AT-100 review by B-52

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (34 votes)
B-52: AT-100

Price paid: $ 1200

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I use RG's to play on this amp, one with Seymour duncans and one with EMG's. I can get any sound out of this amp between my guitars and the amps incredible settings. I play heavy metal and progressive music and it can handle everything. You might need a noise gate on channel 3 but if you kick the gain back a little bit you actually don't have any problems. You can basically play Vintage or classic rock all the way to Metal. Jazz, blues, funk. really anything. The clean channel is truly amazing, one of the best I've heard, very warm. You can get awesome metal tones through the distortion channel, no need for a distortion pedal at all unless your going for overkill, which I don't recommend. I really like having two distortion channels, one for rythmn and one for soloing.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this amp is great for any player playing any type of music, you can dial this amp in for any style. I have been playing nearly 10 years and have owned several different amps including a Mesa Boogie Nomad, and I would compare this amp to that one anyday. I use a Crybaby from Hell and a Delay pedal and just rip away. I definitly would buy this amp again if needed, for the money, you can't beat this amp, you are going to get killer tone for thousands less than other high end amps.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I have had this amp for 2 years now and have had no problems at all. The only thing is the outer material is kind of easy to damage sometimes if you move it around alot, it's quite soft material, but besides that, it very durable. That is just cosmetic details though. I really like the color and the face of the amp as well as the shiny silver logos.

Features — 9
The features on this amp keep everything simple, you can basically plug in, do a little tweaking on the EQ and shred away! It has three channels. Channel 1 is clean, very nice clean channel, very warm especially on the Tube A. You can also go for a more Vintage sound depending on what style of music you are playing. Channel 2 is a great distortion channel. I use it more for soloing with the contour control you can dial in a great lead tone with searing notes. Channel 3 is another distortion channel and I use this one for my rythmn channel. I play in a heavy metal band so this channel is perfect. You can get killer low end and at high volumes if you ease the gain back it will cut right through the mix. It also has a master volume, reverb, and low res which is very nice to have. You can choose between 4, 8 and 16 ohm ratings which is very nice depeding on what cab you have or what type of range you are going for. I put mine on 16 ohms and run mono but have been testing it running it at 8 ohms stereo and 4 ohms. I think I get a better range with the 16 ohms. My only gripe about this amp is that the distortion channels have to share an EQ and that the amp does not have a built in fan, but those complaints are very minumal and buying a little fan and an EQ pedal would basically solve those problems. Overall I love this amp and would recommend to anyone if they are looking to get a killer tone out of an amp but don't want to doesn't have the money to spend big bucks on a head then this the amp for you. Killer tone and you can get a half stack around $1200.00 USD. Other features include having the option to choose between Solid State, Hybrid, or Tube Amp, Line out for recording with it's own level, High and Low inputs, effects loop with own footswitch selector, and a 4 pedal footswitch with extra long cables (very nice) for running it anywhere on stage.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This amp is great live and at practice, but for recording you might want to borrow a peavey or a higher-end head. There's too much natural bass in the EQ of this amp to get a great recording tone. I'm saying this and I play in a hardcore band.
    Totally amazed with the clean. Distortion is great, don't get me wrong. It is great. But I think an amp shows what its made of when its clean stays pure even when cranked up. Pedals can get you whatever you want especially when it comes to distortion, but if an amp stays clean all on its own, even on high volume, dude you really got something. My opinion anyway. This amp delivers that at a fraction of what the "high-end" amps cost. Did I mention the distortion is great?
    Man, you guys are making me feel good about my purchase.....shipping as we type....used head for 225! Retubed to boot! Can't wait!!!!! 3 friggin daze!
    i'm considering buying this for 300 from my friend. i know more than 5 ppl with it. the old rhythm guitarist in my band and the current rhythm guitarist have it. and 3 friends i know from other bands use it. it's really nice. i'm kinda poor at the moment and i have a half stack that i like. i can also get a 1960 marshall cab for 200 with it. if i had more money they would be mine now. we'll see what happens. i believe the old singer/ new rhythm guitarist of my band got this new with the matching cab for less than $650 after taxes. i do agree with everyone else on here.. you have no reason to want to use a distortion pedal. i can understand something like a chorus or delay pedal.. things of that nature if you are in an 80's hair metal band. and i also agree that 99% of the musicians in hardcore bands either stink and know little about their instrument, their gear, music in general, or theory.... that or they just pretend because Hardcore is well ummmm "hardcore" ... or "awesome" for lack of a better word. i really don't know why i read "best head ever created" .. i'm 90% sure B-52 is called "the poor man's mesa boogie" for a reason. not that poor people spend several hundred on amp heads but that it is a knock off designed by the guy who designed for mesa. great product. anyone who bought this because they looked into it and like it opposed to the kids in my area who bought it because this one kid that really shreds uses it and they think if they copy his gear that his talent will somehow go into them. i think you have good taste in equipment.
    I also own this amp, however, the more I research, the more I find that there are many mixed reviews out there. Purchased in 2006, I have gigged this head everywhere and used in many recording sessions with virtually no problems. You can hear examples of this head used in studio at All recordings were tracked, mixed, and mastered professionally. These are DEMO tracks. Distortion and clean channels are simple to use, yet versatile, and I have been able to use this amp for EVERY genre of music. Effects loop is useless. I am currently researching amplifiers right now because I am looking for an amp to last till the end of time. Meaning it must be of sturdy, simple construction and easily and cheaply repairable. Because of the basic design of this head, there is almost a 100% chance that the PC board will be damaged due to the excessive heat from the tubes. Had the amp been designed differently, this problem would be less likely. I am currently dealing with some minor buzzing/grounding issues with this head. It may be a simple fix. Over all, This amp has never really failed me and with some minor upkeep, I believe this amp will last me for the next few years for sure. It worked for me for the last three years however, it just can't do what I ask of it anymore.
    I've owned both the AT-100 and 4x12 cab for nearly 3 years and have never had any problems with it. Despite numerous practice sessions and gigs with my punk band, and this thing is still sounding great! This thing is built like a beast and has withstood a lot bumps, travel and general wear and tear. The distortion tone is very versatile - warm crunchy rock to screaming metal tones. If you have the extra cash to blow on a Marshall, go for it. But for nearly half the cost, you'll still get a GREAT, SOLID built amp with the B-52 AT-100. Period.
    I got out of the band scene a couple years ago, just got tired of the BS. A little over a year ago, I sold my Mesa/Boogie Mark III (got top dollar) as I needed the funds. Then a month ago, my old drummer called me up to see if I wanted to jam. He said he had "an amp". I went over there and saw this head sitting on top of a Marshall 2x12 cab. Never having heard of it before, I was a little skeptical, however the sight of 7 preamp tubes & 4 power tubes lifted my spirits a bit. Then I plugged in. HOLY CRAP. I won't say it's equal to a Mesa, but wow. After tweaking the EQ settings for a little while, this thing freaking roars! Although the effects loop is useless (as someone said above), I just ran my effects in front & had no problems whatsoever. VERY impressed. I'll be using this thing for the next couple months until I save up for another amp...or buy this one off him, heh heh.