RAH350SMX review by Trace Elliot

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (5 votes)
Trace Elliot: RAH350SMX
0

Sound — 10
I'm using my little Ibanez GIO bass with a GFS PB Pro pickup, does what I need it to. I haven't tried to do too much with it, but for just supporting the bands, and even some jazz funk type stuff, it's perfect. It has a huge low end growl that's very clean, but very aggressive, and using the compressor controls, you can accentuate the lows or the highs to make it sit father back, or more forward in a mix. The controls on this amp literally give you thousands of different sounds, and makes it almost limitless in the types of tones you can get, which makes up for the lack of a Drive channel. This amp is very very quite, very little buzz, if any. I have yet to push it, cause I don't want to blow up my soundcard, but I'm sure when you push the volume, it starts to get very aggressive and the breakup would sound almost natural. The valve in the preamp is not there for just looks, that preamp tube makes a world of difference between a cold solid state tone, and that warm tube tone, I'm not kidding, it has that much effect on the tone. It's even more apparent when you actually dial out the valve from the circuit using the valve volume control. I usually keep the valve fully in the circuit, gives it a lot of natural warmth and extra growl. The pre-shape controls are interesting, the first pre-shape give it a kinda bity trebly thin crunch, which is interesting to play with, but not my favorite. The second pre-shape is almost like just running it without the pre-shape, except it's alot smoother, and it cuts most of the growl, and makes the tone much more controlled.

Overall Impression — 10
My impression of this amp, is that it deserves a lot more attention than it's seen. I've only met two people on UG who have even heard of this amp, and one was a guy who programed the amp sim for Guitar Rig 3 of the RAH250SMX(same amp, less wattage). This amp should be up there as one of the top 10 bass amps you have to own. If it was stolen, it would be a heart break, and would try my best to find another one, but I don't know if I could, I really don't think Trace Elliot made to many of these amps. The only thing I don't like about this amp is the lack of a Drive channel, it doesn't really need one, but it would of been nice.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This amp has seen better days, and I'm surprised it still works like new. I honestly think this amp could survive almost anything you can throw at it, it also weighs a lot, the entire thing is just one solid steel case. This amp has been neglected for many years, and no longer has any fuses, the main fuse has been soldered together, and the speaker fuse is missing, yet it still works as if there wasn't any problems. The cooling fan on this one still works good, but when you shut it off, it kinda starts to clunk as it slows down, prolly just old. Even as is, I think I could rely on this amp 100 percent.

Features — 9
This amp was made in 1993, in the good ole United States. It was just sitting under a shelf at my church, rotting away, so I took it home. It is a rack pre and power amp in one, and was originally designed to power a 8x10 cab and a 1x15 sub at the same time at 700 watts. I'm not much of a bass player, but this amp would make any bass player cry with joy over how good it sounds. I'm just a simple bass player, so I just follow and back up the guitars in my recordings, but, this amp is incredible, it's really versatile with it's 12 band EQ, input gain and output level controls, valve input volume control, pre-shape controls, graphic EQ volume control, and a high and low compression control with another EQ control on the compressor. One last thing, it has a switch to choose between active pickups, and passive pickups, and it does work. This amp does have a EQ loop, it also has 2 1/4th DI outputs and a XLR DI output, 2 1/4th line outs, one right, and one left, and multiple speaker out connections. This amp is 700 watts of pure awesomeness. This amp is a Hybrid Solid State amp, with a 12AX7 preamp tube in the preamp, and yes, it has a huge effect on the warmth of the tone. It has a voltage switch so you can switch between 115 volts and 230 volts, I think mines set at 115 volts, which would be your normal home outlet. By changing the voltage usage, you can adjust the amperage, as to why, I still don't know. On the side with the input gain, it has 3 lights, a green light that says increase gain, a yellow like that says ok, and a red light that says overload. This is here to help you dial in the amp, to get a much better tone and to avoid power amp breakup. By adjusting the input gain and output level to help it stay right in the "ok" area. Which is where this amp sound the best, prefect balance between gain, breakup, and volume. Since this amp has seen better days, I can't use it with a speaker, mainly cause I don't have any bass cabs, but I run it line in to my DAW and it works just fine. Also, the front panel lights up in a green color from the inside, just to reassure you that your about to piss yourself.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ethan_hanus
    I made one mistake that I now feel like an idiot for. The amp was actually made in England, I happened to find the made in label when I was moving the amp to a gig yesterday.
    Stevie.D_BCRich
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: Too many tens.
    No, not to many tens! This amp rivals the Ampeg SVT pros quite easily. I have one myself and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to it. I've got the mids scooped on the EQ, low end with low compression, highs with high compression, EQ bias leaning 1 notch into the higher section, SS/Valve blend sitting more into the valve side of it and wow, what an amp. I've used it live and never EVER had to push it past 3. It powers a pair of Marshall JCM 800 Bass Series 4x12 and 2x15 cabs perfectly.
    GS LEAD 5
    Stevie.D_BCRich wrote: GS LEAD 5 wrote: Too many tens. No, not to many tens! This amp rivals the Ampeg SVT pros quite easily. I have one myself and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to it. I've got the mids scooped on the EQ, low end with low compression, highs with high compression, EQ bias leaning 1 notch into the higher section, SS/Valve blend sitting more into the valve side of it and wow, what an amp. I've used it live and never EVER had to push it past 3. It powers a pair of Marshall JCM 800 Bass Series 4x12 and 2x15 cabs perfectly.
    I still say too many tens. No piece of gear is ever perfect. I'd consider something with all 9's to be awe inspiring. 10's? I wouldnt even give a Mesa Roadking or that 6 channel Fortin amp a 10. I still want an RK though. I hate not having a job!
    jla2111
    I have a gp 12 smx pre amp powered by a crown power amp killer killer head total versatile in everyway! Never had an issue live or in the studio I bought it new back in 1993 from daddy's junky music in Boston. Still have it and using it , a true road warrior! It spent a lot of time not being babi and keeps coming back for more. Great preamp!!!! I use it with a hartke 4x10 and an Eden 115t
    widownz
    I have the AH500X and these things are a beast to behold. Had a SWR 300 before this it was O.K but the Trace is so much better in every way. The guitarist in the band I'm in when first heard it all he could come with was holy shit.