120w Master Volume Unit Review

manufacturer: Electric Amp USA date: 03/11/2009 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Electric Amp USA: 120w Master Volume Unit
This amp is a hand built, hand wired monstrocity that's a direct throwback to early 1970s era Matamps. This amp does 70s era rock and proto-metal tones.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 9.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 10 
 Users rating:
 8.3 
 Votes:
 12 
review (1) pictures (3) 22 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
120w Master Volume Unit Reviewed by: some_dude_2, on march 11, 2009
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 2230

Purchased from: Electric Amp USA

Features: This amp is a hand built, hand wired monstrocity that's a direct throwback to early 1970s era Matamps. This amp does 70s era rock and proto-metal tones. If you want something versitle that'll cop a hundred different tones look elsewhere. If you want a modern sounding amp with a tight bottom end look elsewhere. If you want to sound like Metallica look elsewhere. If you want the fattest, raunchiest sounding amp you've ever heard. You might like this amp. If you like Sleep, Hellfire, Orange Goblin, Bongzilla. Stuff like that, you might like this amp. This amp has one channel. It breaks up very early, and doesn't really like doing clean if your guitar's volume is maxed out. It excels at overdrive, and will do it very early. It'll also do a very fuzzy distortion. If you want excellent clean tones, check out Electric's 6 knob non master volume version. The 7 knob master volume is mean to break up, and it does it like a champ. The Deep knob has 4 positions and is like the F.A.C. On old Orange heads, so you can adjust how big and loose the bottom end is. On position 2 it sounds the most like a guitar amp and is a little tighter. On position 4 it has so much bottom end it sounds more like a big ass Fuzz Face, with a loose bottom end to suit. The amp comes with a post phase inverter master volume. The result is that even when you turn down the volume you're still overdriving the phase inverter. This makes the amp sound a touch muddy at very low volumes, but at moderately loud volumes it makes the overdrive sound more natural and less buzzy than a typical Marshall style pre phase inverter master volume. Beyond that, this amp has no extra features beyond a slave out. There's no FX loop, no switchable anything. If you want versitily, learn to use your guitar's volume and tone knobs. // 10

Sound: If you're a fan of Sleep you'll like the sound of this amp. If you've never heard of Sleep, stop reading this review and go buy their album. If you don't like Sleep, stop reading my review and go buy an accoustic and some girls jeans. I'm using a pair of Les Pauls (one has P90s and the other's using humbuckers). This amp is geared towards old school guitar tones of the 1970s Vintage. Big and fat, kinda loose sounding. Turns fuzz boxes into monsters. I play stoner rock and sludge metal (Corrosion of Conformity, Electric Wizard, Crowbar, Saint Vitus, Kyuss). If you're a fan of Stoner, Sludge or Doom Metal, this amp is primo for this kinda stuff. The amp is sort of like a Vintage Orange OD-120, but with much more available gain (think of a JCM800). The gain is very raw and much more fuzzy than what you'd expect if you're used to JCM800s, but that's what's cool about it. Myself, I run the amp semi-dirty and slam it with a Fuzz Face or a Tonebender. Sounds huge. Your Mom will hate it. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This amp has no cheap parts in it. The transformers are huge Mercury Magnetics. The chassis is solid. The guts are wired to pressed in turret tracks. Pots and tube sockets mounted direct to the chassis. No PCB anywhere. When my amp tech opened this thing up he was amazed. He said that in over 30 years of repairing amps he's never seen an amp built this solid. He figures I could launch this thing down a flight of stairs and the only thing I'd need to replace are the tubes. Due to the construction, if the amp ever does break down it'll be an easy repair as all the components are easily accessable to the tech. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said, I play mostly Stoner and Sludge Metal. I've been playing for a long time, and have gravitated from a Dual Rectifier, Laney GH100TI, to Orange (AD140 and Rockerverb 50) to this. I've moved away from high gain and now prefer to use high volume and massive tone to get my point across. The amp has performed beyond my expectations, but it's not as simple as it seems. There's a learning curve to getting the most out of this amp as it's so old school, fat and loose sounding that you need to rethink how you play certain things. If it were lost or stolen I'd replace it as fast as I could. // 10

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