Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I'm using this amplifier with my Schecter C1 Classic with EMG 81/85 pickups. I play mostly metal, which is why I chose to buy this high gain amplifier. When I initially started playing through this amplifier, I was shocked by the amount of extra hiss and noise. However, the problem out to be the electrics in my house. It wasn't the amplifiers fault! When I later moved to another residence the B-52 was silent as could be even when using the overdrive channel boosted with an OD. Like I said before, this amp is very versatile. It can do everything from Country to Metalcore very well, especially considering it only cost me 400 dollars. Like all tube amps, the B-52 AT 112 sounds best when you can crank the volume. This is in fact necessary if you want to play the higher gain metalcore. I don't usually get the chance to crank my B-52 so I bought a DigiTech Bad Monkey OD to get that cranked sound at low volumes. It works like a dream. The clean channel remains clean even at very high volumes with my EMG81/85. It isn't until I push the amp to hearing damage levels that I begin to notice some distortion of the clean channel. This is very good especially because EMGs are very high output pickups. The distortion on its own is very impressive and easily capable of classic metal in the realm of pantera, Misfits, Megadeth and helloween. You do have to crank this amplifier to boost the gain enough for metalcore such as Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold and As Blood runs Black. An OD pedal solved this for me.
Overall Impression — 9
I play metal and metalcore mostly, and this amp is the perfect match for me. It was extremely affordable and delivered everything I needed. I have been playing for 2 years now, and I am still very much satisfied with my purchase. If it were stolen, I would just buy it again. Nothing comes even close in the 500 dollar range. The nearest contender would probably be a Peavey Valveking, but the distortion on the valveking is inferior in every way. The only thing I would have liked to see on this amp that isn't there is the rectifier settings the AT 212 does have. I feel that the AT 112 should have had these as well. The bottom line is: If you play metal, and you want a tube amp for less than $800, give the B-52 AT 112 a serious consideration. You will not regret it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Like I said, this B-52 AT 112 was produced after the issues with the ventilator were resolved and I have had no problems with it. Even if I did have a problem, the warranty would cover it for a few years so I could just exchange my B-52 for the newer problem free model. It has never broken down, and I don't expect it to anywhere near in the future. I would never play without a backup amplifier however, simply because it doesn't take all that much for a tube to pop. This isn't the amplifiers fault, but the tubes.
Features — 9
My B-52 was made in 2005, which is after the B-52 ventilator problems. B-52 became known for durability issues because of overheating problems. These however were solved around 2003 I believe, and all amplifiers before that time could be replaced free of charge. The B-52 AT-112 is an all tube high gain amplifier aimed at the medium to higher end guitarist. It is an entry level tube amplifier designed for metal and hardrock, without comprimising the cleans. I play mostly metal and metalcore, however, I do venture into the realms of rock and jazz/blues every now and then. The versatility of this amplifier is pretty amazing, especially for it's price. Most amplifiers focus on one specific area: Mesas are for metal, Fenders are for cleans. The B-52 AT-112 can do both very well. In fact, I prefered the sound of my B-52 over that of a Mesa Dual Rectifier I tried. The B-52 sounded a bit tighter in the low end, and had much better cleans. The B-52 AT-112 has two channels: clean and overdrive. You can Switch between this channel on the amp itself, but it is much easier to do so with the footswitch that comes standard with the amplifier. The amp comes with an effects loop with independent volume controls, as well as a line out with independent volume control. This means that you have 3 different volume knobs if you use the effects loop. You can determine the volume as it enters and exits the effects loop, as well as the strength of the signal as it goes to the internal speaker. This makes for a lot of extra versatility. Tube amps are very loud, and this amplifier is no different. However, if you simpl connect the effect loop in and out with a cable, you will be able to turn down the volume there making the volume knob on the front much less sensitive, allowing you to dial in more accurately. This amp has three extra features most amplifiers do not have: independant middle and contour controls, Low resonance control, reverb. The middle and contour controls allow for extra versatility and ease when it comes to dialing your metal tone. The both do more or less the same thing, but you can roughly get the middle range to where you want it with the middle and then adjust the contour to change between classic rock and metal sound. The low resonance adds extra punch to the low end. If you turn this down, it will sound like an open back cabinet. If you turn this up, your B-52 AT-112 will produce a more punchy closed back cabinet sound. This makes for a lot more versatility. The reverb does it's job very well, although I don't use it very much.