#1
Someone ****ed up, while I'd like to blame it on Guitar Center, it's more likely UPS's fault. 3-day shipping typically means three business days. Not two ****ing weeks. Regardless, the UPS guy came today with a package. It was indeed my amp, poorly packaged in a GC box that was way too big thrown in there with 4 foam corner pads that were used to pad sides. Imagine this....

##amp## where the #'s are the foam corners (obviously not on the corners). I would typically lol at whoever packaged this thing had it not been my amp. But whatever. Incompetent boob...

Onto the actual amp. It was probably a demo or floor model. I personally don't really care, I paid $270 for it. Seeing that I'm about to drop $900 on medical school primaries alone, I'm a little desensitized to how much things cost these days.



It's a JCA20H. I bought it on impulse about two weeks ago figuring that I couldn't really go wrong with $270.

Anyway I know these get deleted without an indepth review or clip so here are my initial impressions as well as a brief clip (courtesy of my phone)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsv6fR-34_w

The amp sounds like a mini-Marshall with a more modern voicing and more gain. I'm not going to say it sounds like an SLO or anything, because it doesn't, but I do like it and honestly, I don't think you're going to get a better sounding amp for this price. I like it more than the Night Train and I like it more than the Tiny Terror. But ymmv. I have heard a lot of people saying the amp sounds thin, but I'm not hearing it. Keep in mind I'm running the head through a quad of old greenbacks, not the stock 1x12 cab. Ymmv. My JTM45 makes this thing sound like a toy, but that is also not a fair comparison. It is definitely good for just practicing around on and it actually gets fairly loud. I could gig with this thing. It can get really buzzy and fizzy with the gain cranked, I don't know what it sounds like cranked up yet because its 1 am and I don't want to cause a ruckus, but I will do this first thing in the morning. But just based on first impressions, I think its something that I'll have to definitely play around with and get a feel for. It seems like it covers the ranges of blues to classic rock to '80s metal pretty well.

I am however very surprised by the quality, the cabinet is sturdy, the front panel feels high quality, the knobs are smooth and the transformers in this thing are actually pretty big. Overall, I think its something that you should try before you buy to make sure the sound does it for you, because I feel like its not going to be for everybody.

Family picture:
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 2, 2010,
#2
nice feet white boy.
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#4
totally agree with your review. mikey soldano does not eff around.
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#5
you have hobbit feet
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#6
nice!

i was disappointed when i read that only the 100W head had a SLO overdrive channel in it and the other smaller amps doesn't have the SLO OD channel built into it

can you fight the fizzyness when you crank it up by turning down the treble? or even moving your tone knob down (this is under the assumption i know what fizz is :P higher frequencies cause it...)
#7
The 50 watter has the SLO overdrive channel on it. But the 20 watter and pico-valve don't. To me its not a big deal, I don't really need that much gain, the most gain that I'm personally ever going to use is probably Van Halen level and this amp will can cover that.

I had trouble dialing out the fizziness at the volumes I was playing this amp at. It was running at 2, which was the loudest I felt comfortable playing without disturbing anyone else in the house. The room is soundproofed, but the floor is not, so people downstairs can still hear. I think once I start bumping the master volume up more, the fizz will start to disappear, but I wasn't running either the treble or presence particularly high. Rolling off the tone on my guitar changes the attack too much so I don't typically like to do that to get rid of fizziness.
#9
I love the swells in that song. I wish I could do them better on a les paul, the bridge volume knob is too far away. One of the few times I wish I had a superstrat. But thanks!
#10
Happy New Amp Day!

I just got done watching the clip, and I have to say I'm loving the tone; I'm sure it's much better in person though. Great playing too.

EDIT: What's the name of the song, if you don't mind me asking? Thanks in advance.
Last edited by juckfush at Jul 2, 2010,
#11
First song was Free's "All Right Now," second was Van Halen's "Somebody Get Me a Doctor."

Thanks though! the amp does sound better in person, but I was actually kind if impressed that my phone managed to capture it as well as it did.
#14
the 20 is based on the old atomic 16's overdrive. the 50 and the 100 are based on the avenger 50 and avenger 100. Well based on is what they say but it's more likely that they are avenger 50s and avenger 100s in the main circuit with cheaper transformers, and parts plus outsourced labor savings. The avenger is 1800 built in the usa...the jca is 800...1000 difference sounds just about right for made in china vs made in usa.
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#15
Very nice! Looks very pretty atop your marshall stack.
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#16
sweet
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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#17
Hnad

I have a BB storm and was surprised at how much better the videos sounded on my phone than using my digital Camera.
If you start a reply with: I have never played one but I have heard good things about it! Your opinion is invalid.
#18
Quote by AcousticMirror
the 20 is based on the old atomic 16's overdrive. the 50 and the 100 are based on the avenger 50 and avenger 100. Well based on is what they say but it's more likely that they are avenger 50s and avenger 100s in the main circuit with cheaper transformers, and parts plus outsourced labor savings. The avenger is 1800 built in the usa...the jca is 800...1000 difference sounds just about right for made in china vs made in usa.



great info, really big thx for sharing this i can understand why they wont share this but its just odd that they say it has a soldano design OD channel on the 50/100 amps but not their smaller ones.
#19
well the big ones are 6l6 based like the slo the 20 is el84 based like the astroverb and atomic16.
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#20
O: whoa that's friggin' nice. and for $270..... almost makes me regret my HT-5...
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#22
Quote by Lekz
O: whoa that's friggin' nice. and for $270..... almost makes me regret my HT-5...
HT-5 is a great amp in itself. After playing with the JCA more, I think it fills a different niche altogether. The HT-5 is something to be used for low volume playing and practicing. The JCA is just a low wattage amp, but its not for quieter playing or recording. The tone is all in its volume. I finally revved this thing up today and I realized that this thing NEEDS to be turned to 10. All the tones that I was missing with this amp come out when the amp is turned up. The thin-ness and fizziness all completely disappear when the master is cranked up. With the master on 10 and the gain on 4-5, it sounds like all those classic Free recordings, it has that 3-d quality to the sound that comes only from a cranked tube amp. Freaking awesome. Now listening to the amp at lower volumes. It sounds flat, one-dimensional, buzzy and tinny. I know these amps get asked about and talked about a lot on these forums and not too many people own them so to break it down a little...

With the master on 10 and gain at:

3 - Free,
5 - Zeppelin, ZZ Top
7 - Schenker, late-'80s Van Hagar

any more gain than that and the tone starts getting muddy and loses its texture.

Seriously check these out guys, and bring your ear plugs! I have a digital camera lying around somewhere that has a limiter on the microphone. Both my macbook pro and phone distort at the volumes that I've been playing at, but I want to get a clip of this thing cranked up asap. Basically with a set of Wolfetone PAF replicas, while running with gain running at 7 or so and the volume cranked through some old greenbacks, it sounds EXACTLY like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V48htMGzTno

Not the early, highly coveted VH1 Brown sound, but still a killer tone. This thing should cost more than what I paid for it.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 2, 2010,
#23
Quote by iampeter
nice!

i was disappointed when i read that only the 100W head had a SLO overdrive channel in it and the other smaller amps doesn't have the SLO OD channel built into it

can you fight the fizzyness when you crank it up by turning down the treble? or even moving your tone knob down (this is under the assumption i know what fizz is :P higher frequencies cause it...)


Clipping/disotortion effectively create new harmonics for crazy reasons involving the fourier series I won't go into.

Basically, even if you roll down the volume knob entirely, it's still possible to have some degree of fizz - because the fizz is being created by the amp to begin with. High frequencies are basically when the amplitude changes very rapidly. When clipping occurs; it gets more and more like a square wave which theoretically has infinite harmonics(oops, fourier series stuff, never mind).

Of course you never hear a pure square wave from a guitar amp. Square waves are probably the most commonly used waveforms on synths, however they're always filtered because of their harshness. Similar, no pure square waves will come through a guitar amp because of the limited range speaker, among other things. But there can still be enough harmonics to sound fizzy.

Basically because harmonics are coming from the distortion, not the guitar, rolling down the tone knob will generally not be very effective(though still better than not doing so).

If you ever notice, pre EQ sections always tend to be much weaker than Post, they're just more complex tone knobs.
#24
Quote by iampeter
great info, really big thx for sharing this i can understand why they wont share this but its just odd that they say it has a soldano design OD channel on the 50/100 amps but not their smaller ones.


They do say designed by Soldano. The only one that shouldn't is the Pico Valve whenever it comes out since it was designed my Andy Marshall from THD.
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#25
i've only played the jc20c, and i suspect that the stock speaker in the combo may not be the best match for the amp. it didn't sound bad, just not that stellar or mind blowing.

i bet playing the head through a good cab like drew's could be a different story.
#26
Greg, the amp is a little bit uninspiring at lower volumes, even through a good cab. At first I thought it was just ok until i heard this amp cranked up. It REALLY needs to played loud to get the most out of it, if your store sells these, I'd take one into a soundproof room or somewhere where you can turn the volume to 10, put in some ear plugs and let this thing rip, it literally breathes fire. I'm going to try to get another clip up.
#27
Quote by GURREN LAGANN
Clipping/disotortion effectively create new harmonics for crazy reasons involving the fourier series I won't go into.

Basically, even if you roll down the volume knob entirely, it's still possible to have some degree of fizz - because the fizz is being created by the amp to begin with. High frequencies are basically when the amplitude changes very rapidly. When clipping occurs; it gets more and more like a square wave which theoretically has infinite harmonics(oops, fourier series stuff, never mind).

Of course you never hear a pure square wave from a guitar amp. Square waves are probably the most commonly used waveforms on synths, however they're always filtered because of their harshness. Similar, no pure square waves will come through a guitar amp because of the limited range speaker, among other things. But there can still be enough harmonics to sound fizzy.

Basically because harmonics are coming from the distortion, not the guitar, rolling down the tone knob will generally not be very effective(though still better than not doing so).

If you ever notice, pre EQ sections always tend to be much weaker than Post, they're just more complex tone knobs.


you win I give up.

@everyone else. The fizz is caused by preamp tubes over-saturating before the power tubes. What you're hearing there is any part of the preamp tube signal that hasn't properly entered power tube amplification. The orange tt does this too. That's another amp that has to be turned up to 10 to get going.

If ben takes a peek here he can verify that the Ktre does this as well. If you turn the volume to zero and turn the gain all the way up, it's a pure wall of smooth smooth fizz that starts to break up as soon the volume is turned up and the phase inverter allows a proper signal to the power amp stage.

Al that seems on par with mike's design 3 12ax7s one being the pi, leaves at least 2 to 3 gain stages which will definitely fizz out if the gain is dimed and the master is set really low. A pair of properly cooked el84s is an awesome sound. The ht5 was admittedly designed by blackstar to be a studio/practice amp. In a lot of the early literature they said it was't meant for gigging at all. The atomic 16/astroverb were always meant to be low wattage gigging amps.
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#28
Quote by al112987
Greg, the amp is a little bit uninspiring at lower volumes, even through a good cab. At first I thought it was just ok until i heard this amp cranked up. It REALLY needs to played loud to get the most out of it, if your store sells these, I'd take one into a soundproof room or somewhere where you can turn the volume to 10, put in some ear plugs and let this thing rip, it literally breathes fire. I'm going to try to get another clip up.

oh we don't need no sound proof rooms.

we just turn the cab towards the wall and rip away. it's a guitar dept, if it's not loud we're doing it wrong. we encourage people to crank it, whatever it is, all the time. the rest of the people in the dept either buy fast and run out, or gather around a spend more time shopping so it's a win either way.

also, we have not had one of these amps come back or have an issue. not one, and we've sold at least 6 in our store in as many months. that's not the case with more mfgs than you think, it ain't just boogers, a lot of amps come with problems. some are just better at it. but that has not been the case so far with jet city. fwiw.

i'll try it again through a proper cab, we have a krank 4x12 that should do well.
#29
Quote by mmolteratx
They do say designed by Soldano. The only one that shouldn't is the Pico Valve whenever it comes out since it was designed my Andy Marshall from THD.



design by soldano as in new design or one based off of his own previous design? if it was like based off soldano amplification it would be obvious i think.

i assumed that the entry level JCAs were of soldano design(not based of anything he made before) and the 50/100 be based on just the OD of his flagship(which was not the case apparently!)

im glad that theres info like this out there, i did some minor googling and didn't see anything like that pop out(wasn't really looking though...)

i think JCA has a great plan to offer those boutique amps with china manufacturing for lower prices tho. as long as they dont make the mistake saying its the same as what it was based off of, they should be gold.


Quote by AC
@everyone else. The fizz is caused by preamp tubes over-saturating before the power tubes. What you're hearing there is any part of the preamp tube signal that hasn't properly entered power tube amplification. The orange tt does this too. That's another amp that has to be turned up to 10 to get going.


got it, i wonder if this applies to modeling setups... going to test
#30
Quote by iampeter
design by soldano as in new design or one based off of his own previous design? if it was like based off soldano amplification it would be obvious i think.

i assumed that the entry level JCAs were of soldano design(not based of anything he made before) and the 50/100 be based on just the OD of his flagship(which was not the case apparently!)

im glad that theres info like this out there, i did some minor googling and didn't see anything like that pop out(wasn't really looking though...)

i think JCA has a great plan to offer those boutique amps with china manufacturing for lower prices tho. as long as they dont make the mistake saying its the same as what it was based off of, they should be gold.


All of the current offerings are based off of Soldano amps. The 50/100 are based off of the Hot Rod 50/100 respectively. The JCA20 is based off of the Atomic 16. The combo version is based off of the Astroverb 16 which is the Atomic 16 w/ reverb. The Pico Valve which should be released soon is based off of the THD Univalve designed by Andy Marshall.

Like AM said, they're made with cheaper parts and Chinese labor that equals a huge savings for the consumer. While they are constructed differently with different parts, from what Greg and others I've talked to have said, they are just as reliable. When playing them in the store, I thought they were built very solidly. They're definitely a strong contender in the budget guitar gear market. I'd take one over a Bugera any day.
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#31
I'd like to see the inside of the 100 and the 50 actually. I've read some interviews with mike and at some points he seems to say that the 100 and the 50 are avenger 100s and 50s but built machine built in china as opposed to hand built in seattle.
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#32
IIRC there's one of the 50 on the Jet City Facebook page.
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#34




hmmmm

note: not a scientist.

dissect!
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#35
You could probably post it over on the Music Electronics forum and someone could trace it fairly quickly. If they were bigger I might even be able to do it.

I see a few differences already, there are a few extra film/poly and electrolytic caps in the Jet City but they may just be rated lower to they have to run them in series to save money. The two relays aren't present in the real Soldano. Some say the resistors will make a difference in tone but I've never bothered to test it. The Jet City should have a lower noise floor because of them though.

EDIT: I don't see the disc cap in the real Soldano in the Jet City either but depending on the value they could have swapped it for a film/poly one. Or they could have just left it out, I assume it's a bright cap. The pots look much nicer in the Soldano as well. Is that the whole board for the Soldano?
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Jul 3, 2010,
#36
Ya it is the whole board for the soldano on the bottom. I forgot to say earlier cuz I was inside my amp when I posted but that's a 100watt el34 avenger so a few things are going to be different.

the soldano's pots and circuit board are definitely higher quality.
also keep in mind that the jca100 is 2 channel with a reverb while the soldano is only 1

i think the layout is similar enough to say that the one is definitely based on or very similar to the other from a circuit perspective.
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#37
You don't need to run the master on 10 to get rid of the fizziness. I run my master on 6 and the gain on 5 at full band volume. There is no fizz.
#38
totally agree about this amp sounding better when cranked. tried one out in a soundproof room (more to keep the other sound out) and the thing is delicious when running hot. it does sound a little thin when at lower volumes imo, but still sounds pretty good.

glad to see someone else has one and likes it