GVT52-112 review by Ampeg

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (31 votes)
Ampeg: GVT52-112
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Price paid: € 350

Purchased from: thomann.de

Sound — 8
I use a Fender Blacktop Stratocaster HH exclusively. It's all stock except for an aftermarket scratch plate. The Ampeg handles the (pretty hot) humbuckers very well. I also love the sound with split pickups. It sounds so rough with split coils. I love the clean channel with split coils. This applies on pretty much all amps, I'm not the biggest fan of humbucker cleans. What I wish it had is more easily overdriven cleans. I run the gain full on the clean channel, but it still remains completely clean even on high volumes. But I can always get an overdrive pedal. The distortion channel has A LOT more gain. You need to roll the gain to less than 10-o-clock to get a believable overdrive. The distortion channel really is a distortion channel. But don't be alarmed, because this amp truly has all the sounds you can really think of if you just know how to use it. This amp does metal. It doesn't have the Mesa/Boogie super hi-gain saturated sound, but it has a very deep and heavy sound and heavy distortion. I have yet tried it with some crazy drop tuning, but I have no reason to believe it wouldn't handle it. I play a good variety of music, and so far it hasn't let me down. One problem I have with it is a high frequency hiss on the distortion channel. Even if the gain is only on 13 or 14-o-clock. But if I have understood correctly it's just the speaker that needs to be broken in.

Overall Impression — 8
This amp really supports exploring different musical ideas and styles. It has such a huge variety of tones. The baxandall EQ is maybe my least favorite feature. But I still don't really dislike it. I just personally prefer a classic stacked EQ. If this amp got lost or stolen, I would consider buying another one. Of course, depending on the money I would have in that situation. If I had a good pedal board and money, I would consider other options, such as Fender Blues Junior, Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue, Marshall DSL40C, Mesa/Boogie Studio.22 (used), Vox AC15/30 or Blackstar Club 40. First I was going to buy the Bugera V55, but the talk about the unreliability and poor built quality of Bugera was pretty off-putting. So I went for the Ampeg GVT. And I'm so glad I did.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The footswitch was something that bothered me since I got the amp. It's made from I guess aluminum and plastic. It just feels very cheaply made. I'm not afraid it will break in my use, but it's just so tinny and the plastic sides probably wouldn't take hardcore touring. Also when the footswitch is plugged in, when on the clean channel, the distortion channel led stays lit. It's less bright but still lit. No problem with channel switching, but bothers me a little. The footswitch cable I do love. It's not thin and and easily breakable like many footswitch cables. My band's drummer once stepped on my guitar cable and the amp's jack fell into the amp. I guess the jack wasn't properly tightened. The silver front gets scratched easily. Really bothers my OCD. The tolex covering ripped just a little from the grille bottom on the first day I got it. I don't know how. Not noticeable tho. As a whole, I think it can take some serious gigging. It doesn't feel like it would fall apart if it got bumped to a wall by accident. I would give it a 7.5 if that was an option, but I round it up to 8.

Features — 9
Features: - Dual channel, All-Tube Circuit Path, Push-Pull, Class AB - Power Output: 50W Full Power / 25W Half Power - Preamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7 / ECC83 / 7025 - Power Tubes: 2 x 6L6GC - Rectifier: Solid State - Channel 1: Voiced for low to moderate gain tones. Ideal for clean, crunchy rhythm and old school lead tones - Channel 2: Voiced for moderate to high gain tones. Ideal for heavy crunch and modern overdrive lead tones - Controls (each channel): Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Volume, (master section:) Reverb and Master Volume (Post FX Loop) - Full Power (50W - Tetrode), Standby, Half Power (25W - Triode) Switch - Channel Switching: Footswitchable channel switching with additional global gain and level boost - Spring Reverb: Footswitchable with hard bypass in off position - Effect Loop: Footswitchable with hard bypass in off position - Custom Designed 12" Celestion Speaker (Seventy 80) - Baxandall EQ - DC power to filament supply for super quiet operation - Heritage trim: black-line face plate, black sparkle grille cloth and black Tolex - Premium Tubes (JJs) - Dual Color Indicator Light - 2 Button Foot Switch: Ch. 1/Ch. 2and Gain and Level Boost On/Off (included) - 2 Button Foot Switch: Reverb and Effect Loop On/Off (not included) - Speaker Outputs: 1 x 16 ohm, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 4 ohm - Cabinet Construction: Void-Free 15 mm thick plywood - Cabinet Dimensions: 19.5"/496 mm (with feet) x 24.0"/610 mm x 11.0"/280 mm: handle adds 0.75"/19 mm to H - Handling Weight: 52.2 lb / 23.7 kg (approximately) So where should I begin. The Ampeg GVT52-112 has a lot features. But it's still quite minimalistic and neat. I purchased this amp from Musikhaus Thomann. The GVT range was on sale and I got this for 350. Normally it sells for ~600. This is my first serious full tube amp (my VERY first amp when I was 10 was an all-valve 15W Behringer with a single 12AX7). I use a Vox VT30 (hybrid with solid state preamp and a 12AX7 in the power amp) at home. I also have a Fender Performer 650 (hybrid with a 12AX7 on the distortion channel) form the early '90s, which I replaced with the Ampeg after the speaker blew and didn't bother to fix it since it had been quite unreliable altogether and I wanted an all-valve amp and the Ampeg happened to go on sale. My band mate has a Bugera 333-XL Infinium head with a Harley Benton 2x12" cabinet equipped with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. Compared to the Bugera, which is about 60W RMS (marketed as 120W - the peak power), the GVT is of course quieter. But that doesn't mean it's not loud. With the gain, volume, mids (which acts as a second gain stage) and master volume at full and the boost on, it felt like the rehearsal house was gonna blow up. So it has plenty of power for all occasions. I can hear it fine over a loud drummer even on the 25W setting. Inside the amp is VERY neatly put together. Inside the cabinet, there are no wires hanging, they are all secured to the walls of the cab. The reverb box isn't just kinda screwed in there like on my Fender, it's inside a leather pocket, which looks very good. All the wires that go in the amp itself can be just unplugged. I like this very much. Inside the amp itself, the neat construction continues. Everything looks clean and well built. All the wires are properly secured. The thing that makes this different form many amps, is the Baxandall EQ. To be completely honest, it has yet convinced me of it's superiority. It requires a lot more tweaking than a regular stacked EQ. I like the option of a huge tonal range, but sometimes I somewhat dislike the fact that rolling out the treble for example even just a little makes quite a lot difference. But that's just me, and it's nothing I can't live with. You just have to get used to it. I like the speaker outputs. I like to have the option to have pretty much any speaker combination I could think of. There is a footswitch included with the amp for channel switching and volume/gain boost. Also there is another footswitch available for effect loop and reverb. It's nice to know that you can do it, but would it have been so hard to make a 4-button footswitch? Because if you do want to use the second footwtich, you will have to deal with even more cables coming out of the amp. Also not having the second footswitch included feels pretty douchy and making people pay for the luxury of another switch if they need it. Kinda like Vox, which include a footswitch only on higher end models. But I can forgive Ampeg this, boost and channel switching are more vital than effect loop and reverb on/off buttons. If you can only make a 2-button footswitch, those two make more sense. The dual indicator light is pretty cool. If I have understood correctly, it has a function as a somewhat "service light." Pretty cool. I'd like the cabinet to be smaller. It's so large I would need to get a 2x12" cab if I needed an extension cab. Ampeg make a wide 1x12 cab for this amp, but it's not available currently around where I live. But I can also forgive the large cab because all the knobs take so much space. The looks put me off slightly when considering to buy this amp, but the fairly cheap price and good reviews made the choice for me. It just wasn't my cup of tea lookswise. My favorite looking amp in the world is a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special 1x12 cocoa. I have grown to like the looks of it, tho. I haven't tried anything through the effect loop, because I only have a Boss PW-10 V-Wah. I prefer wahs in front of the amp. I might try the pedal's Uni-V effect through the loop some day. What I do really like about this amp, is that even with all the special features it stays fairly straightforward. It has two channels with separate gain, 3-band EQs and volumes, a master volume and a very good spring reverb. What else do you honestly need?

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