Price paid: $ 274.5
Purchased from: Sound Control
Sound — 9
I play with an ESP/LTD M-50 guitar, Boss ME-50 effects unit and a Damage Control Solid Metal distortion pedal. I Switch between both the neck and bridge pickups of the guitar, depending on what I am playing, and this amp responds well to both of them; giving a sharp, crisp sound with the bridge pup, and a smooth sound with the neck pup. As I stated earier, I play mainly metal and rock (although I will occasionally play any other style that I feel a desire to explore), and the amp handles what I play very well with the settings I have it on. There has always been a certain amount of back ground noise with this amp, but I feel that this may be due to some kind of connection or grounding problem between my guitar and the effects loop, but even without any effects loop there is still a slight noise, but it's not audiable when I'm playing. I havn't really had the clean channel extremely loud, but at the volumes I have had it up to, I have noticed no sign of the sound distorting. This amp has the ability to create a wide variety of sounds, ranging from punk to classic rock to death metal, and everything else inbetween. Although this amp is capable of producing extremely high levels of distortion, the distortion itself is not very brutal. It is more of a smooth distortion, and this is regardless of whatever E.Q. settings you have it set to. Overall this amp can give some pretty good sound with the right settings, and for a solid state I'd say it's pretty excelent and has a great tone.
Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression with this amp is that it's a well made, good, solid state amp, with plenty of power behind it and a pretty decent sound. I've been playing for roughly 2 years now, and the only other amp I own is a little 10watt Kustom practis amp, which isn't really anything to compare the GLX212 to. I havn't really experimented with different guitars, as I only own the one, but I'm certain that it would sound pretty much the same with most other guitars. If I got this lost or stolen, I probably wouldn't buy another one of these, but that's because I'd be after saving up a lot for a tube amp; but if I was after a solid state again, I'd have no problems with buying this again. Or, in fact, buying the speaker cabs to go with it. At the time of purchase I didn't really compare it to other amps, only a few other Crate ones; but I have played on a couple of solid state and half-valve Marshalls, and I still prefer this one. The only amp that I've played on that I found massively better than this, was my friends Engl, which was a full tube amp with about 65watt output; but then again, those are about 800-900, thus will obviously be a lot better than the Crate GLX212. All things considered, I think these are pretty good amps, with good sound, very durable and reliable both physically and sound-wise; and if you are runnning on a pretty low budget and you're after a solid state amp, you should definately go and give these a try.
Reliability & Durability — 9
At the minute I'd definately play gigs with this without feeling the need for a back up. It has never broken down on me in the time I have had it. The only problem I can see is there might be a connection problem somewhere, as the lights on the front randomly turn off sometimes, but I think this is an individual problem and not something wrong with this model of amp, and this in itself has not made any difference to the sound. The channel Switch pedal is also extremely reliable. I have dropped it, stood on it, tripped over it, spilt coffee on it, dropped things onto it and stamped on it, and it has never failed me. I think the connections of the input/output sockets could be made a little better, as I have known it to Switch the DSP on and off of it's own accord occasionally, but a little fiddle with the cables and it was sorted out.
Features — 8
The main features of this amp are: Solid state x2 12" speakers; 120watts; Extension speaker output; input and output sockets for an external effects loop; intergrated tuner situated on the top of the amp; 3 main channels (clean, rythmn, and solo); DSP effects unit. I have had this amp for just over a year now, I bought it from Sound Control where it was then serving as a display model as it was the only one of that model they had left, and I was running on a tight budget. I play mainly metal and rock, and the sound of this amp is pretty good for a solid state amp, and with the styles I play. The clean channel can be nice and crisp when you need it to be, and subtle and soft at other times. The rythmn channel is very versatile and can be played with anything from light, bluesy overdrive; to pretty distorted rock and metal sounds. The solo channel, although the distortion and 'voice' controls are very good, does not have it's own equalisation settings, which I have occasionally found to be a problem with the things that I play. I don't, however, particularly use the rythmn and/or solo distortion channels, because in my opinion the distortion is too soft and smooth; which is why I use a seperate disotion pedal because I prefer a much more crunchy and sharp distortion sound; but when I do need a smoother distortion, I have no complaints with the ones the amp itself offers. I also find the channel Switch pedal very usefull, as it eliminates the need to stand next to the amp if you need to Switch channel through a song. The Switch pedal also acts as an on/off Switch for the DSP effects, which is even more useful. The DSP offers the usuall things such as several different reverb types; different lengths of delay etc. but also offers a few extras; for example: Chorus, flange, rotating speaker effect, touch wah, octave divider and doubler. For my personal sound, I always have a touch of reverb and delay, which I get from my ME-50, because I don't think the reverb and delay from the amp iself is subtle enough; however, when I need extra delay/reverb/chorus etc. I use the amps, because it gives the effect the boost that I think is necessary. Unfortunately, this amp does not have a headphone output, which I find annoying because it is not always practical for me to play with the amps speakers. At this current moment I mainly use this amp at home for practising, however I have performed recordings with it, and intend to perform gigs with it. I think it makes both a good practis and a good performance amplifier; in terms of both volume (which I assure you, there is plenty of), and sound. The power of this amp is ample for anything I would play at a gig; and if I was to play a gig where I'd need the amp to be louder, I'd have it mic'ed up anyway. Altogether this amp has some pretty good features with it, there are a few that I'd maybe like it to have, bbut nothing that majorly hinders anything I play.