Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 10
Through the amp I use a variety of guitars: Jackson with Evos, ESP MH-400NT, and a Fender Standard Fat Strat. All of which sound great through this amp. The amazing thing about this amp is that the versatility of sounds you get though such a simple interface. I expected great high-gain with mediocre crunch and clean, I was very wrong. The cleans are pretty good, nothing like an Orange or Fender, but they are still pretty darn good. Add a little gain to the clean channel and you have a light blues sound. The crunch channel offers gritty blues to crisp, chunky classic rock. Soft lead is perfect for classic rock lead/soloing. The Heavy lead is incredible. The gain is so wonderful sounding, it's clear and articulate. It goes from older metal even to more modern metal sounds. It doesnt't get muddy no matter how much gain you throw on it, it stays crisp and clear. There's plenty of headroom and volume. Tone is excellent. Surprisingly this amp is not noisy. I almost bought a noise gate with it but I decided to wait, I'm glad I did. I don't think I need one at all. The bottom line is: the Screamer 50 does everything from clear cleans to the most brutal black/death metal. While it does high gain better, the clean and low gain go beyond the the average amp.
Overall Impression — 10
The Screamer 50 has far exceeded my expectations. It blows away all other amps in the price range and even many above. I play a little of everything from blues to classic metal to funk to and this amp does it all. If my Screamer was lost/stolen I would buy another in a heartbeat. This amp looks incredible, I can't stress that enough, and it sounds even better. The controls are easy to use and versatile enough to dial in any sound I want. Everything I need and nothing I don't. The Z5 footswitch is a must, every control you need to quickly switch is right there. I am sold on Engl, great company, great design, great amps. There isnt anything more I could want.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is a tank. Another review said "When the fallout settles, the only things left will be the cockroaches and this amp" and I can't think of better words for it. Dependable and well-built, the screamer looks prepared for war. I have not had it for long enough to know how it will be in the long run, but my bet is that it will not have any problems.
Features — 9
The amp has a variety of controls. From left to right: input, clean (gain control, bright switch, lead (gain control), bass/mid/treble controls, lead presence, reverb, lead volume, gain low/hi switch, clean/lead switch, master volume, stand-by switch, and power. These controls are pretty much standard but the thing I like about this Engl is that it really makes everything simple. It's laid out clean and very easy to use, you can start rocking minutes after taking it out of the box(as opposed to quite a few Mesa/Other high-end amps I have tried). While simplicity is wonderful for some, other may want more tweakability. Personally I like my amp simple and easy to dial in what I want. The shared EQ can either be a blessing or a curse depending on Who you are, for me it is surprisingly nice. It keeps things simple and the interface open and clean. This amp features 2 channels with 2 sub-channels for each channel. Channel 1 is clean and crunch, channel 2 is soft lead and heavy lead. All of which are incredibly different and tweakable. There is not a single control I wish I had and there is nothing that I don't use. The only thing I don't really like is the channel switching buttons, which is easily solved by buying the Engl Z-5 Custom Footswitch, which I'll include in this review because I consider it essential for this amp. The footswitch has 4 buttons to Switch between the channels (Clean, crunch, soft lead, and heavy lead) plus reverb and vls low/high buttons. It is all a brushed metal construction that goes beautifully with this amp. There's also an effects loop, various speaker out (for quite a few cab options, line out, and 2 footswitch jacks plus the Engl custom footswitch jack. This 50 watt all tube powerhouse is a beautifully designed amp. The look is very modern and tough. Looking at many amps most of them are either "vintage" looking or black. The Screamer has black casing, chrome accents, oversized dark gray grill, and a mirrored faceplate and Logo. It look quite impressive in person, I was very surprised when I took it out of the box, pictures don't do it justice. This amp has all the features I need and none I don't. The shared EQ and channel buttons are the only things I can see being a problem, neither are a problem at all for me.