- Cabinet: Open-back, void-free 15mm plywood
- Footswitch: Channel switching / gain boost (included)
- GVT-FS1: channel switching / gain boost (included)
- GVT-FS2: 2-button footswitch for reverb and effects loop on/off (sold separately)
- Dimensions (H x W x D inches excluding handle approx.): 19.5 x 24.0 x 11.0
- Handling weight (approx.): 52.2 lbs / 23.7 kg
Everything is here that you need to achieve an enormous variety of tones. I am going to try and only use the word versatility two times in this review but it is hard to not use it more. That is the only word that can describe the absolute immense amount of tones you can get out of this bad boy. The features on this amp were great because you can dial in any tone you want with ease. Not a modeler just pure tube tone with a lot of gusto. One thing I must really tip my hat to Ampeg for is that this has the longest power cable I have ever seen. I know it might seem silly to be so happy with that but when you are playing live outlets can be sparse, this is easily 3ft longer than any other cable I have. // 9
Sound: I was starting to allude to it in the features but this amp can put out so many tones it is silly. I played this amp with two primary guitars, 1) Fender American Stratocaster, and a 2) Gibson 1961 SG Reissue. The humbucker guitar and this amp was love at first sight. The variance of tones was amazing, the clean channel was phenomenal and the dirty channel was pure aggression. Surprisingly, the amp retained crisp cleans even when the volume was all the way up. The gain knob on the clean channel is able to completely shape what sort of clean sound you want. Whether it is a very crisp clean or a very warm bluesy overdriven tone it was easy to achieve with the roll of that knob and your guitars own volume. The headroom with the amp even on half power was impressive and did not suck the tone out like I have noticed on most amps with half-power switches. I was impressed that with the 6L6's that it didn't sound too much like a Fender amp. I am personally a fan of Fender Blackface amps and their clean tone but the Ampeg has a unique clean. It had its own voicing and was not just a complete rip-off of the Fender Blackface clean which a lot of companies do (for good reason). You will find that the clean channel has a lot more headroom then most amps even with the gain knob dimed.
The gain channel was a completely different beast that absolutely can take you by surprise. Channel 1 offers you low to moderate gain and Channel 2 starts right where Channel 1 left off. With the gain at the 9 o'clock position I was already getting the sound of a hard driving English amp that starts with an M and ends with arshall. The more you roll the gain up the more you get. Some amps can peak at halfway and there is no audible difference between 5/10 and 10/10. This was not the case. The gain just kept increasing and increasing and increasing. Now I am a blues/rock player by trait and my amp setup that I have at home does not allow me the flexibility to dive into other realms. This amp made it easy and fun to get to those other genres. By no means am I a Metal expert but I actually believe this would be able to do quite well with a little twisting of the knobs.
I could easily see this amp fitting any bill for live use. At 50 watts it is plenty loud enough to keep up with the rest of the band. The speaker, a Celestion Seventy-Eighty, seems to be a perfect fit for the amp as it gives you the clarity and headroom necessary for the 50 watts. Most important for those who will use this live is that this amp easily cuts through the mix. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This amp really seems to be built well. Ampeg has been known for their reliability in the Bass world and it is apparent that they are carrying over everything they have learned from that. I don't see anything that would be problematic for this amp over the years. Construction is solid all the way around and every vital component is protected nicely. Only time will tell for those who gig with this amp often. Until then it will remain an 8. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall the GVT series of amps seem to be winners. I have played two of them and they are built solidly and more importantly they both sound good. I was most impressed by the versatility of this amp. It was able to achieve a wide variety of tones; everything from very clean to hard rock/metal. I truly believe this could be a great workhorse for those who need one amp to do everything for them. You can obviously accentuate with pedals but just as is this amp can get you where you need to be. If you have the room and money you may want to have three or four different amps, and there is nothing wrong with that but if you want one amp that can do all of those amps very well then you don't need to look any further. This is not a modeling amp, this is not going to get you an exact Fender Blackface sound, nor will it perfectly nail a Marshall 1959SLP, but Ampeg is not looking to copy, they want you to have an Ampeg sound and hopefully someone will be copying this in 40 years.
Enjoy your tone and happy pickin'. Feel free to contact me! // 8
Scarified96, on september 02, 2013 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: € 350
Purchased from: thomann.de
- Dual channel, All-Tube Circuit Path, Push-Pull, Class AB
- Power Output: 50W Full Power / 25W Half Power
- Preamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7 / ECC83 / 7025
- Power Tubes: 2 x 6L6GC
- Rectifier: Solid State
- Channel 1: Voiced for low to moderate gain tones. Ideal for clean, crunchy rhythm and old school lead tones
- Channel 2: Voiced for moderate to high gain tones. Ideal for heavy crunch and modern overdrive lead tones
- Controls (each channel): Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume, (master section:) Reverb and Master Volume (Post FX Loop)
- Full Power (50W - Tetrode), Standby, Half Power (25W - Triode) Switch
- Channel Switching: Footswitchable channel switching with additional global gain and level boost
- Spring Reverb: Footswitchable with hard bypass in off position
- Effect Loop: Footswitchable with hard bypass in off position
- Custom Designed 12" Celestion Speaker (Seventy 80)
- Baxandall EQ
- DC power to filament supply for super quiet operation
- Heritage trim: black-line face plate, black sparkle grille cloth and black Tolex
- Premium Tubes (JJs)
- Dual Color Indicator Light
- 2 Button Foot Switch: Ch. 1/Ch. 2and Gain and Level Boost On/Off (included)
- 2 Button Foot Switch: Reverb and Effect Loop On/Off (not included)
- Speaker Outputs: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm
- Cabinet Construction: Void-Free 15 mm thick plywood
- Cabinet Dimensions: 19.5"/496 mm (with feet) x 24.0"/610 mm x 11.0"/280 mm: handle adds 0.75"/19 mm to H
- Handling Weight: 52.2 lb / 23.7 kg (approximately)
So where should I begin. The Ampeg GVT52-112 has a lot features. But it's still quite minimalistic and neat. I purchased this amp from Musikhaus Thomann. The GVT range was on sale and I got this for 350. Normally it sells for ~600. This is my first serious full tube amp (my VERY first amp when I was 10 was an all-valve 15W Behringer with a single 12AX7). I use a Vox VT30 (hybrid with solid state preamp and a 12AX7 in the power amp) at home. I also have a Fender Performer 650 (hybrid with a 12AX7 on the distortion channel) form the early '90s, which I replaced with the Ampeg after the speaker blew and didn't bother to fix it since it had been quite unreliable altogether and I wanted an all-valve amp and the Ampeg happened to go on sale.
My band mate has a Bugera 333-XL Infinium head with a Harley Benton 2x12" cabinet equipped with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. Compared to the Bugera, which is about 60W RMS (marketed as 120W - the peak power), the GVT is of course quieter. But that doesn't mean it's not loud. With the gain, volume, mids (which acts as a second gain stage) and master volume at full and the boost on, it felt like the rehearsal house was gonna blow up. So it has plenty of power for all occasions. I can hear it fine over a loud drummer even on the 25W setting.
Inside the amp is VERY neatly put together. Inside the cabinet, there are no wires hanging, they are all secured to the walls of the cab. The reverb box isn't just kinda screwed in there like on my Fender, it's inside a leather pocket, which looks very good. All the wires that go in the amp itself can be just unplugged. I like this very much. Inside the amp itself, the neat construction continues. Everything looks clean and well built. All the wires are properly secured.
The thing that makes this different form many amps, is the Baxandall EQ. To be completely honest, it has yet convinced me of it's superiority. It requires a lot more tweaking than a regular stacked EQ. I like the option of a huge tonal range, but sometimes I somewhat dislike the fact that rolling out the treble for example even just a little makes quite a lot difference. But that's just me, and it's nothing I can't live with. You just have to get used to it.
I like the speaker outputs. I like to have the option to have pretty much any speaker combination I could think of. There is a footswitch included with the amp for channel switching and volume/gain boost. Also there is another footswitch available for effect loop and reverb. It's nice to know that you can do it, but would it have been so hard to make a 4-button footswitch? Because if you do want to use the second footwtich, you will have to deal with even more cables coming out of the amp. Also not having the second footswitch included feels pretty douchy and making people pay for the luxury of another switch if they need it. Kinda like Vox, which include a footswitch only on higher end models. But I can forgive Ampeg this, boost and channel switching are more vital than effect loop and reverb on/off buttons. If you can only make a 2-button footswitch, those two make more sense.
The dual indicator light is pretty cool. If I have understood correctly, it has a function as a somewhat "service light." Pretty cool. I'd like the cabinet to be smaller. It's so large I would need to get a 2x12" cab if I needed an extension cab. Ampeg make a wide 1x12 cab for this amp, but it's not available currently around where I live. But I can also forgive the large cab because all the knobs take so much space.
The looks put me off slightly when considering to buy this amp, but the fairly cheap price and good reviews made the choice for me. It just wasn't my cup of tea lookswise. My favorite looking amp in the world is a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special 1x12 cocoa. I have grown to like the looks of it, tho. I haven't tried anything through the effect loop, because I only have a Boss PW-10 V-Wah. I prefer wahs in front of the amp. I might try the pedal's Uni-V effect through the loop some day.
What I do really like about this amp, is that even with all the special features it stays fairly straightforward. It has two channels with separate gain, 3-band EQs and volumes, a master volume and a very good spring reverb. What else do you honestly need? // 9
Sound: I use a Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH exclusively. It's all stock except for an aftermarket scratch plate. The Ampeg handles the (pretty hot) humbuckers very well. I also love the sound with split pickups. It sounds so rough with split coils.
I love the clean channel with split coils. This applies on pretty much all amps, I'm not the biggest fan of humbucker cleans. What I wish it had is more easily overdriven cleans. I run the gain full on the clean channel, but it still remains completely clean even on high volumes. But I can always get an overdrive pedal.
The distortion channel has A LOT more gain. You need to roll the gain to less than 10-o-clock to get a believable overdrive. The distortion channel really is a distortion channel. But don't be alarmed, because this amp truly has all the sounds you can really think of if you just know how to use it.
This amp does metal. It doesn't have the Mesa/Boogie super hi-gain saturated sound, but it has a very deep and heavy sound and heavy distortion. I have yet tried it with some crazy drop tuning, but I have no reason to believe it wouldn't handle it. I play a good variety of music, and so far it hasn't let me down. One problem I have with it is a high frequency hiss on the distortion channel. Even if the gain is only on 13 or 14-o-clock. But if I have understood correctly it's just the speaker that needs to be broken in. // 8
Reliability & Durability: The footswitch was something that bothered me since I got the amp. It's made from I guess aluminum and plastic. It just feels very cheaply made. I'm not afraid it will break in my use, but it's just so tinny and the plastic sides probably wouldn't take hardcore touring. Also when the footswitch is plugged in, when on the clean channel, the distortion channel led stays lit. It's less bright but still lit. No problem with channel switching, but bothers me a little.
The footswitch cable I do love. It's not thin and and easily breakable like many footswitch cables. My band's drummer once stepped on my guitar cable and the amp's jack fell into the amp. I guess the jack wasn't properly tightened. The silver front gets scratched easily. Really bothers my OCD. The tolex covering ripped just a little from the grille bottom on the first day I got it. I don't know how. Not noticeable tho. As a whole, I think it can take some serious gigging. It doesn't feel like it would fall apart if it got bumped to a wall by accident. I would give it a 7.5 if that was an option, but I round it up to 8. // 8
Overall Impression: This amp really supports exploring different musical ideas and styles. It has such a huge variety of tones. The baxandall EQ is maybe my least favorite feature. But I still don't really dislike it. I just personally prefer a classic stacked EQ. If this amp got lost or stolen, I would consider buying another one. Of course, depending on the money I would have in that situation. If I had a good pedal board and money, I would consider other options, such as Fender Blues Junior, Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue, Marshall DSL40C, Mesa/Boogie Studio.22 (used), Vox AC15/30 or Blackstar Club 40.
First I was going to buy the Bugera V55, but the talk about the unreliability and poor built quality of Bugera was pretty off-putting. So I went for the Ampeg GVT. And I'm so glad I did. // 8