7215 review by Trace Elliot

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (3 votes)
Trace Elliot: 7215

Price paid: £ 950

Purchased from: Flying Pig

Sound — 10
I use several different basses with this amp from a Fretless Rickenbacker 4003, to Active 5 string basses. The input features Two jack sockets, which cater to both high and low inpedance instruments. The only thing I would say about that is that I suspect the low impedance input is connected to the high impedance, but with resistors in line, to lower it, rather than a separate circuit. I believe their Valve Bass amps have true independant inputs, rather than this cheaper alternative. It always sounds great regardless of the Bass I use and the speaker is more than capable of handling the bottom string on an active 5 string. The combo itself does not feature a high frequency horn. However the 2x10 extention cab did, so it didn't really matter too much to me. There are no negative sound issues for me with this amp regardless of volume. It has always given me what I required of it.

Overall Impression — 9
My Overall impression is that this is a good amp, with good facilities. I play professionally and it is my Main rig onstage, as well as for recording for the last 10 years. (Sometimes I just DI into the desk when recording! ) It has in its lifetime been used as the main Bass amp at several Outdoor festivals, meaning it ran continually for 12 hours at a go, with no issues and nobody ever having reason to complain about its performance, regardless of the types of music they played into it. As it is now 10 years old, I probably should be thinking about replacing it with something new, but I've yet to try anything which produces the sound and feel I get from it. Ashdowns are nice, but I don't really feel like it would be an improvement over the Trace. New Traces are really just Peaveys with the Trace Brand name, so I'm not all that thrilled with them yet. Until I try something that I feel is better than this, I'll continue to use it. It is a shame that the Original Trace Elliot Company went bust, otherwise I'd have probably replaced this with a newer model of theirs. Is there anything I hate about it... No! It's great Amp... Although if somebody is buying one, I recommend that you replace the internal fan with a new one, as my original one stopped being reliable after 8 years. Since the youngest one of these amps available will be older than that, changing the fan would be a wise precaution, for anyone buying, or using this amp. I paid for this amp with the proceedings of One gig. It has proved to be a great amp financially, regardless of the relatively minor repar costs. I've always looked after it (Despite the Cats! ) and it only ever let me down twice. I am confident that it will still work for another 8 years, but if I still own it then, I'll probably take the precaution of fitting a new fan every five years or so... New fan... 7.00. Amp repair... 130.00. You do the math!

Reliability & Durability — 7
Reliability... Hmmn... Right, here goes! In the 10 years I have had this amp it has been consistantly reliable right up until about 2 years ago, when all Four Mosfets blew mid song. Just prior to this happening, I became aware of a lot of heat coming out of the front vents followed by an acrid smell of burning copper. Mosfets traditionally do not handle heat well and will blow if the heat is not dissipated fast enough. When I took it to be repaired, I asked them to check the fan was okay. The mosfets were replaced and the fan was pronounced as working fine. "It was just one of those things!" is what I was told. A few months ago whilst playing, I suddenly started to feel heat from it and immediately detected the smell of burning copper, so I switched it off straight away. Whilst switching it off, the fuses blew to protect the output circuit. I finished the gig using the DI circuit into the PA which was still operating. When I got home, I opened it up and saw tell-tale signs of heat damage on the Output PCB by one of the mosfets, so knew what had happened. However, this time, I chose to check the fan myself, as in the months prior to this, it sometimes seemed to run warm. When I put a 12 volt current across the fan it operated and worked fine, so I left it running and after a bit, it stopped. I tried starting it again and it wouldn't. Eventually it started again, before stopping again. This carried on for a while. When I ran a multimeter across the fan, it showed a resistance and as stated above, did work for a bit, but intermittantly. A new fan was put in, as well as the mosfets. (I replaced them all, to be on the safe side.) Since then, there have been no problems and it works like it always did. It would appear that the fan working intermittantly caused the problems on both occasions, but was not picked up initially as the multimeter showed a resistance, even when the fan did not rotate. The main weakness of the design appears to be that Mosfets are twitchy around heat which a 300watt beast creates and so a working internal fan is essential, or problems will arise. The only other issue I ever had with it is that the DI output did not work once, which was later traced to a dry joint. My grading of this amp has dropped due to the fact that the Amp is dependant on a working fan and the one supplied, became unreliable. That being said, a Ferrari with a blocked radiator will go bang just as well, so I don't blame the amp anymore. After the first time it went, I took a while to get my confidence back, as I didn't truly trust the "It was just one of those things!" that I was told.

Features — 10
This Amp was purchased from new along with the matching 2x10 extension cab, on the 5th Jan 2000. I purchased it with the Gig money I received for the Millenium eve and had a handful of change leftover from the 950 gig fee. It is a 300 watt Mosfet powered Combo finished in the traditional green carpet that Trace Elliot used. The front does not light up on this model. It has all the features you would expect of a quality Brand. 7 Band EQ, Dual Band compression, a Pre-Shape setting that gives you the 80's slap bass sound, an XLR DI output, an effects send and return on the front and two output sockets on the back. This means you can connect to an external cab, or 2 external cabs if you choose not to use the internal 15" speaker. I use this amp for all styles of playing from Jazz, Rock, Funk, Disco and Pop. It always does the business and sounds great. It produces significant volume and I've never been in a position with it where I yearned for more volume on the night. It weighs quite a bit, which reflects the weight of the speaker, as well as the solid construction. The only hint of any kind of finishing issue in the last 10 years is a little bit of bobbling with the carpet, where my cats used it as a scratching post, before I caught them at it.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I owned a secondhand one for 3 years and it never let me down.cant find anything negative to say about the 7215,it did its job very well.Though I never bought another to replace it at the time, I would not hesitate in buying one now.They are still for sale at the same price now as they were ten years ago!
    My Trace Elliot 7215 just cut out the other night during practise, I noticed a burning smell, wich is never a good thing, switched the amp off and let it cool down and it started working again. But cut out again after about ten mins. When I got home I opened the amp up and found the big capacitors had blown, I have changed them and the amp is working again, but the fan is not working, does any one know if this amp has a thermostat type switch that supposed to turn the fan on when the amp starts to heat up or is the fan meant to be running at all times?
    I've had a 7215 Trace Elliot combo for about 15 years now. It's a brilliant piece of kit. Unlike the original review above, the front panel on mine DOES light up - so I suspect that there may have been a problem with the review model? When I bought this combo, it was to play with fender p-bass in a heavy rock band within a range of pub and club venues; indoor and outdoor. It served me well. We played small pubs, large pubs, small clubs, large clubs. Cricket grounds etc.. It produces a sweet tone that does not let you down. As time went by, I found myself playing a 1970's fender Jazz - in a pop-rock group - it still sounded sweet. For the last 6 or 7 years however, I've been playing it with my acoustic double bass in a gypsy jazz setting; at times using abass-drum mic wrapped in a towel and stuffed into the bridge, the with a cheap "acoustic instrument" pickup - basically a piezo unit suck onto the front of the instrument and now - a fantastic K&K Double Big Twin pickup attatched to my bridge. It sounds so good. One thing that I did not realise is that, although rated at 300Watts RMS, it only outputs 200Watts RMS on it's own, you have to add a companion speaker cab if you want the full 300Watts. I haven't had the need for the extra 100Watts yet - in larger venues such as theatres, concert halls etc. the sound guys usually make use of the built-in XLR DI. As I find myself getting older - I do curse it's combined bulk & weight - if one or the other were lessened (i.e. less bulky but same weight OR less weighty but same bulk) I would be happier - but it's not enough to put me off. A phenomenally versatile and sweet sounding piecce of kit that hasn't let me down in the last fifteen(ish) years despite some physical abues (sliding around in cars, vans etc... transporting on a trolley down concrete steps...) I seriously cannot imagine being without it. The sound is absolutely sublime. I still remember the day that I bought it. I swore that I would not buy it just because it had an illuminated panel - and I didn't. I bought it because it was music to my ears.