Price paid: € 500
Features — 6
I bought this amp 2nd hand from a guy in Belgium. I don't know when it was made, but the amp is made in Germany.
- 20 Watt
- 2 x EL 84 power amp tubes & 4 x ECC 83 preamp tubes
- 2 Channels
- EQ with controls for bass, Thomann mids and treble
- Presence control
- Gain boost and separate gain controls for each channel
- Lead volume control and master volume
- Powersoak with settings for Power off / 1 Watt / 5 Watt / Full Power
- Frequency corrected Line output for direct recording
- Serial effects loop with sockets for send and return
- Headphone connector
- Built-in Hall with Thomann control on the rear
- Speaker out 8 Ohm, 16 Ohm
- 2 x Z4 Foot switch connectors (not included, 160993)
- Dimensions: Width 33.5 cm x Height 14.2 cm x Depth 21.7 cm
- Weight: 8.4 kg
The power soak option is really handy. I mostly used it at home, and then 5 watts or 1 watt is more then enough. The 20 watts will give you enough sound for a studio gig or a concert. I got a Engl 412 with V60 speakers, and it's just really loud. The reverb on this amp is really good, way better than the one i got on my floorboard.
The shop prices are high. Around 875. That's a lot of money for an 20 watt, not very versatile head. That's the reason i bought it 2nd hand. This amp is, in my opinion not worth 875 euros. Lack of versatility and use of the EQ combined with the high shop price make giving this a 6.
Sound — 9
I like to call this amp a 2-trick-pony. It excels in high gain modern sounds and a very, very, very nice clean sound. Mainly, i set up the EQ the way i like it and don't touch them after that. Then i switch between the clean and the gain channel. I didn't like tweaking with this amp. It is not really versatile. To get that sound it excels at, you should always have the Presence knob at around 3/4th and the between 5 and 8. Adjusting this too much, adds a muddy, bassy backtone sound which i can't use. Lowering the mid makes it good for your metal riffs. Leaving it at 5 will be good for modern rock.
You can't get vintage tones out of this amp. So a nice crunchy sound is not available. It's great for clean, rock and metal, but nothing else. So if that's what you are looking for, you should buy this amp! If you want something more versatile, this is not the amp for you.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The Ironball is a quality piece. Made out of sturdy metal, good looking, heavy and solid without any flaws. The dark look and red lightning suit this piece very well. A nice piece of craftsmanship. This is a great amp to take with you on stage and i do not expect it to break down. This amp will be with you for a lifetime. In the year I've onwed it, it got no scratches, it just kept looking as good as new. The Tubes will also last long in this amp. It is wise to put a dust cloth over it when you are not playing it. The inside collects dust like a maniac, and can't be cleaned without taking the amp apart.
Overall Impression — 8
I don't know if i'd buy another one if it got stolen, mainly because i personally like versatile amps and the price of this piece is quite high. I am thinking about selling it and buying a more versatile amp with a pedal, but of course, this is a personal matter. The metalheads will love this amp!
So in conclusion: Great rock/metal/clean amp, great reverb, you can use it in gigs, at home, in the studio and on stage, quite expensive, not very versatile, build to last and good looking. i'd rate it between a 7 and 8. If it was more versatile or cheaper, my rating would be higher.