changeling93305, on june 26, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 125
Purchased from: CL
Features: Clarification this review is for the 20 watt combo which is essentially the same as the stack. Features are pretty standard for a straight forward low wattage tube amp. The precense gives you a bit of tone shaping ability. The most redeeming feature about this amp, is the quality reverb it has. Even with it all the way up it sounds very natural and not overpowering. To me it sounded better than pedals used on others amps that are better than this amp. // 7
Sound: This is the most important and where this amp really falls short. It's been a hobby of mine to buy low watt tube amps when I find a deal on them. Even if I later trade them or sell them it is fun toy to experiment with. I got this one for 125$ nearly half the price of it's used value. However my review will be based on the sound quality of it's retail value. This amp to me sounds cheap and thin. The distortion is similar to a Bugera Vintage series tube amp (another inexpensive tube amp maker) where instead of sounding crunchy and crisp or beefy and dark it sounds fizzy, when you turn the gain up higher you never really get a well defined distortion it is more of a fizzy fuzzy sound.
That's a harsh judgment on this amp but I feel it is fair because I have owned many small comparable amps that cost just as little and sound worlds better. The reverb almost makes this amp interesting because it is a very good reverb. I had to turn the bass up to maximum on this and it still lacked that fat deep tube sound that a player chooses tube over solid state for. A Blackheart Little Giant sounded much much thicker and louder. Vox Night Train, Orange TT, and Marshall Class 5 blow this away in every regard.
One thing people ask about these amps is "is it loud enough to gig with". This amp at 20 watts doesn't have alot of power. The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe at 30 watts is louder on 2 then this amp is on 6-7. I think it sounds more like a 5 watt valve amp but with more clean headroom than a 5 watter. The Champ in this class by my experience has been the 15watt Egnater tweaker. Taste and preference may steer your towards Vox, Marshall, Orange. Which are also good amps. Another thing I noticed is the EQ does not make as drastic and wide a difference in tone then many other amps I have played. I would lump this JCA amp right up there with Bugera and Behringer in terms of sound quality. If you Drive it really hard with a good guitar and a poor cable it might even be able to sing made in china to you, I don't know why Soldano wants to have his name attached to this amp. // 6
Reliability & Durability: The appearance is top notch. Good eminence speaker, decent specs. I have not had it long but I would suspect it's decently built amp in terms of dependability. // 8
Overall Impression: I dislike it except for the reverb which does stand out to me. The reason I recommend against it because of the price to sound quality ratio. I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on great boutique amps, and I through bartering over the years have found some great gems out there between 200-500$ on tube amps and this is definitely not one of them. A 7 is a fair score for this amp it's not completely terrible but keep in mind, why buy a 7 when in the same price range you can find a nine or a ten. As for styles of music and appropriateness of this amp for a certain genre or style. That doesn't really feel relevant to me here. If you play blues, rock, country, hard rock your gonna run into same limitations with this amp regardless. In closing this is the advice I would give a consumer looking to research buying a good amp at this price point and wattage. Avoid this one and look at Vox Night Train, Egnater Tweaker (my favorite), Orange Tiny Terror (more expensive but sweet sounding), a Marshall Class 5, a Blackheart amp (overachievers for their price). I would even go so far as to say the Vyper, Mustang, and Spider modeling amps have certain a certain appeal because of their low price and high feature ratio. // 7
edisonsexybeast, on august 24, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 220
Purchased from: Craigslist.
Features: I Bought this amp used from some guy on Craigslist for only 220, which was definitely a steal. I generally play rock, hard rock, and rock. There is only one channel on this amp, which kinda sucks but I can control the gain with my volume knob on my guitar which works. However I do wish there was an effects loop but the Reverb is definitely nice, not too overpowering a very subtle effect that helps make my sound fuller. I generally use the amp at home and occasional jams with friends quite loud, I never turn it up past 4. // 9
Sound: I play through a 1978 Fender Mustang and the two are an aweeesome combo. I usually use a HardWire CM-2 to boost the overdrive as well and it is amazing. However a downside is once I turn the gain up past 6 (only goes up to 9) it gets slightly noisy well I guess that's normal with amps anyways. For some reason, people don't like the clean sound of the amp, I LOVE IT. It is very clear and very full and with the gain knob at around five with the pickups on my Mustang, it's on the edge of breakup and Perfect for "Little Wing". Sounds absolutely beautiful. // 9
Reliability & Durability: It's quite a big amp for a 1x12 combo, huge Cab. Sort of on the bulky side and heavy but it means it is probably very durable and probably can take a hell of a beating. // 9
Overall Impression: I play Rock. Yeup rock. I've been playing for about 2 years now and it was an upgrade from a piece of crap Fender Frontman 15 watt practice amp. Now my Mustang can finally sound the way it should sound. It it were stolen I would probably buy another one. Awesome especially for the price I got it for. // 9
snshami, on november 13, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: A$ 300
Purchased from: Thomman DE
Features: Single channel, distortion, three channel EQ, Reverb, on off switch, what more do you need. Made in 2010. Totally versatile. One of the nicest sounds for for rock, blues, clean, whatever you throw at it. I wish it had an internal loop and a second channel then it would be perfect.
The best tube amp for the money, even twice or thrice the money. If it cost me $500 it would get an 8. At the price I paid its a solid 10. // 10
Sound: I play three types of guitar from a metal monster Schecter to a made for blues Vintage Strat. I play all types of music, whatever I am in the mood for. This amp does it all. In my mind its the best amp I ever had. Its sound is to die for, from the lovely cleans to the buttery smooth distortion to the thundering metal sounds. Total tonal nirvana. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Never broken down. Its a sturdy case. I bought it online and the box looked like an elephant had done a dance on it. The amp had a few dents but it plays perfectly and has ever since. // 10
Overall Impression: I love this amp over a Vox AC30, a Mesa Boogies Rectifier and a Marshall Class 5. The only other amp I have played that I love equally is the Ibanez Tube screamer. For the money there is nothing on this planet or the next that touches it.