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#1
It has been six months since I sent off my Soldano to Matamp in Yorkshire to design me a cabinet perfectly matched to the sonic delight that is the Hotrod Avenger 50 head. However, in all that time, my concern grew and grew, for my tastes in music and sound had changed quite drastically since initially buying it... but oh how foolish I was to doubt Mike, Jeff and even myself.

Here are a few pictures before the review begins.







Review:

This is a single channel, twin-valve machine of high-gain goodness. It runs on 5881 / 6L6's and these strange, wonderful creations known as preamp valves. (Don't ask what brand / type - I have no ****ing idea). It contains a basic EQ section, global presence and depth knobs, a master volume and a second volume that controls the amount of distortion the amp produces. It also has a basic effects loop.

Regarding the sounds... well, I'm very busy at the moment so I won't go into huge detail, but it sounds phenomenal. I remember playing it in the shop and thinking, "yeah, this is tasty" - but I couldn't crank it - and after pushing this thing hard (12 o'clock on the master volume) I found a completely different amp. It was just so chunky, I could not believe my ears. Really. My grin is still hanging five hours later.

And the clean tones are remarkably better than I remembered (maybe it's the speakers). If I push the master volume to it's limit, control the gain with the preamp pot and take advantage of the "low" input, I am rewarded with a very thick and spanky clean tone. It is more than capable of handling gigs, and sounds particularly sweet when I put my Reverb, Vibrato and Delay pedal in the series FX loop. It isn't particularly bright, but that's what the presence and treble knob is for.

The effects loop is a little noisy, as is the amp, but that's to be expected. I'll probably pick up an MXR gate and silence the hum a tad.

The cabinet is something to behold, truly. It was designed specifically for the Soldano and is incredibly thick, no doubt adding to the 'chunk' of the sound. I am incredibly grateful to Matamp for their efforts. All minor problems we had between us have been resolved and we are all good friends once more. I'll hopefully shop with them again very soon.

In short, I am mind-numbingly happy.
#2
Next up is my new pedalboard, replacing my old, very basic one.

The board itself was handmade by a small British company known as a Wilton Pedal Boards. I bought it from an eBay auction, in which they had old stock going for stupidly cheap prices.

The pedals are a Valvette Custom Drive...

- This is another small boutique brand based in the UK that sounds wonderful through my Soldano. It's incredibly chunky, making it ideal for stoner/doom metal, but has a bright switch that may become incredibly useful if you're having a little trouble cutting through the mix. I also bought it from eBay cheaply. It was old stock that had slight marks in the paintwork.



... a Malekko Chicklet Reverb...

- This was bought alongside the Malekko Ekko 616 directly from Josh at Malekko. He was very kind in helping me avoid paying the ridiculous fees that customs often charge. I still had to pay €20, but that's nothing really. Regarding the tone, both before or 'behind' the amp, this little reverb sounds excellent. It is quite thin in nature, but that helps it cut through remarkebly well. I've often found darker reverbs to sit improperly in the mix of a band, even though they were awesome for recording. It's not exactly versatile, but that comes with the size and price. The quality is pretty good. The knobs are a little loose - which is disconcerting - but Josh tells me that's their design. Yep, really nice pedal.



... Malekko Vibrato...

- This was also from Omicron range Malekko have recently produced, and it sounds amazing. The warble is just downright stunning, and it's surprisingly versatile. I've managed to coax some very delicate and convincing chorus sounds from this little yellow beauty. Little else needs to be said regarding it. Maybe I should mention that, unless you run it at 12v (something I'm now able to do), there is a slight 'cut' in volume. I'm not particularly bothered by it, I have a booster pedal for that. Speaking of which.



... Freakshow FX #9...

- I bought this on a whim from a small, awesome company in New York known as Prymaxe Vintage Guitars. Their service was top-notch, and they have an excellent repertoire of merchandise. The pedal is very straight-forward - it provides a little compression, a little grit, and a medium output boost. It's perfect for adding depth and clarity to a nasty signal. It also happens to be quite collectable and hard to find, and looks stunning.



... Devi Ever Disaster Fuzz...

- This is probably the most versatile fuzz than Devi Ever have produced from their miniature line. It has wonderful compression and, when used properly, can effectively create layers upon layers of lush - or evil - fuzz. It also happens to be quite difficult to use at times. One day it will sound one way; another day it will sound another. It very much depends on what guitar you're running into it and what amp you're running into it, too. I thought about selling it since it's so evil and unpredictable, but every time I use it, I'm reminded of how awesome it is.



... Malekko Ekko 616...

- I am very pleased with this unpredictable, wild and abusively bright delay pedal. I love how it so easily falls away into self-oscillation, and I love the way it offers insane modulation. I really feel like I need another delay since this was lacks the versatility I require, but until I can afford a Skreddy Echo and Empress VM Superdelay, this is staying where it is. Really awesome.



I also had a Lovepdal Babyface Tremolo that is now in the process of being sold to a guy in Germany. Thanks to Ben for giving me a thumbs up on The Gear Page. The pedal was awesome, just not versatile and tweak-able enough for me. I'm replacing it with a Diamond Tremolo.
Last edited by AngryGoldfish at Jul 16, 2010,
#5
A wild Solando appears!

HNAD!
Gear:
Ibanez RG4EXFM1
Peavey 5150II All Tube 120w Head
Avatar contemporary 2x12 (Celestion v30's)
Peavey Vypyr 15w (Fantastic Practice Amp!!!)

Got Djent?
#8
Wohooo!

Soldano ftw though, I really want a SLO, but well i guess the only thing that can beat a SLO is a SLO build right? Can't wait
#11
Quote by forsaknazrael
That's pretty cool that they custom built a cab for your amp!

Can we see more details of the cab construction? I shall steal company secretzz
John, how do you mean?

AM, **** yes.
#12
HNAD, looks like a really sweet amp!
Quote by AcousticMirror
Never heard of these amps.

Can do metal like a bugera?

Pfff, needs more channels to even begin to compete.
Gear:
- Bugera 333
- VJ & VJ cab
- Jackson JS30
- TS9

Bugera Users Militia. We are horrible people. With a sprinkler fetish.
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#14
Quote by AngryGoldfish
John, how do you mean?

AM, **** yes.


....I dunno.....they don't sell these on amazon. I don't think they are very popular. Fear factory doesn't even use them.


teeheeeheeeeee. snort. Sorry. I was making a joke. Fear factory is the ugliest band I've ever seen.


Do you put most of your fx through the loop? You can have the fx loop modded so that you can take it out of the circuit when you aren't using it.

The noise of the loop is due to where Mike placed it although it might be different in the hr then the slo. I've read about mods that moved it to the end of the preamp stage for good effect. I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's stuck in the middle of nowhere as is.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#15
It's all so beautiful... especially that Tele.

Congrats dude.
I have a huge fear if rays.
#16
HNAD and all that but what speakers are in it?
Gilchrist custom
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#17
Quote by AcousticMirror
....I dunno.....they don't sell these on amazon. I don't think they are very popular. Fear factory doesn't even use them.


teeheeeheeeeee. snort. Sorry. I was making a joke. Fear factory is the ugliest band I've ever seen.


Do you put most of your fx through the loop? You can have the fx loop modded so that you can take it out of the circuit when you aren't using it.

The noise of the loop is due to where Mike placed it although it might be different in the hr then the slo. I've read about mods that moved it to the end of the preamp stage for good effect. I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's stuck in the middle of nowhere as is.
I know you're joking. Don't worry.

Yeah, I put the vibrato, reverb and echo through the loop, that's it. I dunno about the reverb and vibrato being in the loop. It's only useful if you use high-gain. If you just want a clean tone with a reverb and vibrato, I'd probably stick them in front. Seeing as this isn't really a 'clean' amp, they're in the loop.

Quote by Cathbard
HNAD and all that but what speakers are in it?
I wanted G12-K100's and Vintage 30's, but Celestion were being jackasses and couldn't supply a K100 for another month. I didn't want to wait, particularly that I'd already been doing it for six months.
#19
Beautiful concoction of electronic parts you have there kind sir. Enjoy.
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#21
Loving the pedalboard except for one gaping problem.


It's got empty space on it! Quick, go buy more pedals!
#22
Quote by AcousticMirror
hey what transformers do you have in yours?
It's not the DeYoung ones, anyway. I don't think so.

Quote by mattocaster99
Loving the pedalboard except for one gaping problem.


It's got empty space on it! Quick, go buy more pedals!
Way ahead of you, my man. Just give me a few more months to pay off a new custom guitar, the cabinet, and we're away.
#23
at first i thought your cab strongly resembled a rock! matamp rocks lol.

Congrats, great looking rig you have there.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#24
Quote by AngryGoldfish
It's not the DeYoung ones, anyway. I don't think so.

Way ahead of you, my man. Just give me a few more months to pay off a new custom guitar, the cabinet, and we're away.


well for a while he used mercury mags then hey switched to another custom brand made to his specs. All good but slightly different. I still wanna find something to drop deyoungs into. Maybe a valve jr.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#25
Quote by AcousticMirror

The noise of the loop is due to where Mike placed it although it might be different in the hr then the slo. I've read about mods that moved it to the end of the preamp stage for good effect. I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's stuck in the middle of nowhere as is.


When I got my SLO, I called Soldano, & they said you can only run rack FX in the loop on an SLO due to the +4dB boost in the loop or some such thing. Pedals don't work very well in their loops. I run a phaser in front of mine & a Lexicon reverb/echo in the loop. That's it. Noise free!

Edit: Sorry, almost forgot! Congrats on the new cab, fish!!
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Last edited by riffhog at Jul 16, 2010,
#26
Quote by riffhog
When I got my SLO, I called Soldano, & they said you can only run rack FX in the loop on an SLO due to the +4dB boost in the loop or some such thing. Pedals don't work very well in their loops. I run a phaser in front of mine & a Lexicon reverb/echo in the loop. That's it. Noise free!


yup it was designed for rack gear only. from what i've read it can be modded to use pedals but ya in stock form very noisy.

off to the shop to rip my fx loop out. brb.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#27
gorgeous amp and pedals my friend! i havent heard of any of those pedals. i guess id only know about them if i did some searching for botique stuff, but im not really looking for any pedals as ive got my lexicon rackmount thing that im trying to get the most out of. glad you finally got ahold of this thing.

i dont think ive ever heard a soldano or i didnt know it if i did. any way you could record some clips?


7 String+ ERG Legion!!

LTD Snakebyte
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Frankentele
Laney Ironheart 60w + Avatar Cab

#28
Quote by riffhog
When I got my SLO, I called Soldano, & they said you can only run rack FX in the loop on an SLO due to the +4dB boost in the loop or some such thing. Pedals don't work very well in their loops. I run a phaser in front of mine & a Lexicon reverb/echo in the loop. That's it. Noise free!

Edit: Sorry, almost forgot! Congrats on the new cab, fish!!
Thanks, man! You and AM are the only Soldano users I know on here other than myself.

Yeah, one of the main reasons, apart from it being too loud and expensive, why I didn't just get a Super Lead Overdrive was because of the fx loop.

Quote by SYLrules88
gorgeous amp and pedals my friend! i havent heard of any of those pedals. i guess id only know about them if i did some searching for botique stuff, but im not really looking for any pedals as ive got my lexicon rackmount thing that im trying to get the most out of. glad you finally got ahold of this thing.

i dont think ive ever heard a soldano or i didnt know it if i did. any way you could record some clips?
Clips are not possible at this point in time. I will have them in the future, though. I promise.

Thanks, Jesse! It sounds AMAZING with a seven string. Much better than any other amp I've ever played.
#29
Quote by AngryGoldfish
John, how do you mean?

AM, **** yes.

Pics of the inside?
I wanna see what makes it well suited for the Soldano.

Quote by AngryGoldfish
I wanted G12-K100's and Vintage 30's, but Celestion were being jackasses and couldn't supply a K100 for another month. I didn't want to wait, particularly that I'd already been doing it for six months.

Wow, good choice. I have a G12-K85, which is what the K100 was before they relabeled it since it could evidently take more power. Lately I've been thinking that it would pair up really well with a Vintage 30 or something of that ilk!
#30
Very nice! Can we get some clips?
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
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#32
Your chromatic tuner looks like it has the Red Sox "B" Logo in it!

'Tis a beautiful setup.

HNAD!
2012 Gibson Les Paul Custom Classic
2001 Schecter C-1 Classic
2007 Yamaha APX500
Vox AC15CC1 w/ Eminence Tonkerlite
Assorted Pedals!

All for sale!

Call me Matt!
#33
Nice one man that looks killer, although I'd prefer seperate chanels, but thats just me
Bands:
Native State
A Titan, A Deity
Rash L.A

Gear:
PRS P245 Semi Hollow
Suhr Modern Guthrie Spec
Mayones Regius 7 Buckeye Burl
LSL CVS Studio Strat
Fender American Standard Tele
Faith Hi Gloss Venus

Mesa Lonestar Special
Bugera 333
Zilla 2x12 Fatboy
Line 6 PodHD500
#34
Quote by forsaknazrael
Pics of the inside?
I wanna see what makes it well suited for the Soldano.


Wow, good choice. I have a G12-K85, which is what the K100 was before they relabeled it since it could evidently take more power. Lately I've been thinking that it would pair up really well with a Vintage 30 or something of that ilk!
I'll take the back off tomorrow and take a picture. I'll see for myself what they did to make it perfect. I think Jeff said it was simply the dimensions that were different, but I'm not sure.

Yeah, the K100 is AWESOME with a V30. They're really popular with Diezel amps.
#37
Quote by Shredx
Nice one man that looks killer, although I'd prefer seperate chanels, but thats just me


the point of the avenger is to be a one channel amp. They made an avenger+ that was 2 channels for a while.

Soldano does make 2 and 3 channel amps...
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#39
Awesome Dan! Nice to see it's finally got to you

Congrats on selling the Lovepedal too
LesPaul
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