German boutique amp builders Engl are generally known (though not well-known enough) for their crushing high gain modern tones. Current endorsees include Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Morse, Glen Tipton, and Marty Friedman. The Engl Screamer 50 is a bit different though.
E330 Screamer 50
Jodimu, on november 07, 2007 10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 1189.5
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Features: The amp was made in 2007 in Germany and has all the hallmarks of German engineering, great reliability and durability, exceptional build quality and great value. It's a 50 watt head running through a single 12 inch speaker but it can put out a wall of sound despite that. It can go exceptionally loud and still sound amazing but also sounds great without being cranked up a great deal. There's also the option to unplug the combo speaker and connect to a cab, effectively turning the combo into a head and giving you all the volume you'll ever need. 50W of tube power is more than enough for all but the biggest of gigs but the lower wattage makes it easier to operate at lower volumes and so ideal for home recording and the like. Aesthetically, the most noticeable thing about this amp is the robust metal grid covering the speaker cabinet as well as the chrome-finished Engl logo and front plate. It looks very impressive, a solid, sturdy and imposing piece of gear. Sonically, though, is where it gets really interesting. Nominally it's a two channel amp, clean and lead, but each channel has a low and high gain mode effectively adding up to four channels, clean, crunch, soft lead and heavy lead. Channel switching can be done using the buttons on the front panel or via a footswitch. While regular footswitches are supported a much better option is to invest in the Z5 footswitch unit. I initially balked at forking out another 100 for this but in the end it was well worth it and expands the amp's potential greatly. It allows you to Switch between all four channels instantly and to toggle spring reverb and the excellent lead boost feature. It's also an extremly impressive looking unit, a heavy weight chrome-finished steel box that feels worth every penny. On the subject of the Master Volume boost, this can really push the guitar through the mix at key moments and the level of the boost is adjustable via a covered dial on the back panel.
The EQ is excellent and allows for a huge range of tonal options. Unfortunately the two/four channels share the one EQ though I suspect this is a blessing in disguise in some ways as it keeps complications to a minimum and allows you to get on with the business of playing. In terms of connectivity, you have the option to connect to both 8 and 16 ohm cabs, by unplugging the internal speaker you can run two of either. There's ports for standard footswitches as well as the custom port for the Z5 footswitch and the obligitary FX loop with a pot to adjust the mix control. There's also a Line Out port which uses XLR rather than a 1/4" jack plug. Though I prefer to mic my amp for recording I like being able to DI it to my interface at the same time if I want to mix the different outputs together. The Line Ot Control features a level control and a handy Overload LED which lets you know when you need to lower the signal level. Overall a superb feature set, the only drawbacks being the shared EQ and having to drop another 100 on the Z5. // 9
Sound: I mainly play two guitars through this amp, an ESP LTD FX400 (EMG 81/60) and a Jackson DK2T (Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz). I play in a Black Metal band the sound of which at the moment falls somewhere between Nightside Eclipse-era Emperor and Battles in the North-era Immortal with a dash of Frost/Eld era Enslaved for good measure. I also play a variety of other styles on my own, from death metal to blues, from grunge to clean stuff. The Screamer covers them all and then some. The four channels are the key to this. Clean produces lovely cleans, ranging from crisp and brittle to rich and almost accoustic sounds, depending on your EQ settings. It begins to distort around the 12 or 1 o'clock region on the gain pot for me but I have quite high output pickups so other people might be able to push it further. Certainly when I use the bridge pickup in my DK2T I seem to get a bit of extra headroom. Crunch opens up a wide range of tonal possibilites depending on how far you push the clean gain pot. There's a sweet spot between 9 and 10 o'clock where you can alternate between clean and light distortion depending on how hard you pick and pushing it higher pushes you into sonic territory ranging from soft rock through blues to classic rock. Soft lead is another highly flexible channel. At moderate levels of gain it can pump out some excellent hard rock and grungy rhythm sounds and a great blues lead tone but as you push it higher you find yourself coming into metal territory without even hitting the last channel. On high gain settings you can easily obtain Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera sounds and my band has even managed to get a highly authentic Immortal, Sons of Northern Darkness tone out of this channel.
Heavy lead is where it gets really brutal. I've seen it bandied around on the UG forum that the Screamer can't do balls-to-the-wall extreme metal tones very well but this is, frankly, entirely incorrect. At low gain you get a sweet classic rock/early heavy metal lead tone and once the gain hits 12 or so you're already into brutal territory, I find this level of gain ideal for stuff in the vein of At The Gates and Carcass. Pushing from 1 to 2 o'clock you're hitting the death and black metal zone. Even on the most crushingly heavy, intensely distorted black metal pieces I rarely go past 3 o'clock on the gain pot so there's still plenty of room for even nastier sounds still. With the gain at this level and lots of bass on the EQ you can churn out the most savage palm muted riffs to your heart's content. One of the things that has surprised me about this amp is how little noise it puts out even at extremely high gain settings and how little unwanted sound filters through. I did find that it was a little noisier after I started using a Wi-fi network at home but moving the router cut a lot of that out and if I'm recording I simply turn it off and the noise goes away. This might also be due to the fact that the buildng I Live in is quite old and the wiring can be a bit strange. It's certainly not something I'd fault the amp for. Overall, I couldn't be happier with the sound of this amp. I don't doubt that there's better pieces of kit out there for specific types of music but as an all-rounder this offers such a high standard of tonal quality across the board, particularly for the heavier styles that I play. // 10
Reliability & Durability: When the fallout settles, the only things left will be the cockroaches and this amp. Engl Panzer might have been a more suitable name because it certainly reflects the impeccable build quality. It's so incredibly robust and both the speaker and the power amp are covered to protect them from damage, in seperate enclosures. The enormous metal grill on the front means that nothing is going to get at the speaker cone from that direction. I haven't had the chance to play Live with the Screamer yet but I can't wait to do so and will happily play without a backup although I'll keep a spare set of tubes in case of careless handling between home and venue. I haven't had it long enough to really asess the long terms reliability but the manual is exceptionally helpfl with lots of engineer's tips for getting the most of your amp and preventing you from inadvertantly damaging it. // 10
Overall Impression: This amp is absolutely ideal for me and it's far and away my favourite piece of gear I own. It's absolutely central to my tone an is flexible enough to let me sound whatever way I want. I love the build quality, the incredble sound and, despite the extra cost, the Z5 footswitch. I also happen to think it's a beautiful piece of kit to look at. I wasn't sure when buying this whether to get the combo or the E325 head-only version and pair it with a cab but I'm very happy with my choice because, not only does the combo sounds great, I can use it as a head if need be and I only paid about 50 than the head only option. God forbid if this amp were stolen or damaged beyond repair I would get another without further thought. I have fallen head over heels in love with Engl because of it and right now the only thing I'd replace it with is a Powerball. I considered a lot of tube combos, including the JCM 2000 DSL and TSL, Ashton Fallen Angel and various Laney's etc but this amp won out on sheer tone and flexibility, even if it was a bit more expensive. The lead guitarist in my band is on the verge of selling his JCM800 and cab and going for this 50 combo instead! In fact, we record all of out guitar parts through my amp because it just sounds that much better than anything he has for what we do. // 10
E330 Screamer 50
UG Team, on october 24, 2008 5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Features: The preamp of the Screamer 50 is a 4 channel, 3 band EQ (with added Lead Presence for Lead channel), Accutronics spring reverb, Bright switch, 3x ECC83 (12ax7) preamp tubes. The power section has a neat V.L.S. (Variable Level Switch) which is a built in solo boost controlled by a small knob on the back. The boost can be activated by a single basic footswitch. The amp is powered by two 5881 (basically the same as a 6L6) power amp tubes. The output section of the amp consists of a balanced XLR line out, adjustable FX loop, 2 x 8 ohm and 2 x 16 ohm speaker outputs, 2 dual footswitch jacks, and a jack for the special Engl footswitch (Z-3/Z-4). The Screamer 50 combo comes equipped with a 1x12 Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. It also sports a wicked woven metal grille for maximum speaker protection. // 9
Sound: The versatility of this amp is quite impressive. The Clean and Lead channels can be set in low or high gain mode as follows:
Clean - This tone is achieved by using the Clean channel set at low gain. This mode is crystal clean and full. With the use of a compressor and delay you can achieve a near perfect Another Brick in the Wall sound. To hear an audio example of this check out my TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay review at: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/guitar_effects/tc_electronics/nd-1__nova_delay/index.html.
With headroom for days this channel handles any pedal you throw at it with ease. The Bright Switch is great for reggae skanking or rockabilly. Like most 6L6 powered amps. The clean tone tends to be very uncompressed which can sometimes make it hard to cut through a mix. A nice stompbox compressor fixes this common problem.
Crunch - The crunch channel is achieved by using the clean channel with the high gain Switch engaged. This is the least useful of the channels, but can definitely render some cool Beatles or Tom Petty tones. It can on the thin side though.
Soft Lead - This channel is where it's at. Switch over to the Lead channel in low gain mode. The tone of this channel alone is worth buying the amp for. Running through a 4x12 cabinet this channel can get an Angus Young-esque tone almost spot on. Turn the gain down to 10 o'clock and hit your guitar really hard and you will have balls out low gain classic rock crunch with full dynamics and transparency. I use a Keeley Katana boost in front of this channel for some extra push and it works beautifully. It really does have a Vintage hotrod Marshall tone characteristic. It also cuts through a mix like a knife. You'll never get lost in a mix with this monster.
Heavy Lead - Go to the lead channel and hit the high gain button and you've just transported yourself into high gain metal heaven. Think John Sykes or Zack Wylde full gain. There is a slight mid scoop and/or compression that occurs when going from Soft to Heavy Lead. Unfortunately this causes the high gain mode to have a very slight volume drop. // 9
Reliability & Durability: The Engl Screamer 50 is built like a Sherman Tank. This is common for German engineering, and this amp is by no means and exception. After a long gig I was carrying this amp over my shoulder out of a club and dropped it onto a concrete sidewalk and Busted up the casing a bit... bummer! However, all of the amp's components worked flawlessly after this catastrophe, and I was able to patch up the housing just fine. This thing is truly a workhorse capable of taking massive amounts of abuse. // 10
Overall Impression: Having used this amp for over 150 performances with a wide variety of bands and venue sizes ranging in capacity of 50 to 5, 000, I can confidently say this is one of the best amps on the market... especially in it's price range ($1399 street price). The tone can tend to be a little too bright at times, but rolling the Treble and Lead Presence back a bit takes care of that. If you're looking for a versatile ballsy British sound you should definitely check this thing out. The combo sounds great by itself, but adding a 2x12 or 4x12 cabinet really brings this amp to life. This amp loves pedals, handles abuse, and handles almost any genre of music you can throw it's way. // 9
E330 Screamer 50
thefrigginbob, on december 22, 2007 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Features: 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. // 9
Sound: 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. // 10
Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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. // 10
E330 Screamer 50
damo1974, on may 19, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 900
Purchased from: Thomann
Features: Bought this amp brand new approximately three years ago, I did have a 2nd hand older model but decided to buy this newer version. I am in two Covers Bands and also work as a semi pro session Guitarist so needed an amp to cover all styles, something which my old Marshall JCM900 and TSL100 couldn't do. This amp has 4 channels and two power stages, which is superb as a Lead Boost, effects loop, multiple speaker outs.
This amp is 50watts of pure valve power all housed in a 1 x 12 combo. Built like a tank, it's been dropped twice by careless road crew and still surivived intact. This amp is very loud, I use it unmic'd at most gigs & it still has plenty of headroom, always have master volume up full to cook the valves, but Channel Volumes never go past 12 o clock. // 10
Sound: I use the amp with Les Pauls, Tele's, Strats, even cheap guitars sound great through it, the amp let's the Guitars individual sound Shine through. As I've said before, I play numerous styles, from Blues-Rock, to Country to Heavy Metal, all done through this amazing little combo. The High Gain channel can be quite noisy, not hissy like a Marshall, but it will buzz when near bad earths etc. It will only feedback when controlled that way too, some settings can be quite toppy, even with treble and presence knocked back, but this amp does cut through the mix and a little tweak of the eq section soon sorts it all out. I get a great sound in every venue I play at, when I had Marshalls I was always tweaking the sound & getting frustrated. With my Engl I now do the same every gig, turn up, plug in & play, with no worries.
Clean Channels, lovely and sparkly, plenty of depth, Soft Lead gives you the 70's Rock Style Gain, great with a Les Paul, then Heavy Lead gives you a lovely bottom end thump, plenty of gain on tap, my Lead Gain always stays on 12 o clock, that way I get plenty of wallop but without things going all mushy or compressed. // 10
Reliability & Durability: I used to have another one of these amps but I sold it & now used this as my sole amplifier, no backup, which could be foolish, but this thing never breaks down, the footswitch (Z-5) is built like the amp, virtually indestructible. In three years of heavy use, (3 gigs a week, 2 rehearsals, studio sessions) this amp has never let me down. // 10
Overall Impression: I have been playing Guitar for over 20 years now & have used a variety of amps over that time, think of this amp as a Rich Mans Peavey Bandit, a very workable tool, all valve, 4 channels, 2 power stages, loads of extension speaker options, 900 pounds seems expensive for a 50 watt combo, but everyone that hears my amp always comments on my great tone.
I have used all kinds of amps over the years, but this one gave me the confidence to sell all my Marshall gear, now I never look back. I have tried Cornford, Blackstar, H&K, Fender, Peavey etc and would not trade any of those for my Engl.
I now use the amp with a Harley Benton 2 x 12 Vintage Cab, WOW! Is all I can say, lots of bottom end punch, wish I'd done it sooner, it also sounds amazing driving a 4 x 12 cab.
If this was stolen, I'd replace it with an identical model tomorrow. // 10