Electric Blue 12-180 EVO II review by Ashdown

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  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Sound: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (7 votes)
Ashdown: Electric Blue 12-180 EVO II

Purchased from: used

Ease of Use — 8
I'm going to test its recording capacity next week and see what I can get out of it. If you've had this amp for a while and haven't played with the features (I've heard some owners haven't), you haven't found what this amp is built for. It will give you outstanding volume and tone. It is sitting there waiting to be designed by the player and will surprise you to what it can do. I would buy another and in fact will probably get the 300 EVO III as well and just keep both. If you're on a budget and need something around or under the $500.00 price range you cannot go wrong with something like this. The quality is definitely more than you'd expect for the price.

Sound — 9
At first I thought the amp had a great retro warm tone (think Hendrix, The Who and Deep Purple late '60s early '70s). However it wasn't pushing enough air and the range seemed limited. That was until I played with the EQ a bit. That's when it really came to life! This solid state amp reproduces those old tube amp sounds like Orange and Vox really well. It went from decently loud to thunderous and meaty in no time at all. It has a low boost, EQ, brightness and harmonic/octave built in which work with the 5 band EQ and allow for a real dynamic range of sound. I became an audiophile in seconds, adjusting for every type of tone it would reproduce. All seemed to have a warmth you would expect in a tube amp. This is similar to what I've seen in the old Traynor solid state amps from the '70s and early '80s. You don't come across this kind of craftmanship often.

Reliability & Durability — 8
It looks sturdy and very compact. From what I've heard it stands up to a lot of abuse. I tend to abuse my equipment pretty awful so that's definitely a plus. I'm rating this part based on what I've read since I've only had it only 2 weeks. All the controls are metal and are in perfect working order. It's not made of cheap material. No plastic to speak of and has a tough looking exterior. The cabinet is sturdy and solid as is the grill. It appears to be a tough workhorse of an amp. It can be heard over the drums, guitars and PA in smaller settings very easily. It doesn't lose any sound quality where I set it which is just over halfway or around 1 o'clock.

Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing professionally for almost 20 years. I've played through every conceivable piece of equipment you can imagine. Working in a music store for 8 years allowed me to try hundreds of amps, guitars and basses. This amp deserves a mention right up there with some of the better I've heard. Still, this amp is what it is. You wouldn't bring it to a large venue, it is much more suited to the average Joe who plays medium to small gigs. Most of the time I'm playing clubs and bars which hold approx 50-200 people. This amp will do that pretty easily. Over the years I've heard solid states that were outright awful. Flat and lifeless. Some are pretty good at being tube imitators. This is one of the better ones.

If you want real sound control from the amp side of things this is a great amp. It can play well both quiet or loud. It will start to distort (in a dissipated flat solid state bad kind of way) when overdriven but you have to intentionally abuse the settings. Tube amps are made to be heated and driven for good sound, solid states, coddled. This needs very little coddling. It can handle a lot of pushing. There's a lot of control instantly available for whatever level and tone you want. I play every style from Reggae to metal, and funk to punk, mainly with a Fender Jazz Bass. This amp delivers. I'm going to use it as much as possible to see what it's limitations are. SO far, it's only impressed.

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