AT-100 review by B-52

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (33 votes)
B-52: AT-100

Price paid: $ 800

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 7
I usually play my Schecter C-1 Classic with Seymour Duncan Jazz p-ups (an uncharacteristic guitar for metal, but it's just too beautiful) through this amp, and they make a pretty good match, although that combination makes for some pretty annoying feedback at mid to high volumes without a noise gate. With out one it can be almost impossible to mute the strings and let it be silent with out turning the guitars volume knob down first. At first I was plenty satisfied with the distortion for the brutal/technical death metal I was playing, but over time I started to find it a bit lacking. Coupled with the fact that I lost the foot pedal for it, and couldn't get a replacement, I eventually just started running a POD HD300 through the clean channel most of the time. B52 had already discontinued this amp by the time I needed the foot switch replaced. Now, with a real band and playing shows almost constantly, the POD is a necessity. Luckily the clean channel on this thing is crystal clear, and has good flexibility.

Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing guitar for about 8 years, and have had this amp for 5. It has served me very well in that time. I really don't know why they discontinued it. My only complaints are: - The reverb is so terrible, I thought mine was broken, but all the reviews have mentioned it. - The distortion sounds good, but is a tad lacking for the blackened death metal that I play. - It gets pretty hot. Sometimes I can barely hold my hand over one of the top vents. If it were lost or stolen, I honestly would look for something else, but if I found one in good shape for cheap, it wouldn't be a bad choice. It's really too bad that this amp and just about everything else B-52 makes has been discontinued. It has been nothing but reliable for me. Although, now that I've written jinxed it in this review, I bet a couple tubes are going to burn out when I turn it on for band practice tonight. Check out my band at

Reliability & Durability — 10
I bought this amp in 2006 or 2007, played with it constantly for 2 years, let the amp sit in my garage for about 2 years, then broke it back out when I joined my current band. Since then I have used it 2-3 times a week for band practice and usually 1-4 shows a month all over southern California. This amp has been completely rock solid. It's still using all the original tubes, has never been taken into a shop or worked on AT ALL. This thing is a beast. The only damage is one of the two cabinet line outs was pushed through and broken by someone shoving my amp against the wall. Luckily I make due with only one cab, but it would be nice to use that other line out. Also, the faux leather on the cab was torn pretty badly on the side, but some black duct tape fixed it up nicely.

Features — 8
This amp has a pretty good range of sounds and channels, with 2 distortion channels (shared eq), and a really nice clean channel. The reverb is absolutely terrible, and barely existent even when cranked up. A few of the stand out features here is the Bright switch on the clean channel, and then the Low-res knob. The Bright button totally transforms the clean, giving it a really warm, clear, and well, bright tone. Perfect for anything from technical jazzy picking songs to strummed chords. In fact, I don't even turn it off. It sounds dull and lifeless with out it. The Low-res knob is great for heavily distorted, chunky palm muting. Add a little of this with low tunings and it really starts to rumble those palm muted chugs that you can feel in your chest. Also, this thing is plenty loud. I find that turning it up a little less than half way across all channels is enough to be heard clearly over drums, bass, and the other guitarist in my bands relatively small practice studio.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i got mine used for the same price (the head and cab) and i love it. i only wish i could find its footswitch somewhere. it sounds great too. the call it 'the poor mans mesa' and i understand why. it sounds the same! its in league with mesa, marshall, and engl... soundwise. the only drawback that separates them is that this only has 3 channels (clean, OD1, OD2) whereas most of the others have 4 or more. but this does have a footswitch, effects loop, and TRIPLE RECTIFICATION! it just sounds amazing and looks badass too!even the reverb sounds good in a solo or cleans (I rarely like reverb) and doesnt have any other effects like delay, phaser, blah blah. all tube, all do-it-yourself modeling. you learn how to make a good sound that suits you and your guitar, and it sounds amazing. B-52 has a masterpiece, and this is it. its a shame they dont make it anymore. the ATX is a downgrade from this
    mwiguitar62 wrote: I can get this for 400$ with the . No problems, actually fixed the reverb tank and I think replaced the tubes. Worth it?
    YES. i realize its probably too late but yes
    stondagain wrote on 01/14/2010 - 059 pm / quote | 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.
    if by 'effects loop unnecessary' you mean for distortion and overdrive pedals, then yes. but throwing in a Boss Cs3 to make even better cleans and solos isnt a bad idea. maybe even a noise gate. i have 3 pedals in it. the boss, and 2 OD pedals. one that has the volume off and acts as a killswitch, and a better OD for solos. long story short, i cant find the matched footswitch anywhere so i got a marshal PED802 to work the clean and OD1/OD2 part, and turns out it doesnt quite match up. it only lets me switc the clean to OD1. but your right, in most cases OD pedals arent necessary at all