logicbdj, on june 06, 2011 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: www.AxeMusic.com
Features: The electric guitar could not exist without some manner of power output to a speaker. Speakers existed before the advent of the electric guitar, but it was the amp circuitry that sealed the deal and made the guitar what it is today. Craftsmen started pushing the envelope with quality amp heads or amp/speaker combos in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, with most Vintage and sought-after electronics emerging from that era. These include the Dumble Overdrive Special ($28, 000+), The Fischer Trainwreck ($18, 000+), and the 1958-'59 Fender Twin ($11, 000+). There are some modern-day classics, including the 1987-89 Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555 Full Stack ($4, 000+) and the 1996-'99 Matchless DC30 ($4, 000+). However, rarity and demand diminish considerably after that. Egnater has stepped up to the plate with their line of amplifier heads and combos, and I recently have used the Rebel-30 head in my home studio. This head is an extension of their award-winning Rebel-20, but with several new features to offer greater flexibility.
I'll begin with the usual features found on many amplifiers, then delve a little deeper on the unique features of this $800 head. There are two channels, one being clean and the other that allows gain for that distorted Drive sound. The clean is very rich in tone, as it should be and the Drive channel delivers a good touch-responsive punch, although not overly raunchy or fuzzy more of a Vintage Drive with a bit of extra graininess to boot. The clean channel has a volume, bass and treble control. The second channel utilizes a treble, bass and midrange EQ; its gain knob is very wide ranging, from subtle to a clear scream. The transition from mild to hard Drive as you turn up the gain is very smooth indeed. This amp has an AC selector Switch to make it compatible with any line voltage in any country. It also has a 315mA Fast Blo fuse to protect the internal amplifier circuits against damage caused by a shorted output tube. There are two speaker cabinet outputs, in case you want to run a pair in stereo, and you can select between a 16, 8 or 4 ohm setting, depending on your cabinet size and number of speakers. And, as with most amp heads, there is an effects send and return. All of the above are usual fare, and all work to full satisfaction and sensitivity. However, the following points are what make this amp head very appealing, particularly for the price.
Both channels boast a "tight" and a "bright" switch. The tight Switch cuts out the deep bass to better balance the tone. Use of this feature would depend on how well your guitar handles the lows whether clean, distorted or using other effects, and whether that response is clear or a bit muddy. I typically use this function to help cut through the mix and to make my low end punchier and more audible through the drums and bass. The bright feature adds high end and sparkle. I find this more effective and useful than turning up the treble to a comparable amount. It really does add sparkle, as Egnater suggests, and has a different characteristic than straight treble. But with the two combined and adjusted (both bright + treble) you can get some very different tones. Both channels have separate knobs to adjust the amp from only 1 watt and up to 30 watts. This allows you to set each channel's power individually! Now, why would you want to do that? For example, the lower the wattage (although you don't hear much if any difference in volume output), the harder the amp will work at a given volume. That means the clean channel experiences a bit of breakup when pushed and the second channel experiences more overdrive and definition/detail in the notes. Both channels have different knobs for a nice clean reverb, which can be turned on or off via the included footswitch (which also doubles as a channel switcher). By adjusting the amount/mix of reverb via the knobs, you can control the amount of reverb to each channel individually. The reverb feature on this amp also has a "spillover" feature, which means no matter the mix level, you get a very natural occurring decay even when switching channels not an abrupt cut-off. The next two features are my favourites. First, besides the usual "standby" switch, to allow silence when not in use, there is a "silent record" option. This means you don't hear anything except where the "record out" XLR balanced line is connected. If connected to a cab, the cab speakers remain silent. In effect, if you have your amp head's line out connected into a mixing board or some other medium, and you are using recording software, you can have your sound coming out of dedicated headphones via the mixer or through monitor speakers. This is a studio musician's dream and a real plus for recording musicians who do not want to mic a cabinet. And you do get great sound results since the frequency response curve of this output very closely mimics the sound of a mic'd speaker cabinet. The next feature is what has been putting Egnater at the forefront for affordable amp heads; it offers a "Tube Mix" of both EL84 and 6V6 tubes, which can be mixed in any combination. You can have 100% EL84, which gives a very British tone (thick and fuller); or you can have 100% 6V6, which gives a more American tone (cleaner and sharper); or you can allow for any mix with the turning knob, e.g., 90% British and 10% American, or 30% British and 70% American, etc. // 9
Sound: My music and compositions lean more toward rock, with some jazz and blues influences, and this amp handles it all mellow to heavy fuzz. I do tend to use the clean channel most of the time, as I use various effects (drive, distortion, etc.), which can sound messy on a Drive channel. The Drive channel does sound respectable, but when you have access to a lot of different gear, you tend to use it. Doing so necessitates a cleaner channel. I have 10 guitars that I use interchangeably and each has a distinct tone through the amp, and for obvious reasons of body constuction, pickups and electronics, and playing style relative to the guitar. With the diversibility of this head, I'm able to tweak the tone as required. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I'm a studio (home based) musician, and so I don't travel with the unit. Having said that, the construction is very solid, and it comes with a heavily padded gig bag for transportation; perhaps a hardshell case would have been a better option for the traveling musician. With it being only six months old, I have had no problems with the unit. // 9
Overall Impression: There are not many drawbacks to this amp, particularly for the price. More features always could be added, and so based on what it does offer the only downfalls would be:
1) The appearance is very retro, with a black and cream coloured covering and a tweed style front and cream buttons. If wanting a more modern look, then this boutique head may not sit well aesthetically.
2) A musician may prefer the response, sound or tonal qualities of a different head (fair enough), although with the tube mix, the tight, bright, EQ functions and variability in wattage output, many different tones and qualities are possible. Some heads are engineered and dedicated to metal, blues, or country players, for example, and so the diverseness may not be quite specific enough for some tastes.
3) When the Tube Mix tone knob is at 12 o'clock (equal mix of both EL84 and 6V6), volume is at its highest (30 watts). But when integrating any mix of the tubes, volume goes down, as low as 20 watts when utilizing 100% of either tube. This may be a problem for some musicians who require the most volume and may not get it when desiring a lot of one tube type and less of another. // 8
Martyr's Prayer, on march 01, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 680
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Features: At first glance, the panel on top of this 1x12 combo looks like a "meat and potatoes" type of interface. It sort of is; Channel 1 (clean) has Treble, Bass, and Volume knobs. Channel 2 (overdrive) has Treble, Middle, Bass, Gain, and Volume. However, upon closer inspection there is an array of useful, tone-shaping controls at the player's disposal. Both channels have a Bright and Tight switch. The Bright switch changes the amp's voicing with a very noticeable high end boost - it is not just a "more treble" button. One can easily distinguish the Bright switch from the Treble knob. The Tight switch is a bit more subtle. It simply takes the fat bottom end and low mids and neatens (tightens! ) them up. Next there is the knob that allows you to switch between - or mix - the EL84 and 6V6 tubes. This is a very effective feature, especially when the amp is being pushed. Beside this are the two variable wattage knobs (one for each channel). At low levels these controls are less noticeable, but like the tube knob they become very apparent at higher volumes. They allow the player the option of playing at anywhere from 1 to 30 watts on either channel. They do effect volume, but mostly effect the texture of the breakup. These are very enjoyable to tweak! Finally, on the rear panel there are separate reverb knobs for each channel. The reverb is digital. It's nothing to write home about but unless you're particular about your reverb, it gets the job done. The Rebel 30 also has an XLR outlet on the rear panel which allows for silent recording via simulated speaker output. I haven't tried this out yet. All in all this amp is packed with good features. They are not marketing gimmicks or bells and whistles to pump up the price tag. Bruce really got it right here with efficient and very practical tools put into a very player friendly package. This amp is a workhorse. // 8
Sound: The tones you can get are versatile. It has lush bottom end for full, yet clear sounding cleans. This bottom end translates smoothly into the high gain spectrum where it provides beefy breakup. For heavier music (metalcore and beyond) the Rebel 30 is a bit too fat, lacking in punch. However a Tube Screamer can easily fix this problem and turn this amp into a metal player's dream. Where it really shines, though, is it's leads. Solos higher up on the neck sound really amazing. Excellent dynamics and attack that personally remind me of John Petrucci. The overdrive channel can be used for some really good crunch sounds and clean breakup that responds very well to rolling back on the guitar's volume knob. SRV, Clapton, B.B. King are all here. Overall I think the sound of the Rebel 30 can be summed up in one word: rich. There's a lot of tone to be had through this amp whichever way you tweak it. I personally recommend a Tube Screamer pedal for high gain sounds. // 7
Reliability & Durability: I haven't had the amp long at all. It definitely seems to be constructed well. There is easy access to the tubes. I'll leave this at a neutral 5. // 5
Overall Impression: I play alternative metal/rock and blues, and this amp is perfect for both. It has a lot of features - all useful - and a lot of good sounds to be had. That having been said, this isn't an amp where you can dial in a tone in a few seconds. It can take a while to coordinate every knob and switch to find that sound you're looking for. If you're looking for an amp that won't break the bank but will deliver dynamic, rich, and diverse sounds, and that has all the practical features a gigging player could want, you can't go wrong with the Rebel 30. It even has looks to die for. // 9
KingsOfRonin, on december 01, 2010 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 784
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features: I bought this amp brand new at Guitar Center with a 15% off coupon. Since then I've fallen completely head over heels. Not only for the Rebel 30 but with Egnater Amplification in general.
As far as features go, I could tell just from online reviews that this amp was COMPLETELY PACKED with features. It's got almost everything someone would need. 2 channels, EQ's for both channels, external speaker out, silent recording out, reverb controls for each seperate channel, power attenuater from 1 to the full 30 watts, tube selection knob that goes from 6V6's to EL84's, a free footswitch...the list just goes on and on.
The only reason I cannot give this amp a 10 for features is a lack of density and presence controls. There also isn't a mid control for the clean channel, but my MXR 10 Band EQ pedal compensates for that quite easily. // 9
Sound: Ok. This is where the real meat of the amp is.
For guitars, I've used a Fender Baja Tele which has had the bridge replaced with a Seymour Duncan Little '59, and a Gibson Les Paul Studio with stock pickups. Without a doubt, this amp has taken both and given me everything I could EVER want to play. I've played folk, alternative, shoegaze, progressive rock, hard rock, and metal with this amp and it does them all wonderfully.
For the clean channel, I use my MXR 10 Band EQ pedal to spike the mids a little because the amp automatically starts scooping mids when you go above 12 o'clock on Bass and Treble. This amp puts out one of the most beautiful cleans you will ever hear. It's not Fender style, but it's very similar and with a twist. A twist that I ended up liking more. Not everyone will like the twist, but for those like me, I could never consider using another amp for clean sounds. It's got headroom for days so you can sound clean for days at HUGE volumes. A lot of people I know like to turn the Tube selection to the 6v6 side for their clean channel and I stand behind it. It sounds much better than the EL84 side. I also use a Fulltone OCD on the clean channel to bring me my solo channel. It gives me scorching overdrive with unparalleled note clarity. It's a beauty to behold.
The distortion channel on this little amp is also completely brilliant. Nothing about it sounds cheap even in the slightest. I use a seperate MXR 10 band for the distortion channel which takes me from the amps normal hard rock'ish distortion, all the way to an awesome brutal metal sound. Since I own the combo version of this amp, I am considering getting a 2x12 extension to give me the little more low end I need to get the br00tz down the way I want them. The br00tz this amp puts out by itself (without an EQ) are quite lacking, so I definitely recommend an EQ to bring it over the top. The MXR 10 band gives me just enough extra gain to pull off some devestating br00t sounds. But like I said, it's lacking just a little low end. On the EL84 side of the tube selection it's very marshall-esque. I bought the new Boss Power Stack distortion pedal to hopefully compensate the lack of a low end, but it only gave me more gain and some feedback issues so I took it back.
The amp's 30 watts is louder than any other 30 watt amp I've played. Including the Vox 30CC2 and the Orange Dual Terror/AD30. It's even louder than the 50w Peavey Valveking 112 combo I used to have. I have to keep the master under 10 o' clock to avoid busting windows in my house, and I use it at about 9 o'clock during band practice. // 10
Reliability & Durability: The amp is heavy as a rock, and is about as durable as one. The tolex on the amp tears quite easily as I already have 2 tears in mine so be careful! Other than that, I haven't had a single problem and I honestly doubt I ever will. The combo version comes with a slip on cover with a space for the handle. Use it! // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, this amp is an absolute dream. For anyone with a lower end tube amp, this is a huge improvment. For anyone with a great tube amp that's essentially a one trick pony, I imagine this would be something you should look into for some versatility. For clean sounds, the amp can't be beat. For distortion, this little guy can hold his own too.
The main negative on this amp, I believe is the price point. If you're looking for amp heads, this amp sits at only $200 below the Egnater Renegade which is essentially a much better amp. The Rebel 30 does cleans better, but the Renegade owns the rebel in just about every other way. In which case, I'd strongly recommend you just save up for the renegade, but since I had the 15% off coupon, the choice was quite easy to make. After tax and all, the combo amp went from $975 to $784. I also wanted the combo, because I hate dealing with lugging a 100 lb.+ 4x12 to practice and gigs, and this amp does not lack what so ever in volume. I'll end up getting the 2x12 extension for gigs, but for home use and band practice this thing rawks. Buy it. You won't regret it. I know if mine got stolen I'd get it replaced with exactly the same thing. Egnater just needs to lower the price a bit to make it more marketable. // 9